from 2,090€

Outstanding 4.9rating (21)

Cheetah and wildlife rehabilitation centre

2 - 12 weeks  ·  Age 18 - 50+

rating  Outstanding 4.9  · 
  Verified by Volunteer World
  Excellent response rate


  • Work with African wildlife - Cheetah, big cats, hyena and more... support conservation as you work with a diverse array of species!
  • Health care and enrichment - The health and well-being of the animals is critical, help treat newly arrived injured animals or design environmental enrichment to help longer-term residence.
  • Research and study - Animals in breeding or rehabilitation centres give you unique ways to study their behaviour, spend time in enclosures observing and recording data to help our understanding.
  • Educate the public - The centre is open to visitors, once you’re trained and confident, give talks, tours or create presentations on the animals and work you’re doing to raise awareness!
  • Gain while you give - Running a wildlife centre takes many skills, bring existing skills or receive training and gain new ones as you help in a variety of roles as a team.

Especially suitable

Age 18+

About the program

Support cheetah conservation for introduction to the wild as well as rehabilitation and care of orphaned animals at this wildlife centre!

About the centre

Wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centres play an important role in conservation across South Africa, researching and providing a sanctuary for endangered species to help support their populations. Animals are brought in by the public or rescued by the centre, these animals are ...

About the program

About the centre

Wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centres play an important role in conservation across South Africa, researching and providing a sanctuary for endangered species to help support their populations. Animals are brought in by the public or rescued by the centre, these animals are cared for until healthy and ideally, returned to the wild or if not and in the case where injuries are too severe, given a loving forever home.

What you'll be doing
Volunteering at a wildlife rehabilitation and conservation centre means you’ll take part in a variety of important roles and projects to ensure the ethical standard and long-term health and happiness of the animals at the facility to support its conservation objectives... giving injured or orphaned animals a second chance, a species with an approx. population less than 7,000 worldwide.

Day-to-day planned nutrition and feeding, taking part in medical procedures, helping with site maintenance, researching and studying wildlife and educating the public through presentations and tours. Balance routine work with specialist projects relevant to your particular skills and interests to develop the centre.

Program objectives and duties
Rehabilitating, breeding and caring for wildlife
From regular health checks, planned veterinary work to responding to emergencies to treat injuries and diseases. Understand and apply how to care for and treat animals in a rehabilitation and conservation setting through hands-on practical experience.

Learn from and work with the experts to ensure endangered species or orphaned wildlife have a future.

Observe and research wildlife
Spending time in enclosures, you’ll build trust and work with specific animals to study them as part of ongoing research. Through observation, you’ll collect data and results that could be useful in the caring and support of individual animals or unlocking the behaviour of a species. 

Preparing food and cleaning enclosures
Each animal has a specific diet based on the nutrients it requires and its anatomy, learn about the adaptations of each species and prepare food accordingly. Equally as important is the cleanliness of enclosures, help clean and ensure old food is removed.

Design and provide enrichment for wildlife
There’s no debating it, a captive environment is very different from the natural environment wildlife should be in. Some animals like big cats thrive in captivity, others require support to promote good behaviour. Help design and implement environmental enrichment, toys for play to prevent boredom, structures to allow animals to hide or mimic natural environments.

Educational tours and presentations
The centre is open to the public and multiple times a day there are guided tours to allow people to visit and understand the challenges facing conservation and how the centre supports that. Once you’re comfortable and confident with your knowledge, help guide and showcase the incredible species you work with and educate others.

Centre maintenance and habitat management
From repairing fences, expanding facilities or building new enclosures to helping remove invasive species of plants to promote local biodiversity, support the centres growth and development hands on an practically.

Conservation work and camera trapping
The centre is based on a reserve teeming with wildlife including antelope, small mammals, reptiles and even wild leopard and hyena. Help monitor and understand the local species through conservation research.

Medical and animal care work
Sometimes injured or sick animals need extra care and support. This could be newly rescued animals from the wild or existing animals at the centre with their planned and scheduled procedures. Support the centre staff with their work, understand the medicines and techniques used and help protect wildlife. 

Optional activities and discover South Africa
The North West of South Africa known as the Waterberg is a unique UNESCO area of critical biodiversity, we want you to explore and get to know South Africa during your time with us.

In addition to the game drives and safari experiences you’ll have a chance for days out to discover key and iconic landscapes.

Typical day

Monday to Friday and from 7am to around 4pm

Training and building confidence
The first few days you spend at the centre will involve going out with group leaders and those who have worked with the animals long-term and understand their behaviour. You'll receive training and guidance as to ...

Typical day

Monday to Friday and from 7am to around 4pm

Training and building confidence
The first few days you spend at the centre will involve going out with group leaders and those who have worked with the animals long-term and understand their behaviour. You'll receive training and guidance as to which animal enclosures you're able to enter and how to interact with them.

Some like small mammals like bat ear foxes or mongeese are safe for all to work with, others like leopards and lions you'll only enter the enclosure in rare and controlled situations.

Typical day duties

In the morning you’ll take part in the routine roles of preparing food and checking animals that are under critical care or observation. After that and a brief breakfast meeting, as a team, you’ll start with any bigger projects such as building new facilities or planned animal care or guiding visiting members of the public around the centre to help educate and engage.  

Provided there are no exciting or unexpected twists… (think young or injured animals needing extra attention!) you might end the afternoon with a specific animal, observing it to provide environmental enrichment or placing camera traps for research.

Sometimes animals, especially orphan babies will need round-the-clock care and even into the night, you might be asked to help support with this work and given shifts or slots.

During evenings you and the other volunteers will be able to socialise and hang out however you wish. There are several communal areas and facilities including outside BBQ areas and swimming pools. Most volunteers play group games from sports to board games, planned excursions to nearby safari reserves or other projects in the area, even days out into the nearby town of Bela-Bela.

Food and drink
Breakfasts and lunches are included but dinners wont be.

You can decide if you want to cook for yourself or with as a group and with your fellow volunteers. As a group you will head into town on weekends to stock up and local supermarkets with any ingredients for dinners as well as anything else you need from the shops!

Free-time activities

When not taking part in volunteer duties you will have the opportunity to take part in the various activities in the area.

We suggest going as a group with your fellow volunteers, but some activities can be organised for single participants.

Safari drives and bush walks
There are many wildlife ...

Free-time activities

When not taking part in volunteer duties you will have the opportunity to take part in the various activities in the area.

We suggest going as a group with your fellow volunteers, but some activities can be organised for single participants.

Safari drives and bush walks
There are many wildlife reserves where you can go on some game drives or on foot bush walks to look for wildlife in its natural habitat!

National parks
Marakele National Park and the Pilanesberg National Park are areas of outstanding national beauty and home to many species, take day trips for a chance to get to know South Africa.

Wildlife centres and parks
From elephant sanctuaries to bird centres, there are many conservation organisations in the area for you to meet and visit.

Bela-Bela and Warmbaths
There are serval water parks and activity centres in these towns for you to visit on any weekends off, have a fun day out of relaxation as a team or solo!

Horse riding
There's more than one way to see the African bush, take a horse safari for a way to explore and adventure in South Africa thats a bit different, cover ground through a unique perspective.

Town trips
Visit local super markets and shopping malls for a chance to do some shopping, from souvenirs to clothes to a nice meal at a restaurant, there's more to discover in South Africa than just the wilderness itself!



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

Although a background in animal care or behaviour is advantageous, it's not required. Any volunteer that joins us will receive training and guidance with animal behaviour, care and wildlife rehabilitation work.

Time Commitment

Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 07:00 - 16:00

What's Included

What's Included

Services by Hamba Africa

Cost of this placement in addition to directly funding the wildlife rehabilitation and breeding centres work also includes:
  • Airport transfers to and from the centre
  • Accommodation during your stay
  • Participation in centre activities and projects
  • Breakfast and lunches
  • Bi-Weekly town trip for supplies & social
  • All itinerary/activity equipment is provided
  • Meet and greet event in the UK
  • Fellow volunteer contact list, to be sent out prior to departure
  • 24-hour emergency onsite support

Airport Pickup at O.R. Tambo International Airport

Airport transfers are included in the cost of your program
The meeting location will be the arrivals hall at O.R Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg.

When arriving in South Africa, please land before 12pm midday to ensure you land, and complete the 3 hour drive back to the centre in time for you to arrive and settle in daylight.

When leaving South Africa, please book any return flight after 6pm to ensure we can make the 3 hour drive to the airport with ample time for you to arrive ahead of your flight.

Preparing for your airport pick-up and transfer
We know it can feel a little daunting to land in a new country trusting someone is going to be there to collect you, please don't worry!

Once you have booked and confirmed your place we will call you to discuss all your travel plans, included in that is preparation for your arrival and departure at the airport. Our friendly team will explain exactly where you will be met and pass over your contact information to the person collecting you on the day and overall make sure you are feeling looked after, comfortable and confident!


Sleeping and accommodation

  • There are 14 separate apartment/dorm-style homes for accommodation.
  • They sleep typically between 2 - 3 people and each comes equipped with its own private bathroom facilities.
  • Accommodation is same-sex unless travelling as a couple/friends and requesting to share in advance but please note, this might not always be available as we operate via a first come, first serve basis.

There are also separate chalets and bungalows available that host 2 - 3 people or small groups with their own separate lounge, kitchen and bathrooms built into them.

Communal areas

  • There are many social areas in the volunteer accommodation area, from pizza ovens, fire pits for barbecues and weekend relaxation, a TV and lounge area as well as a bar area for drinks and conversations. There’s also a pool and entertainment area you are welcome to take advantage of during the day.
  • Most volunteers like to socialise together and naturally but we also organise events and activities to make the most of our time together.
  • Night drives around the wildlife centre to look for nocturnal species or games and activities to help get to know each other, even trips out to visit local restaurants!

Clothes are washed on most weekdays (Tues – Fri) the centres cleaning staff. Towels and all linen are supplied and are washed
on a weekly basis. To help ensure the accommodations long term maintenance and cleanliness, apartments/Chalets are cleaned staff regularly.

Food & Beverages

Breakfast and Lunches
You'll have breakfasts and lunches included in the program.

  • Breakfast takes the form of cerals, bread, sandwich fillers, eggs, cheese, yoghurts and fruits.
  • Coffee, tea and milk is also provided.
  • A cooked lunch is also served by staff every day, please let us know of any dietary requirements.

Dinner - Dinners are not included in the cost of the program.
You will be expected to cook for yourself or as a group with your fellow volunteers during evenings. Suppliers and ingredients for dinner will be bought from town, the approximate cost of a weekly shop in South Africa is around £35.

You'll go into down on a bi-weekly basis for a chance to pick up supplies as well as have an explore and socialise in town with your fellow group participants.

Internet Access

Good access at the project site

What's NOT included?

What's NOT included?

Flight Tickets

The nearest airport is O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg. 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

This placement runs regularly throughout the year.

Typically, you'll arrive and depart on the weekend but some flexibility around when works best for you to start.

Meeting point
We meet all volunteers at O.R Tambo International Airport, South Africa.

There, we'll pick you up and transfer you to the reserve, a 2 - 3 hour drive. On route you'll have time to stop of at the shops for any last minute supplies like snacks or drinks.

Departure point
You'll be taken back to O.R Tambo airport at the end of your placement.

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

Program fees

2 weeks (min. stay) 2,090€
3 weeks 2,596€
4 weeks 3,092€
5 weeks 3,819€
6 weeks 4,496€
7 weeks 5,179€
12 weeks (max. stay) 8,592€
Average fees 880€/week

Program fees

880€ per week 2 - 12 weeks Age 18 - 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 Hamba Africa during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Meet your organization

Hamba Africa

Outstanding 4.9 rating (21 reviews)

Agency - founded in 2019

Verified by Volunteer World

  Excellent response rate

Coordinated by


About the project

Hamba Africa provides conservation-focused programs and projects across South Africa. Each with unique goals allowing you to travel ethically while protecting nature!

Meet your organization

Hamba Africa is owned and run by safari guides and conservationists. We work with organisations across South Africa that share our commitment to real-world conservation, wildlife research and sustainable development.

We invest in you
We also work with universities based in the United Kingdom and the world to help structure and ensure our placements are an opportunity for those joining us to "gain while you give". Our work aligns with these educational institutions as well as internationally accredited professional bodies or best practices. We provide structured internships, courses, traineeship positions and accredited qualifications.

Meaning while you're giving back, getting hot and sweaty with our work, you're developing skills and tangible experience to act as a career-boosting opportunity.

Travel on the frontline of conservation
Our business owner has spent over a decade working in conservation internationally, from researching and living with elephants, cave diving in the Mediterranean, reintroduction projects in the UK or black mamba handling in Southern Africa... Rightly or wrongly, he thinks immersing yourself in wildlife as you protect it provides the most authentic and personable travel experience possible.

Who should join us?
Our only requirement is you are passionate about wildlife, conservation and community development!

We're happy to receive a lot of support from university students who join as part of a study abroad placement or as a way to support their academic studies and career employability, taking advantage of the skills and experience they gain from our projects.... Hamba Africa even works with some universities to allow their students to get their placements funded!

We also receive a lot of support from adventure travellers, those on a gap year or ethical individuals looking for a unique experience

We look forward to welcoming you!

21 reviews · rating4.9

The most impactful to me was being able to understand a wide diversity of species and improve camera work and other skills whilst volunteering. My highlight was taking selfies with animals! Also reading with the view of sunsets and elephants ...
Merel Floor van den Dool rating5

2023 at Endangered Species Conservation & Research

Waking up every day in the middle of a game reserve with wild animals all around the fences of the camp is just amazing! We went on a lot of game drives and witnessed epic animal behaviour like crocodile fights, lions cleaning each other and elephants taking a bath. In the afternoon we had time to ...
I spent 4 weeks in the Welgevonden Research Camp, and I loved it! I arrived at the end of Winter, so vegetation was low, and I had the opportunity to see and learn about more wildlife than I could have imagined. My guides were respectful, were happy to stop and answer my questions, and were thorough ...
I went for 5 weeks to do the long term volunteer wildlife program. When i arrived i had a tent for myself and the most beautiful view. Rhino’s passing by with their calfs, the zebras and the warthogs curiously looking at you. You get up early every day. Eat your breakfast and bring a lunchbox with ...
In August 2023, I had the opportunity to go out to South Africa, with Hamba Africa to spend time volunteering at the research camp in Welgevonden game reserve. During my 3 weeks with Hamba Africa, Harry, our knowledgeable guide, blended entertainment with education during each game drive, making ...
We had an absolutely wonderful week with Harry and Marge at the research camp. We've learned a lot about conservation in south africa and the specifities of keeping big 5 in a reserve. Passion and knowledge were seen every minute of our trip. We were able to participate in vet interventions ...


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Contact Harry
  Excellent response rate

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