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
If close to release time for a rehabilitated monkey troop, assist with site inspection
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
Learn from experienced primate conservationists about the various processes in primate rehabilitation
Visit wildlife reserves and national parks in your free time to view the Africa's Big 5
Volunteer in baby monkey season 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 16+

Established in 2002 the centre has successfully returned many animals back to the wild. Every year many Vervet monkeys (Cercopithecus Aethiops) are displaced, injured or orphaned. The aim is to see as many of these monkeys as possible returned to their natural environment. 

 There are approximately 70 monkeys -these include the adult monkey troops in rehabilitation enclosures-  to care for at any given time so lots of work to do!

During the baby season the orphans are reliant on round the clock care and love. The tactile interaction is of utmost importance to the development of young infants as monkeys are such highly social creatures and as they no longer have their own mothers and families to provide this care for them, the task must now fall upon us as to step in and takeover this roll. The number of rescued baby monkeys varies every year anywhere from 5 to 15 babies at a time throughout the baby season. The baby season runs through October till March – roughly South Africa’s spring and summer months- and it is the busiest time of the year so volunteers are always appreciated for extra hands-on help

As this is a rehabilitation and release centre and not a sanctuary as such, human contact with the monkeys especially in the rehabilitation stage, is avoided as much as possible. However, whilst the baby monkeys are under three to four months of age, they would be under the care of their Vervet mother and during this early stage we are her substitute. 

If you are a researcher, honours, masters or post-doctorate student, you are also welcome to further your research on the project. All the research that is conducted at the center is non-invasive  and the studies don’t harm the monkeys in any way.

A few examples of research that has been carried out in the past by students:

  • General behavioural studies
  • Alarm call recognition in captive primates
  •  Faecal bacteria content of wild monkeys versus monkeys in captivity
  • Self recognition in primates
  • Cognitive capacity and image discrimination in wild versus captive vervet monkeys
  • ​And even a photography student completing a project on primate hands and feet

Typical day

 7.30am- It's an early start and before the humans get to eat, the monkey's food is prepared

8.00am- Now it is your turn to sit down and have a nice breakfast to see you through the day

9am to 12pm- Daily duties (see below)

12pm- Break for lunch and a catch up

13.30pm- It's time now for the babies to go to the main enclosures and make sure they are clean. All part of the rehabilitation process

15pm- Collect vegetables from the garden

15.30pm- Time to scatter some monkey feed to encourage their natural behaviour of foraging

16 to 18pm-  The best part of the day spending some time with the adorable baby Vervet Monkeys

18.30pm- Just like human babies, monkey babies need to be put to bed

19pm- Time to relax, contemplate about the day and have a good South African style supper

Your daily duties may include:

  • assist with maintenance pertinent to the monkeys
  • monitor and observe monkeys in the enclosure and report any incidents should they occur
  • collection and sorting of food
  • replanting and maintenance of the vegetable garden used for monkey feed
  • keeping of feed storage areas clean and tidy
  • preparation of food – chopping fresh produce and preparing “dry” foods
  • washing of feed bowls and food prep area
  • delivering of afternoon nuts and seed treats to the enclosures
  • Enrichment projects for mental and physical stimulation of captive primates 

Your daily duties in baby season may include:

  • preparing of infant formulae as frequent as every two hours
  • washing and sterilising of bottles
  • bottle feeding of babies
  • cleaning baby sleep boxes
  • keeping baby play-pen clean and hygienic
  • washing baby blankets
  • assisting with introduction to a troop
  • ..and of course falling absolutely in love with these delicate little imps

Free-time activities

The volunteer project is very near a number of private wildlife lodges. It is in relative proximity to two of Kwa-Zulu Natal’s major wildlife reserves, one of which is a Big 5 reserve. Day trips or weekend visits to either of these options provide a fantastic getaway to view some of Africa’s incredible wildlife which is a MUST.
Other activities in the vicinity are river rafting or kayaking, week-end hiking, abseiling or taking a flight to get a birds eye view of Vryheid and the centre.
Water Sports


In order to join the program you need to be at least 16 years old on the program start date.
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, Friday and Saturday

What's Included

Services by Volunteer Int. Adventures
3 meals a day, accommodation, meeting you at King Shaka International airport in Durban, airport transfers, pre-departure support and admin, 

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

Airport Pickup at King Shaka International Airport
You will need to fly into King Shaka International Airport in Durban, the capital of KwaZulu-Natal province (KZN for short) where you will be collected on arrival at the airport and taken to your  project. 
Accommodation is onsite and either in the main house or the cottage. Depending on the volunteers at the time your accommodation could be shared or a private room. Couples and families can be accommodated. There is a pool for hot balmy summer days and Wi-Fi. Please be aware there are dogs and cats too for those with allergies.
Food & Beverages
You will be provided with three meals per day. Every volunteer will be asked to prepare one evening meal per week for everyone in the house.  
Goods that include specialty foods, alcoholic beverages, sodas, sweets, snacks and luxury items are not included in your package, so please bring your own along. 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

Arrival days from a Sunday to a Thursday from October to March during the Vervet Monkey baby season 

This program is paused due to COVID-19 and reopens July 2022. Apply Now!

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
12 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees
$528 /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 in baby monkey season at a permitted Vervet Monkey Rescue, Rehabilitation and Release Centre in the lush province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa


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