South Africa – Wild Cat Sanctuary & Kruger Safari

Start your adventure by spending your days working with Africa’s beautiful big cats and learn all about the conservation efforts that are being put into place to protect and rehabilitate these beautiful creatures that were rescued from captivity. The sanctuary is also a safe haven for animals that cannot be released into the wild, due to their captive upbringing. Finish your venture with a 3 day Safari in the Kruger National Park to observe the African Big Five and other magnificent wildlife species up close!

Program Highlights:

  • Protect and rehabilitate various African wild cats
  • Live right in the middle of the sanctuary, surrounded by the cat enclosures
  • Be part of a team that aims to rehabilitate and release the animals that it takes in
  • Learn about wild cats from experienced keepers and through your daily tasks and conservation efforts
  • Join optional night game drives with other volunteers
  • End your trip with a 3 day safari adventure in the famous Kruger National Park


Your Schedule at a Glance (Minimum one-week commitment, plus three day Kruger tour – 11 days):

Arrival Day, Sunday: Arrive at O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB). You will be picked up from the airport and taken to your hostel accommodation in Johannesburg. After you are settled in and given an introduction to the area and where all the lockers, shops, stores and exciting places to go are, you have the rest of the day for yourself. The hostel has a pool, bar, free Wi-Fi and is close to the JNB version of Long Street. Stay the night in dormitory accommodation. Upgrades available upon request.

Day 1, Monday: Either fly or take a shuttle to Kimberley. Note the shuttle is included in the program fee and is about 4-5 hours in one direction. Volunteers can choose to fly at their own costs to Kimberly instead and will receive all relevant airport transfers. Once you have arrived on the project site, they will give you an introductory tour of the sanctuary and its animals.

Day 2 – 8, Tuesday to Sunday: After an early breakfast and briefing with the team leader, you will spend the day doing daily chores or working on projects. Daily chores include cleaning the enclosures, participating in enrichment activities with the cats, preparing and feeding the animals, etc. Projects depend on the needs of the sanctuary and its animals, and thus vary. Tasks may include building and repairing enclosures, assisting with tours and much more.

Day 9, Monday – Day one of Kruger Tour: Departure day for volunteers only staying one week plus the Kruger Tour. Monday is when you’ll fly from the Kimberly airport to the Hoedspruit airport to start your tour. This flight is included in your program package and arranged for you via our team. You’ll be picked up at the Hoedspruit airport to begin your first evening with a Sunset Drive and Bush BBQ before settling into your tents at the safari lodge.

Day 10, Tuesday – Day two of Kruger Tour: Today you’ll spend a full day in the Kruger National Park on a safari. Commence your morning with a sunrise safari, and spend the day on the lookout for the Big 5 Wildlife between visiting various waterholes, lookout points and rivers.

Day 11, Wednesday – Day three of Kruger Tour & Departure Day: Begin with a safari in the Kruger National Park as the sun rises and enjoy the various picnic spots along the way looking for wildlife. Following breakfast, participants drive to the Three Rondavels of the Blyde River Canyon, which are enormous rocks that are thought to be reminiscent of indigenous Rondavel huts. After lunch, your scenic transfer back to Johannesburg begins for your airport drop off and departure back home later that evening.

Remaining Weeks: For volunteers staying multiple weeks, you’ll stay on the program volunteering each additional weel following a similar schedule of volunteering Monday – Sunday and having a day off on Friday. Regardless of how many weeks you choose to volunteer, the Kruger Safari Tour will be scheduled on the last 3 days of your program itinerary.


Location icon Location of the Project: Free State, South Africa

Project length Project length: Min 1 week – Max 12 weeks (Minimum stay is technically 11 days: Arrival day + 1 week of volunteering + 3 days in the Kruger Tour)

Arrival Airport Arrival Airport: O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB)

Volunteer Work Volunteer Work: Animal welfare and community education

Age Age:  18-80

Number of Volunteers Number of Volunteers: Up to 25 International volunteers

Important Note Important Note: Hands-on interaction with the cats is not permitted.


What’s Included

Accommodations Accommodations: Shared room in a volunteer house while volunteering and tented accommodations while on safari

Food Food: Three meals per day

Airport Transfers Airport Transfers: Included on arrival and departure days from Johannesburg airport, as well as the flight and transfers from Kimberly to Hoedspruit for the Kruger Tour.

Orientation Kruger Tour: Three-day, two-night Kruger National Park Tour at the end of your program.

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


What’s not Included

Flights to/from Johannesburg airport, visas (if required), travel health insurance, personal expenses

Kimberley is the capital of the Northern Cape Province and lies near the border of the Free State Province. The city is most famous for what is now called the Big Hole, the site of what claimed to be the largest hand-dug excavation area where miners once dug for diamonds. The city is now filled with museums and monuments dedicated to this sparkly gem and the miners who brought the riches to South Africa. Kimberley is also considered a great area for birdwatching, with over 186 species in the area, as well as a popular destination for fly-fishing.

Your last three days will be spent in the Kruger National Park which spans over two million hectares! It was established to protect various wildlife species and is by far, the most famous wildlife reserve in South Africa. The diversity of its life forms is incomparable to any other and until today the park remains a world leader in advanced environmental management and conservation.


As a volunteer on this project, your main tasks will be promoting the health and welfare of all the animals living on the grounds. You will work with a variety of animals including 42 predators and two monkeys – the predators include: 4 cheetahs, 20 lions, 4 caracals, 2 servals, 1 African wild cat, 2 black-backed jackals, and 9 bat-eared foxes. You will be taught how to care for each animal, as they all have different needs.

Some of your tasks may include:

  • Preparing food and feeding the animals
  • Cleaning enclosures
  • Building, expanding and repairing enclosures
  • Grounds maintenance
  • Enrichment activities for the animals, providing them with exercise and stimulation
  • Giving tours to visitors and explaining about different animals and conservation efforts


A typical day: You will wake up early, usually around 7:00 AM to the sound of the cats calling you. At breakfast, the staff will go over the day’s tasks and you will go about feeding the animals, checking enclosures and whatever else needs doing. After a lunch break, you may have additional tasks or get some free time to relax by the pool. You will have dinner as a group and free time but, just before everyone goes to bed, you will need to check on the big cats and make sure they are settled in for the night.

Internet icon Internet: Volunteers will receive a voucher for 50 MB of data for their personal phones. Additional WiFi is available for a small fee.

Laundry icon Laundry: All volunteers will receive one laundry load voucher. Additional laundry services are available for a small fee.

Accommodations icon Accommodations:

While volunteering: You will stay at the volunteer house, which is located on the property and has a fully furnished kitchen and shared bathroom with hot water and Western style toilets. The rooms are shared with up to 6 other volunteers. While on the

While on the tour: Participants will be placed in double “tents.” The rooms have brick and mortar back walls and canvas front and side panels. Participants can upgrade to twin, family or single rooms in a lodge, treehouse or 4-star lodge for additional fees. Every unit in the two lodges is thatched, air-conditioned and has en suite bathrooms and showers. Each room in the 4-star lodge has a private bathtub. Each bed has its own mosquito net. The Treehouse Lodge is secure and comfortable. These rooms are built in trees or have trees as supports. Some are built on stilts within the tree canopy. There are small pools at each of the upgraded accommodation options. *Please note that both standard and upgraded accommodation photos are displayed below.


Food icon Food: Three meals a day are provided. Breakfast will consist of cereals and fruit, sandwiches will be served for lunch and a hot meal with meat and vegetables will be served for dinner. While on the tour breakfasts, lunches and diners will be provided according to the detailed itinerary.


Please take note of this project’s minimum requirements:

  • Minimum age of 18
  • Basic level of English
  • Medium level of fitness
  • Flexibility and willingness to get hands dirty
  • Genuine desire to work with wildlife

There is so much to see and do in South Africa that it will be hard to narrow down your choices. You can travel the Kalahari Red Dune Route from the Northern Cape up to the borders of Namibia and Botswana to see a wealth of cultural and natural treasures. If you enjoy bustling cities, don’t miss out on a trip to Johannesburg and Cape Town, both of which offer plenty of attractions.

Please note that all excursions are at an additional cost.

Click to see additional volunteering projects in South Africa


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