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.
|Location||Stanford, South Africa|
|Duration||From 2 - 12 weeks|
|Dates||All year round|
|Documents required||Enrolment form, curriculum vitae, letter of motivation, passport copy, proof of medical insurance|
|Day of arrival||Saturday|
|Day of departure||Saturday|
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 takes place. They are a blue print 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.
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!
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.
The accommodation of this project is on-site in a modern, comfortable house which consists of 4 bedrooms with 4 bathrooms. Normally two volunteers share a bedroom and bathroom and all bedding and towels are provided. Laundry is included.
The house offers a spacious and fully equipped kitchen for everyone to cook, a big living and dining room area where you can enjoy games nights, film evenings or just relax with a nice book. Outside there is a traditional South African braai (BBQ) area, and a lovely pool with a garden to sunbath for the hot summer days!
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.