Have you always wanted to get hands-on experience working with big cats while having the freedom and time off to relax on your holiday and explore South Africa?
Then come on a Working Holiday at Cheetah Experience!
We understand that sometimes volunteers like to help out at their own pace, and may want to sleep in or have extra time off to relax during the day and explore the amazing sights of South Africa. That is why we developed the Cheetah Experience Working Holiday Program.
As part of our Working Holiday Program, you’ll have the same amazing experiences and opportunities that a regular volunteer has, plus the ability to choose if, and when, you wish to participate in the usual daily volunteer duties and social activities.
You'll be working with a number of endangered and threatened species on a daily basis, including cheetahs, leopards, male non-breeding lions, servals, caracals, African wildcats, wolves, meerkats and a Siberian tiger. Our project takes in rescued animals from the local area, so we also have various animals from time to time, including a goat and antelope.
Watch our Volunteer Video!
Days can be spent helping out at our project, forming special bonds with our animals, or exploring the local area. You’ll get plenty of time off during the day to make a positive impact in our animals lives and contribute to conservation in South Africa.
You do not need any previous experience working with animals, only a big heart and love for animals.
Your accommodation will be a private self-contained unit available in our adjacent property, offering you a bit more peace and quiet after a day on the farm! Each unit has its own kitchenette, bathroom, lounge area, WiFi and study. For those travelling on a budget, you can also stay in our Volunteer House.
For more information on the Working Holiday Program not included on this page, fill in our Request a Volunteer Information Pack form or email firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll send you a detailed pack which covers absolutely everything you will need to know.
What you will do
We have a number of areas you can get involved with during your stay, including Animal Care and Conservation Education.
On a normal day, there’s plenty of hands-on activities you can get involved in, including:
Cleaning enclosures and refilling water bowls
Preparing and feeding food to our animals – they are carnivores, so this involves handling raw meat!
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
Depending on your ability level, there are plenty of ways to help during a typical day, including assisting with the care of our animals and preparing enrichment for our animals.
What are the working hours?
Being a part of the Working Holiday Program, we give you the freedom and flexibility to volunteer with us when you can.
We understand that many travellers have limited time to volunteer, so our Working Holiday team won’t work the usual hours that our staff and volunteers work.
A typical day for a volunteer usually starts early in the mornings, between 7am – 8am (depending on the time of year), and finishes 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.
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 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.
Looking for some peace and quiet?
We 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, WiFi and study. 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.
Looking to meet people from all over the world?
We also have a Volunteer House nearby Cheetah Experience, which can accommodate up to 21 volunteers. You can 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.
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.
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.
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 Working Holiday Program are used to feed our animals, cover 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 for Working Holiday, dependant on the duration of your stay, is listed below. All pricing is in South African Rand.
2020 Working Holiday Cost - Private Accomodation
2020 Working Holiday Cost - Shared Accommodation at Volunteer House
Please note that our prices are subject to yearly price increase.
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.