Projects South Africa

 Cheetah Preservation Volunteer Project <strong>Province</strong>: Garden Route <br />

Cheetah Preservation Volunteer Project

Town: Oudtshoorn
Province: Garden Route

.: There is something truly special about being up-close and personal with wild animals that need your nurturing and care! If you are passionate about wild animals and want to make a difference in their lives, then this is for you.

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Program: The rewards and benefits are two-fold, we give you an experience of a lifetime and you assist us in our conservation efforts!

White Tigers, Leopards, White Lions, Cheetah and a host of other endangered animals from Ring Tailed Lemurs to Meerkats and Marabou Storks are what you will be working with on a daily basis. Get down and dirty in a fun-filled program of animal care with the purrs and squeaks of satisfaction being your reward. Volunteer with us and help us to help them!!

As long as you are at least 18 years old, whether you are a student on a gap year, want a break from your office job, are retired, or you just want to get away from it all for a while, join us and experience a unique once in a lifetime opportunity!

Our volunteer program will give you a fascinating wildlife experience whilst you learn about our conservation efforts with these amazing animals. You will get loads of hands on experience with our endangered animals, but you also need to be prepared to get down and dirty, as along with the pleasure of interacting with these beautiful animals.

Our aim for you, the volunteer, is that upon leaving the ranch, you will be an ambassador for conservation and will go away with a better understanding of the problems faced by our endangered species, as well as the work and challenges that conservations centers such as ourselves face on an ongoing basis.

Our volunteer program has run successfully for a number of years now, (we have hosted well over 200 volunteers to date) so much so that we have decided to now incorporate it as a full division of our conservation program (The Cheetah Preservation Foundation), hence the new look and launch of this program from February 2012. During your time with us you will meet our amazing staff and work side by side with them, learning from them and getting to know why they are so passionate about these animals. It is our hope that when you leave us you have made lifelong friends with our staff as well as your fellow volunteers, and that you walk away with the fantastic memories of an unforgettable experience!!!

Whilst we do have a routine in place, our time schedule is not fixed and may change, as we have to be ready to act in any eventuality.

Below is generally a typical day as a volunteer at the project.

08:00 - 10:00: Morning duties, which include cleaning cheetah, tiger and other animal exhibits and night houses. Food preparation for cheetah and tiger cubs as well as other big cats and animals e.g. flying fox, ring-tailed lemur, spotted neck otter, blue duiker, meerkats, pygmy hippo and many more. Feeding will follow this.
10:00 - 10:30: Tea Time.
10:30 - 12:00: Preparation is done for enrichment activities to stimulate all our animals on the ranch keeping them happy and healthy. General maintenance.
12.00 to 13.00: Lunch Time.
14:00 - 16:00: Now it's time to provide various animals with their enrichment toys and notes are taken on their progress, which are archived for future use. Maintenance, which may include a scenic walk in the Karoo to make sure there are no breaks in the fencing of our breeding center. Afternoon food preparation and feeding.
Program may include: Community upliftment outings
Animals: White Tigers, Leopards, White Lions, Cheetah and a host of other endangered animals from Ring Tailed Lemurs to Meerkats and Marabou Storks are what you will be working/living with on a daily basis.
Location: We are based outside Oudtshoorn, in the Western Cape, South Africa, which is 60km away from the George Airport (the domestic airport you will fly to) and the Garden Route. Oudtshoorn is also famous for the Cango Caves and Ostriches - it is a picturesque, small tourist-driven town, nestled at the foot of the majestic Swartberg (Black Mountains) in the Little Karoo. Its semi-arid climate ensures a large percentage of sunny days throughout the year.
Getting to Project: Flights, Airports and Pickup

As your program begins on a Monday you will need to plan to arrive at either OR Tambo Airport in Johannesburg (JNB), or Cape Town International airport (CPT) on a Monday morning. Once there, you need to allow enough time to clear customs and immigration at International arrivals, before heading to the Domestic terminal for your domestic flight. You will need to book your domestic return ticket to George (GRJ) Airport. Please ensure that you leave sufficient time to make your connections. We recommend allowing an hour and a half for domestic flight check in and three hours for international check in. We recommend that you allow yourself at least 2 hours between your International flight arrival and your flight to George. (If you are flying South African Airways or British Airways from George on your return flight you will usually be able to check your baggage all the way through from George for your return trip).

Make sure you have provided us with the correct arrival flight details to ensure we meet you at George airport at the right time with a warm welcome!! Transfer time between the Ranch and George airport is approximately 45 minutes.

Domestic Airlines that fly to George (not all of them fly from Cape Town to George but all of them fly from Johannesburg to George):

Accommodation: Nestled in a quiet cul-de-sac, directly adjacent to our tiger breeding facility (you go to sleep at night and awake in the morning to their chuffing and roaring!) and 15 minutes walk from the Ranch is our volunteer lodge. The lodge consists of five double bedrooms (shared) with a communal bathroom for volunteers.

The lodge is a sprawling homestead set on the banks of a river with a large lawn, great bar-b-q area, and a splash-pool for summer. It has a communal spacious lounge and dining area as well as a well-equipped kitchen and launderette with washing machine. There is a separate room for the hand rearing of our cubs, however they will often share the lounge area with you in the evenings, (under supervision of course!)

To ensure you are comfortable during your stay with us, the lodge has satellite TV as well as a DVD player for films and a computer with limited free Internet access which can be topped up (you are welcome to bring your own computer).

Linen is provided during your stay as well as cleaning materials and equipment. The communal living areas as well as the bathrooms will be serviced and cleaned daily, however you are expected to take care of your own bedrooms.

To ensure the lodge is never overcrowded and that you get the best out of this experience, we only ever have a maximum of 13 volunteers at any time staying with us.


Basic foodstuffs will be supplied at the lodge during your stay such as tea, coffee, sugar, spices, cereal and milk for breakfast, bread and other cooking ingredients. Additionally, dinner packs will be prepared for you by the Ranch each evening except on your last night when we will host you a farewell braai (bar-b-q).

Lunch is supplied daily for you at the ranch on your work days and ingredients for lunch on your days off will be available at the lodge. Refreshments, alcohol etc will be for your own account whilst you are with us.

Twice a week you will be taken to town to buy your own extras (town is a half hour walk away) and for snacks etc there is a cafe 10 minutes walk from the lodge.

Please ensure that you include any allergies or other diet requirements on your application form, where requested.

What to Pack / Wear:

You will be given 2 t-shirts or golf shirts to be worn during working hours. You will need to bring at least 2 pairs of kaki shorts and/or long pants (depending on season) with you to wear during working hours. It is recommended that you also bring some clothing that you don't mind getting torn and stained! Also bring plenty of sun-block, a camera, a water bottle, and your swimsuit for the splash-pool.

A full checklist to help you will be sent to you to assist you with your pre-arrival information
Upgrade to Single: On Request
Upgrade Dbl/Twin: On Request
Applicants: No previous experience is required however you need to be fit and healthy and at least 18 yrs of age, and not older than 70. You must not be scared of getting down and dirty (no make up here!) and must obviously be extremely passionate about wild animals. Hard work is a guarantee, but the rewarding experience you will have with us is also guaranteed!

Please note, that regardless of your dietary preferences, our big cats enjoy meat and you may be required to assist in the preparation of their meals which is usually donkey and horse meat (this can also involve removing meat from the bone and working with or near the carcasses) You may also be required to clean enclosures including fecal matter.
Includes: Transfers to and from George Airport
All accommodation (shared), meals and housekeeping costs
Cleaning service (excluding bedrooms but including linen)
Free limited Internet
Satellite TV
Washing machine and iron
Farewell Braai (bar-b-q)
Firewood in winter (lovely roaring fireplace)
Transport to town twice a week

Final Saturday tour of local attractions - Cango Caves and Ostrich farm and optional encounter with elephants (will involve an additional fee, and is subject to availability)
Ranch volunteers T-shirts/Golf shirts x 2 and peak cap

Discount of 20% on all Curio and photo purchases at Ranch (does not include refreshments)

Complete 24-hour support and assistance from our volunteer team
Memories and friendships of a lifetime
Excludes: Return flights to George Airport
Your personal, medical and travel insurance which must cover you for the entire duration of the program, and should include cover for repatriation and any additional activities you may wish to undertake, including working with wild animals.
Any trips or activities you may do, other than those specified in our program.
Items of a personal nature, i.e. alcohol, refreshments, gifts, curios and additional food drinks and snacks not supplied by us at the Lodge or Ranch
Medical expenses
Hours: From Mondays to Fridays your work at the Ranch will start at 8am and end at 5pm. Once home, you will plan for next day and chat with your host, then its free time to socialize, have dinner and relax. If cubs are in the house you may also assist our care-givers in feeding and playing with them.
Freetime: Weekends are free to allow you to relax or explore the local area.


Oudtshoorn is a rather sleepy town, but there are a number of restaurants and pubs should you choose to go out. Oudtshoorn is incredibly safe and you can happily walk the 20-30 minutes it would take you to town.

During March/April of each year a well-known week long Afrikaans festival is held with the town becoming packed to capacity, streets being blocked off for market stalls, shows, bands and plenty of entertainment.
Volunteers Feedback: "I traveled to the project as part of a volunteer program from Canada. During my stay, I got to work alongside many of the trainers, employees, and management, and got to see first hand their true passion for working with animals of all sorts. It was touching and inspiring to see the relationships that many of the trainers had with the big cats, and gave me a whole new positive perception of zoo's, and why they need to exist. Many of these establishments receive no government funding and rely heavily on the commercial aspect to raise awareness to prevent these animals from extinction. If you visit, please take the time to speak to a tour guide and you'll see that everyone working there truly cares about the well being of all the animals.


"My experience at the project was AMAZING! I really enjoyed the animals and the people. Thanks for an experience of a lifetime!."


"The volunteer program is incredibly unique and enjoyable. The high standards ranch members persevered to was daunting to say the least. Their passion for their work reflected in the special bonds I witnessed throughout the ranch between trainers and their "children" and was heart warming to say the least. God bless you for all the work you do! and thank you for accommodating me so that it felt like a home away from home."


"What an amazing experience!!! The animals were so friendly!!! I had a furry hug every morning from the most beautiful tiger cubs in the world which was the BEST way to start my day! The project raises much needed awareness about endangered species and, just by being there, I felt like i made a difference. Thank you so much!!!


"My 4 weeks at the project were amazing. Every day was an unforgettable experience, from the regular routine of cleaning enclosures and feeding animals to the unique tasks of moving flamingos, dealing with a deceased crocodile, sedating a wild cheetah and of course doing enrichment for all the different animals. It was the best time of my life and I highly recommend it for anyone who is passionate about wildlife, wants to help with conservation and of course wants to have an amazing time. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to volunteer in such an incredible place!


Rate in ZAR: 7300

Rate For: per week

Duration: Our programs are designed to run for two, three or four weeks and commence on a Monday ending on a Monday.

Dates: Your arrival Monday will consist of airport pick up and transfer, settling in, orientation, and program information/planning.

Your departure weekend will include a tour of the local attractions, i.e. the Cango Caves; Ostrich show farm and local Game Reserve (optional - at extra cost & subject to availability), a farewell braai (bar-b-q) and transfer to the George airport on Sunday.


No problem, for a small additional fee you can have a special pick up and orientation. If our accommodation is full during the overlap we will organize you temporary accommodation at the local backpackers just up the road as well!


Apply here today for your Volunteer Experience











Rates Valid till Oct this year, All Rates subject to change

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Created on 2012/16/10 Updated on 2017/23/02

Cheetah Preservation Volunteer Project Oudtshoorn Garden Route

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