African Cat Sanctuary

This sanctuary creates a safe and secure home for captive-bred big cats and raises awareness about the ethical and holistic treatment of animals. This 40-hectare paradise provides a beautiful home for the animals and volunteers are involved in their day-to-day care and protection as well as the education of the public to the plight of Africa's big cats.

African Cat Sanctuary


Location Stanford, South Africa
Duration From 2 - 12 weeks
Dates All year round
  • You must have an Intermediate level (B1) of English
  • Special skills: You must have a love for animals as well as good physical and mental health as much of the time entails outside work that requires focus and concentration.
Minimum Age: 18
Your impact
Documents required Enrolment form, curriculum vitae, letter of motivation, passport copy, proof of medical insurance
Day of arrival Saturday
Day of departure Saturday


  • Be part of an ethical volunteer programme and a true sanctuary where no cub petting, breeding or trading take place. 
  • The opportunity to learn about the captive big cat industry, the challenges and cruelty big cats are facing and how to be part of the change to make the world a better place for them.
  • Both volunteers and staff are very close and share lunches and social evenings together, so the family vibe is really important at this project.
  • Form incredible bonds with the animals and other volunteers.
  • Be close to many of South Africa’s top tourist attractions.

Starting dates 2024

January – 6th, 20th, February – 3rd, 17th, March – 2nd, 16th,
30th, April – 13th, 27th, May – 11th, 25th, June – 8th,
22nd, July – 6th, 20th, August – 3rd, 17th, 31st, September – 14th, 28th,
October – 12th, 26th, November – 9th, 23rd, December – 7th, 21st

Starting dates 2025

January – 4th, 18th, February – 1st, 15th, March – 1st, 15th, 29th,
April – 12th, 26th, May – 10th, 24th, June – 07th, 21st, July – 05th, 19th,
August – 09th, 23rd , September – 06th, 20th , October – 04th, 18th,
November – 01st, 15th, 29th , December – 13th, 27th

Project information

The African Cat Sanctuary is an environmentally friendly sanctuary for any captive-bred big cats, where they will be protected and prosper for the rest of their lives. This 40-hectare paradise provides a beautiful home for the animals, the owners and the many visiting volunteers. The land is filled with lots of large trees, a natural spring and an amazing 180-degree mountain view. The project upholds a belief in the connection between both environmental and wildlife conservation and aims to become the first green big cat sanctuary in South Africa by running solely on solar energy.

One of the project’s main focuses is to be an educational platform where they create awareness about conditions big cats face in captivity, and how animal welfare and enrichment play a vital role in giving the cats the best captive life possible. They are a true sanctuary where no cub petting, breeding or trading take place. They are a blueprint of how a non-profit sanctuary, focusing on animal welfare, can become self-sufficient, and they aim to change all breeding facilities into sustainable ethical programmes.

The project believes in the equal importance of both humans and animals, and they will do their absolute best to give you the experience of a lifetime. They know from personal experience that this includes both quality time with animals, as well as with staff and other volunteers. Hearing a lion roar up close, getting love and recognition from a leopard, hearing the chuffing of a tiger, or seeing the big cats appreciate and love the toys you make to enrich their lives = BLISS.

Your role

There is a difference between summer and winter months due to temperature and hours of light during the day. Together with the project team, you have a morning meeting where you go through every day's schedule so everything will be planned and set up for you. There are breaks between the different tasks, and the team will try their best to be flexible to accommodate off-site activities, so you can expect a good variety of work and relaxation!

Daily tasks might include:

  • Caring for and observing the big cats
  • Enrichment programme
  • Preparation of food and feeding
  • Cleaning, maintaining and upgrading of enclosures
  • General farm work
  • Assisting with educating visitors

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 year and the work that needs to be done. The final job description can therefore vary substantially from the above.


During your stay you will enjoy our modern, cosy home which is situated at an 8-minutesdrive, or 25-minute walk, from the sanctuary. The house consists of 3 bedrooms with 3 bathrooms. Two bedrooms accommodate
two people; one bedroom accommodates up to 4 people. All bedding and towels are provided. Laundry is included.

The house offers a spacious and fully equipped kitchen for everyone to cook in, a cosy living room area with a fireplace for film evenings or just for relaxing with a nice book. Outside, volunteers will find a traditional South African braai (BBQ) area, and a lovely dam and large garden for sunbathing on hot summer days! The pool in the garden at the sanctuary can also be used during free time.


Good Hope Volunteers Laurence from the Netherlands

The trip I made to South Africa was unbelievable, it was such a big experience and I wouldn’t doubt to go back again. I did my volunteering at the African Cat Sanctuary where I learned a lot like how the big cats live, what they eat and when, the different type of characters... I also learned that I have to be careful with the zoo’s where you can cuddle/approach them since that isn’t done in normal conditions. The staff members are very friendly and they make you feel at home which is really helpful when you are so far from home.
Every morning, the roar of lions woke me up, an amazing feeling that I wouldn’t hear again. 
I was a bit disappointed about the fact that we also did a lot of work that had nothing to do with the animals such as camp/bushes cleaning but we can’t be with the animals every single moment as they also need their privacy and there is a lot of work to do all around the sanctuary.
I was positively surprised by the vegetarian kitchen (which a normally don’t really like), they made me eat less meat which I’m really proud of.
I’m going to miss it so much, all of it. I encourage everybody to make the same experience, I will never forget this trip and I will definitely come back.