The Wildlife Rescue, Rehabilitation and Clinic volunteer project gives you the opportunity to volunteer with an amazing team of experts that are dedicated to giving sick, injured and orphaned wildlife a second chance. Assist the team with feeding and caring for its wildlife inhabitants on a daily basis until they are well or mature enough to be released to survive in their natural environment, free in the wild. This is an extremely fulfilling project knowing that you have added to their eventual freedom and safety. A perfect project too for animal physio or veterinary medicine students and professionals too that are looking to expand into wildlife as they may assist the clinic manager and sisters in the onsite clinic.
|Starting days||Arrivals and departures Monday to Friday all year around|
|Minimum Requirements||2 weeks and longer subject to visa requirements. A minimum age of 18 years old or 16 years old with a guardian|
|Cost||£680 for 2 weeks and £300 for each additional week|
|What is included||Food, accommodation, meeting you at the airport, airport collection and drop-off, pre-departure support, in-country staff, 24- emergency help, a virtual adoption as a wildlife warrior for one of the animals in care in your name and more|
|What is not included||Flights, visas, travel insurance, spending money in your free time|
|Best for||Gappers, career breakers, families, post-retirement gappers, animal lovers, nature lovers, volunteers who like to get hands-on|
Run by a small, yet highly dedicated and experienced team of staff and local and international volunteers, the Rescue, Rehabilitation and Clinic volunteer project assists over 3000 injured, orphaned and displaced animals every year. From mongoose, genets and monkeys to raptors, reptiles and antelope, the project represents a second chance at a free, safe and sustainable life for all wild animals in distress.
The Wildlife Rescue, Rehabilitation and Clinic volunteer project cares for anywhere between 200 – 600 different animals at any given time! The number and variety of animals can vary depending on the time of year.
Much of your duties involves understanding the principles of wildlife rehabilitation and contributing towards giving animals that have been orphaned or injured, the best chance of getting back out into the wild where they belong. You’ll contribute to an extremely valuable conservation effort that provides medical care, rehabilitation and also releases wild animals back into their natural environment.
Those volunteers qualified or studying veterinary medicine, nursing or related qualifications, may assist the full-time clinic manager and sisters in the onsite clinic. Please let us know if you would like to use this for practical credits for your studies.
Your work with the animals has the direct result of improving their quality of life, of “rescuing” them from death or a life of misery.
- Assisting with preparing the animals’ food and ensuring all their nutritional needs are met during their rehabilitation through enrichment activities
- Assisting with the care, treatment and monitoring of each animal’s recovery and progress.
- Assisting with the cleaning of the animals’ enclosures and ensuring their environment meets all their physical needs.
- Assisting with the cleaning, repair and maintenance of the centre’s facilities and animal enclosures.
- Assisting with centre’s trained staff with wildlife rescues and releases out in the field.
- They also have a very busy Educational Program, so if education ‘is your thing’, you may be able to assist with school tours and edutainment events at the Education Centre, if available at the time that you’re there.
- Assisting with marketing and fundraising if you have any related skills
The longer you are on this project, the more you will be able to do more in-depth and responsible elements of the work required. Volunteers assist five days on and two days off
The project strives to release all its wildlife patients back into their natural habitat in the wild. Watching a release is a particularly satisfying occasion!
The project is all year round as wildlife rescue and rehabilitation does not take a break. The focus of that work is closely related to meeting the needs of their wildlife patients which do change from season to season depending where each animal is in their individual recovery and rehabilitation.
South Africa’s season are as follows:
- Spring: September, October and November
- Summer: December, January and February
- Autumn: March, April and May
- Winter: June, July and August
The climate in KwaZulu-Natal- in particular Durban- tends to be more subtropical with February being the most humid time of the year.
During spring and summer those animals that have suitably recovered and been rehabilitated (weaned from their dependence on their human caregivers) are released back into the wild. In addition to caring for new arrivals and those animals that are not suitably recovered yet, you are therefore likely to participate over this period in the release and monitoring of animals that are being returned into the wild. It is also a busy time as it is baby season for many of the indigenous species found in the area
Spring and summer is KwaZulu-Natal’s rainy season and therefore releases are done at this time to give the animals a chance to adapt to their new environment, establish a territory, find the best food sources and water, etc before the cold winter months set in and adequate access to food and shelter become essential to their survival.
Those animals that are not ready to be released during this period remain at the project during autumn and require ongoing care throughout the winter. This is also the time that the project readies itself for the next influx of injured and orphaned babies that usually start coming into the centre from early spring.
Preparation of food, feeding and caring for those animals that have remained at the project, is ongoing, but there is also a strong focus at this time to repair and improve the clinic, upgrade enclosures, transport boxes and other equipment used to rescue and release wildlife.
Rescues are ongoing throughout the year and you may go out with the staff to help capture and secure injured animals that need to be brought back to the project for medical attention and care.
Duties throughout the year may also include painting and construction, landscaping and removal of alien vegetation, as well as enriching the enclosures with natural structure and foliage to keep the animals stimulated and ensure they can recover in as natural and stress-free environment
This is truly a wonderful project that is both rewarding and unforgettable.
There is a fully furnished volunteer house that accommodates up to 10 volunteers sharing, at a time. There are three bedrooms and two bathrooms and living areas with an outside patio, fire pit and a braai (South African BBQ). The house is on the grounds of the rehabilitation centre with other staff also living in separate accommodation right next door to the volunteer house.
Where possible, couples, friends or family who would like to stay together in the volunteer house are given their own room, but this is obviously dependant on how many volunteers there are in the house at the time.
The volunteer house is cleaned once a week by a staff member, but volunteers are responsible for keeping the house clean and tidy on a daily basis and a roster is in place for things like cooking duties and washing dishes. A washing machine is available in the house too so volunteers can do their own laundry. Bedding is provided.
A safe is available in the house with 10 individual safes should you wish to lock away your passport, money or any valuables. Mobile phones do operate with full reception on-site and there is WiFi
Food is provided on this project. Volunteers cook and eat their meals together in the volunteer house as this is a great way to get to know your fellow volunteers and learn a little about their nationalities and cultures. A weekly grocery shop to provide volunteers with 3 meals per day is done by staff and volunteers. Any special dietary requirements e.g. vegetarians, vegans are met within reason, however luxury food items are at your own expense.
There is a small shopping centre with a grocery store, shops, a post office and fast-food outlets located within walking distance of the project
The province of KwaZulu Natal (KZN) is renowned for its Wildlife Reserves and traditional Zulu Culture : The attractions range from vibrant cities to the gorgeous Land of a Thousand Hills, from long stretches of beaches to outstanding Wildlife Parks and Nature Reserves.
The climate in Durban, the main city in KZN, is very subtropical and has on average 320 sunny days a year. Some months like February are particularly humid and winters are mild and sunny. It is a diverse melting pot of European, Indian, and traditional indigenous Zulu culture with golden stretches of beaches with the warm Indian ocean, tropical vegetation and delicious food which can be on the spicy side due to the Indian culture- one of the largest populations of Indians outside of Indian in fact.
There are lots of shopping malls in the area and getting around for sightseeing is easy with numerous tour operators, taxis, Uber and Bolt. It is a very popular tourist destination not only for its beaches but also for the cultures and wildlife found in the urban areas and outskirts of the city in numerous small nature reserves.
These are just some of the experiences in Durban and surrounds, you shouldn’t miss:
- uShaka Marine World is definitely one of the star attractions if in Durban where you can snorkel lagoons, feed fish and rays, cage dive with sharks and “walk the ocean” or just catch the penguin or seal feeding times
- Take a boat tour with the KwaZulu-Natal ~Sharks Board travelling through the harbour and watch staff servicing the shark nets
- Visit PheZulu Safari Park for a reptile tour or a safari game drive
- Hike one of the numerous smaller nature reserves
- Beaches…beaches and more beaches…great for swimming, sunbathing, snorkelling and scuba diving with a fantastic warm current thanks to the Indian ocean
- Try your hand at a surfing lesson…hang 10! Durban is quite famous for its surfing beacges
- Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 Safari Tour- this is a full day trip to one of South Africa’s best wildlife reserves famous for lions, elephants, rhinos and giraffes. It starts very early and can take up to 12 hours but so worth it!
- Beautiful St Lucia with its hippos and crocodiles…take a boat trip to view them even closer
- Take part in a Zulu cultural tour and learn about Nqombothi (traditional Zulu beer) brewing, spear making, beading, weaving, pottery and also traditional dancing and singing. Not to be missed. This can be incorporated too with a wildlife viewing afternoon
- Visit the Anglo-Zulu war battlefields on tour
- Do a ½ day Durban city tour visiting landmarks, buildings, the botanical gardens and the Indian Market for famous Durban curry spices and souvenirs
- Do a ½ day Durban wildlife tour of Natal Sharks Board and Umgeni Bird park
- Incredible food with a spicy flavour influenced by the large population of South Africans with Indian ancestry….try a traditional “bunny chow” – no it is not made with bunnies
Durban is the main city in KwaZulu-Natal and the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation project is on its outskirts in a more natural environment
Before the stay into the project:
Just a wonderful exchange of informations with Sharon.
She took care about everything, she was always there when we have got some questions.
All the documents needed where send on time with of lot a explanations.
During the stay:
Warm welcome at the airport and quick transfer to the project.
The job was great and we learnt so many things about animals and how to take care of them. The staff and the volunteers were fantastic.
Everybody shared beautiful ways of mind and were very concerned by nature and environment as well. The place was gorgeous.
The nicest experience ever for us.
We took care about birds, mongooses, genets, monkeys, tortoises, meerkat and many others.
It seemed to us like being in a big family.
The place to stay was a comfortable house to share with others volunteers which was very interesting for all of us.
By the way Sharon made all the arrangements to make us discover their beautiful country.
We had the chance to visit Durban, to make a safari in Hluhluwe/Umfolozi to see the big five and to visit Lesotho.
For us those 17 days were absolutely fabulous and the dream was alive.
I suggest everyone to live this experience at least once in a live. For us, make sure that we will make it again with Volunteer International Adventures
To share time with the Wildlife Centre as well.
Thank you so much for the tremendous work made by Sharon who is now our friend forever.
Volunteer International Adventures is definitely the best.– Frédérique Gaspard, Pierre-Yves Baeken and Bastien Rémans, Belgium, April 2022
For tours in your free time if on this Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation project, we recommend tour operator, Julnic Tours. Julnic Tours is a registered Tour Operator with Tourism Kwa-Zulu Natal. All guides are experienced and registered with Tourism Kwa-Zulu Natal.