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Volunteer Living with Cheetahs

Limpopo Province, South Africa
from £865 (1 week)

Ref: AV110

This project offers a wonderful opportunity to 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 the only facility in the world breeding cheetahs with the sole purpose of re-introduction into suitable protected reserves.  The successful breeding project is well established to ensure that adequate gene pools of rare and endangered species are maintained and volunteers will play a role in this work as well as helping to promote public awareness of the pressing need for wildlife conservation. Volunteers will work hands on with these beautiful animals and learn the processes involved in the care so that future generations may enjoy their presence in the world as we do now.  If you are passionate about preserving the cheetah - one of the world's most beautiful, but endangered, species - this is the project for you!   The project also offers a safe home for injured old and and orphaned wildlife that cannot be released. 

Who can join: 18 years and over. 16 & 17 if accompanied by adult
Accommodation: Dedicated volunteer Accommodation near the centre of Chiang Mai
Transfer time: Approx 2 hours
Pick up Point: O.R. Tambo Airport, Johannesburg
Meals: Three meals a day are provided
Volunteer numbers: Approx. 16 Volunteers

Duration & Fees

1 week£865
2 weeks£1,425
3 weeks£1,895
4 weeks£2,495
5 weeks£3,092
6 weeks£3,640
7 weeks£4,095
8 weeks£4,695
11 weeks£7,545

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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

  • Three Meals Daily
  • Accommodation
  • Airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • All the volunteer activities that form part of your placement
  • Orientation programme
  • Help and support from the Amanzi Travel staff, local staff and project managers

What's not included

  • Flight to and from Johannesburg
  • Wi-fi is available at a small cost
  • Travel Insurance to include cover for repatriation
  • Any soft drinks or alcoholic beverages 
  • Visas (if applicable)
  • Any optional excursions or activities

Project Highlights

  • Work hands-on with the cheetahs
  • Care for the three rescued lions (hands-off)
  • Work hands-on with small cats such as caracls, porcupines, African wild cats and servals
  • learn more about the project's passion and dedication to the rewilding and release of cheetahs
  • live in close proximity to the lion and cheetah enclosures
  • experience first-hand all aspects of the animals' lives
  • be part of a very passionate team
  • learn about conservation and Africa's wild animals

With less than 7,500 cheetahs remaining worldwide (less than 600 wild cheetahs left in RSA) the urgency to repopulate the dwindling numbers has become apparent and the driving force behind this project is the need to breed cheetahs with the sole purpose of returning the population of Africa's most endangered large mammal back to self-sustaining numbers.  The Living with Cheetahs project's rewilding policy and post release monitoring efforts will ensure the survival of these beautiful big cats.  

This project gives volunteers the opportunity to work with these magnificent animals while contributing to real conservation efforts to save the cheetah from going extinct in the wild. Your involvement and help will assist us to ensure the survival of the species for generations to come.
This project is unique in that you will actively help to save the endangered cheetah by getting involved in one of the most exciting Cheetah projects in South Africa. The only project in the world breeding with cheetah for the sole fpurpose of releasing them back into the wild. We are not trading with any of our animals, they are meant for more, to be free and wild again! Many of the cheetahs bred, raised and trained to survive in wild by us, are already now living a free life in protected reserves.  

The project objectives:

  • to ensure the survival of the cheetah for future generations
  • to ensure a viable genetic diversity by genetic introduction and studies
  • to provide crucial education to the public and farming community
  • to provide platforms for further carnivore studies
  • to repopulate the now cheetah deprived areas of South Africa
  • to provide a sanctuary for old, or non-releasable, and mistreated cheetah
  • to not trade under any circumstances with any of our animals
  • we will however and only when needed, exchange certain animals for genetic purposes and only with reputable and like-minded breeders
  • to responsibly breed, raise, rewild and release smaller cats (Serval, African Wild Cat & Black Footed Cat) onto private and national reserves.

By volunteering, you will be part of our ground-breaking unique and vital conservation work to save this specie from going extinct!

A volunteer's day will consist of daily tasks including animal enrichment, enclosure cleaning, data collecting, behaviour monitoring, animal stimulation projects, tasks in and around the animal enclosures, feeding and meat preparation.

Volunteers may be involved in the following activities:

  • monitoring and data capture of the animals and their health and behaviour
  • cleaning and maintenance of the enclosure
  • general camp upkeep
  • assisting in the preparation of food for the animals and feeding them
  • removing bones etc left over from animal feeding and overall cleaning in the camps
  • cleaning water dams and bowls and refreshing with clean water
  • assisting with fitness training and well as helping to improve the cheetahs' hunting skills by helping staff with the cheetah run
  • bush clearing and creation of pathways
  • removal of invasive plant species
  • maintenance work, including building, painting or repair work of animal night enclosures and other structures

These activities may change from time to time depending on the animals currently needing rehabiltation and rewilding

Animals:

Other animals include injured, orphaned and rescued animals that are not able to be released. Animals at the project include the following: Cheetahs, Lions, Servals, Caracals, Meerkats, African Wild Cats and Albino Porcupines. Some only temporary for a few months until they have been rehabilitated and ready for release back into a suitable habitat.  As this is a rehabilitaiton and rewild programme the animals there may change at any time, it depends on the animals that have come into the centre at the time you volunteer. 

A week in the life of a volunter ...

Mondays
All Day
Volunteers arrive at the facility and will be welcomed and shown to their accommodation. Once settled in, volunteers are given an introduction tour of the farm.
Tuesday - Friday
7:30AM - 8:30AM
Breakfast
8:30AM - 12:30PM
Morning activity including; preparing food and feeding the cheetahs, tour of the facility, feeding other animals (wild dog, vultures etc.), cheetah run and many more!
12:30PM - 2:00PM
Lunch
2:00PM - 4:00PM
Afternoon activity including; farm maintenance, mountain hikes and additional animal related tasks.
4:00PM - Late
Dinner and evening activity including; game drives, trivia nights and a braai each weekend.
Saturday
All Day
Volunteers are given this day to participate in any local excursions they choose (please note this will be at the volunteers own expense).
Sunday
All Day
Volunteers are given this day off to relax by the accommodation and swim.

Optional Activities

Optional Activities (at an extra cost and dependent on the length of stay of the volunteer)

  • Trip to the world-renowned Lost City, Sun City and Pilatensberg Big 5 Game Reserve to view the wildlife
  • Hot air ballooning to view the Pilanensberg Big 5 Game Reserve
  • Abseiling, hiking in the reserve, safaris, river rafting, horse riding, visits to the world famous elephant and monkey sanctuaries
  • Spending the day at the famous Lesedi multi-cultural village to buy crafts to take home
  • Leisurely sunset cruises on the famous Hartebeestpoortdam Lak
  • Horse riding, safari ride, star gazing or clay pigeon shooting on the property 

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.

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)
£685 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 11.00 am.  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.  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.

Limpopo Province, South Africa , Volunteer Living with CheetahsLimpopo Province, South Africa , Volunteer Living with CheetahsLimpopo Province, South Africa , Volunteer Living with CheetahsSleep in the peaceful African bush

Volunteers will stay at one of the chalets with several rooms that accommodate 2-4 volunteers each with communal bathrooms. Each chalet is equipped with a full kitchen, pool, patio and braai area for socializing.

Three meals daily are provided -  breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Please advise Amanzi Travel of any dietary requirements when booking.

Please note that volunteers may purchase any additional snacks from the curio shop on site or they can be picked up in town.

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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