Volunteer with a Monkey Rescue Center in South Africa

Pretoria, South Africa Wildlife & Environmental Conservation



Travel to South Africa with Plan My Gap Year and volunteer in a monkey sanctuary! On this program, you will lend a hand in a sanctuary in Pretoria that provides a safe space for vulnerable monkeys that have been hand-reared and have trouble interacting and socializing with each other. The first of its kind, this sanctuary aims to provide monkeys with a normal life where they can engage in natural behaviors away from human interaction. As a volunteer, you’ll help with feeding, cleaning and maintenance, medications, observations, socialization, interaction, and baby monkey care.


Culturally, it has been a tradition to hand-rear primates in South Africa, and keeping them as domestic pets. However, this is not a natural way of life for monkeys, who can exhibit behavioral issues later on, and become more prone to being aggressive, confused, and agitated when around other humans or monkeys. Unfortunately, this can lead to them being neglected, passed on to other owners who may have trouble taking care of them, or even being euthanized.

As a volunteer, you will work with a sanctuary that aims to provide a natural living environment for monkeys that are vulnerable and in need of extra care. The sanctuary also promotes a culture of education across South African people to make sure they no longer hand-raise monkeys and instead let them live a natural life in the wild.

Field conditions

As a volunteer, you will take part in the following tasks:

Feeding: Preparing and delivering food to 50 to 100 primates living onsite

Cleaning and Maintenance: Taking care of the 45 different enclosures and ensuring the hygiene and well-being of the primates

Medications: Dispensing, delivering, and recording medicines, vaccines, and updates on the monkeys’ health conditions

Observations: Observing and recording behaviors, actions, and day-to-day routines of the primates

Introduction and Socialization: Introducing monkeys to enclosures and socializing them with other primates to ensure they can interact appropriately

Monkey Interaction: Feeding the monkeys snacks and socializing with them once each week

Baby Monkey Assistance: 24/7 care for baby monkeys until they are strong enough to interact with the other monkeys

Arrival and orientation

This program starts on Sundays. You will arrive to O.R. Tambo International Airport on your selected start date, and be greeted by a local staff member or appointed driver holding a sign with your name on it. From there, you’ll head over to the volunteer house and spend the rest of the day relaxing before getting started on your volunteer program.

Your stay


  • HousingVolunteer house

  • Provided mealsBreakfast, dinner

Accommodation description

Based outside of Pretoria, the volunteer house you’ll live in is about a 40-minute taxibus ride from the city center, where you’ll find restaurants, malls, convenience stores, and ATMs. The house is located next to where the local team members live, and on the same site as your project.

The house is basic but comfortable, and each room has bunk beds or single beds to accommodate up to eight people per room - all rooms are mixed-gender. Bedding is provided, and mosquito nets are available on request. Bathrooms are shared, with a hot shower and western-style toilet. You’re encouraged to bring a padlock for your suitcase and store any valuables with a PMGY team member. There is a communal area where you can relax and hang out, and there is a swimming pool within walking distance of the volunteer house. June through September are PMGY’s busiest volunteer months, so you may be placed at an alternative location such as a nearby guest house or a different volunteer house. There are dogs and cats living onsite as well.


Volunteers will be staying in a volunteer house.


from $579 USDper week

from $579 USDper week


What’s included

  • Certificate of completion

  • Regular program inspection

  • 100% financial protection

  • Live pre-departure webinars

  • Comprehensive volunteer handbook

  • Unlimited email and telephone support

  • Dedicated pmgy travel mentor

  • 24-hour us-based emergency support

  • 24-hour in-country support

  • In-country orientation

  • Airport pickup

  • Accommodation at volunteer house

What’s not included

  • Criminal background check

  • Visa

  • Return airport transfer

  • Travel insurance

  • Airfare

  • Meals

Start dates

This program starts on the first and third Sunday of each month year-round.

Founded in 2011 by volunteers for volunteers, Plan My Gap Years works with local communities in the developing world towards long-term sustainable goals. We know there is no better way to travel and make a positive impact in the world. Our structured programs create the perfect platform for you to see the world, meet like-minded people and engage in meaningful volunteer work. We have teams in the UK and in your host destinations who will support you 24/7 throughout your time with them. Furthermore, every project on our network is regularly risk-assessed by our UK team to ensure their setup is safe and that their volunteers are making a positive impact. There is also a great social element to our programs. We put you in touch with all of your fellow volunteers via Facebook before you set off. Our projects receive volunteers from around the world throughout the year, so even if you’re travelling solo, you’re going to meet heaps of people along the way.

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