Volunteer at a lion sanctuary in South Africa

Departure information

This trip can be tailormade to suit your requirements, throughout the year
Vacation type

Volunteer travel - what's it all about

Are you looking for an adventurous trip with a purpose, or on a gap year or career break? If you want to make a difference in some of the world’s most important conservation areas - and in community projects - then volunteer trips are for you! Volunteers tend to have a sense of adventure, and come from a range of different backgrounds and from all over the world.
Edward Abbey said 'sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul'.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Volunteer at a lion sanctuary in South Africa


Our projects 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 the project directly benefits local people and wildlife too.

Animal welfare - The project is run by a well-regarded international charity which focuses on rescuing animals kept in cruel conditions. All the lions at the park have been confiscated from sub-standard zoos and private game hunters. Most have chronic health and emotional problems. The animals receive expert veterinary care on arrival and follow a carefully planned introduction programme which encourages them to join a social group and re-discover their natural instincts. Strict protocols are adhered to, in order to ensure the best possible environment for the cats, as well as the safety of staff.

Environmental responsibility - 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.

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.


Meeting local needs - As well as helping to protect big cats, the sanctuary plays an important role in protecting the local economy. The ‘big five’ wild animals are a key source of tourist income for South Africa and protection of these species is vital for poor rural areas, who badly need responsible tourism to sustain them. By volunteering at the sanctuary, you will be helping to meet an important local need. You will also contribute directly to the area’s economy, creating jobs for domestic staff at the sanctuary, buying and eating locally-sourced food and making use of shops and leisure facilities in the town. You will not be taking jobs away from local people. The charity employs as many local staff as it can afford, but relies on volunteers to support them.

Cultural sensitivity - We emphasise the importance of showing respect for local people and their customs in our briefing material. You 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.

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