Wildlife Rehabilitation & Veterinary Experience

Volunteer Int. Adventures
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Coordinator | Sharon
Coordinator | Sharon
¡Reserva con la opción Flex! Elija nuevas fechas de salida o cambie a un programa de voluntariado diferente sin costes adicionales.

Puntos Salientes

Be surrounded by lions, leopard, servals, caracal, African wild cats, meerkats, water mongoose, a variety of indigenous birds and a resident warthog! Hear the lions roar at night
Marine animals are treated too. Periodic releases of rescued and rehabilitated penguins take place throughout the year at the local beach. In season a large amount of baby turtles are treated too
Great for students or those qualified in studying conservation, zoology and especially veterinary medicine! Also suitable for career breakers, friends post-retirement gappers and animal lovers
Learn first hand from professionals on the care, treatment, rehabilitation and eventual release of various rescued species from wild cats, birds, antelope, primates and others
Jam packed weekends filled with extreme sports, whale & dolphin watching, wine tasting, beach & forest walks, wildlife safaris & animal sanctuaries
Help with wildlife awareness and life-saving care, feeding, treatment and rehabilitation of rescued injured, sick and orphaned animals at a rehabilitation centre. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 20+
Solteros y solteras

The nature of the work includes partly wildlife rehabilitation with a little veterinary ongoing treatment (if needed by the animal patients)  and partly care work with animals. 

There are two main sections to this project

  1. The Wildlife and Wild Cat Awareness centre
  2. The Wildlife Rehabilitation and Clinic

Assisting in the Awareness Centre

To fund the rehabilitation work and to raise awareness of the conservation issues in South Africa, the centre offers small group programs throughout the day with a focus on providing a conservation-based, informative tour.

The awareness centre homes captive-bred ‘ambassador’ animals used for education and awareness purposes, which is vital to conservation efforts. Note: This should not be confused with a ‘breeding centre’ (which has no conservation value) as no breeding takes place.

The work you’ll be involved with at the Awareness Centre could include …

  • Assisting with vaccinations and inoculations of ambassador animals if needed
  • Assisting the animal keepers with animal enrichments
  • Cleaning enclosures
  • Preparing food and feeding animals
  • Monitoring animals’ behaviour and general animal husbandry

Animals include lions, leopard, servals, caracal, African wild cats, meerkats, water mongoose, and a variety of indigenous birds! Many of the resident animals are ex-pets that have been confiscated due to a lack of paperwork and are too human habituated to be released into the wild.

Assisting in the Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre and Clinic

This area of the rehabilitation centre is not open to the public. Here you’ll be able to assist with much needed care for the animals in the unit which includes a pelagic bird and animal section as there are often rescued turtles and penguins that are brought in by the public.

Your duties could involve the following:

  • Check the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) in the mornings if patients
  • Administrating medications and hydration if needed
  • Food preparations and feeding, which could involve various methods like hand-feeding through tubes, cropping etc. This would be twice a day or more depending on the animal in the clinic
  • New admissions assessments
  • Relocating animals to other enclosures onsite
  • Assisting with hard releases into the wild
  • Assisting with animals in soft release enclosures
  • Helping to administer Physiotherapy to animals that are injured and need it if qualified
  • Checking incubators
  • Assessing the animals’ behaviour and monitoring them while they’re in the hospital and clinic.
  • Assisting with the wildlife veterinary doctor if he is treating the wildlife at the centre on a call. Wildlife is also taken to private veterinary practises for medical diagnosis.
  • Assisting with periodic penguin releases

You’ll work 6 days on and 1 day off per week, however, although an additional day off a week can be requested. Please let us know if you have any specific skills, studies or qualifications related to wildlife or veterinary medicine  

The project work is with some of the most unpredictable factors around animals, nature, weather and people. In fact the best saying around here is “the most predictable thing about our work is its unpredictability…”   Because of this it is very difficult to get an exact outline of a day in the life of a volunteer.

Please note there is not a full time veterinary doctor onsite and you will be assisting with medical treatment with rehabbers with instructions by veterinary doctors and nurses if needed.

Please also be aware that we support responsible travel and this is NOT a captive breeding facility. As an ethical wild cat awareness centre, there is no trading, breeding or petting of cubs. Volunteers will be given instruction and guidance by staff on the ground who have worked with the wild cats and wild life rehabilitation for many years. In the rehabilitation process as the release time gets closer, human contact will be reduced. Wildlife releases are subject to certain conditions with various conservation partners and often under prior veterinary health checks to ascertain that the animal or bird is healthy and mature enough to have a safe release. It is standard practise for birds to be ringed before release back to nature, takes place.

For those that speak foreign languages, we would love you to assist if we need a translator and help with social media and marketing is always appreciated 

Typical day

We put the animals and their needs first but as a “Guideline” we can say a day might look something like this…

07:00am – The day starts. Everyone meet up at the Rehabilitation centre for the daily briefing and go through what needs to be done for the day. In winter, the day starts at 7:30am

7:30 – 9:00am – Start with animal feeding and enclosure cleaning in the morning. This means you will be assisting the staff to feed various animals between the awareness centre and the rehabilitation facility. Exactly what animals will depend on, what is in for treatment and the schedule of the in-house animals in the awareness centre. 

9:00am – Tea and coffee break

9:30am – Food Preparation and General duties which are usually any issues noticed in the morning that need attention. If there is nothing urgent then the list from the previous day is referred too 

12:30 – 2:00pm – Break for a long lunch due to the early start to the day

2:00 – 16:30pm – General duties: Any tasks that need addressing – these could be things like fixing a small hole in an enclosure fence, removing a tree that’s fallen over, painting an enclosure, working on long term projects and general stuff that happens around the project. There may be animals that need medication or new rescued animals brought in throughout the day that need housing or attention.

Lastly the afternoon feed and animal checks. Then its time to lock up all the gates and say goodnight to all the animals.

16:30pm – Time to relax around the fire, catch up with the family or take an afternoon walk through the forest. Remember that things change constantly and the first focus is on the animals but we also want you to be comfortable and ENJOY the experience, make some memories, friends and lasting ethical practices for the future.

Free-time activities

There is plenty to do in the area from elephant sanctuaries, bird  sanctuaries, primate sanctuaries, the world’s highest bridge bungee jump is not too far away,  wine farms to taste the wines endemic to the area and of course the beautiful beaches of nearby Plettenberg Bay are some of the most beautiful in the world where you can swim with seals and go boat-based whale and dolphin watching. A nature and wildlife lovers paradise! For sports lovers there are several golf courses, paint ball, hiking, kloofing, ziplining, skydiving and various water sports including surfing! Enjoy!
Water Sports


In order to join the program you need to be at least 20 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)
Required Documents
Covid-19 vaccination certificate
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
If you are studying veterinary medicine, conservation, zoology or a related field, this project is perfect for you! If not, we still have plenty for you to help with!
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 07:00 - 16:30

Servicios incluidos

Services by Volunteer Int. Adventures
The cost of the project includes food, shared accommodation, meeting you at the nearest airport, airport transfers on arrival and return, weekly  outings in the immediate area, a branded t-shirt, pre-departure support, in-country staff and 24-emergency help 
Airport Pickup at George Airport
You will need to fly into George Airport for your collection and departure and our representative will collect you at the arrivals area where we start the 2-hour drive to the project. Arrivals need to be strictly before 16:00. Volunteers can also fly into the smaller airport of Plettenberg Bay although this is not standard practice. 

This area of the Western Cape province is referred to as the “Garden Route” with lovely long stretches of beautiful beaches and unique flora indigenous to the area so the slightly long drive to the project goes by quickly. 

On completion of your project, you will be collected and returned to George airport for your departure flight. Airport departures must be after 13:00. If earlier departure times, volunteers will need to overnight in Knysna the night before at their own cost, as it is closer to George Airport. 

Those that would prefer to arrive via a coach from Cape Town, can be collected at either the depot in the towns of Knysna or Plettenberg Bay in daylight hours.

Weekday arrivals and departures only.

The onsite volunteer accommodation is a separate 2-bedroom and 2-bathroom cottage (normally unless we have a lot of volunteers past the standard four). It is very comfortable and nicely furnished with its own kitchen, dining table, couches and a little outside patio to relax and read a book. There is also a dining room and TV area is shared with permanent staff and another kitchen.  There is also an outside patio with a boma (firepit) and braai (BBQ) facilities

Wi-Fi is included. There is a washing machine for laundry and detergent is provided. Bedding and towels are provided too.

Relax after a hard day’s work listening to the lion’s roar under the African night sky, is an experience all on its own.

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- in the communal kitchen of the volunteer cottage. Volunteers also need to keep their living areas tidy.

Occasionally volunteers and staff will enjoy a typical South African braai (BBQ) together which is always a great way to end the day but this is not guaranteed. 

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 George Airport (GRJ) in George. We assist you to find cheap flights to Sudáfrica.
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 Sudáfrica provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Sudáfrica you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Sudáfrica.

Fechas y Costos


Details on arrival

All year around during the week- no weekend arrivals or departures. unless by arrangement and an exception. Space is limited for this project to four volunteers and it is very popular so please book your dates early.
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
$583 /week

La organización cobra sus honorarios en GBP. La tabla de precios en USDestá sujeta a las fluctuaciones monetarias. Volunteer Int. Adventures le hará saber el precio final durante el proceso de solicitud.
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.

Por qué reservar con Volunteer World

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Wildlife Rehabilitation & Veterinary Experience

Help with wildlife awareness and life-saving care, feeding, treatment and rehabilitation of rescued injured, sick and orphaned animals at a rehabilitation centre.


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