Are you glued to your TV screen when your favorite program "The LION WHISPERER" is on?

Instead of being at home in front of the TV why not fly to South Africa and assist the world-renowned lion behaviorist and conservationist, Kevin Richardson, at his wildlife sanctuary in South Africa? You can participate in the Kevin Richardson Wildlife Sanctuary program for a minimum of 7 nights. During your stay you will be involved in the restoration and maintenance of the 1200 ha Big Five Game Reserve and maintain and care for the animals, among others the lions, that live at the sanctuary.

This animal lover’s project attracts those wanting to get some experience caring for wildlife and others just wanting to spend time around some of the predators they have grown to love and want to play a role in helping. Others come to meet Kevin after seeing some of his work. One of the things Kevin prides himself on is providing the animals with the best living conditions while in captive circumstances, and he is always looking for ways of ensuring that the animals’ lives are enriched as he aspires for them to receive the best care and love possible. Being a small team, your valuable time and effort helps them to achieve this.

In turn they hope to impart some of our knowledge on you about the amazing species that reside here at the sanctuary and in the greater reserve. They wish to inspire you to take up the baton and continue the race to educate the world on the plight of this iconic species that will soon be lost forever if drastic steps are not taken to ensure their survival.

The sanctuary’s efforts are buttressed by its many collaborative efforts with other like-minded international organizations that provide care, support, academic and scientific research and other such programs that support the shared values of the sanctuary. The sanctuary provides the animals in its care the ability to live out full lives, in an open and natural environment, by providing cutting edge enrichment programs and health care. Education of both adults and children are at the bedrock of how the sanctuary aims to accomplish its goals via documentaries, social media and tourism.

The Kevin Richardson Wildlife Sanctuary’s mission is to provide a self-sustaining African carnivore sanctuary for the purposes of wild species preservation through education, awareness and funding, especially pertaining to the rapid decline of large carnivores in Africa due to habitat loss, human-predator conflict, unscrupulous hunting, disease and their illegal trade. The sanctuary is situated on a private game farm known as Welgedacht that falls within the Dinokeng Big Five Game Reserve.

In 2011, a private game farm owner approached Kevin Richardson after seeing his documentaries and the need for expansion in order to make the sanctuary a sustainable entity. It was proposed that he moved his sanctuary to their family game farm that fell within the Dinokeng Big Five Game Reserve known as Welgedacht Game Reserve.

The two entities fit hand in glove, as they have the unique ability to attract people via Kevin’s work with predators providing volunteers with insight into his remarkable relationships and what it takes to run a successful predator sanctuary, as well as providing a greater bushveld experience being located in the heart of the African bush of a game reserve. The two entities shared vision of raising awareness about the plight of lions and other carnivores in the wild and captivity, helping to prevent their habitat loss via human encroachment and conflict (revenge killing), unscrupulous hunting and illegal trade.

  • Age: min. 18 - max. 70
  • Location: Pretoria area
  • Requirements: No specific qualifications are required to volunteer and experience with animals is not required. A genuine interest for the animal’s welfare, enjoyment of wildlife and the outdoors is all you need. Due to the nature of our facility most of the animals are adults and the work is not hands on. An average physical fitness and willingness to get ones hands dirty
  • Group size: max 12 participants
  • Project duration: 1 week - 12 weeks
  • Laundry: nominal fee R 30 - R40 per load
  • WIFI: limited Wifi that runs at a slow speed due to the remote location giving poor signal.
  • Linen/towels: provided
The project is situated on a 1200 ha game farm known as ‘Welgedacht’, which lies within the perimeters of Dinokeng Game Reserve (18000 ha) situated in the Gauteng Province in South Africa.

The Dinokeng Game Reserve (DGR) is an initiative of the Gauteng Department of Economic Development which aims to expand the economy of the north-eastern region of Gauteng by encouraging the development of tourism, and attracting private sector investment in the area. It is hoped that tourism will become the key sector for economic growth in the area.

After many years of preparation and development, the Dinokeng Game Reserve is the first free-roaming big five game reserve in Gauteng.

As most of the reserve was previous farm land, there are many challenges in returning the land to its ideal condition. Interns will help to play an integral part in restoring the area to its former glory. The project is exploring expanding its social responsibility program as well into the neighbouring communities as they feel there is an integral link between educating and uplifting the surrounding communities so that they will work together with the game reserve for long term success of both the community and the animal’s survival within the game reserve..

No specific qualifications are required to volunteer and experience with animals is not required. A genuine interest for the animal’s welfare, enjoyment of wildlife and the outdoors is all you need. Due to the nature of our facility most of the animals are adults and the work is not hands on. Our minimum age requirement is 18 years of age. The project however caters for a variety of ages and includes not only students, but also people taking a career break or looking for a more meaningful holiday so that also includes a more mature traveller. If you are travelling in a group or with family they do try accommodate teenage children 17 years accompanied by a parent.

An average physical fitness and willingness to get ones hands dirty is required Welgedacht is made up of 1200ha of natural bush with varying terrain. Many of the daily tasks are done on foot covering large areas. Most of the duties are physical and not all are fun to do. The running of a sanctuary and greater game reserve of this size is 90% hard work and 10% fun.

Please please carefully read the duties and expectations of a volunteer so that you are prepared before you arrive for what to expect. Ultimately volunteering can be a life changing experience for you but what you get from the experience is up to you.

Accommodation & meals
The volunteer camp is situated at The Trading Post nestled in the heart of the Welgedacht Game Reserve. Welgedacht is situated on the South Eastern boundary of the Dinokeng Big Five Game reserve and at any given time you may see one of the big five right where you are living. The camp has all the basic comforts of modern life yet you will feel like you are in the middle of nowhere surrounded by the bush and a subtle fence to keep unwanted visitors out. The camp has a number of African Contemporary farm style rooms.

One large unit approximately 40/50m2 subdivided into two sections with two or three beds in each section and share an en suite bathroom. There are also five twin rooms with bathrooms en suite There is no additional charge for these rooms and as a result bookings are made on a first come first serve basis.

For those wanting a private room. One of the land owners has a room with its own bathroom and separate entrance off their cottage available to rent at an additional cost.

Facilities include:
  • A central living area with lounge
  • TV and DVD player
  • Library
  • Limited WIFI that runs on low speed due to remote location
  • Lundry facilities
  • Outdoor boma area
  • Many nights are spend socializing around the fire
  • Swimming pool
Basic meals are included in the volunteer program and will be served at the volunteer camp unless you are working in a remote area of the farm then a packed lunch will be provided.

Tea/Coffee, cereals and rusks

Sandwiches and fruit. Volunteers also enjoy left over from the previous night

A variety of simple home style meals (vegetarian meals available on request).

At least once during your stay Kevin and Mandy try to join the volunteers for a dinner.

Work hours are from 07h30 to 16h30 excluding the travel time to and from work each day. Being a game reserve and working with animals, we do have unexpected events which can occur and may require longer work hours. Work hours may vary to avoid mid-day heat during our hottest summer days.

General cleaning and maintenance on the farm includes the Volunteer Camp, roads, fences, water holes, vehicles and Predator enclosures.

Greater farm work
  • Work activities covered in the greater farm section focus around reserve management and maintenance.
  • Road and river crossing maintenance to allow continued access to all areas of the greater reserve
  • Removal of invader plant species.
  • When out on bush walks keeping a look out for snares
  • The creation and maintenance of fire breaks
  • Vulture restaurant
Sanctuary Work
  • Work activities covered in the sanctuary section focus around animal health, husbandry and enrichment and will leave you with a pretty good idea as to what it takes to run a wildlife sanctuary.
  • Bush cutting.
  • Cleaning and filing of water holes.
  • Cleaning of fly trapsstorage of excess meat for the next feed. Kindly note that the meat they feed the lions comes in from donations in the form of whole carcasses which saves them a lot of money. Food preparation will require the skinning and cutting of meat which can be difficult for sensitive people. They appreciate that this activity may not be for all people and it is therefore not a compulsory task. One can still participate in the feeding without actually needing to prepare the meat.
  • Bone and Faeces removal from enclosures (while the animals are locked away of course).
  • Fence checks and where necessary erecting of new fences or repairs to existing fences
  • For the handy men/ladies occasional building, painting or repair work for the animal night enclosures.
  • Weeding along fence lines to ensure the fence remains in good working order.
  • De-ticking and de-worming of predators.
  • Assistance on filming jobs for commercial or documentary work when they are taking place during your stay.
  • Animal enrichment including walking of adult lions where Kevin walks the lions and the volunteers follow in the game viewer from a safe distance
While they appreciate that many people would like to interact with the predators as they see Kevin doing. The facility does not allow hands on interacting with the lions. The relationships Kevin has with the animals has been built up over many years. Kevin also does not believe in the mass breeding of cubs to ensure a constant supply of young animals for the tourism and volunteering industry as he believes there is a link between this practice and the sordid canned lion hunting industry.

For more information on this visit Which we believe will help enlighten you and help you make an ethical decision when choosing your volunteer stays.

Your role in the successful running of the sanctuary and spreading the plight of lions in the wild and captivity is very important and it is through education that Kevin believes we can make a difference.

While there is a lot of hard work at our program, there is also a lot of fun and laughs. Like swimming in the dam on the farm or going for afternoon sundowners and a game drive.

The program starts every Monday and runs throughout the year. It can happen that Kevin needs to travel overseas to attend conservation expo's. Please inquire before you book about his availability.


Duration 2019 Fee
1 week 1015 GBP
2 weeks 1455 GBP
4 weeks 2585 GBP
6 weeks 4000 GBP
Rates includes
  • Shared accommodation and all meals
  • Pre-departure information and advice
  • Airport pick-up on arrival and drop off on departure, this however must be on the dates provided otherwise an additional cost will be incurred for a private transfer which can be arranged (Rate on request)
  • This however must be on the dates provided otherwise an additional cost will be incurred for a private transfer which can be arranged (Rate on request)
  • One excursion a week for the duration of your stay (Cullinan tours/lunch/etc.)
  • Intern Africa will assist you in finding a suitable flight, apply for a possible visa, provide information on travel insurance, immunizations, travel to Hoedspruit and other required details.
Rates excludes
  • Flights/transfers to Hoedspruit
  • Visa fees (if required)
  • Travel Insurance
  • Alcohol and additional snack food and beverage items you wish to purchase.
Click here to sign up.