Animal Rehabilitation Assistant

Projects Abroad
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Coordinator | Bethany
Coordinator | Bethany
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.


Help improve the lives of abused domestic animals or sea birds suffering from illness or injury at a local shelter or rehabilitation centre
Shadow full-time carers to gain experience and learn more about the animals
Take care of the animals by feeding, exercising, and helping rehabilitate the animals
Spend time with domestic animals to help build their confidence and trust
Seize the opportunity to explore a different culture, eat plenty of delicious traditional food, and experience local customs
Gain practical experience with animals and support staff at a shelter or help rehabilitate seabirds at a rescue centre This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 16+

Work with animals in South Africa and access loads of opportunities to help improve the lives of stray domestic animals or injured seabirds. Here are some of the tasks you will help with:

  • Shadow full-time carers to gain experience and learn more about the animals
  • Take care of the animals by feeding, exercising, and helping rehabilitate the animals
  • Spend time with domestic animals to help build their confidence and trust
  • Help rehabilitate injured or ill seabirds

Your work will focus on the following areas:

Shadow full-time carers

As an Animal Care volunteer at either of our placements,  you will initially spend a lot of time observing the full-time carers. This will help you gain first-hand experience of the way animal rescue centres work in South Africa.

Use this time to ask questions and learn more about the animals in the placement’s care. This will come in handy later on when you take care of animals on your own.

Take care of the animals

There will be ample opportunity to get involved with hands-on work like feeding, exercising, and rehabilitating the animals under your care. As with any volunteer placement, you get back what you put in. Showing initiative and a willingness to get involved will result in your experience being very rewarding.

Spend time with domestic animals

If you join our placement at the shelter, you will be working mostly with domestic animals. Many of them would have gone through a traumatic experience, such as abuse or abandonment. By playing and spending time with them, you can help prepare and socialise them for adoption.

Help rehabilitate injured or ill seabirds

If you have a special interest in conservation, you could opt to help rehabilitate African penguins and other seabirds. Here you will assist in preparing food, feeding the birds, cleaning out cages, and rehabilitating injured or oiled birds. As you work, you’ll get the opportunity to learn about the local ecosystem and work with some unique bird species.

Typical day

Your day will start with a healthy breakfast around your South African host family’s table. From here, you will head to the animal shelter or seabird sanctuary using public transport. Our staff will show you the way on your first day.

Your work day typically starts around 8am and finishes at around 5pm.

If you’re based at the animal shelter, much of your morning will be dedicated to feeding the animals their morning meal and checking that all is well with them. Once you’ve finished with that, you will be able to help out with other necessary tasks around the shelter. This might include cleaning kennels or doing administrative tasks the regular staff might not get around to.

If you’re working at the rehabilitation centre for seabirds, your morning will start with a similar routine of feeding and checking on the birds currently in your care. However, if there is an emergency, you might be roped in to help clean oiled birds, or stand by as vets work to heal an injury.

After a morning of hard work, you will get an hour and a half’s lunch break. If your host family lives close by, you can head home to eat and rest for a bit. Alternatively, you will be able to enjoy a packed lunch.

During the afternoons, you will typically spend some time with the animals. If you’re working at the shelter, this would include taking dogs for walks, playing with cats or doing some basic training. If you’re at the rehabilitation centre, this would typically mean checking on each of the recovering birds and updating the local staff about their wellbeing.

Evenings and weekends are your free time to explore. Make the most of your time in this magnificent country by going on weekend excursions with fellow volunteers. Also, enjoy plenty of meals with your local host family and spend time conversing with them. It’s the very best way to learn more about their life and culture.

Free-time activities

Known as the Rainbow Nation, South Africa has a diverse mix of cultures. Our projects are based in Cape Town, a region filled with an exciting variety of activities to do during your free time.

You can catch a wave at Muizenberg beach or just relax in a seaside restaurant. There’s plenty of local cuisine to try, including delicately spiced Cape Malay curries and the creamy milk tart dessert.

South Africa has a difficult past, which you can learn more about at the District 6 Museum and Robben Island.

For an awe-inspiring experience, you can spend the day getting lost in the towering silos that make up the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Arts Africa. Finally, no trip to Cape Town would be complete without a cable car ride up iconic Table Mountain.

We run many different projects in South Africa, so there’s sure to be other volunteers in the country with you. So if you want to travel with a group, you’re sure to find like-minded people who’ll join you on your adventures. 



In order to join the program you need to be at least 16 years old on the program start date.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 08:00 - 17:00

What's Included

Services by Projects Abroad
  • Accommodation

  • Food (three meals a day)

  • Airport pick-up and drop-off

  • Full induction and orientation by an experienced staff member on arrival

  • Transport to and from your work placement

  • In-country support and 24-hour back-up from our team of full-time local staff

  • Emergency assistance from our international emergency response team

  • Project equipment and materials, including access to our database with thousands of resources

  • A supervisor/mentor at your work placement

  • Training and workshops from our experienced local staff

  • Regular social events and community activities with other volunteers and interns

  • Access to our local office with internet connection

  • Certification of project completion

  • A cultural awareness course

  • Membership to our volunteer social media groups, to share information and to get in touch

Airport Pickup at Cape Town International Airport

Your arrival airport for our volunteer projects in South Africa will be Cape Town International Airport (CPT). One of our staff members will be waiting for you at the airport, clearly visible with a Projects Abroad sign. Being greeted by a friendly, smiling face is sure to put you at ease during your first moments in South Africa!

This staff member will then take you to your host family. You’ll get to meet the different family members and have some time to settle in and rest.

Depending on where you stay, the drive from the airport to your host family will be between 20 and 40 minutes. The airport is located about a 20-minute drive from our main offices in Cape Town. We’ll cover the cost of your trip to and from the airport, so you can enjoy a stress-free drive watching the sights race by the car window.


You'll stay with a host family in Cape Town. They will welcome you into their home, eager to share their customs and have you teach them about your own culture. We believe that this is the best way to immerse yourself in the culture of South Africa and have a truly unique experience.

We will always try to let you live alongside at least one other Projects Abroad volunteer or intern at the same host family. Your room will be modest, but comfortable, clean, and safe.

Guest Family
Food & Beverages
Your programme fee includes three meals a day.
Internet Access
Good access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town. We assist you to find cheap flights to South Africa.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for South Africa provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in South Africa you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for South Africa.

Dates & Fees


Details on arrival

This project runs year-round and you can join at any time. If you decide to work at the shelter for domestic animals, you are able to join for a minimum of two weeks. Should you opt to work at the seabird sanctuary, you will need a minimum of six weeks for the project.

This program is paused due to COVID-19

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2 - 50 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
2 weeks (min. stay)
3 weeks
4 weeks
5 weeks
9 weeks
17 weeks
50 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees
$851 /week

The organization charges its fees in GBP. The price table in USD is subject to currency fluctuation. Projects Abroad will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Projects Abroad during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

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Change your reservation at no extra costs
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We refund your fees if Projects Abroad cancels your trip
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All program fees are charged directly by Projects Abroad.

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Animal Rehabilitation Assistant

Gain practical experience with animals and support staff at a shelter or help rehabilitate seabirds at a rescue centre


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