Animal Sanctuaries

This program incorporates wild, rescued and rehabilitated animals to improve their living and environmental conditions.

About the Program

The volunteers will have the opportunity to interact with some of the animals that will be encountered, in a respectful way and always under supervision.

2 day Volunteer Johannesburg Orientation

Arrive in Joburg or Jozi, as it is known locally, and get shown around by people who know the city well. The Johannesburg Orientation is excellent for first-time visitors to find their feet the local way and meet other volunteers on your project.

• Arty districts of Newtown and Braamfontein
• Constitutional Hill
• Telkom Tower
• Nelson Mandela Bridge
• Jazz Walk of Fame
• Mary Fitzgerald Square
• Traditional South African meal

Day 1
You will be picked up from the airport and taken to the hostel. Here you will be given a chance to settle down before meeting our SAVE volunteer representative.
You will be given a briefing on your volunteer program and then meet other travellers and volunteers for a welcome dinner.

Day 2

After breakfast you will be collected by one of our SAVE crew and shown your way around the sites of Johannesburg like a local. We will start off with a visits to Soweto, South Africa’s biggest Township here you will have the opportunity to take some  photos at the iconic Orlando Towers and Soccer City, home of the World Cup Final. We then head to a local food market where you can have a light lunch, shop for local arts and crafts and listen to some live music. After lunch we head to Constitution Hill, home of our South African Democracy and an integral part of our history. We then end the tour with a walk through the park at Zoo Lake, a pleasant end to the day.

Please note that the tour is flexible and may change according to the group’s interests for the day. This is your personal tour of our lovely city with our local guide to show you the best sites and places for the day.

Day 3
After breakfast we will either take you directly to your projects site, shuttle terminal or airport.

Typical Tasks

Cheetah and Wild Dog Breeding Centre

The centre’s main mission is to ensure the survival of the cheetah, the African wild dog and other wild animals. The center has succeeded in breeding with the King Cheetah for the first time in captivity, and has currently bred over 800 cheetahs as well as wild dogs, brown hyena, servals and other endangered animals.

Volunteer Tasks
Volunteers will be involved in the day to day running of the center, working with the cheetahs, wild dog and other animals. Duties include preparing food, removing alien vegetation, as well as repairing fences. It is truly a great experience to work with these majestic animals and is recommended to be done for at least a full week.

Elephant Project

This Elephant Sanctuary for orphaned and rescued “problem” animals, provides a safe environment for young African elephants in need of a temporary home, as well as a safe environment for a big bull (male) elephant called Amarula, rescued from a Zoo in 2006. This elephant sanctuary was opened in 1999 with a strong conservation purpose, and to act as a “halfway station” for our elephants to wait while a suitable wild environment into which they can be released, becomes available.

Volunteer tasks
Our volunteer program here will start with an educational introduction about this Sanctuary, the history of the elephants, and how we make a difference in a responsible way. The tasks will include assisting the staff in the day to day management of the animal environment and general maintenance of the reserve (cleaning the stables, painting, bush management etc.) as well as completing projects to benefit the life of the elephants. This will ensure a safe and educational environment where the public is enlightened and where awareness is created about elephants and their plight. Volunteers will have the opportunity to brush, clean and feed our elephants.

Monkey Project

Primates are under constant threat. They are hunted for meat, body parts or captured as pets and exported illegally to many locations worldwide. We assist with monkeys that were kept as pets and then become unwanted; they are rescued and released into a wild forest with waterfalls and mountain springs. It is very important to have a safe environment where these monkeys can be rehabilitated and professionals and volunteers can take care of them.

Volunteer tasks
Our program in this sanctuary will start with an educational introduction about the sanctuary, the history of the monkeys, and how we make a difference in a responsible way. The required tasks will include assisting the staff in the day to day management of dietary requirements, observation of behaviour and general maintenance of the reserve.

Bird Project

This is a vulture conservation programme for advancing knowledge, awareness and innovation in the conservation of African vulture populations. Today, vultures face an unprecedented onslaught of danger from human activities. They have to cope with electrocutions and collisions with electrical structures, poisonings, land-use changes, a decrease in food availability and exposure to toxicity through veterinary drugs, to list just a few of the challenges they face nowadays.

Volunteer tasks
Our program in this sanctuary will start with an educational introduction about this project, the wild birds’ history and how to make a difference in a responsible way. The required tasks will include assisting the staff in the day to day management, such as dietary requirements, supervised handling of the vultures and eagles if needed, and observation of behaviour during breeding season, as well as general maintenance of the reserve.

Game Reserve Project
The area is home to a diversity of “plains game”. The objective of our involvement here is to create a fully functional, clean and well managed nature reserve that is accessible to the public and will generate a consistent flow of visitors to the area. There are many conservation tasks to carry out on this property. Our objective is to ensure that our time there will be to the benefit of the animals and plants on the reserve.

Volunteer tasks
Volunteers will assist with tasks such as the removal and cleaning up of alien vegetation, planting and re-establishment of indigenous grasses and trees for grazing, developing new eco-friendly visitor paths, building bird hides, developing regular feeding areas and structures for our winter months when food is scarce, and regular burning to ensure fresh grass is accessible to the animals and bush clearing (removing excess vegetation that hampers natural growth).

Project Highlights:

  • Learning more about animals through interactive hands-on projects
  • Learning to capture, tag and release wild Vultures
  • Interactions with elephants, Monkeys and many more animals
  • Working on a real game reserve with truly wild animals around
  • Making a positive difference
  • Living a genuine conservationist lifestyle
  • Developing personal strengths and life skills

Suitable for


Typical day


A.M : Elephant food preparing and feeding / P.M : Elephant grooming


A.M: Preparing and feeding monkeys / P.M: Monkey sanctuary cleaning


A.M: Building new vulture enlosure / P.M: Vulture tracking


A.M: Animal tracking in reserve / P.M: Wildlife reserve weed removal


A.M: Elephant house paining / P.M: Monkey feeding


A.M/P.M: Off


A.M/P.M: Off

Program Requirements

Minimum Age
16 years
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Health Declaration
Criminal Background Check
Other Skills
Medium level in fitness, permission of legual guardians.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

Do you have any questions concerning this volunteer opportunity in South Africa? Volunteer World directly connects you with SAVE Foundation

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Free-time activities

Tandem Paragliding: Can be arranged for you upon request. Please note that this is weather permitted only.
Costs: R1100 per person

Quad biking and Zipline: Fun in the sun! Yes definitely something to experience.
Costs: R1100 per person

Pilanesberg: The Pilanesberg Game Reserve is located in North West Province in South Africa, west of Pretoria. It is home to the Big 5, along with an abundance of flora and fauna. This Game Reserve in South Africa is every wildlife enthusiasts dream.
Costs: R1000 per person – full day

Sun City “Africa’s Kingdom of Pleasure” is a luxury casino and resort, situated in the North West Province of South Africa. It is located between the Elands River and the Pilanesberg, about two hours’ drive from Johannesburg, near the city of Rustenburg. Here is lots of fun activities to do!
Costs: R1400 per person full day

Water Sports


What's included?
Return Transfer from Johannesburg airport - All meals - Accommodation - 24 hour support and supervisor - Donation to the project - Animal Interactions (Elephant, Monkey, Vulture) - 2 day Volunteer Johannesburg Orientation
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.

No worries, Volunteer World supports you in raising funds, checking your visa regulations and travel insurance. We also assist you in finding the cheapest flights for your journey.
Airport Pickup

Volunteers will be met at Johannesburg International airport and taken to the project. On project days the volunteers will be transported by minivan. The vehicles are roadworthy and have all relevant licenses and liability insurance.


Accommodation is on a wildlife reserve in Hartebeespoort. The house is in a secure development in a green belt/protected area. There is air-conditioning, a kitchen, lounge and recreational area, 3 swimming pools, squash courts, tennis courts, walking and running trails. The rooms sleep 2 – 6 volunteers.

Bedroom (Single) Bedroom (Double)
Food & Beverages

Volunteers will receive 3 meals a day.

Breakfast consists of cereals, fruit, yogurts, toast and spreads
Lunch consists of, fruit, cold meats and spreads.
Dinner consists of hot meal which is served every night such as, a traditional South African BBQ (braai), stews (potjies), casseroles, fresh vegetables and meats etc. All Dinners will include a meat, starch and vegetable.

Tea and coffee will be available and all other drinks will be at own expense.

Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
2 weeks (min. stay)
3 weeks
4 weeks
5 weeks
8 weeks
10 weeks
24 weeks (max. stay)

You can volunteer at the project site in Hartebeespoort, Johannesburg/South Africa between 2 weeks and 24 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. SAVE Foundation will tell you your final price during your application process.
Average Fees
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 SAVE Foundation during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Get ready to volunteer in South Africa

Check out first

Visa Regulations
Depending on your nationality, you have to arrange your visa for South Africa. Please check the visa regulations for South Africa.
Travel Seasons
Find out the best time to volunteer in South Africa and receive information on weather and climatic conditions.
Living Costs
Living costs vary with each destination. We give an overview of what you should plan as an estimated budget to volunteer in South Africa.
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in South Africa.

What's next?

The nearest airport is Grand Central (GCJ) in Johannesburg. 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.
Vaccine Checker
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.
What can you do in leisure-time in South Africa while you are not working at your volunteer opportunity?
Packing List
Packing our bags is important to prepare your trip, but often turns into a last minute horror. Make sure you don't forget the essentials by creating a personalised packing list for your volunteer program in South Africa upfront.
20 Briza Road, Tableview, South Africa, 7441 Hartebeespoort, Johannesburg, South Africa