Wild Cat Project

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The farm is situated on the border of the Free State and Northern Cape and is home to an abundance of big and small African cats, such as, Lions and African Wild Cats. The farm is not only a home for cats, but other animals as well. We have a large family of Meerkats who run free, there are Black Back Jackals, Bat-Eared Foxes, Vervet Monkeys and a few other interesting guests from the animal kingdom. The farm not just a home but a Sanctuary; we house animals that have been hurt, mistreated, or that need to be relocated. Animals that are not able to be relocated or released, will live their lives in peace on the farm.

Our goal is to raise the big cats that we have as wild as possible so that they can be released to the wild, where they will be re-populating a diminishing population. Some cubs will be kept at the program as ambassadors that will help to educate people the importance of our animals!

Since we started in 2010, we have released 2 Caracals. Furthermore, We have released more animals on the Langberg Guest Farm, as well as on our own farm, such animals include; Jakkels, Meerkats, misseljaatkatte (Cape Genet), African Wild Cats, Muishonde and more.

We are completely against Canned Hunting and we can proudly say that we have saved 12 Lions from being hunted.

OverviewExtra InfoPhotosReviewsIncludedActivitiesFAQ's

Project Highlights

  • You will be able to listen to the sounds of cats calling throughout the night
  • Not only will you be privileged to work with these beautiful cats, but your accommodation is also situated in close proximity to all of the cat enclosures.
  • You will be accompanied by other people who are very passionate about animals.
  • You will have the opportunity to work face to face, with big cats and other wildlife. Learn and experience how each animal behaves, reacts and what their characters are like

About the Centre

Our centre is located in the well-known Free State province, which borders the Northern Cape. The predator farm is situated only 30 km from the historical town of Kimberley, on the National Road (the N8). The farm is home to an abundance of animals; we are a home to 42 predators and 2 monkeys – the predators include: 4 cheetahs, 20 lions, 4 caracals, 2 servals, 1 African wild cat, 2 black back jackals, and 9 bat-eared foxes. These animals are taken in to be cared for because of various reasons; some cannot live in the wild on their own if they are sick or were abandoned, and many are rescued from unethical processes like canned hunting and breeding for tourism purposes. When it is possible, we strive to release our animals back into the wild where they can live freely without any human interaction.

Beginning of the centre – it was founded in 2010 by the Burger family when Chriszanne and Nicol Burger adopted 2 animals from a project where they previously work. These animals were moved to the centre and cared for by the Burger family. This action was the foundation for the continued conservation and rehabilitation work that takes place at the centre. Around this time, the Burger family learned about Canned Hunting (a method of hunting in which an animal is kept in a confined area-such as a fenced enclosure-to vastly increase the likelihood of the hunter obtaining a kill for trophy purposes), which sparked the desire to work towards the eradication of this process and rescue African cats from hazardous environments.

Future Plans for the centre – We are currently busy expanding the enclosures on the farm. These enclosures will be geared towards mimicking a natural area for play and roaming. Each enclosure will accommodate the specific species’ needs. Every enclosure will consist of tree logs, a climbing area, and adequate space to roam. The centre currently has over 1000 hectares of pure Free State farmland available to expand the project and ensure the well-being of the animals in our care. We do not intend to breed with our lions or to buy in any more cubs in the future.

Volunteer Tasks

  • First thing in the morning, you will be warmly greeted by all the cats with their calls.
  • You will spend time getting to know the animals and other volunteers/staff personally.
  • Feeding them will be sure to be a high-light, as you learn how, what, and when the cats eat
  • There will always be the sense of excitement in the air; as you help build new enclosures, you will know that you are helping an animal in dire need for safety.
  • With the knowledge and experience you gain, you will be able to help on tours and educate others.

Project Details

  • Project starts: every Wednesday
  • Location: Kimberley, Free State
  • 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. Wednesday-Thursday is orientation in Joburg, then Friday you will transfer to City Bug or Johannesburg to fly to Kimberley or Bloemfontein. You will depart project on a Friday.

Arrival
Volunteers will receive a shuttle ride from Johannesburg International airport to the orientation in Johannesburg. After the orientation, they will get a transfer to the bus terminal for the City Bug shuttle to Bloemfontein. The project leader will be waiting for the volunteers in Bloemfontein. However, we recommend that volunteers fly to and from Kimberley Airport (cost around R2000). We will organise a transfer from the airport to the project and back. Choosing this option will save you a six hour bus shuttle from Johannesburg to Kimberley and back.

Volunteer Requirements

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

Average working day

You will be working 6 days a week with the 7th being your day off to do what you would like.

  • An early wake-up at 07:00am                                                    
  • Breakfast with the team
  • Discussion of daily events and duties
  • During the course of the day you can be involved in tours, preparing food, working in the enclosures, nursing sick animals, and so on
  • Lunch hour
  • Free time to do your laundry, taking a nap, spending time with other volunteers, or even helping in the preparation of an evening function
  • Dinner will be a nice warm meal. You can also prepare your own food if you wish.
  • Just before bedtime, a quick check-in on the cats, making sure everyone is settled
  • End the day with a well-deserved sleep

Please note, this routine is kept as best as possible; however, working with animals sometimes requires a flexible schedule. The above outline is subject to change.

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.

Matildi

It’s a great place to go to if you want to learn about the animals, experience them up close and have a lot of fun on the way! The Burgers are a truly heartwarming family with great passion for the animals and they do a wonderful job. There’s work to be done, and sometimes it’s heavy, but I swear nothing is more rewarding than spending time with the animals after. I’ve been to Felidae twice in just eight months and I still want to go back! It is a cosy place where you get a lot of new friends, quite a few laughs and an experience for a lifetime! Felidae is my home away from home and I want to go back as soon as I can. If you are even considering going, then go! You won’t regret it!

 Jenny

My expectations were really high but it was more then I ever could imagine. I experienced so much about the culture, the animals and I got to do a lot of activities that I didn’t think I would ever do during my hole life. Waking up of the lions roars and sleeping with a cheetah is indescribable, it gave me happiness that I can draw energy from for the rest of my life. The Burger family was incredible, it really felt like my own family during my time there. They help you with every questions you have and try to make all of your wishes come true. It was easy to adapt to the society with because of them, it felt like home. I travelled by my own but I never felt lonely in Kimberley. After this trip I have friends for life and Felidae center in my heart every day.

Eyrun Hansen

The thing I love the most about the farm is how homey it is, right in my wheelhouse. The owners put a lot of trust in the volunteers and are rather good at handling stuff that relates to the volunteers and the house they live in. You get a lot of time with the animals, both in your freetime and when you are working (it depends on the task of the day of course). The work you do is not hard and if you do it with a smile on your face, everyday will be easier and so much more fun.

I met a lot of great people that I still stay in touch with today. I liked that there were not big groups of people there. I don’t like big crowds and that takes me back to saying how homey it was because smaller groups tend to connect more.

 Anniken

I can truly say I have found my paradise on earth!
 My two week stay was wonderful right from the beginning, waking up to lion roars, to the end, leaving all my new friends.
To interact with these amazing animals and learn so much about them, has changed my life. I still can’t believe how lucky I have been!
And the Burger-family are the real stars here! What an warm and loving family, and it realy shines through that they live and breathe for these animals. To see their bond with the animals is realy special. I think the animals know they have been saved! It’s love both ways here.
The Burgers also put a lot of effort to make sure all the volunteers are happy and have a good time! And I sure did! I had the time of my life!
I liked that we had so many different tasks, from cleaning the enclosures to feeding the animals, and everything between.
It’s a 24/7 job run a farm like this, and I’m so happy I could be a part of it.
I loved my stay so much, and two weeks was way to short, so I’m coming back this year, and this time for 8 weeks! I can’t wait! :)

Nanna Rasmussen

The Burger family makes you feel welcome and comfortable. They are going to joke with you and throw you in the pool but then you should just joke back and throw one of them in the pool. That’s one of the things that makes the volunteers open up and feel at home. The love and dedication of the family towards the animals on the farm is fantastic. You are not, for one single moment, going to be in doubt of their good intentions.

You should be ready for hard, physical work and most importance of all, you should be ready to cross and move your personal boundaries. You are going to do some work you aren’t going to enjoy but you are also going to be doing a lot of things you are going to enjoy very much. That for me were for example cutting up a buffalo and sorting out rotten calves from the meat fridge.

My favourite activity were, of course, spending time with the animals. I grew very attached to, especially, Tau, Alex and Zena up to a point where they would recognize my voice and express their acceptance and fun of me by hugs and playful games.

Eyrún Lára Hansen

I loved my stay at the Felidae Centre. I applied for three weeks and when it was my time to go
home I was not anywhere near to being ready to leave.
The thing I love the most about the farm is how homey it is, right in my wheelhouse. The
owners put a lot of trust in the volunteers and are rather good at handling stuff that relates to the
volunteers and the house they live in. You get a lot of time with the animals, both in your
freetime and when you are working (it depends on the task of the day of course). The work you
do is not hard and if you do it with a smile on your face, everyday will be easier and so much
more fun.
I met a lot of great people that I still stay in touch with today. I liked that there were not
big groups of people there. I don’t like big crowds and that takes me back to saying how homey
it was because smaller groups tend to connect more. I think that I am very lucky to have ended
up on the Felidae Centre farm.
The flaws that I can think of are not big compared to the good things, but I found that you
are rather stuck on the farm and can’t really explore the South African culture unless you do it
by yourself before or after your stay at the farm. But on the other hand you experience the life of
a wild cat farmer! The trips into town are very limited because it is hard to get the group to agree
on things to do. The documents I received before my stay were not really accurate about how
things were on the farm, e.g. we were promised a night drive every week but in my three week
stay there was none.
But I didn’t let any of that bother me or ruin my stay. I was thankful for what I had and
made the absolute best of it.
At last but not least I want to thank Nicol and Chriszanne Burger for being such a fun
people to be around!
I hope I can visit someday and see how things have changed!

Jenny, Sweden, 20

I was in Felidae center for 3 weeks in June 2016. My expectations were really high but it was more then I ever could imagine. I experienced so much about the culture, the animals and I got to do a lot of activities that I didn’t think I would ever do during my hole life. Waking up of the lions roars and sleeping with a cheetah is indescribable, it gave me happiness that I can draw energy from for the rest of my life. The Burger family was incredible, it really felt like my own family during my time there. They help you with every questions you have and try to make all of your wishes come true. It was easy to adapt to the society with because of them, it felt like home. I travelled by my own but I never felt lonely in Kimberley. After this trip I have friends for life and Felidae center in my heart every day.

Anniken, Norway

Review of my stay at Felidae Centre October 2015.
I can truly say I have found my paradise on earth!
My two week stay was wonderful right from the beginning, waking up to lion roars, to the end, leaving all my new friends.
To interact with these amazing animals and learn so much about them, has changed my life. I still can’t believe how lucky I have been!
And the Burger-family are the real stars here! What an warm and loving family, and it realy shines through that they live and breathe for these animals. To see their bond with the animals is realy special. I think the animals know they have been saved! It’s love both ways here.
The Burgers also put a lot of effort to make sure all the volunteers are happy and have a good time! And I sure did! I had the time of my life!
I liked that we had so many different tasks, from cleaning the enclosures to feeding the animals, and everything between.
It’s a 24/7 job run a farm like this, and I’m so happy I could be a part of it.
I loved my stay so much, and two weeks was way to short, so I’m coming back this year, and this time for 8 weeks! I can’t wait! :)

Karoline Hallqvist, 18 – 01/02/2014

It has been really amazing to be here for 2 weeks. I things I never thought I would do. The leader/owners are great, happy 24/7! I will miss this place a lot, hopefully I’m going back some day!

Ellen Nestervd, 18 – 01/02/2014

It has been an amazing experience and I will have memories for life! I will miss this place and one day in the future I will hopefully come back!

Juliana c. Pajosse, 30 – 13/02/2014

Amazing experience. Being in South Africa it’s like a dream come true. Stay close to the wild animals it’s unbelievable. you guys are amazing. the love you have with animals is beautiful. I Hope I can come back soon. Thanks for everything!

What’s Included

• Return Transfer from JHB to the project
• All meals
• Accommodation
• 24 hour support and supervisor
• Donation to the project
• Braai once a week

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.

Highlights:
• 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

  • Volunteers will stay in a volunteers house including its own kitchen facilities, bathroom, and bedroom.      
  • All linen will be provided.
  • The volunteer house is roughly 20m away from the main-house, and is safe and secure.
  • Swimming pool is available.

Meals

Volunteers will receive three meals a day.

  • At breakfast, you will have a substantial meal. Sandwiches will be for lunch. For dinner you receive a warm meal consisting of meat, starch and vegetables.
  • Tea and coffee will be available all day.
  • We do encourage you to bring along extra money to buy snacks and soft drinks in between meals
  • A refrigerator is available for you to use for your personal food and drinks

NOTE: Please do let us know up-front if you have any special needs regarding food

Kimberley is the capital of the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. It is located approximately 110 km east of the confluence of the Vaal and Orange Rivers.

Tuesday nights
We have a movie and pizza night. Movies are R40 and pizza depends on what they order but is buy one get one free.

Friday nights
We visit a local steakhouse and the local bars:  prices differ

Open Mine
The Big Hole, Open Mine or Kimberley Mine (Afrikaans: Groot Gat) is an open-pit and underground mine in Kimberley, South Africa and claimed to be the largest hole excavated by hand.
Cost: R100 per person

Mokala National Park is a reserve established in the Plooysburg area south-west of Kimberley in the Northern Cape, South Africa on 19 June 2007.
Cost: R250 whole day

Dronfield Nature Reserve
can be found on the N12 leaving Kimberley in close proximity to Kamfers Dam.
Cost: R450 for 2 hours (minimum of 4)

Shopping malls – free

Ghost tour
Kimberley’s ghost tours are renowned for the number and variety of their resident spirits. Many apparitions haunt some of the old mining town’s most historic houses and monuments, while on an Anglo-Boer battlefield just outside the town, a lonely phantom Scottish piper plays on moonlit nights.  R150 per person (minimum of 10 people)

River rafting
Price on request

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 are the sanitation facilities like ?
Is there a danger of snakes and spiders?
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?
What animals are on the project?
If I am allergic to domestic cats will I be allergic to wild cats?
Where do the cats go after the wildcat 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?

Example Itinerary

MonTuesWedThurFriSatSun

A.M:
Basic enclosure cleaning
Working on Projects to improve the farm

P.M:
Interaction time
Preparing food for feeding

A.M:
Basic enclosure cleaning
Working on Projects to improve the farm

P.M:
Interaction time
Preparing food for feeding

A.M:
Cleaning big enclosure
Basic enclosure cleaning

P.M:
Big cleaning
Preparing food for feeding
Feeding time all enclosures

A.M:
Basic enclosure cleaning
Working on Projects to improve the farm

P.M:
Interaction time
Preparing food for feeding
Feeding time all enclosures

A.M: Off

P.M: Off

A.M:
Photo shoot
Tour 1

P.M:
Tour 2
Stock taking
Preparing food for feeding
Feeding time all enclosures

A.M:
Off

P.M:
Tour
Preparing food for feeding
Feeding time all enclosures

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