This project has been involved in primate rehabilitation for 16 years, and can be considered the “Vervet Monkey Specialists”. At one stage they dealt only with monkeys, but over time, have been receiving more different animal and bird species. Any orphaned and/or injured animals gets treated at the center, and when healed or strong enough, released back to their natural habitat.
Goal of Project/ How Volunteer Can Contribute
The aim of the research is to study and to document the behavioral activities of captive vervet monkeys, baboons and other wildlife species, correlate results with studies performed in the wild on wild free ranging vary monkeys and other species, and their ultimate releases into the wild. This project needs volunteers not only to help with the everyday running of the center, but also to assist with educating people on monkeys and help with the release process. Volunteers also play a very important role when the project is doing a release – there is a lot of data that needs to be recorded. Financial contributions go a long way to supporting the endless food and medical bills faced by the project.
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Volunteers will assist in the following tasks:
Caring for injured sick / animals.
Assisting with medical procedures e.g. stitching wounds, wound dressing, ministering medicines and parasite treatment to various species.
Assisting with measurements and filling in report forms on admission, personal caring to traumatized monkeys and other animals admitted.
Preparing meals for animals.
Assist with ‘building’ of new cages and enclosures, general maintenance work at center.
Talk to visitors and school groups, visit community projects.
Assist with assessment of monkeys for release, assess release sites, erecting release enclosures, capture and processing monkeys for release transporting monkeys / animals to release site, monitoring pre & post release.
Room & Food
The project has overnight facilities for small and large groups. The Loerie’s Rest and Owl Barn dorms accommodate 15 people between them, Woodpecker Inn accommodates 4 – 6 people, and the Fish Eagle Cabin accommodates 3 – 4 people. Couples are accommodated separately in the Kingfisher Hut, or the Caravan. Sleeping outside can be arranged. Sheets, duvets and pillows are supplied, and in winter, sleeping bags help when it gets really cold (or if you want to sleep outside). Mosquito nets aren’t necessary, but some volunteers feel safer with them. The camping site has toilets and shower facilities. A small kitchen / bar can be used by groups.
There are three set meals served per day.
Examples of Meals are:
Breakfast (at 09H00) – a continental breakfast.
Lunch (at 13H00) – sandwiches, hamburgers, rolls and cold meat, pastas, salads.
Dinner (at 19H00) – lasagna, roasts, vegetables, salads, pastas.
Volunteer Program Dates and Fees (US$)
Dates: Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the preferred arrival days. Thursdays and Fridays aren’t such good days to arrive, as it is to close to the weekend (i.e. volunteers are hardly at the project, and they are then having time off).
The Updated fee is:
Weeks Program Fee US$
1 Week N/A
2 Wks $695
3 Wks $1015
4 Wks $1320
5 Wks $1600
6 Wks $1950
7 Wks $2240
8 Wks $2545
Extra Week $350
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Free Time/What Volunteer Can Do in Free Time
When chores have been completed, and if there is time available, volunteers can go on excursions in the area.
Activities may include the Biggest Baobab in the World (listed as such), ethnic village, Kruger National Park, elephant back rides, Panorama scenic routes, and other activities (available on request).
Costs for these trips vary from R40 to R2500+, depending on the combinations of what you choose to do, entrance fees and distances travelled to get there. Please keep in mind that all additional activities are the sole responsibility of the volunteer, and that there is also an additional cost towards getting to / from these optional activities, and the cost will depend on how far you need to travel to get to these optional activities.
Where Do I Need To Fly?
Volunteers have 3 options in getting to / from this project:
The 1st option is to arrive in Joburg, spend the night at a local backpacker’s lodge, and the next day, take a bus out to the town closest to the project. This is possibly a cheaper, but longer option, as the bus takes 6 hours to get to the other end. The bus company used is a leading inter-city bus operator, and operates luxury buses between major cities in South Africa.
The 2nd option is to arrive in Joburg, and to then take a connecting flight from Joburg on to Phalaborwa. This may be a more quicker route, but may also work out to be a bit more expensive.
The 3rd option is if volunteers combine this particular project with a project in the Kruger National Park area. Volunteers would have to fly to / from Eastgate airport in Hoedspruit when joining a project in the Kruger area, and pickups / drop offs for the Monkey Project will be arranged via Hoedspruit.
How Can I Get To The Project?
Volunteers will be collected from their pickup point (Phalaborwa Airport, the bus stop in town or Hoedspruit) by a representative from the project, and will be taken back to the project in the project vehicle.
What Vaccinations Do I Need?
Although this area is considered malaria free, other areas (such as Kruger National Park) are not, so if travelling further either before or after your volunteer experience, it is advisable to consult your doctor for guidance on malaria. Tetanus is highly recommended for this project.
How Can I Communicate With Family?
Internet and email is only available at the project on arrival, and for emergencies only. Otherwise volunteers will have access to internet and emails when going into town.
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. Volunteers are advised to not leave personal items (passport, air tickets, money etc.) lying around – it is better to take precautions than to lose an important item.
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
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.