Family volunteering with monkeys in South Africa
Description of Family volunteering with monkeys in South Africa
Take your family off the beaten track and into this life changing primate rehabilitation centre. Work hands-on with baby monkeys and baboons to help prepare them for life in the wild. Both kids and adults alike love the volunteering, the location and the pace of life in the African bush.
Home to 400 rescued monkeys and baboons all waiting to be released to the wild, this is an inspiring family-run project looking for helping hands. Each day you and your family will be helping to prepare food for these hungry cheeky monkeys, feeding them, cleaning out their enclosures, taking them to the pool and watching over them as they learn about life in the wild. You will be working with the baby and juvenile primates to help prepare them for life as part of a troop. For the very young this involves bottle-feeding, bathing and providing arms for them to sleep in!
The centre needs volunteers all year round, and there are always things to be done. The busiest season for baby monkeys is November – February, so if you can see yourself as a surrogate parent to a baby monkey then this is a great time to go. Baboons are born throughout the year, so there will be young around whenever you choose to go.
This project has a lovely family feel, with volunteers all sitting down together for meals. Evenings are spent relaxing out on the terrace- usually with several monkeys, dogs, cats and other rescued creatures joining you!
There is an on-site outdoor swimming pool to enjoy (often shared with your primate friends!), as well as some lovely areas to relax with a book. For those looking to explore the area, there are possibilities to visit Kruger National Park, explore some beautiful gorges and even do some zip trekking. Please be aware however that these trips will come second to any immediate work that needs doing at the centre.
Many of our family groups have enjoyed spending two weeks here as part of a greater holiday, often going on to enjoy a safari at Kruger National Park.
This is an amazing opportunity for both adults and children alike to get stuck into some conservation work, to understand a different culture and step off the beaten track to experience South African bush life.
|Day 1||Arrival day is a Monday. Other arrival days possible on request. You will be collected from Phalaborwa (PHW) airport and driven up to the centre, a 90 minute journey away.|
|Day 2||You will receive a full induction and tour- and get fully stuck into the project! Expect lots of monkey hugs!|
|Day 14||Return to the airport or head on for further family travels|
6 Reviews of Family volunteering with monkeys in South Africa
Reviewed on 21 Mar 2019 by Tanja LarsenVery good and an experience of a life time :-) Read full review
Reviewed on 28 Aug 2019 by Julia MacroryA fantastic way to introduce my young child to volunteering in a developing country, because the company gave us the support and reassurance needed throughout the whole process. Read full review
Reviewed on 12 Aug 2017 by Helen CookSwimming with the baboons! The people, the monkeys ... an incredible experience made special by Bob, Lynne, Mias and all the volunteers. Read full review
Reviewed on 05 Dec 2016 by Pagona RoussiBe prepared for fun but also a lot of work. Do not wear glasses, the monkeys love them! Read full review
Reviewed on 12 Apr 2016 by Lee JeanesI'd rate our holiday as excellent and would recommend to anyone Read full review
Reviewed on 08 Dec 2015 by Jana LeonhardtI loved it. Read full review
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.
Protecting the world
We are passionate about encouraging our travellers to be kind to the environment as they travel. Each participant receives advice about how to care for the environment whilst they are away. This includes water usage, how to avoid single use plastic and electricity usage.
We insist that all participants bring their own water bottles when they travel with us, and clean free water is always available. We have even created a water bottle that can be purchased before departure and encourage people to use it at all stages of their journey including at the airport, on flights and whilst on their project. We are striving for all of our projects to be free of single use plastic.
PeopleThe 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 misplaced 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. The 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.
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.