Take an active part in educating and inspiring underprivileged children about the importance of the environment and wildlife conservation. This amazing programme not only provides you with the unique opportunity of caring for some of South Africa’s iconic species, such as cheetahs, wild dogs and meerkats, but to also educate the next generation of children to be passionate about the local wildlife.
This great project takes an active role in wildlife conservation by caring for the animals as well as through education of the local children. Your essential role is important in creating a sustainable future for both humans and animals to life in harmony. The children who visit the orphanage benefit greatly from having a hands-on education and the orphaned animals also benefit from having suitable care and accommodation in a world-class rehabilitation centre.
Every Monday, a new group of local school children arrive at the orphanage to stay for the week. You will be working hands-on with the children and animals where you will be in charge of leading exciting lessons and activities about the importance of wildlife preservation. The children are also taught a number of subjects that their local school do not cover, including health and social issues as well as improving their literacy skills.
The wildlife orphanage is home to a number of different injured or orphaned animals that have been rescued. Although the orphanage releases as many of these animals as possible back into the wild, sometimes it is just not possible for them to survive back in their natural habitat, so now life here permanently. You will play a vital role in helping to take care of all of these animals, which can include maintaining and cleaning enclosures, basic first aid, monitoring their general health and providing them with daily enrichment.
There are several community outreach programmes that will enable you to fully immerse yourself within the local community. Several trips are made throughout the week to several local schools to provide extra lessons about the environment and to complement the school curriculum with activities and experiences the teacher may not be able to provide. Other programmes currently include community clean up projects and planting trees at schools.
During your time here, you will be staying and working in the stunning Limpopo Province, located on a 650-hectare private game reserve. You will have the opportunity to observe animals such as giraffes, kudus, warthogs, zebras, impalas, beautiful birds and many more. There will never be a dull moment working with the animals and children and your work will carried out against a breath-taking backdrop.
You will play vital role in educating the local school children as well as caring for the resident animals here. No day will ever be the same, and you could be involved in the following.
Educating the children – One of your main activities will be educating the children on wildlife conservation and helping to teach English and maths amongst lots of other things. Not only this, but you will also be involved in teaching the children invaluable life skills, including relationships, violence and respecting the environment. This will help them to develop a mature understanding of their world and how to best live within it.
Due to overcrowding in the local schools, children do not always receive the one to one interaction needed to learn. You will be encouraged to adjust your teaching for each and every child to ensure they get the attention needed to enable them to learn at their own pace and ability.
Working with the resident animals – One of the best ways of teaching the children about wildlife conservation is through different activities around the orphanage along with interacting with the animals. You will engage the children in small tasks such as cleaning the animal cages and feeding the animals.
Aside from teaching, you and other volunteers will get to assist with monitoring the health of the animals as well as collecting data and keeping records. You may also get the opportunity to assist with basic first aid care.
There are many animals here that require a lot of attention and work, these include; meerkats, mongooses, rabbits, guinea pigs, bids, caracal, jackals, cheetahs and wild dogs. There are also a variety of free roaming antelopes within the camp.
Building and maintenance – When you are not teaching, there are always tasks that need doing around the orphanage. These duties can include building new animals camps, renovating and maintaining the animal enclosures, general repairs and painting structures.
Weekends are free days where we actively encourage you to go and explore this beautiful country. We can help arrange all kinds of trips from game reserves to sandy beaches.
During your time with us at the wildlife orphanage, you will be staying on the project site in shared rondavels (round chalet) that have a thatched roof or within the main house.
The accommodation offers a friendly and lively atmosphere and although rustic, 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 shared same sex rooms with up to 5 people per room in single beds. There are shared bathrooms that have western style toilets and hot showers.
The communal area, also known as the Lapa area is a great place to sit and hangout with other volunteers. There is a projector where you can watch films and also a range of board and card games.
There is Wifi throughout the accommodation that can be purchased for a small fee. There is also a safe in the office where you can store any valuables.
There is no mains electricity on site but lighting and power are provided by solar energy and a generator.
Wifi – Yes (small fee)
People per room – Up to 5
Single sex rooms – Yes
Nearest ATM & shops – 1 hour drive
Airport Transfers – 1 hour drive
During the week breakfast and dinner are provided within the programme fee and are aimed to be as varied as possible.
You can expect some of the following meals:
Breakfast – Self service cereals, yoghurts, toast, fresh fruits, coffee or tea
Dinner – Set meal at a local restaurant between 6pm-7pm featuring chicken or beef with beans, pasta, vegetables or rice. Alternative nights might include Braai or volunteers preparing a meal together.
With notice we are able to cater for vegetarians, but any other dietary requirements such as vegan/gluten free/halal, participants will have to supplement or cater for their own meals. Cape Town has a large Muslim community so Halal foods are easily obtainable.
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 Hoedspruit Eastgate Airport on your selected start date, being any Saturday. 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.
Alternatively, you can land at Johannesburg Airport (JNB) where we can arrange a shuttle bus to take you to your accommodation for an additional fee.
On the last day of your programme you will be taken back to Hoedspruit Eastgate Aiport. The fee is included within the programme costs.
Are there any age restrictions?
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.
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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