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Oceans 2 Earth

Western Cape Big Cat Sanctuary

The Western Cape Big Cat Sanctuary is an environmentally friendly sanctuary which is currently home to lions, tigers, caracals, jackals and a leopard.

The Sanctuary

The sanctuary provides a compassionate and enriching environment for exploited big cats to live out their lives in comfort and safety. It also provides a range of specialist services such as trapped animal relocations, animal communication workshops and big cat facility advice and assistance.

With a strong focus on raising awareness of the plight of big cats in Africa, the sanctuary delivers on-site educational programs to sanctuary visitors and provides the opportunity for visitors and volunteers to be involved in creating enrichment toys and activities for the cats.

The Location

The sanctuary is located on 40 hectares of private land in Stanford, in the Western Cape province in South Africa.

Situated in the Overberg region known for its grain and fruit production, Stanford is a small historic village built on the Klein River. Considered one of South Africa’s best preserved villages, Stanford is known for its beauty and charm.

South Africa is a country on the southernmost tip of the African continent. It is made up a variety of ecosystems. The inland safari destination of Kruger National Park covers vast shrublands populated by big game, the Western Cape encompasses lush winelands around Stellenbosch and Paarl, wild beaches, the rocky cliffs at the Cape of Good Hope, the forest and lagoons along the Garden Route, and the city of Cape Town which sits beneath flat-topped Table Mountain.

Our Volunteers

Volunteers assist in many different areas of the sanctuary such as

  • cleaning enclosures and water bowls
  • helping to prepare the food for the big cats
  • helping build enclosures
  • clearing alien plants creating important enrichment toys for the animals to play with
  • checking electric fencing around the enclosures and property

Volunteers also play a role in educating visitors to the sanctuary, helping to spread awareness and compassion for the plight of big cats in Africa.

On arrival at the project you will receive an orientation from a staff member. Your orientation will cover an introduction to the project, rules and regulations, a house induction, animal introduction and a rundown of your tasks while at the project.

Contact with the Animals

The caracals at the sanctuary were raised with humans and require ongoing interactions with humans for their emotional wellbeing. Volunteers will have the opportunity to engage in ‘play time’ with the caracals.

Physical contact with the other big cats is strictly prohibited! This includes the lion cubs.

Most operations involved in the hand rearing of lion cubs do not have the lions’ best interests at heart. Many of these cubs end up providing sport for hunters. Potential volunteers are encouraged to do their own research on the Canned Hunting industry before embarking upon a lion volunteering project in South Africa to ensure that they aren’t supporting an unethical and cruel practice.

Please note

Some sanctuary maintenance tasks can be physically demanding working in the heat of summer. Some volunteers may also feel a bit squeamish about the large portions of meat that are fed to the lions.

There is no maximum age, however you will need to be able to stand for long periods of time, work in humidity or the heat and perform manual labour tasks. 

Suitable for

Singles
Couples
Groups
50+

Typical day

Every day is different, but volunteers are always involved in the daily care of the big cats, including preparation of food and feeding and watering the animals. The animal enclosures are also cleaned and maintained regularly.

As part of the sanctuary’s enrichment program, volunteers have the opportunity to get creative and design and construct fun and challenging toys for the big cats and then enjoy watching the animal enjoy and destroy them!

Most days the sanctuary delivers two educational sessions for members of the general public. Volunteers will join in with these sessions and help to raise awareness and motivate visitors to care for animals. Volunteers also assist with general farm maintenance such as weed control and fence checks.

You will work two shifts per day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

Details on Arrival

You can start on every day of the year.

Program Requirements

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).
Language Skills
You need to speak English (fluently)
Health Declaration
required
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
Volunteers must be willing to work and must be able to take direction from staff. Volunteers must also have a genuine care and compassion for animals and a desire to enrich the lives of animals in captivity.
Time Commitment
Regular working hours are hardly predicable. It mainly depends on the work force. Get in touch with Oceans 2 Earth straight ahead to get more infos about current to dos and objectives.

Any questions? Just ask. We at Oceans 2 Earth are happy to help you.

Free-time activities

The Stanford Walking Trail follows the Klein River through the town and is considered a ‘must-do’ for visitors to Stanford. There are also a number of great hikes in the area.

Stanford has a reputation for offering excellent bird-watching opportunities. Some of the species found in the area can be found along the Stanford Walking Trail. For further opportunities, take a cruise down the Klein River or visit the bird hide at the Willem Appel dam.

Between July and December, head to the coast for some superb whale watching. Join one of the whale-watching boat cruises available or head to nearby Hermanus or De Kelders and let the whales come to you! The whales regularly come to within meters of the shore.

For a more adrenalin-charged experience, try shark cage diving for the opportunity to see sharks and other marine life up close.

If shopping is more your thing, don’t miss the monthly sunset markets that are always a hit with volunteers.

Water Sports
Swimming
Diving/Snorkling
Hiking

Included Services

What's included?
  • Pre-departure support
  • Project Information Pack
  • Transfers from Cape Town Airport to the project and return
  • On the job training
  • Accommodation
  • Breakfast and lunch
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • 24-hour O2E emergency phone
Airport Pickup at Cape Town International
Accommodation

Large shared house with communal area and a pool.

Guesthouse
Food & Beverages

Breakfast and lunch are supplied. Vegetarian options are available. Volunteers must supply and prepare their own nighttime meal. Volunteers will be taken on a weekly shopping trip to obtain supplies.

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.

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.
Costs (Prices in USD)
2 weeks (min. stay)
$1,333.00
3 weeks
$1,777.00
4 weeks
$2,221.00
5 weeks
$2,665.00
9 weeks
$4,442.00
17 weeks
$7,996.00
50 weeks (max. stay)
$22,651.00
Average fees
$560.00/week

You can volunteer at the project site in Stanford, Western Cape/South Africa between 2 weeks and 50 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Oceans 2 Earth 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 must be made up to 30 days before to the volunteer program starts. This payment is also securely handled by PayPal or credit card.

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.
Budgeting
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?

Airport
The nearest airport is Cape Town International (CPT) in Cape Town. 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.
Free-time
What can you do in leisure-time in South Africa while you are not working at your volunteer opportunity?
N/A, Stanford, Western Cape, South Africa

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