The Cheetah Experience Local Volunteer Program offers South African’s a rewarding opportunity to spend a day off work, weekend or university break, 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.
On a normal day, you’ll work closely with a number of amazing endangered and threatened species, including the cheetah, leopards, male lions, 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 time with us. To volunteer with us, you don’t need any previous experience in animal care, only a big heart and love for animals.
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As a local volunteer you’ll have the amazing opportunity to form strong friendships with our amazing animals over many years, something that only a small handful of volunteers have the opportunity to do. We have had local volunteers work at our project on a regular basis for three years!! You’ll meet people from all over the world, learn all about other peoples background, cultures and the world, form special friendships that you’ll cherish for the rest of your life, and after a productive day at the farm, you can hangout with all the volunteers at the local bars and restaurants.
For more information on the Local Volunteer Program not included on this page, fill in our Request a Volunteer Information Pack form or email email@example.com, and we’ll send you a detailed pack which covers absolutely everything you will need to know. Alternatively, please call Cheetah Experience on 072 905 3457.
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, local volunteers, sponsors and visitors to our project allow Cheetah Experience to source the best possible food 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.
What you will do
We have a number of areas you can get involved with while volunteering 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
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.
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, we understand that local volunteers may have other commitments, including work and/or studies, so we offer them the freedom to volunteer when they are able. The smallest help can make the biggest difference.
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 take photos.
In the past we have had some great local volunteers who really took initiative and were a blessing to the project. Similarly, we have had a few who promised us the world but following their training and induction we never saw them again. We have introduced a one-time fee of R2,000 which covers the cost of our Induction and Training Program. You can pay this via EFT (banking details in the volunteer application form) or you may pay upon arrival on your first day.
You need to provide your own transport to and from the project daily as well as your own lunch and snacks. Lunch is provided on your first day of induction. Should you no longer be able to volunteer with us, Cheetah Experience will be unable to refund you in any way.
You will have a 6-week probation period whilst volunteering to see how you are going. Thereafter, we ask that you volunteer a minimum of 8 hours per month, you can choose the times and days.
Cheetah Experience relies on volunteers to support our project in its continual development through your hard work, dedication and donations. All donations 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.
Cheetah Experience is located in central South Africa, on the outskirts of a town called Bela Bela. Our project is surrounded by mostly farmland and a game reserve. We are about 10-minutes drive from Bela Bela town centre, and are a 10-minute drive from local shopping centres and restaurants.