Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


Primate Rehabilitation Volunteer

Tzaneen, South Africa
from £725 (2 weeks)

Ref: AV047

Volunteers provide vital care for the many primates including vervet monkeys and baboons that find a safe home at this incredible rehabilitation centre.  Based just an hour away from the Kruger National Park, this is the world's largest primate rehabilitation centre and has been helping hundreds of monkeys be rehabilitated back into their natural habitat and have a new chance at life in the wild.  A great volunteer project for anyone who is passionate about animals and wants to make a real difference to these wonderful primates.

Who can join: 17 years and over
Accommodation: Dedicated volunteer Accommodation
Transfer time: approx. 1.5 hours
Pick up Point: Phalaborwa Airport in South Africa
Meals: Meals Included
Volunteer numbers: Approx 20 - 40 volunteers

Duration & Fees

2 weeks£725
3 weeks£985
4 weeks£1,245
5 weeks£1,495
6 weeks£1,745

Click on the relevant flag for currency conversion:

USD CurrencyEUR CurrencyGBP CurrencyAUD CurrencyZAR CurrencyCAD Currency

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 at anytime throughout the year, we ask if possible that you arrive on a Monday or Tuesday.


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

What's Included

  • funding for the running of the rehabilitation Programme
  • Transfers to and from the Phalaborwa Airport
  • Full orientation and support from the project managers for the duration of your project
  • Accommodation and meals as indicated above

What's not included

  • Return flights to Phalaborwa Airport
  • Excursions and trips that you decide to join
  • Travel insurance to include cover for repatriation
  • Visas (if required) 
  • Use of internet and telephone
  • Soft drinks, wines and spirits

The Primate Rehabiliation Centre which has been involved in primate rehabilitation (mainly vervet monkeys) for nearly 20 years now and lies between Tzaneen and Phalaborwa, situatied in lush subtropical Lowveld area with un-spoilt natural habitat.  The Center was set up to offer much needed sanctuary to the many wildlife casualities that have found a safe home there.  Vervet Monkeys, Baboons, Caracals and many other animals that come to the sanctuary are seen as problem animals in South Africa and this has led them to be very valnunerable to exploitation and abuse, which is why the work being done here is so important.  The aim of the Centre has always been not to just provide a home to the often neglected monkeys but to actively rehabilitate them so that they can support themselves and eventually be released back into their natural habitat and have a new chance at life in the wild.

The project has approximately 500 animals on site at a time, including vervet monkeys, baboons, samango monkeys and lesser and the thick-tailed bush babies.  The Centre aims to release at least two troops of rehabilitated monkeys back to the wild each year.  This takes a lot of organisation, monitoring and research and volunteers are very involved in this process. 

Volunteers will work hands on with the monkeys each day and will experience the satisfaction of nursing injured animals back to health as well as learning all about these wonderful primates. We find that volunteers become very attached to the monkeys, watching them develop from the scared and bewildered creatures that they are when they arrive to the busy family member, working as part of a team and enjoying the freedom that their new life offers.

You will become part of a motivated and friendly team of between 8 and 20 volunteers and staff.

Volunteer Duties

  • Cleaning monkey cages, feeding bowls, and washing blankets/towels
  • Care for baby/orphaned babies, taking turns with other volunteers to look after them 24 hours   
  • Preparing all feeds for all the animals, including bottles for babies
  • Feeding all animals 
  • Check animals for injuries
  • Help tend wounds and look after poorly animals
  • Build new enclosures and cages/ travel boxes 
  • Plant veggies for the animals' food
  • Assisting with all preparations before releases
  • Monitoring monkeys at the centre as well as before and after releases
  • Conservation education in the local community and community upliftment projects

There are also lots of other tasks that volunteers can get involved in so we do ask you to be flexible.


This is a guide only as anything can happen and the itinerary may change

7am                Cleaning cages, preparing food and feeding of animals.
9am Breakfast
10am - 1pm Continue with feeding if needed, check the animals for injuries or any discomfort. Work on projects as requested by project staff
1pm - 2pm Lunch
2pm - 5pm  Afternoon programmes vary from building new enclosures, planting vegetables (for animals), checking animals in various stages of rehabilitation programme, collecting food, or sometimes having some time off to go on excursions or have some time to relax
6pm Dinner
8.30pm Feeding of nocturnal animals if they are at the centre when you volunteer

Free Time and Optional Excursions

As well as relaxing at the beautiful grounds at the Centre volunteers can visit the nearest town, Tzaneen at least twice a week to collect food for the animals, here there are a number of internet cafes, banks and cafes.

When there is free time staff like to take volunteers on excursions/trips in the stunning surrounding areas.  These might be:

  • The Biggest Baobab in the World
  • Modjadji Cycad Reserve
  • Visit to local Village
  • Micro light Flights
  • Kruger Game Park (2 day overnight trip)
  • Tree top canopy tour
  • Health Spa
  • Panorama scenic route

The costs vary from R40 to R2500+ depending on the combinations, entrance fees and distances traveled to get there

Getting There

You need to fly into Johannesburg Airport (OR Tambo International Airport) where you can take a connecting flight to Phalaborwa Airport.  Here you will be met by a member of the team and driven the remaining 90 minutes to the centre.  Alternatively volunteers can arrange to arrive in Tzaneen by coach service and again staff will pick you up based on your arrival time. 

Amanzi Travel holds an ATOL licence and we can arrange any flight requirements that you have upon request.

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.  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. 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.

Tzaneen, South Africa, Primate Rehabilitation VolunteerTzaneen, South Africa, Primate Rehabilitation VolunteerVolunteer accommodation is basic but comfortable and is situated in beautiful wooded area about hundred metres from the monkeys.  There are a few big dormitories that sleep between 4 and 9 volunteres and there are also some cabins that can sleep couples if requested.  There is also the option to sleep outside under the stars if you want to! 

All bedding and blankets are provided and there are is hot water for showers.

There is a swimming pool and social room with a pool table as well as a fire pit for volunteers to sit around with a cool beer or a glass or wine at the end of the day.   Internet access is available and mobile reception is good.

You will be provided with three meals a day.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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.


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

Primate Rehabilitation Volunteer

This journey was my greatest experience so far. I met some amazing people, and I learned a lot about monkeys, how they live and how they think. I felt good, because I felt like I was actually able to make a difference. When I was at the project, I helped releasing 32 vervet monkeys into the wild again.

Christina, aged 25, Norway (Primate Rehabilitation Volunteer)

Primate Rehabilitation Volunteer

I had an amazing time at The Primate Sanctuary in South Africa, so thank you so so so much for reccommending it and for helping me so much before I went.  I didn't leave early in the end, I stayed longer and wish I was still there!  I will definitely return, so you're an angel for the recommendation in the first place.  It was like a little bubble, a total haven for volunteers as well as the monkeys and baboons.

I hope Namibia will be equally as amazing, but there'll be less monkey cuddles, so it has a lot to live up to!  I haven't really unpacked from SA, let alone thought about Namibia, but I best get cracking as I leave on Sunday!

Thank you so very much again.  They also ran the Kruger trip when I was there, so was lucky enough to go and it was stunning!

Rachael, UK, aged 36 (Primate Rehabilitation Volunteer)

Primate Rehabilitation Volunteer

I'm so thrilled that I was able to be a part of what Lynn has done at the Primate Rehabilitation Centre. I can hardly believe it's over, but having the opportunity to work hands-on every day with loads of baby vervet monkeys and baboons was absolutely incredible. I'm going to stop short of calling it "once in a lifetime", because I hope I'll be back again soon! Be warned that it's addictive; others who were there with me were repeat visitors (in one case, for the 11th time!). It's not easy work and you will get dirty, but you can easily see the value you're adding as new orphan monkeys come in every couple of days. Take my word for it and go to  this project to find your adoptive primate baby--I'm still missing mine as I type this. 

Ashley and Rohan, USA, aged (Primate Rehabilitation Volunteer)

Primate Rehabilitation Volunteer

I don’t want to leave…. I love coming back, but I hate saying goodbye to the animals and people. I’m so pleased I could be part of the release. Until next time I send my love, hugs & best wishes to you…. I will miss this place like crazy!

Rebecca, UK, aged 25 (Primate Rehabilitation Volunteer)

Primate Rehabilitation Volunteer

I really had two fantastic weeks here! I’ve learnt so much about monkeys and it was so nice to look after them. From the beginning I felt at ease here. I will never forget this place.

Charlotte, Netherland, aged 18 (Primate Rehabilitation Volunteer)

Primate Rehabilitation Volunteer

Taking care of monkeys and baboons was really amazing. They are great animals. It was a wonderful time with many new experiences and emotions. Special thanks to all who made this stay unforgettable for me.

Sissy, Germany, aged 32 (Primate Rehabilitation Volunteer)

Coming Soon!

Interactive maps
AFRICA Choose from over 100 projects
and adventures across Africa
ASIA Choose from our selection of projects
and adventures across Asia
We believe in rewarding great travellers straightaway, so our seriously rewarding, straight-forward, cash discounts start immediately!
Amanzi Travel Special Offers! FIND OUT MORE