Volunteer Experience | Environmental & Wildlife

South Africa: Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education

Hoedspruit, South Africa

Description

Location: Hoedspruit, South Africa

Duration: Minimum 1 week commitment

Start Dates: Project is ongoing, and you can join whenever suits you best, depending upon availability.

Cost: from £460 GBP for the 1st week – see Costs tab for further details

Benefits:

  • Care for exotic African animals that are orphaned or injured
  • Have the opportunity to teach underprivileged children in rural communities about their heritage and the environment
  • Take part in an outreach program benefiting surrounding villages
  • Connect deeply with like-minded volunteers from around the globe
Costs Explained

Introduction

This program aims to address various issues present in South African rural communities. The project’s mission is to inspire, motivate, develop and educate underprivileged children to care for their environment through the medium of a wildlife orphanage. Unfortunately, these children often do not have access to quality education in the villages and bush. Classes are overcrowded, health conditions are not favorable, and funding is unavailable so many children lack a basic education. This not only affects their lives as they get older and start looking for work, but also prevents these children from understanding key concepts- like the importance of taking care of their environment.

Another issue is the decades of poaching and human activity that have drastically impacted the beautiful animals that are part of the South African heritage. In result, most endangered African animals are on reserves which are expensive to visit- meaning locals rarely see them. Volunteers in the program not only get a chance to rehabilitate and to care for these precious creatures at the wildlife center, but foster a connection between the humans and animals of one community. Weekly activities at the orphanage enable the children to learn about and fall in love with nature. This results in compassion and a greater understanding that will lead to a more environmentally friendly community in the future.

Daily Life

You will spend your time working on both the Wildlife and the Teaching projects. You can expect the following from either project;

Wildlife

Wildlife volunteers have the chance to work directly with the young and adult animals of the orphanage. They take part in all aspects of animal care- feeding, cleaning/maintenance of enclosures, medical attention, and play-time. All jobs are completed by both volunteers and the children of the school, and the roles are rotated daily.

During the week, a typical day as a volunteer usually looks like this:

  • 7 a.m. coffee + tea
  • Dog walk with the children
  • Breakfast
  • Morning animal care activities (feeding, cleaning, maintenance, medical care)
  • Kids go to morning classes
  • Lunch
  • Kids go swimming (free-time for volunteers)
  • Kids go to afternoon classes
  • Afternoon animal feeding/exercise
  • Social Talks with volunteers and children
  • Dinner
  • Educational game or movie
  • Bedtime

Saturdays are for trips to Hoedspruit for shopping or exploring the restaurants in town. Sundays are free days and volunteers can plan excursions- like trips to the beautiful national parks and wildlife safaris. Three day weekends are an option if the volunteer arranges this with staff ahead of time.

Teaching

Teachers are invaluable assets to the lives of the children who come to the center. Classes are given in English, and no prior teaching experience is necessary. You will receive a guide to teaching for you to prepare everything before you arrive at the project. Each group of children, between ages 13-16, comes to the school for five full days to experience working with the wildlife in the orphanage, and to gain supplemental education in subjects like math and english. Each class has 8 students and is taught by one teacher with the help of assistants. One-on-one tutoring sessions may happen as well, and teachers can also help facilitate activities involving the rescue animals in the rehabilitation center.

Monday- Friday, a teacher’s day will generally look like this:

  • 7 a.m. coffee + tea
  • Dog walk with the children
  • Breakfast
  • 9 a.m. classes
  • Lunch
  • Kids go swimming (free time for volunteers, except one life-guard per day)
  • Afternoon classes
  • Social Talks and activities with children
  • Dinner
  • Educational game or movie
  • Bedtime

Saturdays are for trips to Hoedspruit for shopping or exploring the restaurants in town. Sundays are free days and volunteers can plan excursions like trips to the beautiful national parks and wildlife safaris. Three day weekends are an option if the volunteer arranges this with staff ahead of time.

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Travel & Accommodation

Travel

You will need to travel from Johannesburg to Hoedspruit to arrive. You can do this by plane, bus, or your own ground transportation. Costs for this transportation are not included in the volunteer fee.

Flights– Book with SAA, if you arrive on Saturday a shuttle will be included with your volunteer fee.

Buses– If you arrive early in Johannesburg on Saturday, there are shuttle buses to Hoedspruit through Ashton Tours. They are comfortable and cheaper than flights, but take a bit longer. Volunteers receive discounts for this service! You can also spend the night Friday in Johannesburg and take the shuttle the next morning.

Personal Transportation– We can give you directions directly to our facilities, or can drive to meet you in the town of Hoedspruit.

Accommodation

This program has regular facilities- this is no basic camp! There are 4 chalets, each able to hold 3-5 volunteers at a time. Genders are generally housed separately unless requested otherwise. Each Chalet has it’s own bathroom and the camp staff will do your laundry everyday and provide you with clean towels and sheets each week.

You can also ask us about our Home Stay option. This is a wonderful chance to fully immerse yourself in the community by living with a family in the neighboring village.

Major South African cell phone providers generally have good coverage around the country. We recommend buying a Vodacom SIM card with data for your phone to use throughout your stay.

Wifi is now available at a minimal cost per device per week.

Meals- Three meals a day are provided, along with coffee, tea, juice and water.

Fundraising Help

Requirements

  • Minimum age is 18 (17 year olds can be accepted with permission from their parents).
  • Minimum stay- 1 week, working 5 days of the week. Long term volunteer opportunities available
  • Necessary passport, flights, travel insurance and visas
  • Clothes for warm and cold weather, depending upon when you are coming
  • Good English skills
  • A love of animals and children
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Costs

GBP

EURO

1 week

£460

€550

2 weeks

£660

€790

3 weeks

£960

€1,190

4 weeks

£1,190

€1,390

6 weeks

£1,690

€2,090

8 weeks

£2,290

€2,690

12 weeks

£3,390

€3,990

* Placement is confirmed with a 20% deposit
** All payments incur a 5% bank transfer fee

What’s Included:
  • Transfers from/to Hoedspruit Town/Airport, for arrivals on Saturday    
  • Three meals per day, tea, coffee, juice
  • Accommodation including bedding and towels 
  • Laundry (daily)
  • One trip to town per week
  • Working in the community
What’s not included:

Flights, insurance, personal spending, visas (if applicable) airport pickup/drop off and vaccinations. Full assistance will be provided in getting all these arranged if you choose our Premium Support.

For the latest currency conversions, go to xe.com.

Premium Support Upgrade

We understand there’s a great deal to plan and organise for your trip. When booking a Placement, many of our participants choose to purchase our Premium Support Upgrade to benefit from the expertise, knowledge and experience of our Project Coordinators.

We can provide the personal advice you need to ensure your trip is organised with excellence and planned with efficiency; ensuring the very best experience possible. Read more about how we can help you.

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