top of page
  • Writer's pictureVolunteersinAfricaBeware


Updated: Jul 29



LionsRock - | Big Cat Sanctuary (owned by Four Paws) Forever home for rescued big cats. Highly recommended…/our-visit-to-lionsrock-big-…/ | (S.AFRICA)

Drakenstein Lion Park - | Lion and Chimp Sanctuaries. TRUE sanctuary, reasonable price. | (S.AFRICA)

Panthera Africa - | Sanctuary for captive bred big cats | (S.AFRICA)

Global White Lion Trust - | Timbvati White Lion Conservation project | (S.AFRICA)

Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary - | Mammals including big cats and Reptiles Sanctuary | (S.AFRICA)

Wild Cats World - | Big and Small Cat Awareness, Conservation and Sanctuary. | (S.AFRICA)

The Rhino Orphanage - | Rehabilitation and release of orphaned and injured rhinos | (S.AFRICA)

Vervet Monkey Foundation - | Monkey and Primate Conservation, Rehabilitation and Sanctuary. Highly recommended| (S.AFRICA)

Monkeyland & Birds of Eden - | Monkey and Birds Sanctuary | (S.AFRICA)

C.A.R.E. Centre for Animal Rehabilitation and Education - | Primate Sanctuary, Rehabilitation and Education (S.AFRICA)

Brackenburn C.R.E.W. - | Conservation, Rehabilitation and Education, all kinds of Wildlife | (S.AFRICA)

C.R.O.W. Centre for Rehabilitation of Wildlife - | Durban’s only registered wildlife rehabilitation centre dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of all indigenous wildlife found in KwaZulu-Natal l (S.AFRICA)

• Phinda Private Game Reserve - I Wildlife Conservation I (S.AFRICA)

African Insight Academy - | selection of research and monitoring projects, potential to participate in management activities such as game capture, game introductions and priority species monitoring like leopard and black rhino | (S.AFRICA)

WildlifeAct - l Real Wildlife Conservation, their work focuses on endangered and priority species including the African Wild Dog, Cheetah, Rhino, Lion, Elephant, Leopard and Vulture. l (S.AFRICA)

Siyafunda Wildlife and Conservation - | Big Five and more wildlife Conservation on the Makalali Reserve | (S.AFRICA)

Campfire Academy -… | Mammals, Birds, Reptiles Conservation; internship available . Field Guide Courses| (S.AFRICA) • Ingwe Leopard Research - | Leopard Conservation and Research | (S.AFRICA)

Kariega Game Reserve - | Big Five Conservation; Highly recommended volunteer experience | (S.AFRICA)

Shamwari Game Reserve - | Big Five Conservation and host to the Born Free Big Cat Sanctuary; outstanding volunteer experience; one of very few reserves in SA where hunting doesn't take place; excess lions/rhinos are being traded/ sold | (S.AFRICA)

Amakhala Game Reserve - | Big Five and more wildlife Conservation | (S.AFRICA) • Mankwe Wildlife Reserve - | Wildlife Conservation and Research, recommended for students studying conservation| (S.AFRICA)

The Leopard and Predator Project - | Field data collection, research analyses, environmental education, marketing development, and general conservation work such as fence patrols and erosion control, recommended for students working on their BS/MS thesis | (S.AFRICA)

Nkonzo Bush Academy - l Wildlife Research, Field Guiding Training, Dangerous Game Training l (S.AFRICA)

The Eco camp at Gondwana Game Reserve - | (S.AFRICA)

Sibuya Wilderness Experience -… | (S.AFRICA)

Indlovu West Conservation Research - | Big Five Conservation, Elephant management project | (S.AFRICA)

Samara Wildlife Volunteer Programme - | Mammals, Birds and more wildlife Conservation, Rehabilitation and Research | (S.AFRICA Not available at the moment

Askari Wilderness Conservation - | Big Five and more wildlife Conservation and Research | (S.AFRICA)

LEO Africa - | Big Five and more Wildlife Conservation and Management on the Marataba Section of the Marakele National Park | (S.AFRICA)

Kaapsehoop Horse Trails - | Equine project | (S.AFRICA)

African Dream Horse Safari - | Equine project | (S.AFRICA)

Khamai Reptile Centre - | Reptile Conservation, Education and Research | (S.AFRICA)

IAPF Green Army - | International Anti-poaching Foundation | (S.AFRICA)

Daktari Bush School - | Children and Wildlife Education, Conservation and Rehabilitation (S.AFRICA)

Orca Foundation - | Whales, Dolphins, Sharks, Marine Conservation | (S.AFRICA)

SANCCOB Conservation of Coastal Birds - | Penguins and other seabirds Rehabilitation and Marine Conservation | (S.AFRICA)

International Marine Volunteers - | Sharks, Penguins, Marine Conservation | (S.AFRICA)

NVT - Nature’s Valley Trust - | Conservation, Education, Community and Research, all kinds of Wildlife | (S.AFRICA)

TEARS Animal Rescue - | Animal rescue, veterinary services, rehabilitation and rehoming of rescued domestic animals (no wildlife but badly in need of volunteers). | (S.AFRICA)

Dogtown - | Animal rescue, veterinary services, rehabilitation and rehoming of rescued domestic animals (no wildlife but badly in need of volunteers). | (S.AFRICA)


Motse Eco-volunteers - | Serious conservation project on the Limpopo-lipadireserve, volunteers will help return previously farmed and hunted land into a wild natural area | (BOTSWANA)

Legodimo Wilderness - | Nature conservation, environmental and social education (BOTSWANA) No longer available ?

Cheetah Conservation Botswana - | Cheeetah Conservation, Research and Education (BOTSWANA)

Khama Rhino Sanctuary - | Sanctuary for Rhinos and a variety of wildlife | (BOTSWANA)

Maun Animal Welfare Society - | Protecting Botswana's Wildlife through domestic animal care; Veterinary placements | (BOTSWANA)

Tuli Wilderness - | (BOTSWANA) Closed down


IDA Africa - In Defense of Animals - | Primate conservation, long term volunteering | (CAMEROON)

Limbe Wildlife Centre - | Primate Rescue, Rehabilitation, and Release project | Highly recommended (CAMEROON)

Ape Action - | Primate Conservation and Rehabilitation | (CAMEROON)

Cross River Gorilla - | Primate Conservation | (CAMEROON)


Turtle Foundation - | Turtle Conservation | (CAPE VERDE)


Projet Primates - | Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Rehabilitation project | (GUINEA)


Masai Mara Conservation - | Wildlife and landscape Protection and Conservation | (KENYA)

Colobus Conservation - | Primate (mainly Colobus monkeys, Vervets and Sykes and occasionally baboons) Conservation, preservation and protection | (KENYA)

Local Ocean Trust - | Turtle Conservation | (KENYA)

Ol Pejeta Conservancy - | Sweetwaters Chimpanzee sanctuary, Rhinos and other Wildlife Conservation | (KENYA)


SEED Madagascar - | Conservation of the greatly endangered wildlife and forest environments in south east Madagascar | (MADAGASCAR)

Madagascar - | Research and Conservation Institute, all kinds of Wildlife | (MADAGASCAR)


Lilongwe Wildlife Centre - | Wildlife rescue, Conservation and Education centre; Sanctuary for rescued, orphaned and injured wild animals. | (MALAWI)

Carnivore Research Malawi - | Carnivores Research, Conservation and Education | (MALAWI)

African Bat Conservation - | Conserving Bats and biodiversity through Research and Education | (MALAWI)

WAG - Wildlife Action Group - | Forest and Wildlife Conservation, Protection and Education | (MALAWI)


MWF - Mauritian Wildlife Foundation - | Conservation and preservation of the nation's endangered plant and animal species | (MAURITIUS)


Love the Oceans - | Marine Conservation, Research, Education and Diving | (MOZAMBIQUE)


EHRA - Elephant Human Relations Aid - | Elephant Conservation | (NAMIBIA)

REST - Rare and Endangered Species Trust - | Cape Griffon Vulture, Dwarf Python, African Wild/Painted Dog, Cape/Ground Pangolin, Damara Dik Dik and Spotted Rubber Frog, wildlife Conservation, Rehabilitation and Research | (NAMIBIA)

AfriCat Foundation - | Carnivore Conservation, Education, Research and Rehabilitation project | (NAMIBIA) Highly Recommended.

N/a'an ku sê Foundation - | Wildlife Sanctuary and Carnivore Conservation Research projects. They rescue and release wildlife, true wildlife sanctuary offering a forever home to the animals that cannot be released, the animals are well looked after. A few complains from some volunteers who find the sanctuary project overcrowded and some don't like the "walks with baboons". Headquarters is busy, lots of young volunteers. We recommend Volunteering at Neuras and Kanaan, Kanaan and Neuras are much smaller, really working in the field. You should mention your preference when you book with them. One volunteer offended by the apparent display of animal skins and stuffed wild dog in the information class room. | (NAMIBIA)

Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) - | Cheetah Conservation, Education and Research. The project does a lot of good work for wild cheetah conservation in Namibia, they have an excellent Livestock Guarding Dog project. CCF is fighting against wild cheetah cubs smuggling fueled by the demand for cheetah pets from Arab countries. Concerns regarding the CCF's connections to Zoos and facilities that we consider unethical like Cheetah Outreach that is listed as "sister organization". CCF supports captive breeding and the use of cheetahs as "ambassadors" which sometimes means abuse for profit via petting. Listed as recipient of funds on a site belonging to Doc Antle/Myrtle Beach Safaris, known animal abuser | (NAMIBIA)


CERCOPAN - | Primate Conservation, Rehabilitation and Education | (NIGERIA)


Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary - | Chimpanzee Sanctuary | (UGANDA)

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary - | Rhino Sanctuary and Conservation | (UGANDA)


Mufungata Volunteer Program - | They offer Rehabilitation for "problem" kids and people with addiction/depression problems or trying to overcome a handicap. Good conservation work in in the Kafue National Park. Regular volunteer also offered at a separate location | (ZAMBIA)

Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage - | Chimpanzee Sanctuary | (ZAMBIA)

Game Rangers International - | Conservation, Rehabilitation and Education, all kinds of Wildlife | (ZAMBIA)

Kasanka Trust - | Park management, community development and tourism of Kasanka National Park. Volunteer positions for specific skills. | (ZAMBIA)


Twala Trust Animal Sanctuary - | Wildlife rehabilitation and sanctuary for rescued, orphaned and injured animals | (ZIMBABWE)

Dambari Wildlife Trust - | Wildlife Conservation and Research | (ZIMBABWE)

Nakavango Conservation Programme - | Big Five and more wildlife, Conservation and Education | (ZIMBABWE)

Free to be Wild - | Wildlife Rescue, Rehabilitation and Release centre | (ZIMBABWE)

D.A.R.T. Dete Animal Rescue Trust - | Wildlife Research & Conservation Assistance | (ZIMBABWE)

Painted Dog Conservation - | Painted Dogs Conservation and Rehabilitation | (ZIMBABWE)

Save the Hippos - | Hippos Research, Protection and Conservation | (ZIMBABWE)

Imire Safari Ranch - | Rhino and Wildlife Conservation | (ZIMBABWE)

Bhejane Trust - | Big Five and more wildlife Conservation | (ZIMBABWE)

THE GOOD(?) LIST for projects with a lot of good feedback but also some feedback raising questions regarding some activities taking place

Felidae Centre - (?) Big Cats Sanctuary, taking good care of the animals, offering some interactions, mistakes done in the past. Uses and agency that we consider unethical (GoEco) that names this project Wild Cat Sanctuary | (S.AFRICA)

Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre - (?)| Good rescue and release work, sanctuary for a variety of wildlife. They no longer allow a lot of interactions with their animals, they still offer selfies with their ambassador cheetah to visitors. Strict dressing code for volunteers.| (S.AFRICA)

Bambelela - (?) | Primates (mainly vervet monkeys) Sanctuary and Rehabilitation project Taking good care of the animals, more interactions than necessary reported and continuing to offer visits to places where interactions with lion cubs are available (Zebula) | (S.AFRICA)

International Primate Rescue - (?) | Primate Sanctuary and Rehabilitation, raising awareness and education l (S.AFRICA)

Dell Cheetah Centre - (?) | Stopped all visitor/volunteer interactions with their animals recently. | (S.AFRICA)

HESC Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre - (?) | No longer offering elephant rides. They do good work with cheetahs and excellent work saving orphan rhinos. We have info suggesting that they keep wild cheetahs and wild dogs in captivity longer than they should, possibly with the purpose of using them for breeding. | (S.AFRICA)

DIY Wild - (?)| Wildlife rehabilitation centre of injured, orphaned and displaced wildlife (mainly focusing on vervet monkeys) Hygienic conditions and medical support are apparently questionable | (S.AFRICA)

Kevin Richardson Lion Sanctuary - (?) | Good lion sanctuary, some people question Kevin Richarson's videos showing him interacting with his lions and possibly giving others the impression that interacting with lions is a "cool" thing to do. Also some consider using lions to produce movies a form of exploitation. | (S.AFRICA)

Umkhondo Big5 Wildlife - (?) | Big Five Conservation. Some interaction with ambassador cheetahs allowed | (S.AFRICA)

White Shark Projects - (?) | Sharks, Marine Conservation Some consider the shark cage diving industry to be inauthentic and unsustainable, that it perpetuates myths and it is poor conservation | (S.AFRICA)

Love Lions Alive - (?)| A Big Cats Sanctuary rescuing lions from bad conditions and looking after them well, no longer breeding or selling lions at the new location. Overall good, reports of unsafe fencing and organizing weddings next to the lion enclosures.l (S.AFRICA)

Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage - (?) | Good sanctuary for sick and abandoned animals. Some interactions allowed| (ZIMBABWE)

(?) - These projects are overall good but may have certain practices that some people/conservationists may disagree with. More feedback about these projects is appreciated.

CAUTION ADVISED for the projects listed bellow. These are projects that do some good conservation/sanctuary work but they also engage in activities that we strongly disagree with:

Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary - | also known as Waterberg Wildlife Rescue. | Lion sanctuary and home to lions saved from South America by ADI -at the moment. Poor security resulting in 2 lions killed. a total of 6 lions placed in their care died in a short period of time causing ADI to request the return of their lions. The ADI accusations were : "mismanagement, negligence, drunken rages, inappropriate associations and abuse of staff and volunteers, which put our lions at risk”. UPDATE: a judge decided in favor of ADI, ADI removed its lions from Emoya and placed them in a new sanctuary| (S.AFRICA)

Care for Wild - | Teaching lion and mutant animals breeding courses until 2015, connected to Wildlife4Sale, a trading company advertising lions- including cubs- available for trophy hunting and WRSA(Wildlife Ranching South Africa) that supports breeding for hunting (including white rhinos) Raising lion cubs for breeders using volunteers and returning them when older (until 2015), also allowing petting/walks. One of the facilities they returned lions to in 2012 according to volunteers is Sebaka Game Reserve (hunting reserve), also known as " Mooikopje Farm " The Mooikopje Farm is mentioned in the case against Dawie Groenewald involving Rhino Crimes…/…/The-case-against-Dawie-Groenewald Good conservation work with baby rhinos orphaned by poachers, they have a contract with SAN Parks. Petronel is in favor of trading rhino horn and supports "sustainable use" of wildlife. The plan is to keep the rhinos in a fenced "stronghold" where they will "roam and breed" | (S. AFRICA)

Cheetah Outreach - | Good Anatolian Shepherd dog breeding program which is helping cheetahs in the wild, but they do allow paying visitors to pet cheetahs including cubs; they do not breed (they hand-rear cubs from the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre and others including Cheetah Experience Bloemfontein ). Cheetah Experience Bloemfontein is on the Bad List for past connections to canned hunting (Riana van Nieuwenhuizen who owns Cheetah Experience Bloemfontein was a co-founder of Cheetah Experience Ashia for awhile)the cheetah handlers use 'chocking' techniques to make the cubs lie down for petting and selfies (they shorten the leash they have around their necks) | (S. AFRICA)

Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre (De Wild) - | Some interaction with ambassador cheetahs allowed, removing cubs to be hand-reared and very few released cheetahs. Most are sold to zoos. Some of their cheetah cubs are being raised at Cheetah Outreached where cub interaction with visitors takes place.after they get the cubs back, they sell them to zoos offering 'cheetah encounters' like the Wellington Zoo in New Zealand | (S.AFRICA)

Modgaji Conservation and Rehabilitation Projects - | Reserve Wildlife Conservation and Rehabilitation. Breeding cheetahs and releasing some in the past. There are concerns regarding their breeding practices (possible inbreeding) and selling to questionable buyers like John Varty. Relocated recently to the lowveld, Limpopo Province - near The Kruger National Park | (S.AFRICA)

Riverside Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre - | Rehabilitation and release of primates, many volunteers like this project. The owner seems to have a very bad temper when dealing with volunteers and staff, confirmed reports that he shot animals in his care in at least two occasions, he occasionally plays the vet without having the necessary knowledge (according to some volunteers) and is using a controversial method of drugging baboons during the formation of troops. Not much follow up after the troops are being released, most volunteers are just involved in the care of the orphans, more interactions than necessary seem to be taking place. | (S.AFRICA)

Running Wild Cheetah Conservation - (?) | Small volunteer project specialized in breeding cheetahs for potential release into fenced reserves according to the owners. There is an investor, a land owner and the owners of the cheetahs/ volunteer project. Obviously they are interested in making a profit and not just in releasing cheetahs as claimed. Taking very good care of their animals. No visitors, but they allow interactions between the volunteers and their cheetahs, this includes walks with cheetahs in leashes. The cheetahs that don't have the right temperament for petting and walks are being offered for release.Reports of volunteers leaving early following fights with the owner, no refund offered. Dealings with Lory Park (see Bad list) Purchasing serval kittens at early age, resulting in the death of at least one kitten, they seem to want to start breeding servals in the future. Using an agency that we consider unethical, Volunteer Souther Africa that calls this project Living With Cheetahs | (S.AFRICA)

Daniell Cheetah Project - (?) | Many interaction with ambassador cheetahs allowed. Breeding and selling kitten servals | (S.AFRICA)

WARNING: Most of the Game Reserves in South Africa have some hunting activities going on as part of the "reserve management". The reserves also engage in trading "excess" wildlife, and some may be using the services of unethical but well connected trading companies as Letsatsi La Africa. The volunteer projects are usually not affected or involved in the hunting/trading decisions. If you don't consider this acceptable, we recommend you choose a sanctuary project in SA or a project in another African country. For more information please visit our Facebook page Volunteers in Africa Beware @volunteersbeware

We are trying to identify and promote good conservation projects and wildlife sanctuaries that are not connected to canned hunting or promoting hunting as a conservation method. These are places that, in OUR Opinion, are not involved in immoral practices like forced breeding and selling animals to hunting reserves, that try their best to care for wildlife and from whom you'll have a lot to learn from spending time there. We do not know much about the accommodations they offer, the food, transportation etc., so keep this in mind if comfort is important to you. WE ALWAYS RECOMMEND YOU DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH TO DECIDE IF A PROJECT IS RIGHT FOR YOU. When you book through a travel agency, you can give them a list of places that you like and you can mention that you don't want to volunteer at a breeding farm, they will know what you mean. Good Luck!


6,008 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All
Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page