Volunteer with animals in South Africa and help improve the lives of abused domestic animals or sea birds suffering from illness or injury. You can work with at a local shelter or at a rehabilitation centre for African penguins and other seabirds. This is a great way to gain experience in animal care and add valuable skills to your CV.
The organisations we work with tend to be understaffed and rely heavily on the help of both local and international volunteers. You’ll help care for the animals and support the staff, making sure the placement runs smoothly.
You’ll live and work in beautiful Cape Town, and stay with a host family. Seize the opportunity to explore a different culture, eat plenty of delicious traditional food, and experience local customs.
Children aged 3-14 must be accompanied by at least one adult paying full price
We offer discounts for families and groups of friends travelling together. Call us on 1 212 244 7234 for more info.
When you apply you only pay $295, which comes off the total price.
Looking to do more than one project? Call us on 1 212 244 7234 to see if we can offer a discount.
Completely flexible dates
Anyone aged over 16 can join
What's included in the price?
Food (three meals a day)
Travel and medical insurance
Airport pick-up and drop-off
Full induction and orientation by an experienced staff member on arrival
Transport to and from your work placement
In-country support and 24-hour back-up from our team of full-time local staff
Emergency assistance from our international emergency response team
Project equipment and materials, including access to our database with thousands of resources
A supervisor/mentor at your work placement
Training and workshops from our experienced local staff
Regular social events and community activities with other volunteers and interns
Access to our local office with internet connection
Certification of project completion
Access to our alumni services and discounts
Visa support and advice
Fundraising support, including your own personalized fundraising website
Pre-departure preparation by your own specialist Volunteer Advisor
Personalized MyProjectsAbroad website, with all the information you need about your project, accommodation and destination
A free cultural awareness course
Membership to our volunteer social media groups, to share information and to get in touch
Support to help you complete registration or internship documents, if applicable
What's not included?
Visa costs (where applicable)
What will I do as an Animal Care volunteer in South Africa?
Work with animals in South Africa and access loads of opportunities to help improve the lives of stray domestic animals or injured seabirds. Here are some of the tasks you will help with:
- Shadow full-time carers to gain experience and learn more about the animals
- Take care of the animals by feeding, exercising, and helping rehabilitate the animals
- Spend time with domestic animals to help build their confidence and trust
- Help rehabilitate injured or ill seabirds
Your work will focus on the following areas:
Shadow full-time carers
As an Animal Care volunteer at either of our placements, you will initially spend a lot of time observing the full-time carers. This will help you gain first-hand experience of the way animal rescue centres work in South Africa.
Use this time to ask questions and learn more about the animals in the placement’s care. This will come in handy later on when you take care of animals on your own.
Take care of the animals
There will be ample opportunity to get involved with hands-on work like feeding, exercising, and rehabilitating the animals under your care. As with any volunteer placement, you get back what you put in. Showing initiative and a willingness to get involved will result in your experience being very rewarding.
Spend time with domestic animals
If you join our placement at the shelter, you will be working mostly with domestic animals. Many of them would have gone through a traumatic experience, such as abuse or abandonment. By playing and spending time with them, you can help prepare and socialise them for adoption.
Help rehabilitate injured or ill seabirds
If you have a special interest in conservation, you could opt to help rehabilitate African penguins and other seabirds. Here you will assist in preparing food, feeding the birds, cleaning out cages, and rehabilitating injured or oiled birds. As you work, you’ll get the opportunity to learn about the local ecosystem and work with some unique bird species.
Where you will be working as an Animal Care volunteer in South Africa?
Both placements are based in Cape Town. Known as the Mother City, it’s famous for its spectacular natural beauty and, of course, the iconic Table Mountain. During your time here, you will be able to experience the best of both city life and outdoor adventures.
If you decide to work with seabirds at the rehabilitation centre, you will be based in the suburb of Bloubergstrand. It’s located 25km outside of Cape Town’s CBD and offers the best views of Table Mountain. This shelter specialises in rescuing and rehabilitating seabirds, including the African Penguin. You will work in an amazing location, where cormorants, pelicans and even pink flamingos are a common sight.
Should you opt for the animal shelter, your work will be based in Grassy Park. They are a non-profit organisation that takes care of abused and abandoned animals across South Africa. The Cape Town branch was established in 1872 and is the oldest in the country. While they are happy to take in any animal in need, you will mostly be working with cats and dogs.
Measuring Our Impact
Our projects work towards clear long-term goals, with specific annual objectives. Every volunteer and intern we send to these projects helps us work towards these goals, no matter how long they spend on our projects.
Every year we take a step back and look at how much progress we've made towards these goals. We put together a Global Impact Report, which documents our achievements. Find out more about the impact our global community of volunteers, interns and staff make, and read the latest report.
Meet the team in South Africa
Not quite what you’re looking for?
Take a look at the following pages where you'll find collections of similar projects: