Monkey Sanctuary Volunteers
Hands-on rehab project with cheeky primates!
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Group Size: Avg. 15, max. 40
Trip code: SAMV
Duration: 2-12 weeks
At our monkey and ape rehabilitation sanctuary in South Africa you can help to rehabilitate and release injured, orphaned and abandoned monkeys, bush babies, baboons and other animals until they can be returned into the wild. Helping to feed your new monkey mates as a volunteer, during this special South African sanctuary trip, typical tasks will include constructing new enclosures, planting vegetables and for a truly special and worthwhile experience! Experience other South African attractions such as seeing a 6000 year-old baobab tree, visiting local villages and soaking up the scenery. It’s not all about sanctuary work, but a chance for you to make a real difference and help out some real cheeky monkeys!
- Experience the satisfaction of nursing monkeys back to health during their stay in monkey rehab
- Become a part of a dedicated team and meet new monkey-minded mates, as you work to look after and release orphaned and injured monkeys
- Help staff with the ever growing sanctuary intake, receiving other bird and animal species (aside from monkeys) in between caring for monkeys
- Have an amazing time in South Africa, see stunning sights, explore and go on safari in your spare time!
About the Monkey Sanctuary
Established in 1995, this monkey sanctuary and rehabilitation centre provides temporary sanctuary for vervet monkeys and other orphaned or abandoned animals. It is one of the few centres that is approved by the NSPCA in South Africa. Many of the animals have previously been kept in captivity, and sadly many are unwanted pets. The sanctuary staff rehabilitate the animals with the aim of ultimately releasing them back into the wild, if possible.
Your Volunteer Role
As a volunteer you’ll help out with feeding, cleaning and handling the animals, as well as helping with the daily maintenance and construction of the centre, and in planting and harvesting vegetables to feed the animals. A typical daily routine may look like this:
6:45 - 7:00am - An early start - monkeys don’t do lie-ins! Your mornings will be dedicated to jobs around the Monkey Sancturary. You'll get stuck in with cleaning their cages, preparing their breakfast and feeding the animals. You’ll also spend the rest of the morning working on various projects specified by the staff.
13:00 – 14:00 (approx.) - Lunchtime!
14:00 - Activities in the afternoon vary depending upon the needs of the centre, though tasks often include monitoring or doing enrichment tasks with the animals. Sometimes there will be free time here, so volunteers can relax or go on excursions with other members of the group.
18:00 (approx.) - Dinner
19:30 – After dinner you will have the rest of the evening as free time to relax.
Please note that due to the nature of this project anything can happen and due to the animals, sometimes an entire day’s plan can change!
When not out playing doctor and doing your rounds, there are other activities you can get involved with, such as researching the habits of the vervet monkey. We will only be able to offer these projects to those who will be at the centre for a minimum of 6, or 8 weeks (sometimes even longer). This is to enable you to fully understand what is required from the project, and more importantly give you time to be accepted by the monkeys!
Free Time and Optional Activities
Once chores have been completed for the day and time/weather permitting, there will be a chance to have some fun and explore the surrounding area. The project staff can often help you book trips and excursions locally at an extra cost. These excursions can include:
- Tree Canopy and Waterfalls Tour - R700
- See the majestic Modjadji Cycad Reserve: R400
- Overnight safari in Kruger National Park: R3200
- Gorge swing: R285
- Panorama tour of Graskop and Three Rondawels R400
- Visit a cheetah project: R400
All prices are approximate and subject to change.
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To get to the project you will need to book a flight to Phalaborwa Airport in South Africa. Most flights will have a connection via Johannesburg. When you land into Phalaborwa on your start date we will meet you and drive you to the project.
Please note, at present Phalaborwa airport is currently closed and therefore you should fly into Hoedspruit Airport instead. The local team will still collect you from Hoedspruit airport.
Staying in rustic style dormitories enveloped in unspoilt South African bush, you can wake up in the morning to native birdsong and drift off to sleep to the calming sounds of the African bush at night. If you want a full outdoors experience to really make the most of your time under the African sun, then sleeping outside can be arranged.
Rooms are based on 3-9 people sharing. Sexes are normally split, but within small groups volunteers often choose “mixed” dorms. Couples can also be accommodated (subject to availability). With flush toilets, hot showers and electricity points available in the dorms, you’ll be living comfortably and will be able to charge mobiles/cameras (as long as you remember to bring a South African adaptor plug).
If you want to bring a laptop or notebook, you can access free Wi-Fi between 4 and 7 or 8pm. There are lockers for valuables available for you to use but you will need to bring your own padlock (number combination types are suggested rather than padlocks with keys)
Sheets, duvets and pillows will be provided, though you many want to bring a sleeping bag if you are at the project during the winter (June & July) as it can get very cold at night.
The staff will also do your laundry (for a small fee), if you don’t want to hand wash your own clothes. Each dorm will have a set day for laundry, which the staff will inform you of when you arrive.
When you have completed your jobs for the day, you can cool off with a swim in the pool or relax at the river; bird watching and enjoying the colours of a true South African sunset. During the summer this picturesque scene truly comes alive at night, as the banks of the river are transformed by hundreds of fireflies.
Mosquito nets are not really a necessity but you are welcome to bring your own if you wish. They are cheaper to buy in South Africa than the UK.
Three meals a day, teas and coffees are included in the price of your monkey sanctuary experience. A semi-continental breakfast is served at 9am, with lunch at around 1pm normally consisting of sandwiches or hot dogs. Dinner is at 6pm and during weekends you’ll get the opportunity to experience South African braais (BBQ’s) and help prepare your own traditional potjie (stew). Vegetarians and vegans can be catered for on request.
The minimum age to come on this monkey experience is 18.
Don’t worry if you haven’t had any previous experience working with animals, you will receive all the necessary training at the centre. You do however need to be healthy, fit and of course have a passion and love for animals!
Nationals of the EU, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand don’t require a visa to enter South Africa, though South African Immigration does ask that you have two completely blank consecutive pages in your passport. As long as you hold a valid passport (and a valid return ticket) you will be granted a temporary visitor’s permit on arrival, allowing visitors to stay in South Africa for up to three months. You should also ensure that your passport will still be in date for six months after you return.
Visa rules and regulations are subject to change. Please check the relevant embassy websites for the most up to date visa information.
This trip is designed with your safety and wellbeing in mind. As a result of Covid-19, many of our suppliers and partners around the world are introducing new policies and procedures surrounding health and safety in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. As the state of travel is evolving these new safety measures will adapt over time, and will be different for each trip. Here are some of the changes you may see on your trip:
Arrival safety meetings
Most trips have an arrival meeting on the first day where the guide or local team will run through the trip, the safety protocols, and to answer any questions you may have. Now more than ever it is important you arrive in time for these meetings.
Updated hygiene and safety procedures
Our suppliers and partners have health and safety procedures in place on all of our trips. These protocols will be updated and adapted as a response to the Coronavirus outbreak, dependent on local restrictions and laws.
Transport and accommodation choices
Our suppliers and partners choose the accommodation and transport on our trips very carefully, and you may see a change to what would normally be used as a response to the outbreak. This may involve such changes as enhanced use of private transport or quieter accommodation.
Trained and knowledgeable staff
Our staff in the UK are trained to help you with your trip before you depart and answer any questions you may have. In addition, the local team and guides on our trips are there to help with any health and safety concerns and to ensure our trips run safely and smoothly.
Reduced group sizes
Some trips will run with reduced group sizes to start with. You may find that trips are more intimate and chilled, whilst still being packed with fun and adventure.
Your guide or the local team will be on hand to help you seek medical attention should you require it during your trip. As medical facilities and standards can vary around the world, you should ensure you have adequate travel insurance in place before you depart to cover you for any medical emergencies.
24/7 emergency support
We operate an emergency phone line for our travellers abroad. This is operated by a UK based member of staff 24/7 if you have a genuine emergency or urgent matter that you need attending.
It is important that you take measures to make travelling safer for yourself and others around you. Ensure you frequently wash your hands, cover your face when you sneeze and cough, bring and use your own hand sanitiser and facial coverings/masks, and enable social distancing where necessary. You should also ensure you listen to the instructions and guidance of the local team at all times, and follow all local laws and restrictions.