The Monkey Project is not just a rehabilitation center for monkeys but for other animals and bird species too. However, the project has been working on primate rehabilitation since 1992; therefore the leaders of the project are called the ‘Vertet Monkey Specialists’, also approved by the South African Government. The project specializes in the rehabilitation of orphaned, injured or humanized monkeys that get sent to or brought to the centre by private individuals or government concerns.
The volunteers for this project will be working with monkeys but they might have to handle other species as well, since the project rehabilitates other species too, besides primates. The project activities and species of animals will depend on what the project is handling at the moment.
Goal of the Project
The Monkey Rehabilitation Project was established to provide a temporary sanctuary for animals in wildlife casualties, rehabilitating them for self support and finally releasing them to their natural habitat. The project is also involved in researches to study and document the behavioral activities of the captive vervet monkey, baboons and other primates. One of the important findings of the research have proved that domesticated pet monkeys and other species of wildlife casualties can be rehabilitated and be successfully released back into their natural habitat.
Involvement and Activities
- Possible Work Experience
- Caring for injured / sick animals.
- Assisting with medical procedures e.g. stitching wounds, wound dressing, ministering medicines and parasital treatment to various species.
- Assisting with measurements and filling in report forms on admissions, 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 centre.
- 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 sites, monitoring pre & post release.
Other animals that volunteers can expect to see at the project include jackals, tortoises, crocodiles, birds, small antelope, rabbits, ground squirrels, snakes.
Fees and Dates
Except our registration fee of $299, our fees are as affordable as $780. The detailed fee structure of the Monkey Project is as follows:
| Extra Week
Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the preferred arrival days. Thursdays and Fridays aren't such good days to arrive, as it is too close to the weekend (i.e. volunteers are hardly at the project, and they are then having time off).
The project provides room accommodation for both small and large groups of volunteers. The Loerie’s Rest and Owl Barn can accommodate 15 people, Woodpecker Inn can accommodate 4-6 people, and the Fish Eagle Cabin can accommodate 3-4 people. For couples, they are given a separate room in the Kingfisher Hut or the Caravan (depending on the choice of the couple).
Volunteers can also arrange to stay outdoors if they prefer. They will be provided with sleeping bags, pillows, and other things they may need to stay outdoors (although tents should be provided by the volunteers themselves). The camping site have toilets and shower rooms they can use, as well as a small kitchen / bar.
Three meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) are served every day.
- 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.
If volunteers have some free time after accomplishing all their volunteering tasks, they can choose to go on excursions around the area.
Some activities include visiting the “Biggest Baobab in the World”, visiting ethnic villages and mingling with the locals, visiting the Kruger National Park, where they can partake in elephant back rides, Panorama scenic routes, and many other activities.
However, do note that these trips are not for free. It costs R40 to R2500 depending on the activities volunteers choose to do. Be sure to bring some money if you wish to do these things.
- River rafting
- Hot air balloon flights
- Bungee jumping
- Visiting scenic spots such as the Blyde River Canyon
- And many others
- Where do I need to fly?
Volunteers can get to this project through 3 different options:
Option 1: Arrive in Joburg and spend a night at a lodge. At the next morning, volunteers should take the bus out to the town closest to the project. While this is the cheapest option, it’s also the option that takes a lot of time, as the bus trip takes 5-6 hours depending on the traffic. The buses are operated by an inter-city bus operator and are one of the most well-known luxury buses in South African major cities.
Option 2: Arrive in Joburg and then take a flight from Joburg on to Phalaborwa. This is the fastest option you can take but this is also the most expensive.
Option 3: If volunteers want to combine this project with the project at Kruger National Park, then this option would be more preferable. Volunteers will have to fly to Hoedspruit from Eastgate airport, joining the project in Kruger area.
- How can I get to the project?
Once they arrive at the pickup point (either at Phalaborwa Airport, the bus stop, or Hoedspruit), volunteers will be picked up by one of the project members and will be taken to the project site.
- What vaccinations do I need?
It is highly recommended that you get a tetanus shot before leaving for this project. And while majority of the places are considered malaria free, the Kruger National Park isn’t. Consult your doctor and ask them for a malaria vaccine in order to keep yourself safe while participating in this project. Getting rabies vaccination is recommended as well.
- How can I communicate with family?
You can only access the Internet and your emails once you arrive on the airport. Conduct all your online businesses while you are in the airport, as you will only be able to gain access to the Internet once every week once you are in the project site.
If you wish to stay in touch with your families and friends, it is important that you bring a mobile phone with you. Make sure that you activate the roaming capabilities of your phone first before participating in the project. If you haven’t done that, you can purchase a new SIM card on the airport. Make sure to buy some mobile credits as well, as you will only get to visit the town once a week while on the project.
- How safe is the project?
The project is very safe. Following the safety tips and rules stated by the project staff, they can guarantee no injuries whatsoever while participating in the project. The volunteers are also advised to not leave their items and valuables unattended. The project staff will not be held liable should the volunteers lose their belongings.
- Will there be someone to guide/supervise us?
Volunteers will be guided and supervised by the project leader and the project staff daily. Of course, they will only be able to guide volunteers within a few hours or so, as there are other projects that need their attention as well. It is important to ask the questions you want to ask while they are present. If you need to contact them immediately, you can always contact them on their mobile phone. However, do contact them only if it is an emergency.
- Will there be other volunteers?
Other volunteers will be present with you at all times. There will always be around 2-20 volunteers per project. Be sure to mingle with them and make some new friends.
- Any other important information to consider?
Once you are done with your volunteer experience, you can go on various tours such as:
- 7-day trip to Chobe National Park and Victoria Falls
- 7-day trip to Okavango Delta
- 5-day trip to Chobe National Park and Victoria Falls
- 10-day trip to Okavango Delta and Chobe and Victoria Falls
NOTE: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) is derived from generic information about the country, and should not be used as a definitive travel guide. Travel information and situations abroad change constantly, and the information contained here may not be up to date. Participants should consult Helping Abroad staff or travel advisors to verify this information.