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Volunteer Living with Orphaned Rhinos

Near Nelspruit, South Africa
from £1,355 (1 week)

Ref: AV062

Volunteer with Rhinos

Based on a beautiful game reserve near Nelspruit this Rhino sanctuary offers a safe home to abandoned, orphaned and injured wildlife in South Africa with the aim of rehabilitating them when even possible back to the wild.  If you are looking to volunteer with Rhinos then we can assure you that you will have the unique opportunity to help in the care and rehabilitation of one of Africa’s most endangered animals.  The rate of rhino poaching is rapidly escalating, resulting in their being many orphaned calves in need of the specialist  care that this sanctuary offers.  Volunteers help to hand rear and rehabilitate rhinos as well as the other wildlife that has found a safe home here.  Join our experienced team and help these rhinos until they can be released onto safe reserves. 


Who can join: Aged 18 years and over
Accommodation: Dedicated Volunteer House
Transfer time: approx 1.5 hours
Pick up Point: Nelspruit Airport
Meals: 3 meals a day included
Volunteer numbers: approx 15 volunteers

Duration & Fees

1 week£1,355
2 weeks£2,195
3 weeks£2,955
4 weeks£3,655

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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 on any Tuesday throughout the year. The departure day is on a Wednesday.


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

What's Included

  • Transfers on arrival and departure from Nelspruit Airport
  • Volunteer Accommodation
  • Three Meals Daily
  • A proportion of the project fee which goes directly back into the project to facilitate funding for resources 
  • Support and guidance from the Amanzi Travel staff, local staff and project managers

What's not included

  • Fights to and from Nelspruit Airport
  • Travel Insurance (that must include cover for medical emergency/repatriation)
  • Soft drinks and snacks
  • Any excursions over and above those in project description
  • Visa (if required)
  • Internet usage

A once in a lifetime opportunity to work hands on and up close with some of Africa’s most amazing wildlife and be a part of the wildlife conservation at it best!

Volunteers are based on a game reserve in Mpumulanga and work with and learn from the dedicated and passionate staff at the sanctuary who are experts in the care of and rehabilitation of endangered wildlife. You will be involved in hand rearing, caring for and the rehabilitation of the injured and orphaned wildlife at the sanctuary that can include orphaned infant rhino, giraffe, lion, caracal, primates, kudu and antelope to name a few.   As well as practical training the expert staff offer educational sessions all about wildlife conservation, care, management and rehabilitation. 

Volunteers live up close with all the animals and focus on their care and rehabilitation with the ultimate goal of releasing as many as possible back to the wild. The project mission is to care for wildlife in all its forms and therefore no animals in need is ever turned away and this means that volunteers could be working with any number of different species.  

The majority of animals are cared for with the purpose of rehabilitating them into their natural habitat, rather than keeping them in captivity. However where this is not possible, the sanctuary provides a safe home for these orphaned and injured animals.  Each volunteer on this project make such a valuable contribution by being directly involved in the hands on day-to-day care of all the animals and providing them with the care they so often desperately need having often experienced terrible trauma and abuse.

The Volunteer Experience

As a volunteer you will learn the processes involved in caring for sick and orphaned animals and will become responsible for the continued development of the animals at the sanctuary. Volunteers will learn how to do the precise preparation of the formula for the smaller rhinos, which are being hand-reared and will lead the bottle-feeding and keep careful records of these rhinos feeding behavior, weight gain and development.  Please note that the above is dependent on whether there are rhino calves that need bottle feeding during your time at the sanctuary. 

Most of the baby rhinos arrive in a critical condition and are severely traumatized, having suffered the loss of their mother, been attacked by poachers and predators and the stress of being darted and transported. They may often require veterinary care and to go through a period of intensive care on arrival.  Volunteer will be involved in the whole process from wound dressing to enclosure cleaning, feeding and bottle feeding.

The older rhinos are moved into large “bomas” (enclosures) where they are socialise with other rhinos. Volunteers are involved in monitoring the rhino groups to determine their development including their feeding behaviour and the compatibility of the individuals.

Volunteers activities may include: 

  • Hand rearing infant rhino and preparing their feeds
  • Cleaning and building of enclosures 
  • Preparing food for all the animals at the sanctuary
  • Feeding animals
  • Treating and caring for the animals
  • Monitoring of the animals and their behaviour
  • Rehabilitation of animals (walking them in the wild, playing with them, social enrichment activities etc)
  • Wound dressing, weighing animals and updating animal data records
  • Help with veterinary care where needed
  • Anti Poaching - Patrolling perimeter, removing snares
  • Educational sessions on how to care for endangered wildlife

At the end of the day volunteers relax together, watching the sun set on one of the outside balcony areas or around the bonfire under the star filled sky.  Meeting new friends and discussing the unique experiences of that day working with the wildlife there.

Please note that this is an intense program with many physical requirements. Volunteers are expected to help out whenever and where ever needed during their stay. 

Volunteers must also bear in mind that this is a sanctuary and we can never guarantee which animals you will be working with as wildlife in need can arrives at the sanctuary at anytime and are released back into the wild whenever possible. We can however guarantee a truly amazing experience!

Optional Excursions and Free Time: 

The Mpumalanga area in which this volunteer project is based is one of South Africa’s top tourist destinations and boasts some of Africa’s most magnificent scenery. Few regions in the world can equal its extraordinary beauty - mountains, panoramic passes, valleys, rivers, waterfalls and forests

There is so much that volunteers can do during their free time or before and after their volunteer placement in the surrounding area.  Many are within a hours drive of the project and staff are very happy to help and advise on the options that include:

  • Kruger National Park
  • The Botanical Gardens
  • Gods Window
  • Chimp Eden
  • Nelspruit Reptile Park
  • Horse trails
  • Bungee jumping and micro lighting
  • Blyde River Canyon

Getting There

Volunteers should fly into Nelspruit Airport where they will be met by our representative who will take you to the project base (approximatley 1.5 hours drive).  Volunteers arrival day in a Tuesday and their end date is a Wednesday.  This is the option that we would recommend. 

Volunteers also have the option of flying into OR Tambo Johannesburg Airport and taking the bus which departs at 10.45am and takes approximately 4 hours.  Details can be found at

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.

Near Nelspruit, South Africa, Volunteer Living with Orphaned RhinosNear Nelspruit, South Africa, Volunteer Living with Orphaned RhinosNear Nelspruit, South Africa, Volunteer Living with Orphaned RhinosVolunteers stay on the reserve at the Rhino sanctuary itself in shared rooms with en suite bathrooms. There is a fully equipped kitchen, lounge area, lecture room and covered veranda with stunning views of the reserve and its wildlife.  There is also a swimming pool to relax in during your time off.  Laundry facilities are available weekly.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided (Please let us know if you have any dietary requirements)

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

There are currently no reviews available, however if you contact us on we will be happy to put you in touch with past participants.

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