Care for Wild Africa Rhino Sanctuary

Roll up your sleeves and help save Africa’s rhino population.

Surrounded by 7,500 acres (3,000ha) of wildlife reserve, Care for Wild Africa Rhino Sanctuary is one of the largest – and arguably the most successful – rhino sanctuaries in the world. Its gates are closed to tourists but this experience gives you the opportunity to live and work inside this renowned wildlife conservation project.

From treating injured animals to bottle-feeding orphaned calves, you’ll find yourself working hands-on in Africa’s fight to save the rhino. Spending time up close with amazing creatures, you’ll also get an unrivalled insight into their behaviour and individual personalities.

As well as rhino, Care for Wild Africa Rhino Sanctuary looks after many other species, so you could also find yourself helping to care for hippo, lions, meerkats, antelope and even birds of prey among others. All the time, you’ll be learning about wildlife care from leading conservationists.

A baby rhino galloping

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This project has a "Rhino Rating" of 4


  • Rhino
  • Lion
  • Hippopotamus
  • Antelope
  • and many more.

Conservation Impact

  • Wildlife rehabilitation
  • Veterinary nursing
  • Rhino conservation


🇿🇦 South Africa

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No tourists 

Care for Wild Africa Rhino Sanctuary is a private wildlife rehabilitation centre that exists solely to provide the best possible care for animals. It doesn’t admit paying visitors or safari tours.

Rhino specialists

Care for Wild Africa Rhino Sanctuary’s project leader Petronel Nieuwoudt is one of the world’s leading experts in the rehabilitation of rhino, with an excellent track record of releasing animals successfully into the wild.

Fully accredited

Care for Wild Africa Rhino Sanctuary is the only rhino rehabilitation centre accredited by the National Parks board of South Africa.

Excellent location

Just 3.5 hours from Johannesburg and only half an hour from the provincial capital, Mbombela (Nelspruit), Care for Wild Africa Rhino Sanctuary has easy access to all the facilities of a major city. However, it’s also surrounded by 7,500 acres (3,000ha) of wilderness, giving you the feeling of true isolation.

Anti-poaching patrols

Care for Wild Africa Rhino Sanctuary’s horseback and dog anti-poaching unit are based on-site, giving the project broader conservation impact across the local region.


As a volunteer at Care for Wild Africa Rhino Sanctuary your role will be very hands-on. Depending on the animals being cared for and your areas of interest, you’ll get involved in many activities.

This is how you will help:

Rehabilitation, care and husbandry

As part of a dedicated team, you’ll help get animals back to full health and begin their long journey towards release back into the wild. Where a successful release is not possible, you’ll instead help to create a sanctuary for the animals to stay as long-term residents.

  • Provide animal care and husbandry for orphaned rhino
  • Prepare animal feeds and provide hands-on help with feeding
  • Stabilise newly arrived orphaned calves and assist in emergency medical support
  • Integrate stabilised calves into a group of similar-aged individuals
  • Enrich animals’ lives through fitness, play and creating a natural setting in captivity
  • Occasionally assist in bringing older rhinos that spend the day in the wild back to the protection of the centre for the night
  • Participate in the vital daily routine of the centre, including mucking out the animals’ living spaces, cleaning their water troughs and the bottles used to feed rhino calves

Research, monitoring and practical conservation work

Volunteers like you are vital to the success and day-to-day running of Care for Wild.

  • Get your hands dirty cleaning and maintaining wildlife enclosures
  • Monitor the social dynamics within the rhino groups
  • Assist with researching rhino stress hormone levels (seasonal)

Veterinary nursing

Most animals arrive at wildlife rehabilitation centres with some level of injury or trauma. Baby rhino in particular arrive severely traumatised, having suffered the loss of their mother, attacks by poachers and predators. Depending on your level of experience, you’ll work as a vet or nursing assistant to treat wounds and infections, as well as providing intensive care.

  • Assist with the treatment and care of injured animals
  • Help dress wounds, give medical treatment and monitor sick animals
  • Remove ticks by hand and apply insecticides
  • Perform regular health checks
  • Help prepare a nutritious diet

Caring for young wildlife

Care for Wild Africa Rhino Sanctuary’s committed and experienced team will provide detailed lectures on the theory behind hand-rearing and infant care. You’ll also take responsibility for the development of individual baby rhino.

  • Assist the conservation team in hand-rearing orphaned rhinos and other animals
  • Prepare milk formula for the youngest animals
  • Bottle-feed young rhino and keep records of feeding behaviour, weight gain and development
  • Assist with the integration of young rhinos into a crash (the collective noun for a group of rhino)


As well as gaining all kinds of practical work experience (which you can read about under the ‘do’ tab), you’ll learn about the behaviour, biology and conservation of rhino and other species.


  • Rhino poaching and the crisis of orphaned calves in the Kruger National Park
  • Rhino rescue operations
  • The reasons for the decline of the species
  • The role of the National Parks Board in protecting preserved areas
  • Research the most effective rehabilitation strategies


  • The natural environment for rhino and other African species
  • The vital role rhino play in the wider ecosystem as an ‘umbrella species’


  • The biology and differences between African white and black rhino
  • Rhino physiology
  • How rhino groups interact in the wild
  • The natural diet of white and black rhinos in the wild


  • The behaviour of rhino in the wild as well as in captivity
  • How to create an emotionally suitable environment for orphaned rhino
  • How rhinos communicate and interact with each other


Can I volunteer at more than one project and how much will it cost?

Most of our travellers like to combine multiple projects to create a tailor-made trip. The combined price of projects is cheaper than the individual projects added up online. 

We offer combinations of conservation projects, transport between them, accommodation and travel insurance as you require. We are a travel operator, not an agent, which means we take full responsibility for your trip which will be financially protected through ABTA and ATOL.

We will discuss your options and tailor your experiences so you can realise your dreams.

How do I book?

Your journey to Africa starts with our online application form. This is your chance to tell us about yourself and what you want from your African experience. Following our communication, we’ll send you a bespoke itinerary and quote. Then, you only need to pay a deposit amount of GBP 295 / USD 400 / CAD 500 / AUD 500 / EUR 350 to book your entire trip.

The cost below for this experience includes:

  • Accommodation

  • Airport Meet & Greet

  • Transfers

  • 24/7 Support

  • Personal Guidance

  • Meals

Cost Calculator

Total Cost: GBP 0000