The project was established in 1991 and is a haven for sick, injured and problem animals. From lions to hyenas to honey badgers, vultures, cheetah, and many more are cared for at this project. It was a heartfelt initiative that could no longer sustain itself, so the idea to raise money from visitors arose. This was done by asking an entry fee to generate income in order to meet the demands of costs to feed the animals, to acquire medical supplies and the constant improvement and building of new cages.
The Wildlife Care Centre plays an important role in conserving many endangered species, and has become a haven for the rehabilitation and care of abandoned, injured and poisoned wildlife, and facilite the monitoring and breeding of endangered species. Volunteers will gain lots of hands-on experience and direct involvement in caring for the animals. This project is not for the faint hearted !
Goal Of Project/ How Volunteer Can Contribute
It is the project’s mission to educate the public – locally and overseas, in order to conserve the animals of Africa. The most vital ingredients of being a volunteer at this project is energy, enthusiasm and passion to learn about conservation, animals, the outdoors, and the want to preserve this world we live in. In return, volunteers assist the project in getting much needed work completed, and financial contributions go a long way to supporting the endless food and medical bills faced by the project.
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Our day begins at 07H00 and all volunteers meet at the animal clinic for a briefing and the daily allocation of tasks. Volunteers can take part in the daily feeding of a variety of many orphaned and permanent animals; cleaning of their enclosures and scrubbing of their bed mats, and may even get the chance to release some of them. Other activities they may get the chance to take part in: – game capture and possible re-location; wildlife veterinary work which would be mostly observational. Due to the nature of the rehab, however, nothing is predictable or guaranteed.
There is no typical day at the Wildlife Care Centre…anything can happen! Everything that happens just adds to your experience here in Africa. Working with animals can scramble up all plans made, can delay meals and rob you of your sleep, but it’s all well worth it!
Room & Food
Separate male and female accommodation is provided, with between 2 to 4 volunteers to a room. Volunteers are housed in a brick and reed building. There are rooms available for married couples but this is subject to bookings (we cannot guarantee there will always be a room available). Bed linen is provided, but please supply your own bathing towel. 3 meals a day are proviced, and these are taken at the Forest Camp Lodge, which means walking 10 min through the bush to get there, for breakfast and lunch. For supper, volunteers are lucky enough to get a bush ride by vehicle toand from the lodge, which gives one a chance to see nocturnal animals and others in the evening.
Examples of Meals are:
Breakfast (between 08H30 – 09H30) – toast, cereals, yoghurts, tea and coffee.
Lunch (starts at 13H00) – sandwiches, hamburgers, rolls and cold meat, pastas, salads.
Dinner (meet at the Rangers Cottage at 18H45, from where they depart for dinner) – lasagnes, roasts, vegetables, salads, pastas
Volunteer Program Dates And Fees:
Dates: Mondays and Wednesdays are the preferred arrival and departure days in Hoedspruit for volunteers, but other week days will be considered.
The Updated fee is:
Weeks Program Fee US$
1 Week N/A
2 Wks $1516
3 Wks $2250
4 Wks $2990
5 Wks $3709
6 Wks $4440
7 Wks $5170
8 Wks $5900
Extra Week $650
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Free Time/What Volunteer Can Do In Free Time
Extra activities are available for you to do / go on, but this all depends on your work itinerary, and these can change due to unforeseen circumstances, such as call outs etc.
The project does not guarantee any activity. These are a bonus, and for when there is an opening to get out a bit. Volunteers pay towards getting to / from the various activities, and will prices depend on how many volunteers go on the trip. Activities may include rorse riding, Kruger National Park, water river rafting, Bombyx Silk Farm, a visit to the Baobab Tree, Echo Caves, balloon rides, micro-light flying, Blyde River Canyon view site and boat trips.The costs involved in these various activities are for volunteers own account. There may also be additional costs towards petrol in getting to / from these optional activities, and the cost will depend on how far you need to travel to get to these optional activity.
Where Do I Need To Fly?
Volunteers need to arrange their flights to / from Eastgate Airport in Hoedspruit.
How Can I Get To The Project?
Volunteers are collected on arrival at Eastgate Airport by a representative from the project, and taken to the project in the project’s vehicle.
What Vaccinations Do I Need?
Although most of South Africa is malaria free, the Kruger National Park isn’t. It is advisable to take precautions from malaria and obtain a vaccination as well as a rabies vaccination before you leave home for this project.
How Can I Communicate With Family?
There is a phone for incoming calls in the Common Room area in the Student House. A public telephone is available at the project for volunteers to use, but you would need to purchase a “World Call Card”, in order to make any outgoing calls. Only in cases of emergencies can volunteers use the office phone. No email service at the project unless extremely urgent. Volunteers have access to the Internet Café in the town, and volunteers are generally able to go into town at least once a week, depending on pick-ups and drop-offs, to check emails at a local internet café. It is also a good idea to take your mobile phone with you, as a more “reliable” way of staying in contact with family and friends back home. If you do decide to take your phone with you, please ensure that you have activated international roaming on your phone. Cheap sim cards can be purchased on arrival in South Africa, and don’t forget to buy airtime as well.
How Safe Is This Project?
Very safe. Volunteers must however be aware of their personal belongings when in town, and should also adhere to the safety tips given at orientation once at the project. The office has a safe for important documents or expensive items. It is always sensible to lock your sleeping quarters and keep windows closed when you are not there. Please bear in mind that the project cannot be held responsible for any items missing, so don’t leave your things lying around – even cameras left on beds can be a problem. Anything missing must be reported immediately. Do not wait, as something like this needs to be sorted out straight away. Leaving a problem like this unattended only causes further problems. Be very sure you have not mislaid the item before reporting which happens often.
Will There Be Someone To Guide/Supervise Us?
Volunteers will be overseen by the project staff on a daily basis, and a certain amount of time will be spent working independently. However, the staff are always available to lend a helping hand, and to guide volunteers where necessary.
Will There Be Other Volunteers?
There will generally always be other volunteers at camp with you, this number may vary from 2 – 20 volunteers.
Any Other Important Information To Consider
The preferred start days for this project are a Monday and Wednesday. However, a Tuesday and Thursday will be considered as well. It is advisable to avoid arriving to close to the weekend.
Various tours can be arranged for after your volunteer experience, and could include:
a 7 day Chobe National Park and Victoria Falls, 7 day Okavango Delta, 5 day Chobe Narional Park and Victoria Falls, 10 Day Okavango Delta and Chobe and Victoria Falls, and others.