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Help to care for, rehabilitate and release injured and abandoned Vervet Monkeys back into the wild to live a free and natural life. This is a wonderful project that encompasses all aspects of Vervet Monkey Rehabilitation and Conservation ... not to be missed! 

You'll work with a Non-Profit Organisation that specialises in the care, rehabilitation & return to the wild of Vervet Monkeys that have been injured, orphaned or displaced, usually as a result of actions on the part of people.

The Orphaned baby peak season (October-March) is approaching and volunteers are very much needed to assist with the additional hands-on work that is required at this time.
If you want to help in conservation, but you're unsure what to do ... PLEASE choose this project :-)

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Start Dates This Project runs from beginning of August through to end of March every year. You  can choose your start and finish dates during this period.
Duration From 1 week to 24 weeks or longer, subject to visa requirements
Requirements No qualifications needed, just a big heart and a love of animals and their conservation. Minimum age 17.
Price Full Price List
What's included Arranging your program,
Full pre-departure support and assistance,
Payment Protection insurance

Airport Transfer from Durban Airport to Ballito Bay on arrival
Two nights' accommodation in Ballito Bay (one on arrival and one at the end of your placement)
Transfer from Vryheid to the project and back again

Airport transfer from Ballito Bay back to Durban Airport at the completion of your placement

Local in-country team support and backup
24-hr emergency support.

Certificate of Completion
What's not included Flights, travel insurance, cost of visa, Greyhound bus return from Ballito to Vryheid and back again (approximately $70)
Who can do this Project? This project is open to all nationalities and all ages over 17.
Suitable for gap years or those taking a year out, grown-up gappers, career breakers, anyone interested in conservation and caring for animals and working with wildlife overseas. Good if you want to learn about rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife and doing
primate and monkey voluntary work, projects abroad or study abroad.
Also available as a summer placement in South Africa or a short break activity.


  • 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 Rehabilitation project is run by a non-profit organisation to take in rescued Vervet Monkeys from all around the country. The work they do is genuinely to help the monkeys, so there is little hands-on work because it's important that the monkeys aren't human-habituated. Too much human/monkey interaction would significantly reduce the possibility of releasing them back into the wild - which is the Center's primary aim.

The Vervets are kept safely in enclosures until they are ready to be released into the wild, far from human habitation. This usually takes about two to three years but, depending on the amount of human contact the monkeys have had, the de-humanising could perhaps take a little longer. During this time the monkeys are gradually weaned from close human contact and the troops are built up to ensure that they form a coherent relationship. Vervets are very social animals and cannot be released individually.

The releases start to take place from September (which is Spring in South Africa) and continue through the summer months. After they have been released, the Vervets need supplementary feeds for two to three weeks until they learn to completely fend for themselves. They are also monitored for two to three months after their release.


As these Vervets are being prepared for “the outside world” and by necessity have to be kept in cages until they have been cared for, rehabilitated and prepared for release, the contribution you can make to improving their daily pre-release lives is enormous. The range of work is quite diverse and varied, and wide-ranging, including:

  • Feeding the Monkeys: This includes not only feeding, but also food preparation. You'll spend an hour or two chopping fruit and vegetables to feed to the Vervets in the outdoor enclosures.

  • Growing the food to feed the Monkeys: Bruce and Sandi, who run the Center, buy the fruit that the monkeys need, but the gardens grow a constant supply of vegetables which need to be looked after. If you have green fingers, they will come in handy (but not to worry if you don’t, the monkeys won’t notice!) You can help to sow seeds when necessary, keep the veggies well watered and harvest them when they are ready to be eaten ... and you'll then have the undying devotion of the Vervets, who are always hungry!

  • Enclosure Enrichment: Some of the most satisfying work you can do will be to provide some enclosure enrichment and mental stimulation. This is an essential part of keeping the Vervet Monkeys happy and occupied. You can use your creativity to provide useful “toys” and games for them and offer them a different element to the usual daily routine. The monkeys take great interest and delight in new areas to explore and will really enjoy your contributions to this facet of their enforced enclosure until they can be released. (We provide our volunteers with an in-house guide to suggestions for enclosure enrichment and you may be able to use or adapt some of the suggestions for Vervet Monkeys.)

  • Data Collection: Records of all the monkeys and the releases have to be kept, so if paper-work or collating data is your forte, your assistance will be hugely appreciated in that department.

  • The Center's Facebook and Social Networks: Bruce tries his level best to update the Center’s Facebook page on a daily basis, but he doesn't always get the time. You can use your computer skills to keep the Facebook page fresh and interesting as well as helping with the web site.

  • Monkey Releases - freedom at last! The older Vervet Monkeys start to be released from September through to the early summer and you would be required to assist with these releases. You may stay on the release site for a few weeks to monitor the integration to normal Vervet monkey life and to ensure a successful rehabilitation and release.

  • Post-Release Feeding is necessary whilst the Vervets get used to their new “home” and learn where the natural food sources are, and you'll help by taking food to the feeding stations if you are on site. The Vervets usually need to be given food for about 2 or 3 weeks after their release.

  • Post-release Monitoring: The newly released troop must also be monitored to check for any injuries or members that have been excluded from the troop. Monkeys who are in such situations could possibly have a slim chance of survival due to their injury or isolation. In extreme cases, re-capture may be necessary in the best interest of the individual concerned. Each release poses its own set of circumstances and you'll have a very important role to play in the monitoring.

Your work schedule may vary. The number of Vervets on site or being released would affect the volume of work you would be doing.

The description given is of a typical day. This is purely an example – you may sometimes need to start work earlier than 7.00. The animals don’t keep to the same timetable as us humans.



07:00 Wake up, wash and get ready
07:30 Breakfast
08:00 Start work
12:00 Lunch
12:30 Back to work
16:00 Finish work
16:30 Shower, relax
18:30 Dinner
19:00 Relax , watch DVD’s, read, contemplate the meaning of life

Hours of duty and Work Schedule
The average working hours are from 08h00 until 16h00, inclusive of tea and lunch breaks.

The Rewards
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 Vervet Monkeys.

  • 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!

Baby Monkeys – Special needs
During the summer months when monkeys give birth, many newborn baby monkeys are either abandoned or taken away from their mothers by ignorant humans who would like them as pets.  When people realize they don't have the skills to care for these animals, they abandon them.  These baby monkeys require 24 hour care, regular feeding and cleaning,





For the duration of your stay you will live in the house with Bruce and Sandi. There are two bedrooms and one “room in the roof” for volunteers . You will share a bathroom with other volunteers and the rest of the house is communal. For the hot African summer months they have a swimming pool right next to the house which you can cool off in at any time.

There is no landline on the property, but all cell phone networks are picked up without any problems. It is, however, recommended that you get your cell phone unblocked for South Africa to be able to use local sim cards - these are available at most stores.

There is wireless internet which can be used for a small fee.

On your days off you can either get a lift into town or simply spend the day relaxing next to the pool with a good book whilst you top up your sun tan.

Please note that there are two wonderful, friendly dogs on site that everyone loves! They are a part of the family, and allowed inside the house. If you have a problem with dogs, this may not be the best project for you to choose.

You'll join Sandi and Bruce at meal times and you can let them know if you have any particular food preferences or allergies, e.g. if you are a vegetarian or vegan. You will be provided with three basic meals per day. You'll be asked to prepare one main meal per week for everyone in the house.

Meals are provided, but not 'extras' like biscuits, sweets, soda pop or alcohol, any specialty food or drinks. You can purchase extras while on trips to town and there is fridge- and cupboard space for personal food items. The evening meal is the main meal of the day and you'll prepare your own breakfast and lunch from the provisions provided.

Got any questions? Please email us: info@travelersworldwide.org

"I feel thankful for such a wonderful opportunity to help those that can't currently help themselves! ... An experience I will never forget, I can see why people get attached to the babies & want them as pets, but after seeing 5 pre-released monkeys in the wild, all females pregnant, it proves how worthwhile this cause is."
Megg Evans

Once you have applied for a placement, we'll contact you and send you our Welcome Pack. You'll also receive Log-on details and password for our Volunteer Extranet where you'll have access to all the documentation and information which we've put together to facilitate preparations for your adventure! Your Project Co-ordinator for your country will liaise with you throughout the arrangements process, as well as while you're on your placement and on your return home.

The documents you'll have access to also include a Country Factfile, Safety Guide and any manuals that may assist you on your particular program (e.g. Teaching Guide, Sports Manuals, Enrichment Suggestions for Animal Care, etc.). We do all we can to make your stay one that you'll never forget. This is a truly awesome, elegant and beautiful country.

As with all our destinations, the culture and heritage is different to what you're used to ... which, although one of the most exciting aspects of travelling, should be borne in mind.    Self-reliance and independence are highly appreciated in all our destinations and will help you to make the most of this wonderful opportunity!    

On Arrival, your Introduction to the Country: When you arrive you will be met and taken you to your accommodation, which is on the project site. Here you'll be introduced to everyone and settled in.

During your first few days you'll be given an induction so that you can learn about the country and its culture, as well as other useful information, like how to use the transport system, banks, safety issues, tipping, and lots more.

You will have weekends free and this will also allow some time for travelling and sight seeing.



Feedback on Wildlife Conservation on Game Reserves in South Africa with Travellers Worldwide

Photo Galleries
Knysna Diary
Wildlife Rehabilitation Diary
Wildlife Expedition News!


While on your placements, you can also book some Optional Add-Ons to do before or after your Placement at the Rehabilitation Center, to make the most of your Travel Experience. The most popular choices are the safari trips from Cape Town and many volunteers use these as their means of travel to arrive at their project in Knysna..

Wildlife Safaris & Adventure Tour Combos
4-Day Surf Safari and Wildlife Adventure
1-Day Adventure Activities in Cape Town
1-Week Wildlife Rehabilitation

1-Week Whales Sharks Dolphins
Cage Dive with Sharks

This project can also be combined with any of our other projects in South Africa, or you could even do a second project in a different region of the country, thus doubling your adventure and enjoyment!

Cage diving with sharks in Cape Town
Cage diving with sharks in Cape Town


The best advice you'll get from us is to try to see some of the country while you're in South Africa. It's big (huge!) and each different region is exciting and very, very beautiful.

Cape Town is probably the most beautiful city in the world (I can say that, I grew up there :-) 

KwaZulu-Natal comes a very close second, albeit very different.

Knysna is where South Africans go on vacation, which gives you some idea of how lovely the region is.

KwaZulu Natal is renowned for its Game Reserves and traditional Zulu Culture
: The attractions in KwaZulu Natal (KZN) range from vibrant cities to the gorgeous Land of a Thousand Hills, from tranquil beaches to outstanding Game Parks and Nature Reserves.

These are just some of the sites you shouldn't miss:

  • Big Five Game Reserves (elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino - and lots more, of course) and Travellers volunteers are able to work in many of them, including Tembe and Mkhuze.
  • Beautiful St Lucia Wetlands with its Crocodile Center and Wetlands
  • Numerous nature parks,
  • Fantastic beaches for swimming and diving. The beaches are truly golden.
  • Lively Durban where South Africans go to have fun,
  • The San Art Park for a collection of astounding rock paintings,
  • ... And much, much more!

Durban (Tekweni in Zulu) is the ancestral home of the Nguni people. Africa's bewitching seaside playground in the sun with radiant golden sands and lush sub-tropical greenery.

The city has balmy weather all year round, making it a perfect vacation paradise. Durban International Airport is only a 10 minute drive from the City.

Sophisticated and cosmopolitan, Durban Metro after dark buzzes with elegant lounges, funky taverns and cozy inns, distinctive local theatre and live music, and trendy clubs, pubs and discos. This is nightlife in a modern, authentic African metropolis!

Read more about KwaZulu-Natal and its attractions

To read about Travel arrangements and what happens when you arrive in your new country, please click here.

Support & Backup: To read about the excellent Support & Backup we provide before you leave and during your program, please click here.

Hippos in the river at sunset in South Africa
Hippos caught in the sunset in the river



The best cage is an empty cage! You'll work with over 400 different animals and birds, and lots of monkeys! This excellent project is based in a beautiful Rehabilitation Center in KwaZulu-Natal. Much of your work on this project usually involves hands-on caring and nursing of injured or baby animals, for example bottle-feeding them or cleaning wounds.

This project is a very caring sanctuary set in a small private game reserve in the Eastern Cape. It is a very popular and worthwhile placement where your work and help is desperately needed. You'll assist in hand-rearing, feeding and generally looking after many different animal species, including about 150 different species of birds, most of which you won't have seen before.