South Africa – Animal Rescue and Veterinary Shelter

Please Note: This program is temporarily unavailable. Check out our alternative programs in Africa or schedule a one-on-one call with one of our expert volunteer advisors.


Join a busy, pro-life animal shelter and improve the quality of life of its many inhabitants. Veterinarians and students will have the opportunity to advance their skills and resume by gaining experience working in a foreign country. You will also have the opportunity to live in Cape Town, one of South Africa’s most cosmopolitan cities.


Program Highlights:

  • Rescue and rehabilitate abused and neglected animals, giving them a better chance of being adopted into a loving home
  • Gain valuable experience in veterinary care and animal welfare
  • Observe surgeries and clinical treatments. Qualified vets and veterinary students have the opportunity to assist the resident veterinarian with surgeries
  • Spend your days playing with cats and dogs – it’s part of your volunteer work!
  • Be perfectly situated to explore Cape Town and it’s extreme adventures, such as shark cage diving and abseiling


Your Schedule at a Glance (Minimum Two-Week Commitment):

Arrival Day, Monday: Arrive at Cape Town International Airport (CPT). You will be picked up at the airport and transferred to the volunteer house in Cape Town. Spend the day settling into your new home and get to know your fellow volunteers and the local team. There is a volunteer welcome party in the evening.

Days 1-4, Tuesday-Friday: Your mornings will be spent preparing food and cleaning animal shelters, as well as spending time with the animals. Afternoons can include dog walks and helping out at the cattery. Evenings are reserved for talks about tours, various topical workshops and special events.

Day 5-6: Saturday-Sunday: Use your days off to explore Cape Town or go on a tour, such as a day safari or visit a winery.

Remaining Weeks: The remaining weeks will follow a similar schedule of volunteering Monday-Friday and having Saturday-Sunday free. Make the most of your Cape Town experience on the weekends by going shark cage diving, hiking, exploring and abseiling down Table Mountain or take a surf lesson. Departures are on a Monday.


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Location icon Location of the Project: Cape Town, South Africa

Project length Project length: Min 2 weeks – Max 12 weeks

Arrival Airport Arrival Airport: Cape Town International Airport (CPT)

Volunteer Work Volunteer Work:  Walking, grooming, and feeding animals, community education, veterinary assistance

Age Age:  18-70

Number of Volunteers Number of Volunteers: Up to 15 international volunteers


What’s Included

Accommodations Accommodations: Shared room in a fully furnished house in Observatory, South Africa

Food Food: Three meals a day (excluding weekends)

Airport Transfers Airport Transfers:  Airport pickup upon arrival

Orientation Orientation: Orientation is included upon arrival and includes introductions to staff members, fellow volunteers, Cape Town, and the local communities.

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, meals on weekends, personal expenses

This project is located on the Southern Peninsula coastline of Cape Town, South Africa. South Africa is a fascinating country with a wide array of landscapes, as many as 11 official languages, and an equally diverse population.

Voted one of the world’s top tourist destinations Cape Town boasts an incredibly wide range of attractions. In addition to the Cape Point Nature Reserve, which is within view of this project site, the area hosts several other unique cultural and heritage sites, such as Robben Island, Table Mountains, and the V&A Waterfront. As a city alive with creativity, color, sounds and tastes, Cape Town also offers an abundance of outdoor activities, from hiking, to surfing, to water skiiing.


The shelter has both an on-site clinic that services nearby neighborhoods, as well as a mobile clinic to provide veterinary services to a wider range of communities throughout the region. These clinics provide primary care, such as vaccinations, sterilization, de-worming, and parasite control, while also carrying out community outreach initiatives to educate the public on proper care and ethical treatment of animals.

The attention and care you are able to give the animals at the shelter substantially improves their quality of life, contributes to their recovery, and allows them to be adopted into a loving home. You will have the opportunity to make an impact by:

  • Feeding, grooming, walking, and socializing the animals
  • Helping rescue animals other than cats and dogs, including otters, porcupines, snakes, sea birds, and owls
  • Assisting veterinarians with clinical operations in either the on-site clinic or mobile clinic
  • Spreading awareness in local communities on how to responsibly care for animals


A typical day: Your day will begin at 7:00 am with a healthy breakfast before you head out to your morning project at 8:30 am. After lunch at 12:30 pm, it’s time to resume your afternoon tasks. Your work day will end at 4:30 pm, at which point you will return to the volunteer house for a debriefing and to discuss the schedule for the next day. Dinner is served at 6:00 pm, followed by free time to relax, watch a movie, go to trivia nights, or head off to one of the local pubs, coffee shops, restaurants.


Holidays: During school holidays activities may differ from the usual schedule but the work will be equally engaging and rewarding. Please confirm specific dates with your placement advisor.

During the holidays the schedule can look different but rest assured, your time with us will be still be rewarding and the work you will be doing will be meaningful and necessary.

Internet icon Internet: WiFi available for a small fee.

Laundry icon Laundry: A weekly laundry services is available for a small fee.

Accommodations icon Accommodations: Volunteers will stay in a fully furnished, comfortable house in Muizenberg that is just five minutes from the beach and half an hour away from the Cape Town city center. Volunteers will share a room with 5-7 other volunteers of the same gender and bathrooms are communal. The house is staffed with both a housekeeper and cook, and volunteers have access to a locked safe to store their valuables. Daily transportation between accommodations and project site is provided.

Food icon Food: Three meals a day are provided. Breakfast consists of hot or cold cereal, toast, coffee and tea, and is available on a serve-yourself basis. Lunch and dinner are prepared by the chef at the volunteer house. The chef has the weekends off, and therefore during these days the volunteers will need to purchase and prepare their own food.


Please take note of this project’s minimum requirements:

  • Minimum age of 18
  • Basic level of English
  • Compassion for animals
  • Desire to make an impact on local communities and animals
  • Immunizations (please consult your local travel clinic)

Most volunteers spend their free time out and about exploring the assortment of exciting opportunities in Cape Town and the surrounding areas. The program provides optional trips for an additional cost to the world-famous Table Mountain, Boulders Beach, and the Cape Point Peninsula. For volunteers looking to try something new, the program organizes surfing lessons, sky diving and shark cage diving for an additional fee.


Project Orientation (Included):
On arrival at the Cape Town project, you will receive a comprehensive orientation, including:

  • Introduction to the beautiful Cape Peninsula
  • Overview of the Cape Town project and the communities in which you will be working
  • Introduction to all project staff
  • Familiarization of the surrounding neighborhood where you will be living


Add on our eight-day Garden Route Road Trip to enhance your South Africa experience!

Volunteer Experiences

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