The Cheetah Experience Global Volunteer Program offers volunteers a rewarding way to spend a gap year, university break or holiday, contribute to conservation in South Africa and make a positive impact every day in our animals lives.
You’ll have a once in a lifetime opportunity to work closely with many African species you only dreamed of working with, and will be surrounded by a group of likeminded individuals that share your love and passion for animals.
Since our volunteer program started in 2011, Cheetah Experience has seen over 1,000 hard-working, dedicated people from 33 countries come and be a special part of the Cheetah Experience Global Volunteer Family, and contribute to conservation in South Africa.
Watch our Volunteer Video!
On a normal day, you’ll work closely with a number of amazing endangered and threatened species, including the cheetah, leopards, non-breeding male lions, wolves, a Siberian tiger, caracals and servals. Our experienced team of staff will be there to support you every step of the way, and strive to give you the best possible experience during your stay.
We’re adjacent to Emoya Game Reserve, a reserve that prides itself in the conservation and preservation of it’s wildlife. As a volunteer you’ll have the opportunity to go on a gamedrive and observe Emoya’s beautiful species up close, even getting within metres of Rhinos, Giraffe and Antelope, some truly amazing photo opportunities!
There’s plenty of fun activities to reward yourself after a productive day, with local bars and restaurants only a short drive away. For the adventurous volunteers, there are lots of fun activities nearby that you can enjoy, including horse riding, quad biking and sky diving!
What you will do
We have a number of areas you can get involved with during your time with us, including Animal Care and Conservation Education.
On a normal day, there’s plenty of hands-on activities you will be involved in, and you’ll work closely with our staff in completing a number of tasks including:
Cleaning enclosures and refilling water bowls
Preparing and feeding food to our animals – they are carnivores, so this involves handling raw meat!
Educating the public that visit our project on the importance of conservation, by assisting with educational tours and taking guided tours (once you are ready)
Working as a team to complete various group activities, including building structures for our animals, maintenance of enclosures and enrichment activities
Planning and helping with animal enrichment (walks, treats, toys etc.)
Intensive care of our juvenile animals when required
What are the working hours?
Our animals don’t work on a typical 9am - 5pm day, so neither do we! To ensure our animals receive the best care, our days are often long, and will require volunteers to participate in lots of hands-on activities. However, depending on your ability level, there are plenty of ways to help during a typical day, including preparing enrichment for our animals and assisting visitors to our project.
We usually start early in the mornings, between 7am – 8am (depending on the time of year), and finish in the late afternoon, between 5pm – 6pm (depending on the time of year). You will have plenty of time during the day to spend with our animals, and you may have the opportunity to provide intensive care for our juvenile animals when required.
After a busy day, you can spend your afternoons laying by the pool at the Volunteer House watching the sunset, hanging out with other volunteers in the lounge room, or relaxing in your room watching movies!
You will have time off during your stay to explore the local area, get involved in fun activities nearby our project, and of course, spend time with the animals!!
Cheetah Experience wouldn’t be able to do the conservation work it does without the help of our hard-working, dedicated volunteers. Everything you do as a volunteer has a positive impact on our animals lives, and our animals say thank you by the love and affection they give to you.
We understand that volunteers might have skills and expertise in a number of other areas non-related to Animal Care and Conservation, including Carpentry, Sustainability, Tourism and Business. We like to utilise our volunteer’s natural skills and abilities, so any additional help in these areas helps our project greatly.
Being a non-profit organisation with no government funding, the tireless work our volunteers do helps us keep our animals happy, healthy and enriched. The generosity of our Global Volunteer Family, current volunteers, sponsors and visitors to our project allow Cheetah Experience to source the best possible meat for our animals, purchase enrichment items for our animals, cover veterinary expenses and build and improve our animal’s enclosures to provide them with the best possible care.
By assisting us in educating visitors and the local community about the importance of conservation, you are aiding in the future preservation of our endangered and threatened species, and empowering others to join the fight.
Visit our Conservation page to learn more.
Looking to meet people from all over the world?
As a volunteer, you’ll be staying in our Volunteer House nearby Cheetah Experience, which can accommodate up to 21 volunteers. You’ll share this house with volunteers and interns from all corners of the globe, so there’ll be plenty of time to get to know one another over a braai (which is Afrikaans for ‘barbeque’), or relax in peace with a coffee in the mornings, overlooking the Emoya Game Reserve. Cheetah Experience really will be a home away from home.
The Volunteer House has nine bedrooms, a large living area with a TV/DVD, four bathrooms, WiFi throughout the house, fully self-contained kitchen, laundry facilities and entertaining area with a pool for the hot days. We have one six-bed room with its own bathroom, six rooms with two or three beds which share the other bathrooms. Rooms will be allocated on same gender sharing unless you book as a couple. We have a double room for couples, however we cannot guarantee this room will be free. If you have any accommodation requests, please send that in an email well in advance and we will try our best to accommodate you.
Looking for a bit more peace and quiet?
We also have three private units available in our adjacent property, suitable for volunteers looking for a bit more peace and quiet after a busy day! Each unit has its own kitchenette, bathroom, lounge area and study. The units are cleaned daily, and a laundry service is available. Your unit will be close-by the main Volunteer House, so you are welcome to use any amenities in the house, and socialise with all the other volunteers at night.
Daily breakfast will be available for you to prepare and a home cooked lunch will be provided each day. Tea and coffee will be available all day at your accommodation and on the farm, but dinner is not included in the cost. You will be taken to the local supermarket twice a week to buy food, drinks, sweets and other necessities, so make sure you bring along extra money.
Note: Volunteers must be at least 18 years old to be able to stay in our shared accommodation, unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.
The overall cost includes all accommodation, bedding, laundry, breakfast and a home-cooked lunch each day, and airport or bus station transfers to and from Cheetah Experience in Bloemfontein. You will receive training material and a Cheetah Experience t-shirt. Internet is also available at both the Volunteer House and the farm at a cost of R100 per week (South African Rand).
Cheetah Experience relies on conservation travellers like you to support our project in its continual development through your hard work, dedication and funding. All funds from our volunteer program are used to feed our animals, veterinary expenses, maintenance and improvements on our animal’s homes, and purchasing of equipment used for enrichment activities.
We recommend you stay for at least 2 weeks to get the most out of your time at our project, and make this a once-in-a-lifetime experience for you!
The cost to volunteer, dependant on the duration of you stay, is listed below. All pricing is in South African Rand.
2020 Volunteering Cost
The prices above are only for our Volunteer House accommodation. If you'd like to stay in our private self-contained units, please check out our Working Holiday Program or email email@example.com
Please note that our prices are subject to yearly price increases.
A 50% deposit is required to confirm your booking once your application form has been accepted. The remaining 50% of your payment is due 1 month prior to your arrival. Banking details will be provided upon confirmation of your application.
Your 50% deposit will not be refunded should you cancel your participation in the project at any time. If you cancel your booking less than 30 days before your start date, you will not be eligible for a refund of any kind. We can put all money paid towards a different date if you wish to reschedule your volunteer experience. Fees are to cover administration work and the opportunity cost of being unable to fill your position at last minute. Once you arrive, if you decide to leave the project early for any reason, Cheetah Experience will be unable to refund you in any way.
Cheetah Experience is located in central South Africa, on the outskirts of a town called Bloemfontein. Our project is surrounded by mostly farmland and a game reserve. We are about 20-minutes drive from Bloemfontein city centre, and are a 5-minute drive from local shopping centres and restaurants.
Most people prefer to fly into Bloemfontein’s Bram Fischer International Airport. All international flights into South Africa arrive in Johannesburg or in Cape Town, from where you can catch a connecting flight to Bram Fischer International Airport.
Some volunteers are on more of a budget and prefer to get a bus to Bloemfontein. This is a cheaper option but adds to your travel time, so you should decide which mode of travel suits you best.
December to March are our hottest months, with daily temperatures being above 30 ̊C degrees.
April to August are our very cold months, with minimum temperatures being between -7 ̊C in the early morning to about 8 ̊C at midday. Some days it can get warm even in winter (up to 27 ̊C during the day).
September to November are our warmer months, usually minimum 5 ̊C to maximum 30 ̊C.