Africa has got to be the dream volunteering destination. The thought of being able to get up close and personal with lions, cheetahs and elephants was enough for us to buy a one way ticket to South Africa and partake in a number of volunteer project across the country.
Our first project in SA was the Living with Big Cats program with Volunteer Southern Africa. Possibly the most incredible volunteer project we have experienced to date, and one we would consider returning to in the future.
Why Big Cats?
Well, I don’t think I will need to be doing much convincing here. Having the opportunity to feed, play and care for such beautiful, endangered cats is a once in a lifetime opportunity . With canned lion hunting being a major issue risking the African lion population it is more important than ever to become educated on these incredible creatures and help those that are unfit to be re-released into the wild.
Big Cat Conservation: What To Expect
Set on a huge area of land, away from any major city, deep in the wild and beautiful African bush in the remote North West Province of South Africa you will find one of the most incredible volunteer projects we have ever experienced. We spent a week working, playing and living with a number of big cats including lions, leopards, cheetahs, Bengal tigers, as well as elephants, zebra and free roaming giraffe and hippo.
Like any volunteer program it’s not all fun and games, a lot of your time is spent assisting with the various projects that will improve the living conditions of the animals. Every morning we would wake up bright and early to clean out the elephant pens and horse stables, followed by building shaded areas in animal enclosures, removing intruder plants, trimming and planting tress and building water holes for the wild, free roaming animals.
Don’t let us scare you – the hard labour always felt worth it when we were given the opportunity to partake in some incredible activities all volunteers are able to experience. Each day we were given the chance to go on horseback safaris, elephants walks, animal feedings, game drives, (and our favourite) lion walks – it was truly an extraordinary wildlife experience!
Organising Volunteering Abroad
If you are interested in volunteering abroad we feel the best way to do this is with an organisation that can set you up with a project of your choice. We teamed up with Volunteer Southern Africa who help people that want to volunteer abroad do just that. You simply tell them what kind of volunteering you are interested in experiencing and they will help find you your perfect project.
If you are interested in the volunteer project we experienced check out the Living with Big Cats program with Volunteer Southern Africa.
As always, we filmed our entire experience here at the project. If you want to see exactly what it’s like to work at a African wildlife conservation you can watch our 7 day’s at the center below.
Day 1: Volunteering in Southern Africa
Day 2: Scared of Wild Ostriches
Day 3: Taking Big Lions for a Walk
Day 4: Holding Dangerous Tarantulas
Day 5: Massive Tiger Jumping for Food
Day 6: Walking with Elephants
Day 7: Saying our Farewells
You can book volunteer experience in South Africa for $1090USD per person, per week.
Have you ever volunteered abroad? We would love to read about your experience below.
Thank you to Volunteer Southern Africa for allowing us to experience this incredible volunteer project in South Africa. Our opinion is, as always, our own.