Volunteering at this project will offer you the combination of the reserve’s rich variety of wildlife and bird species, clear night skies and more!
About the Program
The Cheetah & African Wild Dog Conservation Project aims to ensure our children never have to watch cheetahs and wild dogs become extinct like many other animals already.
The Project Centre is a tribute to a woman who has devoted her life to the survival of the cheetah species since 1971. Over the years she has developed extensive community of outreach and educational programs as well as a strategic breeding plan to build up the number of cheetah left in the world with a view to getting them off the “Endangered Animals” list where they currently are.
The Project is situated in the majestic Waterberg Mountains, north of Johannesburg and Pretoria, allowing the Cheetahs and African Wild Dogs to flourish in this un-commercialized area of peace and tranquillity.
Our conservation aims are:
Today the project can be proud of the work being
done to ensure the survival of ‘Acinonyx Jubatus’ - the Cheetah by successfully
breeding these magnificent animals, including the famous King Cheetah in
captivity. The project does not receive any government funding, and income
generated from day tours, the adoption program and volunteer contributions are
used to subsidize our conservation efforts and daily running of the
Volunteering at this project will offer you the combination of the reserve’s rich variety of wildlife and bird species, clear night skies (especially in the winter months), minimal signs of human development, working close with a variety of exotic animals and nature at its best!
Animals at the project
The project ranch aims to ensure the long-term
survival of the cheetah and more recently the African wild dog.
In the past 40 years it has successfully bred over 800 cheetah cubs!
Currently (January 2016) the reserve and project houses 60 Cheetah, 11 African Wild Dogs, 3 Caracals, 2 African Wild Cat, several Vultures. These figures vary from time to time due to breeding, release, fatalities, etc.
The diversity of free roaming wild animals in the bigger reserve are plentiful and include: Eland, Hartebeest, Blesbuck, Giraffe, Hippo, Crocodile, Warthog, Ostrich, Zebra, Impala, Waterbuck, Kudu and many more.
Prior to Arrival
It is recommended that you do some reading and research about cheetahs and other wildlife. This will help you understand and learn a lot more about the animals. As this is a project where you will be working with wild animals that need to be fed please be prepared to work with meat to feed the cats and other animals, so for those with a weak stomach; you get used to it very quickly.
For the busy European minds some days seem like there is nothing going on, but volunteers must understand that the pace of life in Africa is very different and depends on seasons, the weather and the heat. Some days will be more busy and strenuous then others; go with the flow and you will love your stay here.
Depending on the activities planned on a day, it could start between 7 – 9 am and finish between 4:30 and 5:30 pm. There may be longer breaks in the middle of the day due to the heat.
As animals don’t have office hours, work is flexible and on various times. Occasionally there might be babies or very young animals, including cheetah, servals, African Wildcats and other orphaned animals; this can mean taking shifts all through the night to assist with feeding when needed.
This could be a typical day , but maybe include other needed tasks:
In the mornings at the centre the volunteers will be divided into smaller groups to help with daily running tasks at the centre. This could involve cleaning rounds, feeding rounds, ambassador care (conditioning ambassador animals to being around humans), cheetah runs (exercise program) and basic animal health care assisting with certain veterinary tasks.
After lunch the volunteers will come back together to participate on maintenance of the centre. This work can involve invasive vegetation remoal, enclosure repair, enclosure painting, refurbishing enclosures (making the enclosures more habitable for the animals) and reserve maintenance (this could involve repair of the roads, clearing back bush etc.).
The order of these activities can change from day to day depending on the needs of the centre; however, whatever activities you do participate in they are guaranteed to be rewarding and interesting.
The first Saturday is a free day and volunteers are taken to an estate which offers a variety of activities and the most scrumptious meals. This day is to the volunteers account but is well worth the money spent. Sunday is a relax day where volunteers can participate in a laid back craft day, laze around the pool or read a book.
Volunteers will also have the opportunity to shop in Bela Bela (closest town) several times a week or to ask one of the staff to bring shopping back for you.
Bela Bela has a wide variety of shops, restaurants and supermarkets so most items you will be able to get here.
Airport pick up from Johannesburg International Airport, please check in with us during application for more details.
We provide “home away from home” accommodation and house our volunteers in comfort in shared rooms. Each room has a bathroom ensuite and can be shared by up to six people when busy. There is a cosy dining room for chilly evening meals and a cool veranda for the more casual hotter evenings. There is also a comfortable lounge and a beautiful garden.
In the serene settings is a charming chapel for those who would like some quiet time.
Volunteers will be responsible for keeping the room clean. Once a week, the volunteer co-ordinator will be present for security purposes while a cleaning lady will change linen and clean the lodge. Volunteers also have the option to place all their valuables in a safe which is communicated to them upon arrival. This affords volunteers privacy and safety for their belongings.
Laundry is done for volunteers on Mondays
Meals are healthy home cooked style meals. Breakfasts are either cold (cereals and toast) or hot (bacon, eggs, fried tomatoes and toast). Lunches are light meals such as sandwiches, tortillas, salads, etc. Suppers are normally a meat, starch and two veggies....or a pasta dish and salad.
These are all prepared for you and will be served in the lodge. A number of braais (BBQs) are spread through the visit.
The braais are accompanied by communal games such as a game of pool, Uno and a number of other games. Much laughter is had on these nights.
Side note, we also cater for special diets of Gluten or Lactose free / Vegetarian and vegan. Please notify us in advance.