The Wildlife Care Center Program welcomes volunteers to help the Wildlife Care Center in day to day activities, animal care and treatment in the Center. A helping hand from volunteers serves as a pivotal role in carrying out the quintessential activities of wildlife care and conservation. The center occasionally faces difficult situations when an injured or poisoned animal are not able to be released back to their natural habitats. Therefore, the center homes these wild animals permanently in the center, treating and taking care of them.
The project will prove to be a boon for animal lovers, who will get to interact with animals and get up close with them. Most of the duties of a volunteer will revolve around taking care of these animals, including feeling, cleaning and providing stimulation for animals like honey badgers. The volunteers will be involved in any call out, drop off or hand raising of baby animals brought to the center.
The project is also involved in research related to the movement and behavior of leopards. A number of leopards have been captured and collared for this purpose and the research has been going pretty strong. Volunteers, if they are fortunate enough, will also get to be involved in the capture or release of a leopard and get to help around with the research activities. Furthermore, researches related to a number of vulture species are also carried out by the project, where the volunteers can choose to get involved in.
Goal of the Project
The major goal of the project is wildlife conservation at its utmost, as most animals in Africa have been endangered due to various reasons. The project conserves wildlife, by giving animals a chance to multiply in numbers by reproduction. Volunteers in the project play an important role in carrying out the activities focused to achieve its ultimate goal of conservation.
Involvement and Activities
The day begins at 07H00. Volunteers meet at the clinic, where they are allocated specific duties. Please make sure you arrive on time. The priority of the day will be the feeding and cleaning of all the animals and their enclosures in the morning and in the afternoon. During the rest of the day there are general Rehab tasks that need to be done. Working with raw meat and dead chickens is part of the day. 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 your plans made, can delay meals and rob you of your sleep. Please note that you will be working with wild animals and this can be dangerous.
Fees and Dates
Except our registration fee of $299, our fees are as affordable as $1410. The detailed fee structure of the Wildlife Care Center Program are as follows:
| Extra Week
Mondays and Wednesdays are the preferred arrival and departure days in Hoedspruit for volunteers, but other week days will be considered.
Volunteers are provided with room accommodation. 2 to 4 volunteers of the same gender are given one room. Rooms are also available for couples wanting to stay together, but this is subject to bookings and reservation – we cannot guarantee rooms as there are many volunteers volunteering for this project. Beddings and blankets are provided, but you are required to bring your own bath towel as this is not provided.
Volunteers are given 3 meals per day – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Snacks are not provided by the staff. Meals are given on the Forest Camp Lodge, which is located near the centre. It only takes 10 minutes to walk from the bush to the lodge, or you can hitch a ride on local vehicles passing by the lodge.
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) – lasagnas, roasts, vegetables, salads, pastas
There are many activities you can do while you are currently out of work to do. However, be reminded that these activities may be interrupted in favor of your volunteer work on the centre, as work schedules are irregular and emergency situations may arise from time to time.
These activities are a great way to relax and unwind from your daily volunteer activities. The activities’ prices depend on how many volunteers will go through the activity. Examples of these activities are visiting national parks such as the Kruger National Park. Horse riding, water river rafting, balloon rides, micro-light flying, and other activities can be done during these times. You can also visit some of the most famous sites within the country such as the Bombyx Silk Farm, Echo Caves, Blyde River Canyon, and others. Do remember that the prices for attending such activities will be collected from your account.
- Where do I need to fly?
Interested people need to visit Eastgate Airport and arrange flights to Hoedspruit.
- How can I get to the project?
The volunteers will be picked up at Eastgate Airport by one of our representatives. They will then be taken to the project centre.
- What vaccinations do I need?
While the majority of South Africa is free from malaria, the Kruger National Park is unfortunately not. Before deciding to volunteer, it is recommended that you get a vaccination for malaria. Rabies vaccination is important as well. Remember to bring some medical supplies for yourself as well as not all medicines, especially prescriptions, are provided by the staff.
- How can I communicate with family?
Incoming calls (from families) will be entertained and received in the Common Room area of the Student House. Volunteers are also able to make calls from the public telephone, but they will have to purchase a “World Call Card” in order to make outgoing calls. Unless it is a valid emergency, volunteers will not be able to use the office phone.
Volunteers will not be able to access the Internet and their email addresses on the centre. However, they will be given access to the Internet Café in the town. Volunteers are advised to check their email addresses during this time as well as do whatever online business they have to do.
If you want to be constantly in touch with your friends and families, you will want to bring a mobile phone with you. Of course, make sure that your phone has roaming mode activated as people outside the country will not be able to communicate with you if the feature is not activated. Make sure that your SIM card is compatible as well. If you don’t have a useable SIM card with you, you can purchase one on the local airport. Be sure to get some mobile credits as well.
- How safe is the project?
The project is very safe. Volunteers are advised to adhere to the safety tips and guidelines detailed by the project leader.
While the office has a storage room for important documents or expensive items, volunteers are required to take care of their own belongings, as the centre will not hold responsible for the loss of items. Make sure that your items are properly secured and locked.
Missing items or properties should be reported to the project leader as soon as possible. Do not let this problem leave unattended as it will cause more problems. Make sure that you really lost the item before reporting it to the leader as this will only cause confusion and problems.
- 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?
Projects usually start on Mondays or Wednesdays. Tuesdays and Thursdays are considered good days as well. If you want to volunteer, make sure that you arrive during the weekdays and not during the weekends, as few projects are started during this time.
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