African Wildlife Protection

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This 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.

The volunteers will have the opportunity to interact with some of the animals that will be encountered, in a respectful way and always under supervision.

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Project Highlights

  • Learning more about animals through interactive hands-on projects
  • Learning to capture, tag and release wild Vultures
  • Interactions with 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


 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 these monkeys can be rehabilitated and professionals and volunteers can take care of them.

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

Bird Project

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.

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 on 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 is assisting 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

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, tasks will change and grow as well.

Extra information

  • Although care is taken to ensure that animals are treated in the way they deserve, there is 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.
  • The area of Hartbeespoort is rich in cultural and historical value. We are nestled in the foothills of a 2.3 billion year old mountain range surrounded by natural beauty and encompassing theHartbeespoort dam.
  • The different projects require volunteers to move between locations on completion of assigned tasks. All the locations used are within 25km of the Volunteer accommodation.

Project details

  • Project starts: Every Sunday
  • Location: Hartebeespoort, Johannesburg
  • Minimum duration: 2 weeks
  • 2 day orientation in Johannesburg

Johannesburg Orientation

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

Volunteer requirements

  • CV/Resumé
  • Basic level of competency in English
  • Copy of return flight itinerary
  • Medium level of fitness

Average working day

Volunteers will work 5 days a week, Monday to Friday and have weekends off. You will cover different aspects of the conservation project and visit different projects.

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.

Tate Whetstone, 24, Texas, USA

“I loved every minute of the experience. I thought Pieter and Isabel went out of their way to make sure everyone was comfortable and having a great time. I would 100% recommend this experience to other people. “

Elin Sigurbjornsdottir, 19, Iceland

“I enjoyed my stay here to the fullest. I loved working with the animals and people from different countries. Isabel and Pieter were always ready to help us with anything. Based on this experience, I will definitely volunteer again. Thank you!!!”

Bev Miller-Stewart, 53, Michigan, USA

“Overall very impressed. You both should be very proud of what you have accomplished in a relatively short time. We are very impressed with what and how you conduct the program. I definitely would recommend your program.”

Bev Sarah Petraglia, 19, Australia

“The experience was great, I’ve met some great people on this trip, developed new skills and have a new found confidence. I would definitely come back and recommend this to friends and family”

Bev Louise Morgan, 56, Australia

“Interesting, informative and most enjoyable. I especially enjoyed the ‘hands-on’ as well as the enrichment activities for the animals.”

Bev Line Holst Hansen, 19, Denmark

“Everything has been wonderful. I didn’t know what to expect and this has been much, much more than hoped for.”

Peter Dalgaard Villumsen, 20, Denmark

“Our expectations were exceeded and I will recommend this program to all the young people I know. Excellent”

Jessica Hub, 20, Switzerland

“I really enjoyed every single day I had here, even cleaning the elephant stables and slashing grass. Every day was full of surprises like walking with elephants, feeding monkeys, feeding cheetahs, assisting in maintaining the fire breaks to keep the animals safe. Our volunteer leaders, Isabel, Meika and Pieter, were always smiling and they found the balance between work and fun. In conclusion, I had an excellent time here and I am looking forward to come back”

Cindy Wells, 63, California, USA

“Pieter, Isabel and Meika run this program superbly, and made all of us feel like family”

Andrea Roos, 29, Switzerland

“It was a great experience – not only to get to know a lot more about conservation and wildlife, but also to experience South African culture and hospitality from it’s very friendly people. Thank you so much, I will miss this a lot!!”

Scott Thorn, 21, Canada

“My experience was very rewarding and fulfilling. I will leave Africa with knowing I did something to help the animals at the sanctuaries. Thanks for everything!”

Rob Thorn, 55, Canada

It was an incredible experience. Being part of a worthy cause was a great feeling, and being in the company of two great leaders such as Isabel and Pieter enhanced an already wonderful experience. Thanks for the precious memories.”

Todd Thorn, 19, Canada

I feel incredibly privileged to have had the opportunity to volunteer and assist in all the projects. Not only experiencing the animals and work, but a small part of the South African culture as well. I had a wonderful time.”

Rachel Schafer, 18, Georgia, USA

I got to work on a lot of different projects, meet lots of people, help and understand different causes, as well as learn a lot. This is a wonderful close knit, intimate project, and I am very glad I got to be a part of it.”

Josefine Nedergaard, 25, Denmark

“We felt very at home, with a nice atmosphere. Everybody at the sanctuaries was very welcoming and appreciative of us. The volunteer leaders, Isabel, Meika and Pieter, made our experience even more special by giving a lot of information on the projects and animals, and by always being friendly and ready to help us.”

Camilla Stage, 21, Denmark

“I had an amazing time with Pieter and Isabel. Very friendly atmosphere that felt like home. They are very informative and passionate about what they do, and this keeps the volunteers motivated. A great project where I felt like I was doing so much for the animals. I enjoyed the work and the people I’ve worked with a lot. Great job guys! Two weeks are definitely not enough =)”

Annika Brown, 22, Australia

“This was an amazing and uplifting experience. I was impressed with all aspect of the volunteer work. I have developed strong bonds with Pieter and Meika, and she has done an amazing job for and with all of us. Thank you for giving us this amazing opportunity”

Grete Krane Langhaug, 22, Norway

“I booked a different project, and came here as I was unhappy with the first choice. I am very satisfied with my stay, and I really like how things are working at this project. Isabel and Pieter have made the ‘home-stay’ a very good environment, and I really felt at home. I liked that we are working with different animals each day, and that we do a lot of various things during the day. I wish I had heard of this place first, so I would have a longer stay here. I will recommend this as first choice to all people who want to do volunteer work.”

Carina Carlson, 22, Norway

“I am very happy with my stay here. The accommodation exceeded all my expectations. The volunteer leaders are great, and I love that they taught us a lot about the animals and African culture. They made us feel very at home, and I love how we got to know everyone so well. The ‘home stay’ is a lovely environment. I also liked going to different sanctuaries, with different animals and work. Different types of work every day also helped in making the days more fun for everybody. I wish I was here for a longer time!!!! I am so happy with this choice that I would love to come back one day. I will absolutely recommend this program”

What’s Included

  • Return Transfer from Johannesburg airport
  • All meals
  • Accommodation
  • 24 hour support and supervisor
  • Donation to the project
  • Animal Interactions (Elephant, Monkey, Vulture)

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.


Accommodation is on a wildlife reserve in Hartebeespoort. The house is in a secure development in a green belt/protected area. There is a kitchen, lounge and recreational area, 3 swimming pools, squash courts, tennis courts, walking and running trails. The rooms sleep 2 – 6 volunteers.


Volunteers will receive 3 meals a day.

Breakfast consists of cereals, fruit, yogurts, toast and spreads
Lunch consists of, fruit, cold meats and spreads.
Dinner consists of hot meal which is served every night such as, a traditional South African BBQ (braai), stews (potjies), casseroles, fresh vegetables and meats etc. All Dinners will include a meat, starch and vegetable.

Tea and coffee will be available and all other drinks will be at own expense. A generous amount of food will always be given. If snacks are desired there are several grocery stores nearby. There will be refrigeration available for volunteer’s personal food and soft drinks.

Please advise on your booking form of any and ALL dietary needs/requirements and allergies.


Volunteers will be met at Johannesburg International airport and taken 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.

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
  • The nearest hospital is within 20 minutes drive of all locations
  • 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

*Please keep in mind that all activities are subject to availability and prices may change without notice.

Tandem Paragliding: Can be arranged for you upon request. Please note that this is weather permitted only.
Costs: R1100 per person

Quad biking and Zipline: Fun in the sun! Yes definitely something to experience.
Costs: R1100 per person

Pilanesberg: The Pilanesberg Game Reserve is located in North West Province in South Africa, west of Pretoria. It is home to the Big 5, along with an abundance of flora and fauna. This Game Reserve in South Africa is every wildlife enthusiasts dream.
Costs: R1000 per person – full day

Sun City “Africa’s Kingdom of Pleasure” is a luxury casino and resort, situated in the North West Province of South Africa. It is located between the Elands River and the Pilanesberg, about two hours’ drive from Johannesburg, near the city of Rustenburg. Here is lots of fun activities to do!
Costs: R1400 per person full day

Example of a typical week at this project

Week 1

Airport pick up. Welcome Orientation

Monkey Sanctuary:
Food prep and feeding, clean out and replace water, census, assist with new arrival and injuries, hand rear babies for release

Wildlife Reserve:
Remove alien plants, clear rubbish, bird and antelope counts, snare removal, fence patrols

Bird Project:
General maintenance and observation of different species. Supervised handling of birds of needed

Wildlife Reserve:
Remove alien plants, clear rubbish, bird and antelope counts, snare removal, fence patrols

Monkey Sanctuary:
Food prep and feeding, clean out and replace water, census, assist with new arrival and injuries, hand rear babies for release


Sept – March – vulture breeding season – Volunteers will assist with feeding, peat and parasite removal, water trough and breeding hut repairs.

If this program is combined with a language course  – lessons will be done in the afternoons on project site in different unique environments.

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