from 900€

Excellent 4.8rating (63)

Animal Sanctuary Helper

2 - 12 weeks  ·  Age 16 - 50+

rating  Excellent 4.8  · 
  Verified by Volunteer World
  Excellent response rate

Complete your reservation as soon as possible. This project fills up quickly and is already booked on certain dates.


  • Join us in providing essential daily care to a diverse range of exotic and indigenous birds and animals at the sanctuary. Hike the wildlife reserve with giraffe and antelope in your spare time.
  • Gain invaluable knowledge from expert animal managers in ethical animal care, ensuring the well-being and stimulation of the animals under their care
  • Contribute to the treatment, rehabilitation, and potential release of wildlife rescued from challenging situations by the public. The adjoining nature reserve is the perfect place to release wildlife.
  • Embark on a unique volunteer holiday experience where your love for animals meets adventure, making a positive impact on their lives and being hands-on helping.
  • Explore the wonders of South Africa during your free time, from visiting Big 5 wildlife reserves, surf lessons on the golden beaches, beach horse rides, quad biking, bungee jumping and so much more

Especially suitable

Age 16+

About the program

Help out at an animal and bird sanctuary giving hands-on assistance with a variety of exotic and indigenous animals that are in captivity and non-releasable

What you can expect

As the sanctuary is very large, there is always a very wide variety of areas that you could be involved in. All volunteers are expected to help together as a team and the duties are very rewarding with a lot of time to spend special moments with the animals too. Volunteers team up ...

About the program

What you can expect

As the sanctuary is very large, there is always a very wide variety of areas that you could be involved in. All volunteers are expected to help together as a team and the duties are very rewarding with a lot of time to spend special moments with the animals too. Volunteers team up in groups to accomplish the daily feeding routes. You will work 5 days on with 2 days off which allows you time to explore the beautiful beaches of nearby Jeffreys Bay, South Africa’s surfing capital, wildlife reserves and the many other activities in the area or hike the adjoining nature reserve to bird watch or do some wildlife viewing of the giraffe, zebra and other antelopes that roam freely.

The Sanctuary

Currently there are roughly 250 different species of birds of which there are hundreds including Ostrich, Emu, Hawks, Owls, Pygmy Falcons, Blue and Crowned Cranes, Flamingos, Macaws, African Greys, Cockatoos, Amazons plus lots of other exotic parrots and garden birds!

The various species between the sanctuary and adjoining nature reserve there are Servals, Caracal, Ground squirrels, Marmosets, Tenrecs, Grysbok, Blue and Common Duiker, Bushbuck, Kudus, Springbok, Goats, Rabbits, Tortoises, Giraffe, Zebra, Blesbok, Impala, Nyala, Suni, Waterbuck, Wallabies and a variety of reptiles including Tortoises, Bearded Dragons, Snakes and  Crocodile.  Please take note the Giraffe, Zebra  and larger Antelope are free roaming on the nature reserve. As the Giraffe recently had a baby, they are being very protective and are deep in the bush.

Morning feeds start early at 07:00 and the day normally ends at 16:00 with lots of little breaks in-between. Volunteers take turns with "seed duty" on a weekly basis which is until 17:30. 

Your duties may include:

  • Food preparation- you will receive instruction on how to do this and what each animals diet is and how much to give them
  • Feeding routines through designated areas around the sanctuary
  • Checking the fences of the nature reserve
  • Cleaning, tidying and repairing animal enclosures
  • Building new enclosures and expanding existing enclosures
  • Assist with the rehabilitation and release of rescued wildlife
  • Animal enrichments
  • Removing alien and invasive vegetation
  • Data collection on the nature reserve
  • Guiding tourists around the sanctuary and helping with tours
  • Cutting firebreaks- this has helped save the sanctuary during wildfires in the past
  • Assisting with general duties in the restaurant
  • Unloading deliveries
  • Administration work and any other general maintenance or project

Typical day

6am: grab a quick coffee or tea at the restaurant before heading to the food preparation room. Or catch a few minutes extra sleep if you prefer a bit longer of a lie in. If volunteer numbers are low and depending on the season, then an earlier or later start will take place to complete all the ...

Typical day

6am: grab a quick coffee or tea at the restaurant before heading to the food preparation room. Or catch a few minutes extra sleep if you prefer a bit longer of a lie in. If volunteer numbers are low and depending on the season, then an earlier or later start will take place to complete all the feeding routes in time.

6.30am: make your way to the food preparation room where  volunteers group up and are given various feeding routines for the animal enclosures around the sanctuary to make sure the animals and birds get their necessary daily dietary needs

9am: a quick break for breakfast at the restaurant helps you refuel for the day ahead

9.30am to 12pm: various duties are then taken part in around the sanctuary which can be anything from cutting firebreaks, checking and cleaning animal enclosures, maintaining the wildlife reserve fence, removing alien vegetation or food preparation for the afternoon's feeding routine for a few examples

12.30pm: time to break for lunch and take a quick break from the South African sun at the restaurant 

2pm: the feeding routines for the animals starts again. This is always the most enjoyable time of the day spending time with the animals

3pm to 5.30pm: time to finish off the day's duties and hopefully finish earlier than 5.30pm. Some of the allocated duties will only need a short amount of time and many hands make light work so you may be finished for the day a lot earlier by 4pm

5.45pm: its time for a dinner and no doubt after lots of helping with the animals and birds at the sanctuary, everyone is hungry! Volunteers take it in turns to do washing up duties after everyone has eaten. For those who are not off to bed early from the long day, it is time to chill in the social area and unwind with the other volunteers, catch up on a book or watch a bit of TV

Volunteers have 2 days off every week to get to sightsee and explore the area. 

Free-time activities

As the volunteer accommodation is based next to an adjoining wildlife reserve, there is plenty of time to hike and explore the reserve and view the free roaming wildlife which includes giraffe and various antelope species. 

Beach horse-riding is also a fun activity that volunteers enjoy and free ...

Free-time activities

As the volunteer accommodation is based next to an adjoining wildlife reserve, there is plenty of time to hike and explore the reserve and view the free roaming wildlife which includes giraffe and various antelope species. 

Beach horse-riding is also a fun activity that volunteers enjoy and free time is often spent at nearby Jeffrey's Bay - South Africa's surfing capital where you can go shopping ,enjoying restaurants, swimming in the beautiful ocean and even taking up surfing lessons. 

Volunteers often hire a local taxi for trips to the world's highest bridge bungee, elephant sanctuaries, primate sanctuaries or game drives to Big 5 reserves so there is plenty to do. 

For the ultimate experience, follow up two weeks on our Animal Sanctuary Helper project with two weeks at our Big Cat Sanctuary on a Wildlife Reserve project



Minimum Age: 16 years

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.

What's Included

What's Included

Services by Volunteer Int. Adventures

The cost of the project goes towards:

  • pre-departure support
  • staff salaries
  • marketing costs
  • admin costs
  • airport arrival and departure collections from Port Elizabeth Airport
  • shared accommodation
  • 3 meals a day
  • assisting towards the running costs of the sanctuary and animal care

Discounts available on longer stays or with groups!

Airport Pickup at Port Elizabeth International Airport

You will need to fly into Port Elizabeth International Airport for your collection before 15:30 (not evening arrivals) or alternatively if visiting Cape Town, you can take a coach liner up to Jeffreys Bay for collection. Airport drop offs are included in the cost of the project and we advise volunteers to book departing flights after 10:00. No weekend arrivals or departures and strictly no airport arrivals in the evening. If your flight arrives. in the evening, you will need to overnight in Port Elizabeth and make your way back to Port Elizabeth Airport in daylight hours. 

Please do not book flights until you have booked your project and we have confirmed your dates. 


The accommodation is less than a 5-minute walk to the sanctuary. The shared bedrooms are basic and rustic with electricity. They are samegender from twin rooms to dormitory-style rooms. Rooms for couples and families can be organised if applied in advance and availability. 

  • Linen is provided and the volunteer accommodation is cleaned on Monday and Friday mornings and volunteers MUST assist cleaning up after themselves and keeping their living spaces tidy. Please bring your own towels.
  • Bathrooms are shared with showers, basins and toilets. 
  • There is a club house for evenings with a TV and satellite channels. Meals take place at the main kitchen and dining area by the sanctuary but there is a small kitchenette for tea, coffee and a mini fridge at the volunteer accommodation.
  • Laundry is available for a surcharge.

Please note there is no wifi at the volunteer accommodation and the mobile internet reception is not great there either or those with a prepaid South African SIM with data. There is a better reception for wifi and 4G up by the main kitchen and dining area.

Food & Beverages

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea and coffee are provided. Breakfasts are self-service. Volunteers often assist preparing meals in the communalkitchen and help washing up afterwards. Vegetarian meals can be accommodated for. Occasionally volunteers and staff will enjoy a typical South African braai (BBQ) together which is always a great way to end the day! There is a small shop where non-essential items like chocolate, ice-cream, crisps and cooldrink, can be bought. 

Internet Access

Limited access at the project site

What's NOT included?

What's NOT included?

Flight Tickets

The nearest airport is Port Elizabeth International Airport (PLZ) in Port Elizabeth. We assist you to find cheap flights to South Africa. FIND CHEAP FLIGHTS

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. GET A QUOTE


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. VACCINE CHECKER

Details on arrival

Starting days are Monday to Friday all year around with flight arrivals at Port Elizabeth Airport no later than 15:30. The day of the week you arrive, must correspond with the day of the week you finish your project. We do not do weekend arrivals or departures for this project. You will be met at Port Elizabeth Airport by a staff member and taken to the sanctuary. 

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Program fees

2 weeks (min. stay) 900€
3 weeks 1,300€
4 weeks 1,700€
5 weeks 2,100€
6 weeks 2,500€
7 weeks 2,900€
8 weeks 3,300€
9 weeks 3,700€
10 weeks 4,100€
11 weeks 4,500€
12 weeks (max. stay) 4,900€
Average fees 429€/week

Program fees

429€ per week 2 - 12 weeks Age 16 - 50+

Payment methods

Visa Master Card Maestro American Express PayPal



2 - 12 weeks


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

Your final payment will be agreed with Volunteer Int. Adventures during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Meet your organization

Volunteer Int. Adventures

Excellent 4.8 rating (63 reviews)

Agency - founded in 2020

Verified by Volunteer World

  Excellent response rate

Coordinated by


Spoken languages: Afrikaans, English

About the project

We are a small, personal, hands-on volunteer organisation with 15 years experience of working with volunteers in conservation and humanitarian projects on the ground.

Meet your organization

Volunteer International Adventures is dedicated to youth and animal projects, which are areas of great passion for us. We recognize the need for assistance from international volunteers in developing countries and have witnessed the transformative impact of their hands-on involvement on communities and conservation efforts.

Our core priorities are as follows:

1. Culture and Cultural Sensitivity:

We encourage our volunteers to fully immerse themselves in the culture of the country they are volunteering in, understanding that volunteering differs significantly from being a tourist. By working closely with local communities and project partners, our volunteers gain profound insights into the challenges faced by the country. We actively support and facilitate opportunities for volunteers to engage in various activities, interact with locals, and educate themselves about the nation's history, no matter how difficult it may be. Cultural sensitivity is paramount, and we ensure that our approach is collaborative rather than imposing our own ideas. We welcome suggestions and creative ideas from our volunteers, as they often prove to be feasible and enrich the communities we serve.

2. Fulfilling Volunteer Experiences:

We strive to ensure that all our volunteers leave with a sense of accomplishment. Whether it is helping a child grasp mathematics, teaching cricket to school children, providing sewing classes to uplift youth, participating in wildlife conservation efforts such as satellite collaring African wild dogs or rhino relocation, collecting data on great white shark populations, treating sick indigenous wildlife, assisting with animal sterilization in disadvantaged communities, instilling a love for reading in children, or teaching marimba classes—the list is diverse and extensive. We want our volunteers to develop a deep connection with the country they are assisting and forge lifelong friendships that can serve as future ambassadors for their respective nations.

3. Ethical Projects:

We strictly oppose trophy hunting and the breeding of lions for commercial gain. Our wildlife and animal projects take place in free-roaming reserves, registered rehabilitation centers, or sanctuaries where the animals are non-releasable due to injuries, human habituation, or being non-indigenous to the area. We support local and ethical animal sanctuaries and reserves, which our volunteers can visit during their free time. When working with children in teaching, care, or youth development projects, we require a recent paper copy of a background check (CRB check) from volunteers' countries of origin. This precaution ensures the safety and well-being of the children we serve, who often come from challenging socio-economic backgrounds and have been let down by adults in the past. We prioritize the protection of innocent animals and children who cannot advocate for themselves.

4. Responsible and Sustainable Approach:

We take pride in implementing responsible and sustainable projects that involve local community members, ensuring the continuity of operations even when volunteer numbers are low. While some projects rely heavily on volunteer support due to limited funds, we strive to strike a balance by involving sufficient local participation.

5. Cost Effectiveness:

Having collaborated with volunteers on projects for nearly 15 years, we recognize that volunteering can come at a significant cost. Therefore, we are committed to making volunteering more accessible, reasonable, and inclusive. Our projects encompass various extras, and we maintain affordability by keeping costs low and encouraging increased hands-on assistance. We offer negotiable family, friends, and group discounts, as volunteering together enables us to further reduce expenses. Loyalty is rewarded, and returning volunteers receive special recognition in our projects. Additionally, our costs include donations to our projects, contributing to their sustainability and impact.

6. Safety:

The safety of our volunteers is of paramount importance. We thoroughly vet and assess all our projects, ensuring adequate safety measures are in place. While certain areas may be off-limits due to potential risks, it is important to note that complete safety guarantees are impossible in any location. We have established channels for reporting incidents and maintain close relationships with in-country support on the ground. Furthermore, we possess liability insurance and require all participants to have personal travel insurance. To provide comprehensive support, we arrange airport collections and drop-offs, ensuring our volunteers are assisted throughout their entire journey. We pride ourselves on delivering a personal touch and remain available 24/7 to address any emergencies.

Please remember to arrange your comprehensive travel insurance at the time of booking your trip, as it is an essential aspect of ensuring your well-being and peace of mind.

We sincerely appreciate your interest in Volunteer International Adventures and our commitment to making a positive impact through responsible volunteering. Should you have any further questions or require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

63 reviews · rating4.8

Anja Sonn rating4.4

2024 at Animal Sanctuary Helper

7 weeks at Animal Sanctuary Helper I loved my time at Animal Sanctuary Helper but the material provided about it by Volunteer World is a bit outdated as prices for cabs are higher and lots of the animals in the brochure are not here anymore. Still I loved it. ..
Maximilian Krahn rating5

2023 at Animal Sanctuary Helper

I had a great time at Animal Sanctuary Helper with very supportive people. The sanctuary mainly consists of a grand variety of birds as well as some other mammals, like a lovely serval called Heidi. The birds a joy to spend time with (a lot of them have their own characters). I couldn't have asked ...
jan dabagh rating5

2023 at Animal Sanctuary Helper

I recently embarked on a truly transformative journey by volunteering at the Animal Sanctuary in South Africa. Through Volunteer World, I had the opportunity to immerse myself in a truly remarkable and meaningful experience. From the moment I arrived, I knew that this adventure would leave an ...
Solange Lodomez rating5

2023 at Animal Sanctuary Helper

The sanctuary is very large and beautiful! There are 2500 birds, servals, caracals, turtles, deers, snakes, marmoset, crocodile,... And in the park, there are free animals: kudus, nyalas, duikers, zebras, giraffes,... The dormitory is nice and the food is good. The team, the interns, Percy and the ...
Yentl Regemortel rating5

2023 at Animal Sanctuary Helper

After 2 years, i've decided to go back to Animal Sanctuary to help out! After 2 hours i've remembered everything. Still there are a lot of beautiful animals in the sanctuary, each with their own character. Also the people are still great and working with passion. I'm missing them already. ...
Solenne RAULET rating3.4

2022 at Animal Sanctuary Helper

The best thing in this placement was surely to meet super friendly people, who were there for the same purpose as me, meaning help, love animals and make friendship. Meanwhile, I learned about myself, I grew and I felt grateful for the experiences I have had. The sanctuary is mainly composed of ...


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