Assist hands-on with rescued and ex-pet Wolves, Wolf Dogs and Huskies at a canine sanctuary in a beautiful tranquil forest setting. Your duties will also be to help out with the other animals that call the sanctuary their home including farm animals, marmosets and alpacas. Perfect for those fascinated by canines!
|Starting days||Starting days are Monday to Friday all year round.|
|Minimum Requirements||2 weeks and longer subject to visa requirements. A minimum age of 16 years old without a guardian and 14 years old with a guardian|
|Cost||£1150 for 2 weeks and £400 for each additional week|
|What is included||Food, accommodation, meeting you at the airport, airport collection and drop-off, weekday transport to your project and back, welcome braai (BBQ), Saturday tour, donation to the project, pre-departure support, t-shirt, in-country staff, 24- emergency help and more.|
|What is not included||Flights, visas, travel insurance, spending money.|
|Best for||Gappers, career breakers, families, post-retirement gappers, couples, animal lovers, canine fans, conservation and zoology students, veterinary medicine students and qualified professionals|
Surrounded by beautiful pine forests, this beautiful, serene 6-hectare sanctuary, founded in 2000, is home to rescued ex-pets and animals from the exotic pet trade. There are two areas that you could help with, firstly with the rescued Wolves, Wolf dogs and Huskies and secondly with other resident animals like the farmyard animals: goats, pigs, sheep, horses, donkeys, emu, marmosets, alpacas, tortoises and bunnies.
You would work as part of a team under the animal manager and her coordinator and have lots of opportunities between duties, to have time to spend and make special memories and moments with the animals.
The volunteer work takes place Monday to Friday with plenty of time on weekends to explore the neighbouring areas from blue flag beaches, hiking, wildlife reserves, animal sanctuaries or partaking in the fantastic extreme sports the area has to offer.
Currently there are several packs comprising of wolves, wolf dogs and huskies. The wolves, wolfhounds and huskies get fed once a day.
The farmyard animals get fed three times a day and the marmosets get fed twice a day so lots of feeding routines to help with
Morning feeds start early at 8.00 am and the day normally ends at 5pm with lots of little breaks in-between. Please be aware some of the animals are fed a healthy raw food diet so meat is handled and needs to be prepared
Your duties may include:
- Food preparation- you will receive instruction on how to do this and what each animal’s diet is and how much to give them
- Feeding routines through designated areas of the sanctuary
- Checking the fences of the nature sanctuary
- Cleaning, tidying, and repairing animal enclosures
- Building new enclosures and expanding existing enclosures
- Making animal enrichments like “bark boxes” and of course they love soft toys, so any donations are always welcome although they do not last too long
- Walking and running the huskies. This needs to be done to alleviate boredom. The huskies in particular love a lot of attention. One of the huskies has Down Syndrome so in his case, a more slower pace walk is needed.
- Grooming and playing with the huskies
- Removing alien and invasive vegetation around the sanctuary
- Guiding tourists around the sanctuary and helping with the wolf tours. This is also a great way to learn about the background of the animals that are homed at the sanctuary
- Helping with cutting firebreaks around the sanctuary
- Assisting with general duties in the restaurant
- Unloading deliveries
- Administration work and any other general maintenance or project needed at the time
- Assisting with social media- great photos of the animals are always appreciated
- 7.00am – Wake up, freshen up, grab a bite to eat for breakfast and prepare a light lunch for the day
- 7.30am – You will be collected at your accommodation by your volunteer coordinator to be taken to the sanctuary
- 8.00am to 9.00am – Arrive at the sanctuary to help prepare the food for and start the feeding routines
- 9.00am to 10.00am – Time to do the rounds of the sanctuary and check that all is in order with the enclosures and animals
- 10.00 am to 10.30am -Tea break
- 10.30am to 1pm – Allocated volunteer daily duties or project
- 1.00 to 2.00pm – Break for lunch
- 2.00pm to 5.00pm – Complete your daily project and if finished early, enjoy some quiet time with the animals
- 4.30pm- Your volunteer coordinator will collect you and drive you back to your volunteer accommodation or you may choose to spend a bit of time at the shops
If you have any specific skills or qualifications that you feel could be of extra help, please let us know.
The volunteer accommodation is shared and self-catering in the town of Knysna close to shopping malls, restaurants, take-aways, gyms, nightlife, entertainment areas and essential services. There is security and the area is safe to walk around. Bedrooms are either shared with another volunteer or single depending on volunteer numbers, a satellite TV, a shared bathroom with a shower, basin and toilet and a washing machine. There is a braai facility and kitchen for meals. There is also WIFI. Couples, friends, and families can be accommodated.
You will need to fly into George Airport for your airport collection where you will be met by your Volunteer International Adventures representative and driven to your volunteer accommodation in Knysna.
Knysna is one of South Africa’s favourite towns based around the beautiful Knysna estuary with views of the iconic headlands. It is not known as the jewel of the Garden Route for nothing and is surrounded by magical forests, farmlands and a breath-taking coastline dotted with blue flag beaches which are great for swimming, barbequing or just simply watching dolphins surfing in the waves. It is also home to the famous elusive Knysna elephant which are the most southern free roaming elephants in the world and there are still hot debates about the numbers with some saying there is only one left and others a small herd of about four.
The area that Knysna is situated is the Garden Route of the province of the Western Cape and it is a dream for animal lovers and extreme sports enthusiasts as there are numerous private wildlife reserves, national parks, whale watching, predator sanctuaries, primate sanctuaries, elephant sanctuaries, bird sanctuaries, skydiving, paragliding, sandboarding, ziplining, numerous interesting markets, quaint shops and fantastic restaurants so boredom is not an option. It is very easy to find your feet, so volunteers tend to settle in within a few days. You will be given a site tour on arrival
Included in the project is a tour of the Saturday markets and a wildlife reserve- entry for your own cost-and a Sunday welcome braai (BBQ) to experience true South African hospitality and traditional meals to add to your experience of South African culture.
“What is the best thing about your placement so far?— Ra Ramakrishnam
– Having such an all-rounded experience. Our trip was more than just volunteering with the animals, but also meeting other like-minded people we could connect with easily and experiencing such a wonderful country’s culture for the first time. And of course, getting to see wolves in real life was unforgettable!
Your biggest achievement so far?
– The sanctuary being home to so many animals meant we could try our hand at doing lots – my biggest achievement would probably be when I helped handle the herd of alpacas when we had to clip their nails! It took 5 of us to keep each alpaca down and that’s something I never would have imagined ever doing 😂
In your time there so far, has anything happened that has stood out, or touched your heart, or made you laugh?
– Bonding with the wolf dogs was so special – especially when they recognise you and call for you to come play. They are such beautiful and misunderstood animals, and learning more about them from Angelique and Carina made us respect them so much more.
What experience do you feel you are gaining?
– A deeper understanding of other cultures and learning more about conservation.
Please write a short case study to help future volunteers:
Volunteering at the wolf sanctuary will let you get lots of hands-on experience, like learning to handle huskies and wolf dogs and caring for the farm animals, to building and cleaning the enclosures. Be prepared to get down and dirty (literally!) – it is not glamorous, and you must be ready to put in elbow grease to help everyone at the sanctuary. Angelique and Carina were amazing to work with and so kind to us during our time with them. As volunteers, you are expected to have a high level of respect for the animals you’ll be working with, so go in with an open mind and you will have a wonderful experience meeting and bonding with the dogs. One tip would be to head down during the dryer seasons as most of the work is outdoors – that said, we still had a great time despite volunteering in winter. If you don’t mind working in light rain and getting muddy kisses from the wolf dogs, you will be fine 😊”
Singaporean, June 2023r