You'll volunteer in a Sanctuary set in a small private game reserve in the Eastern Cape. You'll assist in feeding and generally looking after many different animal species, including over 250 different species of birds.
The Sanctuary receives many abandoned, abused, injured or orphaned animals that all need love and attention to help prepare them for life back in the wild, if that's possible, or a safe life in the Sanctuary. Many animals breed there, so there are often young animals to care for that need regular feeding and attention.
As the Park is rather large, there is always a very wide variety of activities that
you will be involved in. All volunteers are expected to “muck in” together, making
the work fun and rewarding. Work ranges from hands-on with the animals, to helping
and guiding the tourists or assisting in the restaurant and bar. Some of your work
will also include general chores in the Park itself. Briefly, your responsibilities
will include some or all of the following:
- Food preparation for all the animals and birds. You'll learn which animals eat what
food, how to prepare it and how much to give them.
- Nearly all the baby animals in the sanctuary are orphans that have been rescued
from elsewhere and brought to the sanctuary for safety and, where possible, to be
released back into their natural habitat in the wild. These animals need lots of
care and attention.
- Mucking out and tidying enclosures, and, when necessary, helping to expand existing
enclosures or constructing new ones.
- Collecting data on wildlife within the game reserve section of the park. This will
include, for example, monitoring the movements of wildlife and occasionally doing
Besides spending time with the animals and birds, there are other areas of the Sanctuary
and Wildlife Park needing attention as well:
- Helping with tours around the sanctuary. You'll learn a lot about the animals so
that you can convey this information to tourists or school groups that visit the
- Assisting with general duties in the restaurant, bar and kitchen, possibly even
helping with the preparation of meals.
- Helping unload supplies when they arrive.
- Some admin work may be required while you're there.
- General clearing of the Park to eliminate alien vegetation, for example. This makes
a more "user-friendly" and safer environment for the free-roaming animals (and is
in line with government policy of limiting alien vegetation wherever possible).
- Also checking for and clearing any rubbish on the property, because litter can cause
serious injuries to the animals.
- Bush clearing and road construction (with tractors)
- Assisting the small permanent staff with any project or maintenance work (i.e. painting
fences, repairing etc) that may be needed while you're there.
Hours of duty and Work Schedule:
The average working hours are from 07h30 until 16h00 and you'll work 5 days a week.
Two days can be taken off in a weekly rotation system. Some volunteers utilize this
time to stay out overnight to enjoy the nightlife in Port Elizabeth or Jeffrey’s
Bay, or they stay on the grounds and relax with a good book, or go for walks and
explore the enormous park.
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The accommodation is on the Game farm less than a 5 minute walk to the sanctuary
itself. It is split into various sized rooms from single rooms to twin rooms and
a 4 and 8 sleeper dorm. It has 2 bathrooms (one for the girls and one for the boys)
with 2 toilets and 3 showers in each. A small kitchen with microwave, gas hob, kettle,
fridge and washroom.
The restaurant is closed after work hours but a separate entertainment unit has just been completed in the Sanctuary rest room with DSTV, a dvd player and basic facilities for volunteers to make drinks and snacks.
Wi-Fi / Internet: There is no Wi-Fi available on site.
Food is provided and consists of a home-cooked meal every evening - this is the time that the owners and volunteers all sit down together and discuss the day and their various experiences. Breakfast and lunch and dinner are prepared for you although sometimes volunteers do help with this.
You will also have plenty of real South African braais (barbeques) - and what a magical place to have them!
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REVIEWS AND FEEDBACK
Zoe Trevett (British):
"I am so pleased I did the placement and wish I was still there!! Thank you so much for arranging everything, it all seemed to go very smoothly. I feel I have gained a better understanding of how animals function in the wild and how nature affects the balance. I have learnt how to care for animals but also when to and when not to fear them. I have learnt how to adapt to situations and to fit in with systems but also how to make suggestions of improvements where appropriate.
The best thing was definitely the people that I met, both in terms of the volunteers and the hosts. Sandy and Percy were so hospitable and make us feel so welcome and a part of the family. The care and attention to the animals is excellent and they work so hard to make sure the enclosures are the best they can be given with the funds available. I was pleased with the amount of contact there was with the animals, aside from the obvious ones which you couldn't interact with. There was a good balance between work and play and a good variety of activities.
I would definitely recommend this placement to others, I absolutely loved my time there and was extremely sad to leave again. I would definitely go back myself. I think it would suit someone who loves all types of animals and is interested in their welfare. Someone who is perhaps worried about being away from home, as the wildlife sanctuary is basically a home from home. I feel as if I have an extended family now!"
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