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Big 5 Rehabilitation

This safari reserve aims to assist with the conservation efforts of big game rehabilitation in the Eastern Cape. Daily activities involve caring for elephants, lions and large antelope, as well as the maintenance of a large reserve. And the popularity of this project provides a wonderful chance to make friends from all over the world.

Big 5 Rehabilitation
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Location Closest town: Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Duration From 2 weeks
Dates All year round
  • You must have an upper intermediate level of English
  • Special skills: You should be physically fit and should have a love for or interest in animals
Minimum Age: 18
Your impact
Documents required Enrolment form, curriculum vitae, letter of motivation, passport copy, proof of medical insurance
Day of arrival Monday
Day of departure Saturday/Sunday


  • Work and live up close with a large variety of South Africa’s wildlife.
  • Explore a game reserve where the Big 5 roams free.
  • Make a difference to the local wildlife and environment.
  • Experience the Xhosa culture.
  • Work with the local kids from the community.
  • Take part in amazing tours and excursions outside of the project.
  • Make new friends from all over the world.

Project Information

This is a programme designed for volunteers interested in having a truly African experience while making a difference to the local wildlife and environment.

The game reserve’s education and rehabilitation centre is home to various different species of predators. Designed in such a way that it maintains a natural look, the rehabilitation centre gives the endangered predators that much needed connection with the wild although they are living in a cordoned-off area. The predators that have found a home at the centre include Lions, Bengal Tigers, Cheetahs and White Lions.

The Rehabilitation Centre aims to contribute to the conservation of endangered species and the rehabilitation of injured, abused, orphaned and poisoned wildlife. The game reserve team are a group of dedicated conservationists committed to the preservation of wildlife. 

A game reserve is a very dynamic environment and you will have the possibility to work in different areas. You will be working on a Big 5 game reserve where the Big 5 are all in their natural environment and free-roaming.

Your Role

You will work from Monday to Friday (generally 07.30 – 16.30).

The programme’s day-to-day schedule will vary depending on weather and other factors, meaning that the itinerary can be changed at any time. However, every week a schedule will be created and communicated to all the volunteers there. This is designed in such a way, that volunteers are normally divided into teams of up to 10 volunteers per group. Each group will have an outdoor coordinator as a leader and mentor. The groups will engage in various daily activities, but will do the same type and number of activities by the end of the week. In some cases all volunteer groups will work together e.g. game capturing.

Duties include the following but are not limited to:

  • Removal of alien vegetation in and around the reserve.
  • Lion tracking and monitoring.
  • School feeding schemes (please speak to the volunteer coordinator if you would like to participate as this is voluntary and on a first-come-first-serve basis).
  • Maintaining wildlife enclosures.
  • Tree planting and landscaping.
  • Game drives.
  • Fauna and flora work in the nursery.
  • Wilderness trail walks and patrols.
  • Fence patrol.
  • Game counts.
  • Game captures.

It is important to note that this description serves as an example only. The daily tasks and challenges depend on the volunteer, the time of the year and the work that needs to be done. The final job description can therefore vary substantially from the above.


You will be housed in either Kubs Quarters or Mafusa Camp dorms. Transport to and from the project is arranged. The dorms are single-sex rooms and therefore no boys are allowed in the girls’ dorms and no girls in boys’ dorms. In cases where volunteers want to stay as a couple, this can be arranged at an extra cost and also depends on the availability of rooms, unless arrangements were made prior to arrival. Bedding will be provided; you must bring your own towels. You will be provided with a laundry service on Tuesdays and Thursdays; you will be given a laundry bag on your arrival. Laundry is charged at a nominal fee (ZAR 60 per bag) and is available twice a week.

Free WiFi is available in the hotel area on the property, and you are welcome to use this during your breaks and in the evenings, within reason.



Fernanda from Brazil


"I spent 3 weeks on this project in April 2017. It was a unique, sensational experience that I will take for the rest of my life. The staff at the reserve are extremely friendly and always ready to help you with anything you need. The dorm, dining room and restrooms are great, large and clean. The food is also very good. The work basically involves the maintenance of the reserve for the welfare of the animals that live there and of the tourists that will know it (reconstruction of the roads, control of soil erosion, removal of invasive vegetation, control, cleaning and maintenance of electric fences). Within the reserve there is a rehabilitation center where we can see the animals very closely and sometimes even feed them, but there is no interaction, neither with the cubs. But as the rehab center is very close to the dormitory, we often slept with the noise of the lions communicating with each other, just fantastic! Almost everyday we saw lions, elephants, zebras, wildebeest, impalas, giraffes, buffaloes, rhinos and hippos. I certainly recommend you to live at least once this experience."

Thayenne from Brazil


"I had an awesome time in South Africa. The reserve is perfect, a nice place to stay. The people I met there are incredible and friendly. Big 5 staff are really nice, always friendly and making you comfortable. The variety of activities are good, soft and hard work. I enjoyed both!"

Ana from Brazil


"I have learnt so much here in Kwantu since the first day. It was definitely the best experience of my life!”

Elizabeth from Brazil


"I am a recently retired civil engineer who was looking for new personal development, one which was not so obvious for someone who has lived a professional life like mine. The Big 5 rehabilitation Project allowed someone like me to find new ways to share experiences, to know myself better, to improve my knowledge, to be stronger and to find the courage in me that I didn’t know I had. It has essentially helped me to become a better version of myself. I highly recommend the volunteer program for all ages and persons that are looking for challenges to develop themselves and who are looking for new experiences to broaden their knowledge of the world. The key to any volunteer project is to be open minded and enjoy the experience that comes your way!"

Juliana from Brazil


"I had such a great time! Words cannot describe how thankful and happy I am about my experience volunteering in South Africa. I've met wonderful people and learned a lot."

Manuela from Brazil


"One of the most extraordinary and amazing experiences I've ever had. Can't stop thinking how blessed and lucky I am. A piece of me stays here and those memories will always be in my heart. Enkosi, the project team and also to all the incredible people who were part of it."