Vervet Monkey Rescue & Rehabilitation

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


Be a hands-on surrogate mother to baby Vervet Monkeys who have been orphaned in baby season or spend sometime assisting at the sanctuary with around 300 monkeys
Get stuck in assisting with monkey rescues which can be extremely challenging and often daily. Surrogate baby mothers will spend more time in the nursery
Take pride in the fact that your work will help the long term goal of a life of freedom in the wild for the monkeys you help with and your help has contributed to the welfare of so many monkeys
Learn from experienced primate conservationists about the various processes and challenges in primate rescue and rehabilitation, monkey behavior, diet and being a nursemaid to the babies
Visit some of the best wildlife reserves and national parks South Africa as to offer in your free time to view the Africa's Big 5... or relax on one of Durban's golden beaches
Volunteer with rescued Vervet Monkeys at a permitted Vervet Monkey Rescue, Rehabilitation and Release Centre in the lush province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+

It all started in 1995 as an educational awareness organisation and over the years, the project grew around to incorporate the need for rescue and care of Vervet Monkeys who are not protected enough by provincial and national government legislation. In 2015 when the holding facilities at the main property proved not to be large enough, a lease was secured for 10 hectares on a tribal nature reserve in the countryside, which is where the larger troops of Vervet monkeys rehabilitated in troops are found and also.

The project responds to more than 1000 rescue call-outs every year – and sometimes up to ten call-outs every day. Vervet Monkey injuries range from wounds sustained during fights with other monkeys, dog bites, being run over by motor vehicles, electrocution, being snared, trapped or poisoned, being shot with air (pellet) guns, catapults, paint-ball guns and firearms and being caught-up or injured on security razor-wire and many do not make it.


Many of the rescues- especially in the peak baby season from October to January - are babies or juveniles who are orphaned or injured when mother monkeys are attacked by dogs or other monkeys, or are severely injured or killed in human-related incidents.


Over eighty percent of the monkeys that they rescue, irrespective of the reason why, have got air gun pellets lodged in their bodies. A number of rescues each year concern monkeys who are simply sick, debilitated by illness, and once treated and recovered they are easily, but correctly, released back into their home territory.


Rescue call-outs originate from members of the public, other animal care organisations, veterinary practices, the police, various municipal offices, etc.


On any given day, the project has many monkeys in its home-based, “high-care” facility.


All rescued monkeys are cared for in the “high-care” facility after first being taken to a veterinary doctor. Once they have recovered from their injuries these monkeys are released back into their home territory or transferred to the wildlife rehabilitation centre or placed in a primate sanctuary


The project carries out rescues 24-hours a day, 365 days a year and…..

·    carry out or coordinate primate rescues

·    assist with Vervet sanctuary, neonatal care and rehabilitation

·    distribute information/educational leaflets including doing talks at schools and to other interested groups

·    lobby on behalf of Vervets and for the protection of indigenous wildlife habitat

·    encourage people to plant the indigenous trees and shrubs that provide food and shelter for Vervets and numerous other indigenous animals

·    fundraise to cover the cost of rescues, veterinary treatment, high-care and rehabilitation

·    assist people who are having problems with monkeys

·    assist residential and golfing estates, hotels, casinos, businesses, restaurants and B&B’s where monkeys are a “problem”

·    advise and assist with the establishment of feeding stations

·    organise and carry out snare sweeps


….. so there is a lot of work for you as a volunteer to assist with

Typical day

Please be aware if assisting being a nursemaid to the baby monkeys, that new-borns need feeding every two hours right throughout the night. At around four weeks old, the feeding is roughly every four hours, and they start sleeping though the night. Those volunteers assisting with bottle feeding the babies must be flexible as this can change depending on the individual baby monkeys.

Typical Day

7 and 8:00am- time for your breakfast and start preparing the food for the monkeys breakfast.

8 to 12:00- volunteer duties dependent on the season and if at the baby nursery and high care homebase or the sanctuary on the nature reserve

12 to 13:00- it’s time for lunch, a quick break, and a catch up

13 to 17:30- volunteer duties dependent on the season and if at the baby nursery and high care homebase or the sanctuary on the nature reserve

17:30 Finally it is time for dinner which is a good South African style vegan supper…trust us when we say that vegan never tasted so good!

17:30 to bedtime- time to relax, watch TV, play some pool in the games room and if on nursemaid duties, you may have some feeds throughout the evening and monkey cuddles before babies get put to bed.

Please be aware that with the rescued baby monkeys, there are regular feeds depending on their age which can disrupt this schedule. Also, if assisting with monkey rescue call outs, they are sporadic, unplanned and unpredictable.

Your volunteer duties out of baby season may include:

·    Assist with the maintenance and upkeep of enclosures

·    Monitor and observe monkeys in their enclosures and report any incidents should they occur

·    Collection and sorting food

·    Preparation of food- chopping fresh produce and preparing dry foods

·    Keeping food storage areas clean and tidy

·    Washing of feeding bowls and food prep areas

·    Delivering food to enclosures (ONLY permanent staff are permitted to carry food INTO enclosures)

·    Enrichment projects for mental and physical stimulation of captive primates to reduce boredom

·    Assisting with fundraisers or school educational visits

·    Assist with veterinary visits

·    Assist on rescues and animal cruelty reports at the local police stations

·    Distributing educational leaflets in areas where cruelty has been reported

·    Checking, feeding and caring for any other rescued animals at the project

·    Assisting with the vegetable garden and indigenous plant nursery

·    Checking boundary fences and repairs

·    Construction of enclosure “furniture” and enrichments

·    Clearing vegetation, litter and snares on the nature reserve

·    Monitoring and recording of information on free ranging troops of wild monkeys

·    Reporting any injured monkeys in the enclosures to the management

·    …and any other chores volunteers are willing to assist with


Volunteers are NOT permitted to enter any of the 18 monkey troop enclosures on the nature reserve with the adult troops of Vervet Monkeys unless requested by management.


Your volunteer duties with the baby monkeys in baby season may include the above and:

·    Preparing infant formula as frequent as every two hours

·    Washing and sterilising bottles

·    Bottle feeding of babies

·    Bathing babies

·    Any care similar to human babies- you may be required to take a baby or babies with you to your volunteer accommodation for night feeds

·    Cleaning babies sleep boxes

·    Keeping the babies play areas clean and hygienic

·    Washing baby blankets and soft toys as baby monkeys are very messy

·    Providing enrichments in the baby play area with splash pools, hammocks, and swings

·    Assisting with introduction to a troop

·    …and of course, falling absolutely in love with these delicate little imps


Free-time activities

Durban is in the province of KwaZulu-Natal the home of the Zulu Kingdom of which the warrior Shaka is the most famous. It has a subtropical climate and home to the most amazing wildlife and vegetation with plenty to do in your free time whether wildlife, cultural or marine life are your interests. Here are a few suggestions


  • uShaka Marine World is definitely one of the star attractions if in Durban where you can snorkel lagoons, feed fish and rays, cage dive with sharks and “walk the ocean” or just catch the penguin or seal feeding times
  • Take a boat tour with the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board travelling through the Durban harbour and watch staff servicing the shark nets
  • Visit PheZulu Safari Park for a reptile tour or a safari game drive
  • Beaches…beaches and more beaches…Umhlanga is one of our favourites for swimming. And the water is usually so warm
  • Hluhluwe iMfolozi Big 5 Safari Tour- this is a full day trip to one of South Africa’s best wildlife reserves famous for lions, elephants, rhinos and giraffes. It starts very early and can take up to 12 hours but so worth it! You can also include visiting the elephants at Bayete Zulu
  • Take part in a Zulu cultural tour and learn about Nqombothi (traditional Zulu beer) brewing, spear making, beading, weaving, pottery and also traditional dancing and singing. Not to be missed. This can be incorporated too with a wildlife viewing afternoon
  • Visit the Anglo-Zulu war battlefields on tour
  • Do a ½ day Durban city tour visiting landmarks, buildings, the botanical gardens and the Indian Market for famous Durban curry spices and souvenirs
  • Do a ½ day Durban wildlife tour of Natal Sharks Board and Umgeni Bird park


Durban also has the largest Indian community outside of Indian which over the centuries has made its mark on the local cuisine. One of the most famous culinary delights coming out of Durban is the spicy bunny chow. Despite the name it does not involve bunnies or rabbits but is a spicy curry – your preference for meat or vegetarian- dished into a hollowed out ¼ or ½ a loaf of white bread. Absolutely delicious although notoriously spicy! Also fantastic samosas, breyanis and rotis!


Boredom is definitely not an option in Durban with culture, history, wildlife- both land and sea, shopping, beaches and stunning scenery!

Water Sports


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
A background with wildlife rehabilitation, primate studies, conservation, veterinary medicine, zoology or a related field, is always a bonus but not a requirement
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 08:00 - 17:00

What's Included

Services by Volunteer Int. Adventures
3 meals a day (strictly vegan), onsite shared accommodation, meeting you at King Shaka International airport in Durban, airport transfers from and to King Shaka International Airport, transport while on the project (not free time days), pre-departure support and admin, 

24- emergency help, in-country support and staff on the ground

Airport Pickup at King Shaka International Airport

The closest airport for the Monkey Rescue and Rehabilitation project is in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa and is King Shaka International Airport.


Arrival flights must land no later than 16:00 and departure flights must leave no earlier than 10:00.


Please wait at arrivals to be collected after collecting your luggage and do not leave the area. Please look for your driver with a board with your name on it. If possible log into the Airport’s WIFI and notify us that you have landed.


For the duration of your stay, you will mainly stay onsite at the main home with the managers and their family. Bedrooms are shared either with one other or at most, three other volunteers of the same gender. Couples, families, and friends can be accommodated. A maximum of eight volunteers can be accommodated at one time.

The beds are either single or bunk beds and bedding and towels are available.

The bathroom is also shared and has a hand basin, bath, shower, and toilet.

There is a games room and a TV in a shared area for entertainment at night. There is WIFI and for those balmy hot and humid Durban days, a pool for volunteers to swim in.

For laundry there is a pay laundry close by. There are lockable safes for to store valuables.

For those volunteers that choose to spend one or two nights at the. Volunteer accommodation on the nature reserve where the adult troops are, the accommodation is very basic and rustic in a beautiful setting with shaded trees. A maximum of six volunteers can be accommodated in the bungalows on the nature reserve.

Bedroom (Double) Guest Family
Food & Beverages

Food at the project is strictly vegan whether for meals or food brought into the project. If volunteers crave a non-vegan dish, there are plenty of restaurants in the area to eat out at. The project is strictly animal and earth friendly so please no non-vegan take-outs too.

Meals are provided on the project. Breakfast is self-service and consists of cereals, toast, and spreads. Lunch is either packed sandwiches and fruit or self-service a salad or sandwiches at home. Dinners are traditional cooked South African dishes like babotie “pap en sous" and anything from pastas, curries, stews, braais (BBQ). Tea, coffee, and juice are provided.


You will have plenty of time to get extras like sweets and vegan chocolates, at the local shops.


South African food is well known for being very tasty and you will get a chance to taste some of the delicious local specialities while on the project.

Goods that include specialty foods like gluten-free, alcoholic beverages, sodas, sweets, snacks and luxury items are not included in your package, so please bring your own along provided that they are vegan if for the volunteer accommodation. If you have a specific dietary requirement, please let us know

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 King Shaka International Airport (DUR) in Durban. 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

You choose your start and finish dates. 

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

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
2 weeks (min. stay)
3 weeks
4 weeks
5 weeks
6 weeks
7 weeks
8 weeks
9 weeks
10 weeks
11 weeks
12 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees
$399 /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

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Vervet Monkey Rescue & Rehabilitation

Volunteer with rescued Vervet Monkeys at a permitted Vervet Monkey Rescue, Rehabilitation and Release Centre in the lush province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa


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