South Africa, Wildlife Rescue, rehabilitation and animal care in KZN

Company : Budget Volunteering
Activities: Animal Volunteer Projects / Conservation Volunteer Projects
Location : KwaZulu-Natal
Duration: 2 weeks to 6 months
Approx Costs: 500 to 3000+ £ Pound (UK)

Work in a Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre that that cares for injured and orphaned wild animals and birds.Work with over 400 different animals and birds, and monkeys! 

Work in a Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre that is also a wildlife hospital that cares for injured and orphaned wild animals and birds. Any wild animal that has been injured, rescued or abandoned, is admitted free of charge. Almost 90% of animals admitted to the Centre have sustained injuries due to human negligence.

It takes time and dedication to rehabilitate these animals and to prepare them to be re-introduced in their natural environment. Animals that come into the Centre are cared for and helped to recover. During this recovery time they are given a lot of hands-on attention, but once they are better, time has to be spent dehumanising them so that they can be successfully reintroduced into their natural environment and fend for themselves.

The Centre also has a public education programme that serves to spread awareness of these animals' plight.

Your responsibilities will be linked to the level of your experience and abilities, so there is something for everyone. Work can include:

  • feeding and caring for the animals,
  • assisting nurses in the clinic,
  • grounds work,
  • cage enrichment
  • assisting in the construction and improvement of enclosures to raise the quality of the daily lives of the animals.

You'll also go out on rescues and releases and you'll monitor the released animals to ensure that they cope with their first week back in the bush.

Your work with the animals has the direct result of improving their quality of life, of "rescuing" them from death or a life of misery. You'll assist in preparing food and feeding, assisting the clinic staff with injuries and generally looking after the many species in the Centre, as well as assisting with the maintenance and improvement of the grounds and enclosures.

There are times of the year when your work could be hands-on and other times when you may not get hands-on contact with the animals. Working with the different types of animals varies throughout the year ... as with any Sanctuary and Rehabilitation Centre, no-one can predict when or if certain types of animals have been rescued and are in their care.

There are usually approximately 300 - 400 animals under the Centre's care at any given time, all of which are wildlife indigenous to KwaZulu Natal (called KZN for short). Animals range from birds and mammals to raptors and reptiles, and many many monkeys. They also have a very busy Educational Program, so if education is your 'thing', you will be able to assist with school tours and edutainment events at the education centre.

Whenever possible, animals who can survive in their natural habitat are released. This is a particularly satisfying time!


We have 2 types of accommodation: 
We have a fully furnished volunteer house that accommodates up to 10 volunteers at a time. There are four bedrooms and two bathrooms. Volunteers share rooms. The house is within the security of the sanctuary and surrounded by an electric fence.

For couples or groups of volunteers who would like some extra privacy, we have a log cabin situated next to the main volunteer house, nestled under huge indigenous thorn and fig trees. It comfortable sleeps 4 volunteers in two bedrooms and has a veranda, small kitchenette and sitting room. Ablutions consist of a shower, toilet and hand basin. Meals will still be cooked with the rest of the volunteers in the main house. Allocation to this accommodation will be made at the discretion of the Project.

A safe is available at the main office should you wish to lock away your passport, money or any valuables. Mobile phones do operate with full reception on-site and it is recommended that you bring one with you.


Food is provided on this programme. Sufficient food is purchased for the house on a weekly basis to provide 3 meals per day. Volunteers advise Mabel, the Volunteer Co-ordinator, of any special requirements i.e. vegetarian, and these are met within reason. Volunteers cook their own meals out of the food provided.In addition to the stove in the house, there is also a braai (barbeque) area to cook outdoor meals 


Start Dates

All year round - Flexible start dates

Costs / Benefits

Costs vary depending on length of placement, but starts at £695 for two weeks. You may be able to participate for up to one year, subject to visa requirements.
Included is full support from the moment of booking and throughout your placement to your return home. There are support staff 24/7 in all our destinations worldwide and a 24 hour emergency international telephone line direct to the Head Office. All meals are provided, unless otherwise stated. Accommodation is provided (whether a rented house, a hotel/hostel, homestay, apartment or flat).
You’ll be met at the nearest airport on your arrival by our in-country manager who will take you to your accommodation and give you a full induction into the area. He/she will also be on call 24/7 and you’ll see them frequently.
Pre-departure you’ll receive an information pack about your placement and necessary preparations, ranging from what to pack, to what to do on your weekend travel in the country. Your safety, well being and happiness throughout your placement are our primary concerns and we will keep in touch with you throughout. International flights not included.


No qualifications or previous experience are necessary, just a good dose of enthusiasm! Everyone is welcome on a BVOL programme, whether gap year, undergraduate, on a career break - or even retired! From 17 years old upwards, and all nationalities. This placement would suit anyone who wants to make a real difference, wants first-hand experience of a different culture and has initiative.

Booking / Enquiry

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