Volunteer in South Africa – Wild Cat Sanctuary
Free State, South Africa
Recently, I spent two weeks volunteering at the Wild Cat Sanctuary. Let me start by saying that two weeks was not enough time for me. This was an amazing place. I woke up every morning to lions roaring; and the first morning when I peeked out our bedroom window, I could see the “wild pride” (a pride of 10 lions) roaming outside in their enclosure. Right away you are put to work, but that is the point of volunteering. You are split into three groups, feeding (my personal favorite), water, and house. With feeding, you get to learn the diets of all of the animals, and when you feed, you get to learn the personalities of each and every one of the animals.
You will get to see such a wide variety of wildlife- lions, cheetahs, servals, caracals, monkeys, caracals, bat-eared foxes, black backed jackals, and a lovely little African wild cat. And of course, you cannot forget the family’s house cat (the toughest cat on the farm) and their four dogs who will be constant companions during your time there.
During my stay, we focused quite a bit on preparing the curio shop to be able to open to the public. We dug a lot of holes, planted a lot of plants, painted buildings, tiled and wired a bathroom, moved lots of rocks, and did a whole lot of landscaping. Unfortunately, I left the day before the curio shop was open to the public, but I heard from my friends who were still volunteering that it went amazing.
Another absolutely amazing thing is the people that you will meet on this trip. I met so many lifelong friends and so many were from all across the globe. When you meet these people and bond so much, you will feel like family by the end of the trip. I now know that if I ever want to travel somewhere where one of these friends live, I will find them willing to take me in. I would do the same for them if any of them came to where I live as well. The family who owns the facility are also seriously amazing and they became family to me. Every day you get fantastic home cooked meals prepared by the Burgers. You can really tell how much they care for their facility and the animals, and also the volunteers. They will make this place feel like home to you.
I would recommend this project to anyone for multiple reasons- but one main reason is that this facility is against captive bred hunting and canned hunting. It is a cat’s place for safety. They make sure that every single one of their animals is safe, well taken care of, and will lead a happily content life.
The family here is incredible, and I can even begin to say that they changed my life for the better. If you have any doubts about this place, let me assure you, you will not regret it. It is life changing, and it will become your family and your home away from home. – Kailin