Volunteering in South Africa – A Truly Unique Experience

Posted by: Francesca

I had an absolutely amazing time at the Monkey and Wildlife Rehabilitation project in South Africa. The three weeks I spent there were life-changing for me. I was able to meet incredible volunteers from all over the world and was able to care for different monkey species.

I learned about the basic care and rehabilitation of Vervet monkeys, Chacma baboons, and Samango monkeys. I monitored, fed, and cared for orphaned monkeys, learned about conservation techniques, and had an active introduction to wildlife conservation in South Africa. In addition, I contributed to maintaining the center so that it could provide the best rehabilitation for the domesticated and orphaned monkeys. Despite the different backgrounds and cultures of the volunteers, we were all able to work together effectively. By the end of my time, I felt like we had become one big family.

The staff at the center is outstanding. Not only do they work exceptionally hard to provide the best care for the animals, but they also make sure that the needs of the volunteers are met. Through activities such as family meals and weekly “braais,” all of the volunteers at the center get to know one another.The volunteers are divided into different groups that all work together on various chores. Some of the chores include cleaning out the enclosures, feeding and monitoring the monkeys, harvesting branches and grass, and preparing the food for the animals.

One of my favorite aspects of my project was “baby day.” On this day, one particular group was in charge of taking care of the baby monkeys. We did things such as feed them milk bottles, spend time in their enclosures, take the baboons to the river and prepare night boxes. “Baby time” allowed me to develop a connection with the youngest monkeys, which was a really unique opportunity for me.

Whether it was a monkey sitting on my head, or falling asleep in my lap, I will always cherish the special memories that I have of my time at Monkey and Wildlife Rehabilitation project. I really had the time of my life!