Join our rescue and release team at a growing wildlife sanctuary in South Africa as we care for unwanted illegal pets, injured animals, and lost wildlife. A growing human population in this area forces wild animals into conflict with local people, so many species find themselves in need of assistance. You will be helping to rehabilitate these animals, with the ultimate goal of releasing them back where they belong.
Combine this project with our African Big 5 Wildlife Conservation Project (just 1.5 hours away) for the ultimate South African wildlife experience.
AS A VOLUNTEER, YOU'LL GET TO:
- Gain valuable experience at an ethical wildlife sanctuary, learning about animal care and wildlife conservation
- Take a hands-on role with injured and baby animals (only when necessary)
- Rehabilitate animals, enabling them to be released successfully back into the wild
- Observe trained professionals and participate in the individual care and release plans for each animal
- Learn about the wildlife on your doorstep, including how to track them, their natural behavior, and their relevant conservation issues
- Support local farmers in their anti-poaching efforts by participating in regular snare sweeps, saving the lives of countless wild animals
- Take advantage of optional trips to the famous Kruger National Park and the breathtakingly beautiful Panorama Route
- Live and work with other wildlife fanatics from around the world
About the Destination
During your volunteer placement, you will be living in the famous Greater Kruger Region of South Africa. The diversity of this region is unmatched; savannahs, forests, tropical rainforests and waterfalls are all just a short drive away. Volunteers stay on location at the Wildlife Rescue and Release Center, a beautiful property that is surrounded by citrus farms. Aside from taking in the sights of the wildlife that visit this area, this property has awe-inspiring views of wide-open citrus fields, forests and beautiful ravines.
The volunteer housing – surrounded by trees and overlooking a gorgeous landscape – means you’ll get to experience the sheer beauty of this region every single day. Meals are served under a thatched roof overlooking the lush ravine, while the volunteer dorms are cosy and split by gender. The highlight, of course, is your very own volunteer jacuzzi just steps away from the volunteer house – the perfect place to relax and enjoy the African sunsets.
As you are located close to so many famous tourism hotspots in the region, your weekends can be filled with adventure. We’d suggest spending the weekend at Kruger National Park (one of the top safari destinations on the African continent), trying to spot the Big 5 in their natural habitat. After that, why not take a drive along the breath-taking Panorama Scenic Route with photographic opportunities at every turn, or have a relaxing South African Braai (BBQ) at the well-known Debengeni Waterfalls? We’ll help you with an itinerary once you’ve arrived!
Work & Impacts
Wildlife Rehabilitation and Care
As a wildlife sanctuary volunteer, you will be an integral part of the rehabilitation team; carrying out daily activities for the care of the animals at the center. This could include caring for bush babies, warthog, antelope, caracals, porcupines, or other wildlife in need. The activities will include preparing food, feeding the animals, cleaning enclosures, harvesting vegetation for the different species homed there, monitoring behavior, as well as other chores needed for the daily well-being of the residents.
There is a daily routine for the team, however, this is flexible and can change at the last minute depending on the cases we have coming in. For example, baby animals need to be bottle-fed every 2 hours. If it is deemed necessary in the early stages of care for the animals who come in as pets, volunteers may also participate in other hands-on care. When a release occurs, volunteers will participate and celebrate with us as we release these animals back into their natural habitat.
As you’ll be living in the middle of a wildlife habitat with zebras, impala and other naturally-roaming animals, volunteers have the opportunity to learn their role in the eco-system. This will include learning more about the behavior of these species, how to track them, as well as the conservation issues they are facing. The wildlife in the area are monitored from afar in order to collect data on their numbers and their health. If an animal is in danger due to bad health or lack of nutrition, the team work together to ensure that a solution is found.
Outreach and Community Support
Partnering with the community is essential for the work that we do. It is important that we have close, trusting relationships with our neighbors and assist them in dealing with issues around wildlife. In order to collect snares left behind by poachers, which are highly dangerous and will kill any wildlife that come in contact with them, volunteers will go on regular snare sweeps through properties in the area. For every snare our team picks up, several lives have been saved.
As a trusted center in the area, we are frequently called in to assist neighboring farmers with the catch and release of unwanted/lost wildlife on their farms. Volunteers will join the team in these outreach expeditions, releasing the wildlife into safer, more natural environments.
Fun & Travel
Go on Weekend Trips
Take a Trip to Town
A few times a week volunteers like to take a trip into Phalaborwa town and stock up on snacks and other essentials that you may need for the week. Once that’s done, you can enjoy some lunch at one of the restaurants, have a look through the shops, or sit at one of the many cafes to enjoy WiFi and a good cup of coffee.
To take full advantage of living in the middle of nature, it’s ok to just enjoy a relaxing evening at home. After all, you do have a jacuzzi! Alternatively, why not join the other volunteers around the campfire – a great opportunity to enjoy each other’s company and speak about the exciting events of the day. Sundays could be best spent enjoying a long walk in the forest, trying out your new wildlife-tracking skills! There are endless possibilities in your own backyard.
Dates & Rates
Our project fee includes:
- Accommodation throughout your entire stay, on-site at the wildlife center
- 3 delicious meals a day
- Airport pick-up and drop-off
- Experienced international and local staff members who live and work alongside you every day
- A full induction, orientation and training session to ensure you can contribute sustainably
- All necessary project equipment and resources you’ll need on the ground
Our project fee excludes:
- Flights to your chosen destination, but we can guide you on this
- Medical or travel insurance
- Visa-related costs
- Weekend trips or tours, or any other non-project activity
- Snacks, soft drinks, gifts or souvenirs
- WiFi – it’s pretty slow here anyway!
Why volunteer with African Impact?
We live and breathe all things Africa
A ndzi ringeta ku endla xiculu. Don’t worry, you’ll get it when you get here.
We are with you all the way
Wrapping ourselves around you like a giant fluffy blanket, our awesome staff on the ground will make sure you see, do and experience as much as possible.
We are about real, measurable change
Responsibility and sustainability is the aim of the game on our very own volunteer projects, having built and developed them hand-in-hand with local communities since 2004.
We are leading the way
With some of the most progressive policies, we are helping to push the boundaries of what the responsible volunteer travel industry can achieve.