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!
|Cape Town (CPT)
|Friday or earlier
|Join Project On
|You can volunteer with the Big Cat Sanctuary for 2 weeks or more
|Approximately 4 - 5 hours per day, for 5 to 6 days each week
|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
|You must be aged 18 years or older when you arrive
|Available dates for each duration are shown on the top-right of this page with the option to select from several currencies.
|Our experienced team is on hand to ensure you are fully prepared for your trip to South Africa
|One of our team will be at the airport to welcome you and escort you to Ashanti Lodge
|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, cozy volunteer house.
|Breakfasts and lunches are included during your stay at the Big Cat Sanctuary. Evening meals are self-catering
|Return transfers between Cape Town and the Big Cat Sanctuary are provided
|On your first day at the Big Cat Sanctuary you will have a full orientation
|Free Wi-Fi at Ashanti Lodge and at the Big Cat Sanctuary.
|Our volunteer coordinators are available 24/7 for emergencies, and are on hand to help you make the most of your stay
|On completion of your placement we will send you a special thank you certificate to accompany your CV or resume.
|You will receive a T-Shirt upon arrival at the project.
|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
|Please refer to our FAQ section for recommendations about keeping your flight costs to a minimum
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 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.
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, 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 enjoy a modern, cozy home which is situated 8 minutes drive, or 25 minutes beautiful walk, from the sanctuary. The house consists of 3 bedrooms with 3 bathrooms, a spacious and fully equipped kitchen and dining room for everyone to cook and enjoy dinners and games nights together, a cozy living room area with a fire for film evenings or just relaxing with a nice book.
Outside you will enjoy beautiful mountain views, and we have a traditional South African braai (BBQ) area. There is a lovely dam and large garden with space to play games, walk or sunbathe. While enjoying a peaceful evening outside on the patio, you may just hear our pride of lions roaring in the distance.
Your volunteer home includes the following facilities:
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)