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Cheetah in the kruger national park south africa

Cheetah breeding & wildlife rehabilitation

Volunteer with animals at a conservation breeding and rescue centre in South Africa

Placement summary
Anchor 1

Who should join us?
Those wanting to help endangered species as well as orphaned or injured animals at a cheetah breeding and wildlife rehabilitation centre.


Work with species including big cats, antelope, small mammals and give them a second chance in the wild. 

Location: Bela Bela, North West South Africa.

Duration: Any length from 2 weeks


Group sizes: 3 - 10 plus trainers.

People providing care to lions in south africa
The Projects
  • Health checking, caring and rehabilitating animals

  • Spending time in enclosures for observation and research

  • Preparing food and understanding animal nutrition

  • Designing environmental enrichment for wildlife

  • Educational tours and guided experiences for centre guests

  • Centre maintenance and cleaning of enclosures

  • Wildlife monitoring of the local reserve via camera traps

  • Vegetation control and management of the environment

  • Understanding and supporting medical procedures

Visit the Projects page to find out how you'll be helping. For other useful information check out our FAQs.

small animal rehabilitation south africa
people in a pen with cheetah

Volunteer role and duties

Volunteering at a wildlife rehabilitation centre in South Africa

Wildlife breeding and rehabilitation centres play an important role in conservation, animals are brought in by the public or rescued by the centre, help care for these animals until they can be returned to the wild

The centre also pioneers cheetah breeding as part of conservation and for reintroduction, a critical project as cheetah populations are less than 7,000 world wide. Hamba Africa further supports this through our veterinary placement but you’ll help day-to-day caring and working with the animals themselves.

Monday to Saturday

Mornings typically mean food preparation and checking animals under critical care or observation. After breakfast and a team meeting, start with any bigger projects such as building new facilities, planned animal care or guiding visiting members of the public around the centre to help educate and raise environmental awareness.

End the afternoon with a specific animal, observing it to provide environmental enrichment or placing camera traps for research.

Sundays and free time

Spend at the centre or discuss as a group and choose to try some of the many activities in the area.

When do we operate?
Make a deposit

All planned trips are available on our date and rates page, or contact us and we'll get back to you.

With flexible payment plans, secure your place from as little as £50!

From per week

What's included?

We have taken care of all the details so you can focus on the adventure of a lifetime!

The placement includes:

  • Airport transfers to and from the centre

  • Accommodation during your stay

  • Participation in centre activites and projects

  • Breakfast and lunches

  • Bi-Weekly town trip for supplies & social

  • All itinerary/activity equipment is provided

  • Meet and greet event in the UK

  • Fellow volunteer contact list, to be sent out prior to departure

  • 24-hour emergency onsite support

  • 100% financial security with your booking

What's not included?

Please note, we do not book, manage or coordinate the following:

  • Flights

  • Travel insurance

  • Visa and Immigration requirements

  • Vaccinations and health screening/checks

  • Personal travel insurance

  • Optional activities (any that you book during your stay)

  • Dinner - town trips for you to purchase food to cook for yourself or as a group


In order to join us on one of our packages you'll need to:

  • Be above 18

  • Studying or qualified in the vet sector

  • Have valid travel insurance

  • Have booked return flights

  • Organise the relevant travel and immigration documents

  • Undergo any relevant medical checks and vaccinations

These are your personal responsibility. Proof that all requirements are met must be sent ahead of your arrival.

bat ear foxes being fed as part of wildlife rehabilitation work
volunteers at a wildlife centre in south africa building things
Highlights you can expect
Work with african wildlife

With over 20 cheetahs, big cats including lions and leopards plus an assortment of other species including hyena, small cats, antelope and other herbivores you’ll have a direct contribution to the protection of these species while gaining tangible practical experience working with wildlife.

Research and study animal

Animals in breeding and rehabilitation centres offer a unique opportunity for study and research, monitoring their behaviour each day or even in response to events or stimuli allows conservationists to gain data and insights. Record results and help curate and present findings in the form of scientific reports or hands-on via new management strategies.

Wildlife heath and enrichment
Skills, equipment, techniques and policy

From treating newly arrived injured animals to longer-term residents. Health takes the form of many variables, from correct nutrition to prevent disease, supporting instinctive behaviour through play or environmental enrichment to routine veterinary work planned. Learn about each and help ensure animals stay happy and healthy!

During your placement you’ll take part in many roles, from understanding animal behaviour, the legal framework to ensure ethical best practices, equipment uses with working with species large or small and much more. Gain and develop skills that you can take and apply to your career ambitions.

Education for environmental awareness
Optional days and extra activities

The centre is open to the public, help educate and give guided talks and presentations to visitors promoting environmental awareness. Showcase the work the centre achieves and the challenges facing endangered species is critical to gain support and help give wildlife a future.

When not hard at work at the centre, we want you to get to know and explore South Africa. There are many exciting activities in the area you can choose to take part in. From safari drives on nearby reserves, visiting other wildlife and conservation centres, to hikes or days out in national parks such as Marakele.

leopard in cage
Lion looking majestic
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