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This dynamic project collaborates with a variety of sanctuaries in the Hartebeespoort area, while also contributing to a local community initiative. The foremost aims are to support high quality living conditions for the animals of the surrounding reserves and sanctuaries, while also providing emotional and developmental assistance to at-risk youth at the local safe house.

This project is perfect for a volunteer that is looking for a hands-on experience that will broaden their understanding about the diversity and complexity of African wildlife, while also providing an opportunity to not just give selflessly, but also learn from the young community members that have suffered violence and abuse.

Location of the Project:  Hartebeespoort, South Africa
Project length:  Min 2 weeks - Max 12 weeks (Minimum stay is technically 16 days - 2 day orientation + 2 weeks volunteering)
Arrival Airport:  Johannesburg International Airport
Volunteer Work:  Wildlife care, research, maintenance, and child and community outreach
Age:  18-80. Age Exceptions: this project accepts volunteers who are younger than 18 years old with a letter of consent from a parent or guardian.
Important Note:  Program Schedule: 2-day orientation is Fri-Sun; Volunteer work begins on Mon. Orientation: all necessary training and introductions provided upon arrival

What's Included

Accommodations:  Shared rooms in a volunteer house
Food:  Three meals a day
Airport Transfers:  Included on arrival and departure days
Insurance:  Comprehensive travel health insurance with volunteer abroad coverage
Orientation:  Two-day orientation in Johannesburg upon arrival that includes meet and greet for volunteers and a tour of the area.
Support:  Local in-country team and 24hr emergency support

What's not Included

Flights, personal expenses, visa (if required)

The town of Hartebeespoort is nestled between the infamous Hartebeespoort Dam and the Magaliesberg Mountains. This gorgeous mountainous landscape stretches from the northern province of Pretoria through to the south of Pilanesberg in the North West Province. Hartes, as it is often referred to, is conveniently just a few hours drive from the city of Johannesburg, the cultural and economic hub of South Africa. The area provides a rich selection of animal sanctuaries, reserves, and conservation initiatives; while visitors can also enjoy the Aerial Cableway that allows for a birds-eye perspective of the stunning landscape.

Volunteers will work in a variety of locations within a 25 km radius of the accommodation. The project is split into two main components: the first, focusing on increasing the welfare and quality of life for wildlife in the area, and the second, contributing to a community safe house that acts as a functional school for orphans and underprivelaged children.. 

Monkey Sanctuary:
Primates are under constant threat as they are hunted for their meat or are captured and illegally sold as pets. The sanctuary works to rescue and rehabilitate the monkeys, as well as increase the public's awareness of the cause. Volunteers will be involved in the daily care of the monkeys, focusing on their daily dietary requirements, behavioral observations, and general maintenance.

Cheetah and Wild Dog Breeding Center:
The mission of the center is to protect the continuous survival of our Cheetah population, as well as to stabilize the number of critically endangered African Wild Dogs. The center has won various local and internatioanl awards for their contribution to the preservation of these species. Possible daily tasks include preparing food, repairing fences, and removing alien vegetation. 

Vulture Project:
At this project, volunteers will learn about the many threats that vultures face, including poisoning, electrocution, and collisions with electrical structures. Volunteers will have the chance to observe how to capture, tag, and release wild vultures. Volunteers will assist the staff in day-to-day dietary management and maintenance, and will have the opportunity to handle vultures under staff supervision. 

Biosphere Project:
Our Biosphere Project brings volunteers to the mountains, which support an exceptional variety of wildlife and native flora. This lush region creates many opportunities for conservation activities. Volunteers have the chance to get involved with a UNESCO reserve where they can participate in hiking activities along sections of the stunning mountain side in search of illegal animal traps set up by poachers. Other possible tasks include food preparation, observation of animal behavior, seasonal animal counts, and occasional capture, transfer and release of animals and/or birds.
Community Project:
The main goal of the volunteer is to promote a healthy, loving, and educational environment for the children that enter the safe house. Daily tasks will include playing with the children, helping them with their homework, teaching them about personal hygiene and cleanliness, and organizing games and group activities. Volunteers will also help with painting, tending to the vegetable garden, and any other projects that could better the lives of the children. 

A typical day:  You'll begin your day early with breakfast, followed by your morning project, which could be assising at any of the wildlife or options. After lunch, you'll start your afternoon project, typically the Community Project. After dinner you'll have time to relax and hang out with the other volunteers. You'll have Saturday and Sunday off to spend as you wish. 

Internet:  WiFi is available for a small fee.
Laundry:  Laundry services are available for a small fee.
Accommodations:  Volunteers will live in a dormitory in Hartbeespoort with 2-7 volunteers per room. Rooms are single-gender unless volunteers request otherwise, subject to availability. The house includes air-conditioning, a kitchen, lounge, recreational area, 3 swimming pools, squash courts, tennis courts, and trails for walking or running.
Food:  Three meals a day are provided. Breakfast and lunch are self-serve and include cereals, fruit, yogurts, toast, spreads, breads, and deli meat. A hot meal is served every night and is often a traditional South African BBQ (braai), a stew, or a casserole, along with fresh vegetables and meat.

Please take note of the project's minimum requirements:

  • Minimum age 18
  • Good level of physical fitness
  • Flexible attitude
  • Basic English

Arrival and Orientation  (Included):
Prior to your volunteering, you'll participate in a two-day orientation in Johannesburg. This orientation is a time for volunteers to meet and get acquainted with each other and the project staff prior to going to their projects. You'll also be taken on a tour of the city that includes Nelson Mandela Bridge, Telkum Tower, Constitutional Hill and various other attractions. 

Please note that the tour is flexible and may change according to the group’s interests for the day. This is your personal tour of the city with our local guide and aims to show you the best sites and places for the day.

Note: The orientation is required and is not a part of the 2 weeks designated for volunteer work. Therefore, the minimum stay is 16 days for the 2 week option, 30 days for the 4 week option, 37 days for the 5 week option, and so on. All prices include orientation.

Travel Extras (Not Included):
For an additional fee, volunteers can take part in any of the following activities during their days off: 

  • Tandem paragliding
  • Quad biking and ziplining
  • Exploring the Maropeng and Sterkfontein Caves 
  • Spending a day at the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve
  • Touring Pilanesberg for a day
  • Venturing to Lesedi 
  • Visiting Sun City 

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