Day 1 (Monday) Arrive into Port Elizabeth Airport (airport code PLZ) before 4pm, where you will be met by the team and taken directly to the sanctuary, your home for the coming weeks. On arrival you’ll have induction and orientation at which time you’ll learn all about the sanctuary and what you’ll be getting involved in during your stay.
Most birds and animals at the sanctuary have been brought in by the public or referred from local vets. There are those with injuries and others who have been orphaned – from small mammals such as meerkats to larger cats like lynx and cheetah and many different species of birds too.
Many animals and birds that come as infants or with serious injuries cannot ever return to the wild so will receive care and attention and a safe home to live their lives. However those that are able to survive in the wild are nursed back to health and released as soon as possible.
Volunteers assist the permanent project staff in four key areas: feeding the animals, cleaning their enclosures, maintaining and building new aviaries and enclosures and checking for damage to game park fences so that nothing can get in or out. You may even have a chance to be a surrogate parent to a young, orphaned animal - one of the most special experiences in the world. Most of the long-term residents are friendly and volunteers are encouraged to have as much contact time as they like.
The volunteer coordinator and permanent staff provide all the guidance and support you’ll need. Most days your duties begin with the preparation and delivery of food for all the animals and birds. Then after breakfast any jobs that need doing to upkeep the beautiful and spacious enclosure for the resident birds and animals. This can be cleaning the enclosures, spending time with some of the hand-reared animals or any general maintenance that may be required.
Volunteers work five days a week with 2 days off to relax, head to the beach or explore the wider area – there’s loads to do here and the team will help book and organise any excursions.. Go for a surf at Jeffrey’s Bay, visit Port Elizabeth city or take a safari in Addo Elephant Park or other private game reserves where you can see Africa’s Big Five in the wild. For the more adventurous there’s skydiving, bungee jumping, white water tubing, horse riding on the beach or swimming with wild seals!
Last day Having said goodbye and packed your bags, it’s off to the airport. You’ll take a shuttle bus or taxi to Port Elizabeth Airport payable locally – you should allow around $45.
Accommodation: You will be staying in a lodge on the beautiful and peaceful reserve grounds. Accommodation is basic but comfortable with a maximum of four people to a room.
Meals: Three meals a day are included so you’ll enjoy the luxury of having your breakfast, lunch and dinner prepared for you. You can look forward to some authentic South African braais (BBQ) as well as traditional international favourites like pastas and roasts.