South Africa



If you do not yet know his name, surely you have seen this “Lion Whisper” on TV, playing and interacting with his favourite animals is Kevin Richardson, the South African Lion Whisperer, and wildlife sanctuary owner. If you are looking for a wildlife conservation volunteer program in Africa, this will meet your needs! Kevin Richardson is a world-renowned lion behaviourist and conservationist that offers participants to the Kevin Richardson Wildlife Sanctuary program a minimum 7 night stay, in which volunteers will learn and get involved in the daily running and operations of the sanctuary. During you stay, you will be directly involved with the maintenance and restoration of the 1200Ha Big Five Game Reserve, while at the same time providing the animals with top-class care and assistance in their rehabilitation.

The program is a calling to all those who have a burning desire to do the right thing. Gaining experience in wildlife care and management, while focused efforts on preservation and conservation are paramount to the future sustainability of many African species. Your simply wanting to spend time around these incredible predators is enough for you to play in key role in their future survival. Kevin prides himself and his sanctuary on providing the animals in his care, the best living conditions he can offer, always striving to ensure the animals lives are enriched while receiving the best love and care they could hope for.

Your direct participation in the healing and revitalizing of the Sanctuary’s animals is an extremely enriching and rewarding experience, for both the animals and you. Although you will not be working with animals, as the animals in the sanctuary are adults, the experience gained is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that should not be missed
  • 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 in the Dinokeng Game Reserve (18000 ha) situated in the Gauteng Province in South Africa.

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

Challenges are there to return the land to its ideal condition, as it was once farm land. You will help to play an integral part in restoring the area to its former glory.

Due to the nature of the facility most of the animals are adults and the work is not hands on. The 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 as 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.

A true wildlife hero and inspiration for others, Kevin Richardson is the man that walks with lions, and is passionate about their on-going protection and survival in the wild. And his wildlife sanctuary is here to do just that. Caring for and rehabilitating African wildlife at this world-renowned Sanctuary requires care and dedication, and comes with its own unique reward system.

The Kevin Richardson Wildlife Sanctuary is operated and run by a small team of hard-working and dedicated individuals, and your commitment and devotion helps them to ensure their objectives are met in the best possible manner. Imparting their knowledge onto others helps participants in the program gain a better and more respectful understanding of the animals both in the sanctuary, as well as those which can be found on the greater reserve. Education about the species, with the end goal of ensuring its survival is what the Kevin Richardson Wildlife Sanctuary is all about, and your voice is need to ensure the sustained survival of this iconic species.

Daily work hours at the sanctuary, excluding travel time to and from the sanctuary, and from 7:30am until 4:30pm daily. However, due to the nature of the work that is done, work hours may vary, all dependant on the needs of the animals at any one time. Unexpected events are bound to occur, and this should not come as any surprise when working with wild animals, especially big cats. Similarly, work hours do vary from time to time, especially during the mid-day summer heat which can be brutal. General cleaning and maintenance around the farm includes work to be done on the roads, fences, water holes, vehicles, predator enclosures and the volunteer camp.

Greater Farm Work
  • Work on the greater farm area is focused mainly on the management of the reserve, as well as it maintenance
  • River and road crossing maintenance allow continued and uninterrupted access to areas of the greater reserve
  • The removal of invasive and alien plant species
  • Keeping an eye open for snare while walking around and through the bush
  • Creating and maintaining fire breaks Sanctuary Work
  • The sanctuary work section is focused on the animal health, husbandry and enrichment of the animals, and is going to give you fairly comprehensive idea of what it takes to run a successful wildlife sanctuary
  • Cutting and clearing of bushes
  • The cleaning and re-filling of water holes
  • Cleaning and removing of fly traps
  • Food preparation for the lions, requiring the skinning and cutting up of a whole carcass. It is understood that this may be a little too much for those that are a bit sensitive, and as such, this is not a compulsory task for those who wish not to participate. One can still participate and experience the feeding process without going through the preparation of the meat.
  • Clearing and removing all the bones and faeces for predator enclosures
  • Checking the fences for any weak points or damage, and repairing or replacing what is necessary
  • The occasional painting, building and general repair work for the animals night time enclosures
  • Removing weeds along the fence lines, ensuring that the fences remain in perfect working order
  • De-worming and removing ticks from the predators
  • Assist during the filming of commercials and documentaries if any take place during your stay at the sanctuary
  • Animal enrichment activities, which includes Kevin walking with adult lions while participants follow in a game viewing vehicle from a safe distance
As inspirational and desiring as it looks when Kevin walks with the lions, it is not something that is encouraged by the sanctuary. The sanctuary does not allow for the hands-on interaction of participants with the lions, and for obvious reason. The relationship between Kevin and the lions is one that has been built over many, many years, and should not attempt to be replicated by anyone. No breeding of cubs is done at the sanctuary either, as Kevin does not believe in providing a constant supply of cubs for tourism or for the purposes of the canned hunting industry. For more information regarding canned hunting at its practices, take a look at It will help you to make a better ethical decision regarding your choice of volunteer stays.

Your participation in the successful running of this world–renowned sanctuary, while at the same time highlighting the sad and desperate plight of these incredible creatures is what the kevin Richardson Wildlife Sanctuary is all about. Through education and awareness, Kevin truly believes that we can make the difference.

The program is filled with fun and laughs and hard work and some play. With swimming gin the farm dam a definite option for escaping the African heat, and getting some chill time to enjoy the beautiful and unique African surrounds.

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.

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.

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 2020 Fee
1 week 1115 GBP
2 weeks 1600 GBP
3 weeks 2125 GBP
4 weeks 2840 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 Johannesburg
  • Visa fees (if required)
  • Travel Insurance
  • Alcohol and additional snack food and beverage items you wish to purchase
Click here to sign up.