Volunteer Testimonials   |  Big Cat Sanctuary Project Photos  |   Download Big Cat Sanctuary Volunteer Guide

The Big Cat Sanctuary is an environmentally friendly rescue center for captive bred predators; mainly lions, tigers and leopards. At the sanctuary they are protected for the rest of their lives, without any trading or breeding taking place.

One of the project’s most important objectives is to be an educational platform and spread awareness of the conditions big cats face in captivity worldwide.

As a volunteer you will be assisting with maintaining the various big cat enclosures, helping with feeding, creating new challenges in the enrichment area, building new enclosures, working with groups of visitors, and assisting with the general running of the sanctuary.

To join this project you will need to be in good health and aged 18 years or older by the time you arrive. Good social skills are an advantage and a willingness to help where needed is vital as you will be part of a small team of staff and volunteers. Personal characteristics like commitment, flexibility and the ability to use your initiative will also be key. To ensure effective communication between all team members, a good understanding of the English language is also required.

The two owners, one South African and one Norwegian, started their journey as volunteers in South Africa. This journey lead to a dream that has now become a reality, and they are excited to share their stories and passion with you!

Arrival AirportCape Town (CPT)
Arrival DayFriday or earlier
Join Project OnSaturday
DurationYou can volunteer with the Big Cat Sanctuary for 2 weeks or more
Volunteering HoursApproximately 4 - 5 hours per day, for 5 to 6 days each week
Main ActivitiesCleaning of enclosures, assisting with feeding, helping to plan, construct and implement enrichment for all the animals, general maintenance, and working with groups of visitors
Fly Home OnSaturday or later
Minimum AgeYou must be aged 18 years or older when you arrive
AvailabilityAvailable dates for each duration are shown on the top-right of this page with the option to select from several currencies.
Pre-arrival SupportOur experienced team is on hand to ensure you are fully prepared for your trip to South Africa
Airport WelcomeOne of our team will be at the airport to welcome you and escort you to Ashanti Lodge
AccommodationFor your first night (Friday night) you will stay at Ashanti Lodge in central Cape Town with a pool, restaurant, bar and wonderful views of Table Mountain. At the Big Cat Sanctuary you will stay in a modern volunteer house right next to the lions
FoodA basic breakfast is included at Ashanti Lodge. Breakfasts and lunches are included during your stay at the Big Cat Sanctuary. Evening meals are self-catering
TransportReturn transfers between Cape Town and the Big Cat Sanctuary are provided
OrientationOn your first day at the Big Cat Sanctuary you will have a full orientation
Vodacom Sim CardA free, pre-registered Sim card for your phone
Wi-FiFree Wi-Fi at Ashanti Lodge. Wi-Fi at the Big Cat Sanctuary for R50 per week.
In-country SupportOur volunteer coordinators are available 24/7 for emergencies, and are on hand to help you make the most of your stay
CertificateOn completion of your placement we will send you a special thank you certificate to accompany your CV or resume.
VisasCitizens from most countries can arrive in South Africa and stay for up to 90 days without a Visa. Please refer to our FAQ section for more details if you are unsure
FlightsPlease refer to our FAQ section for recommendations about keeping your flight costs to a minimum
InsuranceWe have partnered with World Nomads Insurance to give you access to great value insurance for volunteers. Please check out our Insurance page under the FAQ tab for more details.

Volunteer Testimonials   |  Big Cat Sanctuary Project Photos  |   Download Big Cat Sanctuary Volunteer Guide

Each day begins with a light breakfast of tea, coffee, toast and cereals.

You can expect to be busy for about 4 to 5 hours each day, with 1 or 2 days off each week. Working hours may vary from day to day, but generally you will have a long lunch break from 11:00 – 14:00 when the sun is at its hottest.

A typical lunch might include salads, wraps, burgers or a stir fry. Meals are prepared using chicken, pork or fish, but not red meat.

In the evenings you will be able to prepare your own dinner in the large kitchen. Volunteers often get together to take turns cooking for the group, and make frequent use of the indoor or outdoor braai (BBQ) for an authentic South African dining experience!

Catching up with the day’s stories around the fire is a great way to relax, and there are a selection of DVD’s and games to keep you entertained too.

For your free time there are plenty of activities in the local area including hiking, bird watching, whale watching, shark cage diving and much more. There will be a planned excursion to a local attraction each week, where transport will be provided.

Extra trips to local tourist hotspots like Hermanus and Gansbaai can also be organized for a nominal fee, and there are some great value restaurants in nearby Stanford and Hermanus if you fancy a special night out.

Volunteer Testimonials   |  Big Cat Sanctuary Project Photos  |   Download Big Cat Sanctuary Volunteer Guide

When you first arrive in Cape Town, you will spend the night at Ashanti Lodge, Cape Town’s best backpackers with free Wi-Fi, stunning views of Table Mountain and easy access to the city centre.

During your time with the Big Cat Sanctuary you will stay in a modern, yet cozy home on the farm. The house consists of 5 bedrooms with 4 bathrooms, a spacious fully equipped kitchen, a big living and dining room area, an indoor and outdoor braai, and a lovely pool.

Your volunteer home includes the following facilities:

  • All bedding is provided, though you might want to bring a travel sleeping bag for optional sleep-outs under the stars
  • You will share a room with up to 3 other volunteers. Each room has hanging space and an ensuite shower and toilet
  • A twin room is available for couples, with a shower and toilet just across the passageway
  • A large fully equipped kitchen
  • An entertainment area with flat screen TV, DVD player and an indoor Braai (BBQ)
  • An outdoor braai and a pool for relaxing in on warmer days
  • Wi-Fi is available in the house for R50 per week, so you can easily keep in touch with friends and family. The Wi-Fi is capped each month so it’s not suitable for heavy use like downloading movies or series. Please download these to your own laptop before you come.
  • A washing machine and powder is provided so you can do your laundry once per week
  • A housekeeper will look after general housework, although you will be expected to clean up after yourself as you go. You will be expected to leave the bathroom and kitchen area’s clean and tidy ready for someone else to use.

Volunteer Testimonials   |  Big Cat Sanctuary Project Photos  |   Download Big Cat Sanctuary Volunteer Guide

The Big Cat Sanctuary is in a remote location about a 2-hour drive from Cape Town in South Africa.

Your arrival airport is Cape Town (CPT)

  • We have arrival dates for this project on most Fridays throughout the year.
  • You can also arrive earlier if you prefer. We can easily add extra nights to your stay, before and/or after your placement.
  • You can book your arrival flight to land at Cape Town International Airport at any time of day.
  • One of our team will be at the airport to give you a warm welcome. We will also escort you to Ashanti Lodge for your overnight stay and help you get settled in.
  • On Saturday morning a member of the project team will transfer you to the Big Cat Sanctuary and introduce you to the team.

Durations & Pricing

Change your currency
2 weeks - £ 990
3 weeks - £ 1370
4 weeks - £ 1720
5 weeks - £ 2020
6 weeks - £ 2280
You do not pay anything when you book. We will provide you with a detailed itinerary and quote for you to check. When you are happy with the details, you will be able to confirm your placement with a deposit of £30.

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