Main Menu
Special Grant: This grant ended on June 30th; however, there are still a few remaining spots available on this program. The first few applicants accepted in July can still qualify to receive their third week on the program for free! For more information, schedule a call with us. 


If you are passionate about wildlife conservation and want to make a difference in their lives, then join us here! Help the incredible staff with conservation efforts and experience close encounters with a variety of different species.

Program Highlights: 
  • Work closely with fascinating African animals at a widely-accredited wildlife ranch
  • Ethical wildlife interactions and volunteering tasks 
  • Gain insight and knowledge of the locally endangered animals
  • Gain experience in the different aspects of animal care
  • Work alongside a team of professionals
  • Option to get involved in a community school 
  • Cage dive with crocodiles and create enrichment activities for the land animals

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

Arrival Day, Monday: Arrive at George Airport (GRJ). You will be picked up from the airport and taken on a brief orientation tour of the area, as well as to do any essential shopping you may need to do. You will then be left to settle into your new “home away from home.”

Day 1, Tuesday: You will be taken on a complete tour of Ranch. You will also be introduced to the Ranch’s directors, managers and curators before beginning your volunteer duties.

Days 2-4, Wednesday-Friday: Rewarding volunteer work at the Ranch, from 8:00 AM- 4:30 PM. Morning duties will include cleaning exhibits and night houses, followed by teatime. Afterwards, you will help prepare enrichment activities to stimulate all the animals. Then you will have lunch and spend the rest of your time giving out the enrichment toys to the animals while helping to take notes on their progress. here may be some maintenance work to assist with as well. Important note: Regardless of your dietary preferences, you may be required to assist in the preparation of the big cats' meals, which is usually donkey or horse meat. This can also involve removing meat from the bone and working with or near the carcasses.

Days 5-6, Saturday-Sunday: Weekends are free for volunteers to explore or relax.

Remaining Weeks: The remaining weeks will follow the schedule of volunteering for three days, Monday-Friday, and having weekends free. Departures are on a Monday.
 
icon_location
Location of the Project:  Western Cape, South Africa
icon_length
Project length:  Minimum 2 weeks - Maximum 12 weeks
icon_transfers
Arrival Airport:  George Airport (GRJ)
icon_highlights
Volunteer Work:  Wildlife care, research and maintenance
Age:  18-55
icon_participants
Number of Volunteers:  Up to 23 international volunteers

What's Included

icon_accomodation
Accommodations:  Shared rooms in a luxurious, volunteer lodge
Food:  Breakfast ingredients supplied at the lodge and lunch and dinner at the Ranch, Monday to Friday.
icon_transfers
Airport Transfers:  Airport transfers are included on both arrival and departure days
Orientation:  Orientation provided upon arrival and includes a tour of the area and time for shopping. Introduction to the Ranch and breeding centers is provided on the second day.
icon_support
Support:  Comprehensive and professional pre-departure travel guidance, 24/7 GoEco emergency hotline, experienced local field team.

What's not Included

Flights, visa (if required), travel health insurance, weekend meals, personal expenses,
Oudtshoorn is situated in what is known as ‘The Little Karoo’ (Klein Karoo) at the base of the majestic Swartberg Mountains in the Western Cape. It is a small, but beautiful tourist-oriented town with a semi-arid climate and sunny days. Oudtshoorn is considered the Ostrich Capital of the world because it has more ostriches than anywhere else. It is also the ideal location for these large, flightless birds due to the dry climate and lucerne (protein-rich animal feed) farming.
​Established in 1977, this ranch was South Africa’s first crocodile show farm. A decade later, it was sold and transformed into a leading conservation and tourist education center. While the ranch continues to house a modest crocodilian population, it has actively shifted focus towards endangered species, particularly big cats. 

The privately owned ranch and wildlife sanctuary is home to more than 90 species of animals and reptiles and is one of the largest cheetah breeding centers in the world. 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 & Aquariums) institutional membership. It is one of only six institutions in Africa to become a member of this esteemed association. The ranch has also developed a number of successful breeding programs and is currently one of only four institutions on the continent to receive accreditation from PAAZA (African Association of Zoos and Aquaria).

If you are passionate about wild animals and want to make a difference in their lives, then this is project is for you! You will work with a number of different endangered species, from white tigers and cheetahs to ring tailed lemurs and meerkats. 

This volunteer project will offer you a fascinating wildlife experience while you learn about the facility’s conservation efforts. You will also gain insight and knowledge into the ranch’s endangered species and breeding programs.

 Some of your tasks may include:
  • Cleaning cheetah and other animal exhibits and night houses
  • Preparing food for cheetah cubs as well as other big cats and animals 
  • Feeding the animals
  • Preparing for enrichment activities (manipulation, social environmental and artificial prey) to stimulate all animals on the ranch 
  • Providing various animals with enrichment toys (papier-mâché balls, tug of war rope, etc.) to encourage their sensory and predatory behaviors. 
  • Taking notes on the animals’ progress (which will be used for future research)
  • Assisting with ongoing maintenance on the ranch
  • Assisting with a variety of projects, as needed
Keep in mind that any food used, from worms to donkey tails, needs to be incorporated in the animals' daily diet, so you will also work very closely with the animal kitchen staff when preparing meals. You are encouraged to research new ideas and present them to the curators for approval.

At the end of your placement you will receive a certificate of completion. 

Orientation:
A host will meet you in George, either at the airport or at your bus stop. From George you will be taken to Oudtshoorn (approximately 45 minutes away) for your orientation. Upon arrival you will be shown around your new accommodation and then you will be taken on a brief tour of the area. On the tour you will have the opportunity to do essential shopping, if needed. You will then be left to relax and adjust to your new accommodation for the rest of the day.

The following morning, your host will give you an introduction to the ranch and its environment, as well as run through the duties, expectations and house rules. This will also be the time for the coordinators to answer any questions you may have. That morning you will be taken to the Ranch where you will be given a complete tour of the facilities and breeding centers. You will also be introduced to the directors, managers, curators and staff with whom you will be working.

Typical day: You will work Monday to Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Morning duties will include cleaning exhibits and night houses, followed by teatime. Afterwards, you will help prepare enrichment activities to stimulate all the animals. Then you will have lunch and spend the rest of your time giving out the enrichment toys to the animals while helping to take notes on their progress. There may be some maintenance work to assist with as well.
Important note: Regardless of your dietary preferences, you may be required to assist in the preparation of the big cats' meals, which is usually donkey or horse meat. This can also involve removing meat from the bone and working with or near the carcasses.
Internet
Internet:  WiFi is available for use at the lodge.
Laundry
Laundry:  There is a washing machine, ironing board and iron available for you to use free of charge.
Accommodations
Accommodations:  Volunteers will stay in shared rooms in a luxurious lodge that contains a garden, pool and barbecue area, en suite accommodation, underfloor heating in winter, entertainment area, DSTV and WiFi access. There are two house cats living in the lodge.
Food:  Basic breakfast ingredients are supplied at the lodge, as well as basic pantry 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’s restaurant and dinner is prepared for you by the lodge manager. Weekend meals are not included. Please note: if you have allergies or special dietary needs, let us know upon registration.
Please take note of this project's minimum requirements:
  • Minimum age of 18
  • Be at least 1.55 meters/5.1 feet tall (if interacting with some adult cats)
  • Fit and healthy 
  • Basic level of English
  • Prepared to get dirty 
  • Be extremely passionate about wild animals
  • Hard working and diligent is a must
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 rather sleepy town, but there are a number of 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. 

Optional tours are available on free weekends or you can relax at home by the poolside. You will have the Opportunity to visit the world famous Cango Caves, which are the only show cave in Africa. And 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.

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


Add on our eight-day Garden Route Road Trip to enhance your South Africa experience!
 
Welcome back. Please Log In