Volunteer With Cheetahs
Join us for an unforgettable few weeks under the African sun and amongst the endangered cheetah, a species close to extinction, and close to our hearts.
If you have always wanted to see South Africa and be involved with conserving one of Africa’s most graceful cats, this is the place for you.
More about us and our goals:
Running Wild Conservation’s volunteer program will give you the opportunity to work with these magnificent animals while contributing to real conservation efforts to save the cheetah from going extinct in the wild. Your involvement and help will assist us to ensure the survival of the species for generations to come.
This project is unique in that you will actively help to save the endangered cheetah by getting involved in one of the most exciting Cheetah projects in South Africa. The ONLY project in the world breeding with cheetah for the SOLE purpose of releasing them back into the wild. We are not trading with any of our animals, they are meant for more, to be free and wild again, as they are meant to be! Many of the cheetahs bred, raised and trained to survive in wild by us, are already now living a free life in protected reserves..
To ensure the survival of the cheetah for future generations.
To ensure a viable genetic diversity by genetic introduction and studies.
To provide crucial education to the public and farming entities.
To provide platforms for further carnivore studies.
To repopulate the now cheetah deprived areas of South Africa.
To provide a sanctuary for old, or non-releasable, and mistreated cheetah.
To not trade under any circumstances with any of our animals.
We will however and only when needed, exchange certain animals for genetic purposes and only with reputable and like minded breeders.
To responsibly breed, raise, rewild and release smaller cats (Serval, African Wild Cat & Black Footed Cat) onto private and national reserves.
Goals behind the Running Wild Conservation:
As mentioned above the main goal is breeding and releasing cheetah (including other smaller endangered cat species) back into the wild to supplement the current dwindling population. Other goals will include a sanctuary and retirement center for injured, old and orphaned animals that cannot be released. We also work towards the rescue and repatriation of older or mistreated cheetahs from zoos all over the globe and offer these animals a deserved semi freedom in their final years.
As the decline in wild cheetah numbers throughout South African has now more than ever come to a critical point, it is our responsibility to ensure the species has a future for the next generations.
With the current number less than 700 wild cheetah in South Africa, it is imperative that something is done to replenish these dwindling numbers. Over the past decade, no real focus has been put on the cheetah and thus causing a crisis in our healthy genetic population.
Running Wild Conservation has one main goal and that is to breed cheetah and return them to their natural environment. With many years of experience and knowledge of these animals we have developed a unique strategy and program to successfully breed and reintroduce cheetahs back into the wild. The time is now or we might lose these magnificent cats forever.
The need to reintroduce these animals is the only way to eliminate the extinction of the Southern African Cheetah. We strongly believe that we have developed methods to successfully breed and reintroduce cheetahs back into the Free State Province and other regions of South Africa, these methods include predator avoidance, a successful hunting training regime and a well-managed post release monitoring system, dehumanizing process, vaccination and health protocol.
Due to the costs and lack of expertise, the reintroduction of captive bred cheetahs in South Africa has basically come to a standstill. Running Wild Conservation is dedicated to this purpose. With over fourteen years of combined cheetah experience and more than twenty years combined experience in wildlife and big five game reserves, we have made the decision to dedicate the rest of our lives to the preservation of the cheetah.
With Running Wild Conservation efforts to reintroduce cheetah and smaller felines back into the wild we are adding to the conservation of their natural environment and other inhabitants of this environment.
By volunteering with us, you will be part of our ground-breaking unique and vital conservation work to save this specie from going extinct!
Rates for November 2018 till October 2019
Discounted rate the longer you stay!
Costs R12 900.00 for 2 weeks per person
Duration of stay - South African Rand
2 weeks - R12900
3 weeks - R18350
4 weeks - R24000
5 weeks - R29000
6 weeks - R33600
7 weeks - R38150
8 weeks - R41600
Rates for November 2019 till October 2020
Discounted rate the longer you stay!
Costs R16 800.00 for 2 weeks per person
Duration of stay - South African Rand
2 weeks - R16800
3 weeks - R24600
4 weeks - R32200
5 weeks - R39200
6 weeks - R46100
7 weeks - R53100
8 weeks - R59000
Book for you and a friend and get 10% discount on your rate!
A volunteer's day will consist of daily tasks including animal enrichment, enclosure cleaning, data collecting, behaviour monitoring, animal stimulation projects, tasks in and around the animal enclosures, feeding and meat preparation.
You, as a volunteer, will be involved in the following activities:
Monitoring and data capture of the animals and their health and behaviour
Cleaning and maintenance of the enclosure
General camp upkeep
Assist/help prepare food for animals and feed them
Remove bones etc. left over from the animal feeding and overall cleaning of camps.
Clean water dams and bowls and refresh with clean water
Assist with fitness training as well as help improving cheetah’s hunting skills by helping staff with the cheetah run on the lure machine
Bush clearing and creating pathways
Removal of invasive plant species
Maintenance work: building, painting or repair work for animal night enclosures and other structures
Other animals include injured, orphaned and rescued animals that are not able to be released. Animals at the project include the following: Cheetahs, Lions, Servals, Caracals, Meerkats, African Wild Cats and Albino Porcupines. Some only temporary for a few months until they have been rehabilitated and ready for release back into a suitable habitat.
We also might have more different variety at the time of your visit, depending on animals taken in by us as rescues to rehab and rewild.
Outings at an additional cost and depending on the length of your stay can include trips (or sleepovers) to the world renown Lost City, Sun City and Pilanseberg Big 5 Game Reserve, (only 80 miles from us) to view your favourite elephants, lions, leopards etc in the wild!
Hot Air Ballooning is undoubtedly the finest way to view the Pilanesberg Big 5 Game Reserve and its wildlife.
Abseiling, hiking in the reserve, safaris, river rafting, horse riding, visits to world famous elephant and monkey sanctuaries.
Spend the day at the famous Lesedi multi-cultural village to buy arts crafts for your loved ones at home!
Leisure sunset cruises on the famous Hartebeestpoortdam Lake.
Our rewilding facility is only 80 miles from OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, nestled in the foothills of the Magaliesburg Mountain Range, close to the famous Cradle of Humankind World Heritage site.
This project is unique in that you will actively help to save the endangered cheetah by getting involved in one of the most exciting cheetah projects in South Africa, where our aim is solely to release cheetahs back into the wild, where they belong!
Our aim is also to enlighten you in the true conservation efforts done in terms of rehabilitation and release of captive animals. Also that you leave us with added skills in animal husbandry as well as the skills and basic knowledge needed to run and manage a project of this kind.
At Volunteer with Cheetahs, it is all about the animals. We believe in the rights and protection of animals. The farm is home to a variety of wild animals such as lions, cheetahs, servals, caracals even the mischievous meerkats and more. The farm acts also as a home to wild cats that are not able to be released back into the wild, as well as a “day care” for animals that were abandoned, injured, traumatized, in need of care, support, medical attention and a home.
The farm offers you an opportunity to work with the animals and gain experience in activities like cleaning, building enclosures, feeding, and spending time with the animals, as well as the opportunity to unwind in the beautiful mountainous surroundings.
We strive to make life as normal as possible for animals by ensuring their happiness and well being.
Work hands on with the cheetahs
Care for our 3 rescued lions (hands-off)
Work hands on with small cats such as caracals, porcupines, african wild cats and servals
Learn more about our passion and dedication to rewild and release cheetah
Live in close proximity to the lion and cheetah enclosures
Experience first-hand all aspects of the animal’s life
Be part of a very passionate team
Learn about conservation and Africa’s wild animals
Starting dates : Arrive at the O.R. Tambo International Airport on Mondays before 2pm,
Departing flight on Mondays after 5pm
Location : Rustenburg area, North West Province, South Africa
Minimum duration : 2 weeks
Maximum duration : 8 weeks
Basic level of competency in English
Interest in wildlife and rehabilitation of injured and releasable animals
Volunteers will work 6 days per week. Sundays are generally your day off and will give you a chance to settle into the farm or go on nearby excursions. Wednesday afternoons are also your off time to spend as you wish.
Please note, this routine is kept as best as possible, however, working with animals sometimes requires a flexible schedule. The above outline is subject to change.
INCLUDED IN YOUR RATE :
Six new and cozy log cabins nestled amongst the trees close to the lion and cheetah camps.
Each cabin consists of 2 bedrooms and a bathroom, which will be shared by 4 same gender volunteers.
Each room will accommodate 2 volunteers. It also has a small kitchen as well as a bathroom.
Males and females are separate in sharing rooms.
Pay R150 per day extra and have your own private room.
Volunteers will receive 3 meals a day:
Breakfast : Cereals, fruit, eggs, toast and spreads.
Lunch : Wraps, Hotdogs, Toasted Sandwiches etc
Dinner : A hot meal will be served every night such as a traditional BBQ, pastas, casseroles, salads, fresh vegetables and meat.
Tea and coffee will be available. All other drinks will be at own expense, though tap water is safe to drink. A generous amount of food will always be given, but your are welcome to buy your own snacks.
There will also be a refrigeration available for volunteers’ personal food and soft drinks.
Participants must advise us of their dietary needs (e.g. if they are vegetarian or have any allergies) prior to their arrival. Participants with any other specific dietary needs may be required to supplement their normal meals at their own expense, but we always ensure you eat tasty meals.
There is a laundry room where you can do your own laundry at R75 per bundle.
Supervision / Co-ordination:
As the nature of the work varies we will place volunteers under the supervision of various staff members, as will be explained in the itinerary. We will have one member of our team assigned as “team leader” to facilitate the smooth operation of the volunteer's stay and provide guidance where necessary.
Emergency and Safety:
All guides on the property are qualified in First Aid and are within 150m of the volunteer accommodation. Each volunteer will have the emergency contact details of the nearest staff members. The nearest hospital is within a 30 minutes’ drive from the farm.
Wifi is at your own cost: R300 per week
Casual working clothes for hot and cold days, please try to avoid bright colours.
Semi formal clothes for functions and for trips to town
Sunscreen and hat
Swimsuit and towel
Toiletries: Personal and bath towels
Flashlight and batteries
Notebook and pen
Small personal first aid kit and your personal needed medication
Doom/tabard (insect repellent)
Laptop with own DVD’s (no television in volunteer house yet) if you wish to view movies in your off time.
Pocket money (drinks and souvenirs)
The reserve offers you an opportunity to work / interact with all the animals and take part in activities such as cleaning, building enclosures, feeding, projects, & spending time with most animals, HOWEVER, certain rules and regulations must be taken seriously and followed as all the animals remain wild, regardless of the size of the animal or time in captivity.
BY FOLLOWING THESE GUIDELINES YOU ENSURE YOUR SAFETY AS WELL AS THE ANIMALS
Never enter the Lion enclosures
To enter a small enclosure there must be a guide/team leader present
All gates to all camps must be locked and checked daily to make sure they are in a working condition
Be aware of the electric fences at all times
If you do not feel comfortable in certain places with the animals inform your team leader for assistance
Even if the animals appear tame we MUST still respect them at all times
General Safety Tips
Participants must conduct themselves in a safe and responsible manner at all times
Hitchhiking is not permitted at any time
Don’t leave your belongings unattended
Never give beggars money, speak to your team leader if you would like to make a donation
Don’t look like a tourist with your camera around your neck, wallet out, etc.
Do not carry large amount of cash on you that people can see
Lock your room to ensure all your valuables, passport and money stay safe
Health and safety:
Your health is very important to us! Please let us know of any special requirements that you have, e.g. allergies, diabetes, etc. You will be accompanied with a trained team leader at all times. Should anything happen, first aid is immediately available, and a First Aid kit is always available. The nearest hospital is within a 45mins drive from the reserve.
All team leaders are equipped with their cell phones and radios, so communication is never a problem.
You will be working 6 days out of the 7, with the 7th being your day off to go in excursions which we will plan.
We require a completed application form to give us more knowledge about you
A medium level competency in English is required
Water is safe to drink however scarce in many areas. Use water sparingly and have short showers.
All Running Wild Conservation volunteers must have medical, travel and trip cancellation insurance for the duration of their program.
Running Wild Conservation has a zero-tolerance policy for illegal drugs. Offenders will be removed from the program immediately without refund.
No smoking is allowed in any building or when you are in animal camps or around any animal.
A responsible level of drinking (for volunteers of legal age) during free time is allowed. However in these limited situations:
Alcohol is never to be consumed during the work day
Participants are never to be intoxicated
Participants are never to be under the influence of alcohol at work or during group discussions
No hangovers will be tolerated on project so please keep heavily drinking to off days
Failure to comply will be treated as a serious matter. Running Wild Conservation reserves the right to remove a participant from the project without refund if they disregard this policy. Participants who endanger their safety or the safety of others through irresponsible drinking of alcohol or negligence may be removed from the program without refund.
Participants are expected to keep their rooms and personal belongings tidy at all times and participate in any chores as required for the cleanliness and operation of the shared facilities, vehicles and projects. Participants may not bring non – Running Wild Conservation persons back to the project accommodation under any situation. Visitors can be met at any of the public areas nearby. For safety reasons, participants are expected to return to the accommodation each night prior to a working day. If a participant does not follow this policy, they may be prohibited from joining the group/program.
IMPORTANT POINTS TO READ
What is the difference between volunteering and regular tourism?
In regular tourism the emphasis is on the tourist who expects to receive excellent service on their trip (great hotel, good food and all excursions working according to a timetable). The place and local community becomes less important with the tourist becoming the center of attention.
In volunteer tourism (volunteerism) the emphasis shifts to work contribution, goals of the program and helping the local community. It is the success of the program and the atmosphere between the community and the volunteers that helps make the trip unforgettable – not the level of service or the quality of the hotel.
Will there be any surprises?
Volunteer tourism can be unpredictable! While Running Wild Conservation does the upmost to stick to timetables and examples of type of work needed by the volunteer, there are many factors that can impact these plans. For example, the weather and seasons, local holidays, mood of the wildlife and immediate needs of the programs. The information you will receive from the program is important and valuable however things can change and we urge you to use it as a guideline and expect the unexpected – this is what makes volunteer tourism so diverse and exciting. It is important that you arrive with a flexible attitude and remember that just by being at the project you will be contributing to its running, growth and success. Many of these programs are in cultures very different than yours and as such the type and length of work given may or may not seem important to you but it will be for the program.
Sticking to a timetable
Each program asks its volunteers to stick to a timetable which it arranges to help the program run and grow. Please follow the instructions from the program managers. However, please note that volunteer programs are usually underfunded and understaffed which can lead to multiple changes in the program timetable. Volunteer work needs to be flexible for various reasons and should not be seen as a nine to five office job even if some changes do not make sense to the volunteer. Flexibility and an “expect the unexpected attitude” are needed – however never forget that by volunteering you are contributing immensely to the program.
Volunteer work – some examples:
It is important to realize that not all the work will be easy or 'romantic'.
Many times you will need to roll-up your sleeves and get dirty like: working with raw meat, cage cleaning, etc.
Keep a positive attitude and note that mundane tasks contribute and are also VERY important to the program. Also remember mundane tasks are not given to you on purpose but forms part of the overall volunteer experience as it takes care of the needs of the overall project.
The volunteers you will be working with come from all over the world and may be from different religious and ethnic backgrounds. Volunteering is also a cultural experience where you can learn about different cultures but please be both tolerant and patient. Do not be shy in sharing your experiences, recipes, songs and traditions it will just add to the overall group cohesion. Children may be raised in ways that are very different to what you are used to. If you are ever unsure about a certain issues, please feel free to discuss it with your volunteer leader.
Please take into account additional expenses like tours, trips, WiFi, colddrinks, restaurants and bars.
It is a good idea to carry different types of payment : Cash, Credit Cards, and Debit are options.
It is very important and necessary to purchase and carry travel insurance for any unforeseen eventuality.
You can’t change the world, you can only change a small rock in a river - but it means a lot more than you know in the bigger picture!
Be prepared to learn a new culture, T.I.A. (This Is Africa) - things changes, that's the awesome part of the experience.
Patience can go a long way to making your trip unforgettable! Please come with an open mind and positive attitude - you will have the most awesome time of your life! You will be expected to take initiative and add value to the project.
The more positive you are, the more positive your memories will be! Your time on project will be over sooner than you know, what would you like to think back on later in your life?
Some useful South African slang and words:
Cheers - Good bye
Robot - Traffic light
Crèche - A preschool
Braai - Barbeque
Bakkie - Utility truck
Babelaas - hangover
Biltong - Dried meat (like jerky)
Potjie - Traditional stew
Boerewors – Lightly Spiced sausage
Nee - No
Lekker - Good or nice
T.I.A. - This is Africa
Ya or yebo - yes
Please contact us via email if you wish to volunteer with us and to secure your spot! Click here:
Below you will find some fun and work photos from our previous volunteers: