Wildlife Orphanage in South Africa

Play a vital role in the education of underprivileged children in South Africa

From £460.00

  • Up to 10 Persons
  • All Meals Included
  • 7 - 84 Nights
  • Big Cats
  • Every Saturday
  • Minimum Age 18

Project Details


Every Monday a new group of 8 children are welcomed into the bush school where they spend the next few days learning about conservation as well as other important social issues. As a volunteer you will play a vital role in educating these children as well as helping to take care of the animals here. Activities whilst on the project include:

Helping in the education of the children
Helping in the education of the children
This is one of the main activities that you will be involved in whilst on the project. As well as educating the children on wildlife conservation you will also be involved in helping teach them English, Maths and Biology amongst other things. You will be encouraged to try and adjust your teaching for each and every child, so they suit the children’s differing learning levels and abilities.This is especially beneficial to the children, as classroom overcrowding makes it very difficult for students to receive one to one attention. Do not worry, no prior teaching experience is required and the project facilitators will always be there to offer you a helping hand should you need it! Please note that at some points in the year the children will be taking their exams, and will therefore not be at the camp. Education activities will still take place however with local unemployed youths.
Working with the animals resident at the orphanage
Working with the animals resident at the orphanage
A great way to help the children feel motivated to conserve wildlife is to engage in different activities around the orphanage along with interacting with the animals. This will become part of your teaching and as well as spending time with some of the enchanting creatures here, you will engage the children in small animal welfare tasks. These will include maintaining and cleaning the animal cages and camps, and replenishing the food and water supplies. After teaching, yourself and your fellow volunteers will also assist with monitoring the condition and health of the animals, as well as collecting data and keeping records. Occasionally when the need arises, volunteers can get the opportunity to assist in basic first aid care for the animals too!
Renovation, building and maintenance
Renovation, building and maintenance
The wildlife orphanage has a varied nature along with a progressive and growing style, so often physical work is required from volunteers at times when they are not teaching in order to sustain the orphanage. These duties can include: the maintenance of animal camps, building new animal camps and cages or renovating existing ones, construction and general repairs, and you can even bring out your creative side by helping to paint structures. This is a fantastic opportunity to build your teamwork skills, and enjoy the company of your fellow volunteers as you work together to make a difference!
Teaching the children invaluable life skills
Teaching the children invaluable life skills
As you are aware, you will be helping to teach the children vital subjects such as English and Maths, but you will also be involved in teaching them invaluable life skills too. The underprivileged children have a great lack of opportunity to be taught about relationships, substance abuse, safe sex, violence and respecting the environment in which they live, so you will help them to develop a mature understanding of their world and how to best live within it. This is such a fantastic role for all volunteers at the project, as you are helping to shape the future generation of caregivers for the environment.
Free Time
Free Time
Weekends during your time on the project are free for you to explore the surrounding area. Nearby is the world famous Kruger National Park, or the Mpumalanga’s Panorama Route where you can see a spectacular view over the Blyde River Canyon. Within these stunning locations, you can also take part in Ziplining or for the extra brave, a bungee swing! Every Saturday a trip to Hoedspruit is organised; the team will arrange your transport into the town where you can explore the shops and restaurants. The project staff can offer great advice on the best experiences to have and can even help you organise them too.
Teaching Work Skills To Local Youths
Teaching Work Skills To Local Youths
During the periods of the year when the local children are taking their exams, the orphanage invites local unemployed youths to the camp and you will be helping to teach them all of the skills needed to get a job! You will be teaching the young adults things including; how to write a CV and cover letter, how to hold themselves in an interview and ways to build up their confidence. The project has seen success from the youngsters attending these sessions, and many have gone on to get jobs so it is a very rewarding experience!


Please note itineraries are subject to change and what follows is simply a rough guideline. This project usually runs in blocks of two weeks. If you choose to stay for a longer duration, the itinerary will repeat itself fortnightly. If you are joining for 1 week you will return to Hoedspruit Eastgate Airport for your return flight or continue your independent travel plans on day 8.

Day 1 - The Adventure Begins:
Upon arrival into Hoedspruit Eastgate Airport, you will be met by one of the project facilitators and transferred to the wildlife orphanage, (or travel there by shuttle bus if arriving in Johannesburg) where you will take the time to meet your fellow volunteers and comfortably settle into your accommodation.
Day 2 - Induction Day:
Today, you will be given a tour of the whole orphanage and will be your first opportunity to see all of the animals that reside here; including meerkats, a leopard and a caracal. After this, you will be given an induction on how your time on this sensational project will be spent. Depending on time, you may even get to work straight away and help with the animals afterwards!
Day 3 - 14 - Project Days:
After an early breakfast, you will meet the children for the first time and take them on a fascinating bushwalk around the orphanage, followed by the first teaching activities of the day. Lessons resume again in the afternoon after a tasty lunch, including taking the children to feed the animals at the orphanage and developmental lessons regarding social issues. After dinner, you will play an educational game with the children before they retire to bed at 8:30pm, from which the remainder of your evening can be spent at your leisure.
Day 15 - Final Day:
On your final day, after saying goodbye to the adorable children and animals for the final time, you will make your return transfer to either Hoedspruit, Hoedspruit Eastgate Airport or Johannesburg International Airport for your return flight or to continue your independent travel plans. While you may be sad to leave the phenomenal orphanage that does so much for communities of people and animals alike, you can walk away with beautiful memories in abundance, and assured that you have made a lasting impact on such a great cause.

Dates, Availability & Price

To secure a place on this project a deposit of £195 is required at the time of booking, with the remaining balance due any time up to 60 days prior to your start date.

Select a duration below to see the available start dates. All dates shown are currently available for you to join this project!

Duration Price
Please choose a trip using the select menus to the left.

*Rates other than GBP are estimates based on today's exchange rates. All payments are made in GBP.

Updates & Outcomes

"We meet regularly with teachers and the headmasters of our local schools. The teachers have reported significant progress in their students who have stayed at the Wildlife Orphanage. The improvements that teachers have reported include increased interaction in the classroom, and a greater motivation to learn and speak up in classes. The children are much more polite and attentive in class, a significant increase in self-confidence and self-esteem."– Michelle, Project Director.

The aim of this project is to inspire underprivileged children to discover a passion for their environment, education, development and motivation. This is achieved through intimate and interactive lessons within the wildlife orphanage and by learning about the wildlife itself.

The children who visit the orphanage benefit greatly from having a hands-on education supplement that the volunteers provide. The orphaned animals also benefit from having suitable care and accommodation in a world class rehabilitation centre, something which volunteers here in South Africa play a vital role in.

2017 is proving to be a very successful year for the project, and the dedicated team has even expanded to welcome new members! The rescue of orphaned animals continues to take place of course and this year they have the seen the likes of baby squirrels, baby bush pigs and more make their way into the sanctuary. The project also aims to rehabilitate as many animals as possible, and reintroduce them to their natural habitats wherever possible for another shot at life in the wild and this year various animals such as a brown snake eagle and a family of jackals have so far been released.

Is this trip for you?



Whilst at the project base, volunteers share rondavels (round chalet) with a thatch roof or have a room in the main house. The chalets are rustic but comfortable with toilets and showers (hot and cold water). There is no mains electricity on site but lighting and power are provided by solar energy and a generator. The facilities are by no means luxurious but you will have a comfortable stay!

Meals and Beverages

Meals and Beverages

Whilst on the project you will be given three meals a day served at the orphanage and included in the price. You can expect to fully immerse in the local cuisine as meals are likely to contain locally bought produce! However, it is important to bear in mind that should you wish to have any alcoholic beverages or snacks, these are not included and come at an extra cost.

Fitness & Skills

Fitness & Skills

While the project does not include much manual work, there are regular walks to be taken with the wildlife and you will have to keep up with the children! Therefore, a moderate level of fitness is necessary, and you must feel comfortable interacting with children and the team, but no specific experience, skills, or teaching qualifications are required.



The vaccinations required will depend upon your individual medical history. Therefore, we recommend that you consult with your GP regarding your own immunisation needs to ensure you are fully protected and prepared to travel. In conjunction with this, we would also recommend that you check Fit for Travel’s website for more helpful information regarding this.

Project Details

When Is The Best Time To Volunteer?

With the majority of this project spent at the wildlife orphanage, there are no real seasonal issues except the changes in weather.

Summer which is from mid-October to mid-February is characterized by hot, sunny weather - often with afternoon thunderstorms that clear quickly, leaving a warm, earthy, uniquely African smell in the air.

Autumn which is from mid-February to April offers in some ways the best weather. During this time very little rain falls over the whole country, and it is warm but not too hot.

Winter, from May to July is hot and dry but can have cold evening and night time temperatures as low as 7°C (45°F).

Spring which is August to mid-October can be known as baby season, which means you have a much higher chance of seeing and working with any new born babies at the wildlife orphanage!

Getting There

You will need to fly to Hoedspruit Airport (HDS) on the start date of your project and arrive between 7am and 5pm. There are 2 options available to get to the project site:

Via Hoedspruit
Arrive on a Saturday at Hoedspruit, South Africa – a town situated at the foot of the Klein Dragonsberg (Dragon Mountains) in close proximity to Kruger National Park. At the airport or in Hoedspruit town you will be met by one of our representatives and then transferred to the Wildlife Orphanage, where you will be shown to your room and given time to settle in.

Via Johannesburg
Arrive into Johannesburg and travel to the site via shuttle bus provided by the wildlife orphanage. This optionis available at an extra cost of ZAR450 (around £25) each way. As the coach leaves at 6am you will need to arrive into Johannesburg the night before your departure to ensure you are able to catch the bus.

If you would like help booking your flights, please visit our flights page and fill out the form. A member of our team will get back in touch as soon as possible with a suitable quote.

Visa Requirements

Holders of UK, most other EU counties, Australian, Canadian and USA passports do not require a Visa for South Africa. Upon entry you will be issued with a 3 month permit (at no cost). Make sure the correct date and length of stay in the country is entered onto your visa when at immigration. If you are travelling from Albania, Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Russian Federation, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Algeria, Angola, Comoros, China, Egypt, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mexico, Madagascar, Morocco, Mozambique, Paraguay, Rwanda, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia or Vietnam, you will require a Visa and should consult your South African embassy.

Currency and Exchange Rates

The currency in South Africa is the Rand. The exchange rate is around 1 ZAR = 0.06 GBP, 0.1 USD, 0.07 EUR. Please note exchange rates are subject to change.

Additional Information

Due to the nature of this project, please note that we will need to see a copy of your insurance policy and your passport before your date of departure.

What's included in the price of the project?
  • A monetary contribution to the project itself
  • Transfers to and from Hoedspruit airport or Hoedspruit town
  • Full orientation and support from the project managers
  • Accommodation and meals as indicated
  • Laundry and housekeeping
What's not included?
  • Any flights
  • Travel insurance to include cover for repatriation
  • Visas if required
  • Use of internet and telephone
  • Soft drinks, wines and spirits
  • Trips undertaken other than in the planned itinerary

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+44 208 885 4987

If you have any questions about this project or would like help finding the perfect project for you then please feel free to give us a call or send us through your enquiry and we will be happy to help.

Nikita & team.

Where you can go
Contact Info
UK Office
The Great Traveller Ltd,
3 Dairy Yard
Star Street
Ware, Hertfordshire
SG12 9BX
United Kingdom
Opening hours: 9am–5pm

T: +44(0) 208 885 4987

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