Volunteer at a Monkey Sanctuary
97% Rating
(7 Reviews)

Volunteer at a Monkey Sanctuary

International Primate Rescue rescues ex-pet, ex-lab and ex-zoo monkeys and tries to make their lives as comfortable as possible. As a lot of our monkeys have behavioural problems and are not indiginous to South Africa they can never be released back in the wild. Because of this caring for our monkeys is very hands-on.
Currently we have over 120 primates. We have:
Marmosets, Squirrel monkeys, Macaques, Capuchins, Patas monkeys, Mona monkeys and Tamarins

Volunteers tasks are appointed on a weekly basis using a rota system. All jobs are spread between volunteers on site. Most working days are from 9:00 to 16:30 with a 2 hour lunch and once a week a 4am start. Tasks vary from day to day and can include food preparation, feeding the primates, giving supplements and medication, cleaning and enrichment of the enclosures, enclosure building, observations and introductions.
If you want to join us in caring for the monkeys you can book by emailing us at: [email protected]

Africa » South Africa » Pretoria
Africa » South Africa
1-2 Weeks
2-4 Weeks
1-3 Months
3-6 Months
6-12 Months
Starting Price
Price Details
Our programme cost is 175 GBP per week based on self-catering, mixed dorm style accommodation. This does not include flights or airport transfers. We can arrange a transfer from the airport for an additional charge of 700 rand.
This project relies solely on the support of the public and the volunteer fees are integral to our primates survival and the ongoing costs of animal care.

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

  • Impact
  • Support
  • Fun
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Program Reviews (7)

Default avatar
32 years old
Dublin, Ireland
University College Dublin



I love monkeys, and it was great to work with them up close. IPR definitely has the best interests of the monkeys at heart, they don't stress them out with over handling but you do get to have monkey time every week where you can hang out with the friendliest monkeys for an hour or two! Most of the daily tasks involve giving the many monkeys their supplements, which is quite fun because they are cute little guys. All of the volunteers were lovely and friendly and helpful as well.

How can this program be improved?

We had a bushfire when I was there, and the firebreaks were breached. I would at least double the size of them, and have more water storage points, and make sure to regularly brief people on fire procedures and update the fire fighting infrastructure, no matter how boring a job it is for volunteers. If it saves monkey lives, not to mention people lives, it's definitely worth doing.

Default avatar
42 years old
Royal Holloway- University of London

Stay for as long as you possibly can!


I was nervous about travelling on my own but didn't need to worry. Between the wonderful staff and long term volunteers, & the family run Bosveld tours (who run the excursions & transfers) I couldn't have asked for more, & was treated like family, they did everything they could to make our stays amazing. Every excursion imaginable is available,& I can't wait to go back, armed with sturdy string, nuts and cable ties!
The owners, staff and friends of IPR are an inspiration and live for animals, every penny is spent on them. The facilities for humans as a result are basic but manageable. And rightly so. Take repellant, a net& a sleeping bag, and everything on their advice list! Volunteers are involved in every aspect of the animals care, and site maintenence/building. So you are able to bond with the animals and help ensure their future, & that of others. I can't recommend the programme enough, and I plan to go back repeatedly. I could babble for ages about my amazing time there, but in short, you should go! You won't regret it!

How can this program be improved?

Days off could be organised at a meeting to allow volunteers to book trips etc... I know the long termers were constantly being asked about days off. And although I didn't have any problems it might save some of their time and headaches!

Default avatar
42 years old
Bristol, UK

Monkey love!


I have volunteered here twice now. As a mature woman I first felt a little out of place as most other volunteers were university age, but this didn't last long. Everyone is really friendly and great lifelong friendships can be born.
Volunteers will have hands on experience with all aspects of work involved with these wonderful primates.
Sue Mousely is a small but mighty force of nature when it comes to the love and care of her charges.
It is a truly inspiring place to volunteer. I have already volunteered there twice and am saving to go again.

If you want to eat, sleep and breathe primates.....then this is the place for you.

Default avatar
32 years old
Massachusetts usa
Northwestern University

Incredible time!!!


i had an amazing time at IPR! These monkeys often come from very troubled backgrounds and volunteers are essential to their wellbeing and happiness. It is so rewarding to know you are making such a profound difference in thee lives. The staff and other volunteers were so friendly and fun. I made many new human and monkey friends!! I recommend this program to anyone looking to do something different that truly helps others!

Default avatar
24 years old

African memories


When we got to Johannesburg airport we were greeted by a lovely women who had our names on a card and she took us to the rescue centre. When we got to the rescue centre it was quiet late so everyone was in the living area playing games so we joined in trying to get to know all the other volunteers. The next day we got stuck in. Painting fences and feeding the animals. We met chino and he was lovely.while we stayed at IPR we helped build an area for 2 new monkeys agnushka and her son. We saw them arrive and it was beautiful. They did escape though and we had to make sure they didn't completely leave the trees around their enclosure. We fed and walked with lions and also went on a horseback safari. I wouldn't change my time here for the world and I'll be returning in 6 weeks and again next October. When you found a place like this it's hard to leave behind.

How can this program be improved?

The volunteers house was pretty poor but that may have got better and I'll be able to see in November. But you can't ask for luxury from a charity who doesn't have to put you up in the first place.

Default avatar
24 years old
Glasgow, Scotland
Glasgow Caledonian University



I first went to the sanctuary in 2012 straight after uni. Myself and a friend went over for 1 month but as soon as we arrived we wished we had booked for longer. In the time that I spent there I met people that I will cherish forever. The work at the sanctuary is hands on with high levels of involvement expected from all volunteers. You can see the impact that you are having and how you are improving the lives of the animals that you care for. As I went in July the first time, the threat bush fires was the main problem I faced however as everyone was so actively involved in the work, the problem was not too serious. I was also lucky enough to forge close bonds with several of the monkeys that I worked with. I went back to the sanctuary in September 2013 with my boyfriend (who I met at the sanctuary the year before). We both loved our time at IPR so much and even after 1 year we could see the difference in both the sanctuary itself and the animals. We know we'll definitely visit again to see the continuation of this great support centre.

How can this program be improved?

For improvement, I honestly don't know. The more I think about the sanctuary it just seemed to work very well the way it was.

Default avatar
24 years old
Manchester, England
University of Birmingham

Amazing chance to volunteer.


This is a real chance to come up and close with some amazing primates. You get the opportunity to build bonds with the animals and also meet some amazing people on the way. You sleep in a dorm with many other people from both sexes so you must be ok with that! It is important to remember that this isn't conservation, these animals will not be re-released as many of them have been raised for the pet trade or laboratory testing and have no experience of how to survive in the wild. You get an amazing feel of achievement when you know that you have increased the quality of life for so many primates in need.

How can this program be improved?

Limited internet makes it very difficult to communicate with family.

About The Provider


Our mission at International Primate Rescue is to provide a home for unwanted primates and to give them the best possible standard of care at our sanctuary. We also strive to provide help and awareness and educate people that wish to, or already own a