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Spend a fantastic week working hands-on with abused, abandoned and orphaned animals - a time you will never, ever forget! You can do this placement either before starting your main project or afterwards. While you're in the region, you might also want to do other additional activities, like surfing or paragliding, or go on our new 1-Week Culture Tour in St. Lucia.

During your week at this Rehabilitation Center in KwaZulu-Natal, you'll work with over 400 different animals and birds, and lots of monkeys! Much of your work usually involves hands-on caring and nursing of injured or baby animals, for example bottle-feeding them or cleaning wounds. You'll mother it and care for it until it is recovered or old enough. Then you'll teach it to survive on its own so that it can be released back into the wild! An infinitely satisfying and very, very worthwhile project!!

The best cage is an empty cage!

Price: $536 for Travellers Volunteers, $1,065 for Non Travellers Volunteers
1 Week, as an 'optional add on' concurrent with another Travellers project
What's included:
Food and Accommodation and transfer to the project from the Airport.
What's not included:
Transfer to KwaZulu-Natal from elsewhere in the country, but we will arrange your transfer for you.
This Add-On would suit:
Anyone, because no qualifications are required. If you don't want to work with animals, there is plenty of maintenance, DIY or handyman work you can help with.

This Wildlife Rehabilitation Center is glorious. The grounds are beautiful and tranquil and the location is superb. It's also a wildlife hospital that cares for injured and orphaned wild animals and birds, and is the only center of its kind in the Province.
Any wild animal, (not domestic or agricultural), that has been injured, rescued or abandoned, is admitted free of charge. Almost 90% of animals admitted to the Center, have sustained injuries due to human negligence.

It takes time and dedication to rehabilitate these animals and to prepare them to be re-introduced in their natural environment. Animals that come into the center are cared for and helped to recover. During this recovery time they are given a lot of hands-on attention, but once they are better, time has to be spent dehumanising them so that they can be successfully reintroduced into their natural environment and fend for themselves. The Center also has a public education program that serves to spread awareness of these animals' plight.

Your responsibilities can include feeding and caring for the animals, assisting nurses in the clinic, grounds work, cage enrichment and assisting in the construction and improvement of enclosures to raise the quality of the daily lives of the animals. You may also go out on rescues and releases and you'll monitor the released animals to ensure that they cope with their first week back in the bush.


  • An exciting, never-to-be-forgotten adventure into Africa and the many diverse cultures in South Africa

  • The enormous satisfaction of helping abused, orphaned or threatened animals and knowing that you made a difference to them.

  • New skills, more confidence, a greater understanding of a different culture, invaluable personal and professional development.

  • An entry on your CV or résumé that will put you head and shoulders above most others in the job market

  • And best of all ... an unforgettable experience!

This is a superb project. Here your work with the animals has the direct result of improving their quality of life, of "rescuing" them from death or a life of misery. You'll assist in preparing food and feeding, assisting the clinic staff with injuries and generally looking after the many species in the Center, as well as assisting with the maintenance and improvement of the grounds and enclosures.

There are times of the year when your work could be hands-on and other times when you may not get hands-on contact with the animals. Working with the different types of animals varies throughout the year ... as with any Sanctuary and Rehabilitation Center, no-one can predict when or if certain types of animals have been rescued and are in their care.

There are approximately 300 - 400 animals under the Center's care at any given time, all of which are wildlife indigenous to KwaZulu Natal (called KZN for short). Animals range from birds and mammals to raptors and reptiles, and many many monkeys. They also have a very busy Educational Program, so if education 'is your thing', you will be able to assist with school tours and edutainment events at the education center.

Whenever possible, animals who can survive in their natural habitat are released. This is a particularly satisfying time! See photos and write-ups of a recent vervet monkey release, a mongoose release and a pelican release - events enjoyed by everyone at the Center!

LATEST ANIMAL CHATTER:  "With the help of our volunteers, we have just released a troop of Vervet monkeys that need monitoring for the next 3 months on a game reserve. It was a very satisfying experience to see them run free. We have a bush pig that is roaming in the surrounding forest and we are trying to trap it. Once it is caught, which will be in the middle of the night probably, it will immediately need to be taken to a release site. Click here to see the photo gallery

We've had our first baby monkey and a baby new-born springbok recently (so cute!) and we also have some of the most interesting birds at the moment, including a spotted eagle owl, lots of baby hadeda’s, a baby spoonbill and lots of smaller funny babies birds like a hoepoe."

Baby Animal Season
From around September to March every year the center experiences a large influx of baby animals.  These range from mongoose, antelope like little duikers, to newly hatched birds.  Some years, there seem to be a larger number of baby monkeys and other animals than others.  You may or may not therefore be at the center during a baby boom year.

The babies need to be fed frequently and, as with a human baby, all feeds are essential to ensure that these “children” are safe and don’t go hungry.

There may be times when we have more volunteers than babies, and in such situations please abide by the decision of your supervisor at the center as to who gets to "mother" the baby, or whether one baby can have two volunteer "mothers". If you are not chosen to mother a baby, please accept it gracefully. In situations like this where we work with orphaned animals, we have to deal with the demand nature throws at us, which neither Travellers nor the center can control.  What we can say is that you will have some hands-on care of wild animals that need to be rehabilitated, and your efforts will be of direct benefit to the animals.

We have 2 types of accommodation

We have a fully furnished volunteer house that accommodates up to 10 volunteers at a time. There are four bedrooms and two bathrooms. Volunteers share rooms. The house is within the security of the sanctuary and surrounded by an electric fence.

For couples or groups of volunteers who would like some extra privacy, we have a log cabin situated next to the main volunteer house, nestled under huge indigenous thorn and fig trees. It comfortable sleeps 4 volunteers in two bedrooms and has a veranda, small kitchenette and sitting room. Ablutions consist of a shower, toilet and hand basin. Meals will still be cooked with the rest of the volunteers in the main house. Allocation to this accommodation will be made at the discretion of the Project.

Sufficient food is purchased for the house on a weekly basis to provide 3 meals per day. Volunteers advise Mabel, the volunteer coordinator, of any special requirements i.e. vegetarian, and these are met within reason. Volunteers cook their own meals out of the food provided. In addition to the stove in the house, there is also a braai (barbeque) area to cook outdoor meals.

A safe is available at the main office should you wish to lock away your passport, money or any valuables. Mobile phones do operate with full reception on-site and it is recommended that you bring one with you.

This placement is definitely for nature loving enthusiasts who are willing to work hard and aren’t afraid of getting their hands dirty, but the rewards are well worth it:

  • You'll get a wonderful and varied experience with many different species of animals.
  • You'll get to experience the headiness of looking after animals that are totally helpless and reliant on you take care of them.
  • You'll leave feeling very proud of yourself for having contributed to the quality of life and well-being of previously abused and battered animals.
  • You'll learn much more than you can imagine, particularly about the importance of conserving wildlife, and hopefully you'll help to raise awareness by talking to friends and colleagues on your return home.
  • This project will be an excellent entry on your CV, demonstrating your initiative, adaptability, your unique working experience and your concern for nature.

The Rehabilitation Center itself is a lovely and a very safe environment. This is truly a wonderful project that is both rewarding and unforgettable. To give you a feel of the fulfilment that you can get from the project, here's an excerpt from Mabel, our Volunteer Liaison at the Project, from her report about what the volunteers have been doing recently:

"Everyone is sad to see Helen leave. She really did an outstanding job here and was loved by all. Olivia went with Dr Fitchat to set up the cage for the monkey release on the 7th January at Pakamisa Private Game farm. She work very hard in the sun all day and never once complained about the heat. Early on Monday morning all the clinic staff, assisted by the volunteers, caught and packed the monkeys to be transported to Pongola. It was very wet but all the volunteers did what they could to help make this go fast.

Rebecca went with Estie and Medi to Pongola to release the monkeys. They stayed on the farm for 2 nights and the monkeys were released on the Wednesday morning very early. Olivia and Rebecca had a wonderful time seeing the monkeys run for freedom. When they returned, they couldn't stop talking about what they had seen and how happy they were to see the little ones free and not in a cage.

We had a mother monkey with a baby come in that was bitten by dogs. Baby was fine but mother had some very bad head and arm injuries. Rachel and Bethan took it on themselves to make sure the baby got fed and was not too stressed because the mother was not well at all. The girls really did a good job with the baby. Mother and baby are doing well now and we hope that we could put them back with the troop soon.

The girls are looking after the baby buck everyday and do all the bottle feeds. Rachel and Miranda are going with me today to take a young Blesbuck to a bigger facility. Rachel, Beth and Miranda went on a tour to Sani Pass in Lesotho. They said it was the best day ever. They had a lot of fun and enjoyed all the stuff they did. They're also going on a 2-day safari to Hluhluwe Game Reserve on Saturday and Sunday. Other than that, the volunteers are kept busy and they enjoy every day.
Mabel "

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New born baby springbok - During a recent game capture effort a mother gave birth and left her baby behind. It came to us with the umbilical cord still attached.

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Wildlife Safaris & Adventure Tour Combos
4-Day Surf Safari and Wildlife Adventure
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1-Week Wildlife Rehabilitation

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Photo Galleries
Knysna Diary
Wildlife Rehabilitation Diary
Wildlife Expedition News!

A Kitten with Mabel the Monkey

Baby Spoonbill

 Snag Bainsfield Genet

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