Wildlife Orphanage in South Africa

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

From $716.00

  • 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:

Working With The Animalsat the Wildlife Orphanage in South Africa
Working With The Animals
You will work alongside the local children to care for orphaned and injured animals in the wildlife sanctuary. Help feed and water the animals, monitor their health, and help the kids at the centre to gain a ‘hands-on’, caring experience with the animals - a brilliant method of teaching the children how to be responsible and how to care for their environment!
Teaching School Childrenat the Wildlife Orphanage in South Africa
Teaching School 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 efforts, 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, as classroom overcrowding makes it very difficult for students to receive one-on-one attention.
Job Experience With The Youth
Job Experience With The Youth
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 conduct 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, making this an incredibly valuable and rewarding aspect of the project.
Volunteers Building an Enclosureat the Wildlife Orphanage in South Africa
Maintenance & Construction
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; 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!
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.


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 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); here, 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 have 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 the 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 Airport or Johannesburg International Airport for your return flight or to continue your independent travel plans. While you may be sad to leave the orphanage, you can walk away with beautiful memories in abundance, 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 $245 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.

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 proved 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.

World Animal Day 2018

World Animal Day 2018

  • posted on 02/10/2018
  • by Leanne Sturrock

This World Animal Day 2018, we'll be focusing on South Africa - one of the most conflicted countries with regard to animal protection, conservation and trading. As we discuss why, we look into whether or not unity can ever become widespread across Africa. With a global spotlight on the continent and pressure to improve, maybe there is hope yet for South Africa's most at-risk species to survive. 

Read More

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 western toilets and hot water showers. There is no mains electricity on site, but lighting and power are provided by solar energy and a generator. The project staff go to every effort to make your stay a comfortable one, and if you are travelling as a couple, family, or group of friends, they will try to accommodate you in your own private room (subject to availability.)

Meals & Beverages

Meals & Beverages

Whilst on the project, you will be given three meals a day - these included in the price of the project. Food consists of local cuisine, however, if you have any dietary requirements they will be happy to cater to your needs. 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 newborn babies at the wildlife orphanage!

Getting There

You will need to fly into Johannesburg (O.R Tambo International Airport) in order to get to Hoedspruit - a town situated at the foot of the Klein Dragonsberg (Dargon Mountains) and in close proximity to Kruger National Park.  From here, you will be picked up by a member of staff and taken to the project site. There are two options for getting to Hoedspruit from Johannesburg: 

The Ashton Shuttle Bus:

If choosing this option, you will need to book accommodation for one night at an additional cost and arrive into Johannesburg the day before your start date. This is because the shuttle bus will depart from The Rockfig Centre at 6.45 am. Therefore, we recommend you get a good night's sleep so you can wake up on your start date, make your way to the centre and begin your conservation adventure! Please note, it is imperative that volunteers only book the hotel available in Johannesburg airport for safety reasons. 

The shuttle bus is available at an extra cost of  ZAR450 (approximately $34) each way.

Domestic Flight To Hoedspruit:

For this option, you will need to book a domestic flight from O.R Tambo International Airport to Hoedspruit. You must arrive here between 11am and 3pm on the day of your project start date, where you will be picked up by a member of staff either from the airport or in the town.

Getting Back

On the day of your departure, the transfer from the project site will leave at 8.30 am, and depending on traffic, will arrive into Hoedspruit at roughly 9.45 am. Whether you are flying from Hoedspruit or taking the bus back to Johannesburg, you will be dropped off at whichever location you are departing from.

If flying from Hoedspruit, please book departure flights from 11.30 am at the earliest to make sure you have enough time to check in and board the plane.

If returning to Johannesburg via the Ashton Shuttle bus, this will depart from the Rockfig Centre at around 11.15 am, and arrive into Johannesburg between 5pm and 6pm. We therefore recommend booking return flights from 8pm or later. 

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

Citizens of most countries, including the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and most of those within the EU, do not need to obtain a visa to enter South Africa and are granted entry for up to 90 days upon arrival. You will, however, need at least 2 blank pages in your passport for the immigration officials to use and your passport must be valid for a period of at least 6 months from your date of entry.

If you are unsure of your individual visa requirements, we recommend speaking to your local South African embassy at least 2 months prior to travel.

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 - we advise checking www.xe.com for up-to-date rates.

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
  • Meals as indicated
  • Laundry and housekeeping
What's not included?
  • Any flights
  • Visas if required
  • Use of internet and telephone
  • Soft drinks, wines and spirits

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Contact Info
UK Office
The Great Traveller Ltd,
3 Dairy Yard
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Ware, Hertfordshire
SG12 7DX
United Kingdom

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