Volunteer Testimonials   |  Reptile Project Photos  |   Download Reptile Volunteer Guide

The Kinyonga Reptile Centre is a unique facility that is dedicated to the preservation and conservation of reptiles. As a volunteer you will become part of the team and play an active and rewarding role in helping them to achieve this goal.

During your stay you will have opportunities to work with a wide range of indigenous and exotic reptiles and get practical, hands-on experience in the day to day running of the centre.

You will be assisting with cleaning and checking the animals, preparing food, feeding, the upkeep of animal enclosures, general day to day maintenance, constructing new enclosures, helping with reptile rescues and also catch & release operations. You will also interact with guests at the centre and help to educate them about the importance of reptiles in a natural ecosystem.

If you are volunteering for 4 weeks or more, an internationally accredited Reptile Orientation Course will be included at no extra cost. Please see the Useful Info section for more details about this course.

To join this project you will need to be in good physical condition 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.

This project is limited to 4 volunteers at any one time so we advise you to book as soon as you can.

Although you can join for 2 weeks, we recommend staying for longer if you are interested in experiencing as many activities and duties as possible.

Academic interns are also welcome at the centre, so if you are interested in joining the centre on this basis please contact us for more information. The centre can assist you with guidance and recommendations for research projects, and advise you of any extra costs for field work, petrol and other expenses.

Arrival AirportJohannesburg (JNB)
Arrival DaySunday or earlier
Join Project OnMonday
DurationYou can volunteer with the Reptile Conservation Project for 2 weeks or more
Volunteering HoursApproximately 8am - 5pm, 5 to 6 days each week
Main ActivitiesChecking reptiles, cleaning, maintenance, constructing new enclosures, assisting with rescue operations, catch & release and research
Fly Home OnFriday 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 TransferWe provide an escorted transfer from Johannesburg Airport to your pre-project accommodation
AccommodationFor your first night (Sunday night) you will stay at Brown Sugar Backpackers in Johannesburg. At the project you will stay in a wooden bungalow with up to 3 other volunteers
FoodSupplies for breakfast, lunch and dinner are included during your stay at the Reptile Conservation Project
TransportReturn transfers between Johannesburg and the Reptile Conservation Project are provided
OrientationOn your first day at the Reptile Conservation Project you will have a full orientation
T-ShirtA Reptile Conservation Project T-Shirt
CourseStay for 4 weeks or more and an internationally accredited Reptile Orientation Course will be included at no extra cost.
Wi-FiFree Wi-Fi at Brown Sugar. Wi-Fi at the Reptile Centre 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   |  Reptile Project Photos  |   Download Reptile Volunteer Guide

You can expect to be busy from 08:00 to 17:00 for 5 to 6 days each week.

A one hour lunch break is normally taken between 12:00 and 13:00, but hours and lunch times can vary in response to the nature of the work at the reptile centre.

If you would like to arrange activities or excursions on specific days, you must speak with the centre’s volunteer coordinator or management in advance to pre-book your time off.

Volunteer Testimonials   |  Reptile Project Photos  |   Download Reptile Volunteer Guide

Pre-Project accommodation (For your first Sunday night):

As one of Johannesburg's best backpackers, Brown Sugar has a great range of facilities and is well positioned in the Observatory suburb of Johannesburg to provide the perfect place for you to relax and unwind after your journey to South Africa.

If you arrive before Suday, we can add as many extra nights at Brown Sugar as you need.

While you’re at Brown Sugar you can enjoy all of the facilities below. Whether you’re having a dip in the pool, or booking an adventurous activity at the Travel Desk, you will find that Brown Sugar have plenty to keep you busy:

  • Dormitory accommodation with all bedding and linen
  • Self-service breakfast is included with cereals, egg, cheese, ham, toast, jams, milk, yoghurt, fruit, tea, coffee & juice
  • Free Wi-fi and an internet cafe with laptops for the use of guests
  • A fully equipped shared kitchen with fridge/freezers for storing your groceries
  • All bedding including linen, duvet and pillows (linen is changed every four days)
  • Self service laundry
  • Lots of showers and toilets
  • A travel desk for booking tours and activities
  • A pool area with sunloungers and a BBQ
  • A large bar with Satellite TV, a pool table, and an outdoor balcony area with seating and BBQ facilities
  • Lockable storage for your valuables (please bring your own padlock for this)
  • CCTV Security and controlled gate access
  • A night manager
  • The lodge is cleaned daily and rooms are also serviced daily.

At the Reptile Conservation & Education Project:

You will stay in a comfortable wooden bungalow behind the Reptile Centre which you will share with up to 3 other volunteers. Your accommodation has the following facilities:

  • Dormitory accommodation with all bedding, linen and mosquito nets
  • A fully equipped kitchen with pots, pans, utensils, cutlery, plates, bowls, mugs etc
  • Groceries are supplied to enable you to prepare your breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Filtered water is supplied if you prefer it, but the tap water is very good too
  • A lounge area with satellite TV and DVD player
  • A computer is available in the lounge with a slow internet connection speed. If you have a laptop you can get a better signal at the centre's cafe
  • Wi-Fi is available for R30 per day or R10 for 2 hours
  • A shower and toilet with hot and cold running water
  • A house maid cleans the bungalow twice a week.

Please note that there is no hanging space in the cabin so you will need to keep your suitcase or bags organised. A safe is available at reception for locking up passports, tickets and valuables. You can handwash your laundry or ask the housemaid to do it for a small fee. Shopping trips are available if you need to purchase personal items, or extra food, drinks and snacks.

Volunteer Testimonials   |  Reptile Project Photos  |   Download Reptile Volunteer Guide

The Reptile Conservation & Education Project is located near Hoedspruit, close to Kruger National Park.

Your arrival airport is Johannesburg (JNB)

  • We have arrival dates for this project on most Sundays 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.
  • If you arrive before Sunday, you will have time to enjoy some local attractions - perhaps take a tour of Soweto, grab dinner in China Town, and maybe include a visit to the Apartheid Museum. The friendly team at Brown Sugar can help you with these any many other activity and tour options
  • You can book your arrival flight to land at Johannesburg 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 Brown Sugar Backpackers.
  • On Monday morning you will travel approximately 6 hours by air-conditioned minibus to join the project.

Volunteer Testimonials   |  Reptile Project Photos  |   Download Reptile Volunteer Guide

Reptile Orientation Course

The centre conducts a number of internationally recognised reptile courses for medical professionals, wildlife personnel and the general public, including a Reptile Orientation Course. This course is included at no extra cost if you are volunteering for 4 weeks or more, and can be added for R500 if you are staying for a shorter period.

You will be treated to a high energy interactive session involving the use of live animals, museum items of interest and a power point presentation. A course welcome pack and a "Reptile Awareness and Safety Handnotes" booklet is also included. The presentation is designed to be both useful and a lot of fun... an experience never to be forgotten.

The course takes about 5 hours in total and covers snakes, lizards, spiders and scorpions.

During the course you will learn about the following:

  • Identification and methods of identifying snakes
  • Physiology
  • Habits and habitat
  • Safety Techniques
  • Safety Protocol
  • Venoms and venom apparatus
  • Up to date first aid and safety precautions
  • Phobias (Assessment of one’s fear levels)
  • Introduction to handling
  • Reproduction
  • Parasites
  • Husbandry techniques
  • Public relation techniques.

An ISZS accredited certificate will be issued on successful completion.

Durations & Pricing

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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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