Family volunteering with monkeys in South Africa

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Family volunteering with monkeys in South Africa

Environment

Our placements are designed to immerse you in a different culture, living and working with local people. There’s plenty to gain personally from this. But we make sure that local people benefit too by choosing projects that bring tangible improvements to their lives.

Pre-departure preparation
All of our participants receive comprehensive pre-departure briefing. This covers topics on how to be culturally sensitive, how to best look after the environment when in the country and how to stay safe as well as up to date information on the political situation. They are also briefed on how to dispose of waste properly and where possible, to avoid using plastic water bottles as these are not easy to dispose of environmentally.

Meaningful rehabilitation
For rehabilitation to be lasting and meaningful, there are various stages that the primates need to go through. Most of them will arrive at the centre at a very young age, having lost their mothers or troupe in traffic or domestic accidents. Very much like humans, they need contact and comfort for the first 15 months of their lives. This is where the volunteers come in. The project has been designed with welfare, conservation and success at the core with university studies and monitoring ensuring its merits throughout. The rehabilitation process takes about 4 years in total: 1 year - 18 months where they need constant care, feeding and bathing, then the latter time to distance themselves from humans, form part of a troupe and be released to the wild. This is carried out using larger enclosures with less food over time, encouraging them to fend for themselves. The latter stages of rehabilitation are all about rewilding, at which point they can be released back to the wild a long way from this centre.

Environment overseas:
We send out comprehensive pre-departure briefing, which includes a section on protecting the local environment. In particular we advise participants to take care with water, which is scarce in many of our destinations. We recommend they avoid unnecessary washing, using hand wash gel where they can. We also instruct them on how to dispose of waste properly, not to litter and, where possible, to avoid using plastic water bottles which are not easy to dispose of environmentally. Those going trekking are advised to keep to marked footpaths so as to prevent further erosion of the landscape.

Environmental efforts at home:
Our company is an environmentally responsible one that operates recycling and reusing of waste products. We also offset carbon emissions in our office (gas, electricity, business mileage) and encourage all participants to offset their flight emissions via a carbon offset scheme run in conjunction with Tree Aid.

Community

The importance of the project:
The centre started when its founder rescued a monkey from death and abuse and realised that help was needed for many more. It was decided to establish a centre where orphaned, abused, injured and mis-placed monkeys could be treated and rehabilitated. Now the centre is held up as an example of good practice by government bodies as well as NSPCA. It also has links with academic research organisations. However, funds are tight and charitable donations and voluntary help are crucial for its survival.

Meeting local needs:
As well as helping to protect monkeys and other animals, this rehabilitation centre plays an important role in protecting the local economy. This rural area relies on its wildlife and landscape to attract tourists, as there are no big cities nearby. The centre brings visitors to the area and has created jobs for 9 local people. It also promotes local art and helps villagers to market their wares to tourists. By helping at the centre, our volunteers are ensuring its survival and allowing it to expand the number of animals it can help. They also contribute to the local economy themselves, creating jobs for domestic staff at the centre, eating locally grown produce and shopping in the town.

Cultural sensitivity:
We emphasise the importance of showing respect for local people and their customs in our briefing material. Participants will work alongside permanent staff, forming close bonds and getting an insight into real life in rural South Africa. Our policy is to send people to the developing world in small groups or individually. This minimises the environmental and social impact that the participants have on the destination and helps them to integrate into the local community.

Reviews of Family volunteering with monkeys in South Africa

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.

I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 05 Dec 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Our walks to the river with the baboons. The trip to Kruger Park was also remarkable.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Be prepared for fun but also a lot of work. Do not wear glasses, the monkeys love them!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, I did

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Fun, interesting and rewarding

Reviewed on 12 Apr 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Being hands on with the monkeys and baboons

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Leave plenty of time to change planes in Jo'burg

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Supported conservation

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


I'd rate our vacation as excellent and would recommend to anyone

Reviewed on 08 Dec 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Being chosen by a monkey.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Let it happen... don't force yourself on the animals. They will choose you and they will decide whether to spend their time with you on their terms.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes. This is one of the projects where the animals will eventually be set
free to spend the rest of their life outside of fences.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


I loved it.

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