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Key Facts

Program Focus:

Primate care and rehabilitation


Nr Tzaneen, South Africa


From £540

Reserve Your Place

Volunteer World International are proud to offer the opportunity to our volunteers to spend time at one of the largest centres of its type in the world and undertake hugely rewarding and massively beneficial work wholly geared towards the conservation and preservation of these amazing primates – welcome to the first step towards volunteering with VWI at the Vervet Monkey Foundation and the life changing experiences that are possible as a result!

Founded in 1993, The Vervet Monkey Foundation are a South African NPO (Non Profit Organisation) and were one of the first animal organisations in South Africa to have developed a volunteer program and benefitted from international volunteer visits!  The Foundation was initiated by its committed founders with the purposes of providing sanctuary to non releaseable Vervets and rehabilitation back into the wild for individuals with the ability to survive be they orphaned, injured, abused, ex-laboratory or unwanted pets and has grown to such an extent that today, the sanctuary now look after in excess of 500 animals at any given time!

The work undertaken by volunteers here is invaluable to the sanctuary, massively beneficial and hugely appreciated by the staff and primates with whom you will find yourself working – this leads to a real family atmosphere in and around the program and one our volunteers can be proud to be a part of!  All work carried out at the foundation by volunteers is integral to the successful day-to-day running of the centre and essential to the ongoing care of the animals – the Vervet Monkey Foundation have developed strict protocols that ensure maximum possible chance of release back into the wild for appropriate animals and thus volunteers can be guaranteed that volunteering here does indeed have substantial beneficial effects with regards to the ongoing conservation of this amazing and intelligent species within South Africa.

The Vervet Monkey Fondation is not just an amazing sanctuary to work with, the location of the project also offers volunteers a huge array of entertaining activities to take part in on days off.  Situated near Tzaneen in the Limpopo province to the North East corner of South Africa, the foundation finds itself just a short drive away from the world famous Kruger Park and all that it has to offer in the midst of some of the most dramatic, breathtaking scenery and game viewing to be found anywhere in the world!

Teamwork is a hugely important factor to the success of the sanctuary in their goals and volunteers can be assured that they will be welcomed into this for a volunteer experience that will create memories and friends that will last forever.  With hugely rewarding, occasionally heart wrenching work, a great family environment, perfect location and the knowledge that your time will create immeasurable benefit to the sanctuary and ongoing conservation of Vervet populations, you will not find a more rewarding project to visit anywhere in South Africa and all backed by VWIs promise of 24/7, complete, knowledgeable in country support!  Find out more about the tasks you will be involved in on our ‘Project Details’ tab – we look forward to seeing you soon!

  • Volunteering at the Vervet Monkey Foundation is a must for anyone with a passion for primates wanting to assist in the care and rehabilitation of these remarkable animals.

    The day to day experiences available to volunteers at the Vervet Monkey Foundation have the potential to change visitors lives forever through hands on interaction and involvement with the animals, below are just a few of the reasons volunteers here return year after year and gain such a sense of fulfilment from their visits:

      • Make a real difference by assisting in the ongoing care and rehabilitation of sick, injured and orphaned Vervet Monkeys
      • Work directly with the animals forming indescribable bonds with them
      • Assist with the daily preparation of feed for the up to 500 animals under the centres care at any given time
      • Learn about rehabilitation protocols giving the animals under the Foundations care the maximum chance of successful release back into the wild
      • Become a valued, essential and hugely important part of the Foundations ongoing work – the Vervet Monkey Foundation relies hugely on the energy and enthusiasm supplied by volunteers to care for the huge number of animals under their care at any given time!

    Volunteering at the Vervet Monkey Foundation affords volunteers access to some of the most rewarding experiences imaginable and the genuine opportunity to support the heartwarming work undertaken at this amazing centre.  For anyone with an interest in primates, this is a volunteer opportunity that really is too good to miss!

    Download the full project fact file here for an in-depth breakdown of the experiences available to volunteers choosing the Vervet Monkey Foundation Volunteer Program!

    Volunteer With Vervet Monkeys South Africa

  • The Vervet Monkey Foundation Volunteer Program in conjunction with Volunteer World International truly represents one of the premier opportunities within South Africa to work with and make a genuine long lasting difference to primate preservation and conservation.

    Volunteering at the Vervet Monkey Foundation will see you on call at all times to look after the 500 plus monkeys within the care of the foundation and undertaking work that will be hard, challenging but also some of the most rewarding available anywhere.  The ‘average’ working day will be around 8 hours depending on the time of year though this can fluctuate dependent of the needs of the Foundation – ‘Baby Season’ (November to February) is an exceptionally busy time that will see volunteers hugely involved with rearing of the baby monkeys – nearly all of whom are orphaned and often traumatised.   Volunteers will have 1 day off per week which is free time to either relax, explore the local Kruger Park and amazing local scenery or simply take a trip into Tzaneen to pick up supplies.  Providing sufficient people are available to care for the monkeys, volunteers will also have an extra 1/2 day at the weekend to partake in organised trips to local attractions such as the waterfalls or local tea gardens – great ways to get to know your fellow volunteers and relax under the African sun!

    Staying for 4 weeks or longer?  If so, and again providing enough people are available to care for the monkeys, you will also receive ‘touring days’ (equivalent to 1 per week) which can be used all together to take extended tours in to the Kruger or anywhere else on your ‘to-do list’!

    Choosing to volunteer with VWI at the Vervet Monkey Foundation will see you becoming part of a family – a valued part of and working with a hugely close knit team of caring and dedicated staff and volunteers all committed to the sole purpose through their daily tasks of the preservation and conservation of these amazingly intelligent animals.  As an integral part of the Foundations ongoing work, volunteers will be involved in all aspects of the day-to-day operations leading to a fantastically engaging and rewarding experience – you may see yourself involved in any of the below activities:


    • Cooking at weekends for volunteers
    • Cleaning monkey cages, washing feed bowls & plates and cleaning blankets
    • Assisting with introductions and rehabilitation of new monkeys.
    • Assisting with basic medical practices and administering medications.
    • Clearing vegetation for fire breaks, looking after the volunteer village.
    • Assisting with education outreach programs
    • Participating in fundraising, newsletters etc.  Computer and graphic design skills are much valued and will always be hugely appreciated!


    • On a daily basis, volunteers will assist in preperation of the ‘main feed’ and feeding of all the monkeys in the sancutary.  This process includes preparation of the food bowls, cutting, washing and sharing of the fruit and vegetables equally prior to distribution to the vervets.
    • Collection of fruits and seeds from local indigenous trees to include in the Vervets diets.
    • Through the feeding process, ensuring that all residents receive an equal share – a challenging but often fun task!

    ‘Monkey Monitoring’

    • Possibly the most important activity you will become involved in at the sanctuary.  Volunteers assist in observing all of the Vervets checking for injuries, sickness or signs of stress and reporting findings back to the experts – many eyes ensure that all of the animals are in the best health possible and any ailments can be dealt with in the fastest possible time, minimising any suffering endured by the monkeys.
    • Monitoring of the Vervets is a daily task and is undertaken on a 2 to 3 day shift rotation by volunteers to ensure continuity of observation.

    Baby Season (November to February)*

    • During this time, volunteers may also have the privilege of working with the baby monkeys – nearly all of whom are orphaned and traumatised.
    • Under the Foundations strict rehabilitation protocols and to ensure maximum chance of successful release into the wild, volunteers will assist in introducing the babies to foster mothers and creche groups and assuring each baby is stabilised, healthy and able to drink from a bottle when handled.
    • Rehabilitation of the babies will also involve handling them in the outdoor playpen, mixing bottles of milk, preparing foods and administering medicine when required.  Feeding and monitoring is maintained throughout the day to ensure their progress is constantly monitored.

    * Warning!  The baby Vervets are like small children and will take great pleasure in urinating and defecating on you without any remorse whatsoever – as such old clothes are definitely recommended!  Volunteers must also note that the Vervets are wild animals and a few ‘nips’ are to be expected while they play!

    Juvenile Season (March to October)

    • During this time, volunteers may see and work with juniors being integrated into a troop within the rehabilitation program, again under strict protocols.
    • Volunteers during this time may also see viable troops released into protected reserves – integrating them back into their natural environments and the wild – ultimately where these hugely intelligent primates belong

    Volunteers are genuinely the ‘lifeblood’ of the Foundation who genuinely appreciate the contribution and benefit that volunteers bring with them.  In return, the Vervet Monkey Foundation offer a hugely rewarding and never to be forgotten experience with the ability to develop an in depth understanding of the monkeys ongoing welfare, conservation, social structure and emotions that will bond you to their world.  Longer term volunteers very often develop bonds with the individuals they rehabilitate – an experience sure to leave its mark on all who visit this amazing centre.

    Remember, places are limited so book early to avoid disaappointment and make a real contribution to the preservation of these amazing primates!

  • Located in South Africas Northern Province near the small town of Tzaneen around 400 kms North of Johannesburg, the Vervet Monkey Foundation enjoys an amazing location and a great year round temperate climate, right on the outskirts of the world famous Kruger National Park.

    The list of natural attractions in the area is virtually endless providing some of the most dramatic scenery and photo opportunities to be found anywhere in the world – Blyde River Canyon and Debengeni Waterfalls are just a couple of examples, even visit the largest Baobab tree to be found anywhere and this is not to mention the never ending array of possibilities afforded to visitors at the nearby Kruger Park!

    With a great year round climate, great location and the hugely uplifting and rewarding volunteer experiences available to all at the Vervet Monkey Foundation – there really is no better program available anywhere for anyone interested in primate care and rehabilitation!

  • Situated only approximately 1 hours drive from the world famous Kruger Park, volunteers at the Vervet Monkey Foundation will never be short of something to do on their days off – the only problem will come in deciding exactly what to do in the short time available!

    • Visit the small, local town of Tzaneen to pick up supplies and soak up some local South African culture
    • Take part in a game drive or tour around the world famous Kruger National Park and see South Africas famous ‘Big 5′
    • Visit the local country lodge for a pampering session at the spa or sit by the pool and bar and top up the suntan.
    • Visit Blyde Riven Canyon – a stunning spectacle to visit and one of the largest canyons to be found anywhere in the world!
    • Bourke’s Luck Potholes – another truly spectacular local natural feature well worth a visit for some truly amazing photos!
    • A trip to Gods Window – as the name suggests, a lookout point over the lowveld with views that will take your breath away!
    • The project team at the VMF will be more than happy to advise further on local attractions and ‘things-to-do’ in the region and are able to book tours for you through qualified local tourguides who will collect you directly from your accommodation – activities in your freetime are only limited by your imagination!

    And remember, VWI remain on hand even during your stay to assist with any advice or assistance you may require regarding things to do and we are always willing to help with advice and booking of excursions both locally to the project and further afield within South Africa as required!

  • Volunteer World International are committed to only offering the greatest volunteer opportunities available within South Africa at affordable prices we are confident will not be beaten.

    Find cheaper pricing for the same experience offering the same level of service with any other volunteer company, let us know and we WILL match it and remember, for bookings of 2 people or more, you are instantly entitled to 5% off the total value of your placement as a ‘thank you’ from VWI!

      GB£ US$ EU€ CA$ AU$
    2 Weeks GB£540US$875EU€675CA$995AU$995
    4 Weeks GB£680US$1095EU€845CA$1245AU$1245
    6 Weeks GB£940US$1525EU€1145CA$1695AU$1695

    Whats Included

    • Accommodation in shared ‘cabin’ style huts onsite at the centre
    • All Meals (please note that all meals are prepared on a vegan and animal friendly basis – a big hit with existing and previous volunteers!)
    • Dedicated coordinator for the duration of your stay at the Vervet Monkey Foundation
    • All activities whilst on the project

    Not Included

    • International Flights and Visas
    • *Airport Transfers (transfers and overnight accommodation in Johannesburg can be arranged as optional extras if required)
    • Gifts, additional entertainment and beverages (unless otherwise detailed)
    • Insurance (Fully comprehensive travel insurance is a condition of booking)
    • Monthly stipend

    *Why do we not include airport transfers in our pricing?  Through experience, we know many of our volunteers wish to travel South Africa before/after their programs so including costs for transfers in the pricing would represent wasted funds should this be the case.  By not including a cost for airport transfers and offering this separately, we strongly believe we offer our volunteers the maximum choice and transparency over pricing.

    The Vervet Monkey Foundation (VMF) Volunteer Program accepts new volunteers every Monday though all volunteers should aim to arrive to Johannesburg on the preceeding Sunday for onward transport to Tzaneen and VMF on the Monday.  VWI will happily arrange a complete package for you from your international flight arrival into South Africa inclusive of all accommodation and transfers prior to arrival at the project if required – let us know in your application and we will advise on appropriate accommodation for your visit and book transfers to and from the project as required!

    Note: VWI uses Paypal to issue all our invoices – should you require a quotation in a currency not listed above, please contact us detailing your requirements!


    Volunteer in South Africa Booking Process

    Booking with VWI is as easy as 1-2-3 and a great hassle and obligation free way to start planning your dream vacation to South Africa!

    Once you have decided on the project(s) you would like to visit, fill in our simple application form to get the ball in motion.  We will then confirm availability back to you within 24 hrs of receipt of your enquiry together with a quotation and hold a reservation with your chosen projects for 7 days.  Once you are completely happy with your itinerary, simply pay a minimum 20% deposit to reserve your placement and then start planning and looking forward to the vacation of a lifetime with us here in South Africa!

    So, youve found your ideal project – now click the below button and take the first step towards the volunteering adventure of a lifetime!

    Apply Now

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