Come and join us at this amazing monkey rescue and sanctuary that will provide you with a unique experience to interact with the primates and to assist with the daily care of the animals. You will gain a fascinating wildlife experience while you learn all about the primates and the care they need.
Volunteers will play a vital role in continuing the success of protecting these beautiful animals and ensuring their welfare is of top priority. You will leave the sanctuary having made lasting friendships with the staff and other volunteers as well as fantastic memories of an unforgettable experience.
You will get hands on experience with all of the many different primate species that are currently at the sanctuary, including; Capuchins, Macaques, Patas Monkeys, Squirrel Monkeys, Mona Monkeys, Tamarins, Marmosets and Grey Mouse Lemurs.
The sanctuary was the first of its kind and setup in 1996 with the aim to provide a safe haven for these vulnerable monkeys to come and interact with each other. The project is not open to the public to ensure the primates get peace and quiet to provide a life that is as close to normal as possible.
The need for such an important sanctuary has come about due to the common practices of primates being hand reared and kept as domestic pets in South Africa. The lasting effects this process has on the primates is not fully understood or managed well by the owners and leads to the monkeys becoming more aggressive, confused and agitated. This in turn means the primates are then neglected, passed on to unwitting new owners or even euthanized.
Unfortunately, due to the damage already done from hand rearing means that these primates are too vulnerable and not developed enough to return to the wild. With your support that provides a strong and stable structure and a managed routine at the sanctuary, as well as spacious enclosures and care, the project ensures that the monkeys are as happy as possible.
Your days will be hands on and you will get to experience all of the work that goes on around the sanctuary. You should be prepared for a lot of hard work and we can ensure you that you will get dirty! A typical day may involve the following.
Feeding – A large operation in itself is the feeding of all primates currently housed at the sanctuary. This can be anywhere between 50 and 100 monkeys and volunteers are integral for keeping everyone fed. You will be responsible for buying the food from the local market, cutting and prepping all of the meals and then delivering each specific meal type to the enclosures. A few popular choices are porridge, fresh fruit and marshmallows!
Cleaning and Maintenance – There are 45 enclosures within the project site and keeping them all well maintained and clean is crucial to ensuring the hygiene and wellbeing of the primates. This can include sweeping the floors, removing weeds and even building new enclosures.
Medication – You will be in charge of dispensing and delivering the medicines for any unwell monkeys as well as recording any updates on the primates health conditions. The primates will need out smarting though, as they are often wise to the smells and taste of the medicine so you will have to learn different methods on getting around this.
Observation – After only a few days on the programme you will get to know the different personalities across each species and will even be on first name terms with the primates. It is important to observe and record the behaviours, actions and daily routines of the primates to monitor trends and to identify early any health changes or problems.
Socialisation – Introducing new primates to enclosures is a very delicate process and requires a lot of observation and monitoring. You will need to see how they settle into their new enclosure and interact with the other monkeys and check on their behaviours.
Interaction – A major highlight of the week is the opportunity to get up close and personal with the monkeys within their enclosures. This provides you with an amazing opportunity and is the perfect time for photos. The monkeys love this time as it is different from their normal routine and they get some special treats.
Monkey Assistance – There are times when baby monkeys can arrive at the sanctuary who need a lot of care and attention. You will get to assist in this process and ensure that the monkey is in a strong enough position to integrate with other monkeys. This includes going to ‘monkey school’ where they will learn in small parts to have interaction with the older monkeys.
Weekends are free days where we actively encourage you to go and explore this beautiful country. We can help arrange all kinds of trips to game reserves, beaches and more.
During your time on the programme you will be staying in our volunteer accommodation located on site. There is a small shop nearby to get any necessities and regular trips are organised to head into Pretoria (30 minute drive), where there are plenty of restaurants, bars and shops.
The accommodation offers a friendly and lively atmosphere and although basic, it is comfortable and clean. You will be staying with other volunteers from around the world, so you can be sure to make new lasting friendships.
You will be sleeping in mixed gender shared rooms in either a single bed or a bunk bed with up to 8 people per room. All bedding is provided, although you are advised to bring some warmer clothes as the temperature can drop during the night. There are shared bathrooms that have western style toilets and hot showers (although intermittent).
There are several communal areas both inside and out, where you will be able to relax and socialise with your fellow volunteers. There is also a swimming pool that is located a short walk away that you have access to.
We recommend that you bring a small padlock with you to secure your suitcase or to store any valuables with our local team.
Wifi – No
People per room – Up to 8
Single sex rooms – No
Nearest ATM & shops – 20 minute drive
Airport Transfers – 45 minutes
No meals are included within the programme fee and as such the accommodation is operated as a self-catering format. There is a fully fitted kitchen where you can prepare and cook meals and plenty of fridge and cupboard space to keep your items.
Volunteers will normally travel into town or a nearby supermarket a couple of times per week to buy food and other supplies, so nearly all dietary requirements can be catered for. You are also more than welcome to eat out in Pretoria, which offers a vast array of options.
What are the requirements to join?
We welcome all volunteers from any background, religion and nationality, as long as you have no criminal convictions and are able to supply a clean criminal background check. In order to join the programme you need to be at least 18 years old on the programme start date.
Individuals need to have a good level / understanding of English but it dose not need to be your first language. As some programmes can be quite strenuous, we recommend that you should be physically fit.
What date should I arrive and leave?
You should arrive to Johannesburg Airport (JNB) on your selected start date, being the 1st or 3rd Sunday of each month. You will be met by one of our local team members who will be holding a named sign and will then transport you to the project site.
The programme will end on the Sunday of your final week where you will need to arrange a return airport transfer. Our local team can arrange this for an additional cost.
Are there any age restrictions for solo travellers?
The only age restriction in place is that you have to be at least 18 years old before your programme start date. Anyone over this age is welcome. Generally the average age range for our programmes is 18 – 25, although this is by no means definitive and we regularly have volunteers of all ages.
What is the minimum age for travelling with my family?
If you are travelling with family and at least one member is aged 18 years old or over, then we welcome anyone from 5 years and up.
When should I apply for the programme?
You can apply for this programme at anytime, however we advise all volunteers to apply as soon as possible to have the best chances of securing your placement on your selected dates.
Generally speaking, you need to book at least 60 days before your programme start date, although if you are wanting to apply after this, please contact us and we will do our best.
What duration would you recommend?
On gaining feedback, we believe 2 – 4 weeks is the ideal time to get settled in and really involved in the placement. This also allows you to make the most of free time and explore the local areas and participate in any activities.
Can I volunteer if I live outside of the UK?
Yes of course. We welcome volunteers from around the world, no matter how far away from the programmes you are.
The majority of volunteers that we host, come from the UK, US, Canada and Australia.
Can I go with my friend / partner?
You can travel and volunteer with friends, family and / or your partner.
If you are wanting to request to stay in the same accommodation please outline this in the special requirements section within the application form.
Is it safe to travel to these destinations?
We regularly visit and participate in each and every one of the programmes we offer to rigorously check all aspects of the project and accommodation are safe and that all procedures are being followed. These include but are not limited to checking the living conditions within the volunteer accommodations, checking the neighbourhoods you’ll be staying in, tasting the food you’ll be eating and going on any weekend trips recommended by us or our local team.
We monitor the stability of all of our volunteer destinations on a daily basis and have constant contact with our overseas teams to ensure that our volunteers are safe.
All volunteers will receive a comprehensive volunteer handbook when you choose to join us on one of our programmes. This detailed document addresses a large range of issues such as health, safety, visas, as well as going into details about local cultures and traditions.
When you arrive in-country, you will be given a safety briefing during your orientation that will cover things like emergency procedures, how to use local transport and any cultural differences.
Our in-country team are on hand to help with any issues or to answer any questions and please do not forget that our UK office is available 24/7 in case of any rare emergencies.
While we can never guarantee your volunteer experience will be 100% trouble free, we have taken all of the necessary precautions to minimise all risks and to ensure the programme is as safe as possible.
Before You Depart
When do I pay?
To confirm and guarantee your placement on one of our programmes, you need to pay the registration fee of $129 within 7 days of receiving confirmation that your application was successful. The remaining balance is then due to less than 60 days prior to your programme start date.
Payments can be done all at once or be spread out over several months and can be paid via BACS (bank transfer). We do accept additional payments methods, such as debit and credit cards, although there may be additional fees.
Do I need any vaccinations and / or malaria tablets?
As we are not trained medical experts we cannot tell you exactly what vaccinations or other medication you may need for your trip. You will need to consult with your local doctors or travel clinic.
You can also find additional information on the NHS Fit For Travel website.
How do I arrange my flights?
All flights need to be booked by you, although we can point you in the right direction on where you may be able to find the best prices.
Before booking any flights, we strongly recommend that you wait to have confirmation that your application was successful.
How do I arrange my travel insurance?
We have teamed up with Endsleigh to create an affordable and comprehensive travel insurance policy that is suitable for all of the programmes we offer. You will receive information about this policy along with your volunteer handbook.
If you decide to purchase your travel insurance from an alternative provider, please ensure it covers you for everything you will be doing. Adequate travel insurance must be in place no less than 60 days before your programme start date. Without proof of this insurance, we will not be able to accept you onto the programme.
When will I receive my volunteer handbook?
You will receive a welcome email from us as soon as you have paid the registration fee and your placement has been confirmed. The welcome email will include the volunteer handbook that provides a wealth of information that will help you better understand all aspects of your upcoming trip as well as details about our insurance policy.
Please note, that all material is sent via email and hard copies cannot be sent.
On Your Trip
Can I arrange a private room?
The majority of our accommodation only offers shared rooms that are usually same-sex. However, if you would prefer a private room please let us know and we will at least try for you.
Can you cater for my dietary requirements?
We will try are best to cater for any dietary requirements. When you submit your application please include any required details within the dietary section and we will liaise with our local coordinators.
Are there any public holidays that would effect the project?
Although we try to be as clear as possible of all holidays that effect project availability, due to the nature of some countries, holidays can often be sporadic or prone to change.
If such a holiday falls when you are on your placement, this is generally a good time to experience unique festivities where you can join in with the locals.
What is the dress code at the projects?
We ask that all volunteers take the approach of a smart and responsible image during your time in the communities and on projects. It is best to also take some older clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty.
Generally, it is best to avoid tight and very short clothing and anything that may have offensive slogans on it. Its recommended that you take some nicer clothes for weekends or any free time you may have.
We do not wish to impose strict regulations, however we do ask that you respect the local culture and do your best to adhere to the clothing guidelines within the volunteer handbook.
How much spending money will I need?
For general expenses and some travelling, you should find that $50 – $100 per week is sufficient. However, this can vary greatly depending on the amount of activities or trips you do and if you are eating out during the week..
Will I be able to travel whilst on the programme?
There should be plenty of time to travel while on your placement and we actively encourage that you do! The local coordinators will be able to give you lots of travel tips and provide any help needed for your independent adventure.
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