It’s no longer enough to just drink mojitos on a deck chair while on holiday, now it is super trendy to give your conscience a break too with a holiday that gives back in some way. If a volunteering vacation is up your alley, you’re spoiled for choice in South Africa. Here are the ‘Big 5’ of fantastic South African animal conservation vacation programs.
Great White Shark Conservation – Gansbaai
If you’ve got a passion for the ocean, and aren’t afraid of sharks, then this one might be for you. You’ll get the chance to work alongside marine biologists and researchers and also get involved in education programs. Not forgetting the chance to cage dive yourself!
The Ann Van Dyk Cheetah Centre – Hartebeespoort
Established in 1971, this important centre has focused on cheetah conservation for almost 50 years. Over 800 cheetah cubs have been born here and there are many ways to show your support including a volunteer program.
Wild Cat Sanctuary – Kimberley
If walking with lions is something you’ve always dreamed of, then the Wild Cat Sanctuary in Kimberley would be perfect. Not only will you be working with lions, but they have a variety of other animals including cheetahs, leopards, caracals, African wild cats, foxes, jackals, meerkats and monkeys.
African Elephant Project – Garden Route
With numbers fast declining, elephants need all the help they can get. This elephant conservation project in the Eastern Cape allows you to get up close and personal with the elephants while learning about them, and helps keep them safe for future generations.
Baboon and Vervet Monkey Rescue and Rehabilitation – Plettenberg Bay
Baboons and monkeys may not be at the forefront of your mind when it comes to animals that need protecting but this valuable project in Plettenberg Bay helps orphaned and injured Chacma baboons and Vervet monkeys and nurses them back to health.