Volunteer International Adventures

Volunteer International Adventures

Why choose Volunteer International Adventures?

Volunteer in South Africa, Zanzibar and Zimbabwe with a hands-on organisation with staff with 15 years' experience working with volunteers on ethical projects from wildlife rescue and rehabilitation, endangered species monitoring and research on protected reserves, marine conservation with sharks, whales and penguins, animal sanctuaries from wildlife to horses, primates and wild cat sanctuaries, monkey rescue and rehabilitation, wildlife conservation with horses, wildlife and domestic animal veterinary medicine, community programs, teaching, care projects with creches, creative arts, sport coaching, social work and youth development with youth at risk


Ethical Impact

Volunteer International Adventures focus is on ethical youth and animal projects which we feel very strongly about. We see the need for assistance from international volunteers in developing countries and have seen the difference extra hands-on help can make to communities and conservation if done responsibly.


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Yes, I recommend this program

My time volunteering in South Africa

I have absolutely loved my experience in South Africa volunteering on the Endangered Wildlife Monitoring and Research project, a I am sad that I have to leave tomorrow. By the time I leave I would have spent 6 weeks in South Africa, so I have been lucky enough to have experienced all 3 of the reserves that take volunteers.

My first reserve was Imfolozi, where I saw my first wild elephant before we had even been through the gate! We also saw alot of cheetahs which was very special. The camp itself was lovely, and I especially loved the Rick where you could see all sorts of animals including elephants and rhinos. However, my highlight of my experience at Imfolozi was seeing wild giraffes for the first time, and I couldn't stop smiling all day!

My second reserve was Manyoni, and on the first day we saw an impressive male lion lying mere inches away from the car! What I loved about Manyoni was the fact that the animals had never had a bad experience with a car, so you got super close sightings. My favourite place in Manyoni was the Fever Tree Forest, because it felt magical and was alive with all sorts of incredible sounds, and the trees there were breathtaking! I also loved the camp itself, with it being a spacious farmhouse that boasts a beautiful garden and a lovely terrace.

My third and final reserve was Hluhluwe which had stunning scenery with its rolling hills and glistening rivers. Seeing animals there was a challenge, but that made it very special when you saw them. The camp was nice, and I liked the fact that the bedrooms had a wardrobe and desk. I can't choose 1 highlight, so I'll tell you my 2 highlights, the first one was seeing a leopard twice, and my second one was seeing the pack of 11 wild dogs.

The staff and volunteers alike have been extremely friendly and I felt like I was part of a family. I would definitely recommend volunteering on this project, because you can make a positive impact on the world and contribute to the conservation of South Africa's animals. I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone involved, and I can't wait to be back! :)

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
We got charged and trumpeted at by a matriarch elephant, who was protecting her herd, and I sat very still and made sure that I didn't say a word. The monitor raised her hand and the matriarch bowed her head and backed away.
  • You learn so much about the African Bush.
  • You grow as a person.
  • You meet so many interesting people.
  • I've struggled to adjust with limited signal and power.
  • It was very stormy.
  • You have to get up early.
Read my full story
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Yes, I recommend this program

Had an amazing time!

I really had an amazing time at the project. This was my first solo trip and I was so nervous. Once we arrived at the project, everyone was very kind and I immediately felt at home.

The Horse Rescue and Rehabilitation Project does the most amazing work for their horses, donkeys and other farm animals. It felt great being a part of the team during my staying. You can really feel the love for the animals everywhere you go on the project. I really enjoyed my time with them and hope to come back anytime soon.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I stayed at the program for two weeks and now that I look back at it, I definitely would stay longer. Also, I recommend to do a little sightseeing before or afterwards the project. The surroundings of Bonnievale and Cape Town are breathtaking!
  • Riding more than 1 horse a day
  • Being in a calm, rustic environment
  • Great balance between working days and going on some trips: wine tasting and horse races
  • Bonnievale is approachable by car, but not by walking
  • Didn’t do any trails during the stay
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Yes, I recommend this program

Definitely worth doing it!

A massive thank you to everyone who was involved in this project! The collaborative efforts and dedication of each team member truly made this project a success. I felt safe and well taken care of. Every aspect was meticulously handled. Working alongside a diverse array of big cat species not only enriched the project, but also broadened my perspective, making it a truly unforgettable and transformative experience. I think about this amazing opportunity a lot. And without hesitation, I would definitely recommend it to everyone!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
One standout moment at Ethical Predator Sanctuary was seeing how much Max, the caracal, enjoyed playing with my enrichment. It was amazing to see how such a ‘small’ thing, really can make their day better. This moment showed the essence of my volunteer experience – making a lasting difference in the lives of these incredible big cats.
  • The best staff ever
  • The wonderful communication before, during and after the trip!
  • The perfect work/chill balance
  • Nothing :)
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Yes, I recommend this program

Youth Development Centre in Knysna

I had the great pleasure to volunteer at the Youth Development Centre in Knysna last year (July and August). This was one of my best experiences and I can only suggest to be part of this program.
Besides of spending an amazing time in one of the most beautiful countries, exploring Garden Route and its natural beauty, I learned a lot about the way of life and culture.
I had the possibility to assist with sports, music, art and teaching...
Working and spending time with these kids gave me a sense of personal fulfillment and definitely made an impact on my life.
Everything was perfectly planned and organised by the team of Volunteer International Adventures. Even if it's your first time in South Africa - don't hesitate! You will gain an unforgettable experience.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Bring your ideas, be creative and motivated! The kids are curious and eager to learn and are grateful for any experience.
  • learn about culture and way of life
  • happy smiling children faces every day
  • gain personal fulfillment
  • also winter in South Africa can be cold ;) don't forget to bring some warm clothes...
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Ovejero González
Yes, I recommend this program

A Remarkable Journey: Volunteering with Monkeys in South Africa

I recently had the incredible opportunity to volunteer in South Africa, and I can confidently say that it has been a truly extraordinary experience. Working closely with monkeys, these remarkable creatures have left an indelible mark on my heart, creating bonds that I will cherish forever.

South Africa itself is a country of breathtaking beauty, boasting an overwhelming natural richness that captivated me from the moment I arrived. The landscapes, teeming with diverse flora and fauna, provided a stunning backdrop to my volunteer work. The chance to witness the wild beauty of this country has been nothing short of awe-inspiring.

The heart of my experience, however, lies in the interactions with the monkeys. These incredible animals, with their unique personalities and behaviors, have taught me so much about resilience, adaptability, and the importance of preserving their natural habitats. The bond I formed with these monkeys is something I will carry with me always, a connection that transcends words.

Equally memorable has been the people I've had the pleasure of meeting during this journey. The camaraderie among fellow volunteers and the warmth of the local community made my time in South Africa even more special. The friendships forged are ones I hope to nurture and maintain, transcending geographical boundaries.

I wholeheartedly recommend this enriching experience to everyone. Not only does it provide a profound sense of fulfillment for the soul, but it also plays a crucial role in the survival of orphaned baby monkeys who have lost their mothers. Participating in this volunteer program not only allows you to contribute to a meaningful cause but also exposes you to the beauty of South Africa and its incredible wildlife. It's an adventure that goes beyond the ordinary, leaving an impact that lasts a lifetime.

What was your funniest moment?
I can´t choose one. But many of them were watching little monkeys playing, or just being themselves.
  • What you learn
  • People I met
  • Landscapes and safaris
  • Saying goodbye to the little monkeys...


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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program, because I knew that I would be having a positive impact on the conservation of animals. Also, I have always wanted to see animals in the wild. I also wanted to meet lots of new people that share the same passion I do, and to experience the rich culture of South Africa. I have always seen documentaries of South Africa and to actually be there was incredible.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

My program provider assisted me with finding a program that was suitable for me. They also assisted me with finding additional accommodation and choosing what travel insurance I needed. They also helped me to know how much cash I needed to bring and whether I needed a visa or not. I had to organize my flights on my own.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Be open minded and don't go into the program with any expectations, just take every day as it comes. Make sure that you bring warmer clothes even in the Summer. Bring plenty of entertainment too. Try to stay in the present and enjoy the sounds and sights of the bush. If you go to Imfolozi make sure to go down to the rock, because the views you get are breathtaking and you might even see elephants or rhinos.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

You wake up at 4am to go out for a drive at 4.30am and on the drive you'll be on the back of a vehicle using telemetry to pick up the animal’s radio collars so you can track and monitor them. You also need to record this information on a sheet, and any priority species you see need to be recorded too. You will have a hot drink and rusks break at some point on the drive too.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was having to go on a plane, because I'm very scared of flying. I overcame this fear by taking deep breaths and thinking that the only way I was going to get to South Africa was to fly on the plane. My views on this issue changed, because I got used to the feel of being in the air and the turbulence wasn't too bad.
Write and answer your own question.

What is your highlight of the experience?

My highlight of the whole experience was when a lion came extremely close to the car and he was growling at us. Not long before that a lioness, his mate had come the other side of the car just as close, and I could hear her roaring too! My heart was racing and my adrenaline was very high.