from 1,238€

Fantastic 4.5rating (15)

Big Cats Sanctuary

location
546€ per week  ·  2 - 12 weeks  ·  Age 18 - 50+

  Verified by Volunteer World
  Very high response rate

Highlights

  • Protect and care for captivating captive-bred big cats, making a meaningful impact on their welfare
  • Immerse yourself in our expansive, environmentally friendly sanctuary, spanning over 40 hectares of natural beauty
  • Become an advocate for animal welfare, raising awareness about the vital importance of protecting and preserving these majestic creatures
  • Collaborate closely with our experienced staff, gaining valuable insights and working together towards a common mission
  • Discover the wonders of South Africa's top tourist attractions, adding an extra layer of adventure and exploration to your volunteer journey

Especially suitable

Age 18+
Singles
Couples
Groups
50+

About the program

As a volunteer at Panthera Africa, we will offer you the unique opportunity to be involved behind the scenes and you can learn what it takes to run a sanctuary.

Our Unique Volunteer Program

Panthera Africa is an environmentally friendly sanctuary for any captive bred big cats, where they will be protected and prosper for the rest of their lives. We have found our 40 hectare paradise with a beautiful home for the animals, the owners and the many volunteers ...

About the program

Our Unique Volunteer Program

Panthera Africa is an environmentally friendly sanctuary for any captive bred big cats, where they will be protected and prosper for the rest of their lives. We have found our 40 hectare paradise with a beautiful home for the animals, the owners and the many volunteers visiting. The land is filled with lots of large trees, a natural spring and an amazing 180 degree mountain view. Panthera Africa believes in the connection between both environmental and wildlife conservation, and aims to become the first "green" big cat sanctuary in South Africa, and run solely on solar energy.

One of Panthera Africa's main purposes is to be an educational platform where we create awareness about conditions big cats face in captivity, and how animal welfare and enrichment play a vital role in giving them the best captive life possible. We are a true sanctuary where no cub petting, breeding or trading takes place. We are a blue print of how a non-profit sanctuary, focusing on animal welfare, can become self-sufficient, and we aim to change all breeding facilities into sustainable ethical programs. 

We believe in the equal importance of both humans and animals, and we will do our absolute best to give you the experience of a lifetime. We know from personal experience that this includes both quality time with animals, as well as with staff and the other volunteers. Hearing a lion roar up close, getting love and recognition from a leopard, hearing the chuffing of a tiger, or seeing them appreciate and love the toys you make to enrich their lives = BLISS.

In addition to the indescribable bonds you will form with the animals, friendships will be formed and together at the end of the day we all can share stories, hopes and dreams around the bonfire with a cold drink watching the famous African sunset.

The international volunteer program will offer you the unique opportunity to be involved behind the scenes - daily tasks will include:

  • Cleaning and maintaining enclosures
  • Creating enrichment for our big cats
  • Preparation of food and observing feeding
  • General farm work, including alien clearing
  • Assisting to educate visitors

You will work together with our staff throughout the day, who will guide and supervise you so that you will learn as much as possible from their experience.

Our Pride

Our pride consists of 28 big cats and a jackal, namely:

  • Pardus  (Black Leopard)
  • Arabella and Rays (Tigers)
  • Oliver, Obi, Jubatus, Neptune, Elsa, Zakara, Lei-ah, Jade, Achilles, Chaka, Baguira, Karlos, Ivana, Alpha and Cora (Lions)
  • Pema (Cheetah)
  • Maya (Jackal)
  • Amy, Max and Jack (Caracals)
  • Mahaba, Kamagelo, Lakanya and Balozi (Servals)

(Plus our little house pride consisting of our dogs Buddha, Orion, Kira and Leo and our cat Tarzan).

All of our animals have been rescued from breeding facilities, and most of them have been taken away from their mothers to be hand-raised by humans for the profit of money. The whole Panthera Africa pride is now living the rest of their days with us given love, respect and the best life possible in captivity.

Home Sweet Home

During your stay you will enjoy our modern, yet cozy home. The house consists of 3 bedrooms with 3 bathrooms, a spacious and fully equipped kitchen for everyone to cook, a big living and dining room area where we enjoy dinners together, games nights, film evening or just relaxing with a nice book. Outside we have a traditional South African braai (BBQ) area, and a natural dam!

So can we start to look forward to meeting you in beautiful Stanford? Are you ready for that life changing experience? We can promise you a lot of fun and magical moments – both with animals and your new friends from all around the world! 

Being situated close to many of South Africa's top tourist attractions - Cape Town with its Table Mountain, Robben Island, Cape Point to mention some, Hermanus with its unbelievable whale watching cove and wine tasting, and some of the world's most amazing beaches on your door step, we and our passionate staff will do our upmost best to make this experience the best holiday of your life!

Bookings

We request bookings to be made at least 30 days before the intended arrival date, although due to the popularity of the project, we recommend further in advance. However, should you have an immediate booking request, please just send us your wish and we will do our best to accommodate you. 

We would recommend that your stay will be a minimum of 2 weeks to ensure a full experience. Shorter or longer stays can be arranged and price varies accordingly.

Our start- and end dates are on Saturdays, so please arrive and depart at Cape Town International airport between 10am and 2pm on the specific date.  



Typical day

Please find below a general outline of your days with us. We believe in not having a fixed schedule for everything, and have also learnt that plans can change every day, so the days with us are varied. There will be a difference between summer and winter months due to temperature and hours of light ...

Typical day

Please find below a general outline of your days with us. We believe in not having a fixed schedule for everything, and have also learnt that plans can change every day, so the days with us are varied. There will be a difference between summer and winter months due to temperature and hours of light during the day. 

We have a morning meeting where we go through every day's schedule so everything will be planned and set up for you. There will be plenty of breaks during the different tasks, and flexibility for off sight activities, so you can expect a good variety of work and relaxation! 

Daily Schedule

6/7:00 Breakfast – Make your own with food provided

7/8:00 Morning Meeting

7/8:15 Morning Tasks

12-2:00 Lunch – Meal provided by Panthera Africa

2:00 Afternoon Tasks

6:00 Dinner – Make and purchase your own food for meal, then leasure time!

Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays are normally your days off. Thursdays are your activity days, where you might do some small work on the farm, but most of the days you will be enjoying the amazing Overberg area together with the other volunteers and staff. Saturday and Sunday you are free to explore some of the area alone or with other volunteers - this includes a night in Cape Town, a visit to a safari park...or lots more!


Free-time activities

Being situated close to many of South Africa's top tourist attractions - Cape Town with its Table Mountain, Robben Island, Cape Point to mention some, Hermanus with its unbelievable whale watching cove and wine tasting, and some of the world's most amazing beaches on your door step, makes this ...

Free-time activities

Being situated close to many of South Africa's top tourist attractions - Cape Town with its Table Mountain, Robben Island, Cape Point to mention some, Hermanus with its unbelievable whale watching cove and wine tasting, and some of the world's most amazing beaches on your door step, makes this experience a perfect volunteer stay.



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)

Nationality Restrictions

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

Other Skills

The main requirement we have is that there is a love for animals! We also require a good physical and mental health as much of the work entail outside work that requires a lot of consentration and focus.

Time Commitment

Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday

What's Included

What's Included

Services by Panthera Africa

Program fees include:
  • Transfers to and from Cape Town International Airport for arrival and departure
  • Accommodation
  • Breakfast at volunteer accommodation and lunch (when on-site)
  • Weekly transport to grocery shop
  • Transportation to local excursion activities once a week
  • Copy of book, "Cuddle Me, Kill Me" by Richard Peirce detailing the origin story of our sanctuary and issues facing captive big cats today!

Airport Pickup at Cape Town International Airport

Our start- and end dates are on Saturdays, so please arrive at Cape Town International airport between 10am and 2pm on your start date, and please do not book a flight that leaves before noon on your departure date as the earliest we can get you to the airport is 10am. 

Should you decide to spend an extra day or two to explore Cape Town before or after your time with us, we will still use the airport as the central pick up and drop off location. Once you booked your flights, please communicate your flight details with us.

Accommodation

During your stay you will enjoy our modern, cozy home which is situated 5 minutes drive, or 25 minutes beautiful walk, from the sanctuary. The house consists of: 

  • 3 bedrooms with 3 bathrooms,
  • a spacious and fully equipped kitchen and dining room for everyone to cook and enjoy dinners and games nights together, 
  • a cozy living room area with a fire for film evenings or just relaxing with a nice book. 
  • Outside you will enjoy beautiful mountain views, and we have a traditional South African braai (BBQ) area. 
  • There is a lovely dam and large garden with space to play games, walk or sunbathe. While enjoying a peaceful evening outside, you may just hear our pride of lions roaring in the distance.

Food & Beverages

Shopping takes place once a week to buy food for dinners and snacks, and we will take you on a small shopping trip on the way to the farm on the pick-up day so you can fill up a little bit. 
Please let us know at your convenience if there are any special requirements with regards to food or medical conditions so we can make arrangement should there be any.

Internet Access

Limited access at the project site

What's NOT included?

What's NOT included?

Flight Tickets

The nearest airport is Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town. 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

We have set arrival dates throughout the year, usually every other week, so please contact us with your availability.

Our start and end dates are on Saturdays, so please arrive and depart at Cape Town International airport between 10am and 2pm on the specific date. 

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

Program fees

2 weeks (min. stay) 1,238€
3 weeks 1,723€
4 weeks 2,158€
5 weeks 2,534€
6 weeks 2,866€
7 weeks 3,336€
8 weeks 3,812€
12 weeks (max. stay) 5,712€
Average fees 546€/week

Program fees

546€ per week 2 - 12 weeks Age 18 - 50+

Payment methods

Visa Master Card Maestro American Express PayPal

NO CREDIT CARD FEES


Duration

2 - 12 weeks

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 Panthera Africa during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.


Meet your host

Panthera Africa

Fantastic 4.5 rating (15 reviews)

Non-profit - founded in 2015

Verified by Volunteer World

  Very high response rate

Coordinated by

Steph

Spoken languages: English

About the project

Panthera Africa is a sanctuary for Big Cats. We create a secure, safe and prosperous home for captive Big Cats and raise awareness about ethical animal treatment.

Meet your host

Panthera Africa is a non-profit company founded by Lizaene Cornwall and Cathrine S. Nyquist.

Panthera Africa is a sanctuary for any captive bred big cats, founded by Lizaene Cornwall and Cathrine S. Nyquist. The name Panthera Africa is inspired by the passion Lizaene and Cathrine have for the four pantheras; panthera leo – the lion, panthera pardus – the leopard, panthera onca - the jaguar and panthera tigris – the tiger.

Big cats are under threat in the wild, and being exploited in captivity. Many tourists and volunteers are unaware of what is truly happening to these big cats, and therefore we take pride in speaking on their behalves. 

One of Panthera Africa's main purposes is to be an educational platform where we create awareness about conditions big cats face in captivity, and how animal welfare and enrichment play a vital role in giving them the best captive life possible.

Panthera Africa believes in the connection between both environmental and wildlife conservation, and aims to become the first "green" big cat sanctuary in South Africa, and run solely on solar energy.

Panthera Africa has found its 40 hectare paradise with a beautiful home for the animals, the owners and the many volunteers visiting. The land is filled with lots of large trees, a natural spring and an amazing 360 degree mountain view!

The international volunteer project offers you the unique opportunity to be involved behind the scenes! We believe in the equal importance of both humans and animals, and we will do our absolute best to give you the holiday of your lifetime. We know from personal experience that this includes both quality time with animals, as well as with staff and the other volunteers. 

Hearing a lion roar up close, getting love and recognition from a leopard, hearing the chuffing of a tiger, or seeing them appreciate and love the toys you make to enrich their lives. 

In addition to the indescrible bonds you will form with the animals, friendship will be formed and together at the end of the day we all can share stories, hopes and dreams around the bonfire with a cold drink watching the famous African sunset. 

Our Values

We care

  • Respectful towards each other and the animals and nature
  • Are inclusive
  • Take responsibility
  • With unconditional love

We are open minded

  • Inspire and motivate each other
  • Accept each other without judgement
  • Practice spirituality; meditation & animal communications

We are creative

  • Find solutions
  • Take actions and make things happen!
  • Constantly strive for improvement and new ideas
  • Do everything with excitement

About the Founders

While providing, managing and working closely with eight different species of predators, Lizaene observed and experienced each species' uniqueness and capabilities, and realised that protecting and caring for big cats was her calling in life. The foundation for Panthera Africa was laid, and the desire to rescue and care for the big cats in need powered her already big love, passion and admiration for them. Her eagerness to educate herself led her to learn about the truth about captive breeding, exploitation of big cats and illegal wildlife trade. Through her story and amazing connection with her ambassador animals, she aims to reach the hearts of thousands so everyone can understand how amazing these animals are, and that they should be respected and protected.

Catherine used to be one of those typical business ladies with a degree in business and finance, climbing the career ladder, enjoying the jet set life with wining and dining, and having the freedom to travel the world. In September 2011 she was going to start what she was sure was her dream job – a broker in the most up and coming commercial real estate company in Oslo. Two weeks before start up, she sat on a plane to South Africa and was going to volunteer at a breeding project. Little did she know that this choice was going to change her life in every possible way. After two additional trips to the project, she permanently moved to South Africa in May 2012, and started to assist Lizaene with all her tasks. Her days were quickly filled with lots of work and the best thing of all – a lot of indescribable animal time. Two years later, the two were starting their own project and following their dream of saving the big cats. 

We strongly believe in the saying "In union there is strength" - and by standing together, human and animal, we believe in the possibility of a prosperous future for the big cats, and we take pride in 'speaking' on their behalf.

15 reviews · rating4.5

Roxane Lanoue rating5

2023 at Big Cats Sanctuary

I spent 3 amazing weeks at Panthera Africa! The team is dedicated to the welfare of these animals who have been rescued from deplorable situations. A real sanctuary dedicated to animals with ethics and passion. How lucky to be able to observe such animals so closely. Many thanks to the team who ...
Manon Giovinazzo rating4.6

2023 at Big Cats Sanctuary

I had the opportunity to spend 3 weeks at Panthera Africa. It was a great experience, the team was very welcoming and I had a wondurfull time with the other volunteers aswell. As a volunteer, you get to help out everyday to clean the enclosures, feed the big cats, make fun enrichments for them, ...
Didier Garcia rating4.6

2022 at Big Cats Sanctuary

The owners and the staff are really connected. The talking was very interesting. The animals are very well respected through animal communication in order to respect them all, individually. All of them were very lovely in their own specific personality. I would have loved to spend more time there. ..
Heidemarie Hillerbrand rating4.8

2020 at Big Cats Sanctuary

My stay at Big Cats Sanctuarity enriched me with many experiences: the 'other' side of the life of big cats, of which the majority of people do not know or want to admit, the social commitment to humans and animals, the coexistence of different generations with the same interests, the acceptance of ...
Nicole Kuttnauer rating5

2019 at Big Cats Sanctuary

This was overall an amazing experience. You get to know every animal, their story, the people, and what it takes to be involved with a sanctuary. I learned so much, I made so many friends, and I can say with the most confidence that this is an experience that changed my life forever. I will most ...
Sina Starke rating3.8

2019 at Big Cats Sanctuary

I volunteered 2 weeks in the sanctuary and I am truly impressed by the effort of the owners (Liz & Cat) for giving these hunted/mistreated cats a new home of respect! Also, I admire their educational work: tours through the whole Sanctuary explaining to people about the breeding and hunting ...

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