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Working with wildlife and underprivileged children

Animal Care Volunteers South Africa Hoedspruit, South Africa


Would you like to get hands-on experience with injured and orphaned wild animals whilst educating local underprivileged children, giving both of them a brighter future?

The mission of this project near the Kruger Park in South Africa is to educate local underprivileged children to care for their environment through the medium of a wildlife orphanage. Every Monday the project welcomes a new group of 8 to 10 local under-privileged children for a week.

As a volunteer your main tasks will be teaching the children and working with the animals. You will give the children the opportunity to discover, learn and become passionate about wildlife and conservation, their heritage. You will also supplement their school curriculum in very basic English, maths, life skills, educational games and social issues.


The children particpating in the programme are in the 8th grade, but they vary in age from 13 to 16 years old. Their English is very poor and need lots of support with general skill. Personal attention is something that they are not used to. That is why they really get the chance to blossom at the project. . They go home as different children and that is also because of the attention they receive from people like you.

As a volunteer you will be expected to accompany the children on stabling duties. These tasks include:

  • Cleaning and disinfecting animal camps and cages
  • Providing fresh food and water for the animals
  • Checking the health and condition of the animals
  • Compiling newsletter articles for individual animal sponsors
  • Research and record keeping of the animals
  • Basic first aid for animals

Many animals require extra care and sometimes this may involve working during the night.

You meet at 7.00 in the morning for coffee. From 7.30 you do a bush walk with the children and the dogs. You then feed the animals and clean their camps. At 9.00 you have breakfast. Lessons start from 9.30 till 12.00. Then you have lunch and everyone is off till 14.00 when the lessons start again and will go on until 16.30. You will feed the animals again between 16.30 and 17.00 just before discussing social issues with the children. Dinner is served at 18.30 and is followed by an educational game before the children are sent to bed. You will have a group meeting every day to discuss the tasks of everyone and the progresses of the children.

All volunteers work 5 days a week, from 7h in the morning until dinnertime with a break at lunchtime, when you will be able to enjoy the swimming pool.
You will have time off on Saturday and Sunday and will be able to take this opportunity to visit the surroundings. A trip to town is organised every Saturday and you will enjoy meeting up with the local community.


Whether you are away from home for the first time or are an experienced volunteer, you will love the family atmosphere that is created at the project. Your help will make a huge difference in aiding conservation and animal welfare, teaching local underprivileged children and building bridges between local and international people. All in all you will be participating to a worthy cause and having a fantastic volunteer experience in one!

Key Info




Volunteers share a rondavel (round chalet with thatch roof or have a room in the main house. The chalets are rustic but comfortable with toilets and shower (hot and cold water). There is no electricity on the farm but light is provided with solar lamps and power with a generator to charge batteries, cameras and computers. There is access to internet at a minimal fee.

The project is set in a beautiful nature reserve with granite hills and the most stunning views. It hasn't got the Big Five, but leopard and hyena do roam around next to the general plain game like impala, kudu, wildebeest, zebra and giraffe. You will mostly work in and around the camp with the children, but if you want to and where possible, the project leaders will also take you for walks and drives in the reserve. The scenery is stunning. Besides, it's a great opportunity to pick one of the project leaders brain and learn from his vast knowledge on the bush and wildlife!

What is included?

  • Transfer return from the Hoedspruit Airport to the project site (for arrivals and departures on Saturdays only).
  • Accommodation
  • 3 meals per day, tea, coffee, juice
  • Laundry
  • A trip to town each week
  • A donation to the project
  • Training and supervision

What is not included?

  • Travel to and from Hoedspruit, South Africa
  • Passport / visa
  • Travel insurance, which is compulsory for all participants and a cancellation insurance
  • Personal expenses such as telephone bills, Internet, souvenirs, etc.
  • Any excursions undertaken by the volunteer

How do I get to the project?

You can book a flight to Johannesburg and then an internal flight to Hoedspruit airport where you will be picked up by the project team. You can also book a shuttle from Johannesburg to Hoedspruit.

The arrivals for the programme are on Saturdays and the volunteers can stay from 1 week to 6 months.

1 Week 460 GBP
2 Weeks 660 GBP
3 Weeks 960GBP
4 Weeks 1190 GBP
6 Weeks 1690 GBP
8 Weeks 2290 GBP
12 Weeks 3390GBP

Contact Project: Working with wildlife and underprivileged children

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