Work with Endangered Species
Holding, caring for and living with African wildlife is beyond most people’s wildest dreams. Yet this is your opportunity to do just that! At this unique, incredible sanctuary, you will be surrounded by the most special of African animals and birds – and they all need your kindness and love. In fact, they’ll literally be eating out of your hands. Staying in the lodge nearby, you’ll be waking up to chorus of an African dawn, every morning, knowing that you are playing your part in essential conservation efforts. Withthe beach, the bush and other renowned South African tourist attractions only a few miles away, this volunteer experience is perfect combination of making a difference and living life.
Nurse young wildlife back to health (not all short stay volunteers will be able to do this)
Wake up to the sounds of Africa
Walk where zebra, giraffe, wildebeest and antelope roam free
Surf a world class wave or sun yourself on the pristine white beaches nearby
Help conserve Africa’s wildlife for future generations to enjoy
At a Glance
Project duration: Min 2 weeks - max 12 weeks
Arrival airport: Port Elizabeth (airport code PLZ) arrive by 4.15pm at the latest
Activities: Feeding and caring for resident birds and wildlife, maintaining/cleaning the enclosures, maintaining the reserve, monitoring game and game fence checks.
Working hours: Flexible - usually 5 days a week, 7.30am to 4 or 5 pm, all other time is free
Getting to the project: you’ll stay on site
Requirements: minimum age 16
Accommodation: Shared dormitory style room in wooden lodge at project (2-8 persons per room)
Food: All meals are included
Airport pickup: Included on arrival date - ask us for details if you're arriving early
For you to organise: Flights, insurance, visas, return airport transfer (at the end of the trip)
The sanctuary can’t run without the help of volunteers so your role is very important. There’s lots of animals living in a fairly large area so you’ll be helping to prepare food and feeding the animals and birds twice a day – they’re hungry little fellows! You won’t be able to stop yourself falling in love with them.
You get to spend hands on time with our resident Servals, play with the cheeky squirrel monkeys, feed the Wallabies, and make friends with our numerous friendly parrots. You’ll also help to feed the Cheetahs and maintain their enclosures.Our youngest cheetah Indie always enjoys a fuss through her fence while you’re walking past.
With new birds and animals coming in every day you’ll never know what you’ll get to meet.
Your help is also needed in cleaning out enclosures and aviaries, helping build new enclosures, checking for damage to game park fences so that nothing can get in or out!
You may even have a chance to be a surrogate parent to a young, orphaned animal - one of the most special experiences in the world.
You’ll find all the resources you need at the project, so there’s no need to bring anything specific with you. Just be prepared to get your hands dirty, work hard and have fun!
Day 1 (Monday) – hello and welcome!
Arrive into Port Elizabeth Airport (airport code PLZ) where you will be picked up and taken to the project where you’ll be staying for the duration of your trip. Please book your flight to arrive into Port Elizabeth before 4.15pm. If you aren’t able to arrange a flight to get there before 4.15pm, we recommend you fly in a day early. We can arrange an early airport pick-up for you including one night’s accommodation at an extra cost. Please call us for more information.
Day 2 (Tuesday) – induction and start work!
As there’s so much to see and learn you’ll start work today. You’ll get to know the sanctuary and your fellow volunteers, and be given your induction guide. Orientation will take you through what you can expect from your project, all about South Africa and dos and don’ts. It’s also a great opportunity to ask any burning questions you’ve got. Don’t worry – it can take a few days to settle in and learn all what’s going on – it’s normal.
Day 3 to 5 (Wednesday to Friday) –let’s get stuck in!
The centre has permanent staff who know everything that’s going on at the park. They’ll let you know where your help is needed but if no one tells you, please ask. There will be lots of different jobs to do, so chat to everyone, try a few different things and find out where your strengths lie and what you enjoy.
Day 6 - 7 (Saturday and Sunday) – it’s the weekend!
You will be working five days a week from 7.30am to between 4 and 5pm so the weekend won’t necessarily fall on a Saturday or Sunday. It’s up to you what days you work as long as you check it with the other team members. On your free days, you can relax and chill at the pool or escape to the beach and other great destinations. Learn to surf in Jeffrey’s Bay (30
minutes away) where the waves are world-class. You’ll also find everything else you need in Jeffrey’s Bay from banks and internet to shopping and tourist information. Visit the city of Port Elizabeth around 45 minutes away or travel a bit further to Addo Elephant Park or other private game reserves where you can see Africa’s Big Five in the wild.
Following weeks – keep it up!
You’ll learn more and more about the project and the wonderful animals and birds who live there. You’ll get to know your furry friends, and probably learn a lot about yourself. You’ll work hard, make friends who last a lifetime, and have a meaningful experience that very few people in the world will ever enjoy.
Last day – goodbye, we’ll miss you!
Having said goodbye and packed your bags, it’s off to the airport. You’ll take a shuttle bus or taxi to Port Elizabeth Airport - please budget around 450 South African Rand. Please book your flight home to depart from Port Elizabeth Airport (PLZ).
About the Project
This project is the result of one farmer’s absolute passion for animals and his desire to help conserve them. Over the course of a few years, he turned his cattle farm into a sanctuary where injured and orphaned animals and birds could find a safe home and be rehabilitated. With conservation at its heart, the project tries to return as much of the wildlife back to the wild as possible. But some will never survive in the wild due to their injuries so they become permanent guests of this happy (ever- growing) hotel. The sanctuary now houses over 250 species of birds, including unusual African birds and even an Australian emu! There are a number of animals including serval, caracal, meerkats, monkeys, giraffe, zebra, impala and crocodiles. It is also running an endangered animal breeding programme, successfully breeding rare Blue Duikers, the smallest of the buck species, South Africa’s national bird, the Blue Crane and Serval cats, as well as four breeding cheetahs – an animal which is dangerously near extinction.
The project's main source of income is through volunteers, entrance fees to the public and donations. They have a small permanent staff but rely on the help of willing volunteers to help look after the ever-growing population of hungry tenants. They work closely with the SA Department of Nature Conservation and veterinary surgeries in the area and the facilities are checked annually by the Department of Nature Conservation and the SPCA.
While you're here
You will be staying in a lodge right on the reserve grounds, the shortest, most pleasant commute in the world. You will be in a dormitory style accommodation with a maximum of eight people to a room. Although basic there is hot, running water, showers and modern toilets. Relax in the lounge, where there is also a kettle for a cup of tea or coffee and a fridge for snacks.
Three meals a day are included so you’ll enjoy the luxury of having your breakfast, lunch and dinner prepared for you. You can look forward to some authentic South African braais (BBQ) as well as traditional international favourites like pastas and roasts.
Facilities and the area
The sanctuary does have mosquitoes but no malaria, so a net is not a necessity. However, it is a good idea to bring one if you plan on travelling around South Africa as some places may not provide them.
Bring books, DVDs and music for entertainment in the evening
Bedding is provided but we recommend you bring a sleeping bag for cooler evenings and if you are going to travel to other destinations. Warm sleeping bags are essential in the winter months (May – September)
The area has a temperate climate but winter is still chilly so pack warm jumpers and even some cosy socks as SA doesn’t have central heating
Internet is not available on site so you’ll get the chance to check your email on your days off.
Local shops and post office are a five minute drive away.
The beaches of Jeffrey's Bay and the city of Port Elizabeth are 30 minutes to half an hour’s taxi ride away.
The sanctuary is situated on South Africa’s world renowned Garden Route so don’t miss touring to the beautiful coastal towns and tourist destinations on weekends or after the project.
Advice & Safety
Throughout your programmes you will have the support and guidance of the programme co-ordinator and team. You will be provided with competent assistance and help with any questions or advice you may need during your stay and someone will always be available in case of emergency.
What you get
We're always available to offer support and guidance before, during and after your trip.
Thorough project briefing materials
Once you’ve booked you'll receive a full pack of all the information you need for the project. It contains general information about volunteering, your specific project and South Africa as well as advice on safety, visas and inoculations.
Don’t worry about arriving in a new country on your own. We’ll be there to welcome you and take you to your accommodation.
Soon after you arrive you’ll attend a thorough orientation with our team. It covers everything you need to know about your next few days, dos and don’ts and your safety. You can ask any questions and find out more about the fun stuff to do around Cape Town and South Africa.
Accommodation and meals
Accommodation is included with all projects and meals are included with some. We only use locally-owned and operated accommodation so that part of your placement fee is filtering back into the local economy. Most projects offer homestay, guesthouse or shared volunteer houses as standard accommodation, but some offer the chance to upgrade to a more comfortable living standard.
24/7 emergency support
We’re always on hand in case of an emergency.
After you've booked
- You will receive a welcome email confirming your booking
- You’ll receive a full project pack with all the info you need
- You’ll be asked for any extra info if we need it – such as doctor’s notes for medical conditions, or maybe a CV on some projects
- You’ll need to pay if you haven’t paid already (at least 90 days before travelling)
Then the fun starts!
Next you should:
- Book your flights
- Arrange suitable travel insurance
- Get a visa for your trip if it's needed
- Visit a nurse or travel clinic for advice on inoculations and malaria prevention
- Start packing and come and join us!
*Remember to keep our contact details in a safe place in your hand luggage in case you need to contact us during your travels.
About South Africa
South Africans are patriotic and passionate about their country. And it’s not despite the country’s famously troubled history – it’s because of it! The people of this democratic country are so proud of how far they have come from the dark days of Apartheid and it makes us grateful for the diversity of cultures and languages that make up our amazing rainbow nation.
South Africa is a country of diversity in so many ways. It’s not a big country but travelling across the length and breadth of it, you’ll encounter an incredible range of climates and landscapes. There’s beautiful Cape Town, with its Mediterranean feel, pristine white beaches, sparkling oceans and magnificent Table Mountain providing the craggy backdrop for every setting. Travel east along the Garden Route with its picture-postcard coastal villages and you’ll eventually reach Durban and surrounds, a tropical area where the sun shines almost every day, the sea is warm and the surfing is fantastic! Then there’s the rugged Drakensberg mountain range, a place of rich Zulu heritage, spectacular views and jagged sweeps of peaks. Further north you’ll hit South Africa’s famous ‘veld’ or bush where you’ll find Africa’s big five and many thousands of other species of animals, hiding out in landscapes that are lit at sunset by the most vivid orange, pinks and purples.
There are so many things to see and do here that you’ll need years. But if your time is limited, here’s our top five must-dos:
You can’t come to Africa and not experience the amazing animals, the wild and beautiful African bush and the chorus of an African dawn. Kruger National Park is the most popular choice but there are a host of other parks in the northern parts of South Africa and the Free State as well as KwaZulu-Natal, offering a range of options from the most luxurious accommodation with chefs at your service to DIY game viewing and camping.
Adventure is the name of the game in this crazy country and if it’s outdoors and adrenalin-inducing, you’ll find it here. From the highest bungee jump and highest commercial abseiling in the world to shark cage diving, downhill mountain biking, trail running, walking safaris, big wave surfing and multi-day hiking, there’s something for ever thrill seeker.
South Africa has thousands of miles of glorious coastline, with Blue Flag beaches and hidden gems dotted along its length. There’s beaches for the glamorous, where you can go to see and be seen, beaches perfect for families, beaches for walking, beaches for swimming and beaches for watersports. There’s probably beaches which have never been trodden by a tourist before. Go on, we dare you to find it!
Nightlife, restaurants and entertainment
No holiday would be complete without a few good nights out and South Africa knows how to entertain. With so many cultures making up our population, there’s loads of delicious food on offer full of every fresh ingredient you could think of. There are pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes to suit every taste. South Africa is famous for its wonderful wines and there’s a craft beer revolution happening right here. Pack your dancing shoes!
A taste of township and culture
South Africa has a rich, tumultuous history dotted with dismal lows and incredible highs – and full of astounding stories from amazing people. It’s what makes South Africa the colourful place it is. Museums of every shape and size document the various aspects of our human and natural history, arts and culture – you’ll find them all over the country. Or why not take a township tour and experience the true heart of South African culture? If you’re visiting Cape Town, come to Kommetjie and visit Masiphumelele with the Township Sisters, our special Volunteer and Explore partners, and help support the sustainable development of this vibrant township.