Assisting Animal Caretaker

founded in 2010
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Coordinator | Babette
Coordinator | Babette
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.


Volunteer to make unforgettable experiences with the African wildlife
Work closely together with specialists and gain new knowledge about the amazing African species that are out there
Show a hands-on mentality and turn your cat enthusiasm into expertism
Form bonds of understanding, love and trust between you and the animals while also interacting with the native people
Benefit as a long-term volunteer from a variety of free time activities
Volunteer with us & have a wonderful time working in South Africa with the amazing African species: leopards, cheetahs, servals, caracals, wild- & Black-footed cats! This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 19+
Wild Cats World is a Dutch foundation with many projects worldwide, educational and conservational, with only one focus to keep the wild catspecies, big and small, protected in the wild but also give the best of life possible to captive cats, like in the sanctuary/conservation project in South Africa, giving true (wild) cat enthusiasts and die-hards a great offer to come over and volunteer, working closely with the South African native species: African wildcats, Black-footed Cats, Caracals, Cheetahs, Leopards and Servals.

We don't have the "ordinary" volunteering program as we really need serious people, assisting our caretaker team, who preferably stay long-term (but 2 weeks or more is possible too). We offer a nicely priced accommodation, and everything is at own expense. Just a reasonable deposit to secure bookings etc. will go to our organisation, we therefore only want to give this opportunity to serious people who have only one interest at heart and that is to take part to give the best care to the cats in our sanctuary/conservation program.

Project Highlights / What Do Volunteers do?
  • Working and bonding (no hands-on interaction) with our resident wild cats ambassadors: leopards, cheetahs, African wildcats, Black-footed Cats, Caracals and Servals
  • Learning about the Native South African wild cat species and the environment they live in
  • Being involved in the daily care and activities. It all depends on your own interest and passion to bond with the cats and the people you work with
  • Obtaining info about the other Wild Cats World projects around the world
  • Preparing food for the ambassadors (big and small) and assist feeding them (of course you have to be able to prepare meat)
  • Cleaning enclosures and camps
  • Cleaning of waterholes and feeding stations
  • Maintenance and other farm work
  • Any other animal related tasks
  • Observing the different species in order to get to know them and their specific behaviour
  • Making friends for life and having new experiences
  • Leave your cellphone and daily hassles, and enjoy the time in Africa with the most amazing cats
Participant Requirements

Wild Cats World is interested to meet true die-hard, passionate wild cats enthusiasts, who will enjoy every moment working at our sanctuary with the amazing ambassadors to the fullest. Good mood required. 

No previous knowledge or experience is required. It can be hard work, but it will be incredibly rewarding. Participants must be in good health and able to carry out all duties required of them. It is important to note that you are expected to be fully involved in the preparation of the meat feeding the cats (this includes removing the meat from the bone).

You don’t need any experience to join us, and upon arrival you will receive a comprehensive orientation and will be fully briefed and trained in all areas. You will be shown where everything is and briefed exactly how to use everything. You will not be expected to carry out any duties without the appropriate training and supervision.

The Wild Cats World sanctuary & conservation/awareness centre, is situated near the small village Kirkwood. We are situated on a small hour drive from Port Elizabeth (airport) in the Addo Area. The Addo National Elephant Park is on a 45 minutes drive from us. You can find us alongside the R75 from Uitenhage to Kirkwood, opposite restaurant Mayogi with nice food and friendly people.

There is never a dull moment, volunteering and working with/for the endangered wild cats. There’s always something with which you will be able to assist. You will gain skills and knowledge that are priceless. You will form bonds of understanding, love and trust between you and the animals while interacting with people from all walks of life. Also, we are a project who makes sure you are responsible volunteering. Read the guide lines here, and wherever you start as a volunteer at a wild cats project, keep thinking and asking questions, as welfare of the cats is most important of all to us!

Typical day

Early start (7h00, morning feeding), cleaning camps, nighthouses, checking camps on irregularities, giving water, arranging meat, preparing meat (lots of work with meat, cutting/preparing the right portions for every individual cat), medical treatment if necessary, visits to collect meat/visit to vet (if necessary), keeping meatroom/freezers organised and clean, collecting and cleaning bowls and buckets after every feeding.
End of the day late afternoon (depending on season and temperature) afternoon feeding, cleaning and preparing for next morning.

New: training to be a "tourguide". Learning all facts about the species we have in our sanctuary and being able to share this info with other volunteers, the owners and caretaker. Before leaving you will be expected to do a tour and tell about all species. You will get the Wild Cats World certificate for this, which you can also use if in future you maybe would like to work as tourguide. 

Volunteers are of course welcome to take days off to do a trip and travel a bit to see more of the surroundings or South Africa.  This in contemplation with the caretakers/owners.  

Free-time activities

Note: our project is not meant for volunteers who like to do "other things" apart from the regular daytrips or outings as herewith described. Our offer is for die-hards who come specifically to work with the cats and learn as much as possible. Weekends and evenings off are seldom happening, but for long-time volunteers (outside our project) it is of course possible at set times to take time off. A day trip to National Park or Game Reserve is something we do with our long-term volunteers for sure and for all the chance to go to Kragga Kamma Park in Port Elizabeth. Free time activities to the preference of the volunteer. Possible to make a day trip to Addo National Elephant Park and Kragga Kamma Game Reserve. Daytrip to the coast and Port Elizabeth. From us easy way to Cape Town by bus, flight or car from PE.

Everything is to own expense/responsibility of the volunteers. 



In order to join the program you need to be at least 19 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Required Documents
CV and motivation letter
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
Volunteers have to be true die-hards, passionate wild cats enthusiasts.
No previous knowledge or experience is required. It can be hard work, so participants must be in good health and able to carry out all duties required of them. Dealing with meat and preparing meals is essential part of the job.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 06:30 - 19:00

What's Included

Airport Pickup at Port Elizabeth International Airport

Pick up and drop off at Port Elizabeth airport arranged but excluded in fees.  Extra fees for petrol is R200 for pick up, R200 for drop off and R200 weekly for daily transport from accommodation to farm and back, and to shop. Depending on current exchange rate R200 is 11,50 euro.


volunteers stay with the caretakers in a house in Kirkwood, little town closest to our project (approx 15 minutes drive). Each have a private room (or double room if requested). Also included:  bathroom,  kitchen, living room, place to have a "braai" (is barbecue), a garden, parking place for few cars. House situated in a safe street, close to the supermarket and other small shops/restaurants.  Our lovely domestic cat Mystie is keeping the guests company.

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. Food, snacks or beverages are at extra costs.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Port Elizabeth International Airport (PLZ) in Port Elizabeth. 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

Volunteers can join our program depending on availability during that period.  No specific arrival days and/or time slots. Preferable arrival at PE airport around noon. There's no pick ups before 8 and after 17h00.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2 - 24 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
2 weeks (min. stay)
3 weeks
4 weeks
5 weeks
7 weeks
9 weeks
24 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees
$163 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated. Wild Cats World 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 Wild Cats World 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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All program fees are charged directly by Wild Cats World.

What are people saying about Volunteer World?

Assisting Animal Caretaker

Volunteer with us & have a wonderful time working in South Africa with the amazing African species: leopards, cheetahs, servals, caracals, wild- & Black-footed cats!



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