Africa Volunteer Projects Volunteering


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.


Our Experience

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.

Stephen and Jess signoff

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.

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  • Alli Smith

    What a once-in-a-lifetime experience! You did get up close and personal when you took the lions for a walk. I may have been a tiny bit afraid.

  • Congratulations, guys!
    First of all, for getting to experience all this, but mostly for the volunteering bit!
    I have to confess I’ve done some of these things myself, but rather the old conventional tourist way! 🙂

  • Denise

    The big cats are my favorite animals and for you to get up so close to them what a treat. I can understand being afraid, but it is a once in a life time experience

  • MJ

    This is an amazing experience and it’s awesome of you to travel far and wide to volunteer. If I could do it, I would love to work with elephants.

  • Paula

    Talk about the experience of a lifetime! I’ve always found big cats to be mesmerizing. I’m not sure I would have love the giant spider quite so much, though. LOL

  • Butidigress

    I’m so glad I found your blog! I love animal adventures! There are actually a couple big cat rescues here in North Texas and they are very popular and well cared for.

  • Travel Blogger

    I volunteered abroad when I was in college. I volunteered in a Pain and Palliative care unit in Kerala, India. I have always want to volunteer again, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. This looks like an amazing opportunity. It is a great reminder that I need to start giving back again.

    • Wow the volunteering you experienced must of been eye opening. We are hoping to volunteer in India some day soon 🙂

  • Jason Nail

    You are my new favorite travel blogger. Your pics are great and I’m jealous of your destinations.

  • You photos are GORGEOUS! I’ve never volunteered abroad before but this year I’m finally doing a little international traveling (I’m going to Paris, London, Amsterdam, Hong Kong and Tokyo.) Africa is definitely high on my travel bucket list <3

    • Ohhh you are heading to some of our favourite cities 🙂 How exciting!!

  • I have always wanted to be able to be up close and personal to wild animals! Well, maybe not the spider. **shudder**

  • This is just so cool. It’s great that you can help out and have such a rewarding experience.

  • Jaime Nicole

    I would love to take a turn at volunteering with such magnificent animals. It looks like such an amazing experience for the people involved.

    • Let us know if you ever want some extra information on volunteering 🙂

  • I traveled to Tanzania with a group called “The Giving Lens” in 2013. I love the thought of helping “big cats”. Your photos are incredible!

  • Stacey Gardner Clarke

    That is awesome!!!!!!!!!! I would probably be too afraid to do any of it though haha

  • Stephanie Pass

    This looks totally amazing. I have a little animal lover that would would be in heaven if she got this experience when she grew up.

  • This is incredible!! I love elephants so this is definitely on my travel bucket list.

  • Such beautiful animals! I would love to go to Africa one day and see them in the wild… My daughter loves the big cats at the zoo too.

  • I would of been terrified to be honest. But I would still do it because it a once in a lifetime experience!

  • lebonlifestyle

    first safari next year – can’t wait