My wife and I have voluteered at African Dawn 3 times now, and we're already planning our 4th visit!
This really is the perfect place to volunteer, wether it's your 1st time as a volunteer worker or something you've done many times before. Be you young or old (from teenagers to pensioners we have met many volunteers from all walks of life who have become completely enchanted by this place).
Why? Well, where to begin:
1. The Experience - This really is the best way that I can imagine of experiencing beautiful South Africa. Working hands on with beautiful animals on a daily basis. Making friends with like minded people. Having free time to explore what else the country has to offer. It really is an adventure that will stay with you for life, and leave you hungry for more.
2. The Animals - African Dawn literally offers you a hands-on oppurtunity to work with some of South Africa's most beautiful animals. You will actually interact with Cheeaths, Servals, Monkeys, Duikers, Wallabies, plus hundreds of the most beautiful Birds that you have ever seen. You will get to help with feeding, cleaning, and general cuddling and interaction with these animals and more. You will become close, and get to know their individual personalities, from the cheeky and playful to the utterly adorable.
It is also worth remembering that African Dawn is a sanctuary, not a zoo. Many of these animals have come from poor backgrounds, or are recovering from bad injuries. Here the animals welfare is 100% the priority. It is incredible seeing how each and every animal is so well cared for, and knowing that you have played a part in helping them gives you an amazing feeling like no other!
3. The Staff - The owners and the managers of African Dawn literally do not stop working all day to make sure that everyone is happy. From caring for all of the animals, to making sure that every volunteer is as comfortable and happy as possible. From offering tourist advice to booking excursions to preparing a delicious home made meal every night, you will not find a place where you are made to feel more welcome.
When we 1st volunteered my wife was terribly homesick at first as she had never been away for so long. But the kindness and caring nature of the staff made her feel so at home that we both had an amazing time, and have returned several times since!
4. The Location - African Dawn really is in the perfect location to explore the best of what South Africa has to offer. The sanctuary itself is in a beautiful country setting, that really gives you the beautiful scenery of rural Africa (a daily walk accross the Game Park to see the Zebras, Antelope and Giraffes grazing is highly reccommended). But is also only a short and inexpensive taxi ride away from Jeffreys Bay, which offers beautiful beaches, a selection of shops, and many great bars and restaraunts.
On your days off this part of South Africa also offers the oppurtunity to go on Safari, walk with and ride Elephants, jump from the world's highest Bungee Bridge, visit the huge shopping centres of Port Elizabeth, go Skydiving, walk with Cheetahs plus much much more. Once again the staff at African Dawn will help with organising any activites that you may be interested in, to make sure that you get the most out of your adventure!
5. The Volunteers - This really is the best way to meet people from all over the world, of all ages, and make some of the best friends you'll ever have. From working together, helping to care for animals and build enclosures, to sitting around a fire together at night. We have met some of the most amazing people, and made some of our best friends at African Dawn.
I really can't reccommend this place enough. Basically if you want to make the most out of South Africa, work with some incredible animals, and have the most amazing time of your life, this is the place to do it!!!