Volunteer on Wildlife & Community Projects in South Africa

Hartbeespoort, South Africa Wildlife & Environmental Conservation



A great two-for-one initiative, this project combines wildlife preservation and a community project. SAVE’s wildlife conservation and rescue program takes place across several properties, helping wild and rescued animals, such as monkeys, eagles, and vultures. Its main purpose serves to detect needs and improve living conditions surrounding various animals, as well as environmental conditions. Should you be able to communicate English in a basic form and be fit enough for the job, you will have ample opportunities to interact with these animals and be hands-on with them. You will be like parents to them, always treating them with tenderness and respect. They will continuously be under your supervision, making it your duty to give them undivided attention and making them feel at home.


This project will leave you gasping for air after completing so much work, but you’ll also gasp at how much fun you had meeting new animals, learning about them and what dangers you’re preventing them from. Wildlife has a new way to go about life thanks to your dedication to keep them and their surrounding as clean as possible. These hands-on projects provide practical learning that helps you understand what’s required to maintain wildlife and prepare them for release. Personal skills will be enhanced, you get to meet warm, fuzzy people who genuinely care as much as you do, and you get to see South Africa’s peak beauty. Literally. You will change lives and change your own perspectives simultaneously, positive effects from projects well done.

Field conditions

Volunteers are expected to work Mondays to Fridays, being supervised by local staff. Due to weather, conservation priorities, material supply as well as speed at which projects progress, there will be unavoidable changes to projects from times to time. Please accept these changes, but you’re assured any replacement project will be just as enjoyable. Your projects will include:

Monkey Sanctuary: You will first tour the elephant sanctuary next door where you will interact with rescue elephants and learn about anti poaching efforts. From there you will work in the monkey sanctuary, caring for rescue exotic monkeys. Work will be physically demanding, but these monkeys are fun and like to roam, so you’ll enjoy it.

Cheetah Sanctuary: You will assist with feeding and enclosure maintenance, as well as alien vegetation removal across center grounds. You won’t be able to get too close to these cheetahs, but can still interact with them and helping to make their surrounding clean will only endear them to you.

Owl Rescue Centre: You will feed rescue owls and maintain aviaries in a beautiful setting at the base of the Magaliesberg Mountain Range. You will help care for these owls and rehabilitate them so that they can return to their natural habitat via specifically researched release methods.

Nature Reserve: Work takes place within the Magaliesberg Biosphere, which houses various habitats for various wildlife and flora. You will help with alien and invasive vegetation control, occasional capture, plus animal and bird transfer and release. Additional work includes foot patrols for fence inspection, snare/trap location, and removal, behavior observation, general maintenance and management of all facilities. Tasks will change as each project changes. It sounds like a lot, but it’s totally worth it. Just think about how fat your resume will be by doing all this.

Optional Community Activities: You will assist HAWS, a registered non-profit organization that provides welfare services for abandoned, neglected and abused, plus farm and wild animals. You will contribute in all aspects regarding sustenance of the shelter, from helping with kennels to taking part in organizing fundraisers. Help bathe and walk the dogs, look after cats and help staff in any other capacity possible.

Arrival and orientation

You will be picked up at Johannesburg International Airport and taken straight to your orientation venue at Homebase Melville. You will then be presented with a two-day orientation, taking place between Friday and Saturday, to help you understand your surroundings and project responsibilities.

On Friday, you will meet a SAVE Volunteering representative who will give you details about your project, then introduce you to fellow volunteers for a welcome dinner. On Saturday, you will be collected by SAVE staff for a day filled with adventure. First, you will take a visit to Soweto, South Africa’s largest township. Here, you will get to document your African experience by taking pictures at Orlando Towers, as well as Soccer City, host stadium for the 2010 World Cup Final. You will then head to a local food market for a light lunch, shop for arts and crafts, as well as listen to live music. The tour continues at Constitution Hill before ending this day at Zoo Lake, where you can take in South Africa’s lushness and exotic features. Trust us; there are plenty visuals here you’re going to want to put on your Facebook and Instagram when all this is over.

Sunday will be your first project day, where you will be taken to the location at Hartbeespoort. On your last day at this project, you will be dropped off at Johannesburg International Airport in the late afternoon. Should you arrive or depart on dates outside this project, SAVE Volunteering will do its best to accommodate you. Additional fees may apply.

Your stay


  • HousingVolunteer house

  • Provided mealsBreakfast, dinner

Accommodation description

Talk about scenery. Your volunteer house can be found on a wildlife reserve in Magaliesberg Mountain Range, where you can feast your eyes upon one of the world’s oldest mountain ranges, even older than Mount Everest. You will have air conditioning to look forward to in your accommodation, as well as a kitchen, recreational area, and lounge. There are also three swimming pools, squash, and tennis courts to satisfy your inner sports lover, as well as walking and running trails should you need an early morning run to get ready for work. Simply put, you’re amid an African paradise. Soak it in while you can. It should be noted that your accommodation won’t be where you’ll be working as you will be going to separate reserves to do so. You will be transported to and from each reserve where you’ll be working.

You will have free Wi-Fi to use at R70 per week, but you are recommended to get a South African sim card. As for laundry, you have three options: let your housekeeper wash them for R40 per bag, have it dropped and collected from the laundromat, or do some good old-fashioned hand washing should you bring soap powder with you.


Volunteers will be staying in volunteer houses that sleeps 2-6 people.


from $617 USDper week

from $617 USDper week


What’s included

  • Certificate of appreciation

  • Donation to the project

  • 24 hour support and supervision

  • Transport to and from the project

  • Weekly transport to town for shopping

  • Three meals a day

  • Accommodation

  • 2 day johannesburg orientation

  • Airport pick up & drop off

What’s not included

  • Visa costs

  • Police or background check (where necessary)

  • Personal kit

  • Medical and travel insurance

  • International and domestic airport taxes

  • Airfare

  • Extra local excursions

Start dates

Any Friday year round, except for public holidays; closed for accommodation and meals Dec 25, 2017 - January 1, 2018.

Founded in 2006 by Cape Town native, Carla Ferreira, SAVE Volunteering champions itself on providing labor to assist under-resourced programs at local schools and communities due to lack of funding. SAVE hails as a non-profit organization (NPO) which slowly became a large organization aiding across multiple African countries. Nations like South Africa, Ghana, Uganda, Malawi, Tanzania, and Kenya facilitate sustainable community and conservation development projects created by SAVE.

Additionally, SAVE offers several wildlife conservation projects. Flagship projects in Cape Town created by SAVE have grown considerably over the years. As a result, there are now 10 highly successful projects being run.

At SAVE, the goals are to provide local communities with education as well as youth and sports development. SAVE also ensures people are taught skills helping them escape poverty. With help from SAVE’s conscientious volunteers, thoughtful and thorough conservation will be offered, making for smoother transitions and a more productive industry. Not only do their physical tasks such as painting buildings and helping with aftercare make a difference, but their ability to cultivate positive relationships have always been paramount.

Thanks to a considerable amount of volunteer help, SAVE has accomplished many feats. From building and starting three pre-schools for 60 children a year, to starting a computer school with computers volunteers donated, to teaching computer skills to 1,200 children at an underprivileged school. Volunteers have also started several vegetable gardens, and taught hundreds of children how to swim and surf.

They have also cared for various animals, including primates, cheetahs, and African wild dogs, as well as provided adults with training, entrepreneurship and skills development. Thanks to SAVE, you work with volunteers who do it all to help you achieve it all, regardless of background.

These things help save lives, and by becoming a SAVE volunteer; life will become so much better for so many people.

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