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African Wildlife Protection

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Our wildlife conservation and rescue programme incorporates wild, rescued and rehabilitated animals to improve their living and environmental conditions. The main purpose of the projects we are involved in is to detect the needs and improve the living and environmental conditions of the various animals residing at these locations.

Volunteers will have the opportunity to interact with some of the animals that will be encountered in a respectful way and always under supervision. The program looks after wild and rescued animals, like monkeys, vultures, eagles, and other wild animals. Care is taken to ensure that animals are treated in the way they deserve, however, there are often times when animals cannot be released back into the wild and therefore we try to improve the conditions of these animals’ lives as best as we can in their captive environment.

As the nature of the work varies we will place volunteers under the supervision of various staff members as explained in the itinerary. We will have one member of our team assigned as “team leader” to facilitate the smooth operation of the volunteers stay and provide guidance where necessary.

  • Project Highlights

    Learning more about animals through interactive hands-on projects
    Learning to capture, tag and release wild vultures
    Interactions with elephants, monkeys and many more animals
    Working on a real game reserve with truly wild animals around
    Making a positive difference
    Living a genuine conservationist lifestyle
    Developing personal strengths and life skills

  • Welcome Orientation

    Your project starts with a 2-day orientation in Johannesburg. Arrive in Joburg or Jozi, as it is known locally, and get shown around by people who know the city well. The orientation is excellent for first-time visitors to find their feet the local way and meet other volunteers on your project.

    Day 1
    You will be picked up from the airport and taken to the hostel. Here you will be given a chance to settle down before meeting your volunteer representative. You will be given a briefing on your volunteer program and then meet other travellers and volunteers for a welcome dinner.

    Day 2
    After breakfast you will be collected from the hostel and shown around the sites of Johannesburg like a local. We will start off with a visits to Soweto, South Africa’s biggest Township here you will have the opportunity to take some photos at the iconic Orlando Towers and Soccer City, home of the World Cup Final. We then head to a local food market where you can have a light lunch, shop for local arts and crafts and listen to some live music. After lunch we head to Constitution Hill, home of our South African Democracy and an integral part of our history. We then end the tour with a walk through the park at Zoo Lake, a pleasant end to the day. Please note that the tour itinerary is flexible and may change according to the group’s interests for the day. This is your personal tour of our lovely city with our local guide to show you the best sites and places.

    Day 3
    After breakfast we will either take you directly to your project site, shuttle terminal or airport.

  • About Your Location

    The area of Hartbeespoort is rich in cultural and historical value. We are nestled in the foothills of the 2.3 billion year old Magalies mountain range surrounded by natural beauty and encompassing the Hartbeespoort dam.

  • Weekly Schedule & Activities

    Volunteers work 5 days a week, Monday to Friday and have weekends off. You will cover different aspects of conservation work and visit different projects. When at the project, you'll need adequate sun protection, a water bottle and garden/working gloves.

    Volunteers have the opportunity to work at several different animal projects. Your tasks include preparing food and feeding the animals, cleaning, building and painting animal sanctuaries, animal tracking and weed removal in the wildlife reserve.

    1) Cheetah & Wild Dog Breeding Center
    The center’s mission is to ensure the continuous survival of our cheetah population, as well as the stabilizing of the critically endangered African wild dog numbers. Founded in 1971, the center has been nominated, and won, various local and international awards for the contribution to long term conservation goals with these species.

    Volunteers will be involved in the day-to-day running of the park, working with the cheetahs, wild dog and other animals. Duties include preparing food, removing alien vegetation, as well as repairing fences. It is truly a great experience to work with these majestic animals.

    2) Monkey Project
    Primates are under constant threat. They are hunted for meat, body parts or captured as pets and exported illegally to many locations worldwide. We assist with monkeys that were kept as pets and then become unwanted; they are rescued and released into a wild forest with waterfalls and mountain springs. It is very important to have a safe environment where monkeys can be rehabilitated and professionals and volunteers can take care of them.

    Your program in this sanctuary will start with an educational introduction about this sanctuary, the history of the monkeys, and how we make a difference in a responsible way. The required tasks include assistance to the staff in the day-to-day management of dietary requirements, observation of behaviour and general maintenance of the reserve.

    3) Bird Project
    This is a vulture conservation program for advancing knowledge, awareness and innovation in the conservation of African vulture populations. Today, vultures face an unprecedented onslaught of danger from human activities. They have to cope with electrocutions and collisions with electrical structures, poisonings, land-use changes, a decrease in food availability and exposure to toxicity through veterinary drugs, to list just a few of the challenges they face nowadays.

    Your program in this sanctuary will start with an educational introduction about this project, the wild birds’ history and how to make a difference in a responsible way. The required tasks include assisting the staff in the day-to-day management such as dietary requirements, supervised handling of the vultures and eagles if needed, and observation of behaviour during breeding season, as well as general maintenance of the reserve.

    4) Magaliesberg Biosphere Project
    Our project locations are set in the internationally protected UNESCO Magaliesberg biosphere, one of the oldest mountain ranges on earth. The Magaliesberg Biosphere has been declared a reserve in June 2015. Different habitats of the area support an exceptional variety of wildlife and native flora, creating opportunities for many conservation activities. Volunteers participate in regular hiking activities along sections of the mountain side in search for illegal animal traps set throughout the woodland and grassland landscapes. These traps, or snares, are used as a method of cruelly catching wild animals which may fatally walk into one, set illegally by poachers.

    Volunteer efforts in finding and removing these snares assists land owners in a current project to prevent various wild animal species from being harmed and illegally hunted, protecting populations of wildlife living in the biosphere reserve to enable survival for the future.

    Volunteer tasks include food preparation and feeding, alien and invasive vegetation control, occasional capture, transfer and release of animals and/or birds, foot patrols for fence inspection, snare and trap location and removal, observation of behaviour, seasonal animal counts, general maintenance and management of all facilities. As projects are changing and continually growing, volunteer tasks will change as well.

  • Safety Management

    With every new arrival we have a safety and orientation briefing where we discuss issues such as general safety in South Africa for example, what to do in the settlements, where not to go, what to do in case of an emergency, sea currents, HIV AIDS and crime. We offer all our volunteers 24/7 support and assistance.

    Se hele rejseprogrammet


The volunteer accommodation is located in a large private house on a small reserve. The rooms sleep 2-6 volunteers. The private single or twin/double rooms are of the same standard, and the single//twin/double room supplement means that you can have the room to yourself. Private rooms are always subject to availability. Please also note that accommodation during the orientation weekend in Johannesburg is dorm-based even if you choose to stay in a private room at the project.

The volunteer house has air-conditioning, a fully functional kitchen, lounge, BBQ as well as a recreational area including 3 swimming pools, squash courts, tennis courts, walking and running trails. Wi-Fi is not included, but is available for a small additional charge. Please use water sparingly and have short showers. Participants are expected to keep their rooms and personal belongings tidy at all times and participate in any chores as required for the cleanliness and operation of the shared facilities.

To get to and from the house to the projects or cafes/shops you need to use transportation, they are not within walking distance.


Arrival Transfer:
You will be met at Johannesburg International Airport and taken to your accommodation. After the orientation weekend you will be transferred to your project accommodation in Hartbeespoort.

Getting to the Project:
On project days the volunteers will be transported by minivan. The vehicles are roadworthy and have all relevant licenses and liability insurance.

Departure time: You will need to take a late evening flight out of Johannesburg, as the transport from the project only reaches the airport in the late afternoon.


Volunteers will receive 3 meals a day.
Breakfast: self-catering breakfast of cereals, fruit, yogurt, toast and spreads
Lunch: self-catering lunch of breads, fruit, cold meats and spreads
Dinner: a hot meal will be served every night. These range from a traditional BBQ (braai), stews, casseroles, fresh vegetables, meats etc.
Tea and coffee will be available all day.
The volunteers are divided into teams to help with food prep and wash-up on alternate days. One week night is a restaurant night, two other week nights (when project ends later than normal) food is prepped by an outside caterer and delivered, and the remaining nights volunteers assist in the kitchen.

Exception: During your Johannesburg orientation you will receive 1 dinner and 2 breakfasts, other snacks are at your own expense.

Also note:
Water is safe to drink, however, scarce in many areas.
All dinners will include meat, starch and vegetables.
A generous amount of food will always be given so no one will go hungry.
All other drinks will be at own expense.
A refrigerator is available for volunteers' personal food.

Please advise us on your dietary needs when filling out your application form. Participants with very specific dietary needs may be required to supplement their meals at their own expense.

Ekstra information

Visas & Insurances:
Visas and insurances are the responsibility of the volunteer.

Emergency & Safety:
All guides on the property are qualified in ‘First Aid’ and are within 150 m of the volunteer accommodation. Each volunteer will have the emergency contact details of the nearest staff members and will be equipped with a house radio as well. The nearest hospital is within 20 minutes drive of the lodge.

Packing List:
- Casual field working clothes for hot and cold days
- Smart clothes for functions and for trips to town
- A jacket
- A good pair of leather gloves
- Sunscreen and a hat
- Swimsuit and towel
- The most important things to bring are a sense of humour, patience, an open mind and positive attitude!

Winter in South Africa:
Please note that May through to September are our winter months and it can get quite chilly with an average temperature ranging from 5 degrees Celsius at night to 15 degrees Celsius during the day. So please make sure to pack enough warm clothes if you plan your trip in that period.