Volunteer at a Wildlife Ranch in South Africa

Oudtshoorn, South Africa Wildlife & Environmental Conservation



Join the Cango Wildlife Ranch team as a Wild Animal Volunteer! Through this program, you will get up close and personal with animals such as white tigers, leopards, cheetahs, meerkats, lemurs, and many more as you work with a dedicated team to ensure a future for various animals in danger of extinction.

During your time in South Africa, you will work side by side with amazing staff, fellow volunteers from all over the world, and interns as part of ongoing efforts to operate a facility that protects animals whose natural habitats are encroached on and destroyed by humans. A few highlights of your trip include:

-- Gaining insight into endangered animals and breeding programs

-- Interacting with the ranch’s ambassador cheetah

-- Working with endangered animals such as pygmy hippos, cape vultures, and many others

-- Taking optional tours of surrounding attractions and the area, including visiting Cango Caves and a working ostrich farm, going whale watching and shark cage diving, and lots more

-- Making new friends and being part of an amazing team of dedicated conservationists and other professionals, interns, and volunteers


The aim of this volunteer program is for you to become an ambassador for conservation - to gain a better understanding of the problems faced by a multitude of species. As a volunteer, you will form part of a much larger goal and initiative, and more so – you will form part of a family in conservation, who are all extremely passionate about animals (no matter what type) and are actively trying to positively change the way people behave. You will care for our animals, and you will be part of a program that gives them the best quality of life and wellbeing possible.

Field conditions

As a volunteer, you can expect to adhere to a general routine Monday through Friday (with weekends free) to help keep the ranch running - though your schedule may change depending on needs and activities. A typical day is as follows:

8:00 - 10:00am: Morning duties, including cleaning exhibits for cheetahs, tigers, and other animals; preparing food for the big cats and other animals; and feeding the animals

10:00 - 10:30am: Tea time

10:30am - 12:00pm: Preparation for enrichment activities to stimulate the animals on the ranch and make sure they are happy and healthy

12:00 - 1:00pm: Lunch time

1:00 - 4:30pm: Provide animals with enrichment toys, take notes on their progress, and assist with various maintenance tasks

To sign up, you must have personal, medical, and travel insurance to cover you for the entire duration of the program, and should include cover for repatriation and any additional activities you may wish to undertake, including working with wild animals.

Arrival and orientation

You will arrive to George, where a member of the team will greet you at the airport or at your bus stop and transfer you to the project site at Oudtshoorn (about a 45-minute drive). Once there, you will settle into the volunteer house or lodge, and attend a brief orientation tour to introduce you to the area and let you go shopping. Depending on your arrival time, you may attend a second orientation your first evening on-site or the next morning, where you’ll learn about the environment you will be working in, go over your duties and expectations, any house rules, and to answer any questions you might have. Once you’re ready to start, you will be taken to the ranch, where you’ll take a tour of the ranch and breeding centers, and be introduced to the whole team.

Your stay


  • HousingVolunteer house

  • Provided mealsBreakfast, dinner

Accommodation description

During your stay in South Africa, you can choose from two different lodges, including the Volunteer House and Zindago’s Lodge.

Volunteer House: Directly adjacent to the tiger facility and a 15-minute walk from the ranch, this lodge has five bedrooms that sleep two to four volunteers per room. The Volunteer House is set on the banks of a river with a lawn, barbecue area, communal lounge and dining area, a kitchen, and a launderette with a washing machine. You’ll also have access to satellite TV, a DVD player, and wifi.

Zindago’s Lodge: Directly adjacent to the ranch, this lodge includes a large garden, swimming pool, barbeque and entertainment area, and five bedrooms, four of which have private, ensuite bathrooms. The communal areas have underfloor heating, and the lounge area has a TV, DVD player, and wifi access. There is a 15% additional charge if you would like to stay at Zindago’s Lodge.


Volunteers will stay at one of two different lodges.


from $500 USDper week

from $500 USDper week


What’s included

  • Memories and friendships to last a lifetime!

  • Certificate of program completion

  • Complete 24-hour support and assistance from volunteer team

  • Two ranch volunteer t-shirts / golf shirts

  • Twice-weekly transport to town to stock up on supplies

  • Firewood in winter for fireplace

  • Washing machine and iron

  • Satellite tv

  • Internet

  • Fresh linen provided weekly

  • Lunch and dinner provided by ranch monday through friday

  • Breakfast ingredients supplied at lodge

  • All accommodation (shared)

  • Transport to and from george airport

What’s not included

  • Washing powder for laundry

  • Weekend meals when you are not working at the ranch

  • Entertainment

  • Personal items such as souvenirs or food not provided by the program

  • Any additional trips, tours, or activities

  • Medical expenses

  • Personal, medical, and travel insurance

  • Visa

  • Airfare

Start dates

This program starts on Mondays year-round, and you are invited to stay two, three, or four weeks.

Based in South Africa, Cango Wildlife Ranch is one of only six facilities accredited by the Pan-African Association of Zoos & Aquaria (PAAZAB). This private facility has been working tirelessly for the last 30 years to create a safe home for various species whose plight in the wild is quite grim. Most of these animals are affected by human population expansion and destruction of natural habitats. With over 90 species of animals, this establishment runs several different breeding programs and is also home to a volunteer and internship program. The facility mainly focuses on animal conservation and public awareness and education. To enable this, a visit to Cango Wildlife Ranch would include educational tours and a platform to connect people to nature. Its ambassador encounter program gives someone the opportunity to meet majestic animals up close, which, from the Ranch's many years in the industry, has proved to be the most effective way to create a strong sense of awareness within someone. A person not connected to nature, will not fight to save it.

In addition to accreditation by PAAZAB, Cango Wildlife Ranch is an invitation-only member (and one of only six in Africa) of the World Association of Zoos and Aquaria (WAZA). Its staff are also extremely passionate and dynamic, and in a short period of time, have respectively been awarded the Keeper Excellence Awards, as well as the Education Award. To remain relevant and convey a strong message, the team are also very in tune with customer satisfaction and the facility has also recently been awarded TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence for the seventh year in a row, earning it a spot in the platform’s Hall of Fame.

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