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Monkey Sanctuary

The sanctuary caters for dozens of species of rescued and rehabilitated primates. They are free to move about the forest in some of the most beautiful natural environments of Southern Africa.

Monkey Sanctuary
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Location Plettenberg Bay, South Africa
Duration From 4 weeks
Dates All year round
  • You must have an upper intermediate level of English
  • Special skills: An honest desire to help animals and a true love for animals
Minimum Age: 18
Your impact
Documents required Enrolment form, curriculum vitae, letter of motivation, passport copy, proof of medical insurance
Day of arrival Sunday
Day of departure Sunday


  • Gain a great insight into these fascinating creatures in their natural habitat.
  • Experience the Garden Route's natural beauty.
  • Take part in amazing activities outside of the project: Bloukrans Bungy (the world’s highest commercial bridge bungee jump), waterfall zipline, elephant & snake sanctuaries, wine estates, skydiving, whale watching, swimming with seals, adventure boating, kloofing, kayaking, etc.
  • From the accommodation, you are transferred daily to the projects Monkey Sanctuary, Wild Cats and Birds of the World. It is therefore possible to combine any of these projects.
  • Make new friends from all over the world.

Project Information

This project opened its doors to the public on the 6th of April 1998. This unique primate sanctuary is currently the top eco-tourism attraction on the Garden Route, for very sound and sunny reasons. The sanctuary has captured the hearts of visitors in its efforts to rehabilitate and free previously caged primates. The sanctuary is exceptional as it caters for several species of primates, which are not caged. They are free to move harmoniously about the forest. The sanctuary conducts guided walking safaris for visitors. Visitors see the primates as they are meant to be: free and in a natural habitat. The safaris are conducted by multi-lingual game rangers and are fun, exciting and educational. The guests leave the sanctuary with a greater understanding of primates and the threats they are facing. On the guided safaris, guests can see a variety of primates, ranging from the Gibbons of Asia to the Lemurs of Madagascar. Guided by knowledgeable rangers, guests learn all about these fascinating mammals as they encounter them roaming free in the forest. As well as conducting safaris, the project also prepares previously caged primates for their eventual release into the sanctuary.

Awareness of the world's environmental problems is increasing all the time and, as a centre of conservation, the sanctuary is an important educational resource in this field. Situated in an eco-sensitive location, about 20 km east of Plettenberg Bay, the primate sanctuary has found its niche and works hand in hand with interest groups to enhance conservation-orientated tourism in the area. In doing so, they help to preserve the Garden Route's natural beauty. The sanctuary is located on 23 hectares of indigenous forest (which contain the primate sanctuary and a free-flight aviary) and the free-roaming aspect of the sanctuary enables them to convey a positive environmental message in ways that are both interesting and memorable to all age groups. It is therefore tourism driven and totally sustainable. 

Your Role

Monday to Friday, from 08:00 to 16:00. You assist the Rangers with their daily tasks. Depending on your skills and experience, it may also be possible to assist the marketing department.

Daily tasks could include:

  • 08:00 – You arrive at the sanctuary and start with feeding and cleaning the monkey cages. Those monkey cages are, for different reasons, not released into the main 12 hectare forest. Rubbish run: meaning walking through the forest picking up papers that the monkeys may have stolen and dropped on the forest floor as well as cleaning the car park of litter that was left behind by visitors.
  • 09:30 – Coffee break; you wait for the first guests to arrive (some volunteers may already have gone on tour with paying guests). Depending on aptitude and wishes, you will now mainly escort guests to our main reception building and/or conduct guided tours in their mother tongue and/or English.
  • Lunch – Lunch is not taken at any pre-determined time as it can only be taken as the situation allows. However, you are always given preference over staff when it comes to taking lunch.
  • 09:00 to 15:00 – Conducting guided tours: taking guests on one-hour guided tours through the forest and finding the 550 primates that freely roam there, giving relevant information about the primates and observing the primates up close and personal in a natural setting. Other odd jobs that may need to be done are feeding peanuts to the forested monkeys, maintenance of forest walkways and suspension bridge, marketing in town, at shows and functions, public relations, assisting the curators in observations, vet visits and treatment, etc.
  • 14:30 – Unloading food truck and loading monkey food for next day’s feed in the cool room as well as feeding caged primates.
  • 15:00 to 17:00 – Top up feed for main forest, you feed animals on a few platforms in the main 12 hectare forest which house the nearly 550 primates.

Basically there is a wide variety of different tasks but these do not always happen on a daily basis.

Please note: At no time is human contact with the primates allowed and they are very strict in their "HANDS OFF" approach towards the primates.

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 live in a backpackers based in The Crags, a rural suburb of greater Plettenberg Bay. The backpackers is set in a 5 hectare small-holding amidst indigenous forest and open grazing pastures. You are accommodated in shared rooms and/or in under-cover luxury Safari bow-tents that come fully equipped with carpets, beds, linen, electric blankets, lights etc. You will, where required, be sharing with one or two other volunteers. There are numerous bathrooms for communal access and use. The main homestead is equipped with an office, TV lounge, two kitchens plus a large verandah, with a residents’ bar, and two fire-hearths for those chilly nights. It is here that guests and hosts gather for social interaction and where evening meals are served for all to enjoy. Immediately adjacent is an outdoor braai (BBQ) area, while close by, is a combination plunge pool/hot-tub (the latter fired up for Fridays) plus a golf practice putting green and a proper boule/petanque track where guests soon get to know their co-guests. Bedding and towels are provided and your laundry will be regularly done on a wash and fold basis by the housekeeper. Free WiFi is available at the main homestead area only.



Bianca from Brazil


"A volunteer experience is something that worth to do, but you need to choose the project very carefully (try to know more about a volunteer day). I have no regrets and I would like to stay for more time and come back again! It's good to be excited about the job, but do not create many expectations, let the exchange surprises you (keep your mind open). Remember that all your work (even the basic one) is make for something that matters, something that can help and safe lives. If you choose two weeks as a volunteer, try to learn everything you need quickly and try to find informations about the project before you arrive. You will not have much time to enjoy the days during the week (because we work full day), so enjoy the weekend! Africa is a destination for those who loves nature, animals and adventures!"

Ariane from Brazil


"I loved the volunteer project with the monkeys, I think the points I would like to highlight would be the interaction I had with the local people working on the project, I learned a lot about African culture and of course about primates! I think it's worth the experience, and I would like to express my sincere thanks to all the good hope team!!"