Ever wanted to work hands-on with these magnificent creatures? Well now is your chance! Join us on a volunteer project that is truly helping increase the numbers of cheetah in the wild. The cheetah is considered one of the world's most endangered species by the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). With less than 7500 cheetahs left worldwide (and less than 600 wild cheetahs left in South Africa), the urgency to repopulate the dwindling numbers has become apparent. The main goal of this project is to breed and release cheetah back into the wild to supplement the current population. The breeding program consists of different stages from hunting training and predator avoidance to release and post release monitoring. This program not only ensures the survival of the cheetah for future generations, it provides crucial education to the public and to farming entities, provides platforms for carnivore studies, and provides a sanctuary for old, non-releasable, or mistreated cheetah.
This project provides a sanctuary to other African cats as well, including the serval, African wild cat, and black-footed cat, who are bred, raised and rewilded onto private and national reserves. You will also meet a variety of non-releasable wild animals such as lions, caracals, meerkats and more, while surrounded by the mountainous beauty of the area. This volunteer project will give you the opportunity to work with these majestic animals while contributing to real conservation efforts to save the cheetah from going extinct in the wild. Your involvement and help will assist to ensure the survival of the species for generations to come.
After spending two weeks at the project, we will leave for a private 4-day safari to Kruger National Park, where we will have plenty of wildlife watching time, guided bush walks, as well as sunset and night drives. It will be a true African experience to remember.
You will fly into the O.R. Tambo International Airport before 2pm on November 1st, where you will be met by your Jennie of the Jungle leaders and be transported to the project. After spending two weeks at the project, you will be transported to your lodging in Johannesburg for one night, and will be picked up early in the morning for your Kruger National Park Safari. You will spend 4 days on safari, and be returned to Johannesburg, where you will spend an additional night before being taken to the airport for your flight home the following day.
You will work 6 days per week. Sundays are your day off and will give you a chance to explore the farm (project grounds) or go on nearby excursions. Wednesday afternoons will also be your off time to spend as you wish. This schedule is subject to change, as working with animals sometimes requires a flexibility.
Your day will consist of daily tasks including animal enrichment, enclosure cleaning, data collecting, behavior monitoring, animal stimulation projects, tasks in and around the animal enclosures, feeding and meat preparation.
You will also be involved in the following activities:
Monitoring and data capture of the animals and their health and behavior, cleaning and maintenance of the enclosures, general camp upkeep, assisting to prepare food for the animals and feed them, removing bones etc left over from the previous feeding, cleaning water dams and bowls and refreshing with clean water, assisting with fitness training and hunting skills with cheetah runs on the lure machine, bush clearing, removal of invasive plant species, and maintenance work.
Accommodation will be in a new cozy log cabin nestled among the trees close to the lion and cheetah camps. Each cabin consists of 2 bedrooms and a bathroom, which will be shared by 4 same gender volunteers. Each room will accommodate 2 volunteers. It also has a small kitchen as well as a bathroom. A $150 single supplement is available to have your own private room.
Volunteers will receive 3 meals per day. Breakfast consists of cereals, fruit, eggs, and toast. Lunch is wraps, hot dogs, or toasted sandwiches. Dinner is a hot meal such as traditional BBQ, pasta, casseroles, salad, fresh veggies, and meat. Dietary needs such as vegetarianism can be accommodated, but any other specific dietary needs may require you to supplement your meals at your own expense.
- Your Jennie of the Jungle experienced adventure leaders
- Lodging and meals at the project for the duration
- Volunteer fees (these keep the project going and often help locals learn about and practice conservation methods)
- Transfers to and from airports and between the project and safari
- Lodging between the project and the safari (meals will be at your own expense)
- Kruger National Park safari including lodging and most meals
- Passport (with at least six months validity and multiple full pages left)
- Travel Insurance (covering the duration of your trip)
- Inoculations (please speak to your doctor about necessary immunizations)
- Spending money (you can withdraw or convert cash at the airport and other places along the way)
- Casual work clothes for both hot and cold days. Please avoid bright colors if possible.
- Semi formal clothes for functions and for trips to town
- Swimsuit and towel
- Flashlight ad batteries
- Notebook and pen
- Insect repellent
- Laptop with movies if you wish to view them in your off time
- Toiletries (biodegradable is best)
- Medical Kit (hand sanitizer/wet wipes, immodium, band-aids, personal medicine & earplugs)
- Sunglasses, sun hat, bandana, lip balm& sunscreen (high UV/SPF protection)
- Closed-toed shoes
- Alarm clock or watch
- Camera (with extra batteries and memory cards)
Please take into account additional expenses like tours, trips, WiFi, cold drinks, restaurants and bars. It is a good idea to carry different types of payment like cash, credit cards and debit cards.
WiFi is available at the project for R300 per week (about $20). Laundry can be done on your own for R75 per bundle (about $4.50).
Water is safe to drink however scarce in many areas. Use water sparingly and have short showers.
There is a zero-tolerance policy for illegal drugs at the project. Offenders will be removed from the program immediately without refund.
No smoking is allowed in any building or when you are around any animal. Alcohol must never be consumed during the work day, heavy intoxication and hangovers are not tolerated on the project so please keep heavy drinking to off days.
It is important to realize that not all the work will be easy or "romantic". Many times you will need to roll up your sleeves and get dirty. Keeping a positive attitude is important, and note that mundane tasks contribute and are very important to the program.
The more positive you are, the more positive your memories will be. Your time on the project will be over sooner than you think - what would you like to think back on later in your life? Be prepared to learn a new culture and be flexible to changes, as that's part of the adventure. Patience can go a long way to making your trip unforgettable. Please come with an open mind, and plan to take initiative and add value to the project.
Leave expensive watches and jewelry at home. Bring certified copies of your passports and leave one at home with a family member or friend. Keep one in a second bag separate from your handbag. Don't drink too much while in town and keep your wits about you. South Africa can be dangerous but we will avoid dangerous areas and won't spend too much time in the city.
Though malaria risk is low in Kruger National Park, it is a malaria zone. Talk to your doctor about anti-malaria drugs.
Book This Trip Now!
Not ready to book yet or have questions about the trip?Get in Touch About this Trip
We can book your airfare through our partner Exito Travel. Click here for a quote!