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Limpopo Primate Centre

The centre has been involved with rehabilitation for 16 years, dealing originally only with monkeys but more recently with other animals too. Injured animals are treated at the centre and released back into the wild when strong enough.

Limpopo Primate Centre


Location Closest town: Tzaneen, Limpopo Province, South Africa
Duration From 2 weeks
Dates All year round
  • You must need an upper intermediate level of English
  • Special skills: You must be willing to help out with everything that needs to be done daily. Most important of all, they need to 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 Monday


  • Hands-on experience of working with injured/orphaned primates and the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping to better the quality of life of a wild animal.
  • You might be there when a primate gets released back into nature!
  • You will gain a wide variety of knowledge of all the primates.
  • You can take part in amazing excursions (additional costs apply).
  • You will make new friends from all over the world.

Project Information

The Limpopo Primate Centre has been involved in primate rehabilitation for 20 years, since 1994, and they sees themselves as primate specialists. The centre is home to 5 South African indigenous primate species: vervet monkey, chacma baboon, samango monkey, lesser bushbaby & thick tailed bushbaby. They also work with other animal and bird species. Orphaned and injured animals get treated at the centre, and when they are strong enough they are released back into their natural habitat.

The centre does NOT keep animals in cages once they have been rehabilitated. Primates take longer to rehabilitate and their rehabilitation can take up to 3 years.

With a specially designed programme, the centre provides temporary sanctuary for primates and other injured wildlife. A rehabilitation centre such as this one plays an important role and helps to provide a much needed service to abused animal wildlife, communities, and the wider public. Vervet monkeys, baboons and other predatory species are often misunderstood in South Africa. Because they are labelled as ‘vermin’, there is a stigma attached to them, especially in farming communities.

Traditionally, rehabilitation centres only accept baby primates, not adults. This rehabilitation programme has moved away from the conventional techniques and uses the natural instincts of adult females to help foster babies. The centre has developed electrified steel wire mesh enclosures (incorporating natural plants, trees and shrubs) in which they are able to rehabilitate the primates and other wild animals in a natural environment.

It has been acknowledged by major animal welfare organisations and the media that this concept of using huge enclosures to introduce different types of animals to each other is a major breakthrough not only for non-human primate rehabilitation but also for other species.

Your Role

You are a part of our organisation. Every part of the day is a learning experience.

A possible work schedule could be: 

  • 07:00 Cleaning cages, preparing food and feeding animals.
  • 09:00 Breakfast.
  • 10:00 – 13:00 Continue with feeding if not complete, check for injuries or any discomfort with casualties. Work on projects as specified by project leaders.
  • 13:00 – 14:00 Lunch.
  • 14:00 – 17:00 Afternoon programmes vary. They may include building new enclosures, planting vegetables (for animals), checking on animals in rehabilitation, collecting food, or sometimes having some time off to go on excursions, or personal time.
  • 18:00 Dinner.
  • 19:30 Feeding nocturnal animals, if any, at the centre. 

But... anything can happen, and then the entire day’s plan could change.

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 dormitories. The project offers basic accommodations, which are comfortable but not glamorous. You will share dorm style rooms, nestled in the forest next to the river at the project. The accommodation boasts outside showers (with both hot and cold water) and flush toilet facilities. There is a central fire pit for gathering after a long day of work. Depending on the numbers of males and females at the project you could share a smaller dorm of 4 people, or a larger dorm of up to 9 people. Please note: you can book as a couple and request a private room.

Laundry can be done for a small additional fee of ZAR 20 per load, or you can hand wash your own laundry.

The project supplies sheets, duvets and pillows. Extra blankets are also provided, and feel free to bring a sleeping bag if you prefer, although this is not necessary. Mosquito nets are not really necessary, but some volunteers feel safer with a net. Mosquito nets are a lot cheaper in South Africa, so if you want a net, it’s best to buy it there.

Free WiFi is available at the centre from 16:00 to 18:00 daily.