Starting daysAll year around, Monday to Friday
Minimum Requirements2 weeks and longer subject to visa requirements. A minimum age of 18 years old if unaccompanied
Cost£1050 for 2 weeks and £470 for each additional week
What is included3 meals a day, shared accommodation, meeting you Kruger Mpumalanga International airport, airport collection and drop-off, pre-departure support, in-country team, 24- emergency help and more.
What is not includedFlights, visas, travel insurance and spending money.
Best forStudents or professionals of Veterinary Medicine, Zoology or other Animal related studies, gappers, career breakers, wildlife lovers, nature lovers and volunteers who like to get hands-on and are not scared of hard work.
  • lion
  • wildlife caretaker
  • Wildlife caretaker
  • Wildlife caretaker
  • African Wild dogs
  • wildlife caretaker

Project description

The wildlife park is set on 14 hectares with numerous animal enclosures and camps. All of the animal that are permanent residents are non-releasable for a variety of reasons because either to conditioned to humans, saved from the trophy hunting industry or exotic to South Africa and therefor non-releasable. Founder Melanie has a huge love of wildlife and in particular with her much loved lions and could not bear the idea that these animals could end up being hunted for trophies. Many of the animals have a story how they have been saved. For example, one of the elderly lions is blind and therefore in his case he is in a smaller lion camp for his safety and familiarity with a companion to assist him for the rest of his natural life.

Due to past trauma when rescued, some of the animals are off limits to the public as they do not like people. Volunteers will have access to these areas closed to the public.

You will find a variety of birds of prey, garden birds and exotic birds from other continents like owls, kites, hawks, hornbills, vultures, cranes, ostriches, and emus.

The animal enclosures and camps accommodate Lions, Leopards, Tigers, Serval cats, Caracal, Pumas, Cheetahs, Bobcats, Black-footed cats, Ocelots, Geoffroy’s cat, African Wild cats, Lynx, African wild dogs, Ferrets, Warthogs, Honey badgers, Porcupine, Polecats, Nile crocodiles, Genets, Wolves, Baboons, Capuchin monkeys, Vervet monkeys, Fennec foxes, Racoons, Coatis, various species of Mongoose, and Meerkats.

Volunteering at the wildlife park can be a rewarding and impactful experience, as it allows individuals to contribute to wildlife care efforts while gaining valuable skills and knowledge about wildlife, animal care and conservation.

Some of the volunteer duties at the wildlife park that you may be involved in:

Animal Care: Volunteers may assist with the daily care of the animals, including feeding, cleaning enclosures, providing enrichment activities, and monitoring behaviour and health. This can involve working with a variety of species, from large mammals to smaller birds, reptiles, primates and other smaller mammals.

Enclosure Maintenance: Volunteers help maintain the animal enclosures and camps within the park by planting native vegetation, clearing invasive species, building and repairing fences and enclosures, and ensuring that enclosures and camps are clean and safe for the animals.

Educational Programs: The wildlife park offers educational programs and tours for visitors and local schools. Volunteers may assist the local knowledgeable tour guides, leading groups through the park, providing information about the animals and their habitats, and answering questions from visitors and even acting as translators.

Veterinary: Some volunteers with relevant training, interests or experience may assist the wildlife manager and private veterinary doctors with animal health checks, administering medications, assisting with medical procedures, and providing rehabilitation care for injured or orphaned animals if the need arises.

Special Projects: Depending on the needs of the park, volunteers may be involved in special projects such as building new enclosures, creating educational materials, designing exhibits, or developing conservation initiatives. Planned future projects include a reptile sanctuary and expanding and developing neighbouring land to enable the adoption of more animals that need a safe home.

Volunteers play a crucial role in supporting the mission of the park and helping to ensure the well-being of the wildlife in their care.

Daily schedule

  • Wake up, have a quick shower, clean your teeth and grab a quick coffee or tea in your room.
  • 07h00 to 08h30 is time for the early morning feeding of the animals.
  • 09h00 is time for breakfast up at the dining room of the restaurant.
  • 10h00 is the daily briefing with your volunteer coordinator at the restaurant to plan the day’s schedule.
  • 10h00 to 12h30 is the morning volunteer duties schedule.
  • 12h30 to 13h30 is time to break for your lunch at the restaurant dining room.
  • 13h30 to 16h00 is the afternoon volunteer duties and late feeding schedule for many of the animals.
  • 16h00 back to your room to freshen up and relax- or chat to the others up in the dining room at the restaurant.
  • 17h30 to 18h00 is time for dinner up at the restaurant dining room. The restaurant closes at 20h00 so by then it is time to go back to your room and watch a little TV, chat to other volunteers and staff members who stay onsite and are still up for socialising.
  • volunteer bedroom
  • wildlife caretaker
  • bathroom
  • racoons
  • dining room
  • serval
  • wildlife caretaker

Accommodation

The volunteer accommodation is onsite surrounded by wildlife enclosures so at night you may hear the lions roaring. The accommodation is shared with the same gender and tastefully decorated. All rooms have a mini bar fridge and tea and coffee making facilities. Bedrooms have ensuite bathrooms and are shared with another of the same gender. There are Smart TVs for those that have Netflix accounts.

Bed linen and towels are provided. Laundry can be done via local laundromats that collect or handwashing. There is a surcharge if you would like your clothes washed and dried with a laundromat.

The rooms lock and there is 24-hour security on the premises and security guards.

The volunteer rooms are serviced Mondays and Fridays. Volunteers must keep it clean in between and be considerate to the other volunteers they share with.

Wi-Fi is available all around the site although South African sim cards can be bought at OR Tambo Airport in Johannesburg from either a Vodacom or MTN store and topped up with prepaid airtime and data so that you can use the South Africa 3G networks.

Food

There is a restaurant on site where volunteers will have their meals.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner are prepared for you off a set menu with delicious cooked and fresh options for you to choose from what you would to like to eat. Please state in your questionnaire on booking if you have any dietary requirements so we can try and accommodate for you. If you do not advise us in advance, we cannot make exceptions once you are on the project. Expensive items like vegan milks and cheeses or gluten-free products, cannot be accommodated so you will need to buy for yourself at the local grocery stores in the town.

You can buy a few snacks like crisps, chocolates, ice-creams and cooldrinks at the onsite shop. There is a water dispenser for drinking water in the restaurant. Tea and coffee are supplied.

Location

As a Wildlife Caretaker, you will be based in the province of Mpumalanga in the Mbombela area. The area boasts stunning landscapes, including lush forests, rolling hills, and dramatic waterfalls. The Lowveld Botanical Gardens are particularly famous for their diverse plant species and beautiful scenery. The region is also ideal for hiking, bird watching, and exploring nature trails. It is a is a popular tourist destination in South Africa for several reasons.

One of the main attractions in the area is the world-renowned Kruger National Park, one of Africa’s largest game reserves. It is a great place to for a safari adventure where you can see the “Big Five” (lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo) by entering the park through the Malelane gate and can easily do a day drive into the park with an experienced local tour guide.

Added to that, you can easily do parts of the Panorama Route on your weekends off taking in magnificent viewpoints and natural wonders like God’s Window, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, Sudwala caves with its dinosaur park and the Blyde River Canyon, one of the largest canyons on earth for a stunning boat trip.

The region offers a variety of adventure activities, including zip-lining, white-water rafting, and hot air ballooning. These activities provide unique ways to experience the landscape and wildlife.

Volunteers can visit cultural villages, such as the Matsamo Cultural Village, where they can learn about the traditions and lifestyles of the Swazi people.

This stunning region has a subtropical climate, making it an appealing destination year-round with mild winters and warm summers known for its agriculture, particularly citrus fruits, avocados, and macadamia nuts. Volunteers can tour farms and enjoy fresh, local produce.

These factors combine to make a special destination for volunteers looking to experience South Africa’s natural beauty, wildlife, cultural heritage and of course the world-famous Kruger National Park.

For more information or to book our Wildlife Caretaker volunteer project, please use the contact form or email us at info@volunteerinternationaladventures.com

All our Animal and Wildlife volunteer projects in South Africa