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The sanctuary’s main focus is to increase public awareness about the dangers facing not only lions but also other carnivores native to the land. Through education, social media and tourism, the sanctuary exposes visitors and locals to the natural biodiversity that exists and the current plight of lions while shedding light on how individuals and communities can make a difference.
 
The land that the sanctuary is on (1200 hectares) was previous farmland so, in order for it to be sustainable habitat for carnivores and other wildlife, it needs to be restored and maintained. Additionally, the sanctuary continues to build enclosures and enrichment facilities for the animals that are not free-roaming to ensure that they have the best possible environment.

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Location of the Project:  Gauteng Province
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Project length:  1 - 4 weeks
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Arrival Airport:  O.R Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg)
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Volunteer Work:  Wildlife Care and Maintenance
Age:  18-60
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Number of Volunteers:  12

What's Included

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Accommodations:  Shared rooms in farm style accommodation
Food:  Three meals a day provided
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Airport Transfers:  Included on arrival and departure days
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Insurance:  Comprehensive travel health insurance with volunteer abroad coverage
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Support:  Local in-country team and 24hr emergency support

What's not Included

Flights, personal expenses, visa (if required)

Although Gauteng is South Africa’s smallest province, it is home to nearly 25% of South Africans, making it the province with the highest population density.  Both Johannesburg and Pretoria, the country’s capital, are situated in this province and are part of the reason the area has the highest per capita income in the country.  In this province, you can see a diverse mix of cultures, languages and first and third-world traditions blending with traditional and modern ways of life.

The sanctuary is located on the grounds of Welgedacht, a private family owned game farm and within the borders of the Dinokeng Big Five Game Reserve.

Volunteers will have the unique opportunity to work at Kevin Richardson’s sanctuary in order to improve the conditions at the sanctuary. Volunteers should be prepared to work hard and while much of the work is physically demanding it is ultimately rewarding. 

Volunteer tasks may vary depending on what needs to be done at the time of your project and may be involved in the following activities:

  • Road and river crossing maintenance to allow continued access to all areas of the reserve
  • Removal of invader plant species
  • The creation and maintenance of fire breaks
  • General cleaning and maintenance of the farm, predator enclosures, water holes and volunteer camp
  • Bush cutting
  • Constructing of new fences, removing old cattle fencing to create an open area and fence checks and repairs 
  • Creating and maintain predator enclosures including 
  • Cleaning predator enclosures and filling water holes 
  • Preparing, cutting and feeding meat to adult animals and pellets/milk for younger animals
  • Assisting on filming of projects
Volunteers work 6 days a week, usually from 7:30AM to 4:30PM, excluding travel time to the project. If there is an unexpected event that occurs outside of these hours, volunteers may be asked to work additional or different hours. Usually on Saturdays, volunteers will hike through the reserve as a group and end the day with a boma braai.

Important Notes:
  • For the safety of our volunteers and well being of the animals at the sanctuary, volunteers do not interact directly with the lions. If you are invited to join on an enrichment activity, this will always be from the safety of a vehicle.
  • While Kevin Richardson is at the sanctuary often, he also travels to other parks and areas around Africa so we cannot guarantee that you will have the opportunity to meet and interact with him.

Internet
Internet:  Internet is available for volunteers before and after work hours but can be disrupted at times.
Laundry
Laundry:  A washing machine is available for volunteers to use and linens will be washed by the staff once a week. Laundry service available at a nominal fee.
Accommodations
Accommodations:  Volunteers will live in shared rooms at a modern farm-style house located on the property. The rooms are comfortable and have en suite showers and toilets. The house has a living room with a TV and DVD player, a library and a dining room. Outside there is a small swimming pool and braai (BBQ) area plus an open air boma with a fireplace.
Food:  Volunteers are provided with 3 meals per day. Volunteers can make tea, coffee and cereal for breakfast and sandwiches and fruit are available for lunch. Dinner will be simple, home-style hot meals.

Please take note of the project's minimum requirements:

  • Minimum age of 18
  • Good level of physical fitness
  • Desire to contribute to animal welfare and conservation efforts
  • Willingness to get hands dirty

South Africa and the Gauteng province in particular are packed with exciting attractions. The reserve is about an hours’ drive from Johannesburg which is filled with art galleries and museums. While in the city you can take a tour of the country’s best known township, Soweto, or take in the atmosphere from a seat at one of the city’s excellent restaurants or popular bars. The city of Pretoria is just a half hour away from the park and has beautiful botanical gardens and plenty of cultural activities.  

There are also plenty of adventure activities nearby including abseiling, rock climbing and caving in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage site, plus bungee jumping, hot air balloon safaris and skydiving.

Volunteer Experiences
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