Located within the newest Big 5 reserve in South Africa, this project cares for lions, leopards and hyena’s who are not able to return to the wild. Here you make their lives as quality filled as possible, as well as assist with the general maintenance and restoration of the park. While volunteering will work alongside Kevin Richardson, famous for his interaction with lions and to whom the captive animals belong to. Please note no breeding of the animals is permitted.
Project fee from EUR 1,370
Your Role as a Volunteer
Both the animal sanctuary and game reserve are now located in the Gauteng Province of South Africa. The project, together with all its animals has recently been moved to a section of an 18,000ha Big 5 Game Reserve, the only one of its kind in Gauteng. The reason for moving was to give the project the option of expanding and becoming more of a sustainable entity. Here volunteers will be given the opportunity to experience two very different projects, in one of the most beautiful settings in South Africa. During your stay you will be involved with maintaining and caring for the animals that live at the sanctuary, as well as being involved in the restoration and development of the game reserve. As most of the reserve was previous farm land, there are many challenges in returning the land to its ideal condition.
Duties of volunteers might include any one of the following:
- Cleaning and filling of water holes
- Bush cutting
- Fence work (fixing, maintaining, removal and weeding along fence lines)
- Bone and faeces removal from enclosures
- Litter pick up
- Food preparation for animals
- Animal enrichment – walks with the lions and building toys for stimulation
- Game count and game monitoring
- Antipoaching walks and de-snaring sweeps
- River clean ups
- Road maintenance and river crossings
- Creation of walking trails
- Removal of invasive plant species
- Fire break maintenance
- Assistance on filming documentaries with Kevin
- Occasional office work
- Occasional maintenance work: building, painting or repair work for animal night enclosures and other structures
- Tree planting on occasion
Due to the nature of the work done at these two locations, the list of activities and duties may vary but it is mainly outdoors physical work.
Additionally, the project is looking to expand its social responsibility program into the neighbouring communities as they feel there is an integral link between educating and uplifting the surrounding communities. This is in an effort to have the community work together with them to secure long term success of both the community and the reserve.
The Project’s Mission
As majority of the game reserve was previous farm land, there are many challenges in returning the land to its ideal condition. Volunteers will help play an integral part in restoring the area to its former glory. The reserve is working to increase the number of animals in the area and to re-establish and restore the land with native plants and trees. The reserve however, is still under construction phase. At the animal sanctuary worth ethic is high as Kevin Richardson prides himself on providing his captive animals the very best care and environment with which to develop and enjoy their lives to the fullest.
How do I book a trip?
You can book your trip with Volunteer Travels by calling us on (+46) 08-23 93 00 or by booking through our website www.volunteertravels.com by clicking on “Book a trip”. You can also email us on [email protected] When you have registered yourself we will send you an invoice with a registration fee of £200.00. The registration fee is later incorporated into the trip price and the amount is then deducted from your final invoice. When you have paid the registration fee you are formally registered. You will then receive preparatory information from us in good time to plan your trip.
Your Everyday Life
Work hours are from 08:00am till 05:00pm, excluding the travel time to and from work each day. Being an animal facility there are unexpected events which can occur and may require longer work hours. Days off are based on the needs of the park at the time. One day will be given off each week for volunteers to enjoy some leisure time.
Accommodation and Food
The animal sanctuary is located on Welgedacht Game Reserve, a 1200ha section of the greater reserve. Here volunteers will enjoy their stay at “The Old Trading Post” nestled in the heart of the game reserve. The camp is enclosed by a fence but you can at any time see one of the Big Five right where you are staying. A number of farm style rooms with maximum of 4 beds in each come fully equipped with en-suite bathrooms. A central living area with a lounge (TV and DVD player) and dining facilities are also within the camp, together with a pool, braai (barbeque) facilities and laundry. Additional, accommodation units are under construction to give people an option of not having to share with a number of other people.
Internet facilities are provided at the volunteer camp. There is cell phone signal at the camp as well, should you wish to get international roaming or a South African sim card for your phone. Signal however, it not very good and it is probably best to rely on the internet rather than a cell phone signal. There is also a landline and arrangements can be made to make or receive calls (at your own expense) using a world call card.
Basic meals are included in the volunteer programme and will be served in the central volunteer lounge area, unless you are out in the field in which case a packed lunch will be provided. Breakfasts will include Tea/Coffee, cereals and rusks. Lunches will include sandwiches and fruit while dinners will be a variety of simple home style cooked meals. Vegetarian meals will be available on request.
Transport to your volunteer activities will be provided by the project, along with transport to the two activities included in your volunteer package. If you are arriving on a non-schedule project start date or departing before your finishing date, you will be charged extra for an airport transfer. Any activities outside of the project will require you to organize your own transport. If you hold an international driver’s license, you will able to hire a vehicle from the nearby airport (numbers will be provided by the project). As the project location is fairly far out of the city centre, taxis are hard to come by so it is advised to speak to the project manager if you would like to plan an excursion
A wide variety of activities and facilities are available to make use of during your leisure time or day off while at both locations. – Bird watching – Pool for swimming etc.
Most weekends a braai (barbeque) is had on one of the nights, where everyone from the volunteer camp can get together, share stories and laughs around the fire.
Flight tickets are not included in the tour price. You can book flights through a travel agency of your choice, please just be sure to arrive in Johannesburg, South Africa on your allocated start date, arrival day: Monday before noon (12:00). Your last working day will be Friday after following weeks, therefor you should book your flight home to the following Monday.
If you intend to stay in South Africa for more than 90 days, you will need a visa. It is important that volunteer’s application for visas occurs in a sufficient amount of time as it normally takes about two months to apply and obtain the visa. If you work for more than 90 days as a volunteer at the Lion Park, the visa price will be included in the tour price.
It is your responsibility to make sure that your insurance covers illness, injury and theft whilst you are volunteering. Most travel agencies offer a travel insurance which will cover you for all kinds of emergencies. You can purchase this insurance as a complement to your home insurance or just for the period that you are volunteering. When enquiring about flight tickets, be sure to also enquire about insurance options as well. Liability insurance is however, included in the tour price. Liability insurance applies to instances when compensation for damages is demanded of you as a private person for unintentionally hurting someone or for unintentionally damaging someone else’s property.
Remember to get vaccinated before this project. Check with a vaccination centre for which vaccinations you need. We recommend that you have a full protection against Hepatitis A and B, cholera, and polio. There is no malaria in the area but if you are planning to travel to Kruger National Park, you should also take malaria prophylaxis. Your duties will mainly be dealing with wild animals so it is important that your tetanus shot is still up to date, as well as rabies. Please note that if you are traveling to a yellow fever area before you travel to South Africa, make sure you have a yellow fever injection and keep your vaccination record card on you when entering South Africa.