Cheetah and Wild Dog Breeding Centre

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Cheetah and Wild Dog Breeding Centre 4

The centre was established in South Africa in 1971. The centre’s mission is to ensure the long term survival of the cheetah, African Wild Dog and other wild animals in general. Today the centre can look back with satisfaction on a job well done in ensuring the survival of Acinonyx jubatus – the cheetah, successfully breeding the king cheetah in captivity for the first time anywhere in the world. While the cheetah breeding project was the base, it soon widened to include other endangered animal species, such as the African wild dog.

The centre does not receive any government funding and income generated from tours and the adoption programme is used to subsidize these conservation projects.

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Project Highlights

  • Learning more about animals through interactive hands-on projects
  • Interactions with Cheetah and other animals
  • Working on a real game reserve with truly wild animals around
  • Making a positive difference
  • You will be able to listen to the sounds of jackals, bushbabies and night jars calling throughout the night
  • Living a genuine conservationist lifestyle
  • Learn about conservation and Africa’s wild animals
  • Developing personal strengths and life skills
  • Having fun while working

The animals that live permanently on the farm are animals that were rescued and can’t be released for many reasons, usually because of injury causing an inability to hunt.

These animals are kept in enclosures and used for educating the public and raising awareness.

“Our passion is to take care of the animals and ensure they are healthy and safe. It is our duty to protect and preserve all animal species and help from volunteers would be greatly appreciated for this cause.”

Our conservation goals

  • To continue to play a role in conservation and the preservation of the cheetah and wild dog.
  • To support scientific investigations & research into all aspects of these endangered species.
  • To promote conservation through Education and to raise public awareness (particularly amongst the younger generation), of the
  • pressing need for wildlife preservation.
  • To maintain a genetic pool by means of a scientifically based breeding programme.
  • To work on the long term survival and solutions for cheetah and wild dog.
  • To afford visitors to the Centre the opportunity to view these endangered species.

Volunteer Tasks

Cheetah & Wild Dog Conservation
The centre’s main mission is to ensure the survival of the cheetah, the African wild dog and other wild animals. The center has succeeded in breeding with the King Cheetah for the first time in captivity, and has currently bred over 800 cheetahs as well as wild dogs, brown hyena, servals and other endangered animals.

Volunteer Tasks
Volunteers will be involved in the day to day running of the center, 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 and is recommended to be done for at least a full week.

Vulture Conservation
This is a vulture conservation programme 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.

Volunteer tasks
Our 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 will 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.

Project details

  • Arrival date: Sunday
  • Orientation in Johannesburg
  • Transfer to project: Tuesday
  • Location:  Hartbeespoort, North west
  • Minimum duration: 2 weeks
  • Programs run 5 days a week

Johannesburg Orientation 
All of our JNB conservation projects will include a 2 day orientation prior to attending the project site. Sunday-Monday is orientation in Joburg, then on Tuesday you will transfer to project via shuttle and depart on a Tuesday.

Volunteer Requirements

  • CV/Resumé
  • Basic level of competency in English
  • Medium level of fitness
  • Acceptance subject to Availability of position

Volunteer tasks

In addition to helping with the daily running and maintenance of the wildlife sanctuary, volunteers will be involved in improving the sanctuary overall. Tasks for volunteers may be enclosure repair and maintenance; vegetation control; slashing grass for cheetah cub bedding and enclosure furnishing. The daily running of the sanctuary is the job of the people employed by the centre; however you will be included wherever possible to help with feeding rounds; cleaning rounds; ambassador care (grooming the cheetah) and any other special tasks that may be available during project time.

Example program

Volunteers are left to settle in on the day of arrival. On the second day, they are taken on a two and a half hour feeding tour and introductions are done. Work such as attending to maintenance needs (example: painting of fences for animal camps, thatching, road maintenance and marking) and animal care (example: interaction with ambassador cheetahs, feeding and cleaning) starts on the third day.

Friday normally ends with a bit of tom foolery. Saturday volunteers are taken to Bela Bela enjoy a day of their choice (example: quad biking, horse riding, paintball, spa, shopping). Sunday they relax around the farm.

Monday to Friday is work. During this week, volunteers have the opportunity to see a cheetah run event. Monday’s are games and packing day for departure on Tuesday.

This programme is flexible and can easily be altered as required.

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 -1 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.

What’s Included

• Return Transfer from Johannesburg Airport
• All meals
• Accommodation
• 24 hour support and supervisor
• Donation to the project

2 day Volunteer Johannesburg Orientation

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

• Arty districts of Newtown and Braamfontein
• Constitutional Hill
• Telkom Tower
• Nelson Mandela Bridge
• Jazz Walk of Fame
• Mary Fitzgerald Square
• Traditional South African meal

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 our SAVE 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 by one of our SAVE crew and shown your way 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 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 for the day.

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


Volunteers will be staying in self-contained chalets which each have lounge, dining room and kitchen. Each chalet has a swimming pool, lapa (thatched covered area with patio set), boma (area for making a fire) and braai (BBQ). The rooms are shared between volunteers and have bathrooms.


Wi-fi is available on a shared basis to give volunteers opportunities to contact those at home.


Laundry facilities are available at the accommodation. The service is free of charge and done twice weely, we only ask you to supply your own washing powder.


Breakfast: self-help breakfast of cereals, yoghurt, toast & spreads or a cooked breakfast
Lunch: A self-help buffet of sandwiches and fruit
Dinner: a hot meal will be served every night. These range from a traditional BBQ, stews, casseroles, fresh vegetable etc.
Tea and coffee will be available all day

Also note: All dinners will include a meat, starch and vegetable 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 volunteer’s personal food

Important reminder: Participants must advise SAVE of their dietary needs. Volunteers with very specific dietary requirements may be required to supplement meals at their own expense.


Volunteers will be met at Johannesburg International airport and taken to the project. On project days the volunteers will be transported. The vehicles used are roadworthy and have all relevant licenses and liability insurance.

  • All transport is safe and reliable.
  • All licenses and insurances are up to date.
  • All insurances and liabilities for passengers are up to date and fully paid.

Supervision and coordination

At all times a member of our staff will be there to assist and co-ordinate movements on all projects. Our project leaders will ensure that you receive the right instructions, safety briefings and objectives for the tasks at hand. There will be a de-briefing session each day to discuss the days events and the following days work and objectives.

Emergency and safety information

  • All our staff have the relevant licenses for driving with passengers
  • All staff are qualified in First Aid
  • There will be a staff member in close proximity at ALL times
  • All volunteers are handed a safety guidelines card with the relevant contact numbers and emergency procedures printed on it
  • An emergency cellular phone with call time will be handed to one group member each day
  • Please note: Every precaution is taken to ensure your comfort and safety at all times.


  • All beverages
  • Additional tours
  • Flights, visas and travel insurance
  • Personal items such as sunscreen, bug-spray and amenities,
What do I do at the airport?
I have booked the Johannesburg Orientation package, how does that work?
How do I get to the project?
When is the best time of year to volunteer?
I want to make the most of my programme, what length of time is best?
How many people sleep in a room?
What is the sanitation facilities like?
Is there a danger of snakes?
Will I get to interact with the animals?
When do we start working and for how long and for how many days a week?
Will there be a possibility to go shopping, (for food or groceries etc.) while at the program, or are we just staying on the farm?
What do I need when I’m on the project?
Will I have time off?
How much does water/soda cost there?
Where can I do my washing?
What can i do on my off days?

Example Itinerary


Week 1:
Airport pick-up
Welcome orientation

Week 2:
Craft day or just relaxing


Week 1:
Two hour tour
Photos with ambassador
Cub interaction if cubs are there at time of visit

Week 2:
Food prep and feeding round
Camp clearing
Assist vet with emergencies

Week 1:
Food prep and feeding round
Vulture camp repairs

Week 2:
Food prep and feeding round
Camp clearing
Assist vet with emergencies
Removal of invasive plants

Week 1:
Applicator maintenance
Lucern drops
Vulture camp repairs

Week 2:
Food prep and feeding round
Camp clearing
Removal of invasive plants

Week 1:
Cheetah run
Vulture camp repairs

Week 2:
Food prep and feeding round
Assist vet with emergencies
Removal of invasive plants

Week 1:
Food prep for animals
Feeding rounds
Cub interaction if cubs are there at time of visit

Week 2:
Food prep and feeding round
Camp clearing
Assist vet with emergencies

Week 1:
Day off

Week 2:
Day off

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