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 Airport||Cape Town (CPT)|
|Arrival Day||Friday or earlier|
|Join Project On||Saturday|
|Duration||You can volunteer with the Big Cat Sanctuary for 2 weeks or more|
|Volunteering Hours||Approximately 4 - 5 hours per day, for 5 to 6 days each week|
|Main Activities||Cleaning 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 On||Saturday or later|
|Minimum Age||You must be aged 18 years or older when you arrive|
|Availability||Available dates for each duration are shown on the top-right of this page with the option to select from several currencies.|
|Pre-arrival Support||Our experienced Cape Town team is on hand with expert advice and assistance to ensure you are fully prepared for your trip to South Africa|
|Airport Transfers||One of our team will be at the airport to welcome you when you land. We will also get you back to the airport in time for your flight home|
|Welcome Brief||You will receive a comprehensive welcome brief shortly after you arrive|
|Accommodation||For 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|
|Food||A 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|
|Transport||Return transfers between Cape Town and the Big Cat Sanctuary are provided|
|Orientation||On your first day at the Big Cat Sanctuary you will have a full orientation|
|In-country Support||Our Cape Town based volunteer coordinators are available 24/7 for emergencies, and are on hand to help you make the most of your stay|
|Certificate||On completion of your placement we will send you a special thank you certificate to accompany your CV or resume.|
|Visas||Citizens 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|
|Flights||Please refer to our FAQ section for recommendations about keeping your flight costs to a minimum|
|Insurance||We 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.|
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.
When you first arrive in Cape Town, you will spend the night at Ashanti Lodge, one of 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:
The Big Cat Sanctuary is located near Stanford, less than 2 hours’ drive from Cape Town in South Africa. We have arrival dates for this project every Friday throughout the year.
It’s easy to add extra nights to your stay, so if you find a cheaper flight that arrives earlier than your chosen Saturday arrival date just let us know. You can also add extra nights after your placement for the same reason.
If you want to add another project, a Scuba Diving Course, a Surfing Week, or even a longer tour, we can help you with that too. Please ask one of our friendly team at any time before you arrive in Cape Town.