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Lowveld Rehabilitation Centre

Originally designed as a home for orphaned, poisoned or injured wildlife, this center’s main aim is to rehabilitate wildlife that can be reintroduced to their natural environment. Unfortunately, some of the animals in their care, due to their injuries, will never be able to return, and now live out their days in peace at the centre.

Lowveld Rehab Centre

Overview:

Location Closest town: Hoedspruit, South Africa
Duration From 2 weeks
Dates All year round
Requirements
  • You must have an upper intermediate level of English
  • Special skills: You must be physically fit, willing to work and to get your hands dirty
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

Highlights

  • You will gain hands-on experience in working with animals and will learn about African endangered wildlife.
  • You can take part in the daily feeding of a variety of orphaned and permanently housed animals (this depends entirely on the animals at the centre at the time).
  • You might even get the chance to release some of the animals.
  • There are a variety of activities to take part in after hours.
  • You will make new friends from all over the world.

Project Information

The Lowveld Rehabilitation Centre was established in 1991 on a farm run by Brian Jones. Beginning with a crowned eagle and a baby zebra called Zebbie, Brian’s reputation for animal rehabilitation work spread. Soon, orphaned or injured animals needing help were being brought to him. After a couple of years, it became apparent that the centre could not run without funds, so the time came to charge visitors to the centre to meet the costs of feeding, medical attention and building cages. The centre has grown tremendously over the years, and representatives now give talks all over the country and in the U.S.A.

The centre works with orphaned, poisoned or injured wildlife. Where possible, wild animals are rehabilitated and reintroduced to their natural environment. Where this is not possible, and a poisoned or injured animal can’t be returned to its natural environment, the centre provides a life-long home for it.

The plight of Africa’s animals and our natural system have always been at the centre of the Rehabilitation Centre. Spreading awareness helps save animals, and public educational tours of the centre are now run by a group of dedicated guides.

The experience of working as a volunteer for the centre will hopefully create a passion and understanding of African wild life that can help preserve this unique aspect of our country for future generations.  However, it is not for the faint hearted, and the centre cannot guarantee what each day will hold or what animals they will have in rehab at the time of your visit. But they do hope that you will make the most of your time there, that you get involved in all the activities and work that goes on at the centre, and that you go away with memories which will last a lifetime!

Your Role

Your day-to-day tasks are most important whilst at the Rehab Centre. No previous experience is needed in order for you to fulfil your daily duties - all you will need is a love for animals and nature, and be prepared to do the dirty work.

Dedication and teamwork is the ‘key’ to a successful day of work. The project requires that everyone works together and the tasks given be done with enthusiasm and care.

The priority of the day will be the feeding and cleaning of all the animals and their enclosures in the morning and afternoon. During the rest of the day there are general rehab tasks that need to be done.

There is no typical day at the Lowveld Rehabilitation Centre… ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN! Working with animals can scramble up the day and schedule, it can delay meals and rob you of your sleep, so be prepared for the unexpected. Everything that happens just adds to your experience here in South Africa.

Other activities you may get the chance to take part in: game capture and animal rescue.

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.

Accommodation

The accommodation is situated within walking distance of the project. You will stay in brick and reed buildings. Separate male and female accommodation is provided, 2 to 4 to a room. There are rooms available for married couples, but this is subject to bookings (We cannot guarantee there will always be a room available). The accommodation has a common room and a kitchen. Bedding will be provided, but no towels. Laundry service is provided except for your underwear, which you need to wash yourself. A machine and washing powder are available.

WiFi is available but not included – you will be asked to pay a nominal fee per hour. Please note that the speed of the WiFi is not 100% as the project is situated in the middle of the Bush.

Testimonials

Ana from Brazil

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"The Lowveld Rehabilitation Centre became one of my favorite places in the whole world, besides seeing and having direct contact with the wild animals, of course, I met increadble people here, that teached me lots of things that I couldn’t imagine! They have such a big knowlegde about wildlife, conservation, nature... I really admire them, and I hope that one day I can have at least half of their experience and knowledge. Definetly, being a volunteer in South Africa was the best experience of my life, I can’t wait to come back again!"

Julia from Switzerland

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"Working at the Lowveld Rehabilitation Centre for a month was really the experience of a lifetime! There was so much hands on work and interaction with the animals. However, volunteers should not expect interactions that involve cuddling lion cubs or anything, because that is definitely not what volunteering is about. The Lowveld Rehabilitation Centre puts a lot of emphasis on hard work and only allows interactions with permanent members of the centre. The exhausting hours are definitely what is rewarding working here, as you feel like you make a genuine difference and not there for a touristy experience. The rehab is responsible in teaching their volunteers about the struggle of wildlife conservation in South Africa, as they go back to discuss the very early roots of the issue in their society. It really opened my eyes to what conservation is really about and gave me a more in depth understand of what needs to be done. I came to South Africa with a skewed idea of what was happening to South Africa’s wildlife and left far more aware. During my stay there I experienced things I never even imagined of doing and definitely stepped out of my comfort zone on many occasions. The centre itself is a great place to stay as you are surrounded by animals all the time, some of which I had never even heard of before. The volunteer program there is very international and everyone is extremely welcoming. I can definitely say that I made friends for a lifetime!!! Once again thank you for organising everything! I really enjoyed my time!"