South Africa – African Wildlife Ranch Internship

Apply for 2 weeks and get your 3rd week free if you join between October to December 2022!

Enhance your resume and gain experience working with wildlife as you complete an internship on a South African ranch that is home to over 90 species of animals! Learn to take care of animals, both big and small, on a wild adventure of a lifetime.


Program Highlights:

  • Tailor-made internship crafted to your needs and university requirements
  • Work in an area of research that is most appropriate for you
  • Shadow and work one-on-one with a staff member
  • Ethical wildlife volunteer tasks and interactions
  • Be included in veterinary procedures that may be performed during your stay
  • Gain new skills as you participate in tasks such as training and enrichment programs


Your Schedule at a Glance (Minimum two-week commitment):

Arrival Day, Monday: Arrive at George Airport (GRJ). You will be picked up at the airport and taken to your accommodation in Oudtshoorn. Spend the day settling into your new home and getting to know the Oudtshoorn area.

Days 1-4, Tuesday-Friday: Interns spend three days a week shadowing staff and learning about the animals at the ranch from onsite professionals. The other two days interns join the volunteers as they feed, care for, maintain enclosures and participate in the training of the animals. All five days can be counted towards your total hours of internship.

Days 5-6, Saturday-Sunday: Your weekends are free to rest and enjoy your life in Africa. Take a trip through the Swartberg pass and experience the magnificent views from the Swartberg Mountains or visit some Ostrich farms in the Ostrich capital of the world!

Remaining Weeks: The remaining weeks will follow a similar schedule of doing your internship Monday-Friday and having Saturday-Sunday off. Use your weekends to visit the Cango Caves or take a scenic trip down the Garden Route on your weekends. Hiking, canoe trips and safari’s are also on the list of opportunities that you have to enjoy during your time off in South Africa. Departures are on a Mon



Location icon Location of the Project: Oudtshoorn, Western Cape, South Africa

Project length Project length: Minimum 2 weeks – Maximum 12 weeks

Arrival Airport Arrival Airport: George Airport (GRJ)

Volunteer Work Volunteer Work: Wildlife Care, Research and Maintenance

Age Age: Minimum age of 18

Number of Volunteers Number of Volunteers: Up to 3 international interns

Important Note Important Note: To receive the maximum benefit from your internship, a minimum stay of six weeks is highly recommended.


What’s Included

Accommodations Accommodations: Shared rooms in a luxurious volunteer lodge

Food Food: Self-serve breakfast and lunch and dinners are provided on weekdays.

Airport Transfers Airport Transfers: Airport transfers are provided on both arrival and departure days.

Orientation Orientation: Orientation is provided upon arrival and includes a tour of the area and time for shopping

Support Support: Comprehensive and professional pre-departure travel guidance, 24/7 GoEco emergency hotline, experienced local field team.


What’s not Included

Flights, visas (if required), travel health insurance, weekend meals, personal expenses

The Western Cape is home to South Africa’s most popular tourist destinations, including Cape Town and the scenic wonder that is Table Mountain. The historically-significant Robben Island is also a part of the Western Cape.

This project is located in the town of Oudtshoorn in the Western Cape, located at the base of the Swartberg Mountains. In addition to a beautiful view, Oudtshoorn has a fun atmosphere, with its large tourist population and its ostrich farms.

This ranch is home to over 90 endangered animal species, from reptiles to large carnivores and everything in between. The ranch’s staff work diligently to care for a number of endangered ambassador animals. In doing so, they have created a platform for conservation through education, to encourage public awareness of the plights of various species as well as environmental issues. This has earned them a WAZA (World Association of Zoos & Aquaria) institutional membership. The Ranch is one of only six institutions in Africa to become a member of this esteemed association.

This program is open to all types of interns, with or without previous veterinary experience, who are looking for a broad experience in animal husbandry, training, caretaking and an introduction to veterinary work. You will have the opportunity to be up close and personal with the resident wild animals while ensuring their wellbeing through the Ranch’s conservation efforts.

This internship is flexible and can be shaped to fit each interns’ specific requirements. Depending on your university’s specific internship requirements, additional tasks can be performed.


There are two options for interns:

  • Those who simply want to shadow and work with our curators on a day to day basis with the various animals
  • Those who require specific research topics and/or specific assignments. Should this be you, please communicate your assignment requests to us in advance for approval.


Please note: The Ranch does not have an on-site veterinarian; however, our on-call veterinarian has enabled past university students to shadow him during surgery and procedures. Should there be medical procedures, our on-call vet will be sure to teach you all you can think to ask!

The majority of your work on this internship revolves around caring for resident animals. When any medical procedures are required on-site, interns are always included. Kindly note that this is reliant on safety and space requirements.

Daily tasks include:

  • Preparing food for the animals
  • Feeding animals
  • Enclosure maintenance and cleaning
  • Animal training
  • Partaking in animal enrichment activities
  • Some evenings interns assist in helping our animals to their night quarters


Sample Schedule:
Interns typically work from 08:00- 16:30, with breaks for meals.

An intern will shadow our animal curators for three days of the week, being exposed to the dedicated care of each species-specific professional. The other two days they will partake in the daily volunteer program to assist us in accomplishing the best possible care and environments for our animals. Schedules can vary depending on the hours required by your degree program – but requirements must be communicated ahead of arrival.
Kindly note: Interns working towards accumulating specific hours should note that all 5 days of work will count towards your total.

Click to see the regular volunteer program option.

Internet icon Internet: WiFi is available for use at the lodge.

Laundry icon Laundry: There is a washing machine, ironing board and iron available for you to use free of charge.

Accommodations icon Accommodations: Interns will stay in shared rooms in a luxurious lodge that contains a garden, pool and barbecue area, luxury en suite accommodation, under floor heating in winter, entertainment area, DSTV and Wifi access. There are two house cats living in the lodge.

Food icon Food: Basic breakfast ingredients are supplied at the lodge, as well as daily items such as tea, coffee, sugar, herbs & spices, fruit, cereal, milk and bread, spreads, sauces etc. Lunch is provided during your placement from the Ranch restaurant and dinner is prepared for you by the lodge manager, who also runs both lodges. When you are not working (Saturday and Sunday) meals are not included. Please note upon registration if you have allergies or special dietary needs.


Please take note of this project’s minimum requirements:

  • Basic level of English
  • Love for animals
  • Please confirm during the interview process which type of internship you are applying for: Shadowing OR a Specific University research project

The Ranch is about a five-minute walk from your lodge. It will take you about 10 minutes to walk to a local shop and approximately 30 minutes to walk to most places in town, including supermarkets, shops, restaurants and pubs.

Oudtshoorn is a relaxed town, but there are several restaurants and pubs, if you are looking for a night out. Oudtshoorn is considered safe at night and you can walk the 30-minute route to town. During March and April of each year a well-known, week long Afrikaans arts festival is held. The town really comes alive, with the streets blocked off for market stalls, shows, bands and plenty of entertainment that thousands of people come to enjoy each year.

This program offers optional tours on weekends of the surrounding attractions, such as bungee jumping, shark cage diving, zip lining, horse back safaris, game drives, elephant experiences and whale watching. Oudtshoorn isn’t called the Ostrich Capital of the world for nothing! There are also Ostrich farms located 10 kilometers south of Oudtshoorn, where experienced guides will teach you all about ostrich farming.


For the more adventurous traveler, a few must-visit sights are listed below:

Cango Caves
Located in Oudtshoorn are the magnificent Cango Caves. These caves were formed from Precambrian limestone and contain paintings and artifacts that date back to the Stone ages. These are the most popular caves in all of South Africa and are certainly worth a visit!

Rust-en-Vrede Waterfall
For the volunteers who love hiking and experiencing the beauty of nature, a hike to this waterfall should be on the “To-Do” list.

Table Mountain National Park
Also located in the Western Cape is the famous Table Mountain National Park that consists of the iconic rock formation as well as various hiking trails. Indigenous African penguins can also be spotted here. Table Mountain is approximately five hours from Oudtshoorn by car.


Please note: tours are subject to change and are dependent on availability and time of year.

Volunteer Experiences

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