Volunteering with animals travel guide
2 MINUTE SUMMARY
If youíre going to travel halfway across the world to spend your days cleaning enclosures, feeding animals, building pathways and shovelling the proverbial, you have to love it. And the love on this kind of trip is big. Big enough for animal welfare organisations to build sanctuaries to house injured, neglected, orphaned or abused animals. Indeed, the people who run these sanctuaries or wildlife centers are heroes of conservation, and youíll be working alongside them in their everyday tasks.
This isnít adventurous work. You wonít be traipsing into the jungle for days to monitor elephants or tigers. This is quotidian care work that is all about the animals. Itís less about destinations and more about rehabilitations. You will be like nurses, traveling to be vital cogs in the healing process, often through thankless tasks. But be it with monkeys in South Africa, bears in Romania or orangutans in Borneo, they will be some of the most rewarding weeks of your life. Feeling the love yet? Then please read more of our volunteering with animals travel guide.
ARE VOLUNTEERING WITH ANIMALS HOLIDAYS FOR YOU?
RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL RECOMMENDS
WHAT DO THESE TRIPS ENTAIL?
WORK, SLEEP AND PLAY
When working with low budget, donation-led organisations, you can throw any notion of luxury out of the window. Volunteers are always well cared for, of course, but think hostel rather than hotel. Communal rather than individual. Frugality over luxury. Ideally your accommodation is as close to the project as possible as days will start early. When living on site, it also adds to the camaraderie of it all. When caring for orangutan and other primates in Borneo, for example, you will typically stay in volunteer lodging at a wildlife center, with three to four people in a house all cooking together using a stipend given at the beginning of the week. In contrast, when volunteering with bears in Romania, you will likely stay in the heart of medieval Brasov, surrounded by mountains. And when volunteering with monkeys in South Africa, accommodation is often in woodland dorms and cabins, close to the center but also to Kruger National Park for your day off. You will likely also have use of a swimming pool. And, if volunteering with turtles in Greece, you will usually have locally owned beach huts to stay in and the best pool you could wish for: the ocean.
You arenít signing up for lifelong servitude. You are simply contributing to important animal projects, and of course it is normal that you are going to want to play a little too: on your day off, at the beginning or end of the trip or Ė if you have energy left Ė in the evenings. Although most people are dead on their feet by nightfall on these trips and are happy to hang out by the campfire, play cards or chill in a hammock. But just to give you a few ideas of fun to be had, in South Africa for example, you will not only be riding the horses along the Eastern Capeís beaches, but also have some time off to enjoy your own beach time, go whale or dolphin watching or learn to surf. In Borneo, you can head to the coast at Kuching, or explore the national parks. In Namibia, a safari or sand boarding are not to be missed, and in Sri Lanka, there are always rainforests to be explored. Good volunteering organisations will know the destination really well, and will help advise you on any extras that you hope to tie onto your trip.