Volunteer Program

There is something truly special about working closely with wild animals that require nurturing and care. Our volunteer program will give you a fascinating and rewarding wildlife experience whilst you learn about the animals, our conservation efforts and the environmental issues that we all contend with all whilst assisting us in our endeavours.

We house animals from varied backgrounds; whilst most are captive born, we also house rescued and rehabilitated animals that are not eligible for release, as well as animals from the illegal pet trade. Our many species range from Lions, Tigers and Cheetah to Nile Crocodiles, Pygmy Hippos, Lemurs, Sloths, Snakes and much much more!

During your time with us, you will work with our amazing staff who are deeply passionate about our animals and facility.

Our hope is, that when you leave, you do so having made life-long friends and unforgettable memories, while flying the flag high for conservation world-wide.


Volunteer Program Overview 

Applicant Requirements 

Your WAV Team

A day in the Life






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 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, their enclosures also need maintaining!

We are based just outside Oudtshoorn, in the Western Cape, South Africa, which is 60km North of 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. It’s semi-arid climate ensures a large percentage of sunny days throughout the year…so don’t forget your sun block and swimming gear!!

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.

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!!!

We also have a highly successful program for Interns so if you require a more detailed program relevant to your studies, please contact us and we will happily send you our INTERN application form.  Since our Intern program is booked up well in advance, it is advisable to book as soon as you know your approximate dates. Please note; a 10% surcharge is applicable to all interns.

View Map


  • A valid passport and VISA (if applicable)
  • Speak English sufficiently in order to get around
  • No previous experience is required
  • You must be 18 and older
  • You must exceed 1,55m (5ft) in order to interact with some of our adult cheetah, but this will not hinder you with the rest of our program
  • You must be reasonably fit and declare health issues before acceptance
  • Please note that regardless of your dietary preferences, many of our animals eat meat and you may be required to assist in the preparation of their meals which is usually donkey or horse meat. You may also be required to clean enclosures, including faecal matter.




Whilst we do have a routine in place, our days can be unpredictable and schedules may change. For the first few days you will partake in our orientation program and thereafter a typical day will look as follows:


One of your hosts will meet you on your arrival in George either at the airport or at your bus stop. The trip from George back to Oudtshoorn will take approximately 45 minutes to an hour.

Depending on how tired you are and once you have been shown around your new accommodation, you will be taken on a brief orientation tour of the area, as well as to do any essential shopping you may need to do. You will then be left to settle into your new “home away from home”.

Either on the evening of your arrival or on the following morning, your host will orientate you regarding the environment you will be working in, run through your duties, expectations, house rules etc. and answer any questions you may have.

The next morning you will be taken to the Ranch where you will be given a complete tour of the Ranch itself as well as the breeding centres. You will also be introduced to the Ranch’s directors, managers, curators and the staff that you will be working with. After some final paperwork, you will start directly on your duties.


We have two amazing accommodation options to choose from; Zindago's Lodge and Taji Lodge


  • Situated alongside the ranch, it has a large garden, swimming pool, barbeque and entertainment area
  • Rooms are made up of 2 or 3 beds (1 room has 4 beds). All rooms have ensuite bathrooms
  • A private room can be booked in advance at an additional cost, subject to availability
  • Laundry facilities are available for you to use ( washing powder)
  • Bedding and bath towels are provided but please bring your own swimming towel
  • The communal lounge area has a fireplace for the icy winter evenings, and a snooker table
  • NB – Please note, we have generators which supply electricity in case of blackouts/loadshedding!


         TAJI LODGE

  • This lodge is open between 1 May and 30 September each year (our our peak period)
  • The lodge is a stones-throw away from the Wildlife Ranch & Zindago’s Lodge
  • Each room contains 2 or 3 beds and there are communal bathrooms
  • A private room can be booked in advance at an additional cost
  • Laundry facilities are available for you to use (excl washing powder)
  • Bedding and bath towels are provided but please bring your own swimming towel
  • The communal lounge area has a fireplace for the icy winter evenings
  • NB – Please note, we have generators which supply electricity in case of blackouts/loadshedding!



  • Basic breakfast ingredients are supplied at the lodge
  • Coffee, tea, milk, sugar, herbs, spices, fruit, bread, spreads and sauces are provided
  • The onsite restaurant will prepare your lunch – a selection can be made from our volunteer menu
  • Dinners will also be made by our restaurant and will be delivered to the lodge
  • We only provide meals from Monday to Friday - on weekends you are responsible for your own meals
  • Refreshments, alcohol and all extra food are for your own account
  • Water in Oudtshoorn is generally safe to drink and there is a water filter in the kitchen
  • You will be taken to town by the hosts, once a week, to purchase your own extras
  • There is a small shop/café in walking distance to the lodge (10 to 15 min)
  • Please indicate if you have any allergies or dietary requirements in your application form
  • Additional charges may be levied for specialized diets





During your stay we will provide transfers to and from the airport/bus stops in George as well as a few trips to town to stock up on supplies and snacks. You can walk to town but we suggest not to do so at night. Oudtshoorn is considered to be a very safe town but like anywhere in the world, we always suggest walking in groups and preferably not at night. We also have a reliable taxi service that we can recommend should you require it. For weekend tours, we charge a Transport fee. This fee is calculated per group and per kilometre and covers all the travel overheads


Volunteer Reviews