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Volunteer Living with Cheetahs

Limpopo Province, South Africa
from £895 (1 week)

Ref: AV110

A fantastic project especially for anyone who is passionate about cheetahs and who wants to ensure that these wonderful creatures survive and flourish in their natural habitats in Africa.  The project is aimed at conserving rare and endangered species with the aim of rehabilitating them back into their natural and original habitats. A successful breeding project has been established to ensure that adequate gene pools of rare and endangered species are maintained. Volunteers will play a role in this work as well as helping to promote public awareness - with a special focus on the younger generation - of the pressing need for wildlife conservation. Volunteers will learn the processes involved in the care of these beautiful creatures so that future generations may enjoy their presence in the world as we do now.  For anyone who is passionate about preserving the cheetah - one of the world's most beautiful, but endangered, species - this is the project for you!

Who can join: 18 years and over. 16 & 17 year olds welcome if travelling with Parent/Guardian
Accommodation: Dedicated volunteer chalets
Transfer time: Approx 2 hours
Pick up Point: O.R. Tambo Airport, Johannesburg
Meals: Three meals a day are provided
Volunteer numbers: Maximum 16 Volunteers

Duration & Fees

1 week£895
2 weeks£1,465
3 weeks£2,235
4 weeks£2,595
5 weeks£3,095
6 weeks£3,755
7 weeks£4,445
8 weeks£5,125
9 weeks£5,895
10 weeks£6,495
11 weeks£7,195

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Please note: The currency conversion is an estimate based on today's exchange rates and is to be used as a guide only. All payments to Amanzi Travel have to be made in Pounds Sterling (GBP)

Start Dates

Volunteers can join this project on the any Monday throughout the year. The departure day is also on a Monday.

This project is open over the Christmas and New Year.

Payment

£180 deposit at time of booking – balance payment of project fee due 12 weeks before departure

What's Included

  • Full board and lodging including three meals a day at the volunteer accommodation
  • Airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • All the volunteer activities that form part of your placement
  • Orientation programme
  • Internet
  • Help and support from the Amanzi Travel staff, local staff and project managers

What's not included

  • Travel Insurance to include cover for repatriation
  • Any soft drinks or alcoholic beverages 
  • Visas (if applicable)
  • Any optional excursions or activities

The Living with Cheetahs project is based on a beautiful reserve in the heart of the magical Waterberg bushveld with panaramic view overlooking the Hooksmountain of the Waterberg range.  The cheetahs on this project flourish in this uncommercialised area where peace and tranquility reign.  This is an area where game is plentiful with eland, hartebeest, blesbok, giraffe, hippo, crocodile, warthog, ostrich, zebra, impala, waterbuck, kudu and many more wandering the land.   Volunteers on this project really do experience nature at it's best whilst helping to ensure the long term survival of the Cheetah, African Wild Dog and other wild Animals.

A successful breeding project has been established at this project to ensure that adequate gene pools of rare and endangered species are maintained. This entails correct breeding methods, which means breeding cheetahs with the best possible genes.  Since cheetahs are the only big cats where the female makes the choice concerning mating, they are one of the most difficult big cats to breed which has its challenges.  The fact that thirteen healthy cubs have been bred in the past twenty-eight months is a tribute to the excellence of this project.  The aim now is to reintroduce these cubs back into the wild. Volunteers will play a role in this work as well as helping to promote public awareness - with a special focus on the younger generation - of the pressing need for wildlife conservation. Volunteers will learn the processes involved in the care of these beautiful creatures so that future generations can enjoy them as we do now. 

Volunteers will settle in upon arrival and will be taken on a two and half hour feeding tour and be given an orientation to the site and the project.  Throughout the week volunteers will help with lots of activities to help care for the endangered wildlife as well as maintaining the reserve and project site itself.  Below is a guide to the kind of activities that volunteers will do:

  • Daily care off and feeding the cheetahs as well as cub interaction (when available)
  • Caring for and rehabilitating any sick and injured animals
  • Enrichment activites for the animals - making toys, games and activities for them to enjoy
  • Data Capture and research based on the movements and activities of the released cheetahs
  • assisting staff with the various projects that will improve the living conditions of all of our animals, as well as the areas utilized by guests and staff on the property. This might include:
    • Construction of new enclosures and repair of existing ones
    • Maintaining of roads (filling, scraping, leveling)
    • Removal of intruder plants and alien species of plants
    • Cutting grass and overall maintenance in the animal enclosures 
    • Trimming or planting of trees
    • Painting of fences in the animal camps

Volunteers play an essential role in saving the endangered cheetah by getting actively involved in the daily routine - participating in cheetah interaction, data capture, enclosure cleaning, feeding and monitoring the cheetahs that have already been released. 

The Living with Cheetahs project also plays a large role in the rescue and release of other animals and smaller cat species, including servals, African wildcats, meerkat and any other orphaned or injured animals that arrive in need of help.  These are carefully raised and released onto the reserve - where they belong - away from humans and in the wild. 

A week in the life of a volunter ...

Monday through Saturday: A typical day will consist of eight hours of work, which will vary from cheetah stimulation and enrichment activities, cleaning animal enclosures, assisting in the preparation of food and feeding the cheetahs, taking care of the sick and young animals, gardening, fence-checking, and general reserve maintenance including cleaning!

Sunday: Volunteers have Sundays off to relax, explore the local town, or go on prearranged excursions!
Additional activities that we can arrange for you at your own cost include:

  • Big 5 game drives
  • Swimming at the beautiful waterfalls
  • Clay pigeon shooting
  • Fishing
  • Hiking in Drakensberg
  • Visiting a raptor center
  • Taking a canopy zip-line tour
  • Horseback riding

All outings away from property are at your own cost, although one game drive per week will be included at the cheetah project. Additional excursions can be planned upon arrival This program is designed to be both educational and fun. You will certainly have the “once-in-a lifetime” experience.

Extra Information

Volunteers are taken to Zebula Golf Estate and Spa where there are numerous activites offered and a restaurant.

Why not join a 5 Day Kruger Trip after your Volunteer Project!

5 Day Bushveld Safari – Johannesburg To Johannesburg
Departs: Every Sunday (throughout the year)
£615 per person

The Mpumalanga area is one of great contrast, bordered in the west by the towering escarpment with lush indigenous forests, crystal-clear streams and plunging waterfalls, and then falling away into the flat Lowveld bushveld, home to one of the richest diversities of fauna and flora in the world. Well known private reserves and the renowned Kruger National Park are located in this area. We spend time both in the Park and on our own adjacent private reserve. Being privately owned we are able to conduct game walks and open vehicle game drives on our property.

DAY 1: JHB – BUSH LODGE

Departing from the GREENFIRE LODGE JOHANNESBURG at 06h30 we set off on the scenic road to Mpumalanga. A brunch stop in the historic Dullstroom will be enjoyed before we wind our way down the Drakensberg escarpment and into the untamed Lowveld. The next two nights will be spent at our well-appointed GREENFIRE BUSH LODGE which is situated in a private reserve within the greater Kruger National Park, an area where animals roam naturally and unrestricted. The tented Lodge blends into the bush and offers comfortable beds, en-suite bathrooms, a refreshing splash pool, and stunning views over the surrounding wilderness. Dinner tonight is cooked in the traditional manner over an open fire. D

DAY 2: BUSH LODGE

As is custom in the bush, we start the day with coffee and rusks before embarking on a game walk. Although we will walk for some three hours, the purpose is not to cover distance but rather to search for animals and in so doing, to learn more about the ways of the bush. A Drifters guide and / or tracker lead all walks. Before the heat of the day, we return to the Lodge for a sumptuous brunch after which it’s time to relax around the Lodge and to enjoy the serenity of the surrounding wilderness. In the afternoon we conduct an open vehicle game drive which develops into an extensive night drive all the time searching for animals. Being in the bush at night provides us with the opportunity of viewing nocturnal animals. This evening we enjoy a hearty bush “braai” cooked on an open fire. Fall asleep to the sounds of the wild. Brunch D

DAY 3: PANORAMA ROUTE – HAZYVIEW

Rising with the African sun, we will enjoy a hearty breakfast before setting off to explore the highlights of the Panorama Route. Our first stop will be to view the impressive Blyde River Canyon, then on to Bourke’s Luck Potholes, Gods Window, and the cosy little town of Graskop where we will enjoy an own expense lunch at Harry’s Pancake Bar. This afternoon we descend the Kowyn Pass to a traditional village where we will spend some time with the local Shangan people. After a full day, we make our way to the GREENFIRE LODGE HAZYVIEW, a log cabin built spectacularly on stilts in the indigenous forest on the banks of the Sabie River – we will spend two nights here. B D

DAY 4: KRUGER NATIONAL PARK

An early start, we depart at sunrise and travel the short distance to enter the southern sector of the Kruger National Park for a full day of game viewing. Slowly traversing in search of the many animals that inhabit this area, we enjoy the high vantage point and comfort of our well-equipped vehicle. Although most of the day will be spent game viewing, we will stop at various designated sites to stretch our legs, to enjoy Brunch, and to wander around one of the Parks rest camps. Late this afternoon we exit the Park and return to the comfort of our GREENFIRE LODGE HAZYVIEW. Brunch D

DAY 5: JOHANNESBURG

After a relaxed morning we depart to arrive in Johannesburg in the late afternoon. B

The day by day descriptions published are intended as a rough guideline only. Adventure travel by nature is unpredictable, weather patterns, game migrations, road conditions and a multitude of other factors may necessitate itinerary changes that ultimately are for the client’s benefit. It is essential that clients are flexible and open minded in this regard.

Optional Activities in Johannesburg

Soweto Tour – 3 hours
Johannesburg City Tour – 3 hours
Apartheids Museum – 3 hours
Soweto and Apartheids Museum – 5 hours
Lesedi Cultural Village – 5 hours
Sun City – Full Day
Cradle of Humankind
Pretoria City Tour – 4 hours

Please Note: Optional Activities can be booked on arrival. No bookings are made in advance. Rates are subject to change without notice Activities are subject to availability and are weather dependant.

To Book: Please contact Gemma (gemma@amanzitravel.co.uk) to check availability and add this trip to your booking.

Getting There

Volunteers should arrive into O.R. Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg. There they will be met by a member of staff in the Arrivals Hall and taken out to the project.  Volunteers should arrange to arrive on a Monday morning no later than 11.00am.  Departures take place on Sundays and can be timed to catch flights as required.  Transfers to and from the airport on arrival and departure are included. Special transfers on other days can be arranged for a nominal additional charge. 

Amanzi Travel holds an ATOL licence and can help with flight arrangements on request.  Please contact Amanzi Travel for details.

A perfect way to explore more of Africa

Before heading straight back home, why not take an Overland Journey through Africa to explore more of the wonderful sights and experiences that this beautiful continent has to offer.  You can take a trip that starts and finishes in the same city (eg Windhoek to Windhoek) or you can use it as an opportunity to get your from one city to another (eg Cape Town to Nairobi).

“This has got to be the best way to see Africa in a short period of time ... brilliant. The guides were fantastic, the campsites great, and the food excellent. The overland trip was excellent - really well run”
Southern Sun 21 days, Cape Town to Victoria Falls - Jennie and Stuart, Sweden, aged 32 and 34.

“I didn’t know I could become such close friends with people in just a week. The trip attracts a great group of people who are so easy to get along with. My group ranged from 20 to 70 and we all sat down with a drink, played cards together and just gathered around the campfire.  It was an experience of a lifetime and I will definitely recommend this to my friends and family”
Tanzanian Game Parks and Zanzibar, 10 Days and Masai Mara Safari, 3 Days - Sara, Canada/Malaysia, aged 20.

 From 3 days to 56 days, take a look at the exciting Overland Trips here.

Support and Orientation

Support and advice is available from Amanzi Travel office staff and project/trip leaders. Upon booking, you will receive a comprehensive pre-departure pack that provides all the details you will need to prepare for your trip to Africa.  This document includes information on accommodation, staff, visas, optional activities, packing checklist and medical advice and if you have any questions that are not answered in the pack we are always on hand to help and advise. We will do all we can to ensure that you are well prepared and looking forward to your trip to Africa. You will also receive an in country orientation on arrival.

A 24 hours a day, 7 days a week emergency contact number is provided for everyone who travels with us.

Amanzi Travel holds an ATOL licence (9401) and is able to arrange your flights on request giving you financial protection for your flight and trip costs. We also offer advice on personal travel insurance for your trip.

Limpopo Province, South Africa , Volunteer Living with CheetahsLimpopo Province, South Africa , Volunteer Living with CheetahsLimpopo Province, South Africa , Volunteer Living with CheetahsLimpopo Province, South Africa , Volunteer Living with CheetahsLimpopo Province, South Africa , Volunteer Living with CheetahsVolunteers will be accommodated in one of three chalets with a common area with a pool, patio and braai where they can socialise.  Laundry facilities are available for volunteer use at the volunteer accommodation.  All bedding is provided.  Rooms either have twin beds or a double bed. 

Three meals a day are provided and most dietary requirements can be accommodated.  Please advise Amanzi Travel of any dietary requirements when booking.

Click here to view the full interactive mapSouth Africa - Help Local Communities Get Started

Why visit South Africa?

Every country in the world displays some diversity, but South Africa, stretching from the hippos in the Limpopo River to the penguins waddling on the Cape, takes some beating. There’s the deserted Kalahari, Namakwa’s springtime symphony of wildflowers, iconic Table Mountain and Cape Point, Africa’s biggest game reserve - Kruger National Park - boasting the most mammal species of any game reserve, and the magnificent peaks and plunging valleys of the escarpment of Drakensberg.

Cape Town is widely described as one of the world's most beautiful cities. Some of its more famous landmarks include Table Mountain, Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for decades), Cape Point, Chapman’s Peak, Kirstenbosch Gardens and the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. A combination of historical coastal charm and urbane sophistication, Cape Town has some of the finest beaches and is also the gateway to the lush Cape Winelands, famous for world-renowned wines. From here, it is an easy journey to the Whale Route, where Southern Right whales can be seen (June - November) and humpback whales, Bryde's whales, Minke whales and bottlenose dolpins can be viewed year round.

The Garden Route is renowned for its beaches, indigenous forests, nature reserves, lakes, mountain ranges, adventure opportunities and hiking trails. Plettenberg Bay is a relaxed beach paradise with spectacular walks and hikes where one can watch dolphins and whales on eco-marine cruises. With some of the world's finest beaches, the Eastern Cape's untouched and pristine coastline also has a rich social, cultural and political history. Port Elizabeth is the gateway to the Eastern Cape, and the perfect complement to the Garden Route. Cape St Francis is situated on the Indian Ocean coastline, in and around Africa's largest man made web of canals and waterways, and is renowned for its long, sandy beaches, surfing, rock fishing and tranquil lifestyle.

Kruger National Park is the flagship of South Africa's game reserves, offering an unrivalled wildlife experience over two million-hectares. Private concessions operating within and alongside Kruger National Park feature luxurious, exclusive game lodges with many exciting safari activities. Some of these lodges are unfenced, allowing for the free movement of wildlife. Madikwe Game Reserve, in the North West province, is one of South Africa's largest private Big Five game reserves and features numerous lodges and camps. The Waterberg area in the northwest is also malaria-free and is aptly named for its strong streams that flow even in dry seasons, making for excellent game viewing. Both reserves are great for those seeking an accessible malaria-free wilderness experience.

Durban is a sub-tropical city and the gateway to KwaZulu-Natal. It offers a unique mix of Zulu, Indian and colonial cultures. Visit the Anglo-Zulu battlefields, take a fascinating glimpse into Zulu culture, hike in the beautiful Drakensberg Mountains, dive the reefs, marine and coastal reserves of Maputaland, as well as experience Big Five game reserves. The Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve is renowned for saving the white rhino from the brink of extinction, and Phinda Private Game Reserve is well known for its award-winning lodges and conservation initiatives.

Johannesburg meaning "Place of Gold", is South Africa's economic powerhouse. This vibrant and cosmopolitan city is home to many attractions including the Apartheid Museum and Constitution Hill, and also offers shopping from world-class to atmospheric curio markets. Known as the "Jacaranda City", the state capital of Pretoria features beautiful blossoming trees, significant old buildings and fascinating museums, including the Transvaal Museum, home of Mrs Ples, the australopithecine fossil found at the Cradle of Humankind.

Highlights of South Africa

  • Breathtaking scenery, quaint coastal villages, cosmopolitan cities, wine routes and exclusive bush lodges.
  • Exciting Big Five safaris in unspoilt wilderness areas.
  • Malaria-free game viewing and sunshine all year round.
  • See Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was held in prison for 27 years.
  • Go up Table Mountain by cable car for stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and beautiful Cape Town.
  • Whale watching and great white shark cage diving.
  • Beautiful, pristine beaches perfect for swimming and sunbathing.
  • The Cradle of Humankind: Sterkfontein is one of the world's most productive and important palaeoanthropological sites.

Climate

For Johannesburg:

Seasons Max Min
Summer (September - April) 25 °C 10 °C
Winter (May - August) 19 °C 4 °C
Rainfall: October to March, with November to January heaviest


South Africa has typical seasons of weather for the southern hemisphere, with the coldest days in July-August. The Benguela Current, a cold motion that moves from the lower South Atlantic Ocean, causes moderate temperatures on the West Coast. On the central plateau, which includes Free State and Gauteng provinces, the altitude keeps the average temperatures below 30 °C.In winter, also due to altitude, temperatures drop to freezing point, and in some places, even lower. Heavy snows have fallen recently for the first time in decades in Johannesburg. During winter, it is warmest in the coastal regions, especially on the Eastern Indian Ocean coast and Garden Route, where it has year round mild weather with occasional rain. As winter is cooler and drier, it is more suitable for hiking and outdoor pursuits, and is also a good time for game viewing as vegetation is less dense and thirsty animals congregate around rivers and other permanent water sources.

In summer, South Africa experiences the hottest temperatures and this is generally when most rain falls, October – March. However, there is one exception -  the Western Cape, which is a winter-rain area that enjoys a Mediterranean climate (average 26°C).

Christmas to mid-January, and Easter are the height of the peak season for visitors.
Autumn (April/May) and Spring (mid-Sept to November) are ideal almost everywhere.

Key Facts

Population – 50 million

Capital – Pretoria (executive), Bloemfontein (judicial), Cape Town (legislative)
Currency – Rand (ZAR)

Official Language(s) – Afrikaans, English (South African English), Southern Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, Zulu
Time difference – GMT +2 hours

Telephone – country code 27, international access code 00

Volunteer Living with Cheetahs

My husband and I spent our honeymoon volunteering at at the Living with Cheetahs Project for two weeks. It was truly life-changing. The bush is stunning: vivid sunsets catching on the clouds of the rainy season, seeing giraffe and impala wandering through the trees, being woken up by a hornbill tapping at the window, hearing the lions roar in the distance. Being around people who are so dynamically and fiercely devoted to their demanding and worthy work...it's inspiring and renewing. Kim is like a badass Disney princess, the way she interacts with animals. Monique and Tasch are superheroes. I have the utmost respect for them; helping them in their work is a true honor. Make no mistake: this is not playing with tame, oversize kitties. This is not a holiday with cool pets. These are wild animals, exactly as they should be, accustomed to humans only to the extent that they must be in order to survive or promote education. You'll get to pet a couple through the fence, feed all of them, maybe groom a few, but you are there to aid in the cause. Spending days cleaning out enclosures, scrubbing tile in the meat room with a toothbrush, mending fences- that is what you can expect. And it was one of the deepest privileges of my life. If I could do exactly this every day forever, I would. These women and men are real heroes, and they and the animals they serve deserve your commitment and respect. They certainly have mine. I will be back as soon as I can be. If you have the opportunity to assist these noble creatures, bipedal and otherwise, please take it. You won't regret it.

Saskia, USA aged 28 (Volunteer Living with Cheetahs)

Volunteer Living with Cheetahs

The owners and people who work there are all very friendly and do there best to make volunteers feel welcome, we were taken out to watch the sunset and the night sky, which was brilliant. They organised outings and a barbeque. Being with the cheetahs was of-course the best bit for me, especially when Rene, the "cheetah lady" was there, as we had more time with the animals. I have always wanted to see king cheetahs ( only seen them on TV and photos) so was really exited to been working with them at this project.

Jolan, aged 66, UK (Volunteer Living with Cheetahs)



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