10 independent reviews for Volunteer with monkeys in South Africa

Reviews for Volunteer with monkeys in South Africa

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review 17 Nov 2017

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

There wasn't a single most memorable thing, I woke to lions roaring, to monkeys on the patio outside the door, chopping trees to building roads for manual labour and feeding lions and games drives in the afternoon with swimming in the pool at lunchtime! Just in the short time i was there not only did I see the Big 5 I was blessed to see baby zebra and baby elephants! The weekends were spent with the other volunteers going off to beach resorts, the best was Plettenberg Bay where they had the most activities! Skydiving is always a favourite of mine!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Take gloves for the more manual side of the work. Make sure you have data, Wifi really is not great.

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

Yes, once a week a morning is spent at a local school, feeding and playing with the local children. The work that we do on the reserve is all towards helping the animals and the environment and is explained well by the Rangers.

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

An experience of a lifetime!

review 4 Aug 2016

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

Being together as a family and getting to experience this with my children and Husband. Getting to be so hands on with the baboons and vervets was amazing and so rewarding, and being able to see a group being transferred into an Intro (the next phase before release) was really inspiring.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be prepared for hard work. It's not all cuddling monkeys, but it's incredibly rewarding and you'll meet some fantastic people. Also take plenty of old clothes and warm ones too, it's really cold at night and in the mornings.

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

As a rehabilitation centre this was first class, Bob and Lynne and totally dedicated to their cause and along with their team make it an unforgettable experience for everyone, you become part of their family.

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

Totally unforgettable. We didn't want to leave and wish that we had been there for longer. We will be going back.

review 27 Sep 2016

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

My time with the animals

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Make sure to take comfortable clothes that you don't mind getting dirty and/or ruined!

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

Yes

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

I loved it, I would give it a 9/10

review 3 Jul 2016

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

- being so up close and personal in many ways on a daily basis with all the wildlife - baboons, vervets, bushbabies, ostriches. - 2 day visit to Kruger National Park half way into my trip, the family do their Best to accommodate a variety of trips out within their weekly workload, priorities as fully appreciate volunteers require extra 'treats' too for all their hard work and committment.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

- be prepared to get very, very dirty, wet, smelly and, love literally being all over you for many reasons which is realistic and a natural / normal part of the daily work . However, you have to embelish that and not be afraid. You are very well supervised and mentored by expereinced staff and other volunteers to prepare you and deal with the experience throughout. The more you relax, and simply just go with the flow, the more valuable & profound the experience will be. - the more you put in, the more you get out so fully imerse yourself into the whole role. Your time and effort is precious and priceless! - I recommend a very open mind and ask plenty questions to the family , staff who are extremely experienced researchers, primatologists and experts in their own right. They want to continually share their knowledge, skills and educate others.

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

Yes in many ways. You learnt how and why your indvidual and group contribution is beneficial on many local, regional levels i.e. from the skills the family, staff help you aquire in understanding the specific species' behaviours, animal welfare / husbandry, rearing very young vulnerble and sick infants, the role of the 'human' in the whole rehab process which is very timely, the role of using local food resources to support the economy and new enterprises / initiatives Riverside is progressing at the Centre. It's an ongoing educative process.

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

Excellent. It's a very, very, special unique opportunity for anyone to embrace a very valuable volunteer role in a beautiful country working with / alongside a very welcoming, accommodating, friendly and supportive family , staff who remain very open to sharing their knowledge, skills about primate/ wildlife rehabilitation. So much is learnt additionally from being around the animals which I would encourage people to do as often as possible. Simply- 'Just be in the moment' !!!

review 1 May 2015

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

The best part of my trip would of been meeting new and different people and the cuddles with monkeys

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Travel light and make sure you take loads of photos as it goes so quickly

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

The trip benefits everyone as they get everyone involved, and you learn alot about the monkeys natural habitat,there wants and needs.

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

The best 4weeks of my life, cant wait to book my next!

review 1 May 2015

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

The hands on experience with the little orphaned monkeys both baboons and vervets. It was really hard to leave them. I definitely want to go back again to help take care of them.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

If you love animals you'll love this volunteer work. You can't help but fall in love with them. Be ready for how difficult it is to leave them. The people working there are very nice too. The food is great. You can buy snacks or pretty much anything you forget when you go into town. Bring clothes and shoes that you're prepared to get down and dirty in. Best thing to do is take clothes you want to give away and wear them and leave them for the people that need them in South Africa. Take a flashlight and some rubber gloves.

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

The place did pay local people to do laundry, clean and do heavy work around the land. So they were definitely benefiting from the place being there. Without it they would not have a job. It helped the monkeys that were orphans get taken care of, fed very well, medical care and the attention every young animal needs after suffering such a loss, injury and fitting in again with their new troops and then the final release back into the wild. Amazing work. Well done!

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

110 out of 100. The feeling you get when you are helping the helpless is great. To know these lost little ones will be able to get back out into the wild again is the best. Amazing weather too.

review 8 Dec 2015

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

Time with other volunteers and the monkeys.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Expect to work hard. You will get dirty but the rewards are so worth while.

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

Supported conservation and helped provide some jobs for the local people.

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

I would not say that I am reborn but it was certainly one of the best holidays I have been on and I hope to return next year.

review 18 Dec 2015

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

Watching the primates grow and developing special bonds with them. Also, pool time is really incredible.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

It's really full on depending on what time of year you go so be prepared to work hard! The experience is really unique and special, but when I went there was not a lot of down time so I am glad that I organised my own trip to Kruger Park before going to the project. In less busy times of year you get some afternoons off and more excursions, but during my time (baby season) we worked hard 7 days a week. The upside to this is you get adorable babies to look after. If I could go back in time and choose to do it again I definitely would, but I am glad that I booked only 3 weeks as keeping up that intensity for longer would be difficult. Working with the animals is amazing, and I was really sad to say goodbye to them.

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

Definitely. The project fills a void and without it the primates would die without their mothers.

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

Pretty well. I would have liked more time out and about, as you a quite isolated at the project, but it was what I expected in terms of the animals. It is hard work, but the experience cannot be gotten elsewhere.

review 16 Sep 2014

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

It's hard to pick just one thing. Being so hands on with the vervets and baboons was an amazing experience, as was helping to build the release site for the vervet troop that was about to be set free. The people I met were wonderful, all ages and backgrounds which meant for some interesting conversations when we were going about our work. Cleaning cages, food prep and pool time were all part of daily 'chores' and though sometimes hard work, was great fun.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Just immerse yourself in what the trip has to offer. Take a trip to a charity shop before you leave to buy shirts/tshirts etc as part of the fun is getting wet and dirty when cleaning and playing with the monkeys. Leaving things behind when you depart helps other volunteers. Take a pack of rubber gloves and leave behind what you don't use. There are opportunities to leave the camp on a variety of trips but this centre is the place to be.

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

We worked alongside local people and the focus of our work was taking part in everything that supported the rehabilitation the monkeys, so yes, absolutely.

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

It was totally wonderful. If you are in two minds please just book it and take the plunge! An open mind will bring the greatest satisfaction as you go about all you have to do at the centre. I went for 3 weeks and it passed in a flash. I would say 2 weeks is the absolute minimum as it takes a few days to really get into it. I would have happily extended my stay if I hadn't had to return to work.

review 11 Sep 2014

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

The travel to the centre was wonderful (3 hours) and we got to see lots of SA on the way. I loved the wildlife and the lovely birds. I will never forget the monkeys and the beautiful countryside around the centre. My favourite part was the seed collecting as we got to learn about the local flora and what the monkeys liked to eat in the wild. I am sad that I missed the release back to the wild, as that must have been a wonderful thing to see. I will never forget my experience at Riverside and I look forward to my next volunteering experience - I plan to visit Romania to the bear sanctuary and will definitely be contacting the same operator for this.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Allow yourself a week to settle in and adjust to the huge difference from the UK. Be prepared for the cold in the winter - just because it's SA, it's still very cold and there is no such thing as central heating in the accommodation! Take lots of layers and a hot water bottle to fill at the house before going to bed. Be prepared for no shower curtains on the showers, showers open to the stars and hot water that runs out after the first few showers, so likely cold showers. Accept that you are going to be dirty and covered in monkey wee and poo for the duration. Stock up on treats on your visit to town! Let loose, forget western standards, embrace the culture and then you will really enjoy your experience.

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

This volunteering experience supports the conservation of the baboon and vervet monkey species. It benefits local people who find employment at the centre. There is no food waste like there is in the UK, either for the monkeys or volunteers (you are starving after a hard days' work and you clear your plate!) and out of date food from local supermarkets is picked up for the monkeys.

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

I challenged myself with the lack of "home comforts" and the hard physical work compared to my sedentary job in Pathology at home, where work is mainly sitting at a screen. I took a week to get used to the relative lack of being able to keep totally clean and hygienic, which i think we possibly tend to overdo in the UK and the cold. But when I had adjusted, I loved it and I have some wonderful memories and photos. I don't think you fully appreciate what you have done until you are home and going through your photos. I would recommend this volunteering experience to anyone of a similar mindset who cares about the planet and all the creatures that we share it with.

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