Big Cat Sanctuary on a Wildlife Reserve

Volunteer Int. Adventures
Ask A Question
Coordinator | Sharon
Coordinator | Sharon
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.

High­lights

Assist with the care of lions and a tiger saved from horrible backgrounds, many from private ownership and zoos in the Ukraine, that need to learn how to live like normal big cats again
Relieve the boredom that living in captivity can bring by helping making fun animal enrichments for the lions and tiger to enjoy
For those studying or qualified in veterinary medicine of any form, we would love you to come and volunteer your expertise and assistance as some of the cats need extra care due to their background
Immerse yourself in the fantastic wildlife surroundings on the wildlife reserve with giraffe, zebra, impala and other antelope while hiking and checking perimeter fencing to keep the animals safe
With South Africa's surfing capital 20 minutes drive away, spend your free time on the beach, learning how to surf or visit one of the fantastic Big 5 reserves in the surrounding areas
Volunteer at an ethical Big Cat sanctuary assisting with the ongoing care of lions and a tiger saved from dire captive situations mainly in the Ukraine. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+
Singles
Couples
Families
Groups
50+

The Big Cat sanctuary is an ethical rescue centre for captive bred animals – mainly big cats- situated on a 154ha wildlife reserve home to various free roaming wildlife – which means you could have some “wild” visitors at your volunteer accommodation i.e. giraffe, zebra, vervet monkeys, kudu, impala, other various buck species, and more.

The project’s aims are to rescue and rehome abused and neglected captive wildlife and ensure that they can have a quality of life in a species appropriate home.  Also, to educate and raise awareness of the plight of captive animals and to rehabilitate and release any indigenous wildlife that may come into care.

At the sanctuary, the animals that come into  care are protected for the rest of their lives with no breeding, trading or selling of any kind. The sanctuary is their safe forever home as due to their backgrounds and being captive bred, they can never be released into the wild.

The facility is designed to be an educational opportunity for visitors and volunteers alike, and to raise awareness to the plight of big cats within captivity and in the natural world.

Work time will vary be between 5-8 hours a day depending on the needs of the facility during your time with on the project. Each day there will be a 2-hour lunch break to ensure ample time to “refuel.” During the hot summer months, the schedule may be altered to eliminate any heavy work during the hottest times of the day.

All safety protocols will be taught on the job, as well as different techniques for animal behaviour and animal enrichment. If qualified in veterinary medicine, possible assistance with veterinary care might take place

You may be required to assist in the preparation of the big cats’ meals, which is often cow, horse, chicken, or antelope meat. This may also include removing meat from the bone, preparing internal organs, and working with or around carcasses so volunteers must be prepared to work with meat.

As a volunteer, you will be assisting in many different aspects at the sanctuary. You will help in:

  • Food and vitamin preparations
  • Feeding routines
  • Assisting with fundraising
  • Animal monitoring and record keeping
  • Maintaining of the animal enclosures – and maybe even assisting building new ones
  • Enclosure fence checks- normally done twice a day, first thing and last
  • Creating enrichment items – the most fun part of the project
  • Assisting in educational tours
  • Perimeter fence checking
  • Bush clearing and alien plant removal on the reserve
  • Bush walks and monitoring of free roaming wildlife
  • Assisting and/or observing veterinary procedures (should they happen during your stay)
  • Overall assisting in the day to day running of the sanctuary
  • Should there be any animal(s) in rehabilitation, volunteers may assist with morning feeding/cleaning. This is NOT guaranteed.

Volunteers do need to be flexible and ready to assist as working with wildlife can be very unpredictable and things can change on a day to day basis according to the needs of the wildlife and sanctuary as a whole.

The sanctuary is also a permitted to rehabilitate and release indigenous wildlife within the area. Should those opportunities arise for volunteers to assist in the rehabilitation process, it will be discussed on a “need to” basis. This opportunity is NOT guaranteed.

You will be working side by side with the team of the management of the sanctuary, other staff and volunteers. A real opportunity of a lifetime to work with such dedicated and ethical individuals

As it currently stands now, there are 11 lions and 1 tiger that are now in their forever homes at the sanctuary

Typical day

The schedule is Monday to Friday as volunteers have the weekend off to relax or partake in local attractions in the area. In other words, 5 days on and 2 days off.

8am Morning Checks of the sanctuary

  • Fence Checks:
  • Animal Checks  
  • Document all concerns/issues

9-10am

  • Breakfast time and time to chat about the morning checks and upcoming duties for the day

10am -1pm: Volunteer duties

  • Projects will vary throughout the week from within the Sanctuary and on the Reserve. See volunteer info packet for more details.
  • Assisting and facilitating guided sanctuary tours may take place should there be bookings for visitors (tours are done 3 x a day at scheduled time slots of 10:00: 14:00 and 16:00)

1-2pm: Lunch break

2-5pm: Volunteer duties

5pm: Last checks around the sanctuary for the day

  • Fencing checks
  • Animal checks
  • Ensure all is well before end of day!

5:30pm

The end of the day and the perfect time to unwind and relax. After the busy day It’s a great time to reconnect with family and friends from home or share stories with other volunteers around a fire about the day’s happenings. Having a South African braai is a favourite and an absolute must during your stay!

Free-time activities

This area of the Eastern Cape province is referred to as the “Sunshine Coast” with lovely long stretches of beautiful beaches in the nearby town of Jeffrey's Bay perfect for swimming, sunbathing and taking surfing lessons or just strolling around the many shops and restaurants.

More inland volunteers can do safari drives at private wildlife reserves and of course the famous Big 5, Addo Elephant National Park, which is always worth a visit and home to hundreds of elephants. Volunteers also can take local shuttles to the world's highest bridge bungee at Bloukrans, do zip-lining through forests and waterfalls at Tsitsikamma or explore the national park at Storms River with its suspension bridge,. Slightly further afield they can visit Wild Cat Awareness centres and primate and bird sanctuaries. The Eastern Cape is the ancestral home of the first democratic president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela,  and the home of the Amaxhosa who are known for their language, isiXhosa, which is a tongue twister with many clicks.

If wildlife, nature, beaches, and cultures interest you, it is a perfect part of South Africa to volunteer in and known for the friendly locals. 

Water Sports
Swimming
Sightseeing
Shopping/
Souvenirs
Climbing
Safari/
Zoo
Hiking
Riding

Require­ments

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)
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 - 17:30

What's Included

Services by Volunteer Int. Adventures
The cost of this volunteer project includes your food for meals, your shared tented accommodation onsite, meeting you at the airport, airport collection and drop-off, pre-departure admin and support, a t-shirt, in-country staff and 24- emergency help. It does not include flights, visas, travel insurance and spending money for weekend activities 
Airport Pickup at Port Elizabeth International Airport

Your arrival and departure airport for the Big Cat Sanctuary volunteer project is King Dawie Stuurman Airport (formerly known as Port Elizabeth International Airport). Airport collections and drop off days are Monday to Friday in daylight hours

Accommodation

The volunteer accommodation is in the form of eco-tented accommodation on the game reserve less than a 2-minute walk to the sanctuary itself and has wonderful views over the reserve as it is on the hill surrounded by free roaming and “non dangerous” wildlife. As it is so close to the sanctuary, you can hear the lions roaring at night!

It is in the form of two new glamping tents which can each accommodate 4 volunteers. Sharing is normally done with members of the same sex unless couples, friends or a family group

Each glamping tent has its own bathroom with a toilet, shower and basin and a small kitchenette to prepare food. Outside on the deck is a dining table and a fire pit which can be used to braai (South African BBQ) too.

Dorm Room Camping
Food & Beverages

Meals are self-service with food that is provided on a weekly basis so you will need to prepare your own breakfast, lunch and supper unless you take turns with other volunteers. 

The kitchenette in the glamping tents has a 2-plate gas stove, stove top kettle,  fridge/freezer, microwave, basic cutlery and crockery.

You will also need to clean up after yourself. Once a week minimum “shop trips” will be done into town so volunteers can purchase any extra items they may want.

Please advise us of any dietary restrictions, allergies, etc in advance. Vegetarians can be catered for but there may be an additional fee for vegan due to the high cost of vegan exclusive food

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 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.
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.

Dates & Fees

NO CREDIT CARD FEES

Details on arrival

Arrival and departure days are Monday to Friday. You would arrive on the same day as the week as you would leave. For example if you arrive on a Monday, you would depart on a Monday

Availability
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Duration
2 - 12 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
2 weeks (min. stay)
$1,088
3 weeks
$1,536
4 weeks
$1,984
5 weeks
$2,432
6 weeks
$2,880
7 weeks
$3,328
8 weeks
$3,776
9 weeks
$4,224
10 weeks
$4,672
11 weeks
$5,120
12 weeks (max. stay)
$5,568
Average fees
$504 /week

The organization charges its fees in GBP. The price table in USD is subject to currency fluctuation. Volunteer Int. Adventures 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 Volunteer Int. Adventures during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

Extra security layer by Volunteer World
Volunteer World is the world's leading comparison platform for international volunteer opportunities. We guide you through a safe and easy application process - including all necessary payments. Planning your next meaningful trip with Volunteer World gives you free access to our:
Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if Volunteer Int. Adventures cancels your trip
Support & Mediation
We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Volunteer Int. Adventures.

What are people saying about Volunteer World?

Big Cat Sanctuary on a Wildlife Reserve

Volunteer at an ethical Big Cat sanctuary assisting with the ongoing care of lions and a tiger saved from dire captive situations mainly in the Ukraine.

$394/week

You might be also interested in

Local Animal Rescue Center Escazu, Costa Rica Volunteer Now Costa Rica
As part of our local animal shelter, you'll be responsible for a variety of activities such as feeding, maintenance and engaging with animals!
Sea Turtle Conservation Ambassador Quepos, Costa Rica Tortugas de Pacuare
Volunteer and save turtles, make a difference and meet one of the most beautiful beaches in the world! Join us in Pacific CR!
Conservation of Whale & Dolphin Populations Tenerife, Spain GVI
Contribute to critical whale & dolphin conservation initiatives in the beautiful subtropical island archipelago - Canary Islands.
Migrants and Refugees Integration Support Napoli, Italy International Napoli Network
Help the refugee and migrant community to gain a foothold in Europe by supporting shelters, schools, health care and activities tailored to their long-term integration.
Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Knysna, South Africa Volunteer Int. Adventures
Volunteer with an amazing team of wildlife rescue and rehabilitation experts that are dedicated to giving sick, injured and orphaned wildlife a second chance.
Horse Rescue and Rehabilitation Bonnievale, South Africa Volunteer Int. Adventures
Get involved with horse and pony rescue and rehabilitation in South Africa. If you have experience with horses, great. If not, you will learn with a great team.
Brochure

Why am I seeing this?

You requested a page that doesn't exist on this site any more. This could be caused by a link you followed that was out of date, by a typing in the wrong address in the address bar, or simply because the post has been deleted.

Take Me Home