Volunteers work up close with big cats including lions, white lions, Bengal tigers, cheetah and leopard and also get to walk with elephants and perhaps even join a horseback safari. There are also zebra, giraffe, hippo and many different antelope to be seen at this project.
This project is based on a quiet sanctuary far from any major city in a wild and beautful African setting in the remote North West Province, an hour from Sandton/Johannesburg and just fifty minutes from Pretoria. The park covers 750 hectares of pristine bushveld and falls into the World Heritage Site known as the ‘Cradle of Humankind’. It is a unique eco-system where animals, birds and man live in harmony.
The sanctuary is home to many orphaned and injured animals who have found a safe haven whilst recovering from their trauma. The aim is to rehabilitate these animals back into the wild whenever possible. The park is home to elephants, lions, tigers, cheetah, spotted hyena, white lions and hippo as well as the free-ranging game such as giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, warthog, impala, waterbuck and red hartebeest to name just a few. Volunteers work closely with the staff at the sanctuary and can learn first hand about animal feeding, health and husbandry and also what it takes to run a wildlife park. There are also opportunities for game drives, elephant walks and to go on horse-back safari.
The Volunteer Programme
The project staff, with the help of volunteers, aim to make the most of every day and to make the lives of the animals in the sanctuary the best that they can be. No cats are bred at the Park but cubs are rescued from other farms and reserves. There is no guarantee that there will be cubs at the Park but there is a good chance that volunteers will assist with a cub at some point. Volunteer activities may include (but are not limited to)
- taking the lion cubs for walks – when there are young cubs at the park
- caring for sick and injured and young animals
- enclosure cleaning and feeding of the animals
- providing fresh water for the animals daily
- construction of a rock pool for the tigers to swim in
- building a shaded lookout to view the vultures feeding
- maintaining roads
- removal of alien species of plants and weeds
- keeping the grass cut in lion, leopard and cheetah camps and cleaning and refilling water troughs as required
- trimming of trees along the roads and general park mainternance
- help with a fencing project designed to enlarge the area for grazing for the animals
- As well as wildlife there is livestock on the project and volunteers help with feeding
There are also great fun activities that volunteers can join which may include:
- star gazing – fantastic in the Southern Hemisphere
- elephant walks
- game drives
- bird watching and fishing
Volunteers can also join horse back safaris around the reserve for an additional cost. This can be arranged with the project staff whilst on the project.
The working day is from 8.00 am – 5.00 pm with a two hour break in the middle of the day for lunch, and volunteers work for six days a week. Saturdays generally are a quick check that everything in the sanctuary is well and the rest of the day is spent on fun activities that are organised for the volunteers such as a visit to Sterkfontein Caves, Lesedi Village – the local ethnic village – or Chameleon Village where the locals sell African curios. Sundays are a day off to relax, sleep, read or just spending time with other volunteers.