from 691€

Brilliant 4.7rating (19)

Baboon Rehabilitator & Care-Giver

location
2 - 50 weeks  ·  Age 18 - 50+

rating  Brilliant 4.7  · 
  Verified by Volunteer World
  Very high response rate

Highlights

  • Volunteer in a stunning Big Five Nature Reserve in the Greater Kruger National Park, South Africa, surrounded by captivating wildlife
  • Engage in the pioneering rehabilitation process of healing orphaned chacma baboons, contributing to their journey towards freedom
  • Make a difference by rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing orphaned baboons, giving them a second chance at a wild and fulfilling life
  • Connect with like-minded volunteers from around the world, forging lifelong friendships while working towards a common goal
  • Enjoy thrilling safari tours through Kruger National Park on your days off, guided by our knowledgeable CARE Guide

Especially suitable

Age 18+
Singles
Couples
Groups

About the program

Care for orphans, bond with surrogate baboon mothers, prepare food, clean enclosures, and embrace life in South Africa with hands-on baboon work!

*** SPECIAL OFFER *** 10% DISCOUNT ***

We really need volunteers to help us during May, June, July and August so are offering a 10% discount on any bookings made before the end of April for any of these months. Minimum stay is two weeks, arriving on the first or third Monday of the ...

About the program

*** SPECIAL OFFER *** 10% DISCOUNT ***

We really need volunteers to help us during May, June, July and August so are offering a 10% discount on any bookings made before the end of April for any of these months. Minimum stay is two weeks, arriving on the first or third Monday of the month, and also departing on a Monday. 

Please note that once we reach our capacity threshold for this offer (50%), we will withdraw it, so book and confirm as soon as possible. 


About 

C.A.R.E. is a reputable wildlife rehabilitation centre since 1989, with over 400 baboons in our care.  We need your help to provide the best care and welfare for all the animal orphans which deserve a wonderful life after humans took so much from them.  We are located within a stunning Big Five Private Nature Reserve, in the Greater Kruger National Park. 

What you can expect

Our volunteer program provides a unique experience working with the beautiful chacma baboons of South Africa alongside other iconic African animals. You may wake up one morning, look outside and see an elephant or giraffe, grazing peacefully on an Acacia tree. You'll hear the rutting of the impala, the call of jackals, and even the low roar of lions. Located 45 minutes from the nearest town, C.A.R.E. is truly out in the bush and every day is a safari day (with plenty of hard work), offering an escape from the bustle of everyday life. 

C.A.R.E. greatly needs volunteers to help hand-raise baby baboon orphans, assist with their bonding to baboon surrogate mothers, assist with the rehabilitation of baboons who have spent up to 13 years of their life in a lab-cage, and to help animals which have been rescued from all sorts of circumstances. To be part of the animals healing; to bond with the baboons in a way that is incomprehensible to most, to watch them grow in confidence, and to witness them becoming wild, sociable animals again, is an experience with unparalleled rewards that our volunteers will never forget.

Whilst the work is varied and involves caring for the orphan baby baboons, some ex-laboratory sanctuary baboons and the husbandry of the adult baboons, there are never any guarantees that orphans will have just arrived and be in the early hands-on care stage of rehabilitation during your stay with us. Orphaned baby primates grow quickly and we try to give them to surrogate baboon mothers as soon as they are ready; to ensure they are wild and fulfil our goals and promises to them to give them back a social family.  With 430 baboons, all previously orphaned and awaiting release, there is so much essential work and additional experiences you'll partake in to ensure C.A.R.E. is achieving its broader goals of helping the communities and environment on a greater scale.  We take our role as rehabilitators seriously, and you are very welcome to come and help and learn all about the incredible baboons, who amaze us with their intelligence every day.  


Here are some of the activities you may be involved in, depending on how many volunteers there are available at the centre and which staff are available. The volunteers are always assigned to the raising of the orphans, and if we have enough hands we enjoy getting our other projects off the ground too. Our Outreach and Education Program is a vital part of the project, working closely with other organizations locally to increase support of the baboons and educating children to respect and understand baboons, all of which you are welcome to help and take part in.

Volunteer tasks
  • Hand Rearing Orphan Baby Baboons (if there are any in this phase of rehabilitation during your stay)
  • Being a Primate Keeper for Adult Baboons  (prepare food, clean enclosures, make enrichment, collect grass)
  • Enrichment Program; make enrichment such as ice-lollies, packed bamboo or kong toys, hang up balls for our blind baboon Stevie wonder, or provide social enrichment to our very old, geriatric baboon Patats by visiting her with treats)
  • Husbandry of adult baboons undergoing rehabilitation
  • Veterinary Experience; take fecal samples, have a look through the microscope
  • Behavioural Observations; we monitor the baboons every day; checking health, demeanor, oestrus swellings and more
  • Data collection
  • Enclosure Maintenance
  • Collecting natural vegetation for feeding; the animals love seedpods, fresh green grass and branches to browse on and play with
  • Collecting natural items for enrichment and feeding
  • Cleaning enclosures: enclosures are cleaned every day, we hope you will help.  Scrubbing, hosing, replacing fresh grass. It's hard work but really rewarding and the baboons are obviously excited when they enter their new, clean home with fresh hay and branches to look through.
  • Husbandry for the smaller animals including adorable rescued guinea pigs and rabbits
  • Cleaning and organising all areas of the centre
  • Tracking; our staff can take you for a river walk, to learn tracks and signs of other wildlife. Seeing a lion print in the sand it something you will not forget!
  • Alien and Invasive Plant Removal; we need assistance to keep the invasive plants at the river under control, and sometimes the team get together at the end of the day and do a mass removal; it is a great team-bonding time too.
  • Education of School Children at the Centre 
  • Community Outreach with other projects including: Vaccinations and health check (veterinary program) in rural areas for community dogs, spreading the awareness of baboons, visiting a community eco-village and childrens creche / after school program.
  • Opportunities to go on excursions; e.g. the Kruger National Park next door, the Panorama Route (Blyde Canyon, waterfalls etc.), horse riding safaris, nearby attractions all arranged and guided by our CARE staff.



Typical day

Working with a large number of wild animals means that your day can change in an instance but generally your day will include the following:

  • 06:00am: Wake Up & Make Bottles for baby baboons and prepare feed-sacks of chopped veggies for adults
  • 07:00am: Breakfast - make your own from the cereals and ...

Typical day

Working with a large number of wild animals means that your day can change in an instance but generally your day will include the following:

  • 06:00am: Wake Up & Make Bottles for baby baboons and prepare feed-sacks of chopped veggies for adults
  • 07:00am: Breakfast - make your own from the cereals and toast provided
  • 08:00am: Cleaning out the rescued animals in the Education Centre (snakes if you aren't scared, you won't be scheduled to help if you are! Bearded dragon care and take her to her daytime enclosure, clean out the rabbits / guinea-pigs / chickens)
  • 9:00 - 11:00am: Enclosure Cleaning in Phase II with the adult baboons; hose, scrub, replace with fresh hay
  • 10:00am: Bottle/food preparation 
  • 11:00am: Nursery supervision of youngest orphans (if we have orphans in this phase of rehab)
  • 12pm: Lunch
  • 13:00pm: Make Enrichment 
  • 14:00pm: Nursery supervision of youngest orphans (if we have orphans in this phase of rehab)
  • 15:00pm: Bottle/food preparation
  • 15:30pm: Collect fresh grass, branches or seedpods for the baboons to have in the morning
  • 16:00pm: Cleaning of Milk Kitchen, giving evening meals, water top up and preparing beds for the chickens, rabbits.
  • 17:00pm: Playtime with the youngest orphans along the banks of the Olifants River, or alien plant removal at the river, or just enjoying nature at the river.
  • 17:00 or 18:00: Your day is done! Time to shower and hang out with other volunteers at the River or in the Volunteer Village. You can organise a braii, games evenings, movie nights and more. Star-gazing is amazing at C.A.R.E.; the stars are incredible.
  • 18:00pm: Dinner! A great time to catch up with everyone and then get ready to start another day!

In addition to the activities above, other duties may include: assisting in our veterinary clinic, bark/browse collection for troop enrichment, taking care of our rescued guinea pigs/chickens, construction work including building large swings to install in enclosures, spending time with "Patats"- one of our sanctuary baboons who needs social enrichment, observations of the wild baboon troop, games drives, gardening, and much, much more!


Free-time activities

Looking after 430 baboons is a huge task and a 7 day a week job! 

However, we know that our volunteers need time off so we encourage it! The days at C.A.R.E. can be long and hot so it's essential that you rest and reboot so you can continue helping the baboons.

Many volunteers take a day off each ...

Free-time activities

Looking after 430 baboons is a huge task and a 7 day a week job! 

However, we know that our volunteers need time off so we encourage it! The days at C.A.R.E. can be long and hot so it's essential that you rest and reboot so you can continue helping the baboons.

Many volunteers take a day off each week and head to the lodge nearby to to swim and relax.

As we are located so close to the Kruger National Park, a safari is also a must! We can help arrange 1 or 2 day safaris into the park. 

There are other excursions near by that our volunteers love to visit including, 

  • A community veterinary outreach programme helping care for dogs in the Community, 
  • Nourish, a local project giving education to local school children, 
  • A reptile park and a rehabilitation centre focusing on indigenous African animals
  • Visits to the Blyde River Canyon (Panorama Tour) and curios shopping. 

We can schedule all of these activities for you - it's a great way to see more of South Africa and enjoy a much-deserved day off!

Volunteers will generally have at least one hour off each working day to relax, read, socialise with other volunteers, do laundry, or nap. That time is your own! You can request more time off if you need it also.


Requirements

Requirements

Minimum Age: 18 years

In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 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 for long term applicants, Enrollment form, Indemnity form and Proof of insurance

Nationality Restrictions

No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.

Other Skills

A strong work ethic, professionalism, safety conscious and lover of all animals great and small is a must. You will be working in the heat of the African bush doing physically demanding work, so must have a base level of fitness. Qualifications and previous experience aren’t something we necessarily look for; but it is preferred. A desire to want to make a positive difference, a love of animals, a strong work ethic enthusiasm for new experiences is a must. C.A.R.E. is not a holiday.

Time Commitment

Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 07:00 - 17:30

What's Included

What's Included

Services by C.A.R.E.

We highly recommend volunteers staying for more than 2 weeks, as it takes around about 2 weeks to really settle in and become competent with training and confidence. We understand that for some it isn't a possibility though, you are still very welcome!  Please note our volunteer program starts and ends on a Monday.

The volunteer fee covers: 

  • Accommodation in a 2-3 person room
  • 3 vegetarian (usually vegan) meals per day (except "luxury" items, you are welcome to by your own meat / dairy products to supplement)
  • Transfers from the airport
  • It also does not cover a one-time conservation fee of R100 (about $7) due to our location on a private nature reserve
  • Electricity, water use (please be environmentally aware)
  • A donation to the animals you will be caring for
  • All training, which includes presentations, tours, videos, on the job training; you receive a certificate at the end of your stay for future employers / your personal keep sake

The fee does not cover

  • Flights
  • Any visas related costs 
  • Travel insurance
  • Vaccinations or any tests which are required for your stay (tetanus and TB are mandatory, if you do not have TB you will need to have a test to confirm you are TB free
  • Any excursions you choose to do whilst with us

We are always interested in long-term volunteers so please contact us to discuss fees.

Airport Pickup at Hoedspruit Airport

We can provide pickup from the local Hoedspruit Airport or from our reserve gate if you choose to get the shuttle bus from Johannesburg Airport.

Accommodation

You will be accommodated in our "Volunteer Village". The village consists of 6 rooms, each sleeping 2-3 people. 

  • The rooms and facilities are basic but comfortable and relatively newly built.
  • The rooms are situated around a communal garden space. 
  • There are showers, sinks, flushing toilets, and a small volunteer kitchen which you can keep your own food / drinks etc. that you have purchased; there is a fridge and drinkable water from the sinks. 
  • We also have a games lounge, the "Zebra Zone" with a darts board, TV and DVDs. 
  • There is a braai area (South African BBQ) where we often cook and sit around a campfire as well and some picnic tables for you to hang-out and socialise at.
  • The Volunteer Village is located inside a secure electric fence.
  • We provide bedding. 

Please bring your own towel and mosquito net - mosquito tents are recommended.

Internet is available within the volunteer accommodation, there is a small surcharge to get connected.

Food & Beverages

We provide basic food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and urge volunteers to buy their own 'extras' and luxuries.

Volunteers prepare their own breakfast (cereal, toast and condiments are provided, including a soya milk option)

Lunch and dinner are cooked by volunteers who put themselves forward to cook; usually our long-terms but also many short-terms like to try; the ingredients are provided by C.A.R.E.; usually a mix of lentils, beans, herbs / spices / curry, rice, potatoes, pasta and either coconut milk or diced tomato sauce bases.  Meals are often things which are easy to cook in bulk for a large group like; curry and rice, spaghetti and sauce, pasta bake, baked potatoes and sides, pie and veggies, mac and 'cheese', potato wedges with beans and veggies, salad side.  You are very welcome to buy your own food during shopping days at your own expense and keep it in the Volunteer Village kitchen if you prefer luxury / special food items.  

The diet at C.A.R.E. is Vegetarian, almost Vegan, however, and we are able to cater for gluten-free, and many other dietary requirements. Please let us know if you have any restrictions.

Our budget does not cover fruit, you can purchase this at the local store for yourself and "luxury" food items such as crisps, chocolate, soda, etc., are not provided by the Centre. There is a weekly shopping trip to town where volunteers can purchase other luxury items. 

Usually we have an on-site tuck-shop too so you can buy soda and chocolate.

Internet Access

Limited access at the project site

What's NOT included?

What's NOT included?

Flight Tickets

The nearest airport is Hoedspruit Airport (HDS) in Hoedspruit. 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

Vaccines

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

Please plan your dates and travel to arrive on the first or third Monday of the month, and to also depart on a Monday. 

We ask that volunteers arrive on a MONDAY (1st or 3rd Monday of the month). This enables the coordination of pick ups and also means that you can follow the education and induction programme which runs on Mondays and Tuesdays. This way you have time to settle in and then complete an education program so that you know exactly what you will be doing.

You will be given a tour of our Phase 1 Rehabilitation Area, see where the main kitchen and working areas are, where you will take your meals, where to do your laundry (or drop it off for the cleaning lady), see the Bonding Enclosures, Semi-Wild enclosures, Nursery and more.

You will receive presentations, tours, and fill out the necessary forms in the first few days, whilst getting on the job training.

TRANSFERS FROM JOHANNESBURG AIRPORT

  1. We recommend that you take either a shuttle service or a flight from Johannesburg airport.  There is a shuttle service which is very reputable that runs from OR Tambo all the way to Grietjie Nature Reserve gate (the gate of our reserve where we can pick you up).  This is a new service running for the last 3 or so years and has been recommended highly by other volunteers.  Services include SWIFT or Safari Link shuttles. We can send you more info when you book.
  2. Another way to get here is to take a flight to HOEDSPRUIT airport. We can offer a transfer from the airport on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of the month. 
  3. For departures, we offer a transfer each Monday either to the shuttle collection or the airport.
  4. We presently charge the following return transfer fees;
    1. HOEDSPRUIT AIRPORT PICK UP; R800 (ZAR local currency)
    2. Grietjie Reserve Gate (where the shuttle company can drop you); R300

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

Program fees

2 weeks (min. stay) 691€
3 weeks 881€
4 weeks 1,175€
5 weeks 1,469€
8 weeks 2,350€
12 weeks 3,326€
50 weeks (max. stay) 14,446€
Average fees 317€/week

Program fees

317€ per week 2 - 50 weeks Age 18 - 50+

Payment methods

Visa Master Card Maestro American Express PayPal

NO CREDIT CARD FEES


Duration

2 - 50 weeks

Deposit

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 C.A.R.E. during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.


Meet your organization

C.A.R.E.

Brilliant 4.7 rating (19 reviews)

Non-profit - founded in 1989

Verified by Volunteer World

  Very high response rate

Coordinated by

Vanessa

Spoken languages: English

About the project

We specialise in the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of chacma baboons.

Meet your organization

With purpose built facilities we are committed to the rescue, care, rehabilitation, release and protection of wild animals, no animal in need is ever turned away.  We rely solely on the generosity of caring individuals to fund the centre, and also volunteers to help us run the centre too.

 Founded in 1989 by the late Rita Miljo as a refuge for a handful of baboons whom had been subjected to abuse by humans, C.A.R.E. has since grown into the largest rehabilitation centre for chacma baboons worldwide.

 Based on the edge of the Kruger National Park in South Africa, C.A.R.E. is the perfect setting for wildlife rehabilitation and volunteers come from all over the world to help care for the baboons. We currently house around 450 baboons and are one of the only sanctuaries that have experience for giving refuge to orphaned and injured baboons in South Africa. We have an extremely high success rate of releasing hand-reared, fully formed troops back into the wild.

 There was a devastating fire in 2012 which destroyed the main facilities and sadly Rita and three baboons died.  Since then, the team have been dedicated to continue Rita's legacy.  New facilities have been constructed with more are underway.  A new Veterinary Clinic funded by IPPL and the Boda Trust was built in 2014, along with a new nursery, baboon kitchen and soon to be completed Education Centre.

The team have also released three troops of baboons since along with many males as 'dispersing males' which have joined chosen wild troops. 

The rehabilitation methods continue to be refined, meaning orphan baby baboons are quickly bonded to an adult baboon female which acts as the surrogate mother, this minimizes time needing to be spent in captivity.

It is C.A.R.E.’s priority to help any animal in need and we have a wide network of friends and colleagues within animal rehabilitation which usually means we can offer advice and recommend suitable facilities for the housing and rehabilitation of all South Africa’s wildlife.

C.A.R.E.’s main focus is the rehabilitation of chacma baboons and we will respond to calls at any hour of the day or night. Most of our rescue cases involve orphan babies which have been the result of their mother being killed by hunting, poisoning, traffic accidents and many more heartbreaking incidents. We rescue baboons of all ages and integrate them into troops from all backgrounds such as the pet trade, research laboratories and from witch doctors. We can offer help and guidance with possible solutions to ‘problem baboons’.

Most of the baboons which we rescue have been subject to physical or emotional abuse by humans and arrive often traumatised and dehydrated.

The success of the release of wildlife back into their natural habitat goes hand in hand with appropriate species-specific rehabilitation.

C.A.R.E. has been rehabilitating wildlife since 1989 and Rita Mijo, the founder of C.A.R.E. was the first person in the world to suceed in releasing a cohesive troop of hand-reared primates back into the wild.

Our main focus for any baboon which arrives at C.A.R.E. is to rehabilitate baboons into viable troops and release the self-sustaining troops back into their natural habitat.

C.A.R.E. specialises in the rehabilitation of chacma baboons (Papio cynocephalus ursinus) and has had incredible success in the release of their troops back into the wild.

Situated on the banks of the Oliphant’s River, in the middle of a stunning 3000 hectare ‘Big 5’ South African Nature Reserve, the Centre for Animal Rehabilitation and Education is the perfect location for a wild animal rehabilitation centre.

C.A.R.E. greatly needs volunteers to help hand-raise baby baboon orphans, to assist with the rehabilitation of baboons, some of whom spent up to 13 years of their life in a lab-cage and to help animals which have been rescued from all sorts of circumstances. To be part of the animals healing; bonding with the baboons in a way that is incomprehensible to most, watching them grow in confidence, and to witness them becoming wild, sociable animals again, is an experience with unparalleled rewards; that any care-giver will never forget.

C.A.R.E.’s goal for every animal which comes to the centre is to rehabilitate the individual and equip them for a life back in the wild. C.A.R.E. is very experienced when it comes to the release of baboons back into the wild, and has celebrated huge, pioneering success in this field of conservation science.

We successfully released troops of hand raised and second generation baboons into the wild on a number of occasions.

When we first began to release, official guidelines for releasing primates had not yet been implemented, and even today releasing primates into the wild is rare. Our methods closely match the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group’s Best-Practice Guidelines for Great Ape Reintroduction, created in 2007 (data.iucn.org/dbtw-wpd/edocs/SSC-OP-035.pdf), we are currently writing up our release protocols and experiences into scientific manuscripts in the hope to have them available and published soon.

Presently we are desperately searching for suitable release sites for our troops that are ready to be released. Releasing baboons into the wild is difficult and relies on many factors being correct. Our troops are ready, however it is the human elements of the release protocol which are difficult to overcome; finding suitable habitat where baboons are not likely to encounter conflicts with humans, land where baboons are welcome is scarce and fragmented.

C.A.R.E. greatly needs volunteers to help hand-raise baby baboon orphans and assist with their bonding to baboon surrogate mothers, to assist with the rehabilitation of baboons which spent up to 13 years of their life in a lab-cage and to help animals which have been rescued from all sorts of circumstances. To be part of the animals healing; bonding with the baboons in a way that is incomprehensible to most, watching them grow in confidence, and to witness them becoming wild, sociable animals again, is an experience with unparalleled rewards; that any volunteer will never forget.


19 reviews · rating4.7

Hilda Sundell rating5

2024 at Baboon Rehabilitator & Care-Giver

I spent the entire month of April at CARE and had an amazing time! It’s a cozy place to live surrounded by animals and other nice volunteers. It’s clear that the CARE staff truly cares for the baboons and other animals and I’m very happy to have had the chance to ...
Eeva Mäkinen rating4.4

2023 at Baboon Rehabilitator & Care-Giver

My experience at C.A.R.E was wonderful! So fitting for me and after few days, I was so sad that I didn't book longer duration. Three weeks was definitely not enough, even though I think you get a pretty good feeling about the program in two-three weeks, so I suggest, if it's your first time, book a ...
Daniela Rohrer rating4

2023 at Baboon Rehabilitator & Care-Giver

As a person who has little to do with animals and is used to an urban life in a densely populated country where potentially dangerous wild animals almost exclusively are to find in the mountain regions, who does little physically strict work, for whom it is a matter of course to always have ...
Danielle Roy rating4.2

2022 at Baboon Rehabilitator & Care-Giver

The « orphan »in the title is misleading. CARE has done a great job to educate and because of that there is rarely orphans to take care of. I feel i have been REALLY LUCKY to be there while baby Kylo and Pina were bonding. Volunteer should be aware of ...
Jesse Compagner rating5

2022 at Baboon Rehabilitator & Care-Giver

In February I stayed at care for 2 weeks, and this was my first volunteering experience and solo-travel as a 21-year old from the Netherlands. In these 2 weeks I learned so much about the animals, how special they are, and how much I enjoy working with them. The organization is doing something ...
Eva Cristina Castro Ambia rating5

2021 at Baboon Rehabilitator & Care-Giver

My experience at Care was the best experience of my life. I had the opportunity of not only doing activities to help the babbons, but also meeting amazing people. All of them were kind and were always trying to help me to feel comfortable. Without a doubt, I would repeat this experience in the ...

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