Wildlife, community & bush management volunteer project South Africa

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This project takes place over several different properties to help a variety of animals. The program incorporates wild, rescued and rehabilitated animals to improve their living and environmental conditions. Should you wish to volunteer at only one of the sanctuaries we will try to accommodate this.

This is another conservation project. Primates are under constant threat. They are hunted for meat, body parts, or captured as pets and exported illegally to every corner of our planet. Monkeys that were kept as pets and then become unwanted, are rescued and released into this wild forest with waterfalls and mountain springs. It is very important to have a safe environment where monkeys can be rehabilitated and professionals can take care of them.

The monkey sanctuary provides a safe haven for monkeys that are abandoned by their owners or monkeys that are confiscated by customs. The monkeys do not return to the amazon, but spend the rest of their lives in this sanctuary where they can live freely. Monkeys are not locked up in cages but stay in an area of a couple of hectares where they can roam freely. Again they have made the sanctuary available to tourists and use the income to cover the costs. (http://www.monkeysanctuary.co.za/)

Owl Rescue Centre is a registered Non-profit company and permitted rehabilitation facility concerned with the well-being of all owl species in Southern Africa. They are dedicated to protect owls, rescue owls that are in danger and rehabilitate and care for owls that have been injured, are sick, poisoned or orphaned and then release them back into their natural environment using specifically researched release methods. Owl Rescue Centre is involved in several conservation projects to decrease the high mortality rate of owl species.
  • Age: min.18 - max. 70
  • Location: Magaliesberg, Hartbeespoort
  • Requirements: You need to be physically fit and at least 18 years old. Furthermore, you don’t mind to get your hands dirty.
  • Group size: max 20 participants
  • Project duration: 1 week - 12 weeks
  • Laundry: Laundry can be done on Fridays at a cost of R30 per bag/load
  • WIFI: R70 per week
  • Linen/towels: Linen and towels are provided.
These projects are located in Magaliesberg, Gauteng and are approx. 80 km from Johannesburg, OR Tambo International Airport. All the project locations are within 25km of the volunteer accommodation, which is inside a nature reserve at the foot of the majestic Magaliesberg mountain range. Project-related transportation between locations will be facilitated by the organizers. Occasionally the shuttle will stop in town so you can visit the local supermarket, if you need to buy anything. Wednesday evenings dinners will usually take place at the local restaurant in Harties.

You need to be physically fit and at least 18 years old. Furthermore, you don’t mind to get your hands dirty.

There will be a volunteer guide / leader in charge to ensure that the program run smoothly, to give advice and provide leadership. The volunteer leaders will ensure that you understand the best way to help in each Sanctuary and that you get the most out of your stay.

Accommodation & meals
The volunteer accommodation is located in a large private house on a small reserve. The rooms vary from single rooms to 5-sleeper dorms. Please note that the private single or twin/double rooms are of the same standard, and the single/twin/double room supplement means that you can have the room to yourself. Please also note that the private rooms are always subject to availability. There are a few animals at the reserve for example antelope and other types of deer

The volunteer house has air-conditioning, a fully functional kitchen, lounge, BBQ as well as a recreational area including a small swimming pool. To get to and from the house to the projects or cafes/shops you need to use transportation, they are not within walking distance.

Volunteers will receive 3 meals a day which include:

Breakfast: self-catering breakfast of cereals, fruit, yogurt, toast & spreads.
Lunch: self-catering lunch of breads, fruit, cold meats, salad & spreads
Dinner: a hot meal will be served every night. These range from a traditional BBQ, stews, casseroles, fresh vegetable etc.

Please note:
Tea and coffee will be available all day. All other drinks will be at own expense. A refrigerator is available for volunteer's personal food..


The main purpose of the projects is to detect the needs, and improve the living and environmental conditions of the various animals residing at these locations. 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. These projects require volunteers to move between project locations on completion of assigned tasks.

Monkey Reserve
The tasks will include assisting the staff in the day to day management of dietary requirements, observation of behavior, and general maintenance of the reserve. In this environment you can walk along the meandering, elevated wooden walkways through indigenous forests and experience a variety of exotic monkeys in a natural environment.

Owls Reserve
The program in this sanctuary will start with an educational introduction about this reserve, the wild birds' history and how to make a different in a responsible way. The tasks will include assisting the staff in the day to day management with dietary requirements, handling the vultures and eagles if needed (under supervision), observation of behavior, and general maintenance of the reserve

Nature Reserve
You will actively be involved in bush management, removing alien plants, removal of invader plant species, bush cutting, fence repairs and other work focus around reserve management and maintenance.

Assisting at the local animal shelter and playing/helping out with orphans and underprivileged children at the informal settlement.


DAY 1 (Sunday) Arrival at OR Tambo International and transfer to the accommodation. First briefing and orientation: about the planning for the week, the different locations, all rules, planning for weekends (safaris, activities, etc). Question and Answer session. All Volunteers will be given the opportunity to tell us something about themselves, skills, as well as a worm introduction to the rest of the group. (This first briefing can be continued on Monday, depending on the arrivals and if the volunteers has been flying all night and have to rest).

DAY 2 (Monday) Volunteers will sign the required Indemnity Forms and the Rules and regulations of the Centre will be explained to all (behavior with the animals, etc). Health and Safety issues will be discussed, as well as the proposed daily program.

The group will then be taken on a full tour with a guide – for a full orientation and Education Program. Explanation of the Aims and Objectives of the Centre, history (why are this animals here), sustainability, the situation for wildlife in Africa and the future possibilities.

In each Sanctuary / Conservation Center the volunteers will be introduced to the team that they will be with on the next weeks. The same process as just explained, will be followed in every Sanctuary or Conservation Project that we will be involved with. Work Group allocation – depending on the number of volunteers per group, we will divide the group into smaller groups. If there are preferences as to who would like to be grouped together, this must be indicated. The idea being to have each group spending same time per Activity. Task description. Return to the accommodation. De- briefing. Time to relax, walk, swimming pool, etc. Followed by dinner.

Task 1
Food preparation; This could vary depending on what Sanctuary or Conservation Center will be helping, and on which food arrives on which day – Different types of fruits, vegetables for monkeys. And pigs, chickens, goats – cutting, preparing, mincing and cleaning of facilities at the Sanctuaries or at the vultures conservation center.

Task 2
Animal care; Preparation of food bowls for feeding. Feeding of animals, Cleaning of enclosures and where possible, animal interaction under supervision, packing of stones along animal enclosure fencing, food preparation for next day.

Task 3
General maintenance; Including, but not limited to – repairing of roads and paths; soil erosion containment; cutting, removal and spraying of invasive bushes and plants; grass cutting; fence treatment – wire brushing / cleaning of fencing; painting, repairing, day to day maintenance as and where necessary.

The project starts each Sunday and the minimum duration is 2 weeks


2 weeks16,000 ZAR
3 weeks20,500 ZAR
4 weeks25,500 ZAR

Rates includes
  • Return Airport Transfers (between OR Tambo International Airport and the accommodation in Magaliesberg.
  • Transport: all Project related transfers.
  • Accommodation (shared)
  • 3 meals per day provided at accommodation.
  • Welcome Brief: A warm welcome and full brief from our team.
  • Orientation: Full brief on first day with ongoing supervision with our Group leaders.
  • Donation to the Projects: to be used to assist financially with the projects.
  • 24 hour Support: Full in-country support from our experienced team.
  • Certificate: You will receive a Certificate of Appreciation on completion of your placement.
  • Discounted rates on extra activities and safaris as part of the volunteer experience.
Rates excludes
  • Flights
  • Visa fees (if required)
  • Travel Insurance
  • Weekend activities and trips
Click here to sign up.