Volunteer

Our centre could not exist without volunteers, and we would love for you to join us! Volunteer today!

Volunteer with Us!

Umoya Khulula’s paid-for volunteer programme is designed to give volunteers a genuine understanding of the rescue, rehabilitation, rewilding, and release processes, for a variety of wild animals.

The volunteering programme is incorporated into the running of the centre and develops over time as animal needs and requirements change. From hands on experience in diet preparation, bottle feeding, enclosure care and maintenance, to behavioral observations, Umoya Khulua’s volunteer programme will give you a learn by doing experience into the world of wildlife care, rehabilitation, and conservation.

You must be willing and able, with a deep love of animals, otherwise, no prior experience is necessary. A good level of fitness would be advisable. Most volunteers work 6 days up to 8 hours a day based on current needs. The minimum stay is 2 weeks, but we encourage longer stays as consistency is important for the animals in our care.

A Typical Week Includes:

  • Preparing food and feeding the wildlife and farm animals. You’ll be handling fruits, vegetables, and meats, among other things to help prepare the meals needed for the needs of each animal.
  • Cleaning and maintaining enclosures. This can be very messy and means dealing with poo and dirt.  Lots of it.
  • Providing intensive care for juvenile wildlife including overnight care for some animals.
  • Physical labour such as building new facilities.
  • Research which may include the monitoring of released animals, analyzing camera traps and GPS data.
Umoya Khulula - Volunteer Dorm

Volunteers stay together in our volunteer dorms, which is within the heart of the wildlife centre and surrounded by our animals. This allows you to be close to the action and, experience the wild side of Africa. The mixed dorm-style accommodations have a kitchen, dining area, and bathrooms.

As a volunteer what will I be doing?

Volunteers get to learn and assist with all the going ons at the centre. Each day volunteers assist to clean and feed all the animals, help hand raise any orphans that come in, learn about South African wildlife and how to conserve it, assist with medical procedures (if appropriate), help local farms with taking out snares (traps), collect enrichment for the animals, build new enclosures and maintain existing ones, monitor animals in preparation for release, integrate any social animals into a group and help with releases.

What animals will I work with?

At the centre, we hold permits for over 70 different species of animals, and it is always hard to say what is going to be at the centre at any given time. Some of the main animals that come into the centre include bushbabies, tree squirrels, warthogs, antelopes, hippos, jackals, mongoose, zebras, owls, and tortoises.

What does the volunteer project provide?

Volunteers will be provided with 3 meals a day, accommodation, trips to the local town, training and guidance at the centre.

What does it exclude?

The centre does not provide international and domestic flights, travel insurance, excursions and any snacks or toiletries you might want or need.

We arrange transfers from the domestic airport at an additional cost.

How do I get to the centre?

You will need to fly into OR Tambo (Johannesburg) International Airport. From there you will need to get a domestic flight to Hoedspruit Eastgate Airport where we will collect you. Shuttles from Johnannesburg can also be arranged, if needed and at volunteer expense.

Who will I be working with?

Umoya Khulula is owned by Emma, Adriaan and Wynand De Jager. You will primarily be working with Emma, alsongside Katharine Lister, the centre manager.

Will I get to see a release?

Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that you will see a release, but we hope that you do. We do release more animals in October – March, as the conditions for herbivores are better in these months. Carnivore releases happen year-round.

Are there excursions?

Yes, we do offer a number of excursions at the project, including Kruger National Park and the Panorama Scenic Route. These outings come at an additional expense and some of the excursions are subject to numbers in that we require a minimum number to run them.

What is the working schedule?

Animals need to be feed and cleaned everyday, but after morning chores the weekends are more relaxed. Sometimes we have nocturnal, sick or baby animals that need nighttime feeding and care. There will be a rotation put in place, so everyone gets a night off.

Where will I be sleeping?

At the project you will be sleeping in dormitories. They are same sex and can sleep up to 6 people per dorm. There is a fully functioning toilet and shower attached to each dorm.

Is there wifi and how accessible are the shops?

There is a town located 30 minutes away from the centre, which we travel to once or twice a week. Volunteers will be able to get anything they need from there. The centre’s dining area has wifi, and you can purchase a South African SIM card (MTN is the best) and load it with data.

What should I bring?

Clothes that you do not mind getting dirty!!! Working with the animals you get very messy, so bring comfy clothes that you don’t mind not taking back with you. We do offer washing once a week for a small charge.

What vaccinations are required and recommended?

The main vaccinations you will need to have are tetanus, hepatitis A and rabies. Others to consider are typhoid, hepatitis B and cholera, but we do not specifically require them. We do require proof of vaccination for the 3 mentioned above. Malaria medication is optional. We are not in a high-risk zone, but if you are planning to go to Kruger national park, your doctor might advise you to have them. If in doubt, consult your doctor.

What happens if I need a hospital or doctor when I am there?

In our local town, Tzaneen, which is 30 minutes away, there is a wonderful private hospital. They do accept international travelers’ insurance, but you will need to arrange your travel insurance at home prior to your stay. When arranging this, please make sure that you are covered to work with animals.

What is the weather like?

Our summer months are from September – March. It does get very hot, reaching temperatures up to 45 degrees Celsius. In our winter the days are still quite warm, but the night times can get chilly.

Make sure you bring plenty of sunscreen and a hat!!!!

What currency does South Africa use?

We use South African Rand, as we are in the middle of the bush it is very hard to change currency. Please either bring enough Rand, or if you are using your card, make sure that you bank is notified before travelling. We recommend travel cards, as you can lock in your currency and are not charged for withdrawals. These things should be arranged prior to departure.

If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Vounteer with Us

Umoya Khulula Wildlife Centre offers a once in a lifetime volunteer experience. Our paid-for volunteer programme is designed to give volunteers a genuine understanding of the rescue, rehabilitation, rewilding, and release processes, for a variety of wild animals.

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What We Do

Umoya Khulula operates as a 24-hour wildlife rescue centre in South Africa.

Rescue
1st stage at our wildlife rescue centre
Rehabilitation
2nd stage at our wildlife rescue centre
Release
Final stage at our wildlife rescue centre

Umoya Khulula rescues animals from cases that can be ascribed to human effect, whether it be due to ignorance, negligence, or cruelty.

The objective of wildlife rehabilitation is to provide licensed care to sick, injured, and orphaned wild animals so ultimately they can be returned to their normal wild environment. Animals in rehabilitation can spend anywhere from a few days to several months at Umoya Khulula before release. It all depends on the species, how old they were when they arrived, and the severity of their injuries.

Releases take place on sites that have been inspected and approved by Umoya Khulula animal care staff. Release sites are often large acreages, and all are chosen to meet species-specific needs for vegetation and terrain and that have year-round water and food sources.

Umoya Khulula 24-hour Wildlife Rescue Centre - Rescue

RESCUE: 1st stage at our wildlife rescue centre

Umoya Khulula rescues animals from cases that can be ascribed to human effect, whether it be due to ignorance, negligence, or cruelty.

Umoya Khulula 24-hour Wildlife Rescue Centre - Rehabilitation

REHABILITATION: 2nd stage at our wildlife rescue centre

The objective of wildlife rehabilitation is to provide licensed care to sick, injured, and orphaned wild animals so ultimately they can be returned to their normal wild environment. Animals in rehabilitation can spend anywhere from a few days to several months at Umoya Khulula before release. It all depends on the species, how old they were when they arrived, and the severity of their injuries.

Umoya Khulula 24-hour Wildlife Rescue Centre - Release

RELEASE: Final stage at our wildlife rescue centre

Releases take place on sites that have been inspected and approved by Umoya Khulula animal care staff. Release sites are often large acreages, and all are chosen to meet species-specific needs for vegetation and terrain and that have year-round water and food sources.

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