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Domestic Animal Care & Veterinary Care in South Africa

Domestic Animal Care & Veterinary Care in South Africa

Join this deserving initiative and volunteer for the benefit of animals in underpriviliged areas.
Operator rating 9.7/10 from 6 trip reviews
  View Itinerary | Reviews (6) | Enquire About This Trip  make an enquiry
Price: GBP £815 per person
Type: Volunteer Project
Duration: 14 days
Customise: This Volunteer Project can be customised
Country: South Africa
Accommodation: Lodge
Activities: Volunteer Project
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Domestic Animal Care & Veterinary Care in South Africa

Initiative Summary

You will be working together with Knysna Animal Welfare Society - a non-profit organisation working for the benefit of animals mostly in underprivileged areas. Knysna Animal Welfare Society engages in the rescue, rehabilitation and re-homing of animals; as well as operating a sterilization programme and running educational programmes in the local community.

Volunteers will have the opportunity to provide much needed manpower to this very worthy cause.

Initiative Background

Animal cruelty is prevalent in Knysna’s underprivileged areas. There are two types of cruelty towards animals that are often seen - neglect due to genuine ignorance; and blatant violence and abuse. In Knysna up to 20 dogs a day a day have to be put down due to severe malnutrition and other forms of abuse.

Through volunteer involvement we are able to provide the manpower needed in order to care for local domestic animals and to educate the local community about having respect for and caring for domestic animals.

Initiative Projects

Joining this Initiative means that you will be helping us with the following Volunteer Projects:

Animal Welfare Workshops

You will be encouraging people to have respect for and take responsibility for their animals and animals in the local community.

Your role may include:
• Running workshops and facilitating discussions involved in workshops
• Further development of workshops

Animal Care

You will provide assistance to the staff at a local Animal Welfare Shelter with the basic care of the animals housed at the centre and in the local community.

Your role may include:
• Dipping and de-worming animals
• Dog walking
• Cat socialising
• Assisting with small amounts of admin work

Veterinary Assistance

This project is aimed at vet students (5th year and above) or qualified vets. You will help to assist the veterinary surgeon at the welfare shelter and on mass spay-a-thons in the local township.

Your role may include:
• Basic small animal handling
• Injecting & wound cleaning
• Induction & intubation
• Anaesthetic monitoring
• Vaccination & deworming (consult)

Please note: when working in close proximity to animals there is always a small chance of injury (e.g. dog bite), therefore it is recommended that you have a rabies vaccine before participating in this project.

Who should apply?

This programme is open to vet students and qualified vets, as well as non-qualified persons. Vet students will need to be at the 5th year level (or equivalent to South Africa’s 5th year) and have completed a small animal handling course (medicine/surgery). Any volunteers interested in this project will need to have a passion for animals and for working in the local community. Volunteers need to be hard working, mature, motivated and able to show initiative. Good health and physical fitness are also required. Volunteers also need to be confident in English speaking.

Typical Day

You will be picked up from the house in the morning by one of our coordinators or drivers and given clear instructions on the day’s activities ahead, we then gather all the equipment we need for the day and drive to animal welfare. The day’s aims vary according to what the call outs are and what animals need assistance but you will either be based at the kennels or out with the mobile team in the townships treating animals and educating the local community about how to look after their domestic animals.

After a hard morning’s work you will be brought back to the volunteer house for lunch (or eat a packed lunch on site before the afternoon’s community work commences). You will be back on the project after lunch assisting with the various daily duties. Please note that the tasks you are assigned depend on your skills and qualifications but everyone is welcome as we need all types of volunteers for this project!

You will usually have a chance to pop into town on your way back from the projects in the evening and be home in time for a relaxing evening on the deck, followed by a cooked supper.


The Knysna volunteer house is basic but comfortable and cleaned daily by our hardworking House Manager. It is full of character and has spectacular views over the mountains. We understand that the work can sometimes be emotionally and physically draining so we ensure that our volunteers have a place where you can relax and unwind. This way we know that everyone will be refreshed each day to put all their energy into getting the most out of their stay.

The volunteer house is also located within walking distance into the charismatic town of Knysna.

Facilities Include:
• Hot Water Showers & Electricity
• Communal Kitchen
• Communal Lounge Area with TV/DVD Player
• Comfortable Dorm Style Sleeping Arrangements
• Unlimited WiFi and computer access
• Outdoor braai (barbeque) area & Hammocks
• Private & Family Rooms Available on Request

Initiative Cost

We offer the most comprehensive volunteer experience in Africa. We work very hard to make sure that your stay is as stress free as possible so that you can concentrate on your volunteer projects. This also means that once you have paid your contribution, you will have the option to spend very little once you are in the country.

• Rapid pre-departure support and detailed information
• The confidence that every effort will be made to ensure your safety and enjoyment during your stay
• Airport transfers from George Airport (on our set arrival/departure days only- please ask us for these dates), OR airport transfer from Cape Town International (dates flexible) to your accommodation of choice (within Cape town) and a FREE return Baz Bus ticket from Cape Town to Knysna (on our set arrival/departure days only- please ask us for these dates)* See branch information pack for Cape Town activity details.
• Comfortable, homely accommodation
• 3 meals a day
• Safe, reliable project related transport
• Thorough orientation to the area and our Team
• Training and support on your chosen initiative
• A dedicated coordinator to assist you daily
• Project support and feedback sessions throughout your stay
• Assistance with optional activities and tours
• 24/7 emergency support
• Assistance obtaining a local SIM Card for your phone
• Work T-Shirt (s)
• Additional cultural and outdoor activities on Friday afternoons (and some evenings)
• Free, unlimited WiFi and computer access in the volunteer house
• Post-project involvement, and an exclusive return volunteer discount


• Flights and Visas
• Travel insurance (necessity!)
• Excursions and optional activities on weekends

Tour Operator Reviews (6) about reviews
Client: Andy & Simone - from Australia
Trip: Pre-School Renovation & Enrichment in South Africa
rating 10/10
Comment: We took part in the Build Our Schools Program on our honeymoon and had the most enjoyable two weeks helping out in the Khayalethu community.

We both loved the hands on nature of the work helping out at the Ikamvu Lethu pre-school. One of our favourite moments was seeing the reaction on the ladies faces when we showed them the completed new doors in the pre-school made out of an old benchtop, they were so grateful. It's hard to describe how big a difference little things like mending fences makes to the school and the community.

Knysna is a beautiful place and this organisation does some amazing work in the community. We would highly recommend the Build Our Schools Program to anyone who wants a change up to their desk job and get their hands dirty.

Thanks to the team for a wonderful experience. In the end our only regret was that we could not stay any longer and help out more, hopefully next time.
Client: Tejas - from India
Trip: currently unavailable
rating 8/10
Comment: The experience was really good out there, however, I believe it was more so because of the Game Lodge and the co-ordinators there.

The programme offers an opportunity to really watch the Big 5 (except for Leopard) from close quarters. However, it could have beeN better with some more planning and more time with the animals. Most of our time was spent in the maintenance work of the park (which ofcourse I dont mind), but I just wish we could have spent more time with the animals. Thats probably the only critical feedback I have to give.

Its definitely a wonderful programme, especially for people who want to make a career in game reserve management / wildlife conservation.
Client: Liz Acomb - from United Kingdom
Trip: currently unavailable
rating 10/10
Comment: We have just returned from an absolutely fantastic month away in South Africa, where we worked at the Game Lodge.

All the staff were fantastic and the whole trip was so expertly organised with a lot of care and attention to detail. We felt at home straight away and would have stayed if our visas didn't run out!

The project itself involved many different activities from tracking cheetah, feeding the baby cheetah, helping vets to dart, capture and release animals and also a lot of general farm maintenance. It was hard work but very rewarding.

Like all volunteer projects, you get out what you put in to it. There is so much to gain from being part of the team. We have learned so much about Arfican wildlife, flora, fauna and the South African culture. Without a doubt I would recommend The Big 5 Wildlife and Conservation Project to anyone who wants to have an experience they will never forget.
Client: John Ainger - from United Kingdom
Trip: currently unavailable
rating 10/10
Comment: I had a truly wonderful month on the Big 5 project in South Africa.

The project was very well facilitated and I received exactly what I was looking for - a varied, interesting hands-on experience. Participating in everything from collecting and feeding food to the lions and darting and relocating a male wildebeest, to making a new road on the reserve and learning about some of the plants and insects. I also had a chance to see some of the beautiful Garden Route.

They are a very well organised and professional company and looked after every tiny detail.
Client: Brenton Smith - from Australia
Trip: currently unavailable
rating 10/10
Comment: Well where to start I had the time of my life .

Dayne and Roger are two very dedicated people not only with animal conservation but land and people infact all of Africa. This wass showed time and time again with the people they work with and the places I stayed and the people and animals they are helping. It was all happy and good, I could not have felt safer or been looked after better everything transport food, people, and projects.

I would not only highly recommend them but strongly suggest any one who really wants a special experience in every way contact them and you will not be disappointed
Client: Georgina - from Australia
Trip: currently unavailable
rating 10/10
Comment: For several months i had been looking for a project in South Africa to incorportate into my travel plans. When i found the Rasta Eco Project I knew that was what I wanted to do.
As a teacher of conservation and also operating a business doing restoration work, this suited me perfectly.

I spent 2 wonderful weeks assessing, advising and working removing alien weed species, (australian species). (At home I remove South African weed species and this provided me the income to come to South Africa and remove Australian alien species!)

To work on the Khayalethu River Trail was a life changing experience and i was welcomed by all the Judah Square Community and made many wonderful friends. Working with Brothers Maxi and Gene I had the truly enriching and positive opportunity to share and exchange knowledge and information. I was inspired and humbled by the dedication of the community in creating the trail, building the information centre, restoring the Fynbos and environmental education for the future generations.

A real grassroots project which can only benefit the community and the people who visit. Jah Bless!

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