Wildlife Sanctuary

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The Wildlife Sanctuary is home to many orphaned and injured animals. We offer nurturing care to young orphaned animals, as well as a ‘safe haven’ for injured animals while they recover from their trauma. We are home to  animals including elephants, lions, tigers, cheetahs, the spotted hyena, white lions, and hippo, as well as free range game such as giraffes, wildebeest, zebras, warthogs, impalas, waterbucks, and the red hartebeest.

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We are situated in the North West Province; 45 minutes from Johannesburg. With 750 hectares of pristine bushveld and are part of the ‘world heritage site’ – the Cradle of Humankind. We have a unique eco-system where animals, birds and man live in harmony. There is a lodge with 26 en-suite rooms, restaurant, bar – boma for functions, weddings and conferences. Activities on the farm range from game drives, elephant walks and animal interactions. Furthermore, we work closely with the film industry. Several of our animals are trained and feature in numerous films and documentaries. The income we gain from this helps us sustain and finance the upkeep of the farm and caring for its animals.

Project Highlights

  • Help out with looking after our wild cats
  • Walk with elephants
  • Assist animals that once had no hope
  • Learn about conservation and Africa’s wild animals that live on a wild life reserve
  • Learn and help with the daily running of the farm

Some of the animals on the farm are wild and kept in separate enclosures as they are not able to be released into the wild. The farm acts as a sanctuary for many abused and neglected animals, as well as raising young animals that their parents reject. The farm helps sustain itself and creates further awareness for the animals by using the farm for filming.

The farm is unique in its design and activities. There is a passion for all the animals and care is taken to ensure the health and safety of all the fauna and flora within. The current aims include reviving areas of damaged natural plant life, establishing viable populations of indigenous animals that were once poached, and restoring the general area to its original pristine condition. The area is part of a UNESCO World Heritage site and has a history dating back over 200 million years. It is our duty to protect and preserve this history and all volunteer help is greatly appreciated and targeted towards this cause.

Volunteer Tasks

All work carried out by the volunteers will have a direct positive outcome towards conservation. Some of the ongoing projects that volunteers might be part of include:

  • Daily farm duties such as cleaning animal enclosures, feeding the animals and changing their water.
  • The establishment of a safe feeding site for vultures found in our area, and the building of a hide to monitor and study the activity of these birds.
  • Anti-poaching fence patrols – Daylight guided walks around the perimeter of the property to check for snares and mark areas of the fence which require fixing.
  • Bush clearing and alien plant control. This involves the removal of plants that pose a threat to the natural fauna and flora found within the reserve.
  • Road maintenance and erosion control.
  • Animal life improvement project: volunteers can be apart of the improvement of the animals lives whether its doing day to day cleaning, feeding and walking to painting the elephant house, building new enclosures for our lions and swimming pools for our tigers.
  • Elephant walks and animal feeding.

These projects change according to needs of the animals and farm and you might not help with all of them while you are on the program.

Project Details

  • Arrival day: Wednesday
  • 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. Wednesday-Thursday is orientation in Joburg, then on Friday you will transfer to project via shuttle. You will depart project on a Friday.

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:

  • Volunteers will work 5 – 6 days a week
  • They will cover different aspects of the conservation project

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.

Madeline Eddy- 2016

My 3 weeks spent at the Wildlife Project were 3 of the best weeks of my life. I really did not know
what to expect coming into it and was a little hesitant as the time came closer to leaving but it was
the best decision I’ve made.
Being able to be hands on with African wildlife and their conservation was something I’ve always
thought about doing, so I put my words into actions. Whether it was interacting with the animals
in their enrichment exercises, maintenance of the reserve or even cleaning out the animal’s
enclosure’s I enjoyed every second of it.
I meet some of the most amazing people and built friendships in such a short amount of time.
Everyone is there for the same reason with the same drive so it made working together that much
better. The project leaders all do such an fantastic job of making sure everyone is having a good
time and sharing their passion for the beautiful animals made you appreciate it all so much more.
The animals, project leaders and other volunteers made the experience what it was and I’m so
lucky to have been able to have this experience.

Camila Ringsing – 04 August 2014

Everything was great!

Freddie Campbell – 31 July 2014

Road construction, building, helping out with the horses, preparing predator food, feeding the predators, seeing and feeding lion cubs and Ben the goat, making elephant ice cubes, mucking out stables. Helping with a save the Rhino advert. Staff are all very funny and friendly.

Rachel Campbell – 31 July 2014

Fixing roads, building fences, preparing meat, feeding the predators, cleaning out enclosures, save the rhino advert, making elephant ice cubes, elephant walks.Feeding the lion cubs and reorganizing the horse feed room. Great staff. So enthusiastic and friendly.

Zoi is so funny, Jerra is a good organizer, loved seeing her with the lions.

Helle Norgreen –  27 July 2014

Building water troughs, cleaning stables and elephant house, lion training and predator feeding, fixing roads, feeding lion cubs, cheetah interactions, making elephant ice cubes, elephant walks, cutting branches, making a mud pool.

Feeding the mongooses and cubs and building a water trough for the horses.

Everything was great.

Matthew Talbot – Australia – 01 December 2013

Activities included elephant and lion walks, game counts, cleaning horses pen, elephant house and cat enclosures, building a platform in the tiger camp, feeding cats, giraffe, ostriches.  Best was building the platform for the tigers.  All the staff were great and welcoming.   Les is an amazing volunteer leader and very friendly and down to earth.  Bainet and Cosmos were great guys and very funny.  The kitchen staff are wonderful people who cook delicious food. The volunteer project was really great and fun. It was good that there was a wide range of activities from day to day.

Maria Norstrud – Norway – 02 December 2013

We built the “tiger-walk”, we had lunch by a beautiful water, we saw the elephants swim and the hippos as well.  We went to an interesting museum “cradle of humankind” and we saw the caves.  We fed the giraffes twice and the other animals once. I Loved feeding the giraffe, elephant walk and lion walk. The staff here is very kind, funny, helpful and informative!  Les got up at 4 am two times to go with us to see the sun rise!  I LOVE this place.  The animals are amazing, and I like the fact that some of them walk free around the farm.  The staff is so kind and makes our stay the best by taking us on trips and showing/teaching us a lot of cool stuff!!  I will very much recommend this project to my agency and everyone who is interested in going to South Africa.  Wish I had more time here.

Malin Bakke – Norway – 02 December 2013

Activities included walking elephants, painting walls, picking grass, walking lions, watching sunrise, feeding animals, cleaning enclosures, building stuff for the tigers and a cave tour.  Best was feeding giraffe.  Worst was cleaning elephant and horse shit.  The staff is great.  I love this place.  Food was great.  It is the best!

Julie Knotten – Norway – 02 December 2013

Activities included cleaning and feeding, watched and learned about the different animals, lion and elephant walk, worked inside the tiger’s field. Best was when we worked with the animals.  Everyone has been great to us the whole time and the food was great!

Maren Bore – Norway – 01 December 2013

We cleaned elephant house and horse poop, fed the horses, built a walkway for the tigers in the tiger camp, did lion walks, dug up plants, checked the electric fences and removed a lot of bushes.  Best was the lion walk and painting the elephant house.   The staff has been very nice!  And the girl in the reception is really cool.  Les as well!  Had a nice week and the food was great.

Axel Denisson – Sweden – 08 December 2013

We walked with lions, built tiger and ostrich camps, fed animals, alien plant removal, sand trap and helping with wedding preparations.  Best was the lion walk. Les, Bainet and Cosmos are such a great team.  Always in a good mood.  We all love you – keep up the good work! Thank you for two great weeks.  I’ve had such a good time and I’m looking forward to come back one day!

Lina Nestrall – Sweden – 08 December 2013

We walked with lions, worked in tiger and ostrich camps, fed animals, removed alient plants, walked with elephants and built a sand trap. The Best was the lion walks. Les, Bainet and Cosmos have all been great leaders and I’ve had so much fun with them.  It has been two fantastic weeks!  I would love to come back!

Anja Davidsen – Denmark – 15 December 2013

We cleaned camps, took animals for walks and had fun.  Best was taking the animals out, working with Bainet, Cosmos and Les!  Such fun – loved it – coming back.  Food was great.

Line Nielsen – Denmark – 15 December 2013

Cleaned camps of all animals, animal contact and fun with people.  Best was the animal contact and having fun with people.  Les, Cosmos, Bainet and Nicole are so sweet!  So helpful and loving!I had a great time and I am going to miss everybody. Les was so sweet.  Her, Cosmos and Bainet is why I want to come back.  Food was great.

Jannie Knudsen – Denmark – 17 November 2013

We cleaned horse stables and elephant house, digging tiger pool, interacted with Bailey, walked with elephants, feeding, collected garbage, collected stones for tiger pool and building. I enjoyed everything here – very good variety of work. The best staff I could ever imagine – have no complaints at all. I would recommend for all my friends and would love to come back.  The food was great!

Ursula Sagner – Germany – 18 November 2013

I liked everything!.  We fed the giraffe and the cubs, and did an  elephant walk. It was an amazing time for me – you do a great job – thank you soooo much.

What’s Included

• Return Transfer from Johannesburg airport
• All meals
• Accommodation
• 24 hour support and supervisor
• Donation to the project
• Game drives
• Bush walk
• Elephant walks
• Hiking excursions

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.


The volunteer accommodations are within walking distance from the main area where the meals are served. Volunteer accommodation exists of:

  • 1 cottage that sleeps up to 6 people
  • 1 log cabin with 4 bedrooms that each sleep 2 people. This accommodation has a lounge and a kitchen
  • 1 cottage/house with 4 bedrooms each with 2 beds with a lounge and a kitchen
  • 1 house with 3 large rooms that each sleep 6 people – dormitory style. This house has a with kitchenette

There is a separate building with communal bathroom facilities.


Volunteers will receive 3 meals a day. This includes:
Breakfast: help yourself to breakfast; cereals, fruit, yogurts, toast and spreads.
Lunch: help yourself to lunch; breads, fruit, cold meats, spreads.
Dinner: A hot meal will be served every night such as a traditional BBQ (braai),
stews (potjies), casseroles, fresh vegetables and meats etc.

● Tea and coffee will be available
● All other drinks will be at own expense, though tap water is safe to drink
● 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.
● All Dinners will include a meat, starch and vegetable.

Bush Baby Monkey Sanctuary
Visit the monkey sanctuary only about 30 minutes away and have an awesome time with our fellow mates!
Costs: R130 per person

Sterkfontein Caves
Sterkfontein Caves is the world’s richest hominid fossil site, with thousands of discoveries made there since excavation began in 1935.
Costs: R215 per person

Chameleon Village
Open 7 days a week, situated not far from Hartebeespoort. A melting pot of craft outlets, pubs, restaurants, outdoor and trailer goods, a decor warehouse, a tattoo parlour, a reptile park, handcrafted items, African curios, shoes, bags, new-age goodies and lots more.
Costs: Entrance fee  free but bring some monies to buy curious.

Lesedi Cultural Experience
Lesedi is a village which celebrates the cultural traditions of several different peoples of Southern Africa. It reproduces traditional dwellings and offers demonstrations of dances and other cultural activities. Go and experience the spirit of Ubuntu at this Unique Cultural Venue where the people of Lesedi welcome you with music, song and the warmth of Africa. Costs: R290 per person including lunch or dinner (depending time of day you visit)

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

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

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?
I want to make the most of my programme, what length of time is best?
How many people sleep in a room?
When is the best time of year to volunteer?
I want to make the most of my programme, what length of time is best?
Is there a danger of snakes and spiders?
When do we start working and for how long and for how many days a week?
What will I be doing?
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 animals are on the project?
Why are the animals on the farm?
What do I need when I’m on the project?
Will I have time off?

Example Itinerary


A.M : Farm Projects (plants, Roads, etc)

P.M : Animal life improvement project

A.M: Elephant morning tasks

P.M: Animal life improvement project and game drive

A.M: Enclosure cleaning

P.M: Off

A.M: Farm Projects (plants, Roads, etc)

P.M: Animal life improvement project

A.M: Hike to dam and Animal improvement project

P.M: Animal improvement project

A.M: Elephant walk

P.M: Animal improvement project

A.M: Off

P.M: Off

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