A specialisation on rhino, plus any other animal that may come into centre, which could include carnivores, birds of prey, and antelope

Conservation Impact:

Wildlife Rehabilitation, Veterinary Nursing, Rhino Conservation



Care for Wild Africa is a busy wildlife rehabilitation centre with a specialisation in infant wildlife care. Due to their expertise, they are the only centre that the National Parks Board of South Africa uses for any rhinos that are orphaned in their parks including the Kruger National Park.

As a conservation traveller at Care for Wild Africa you will focus on caring for the animals at the centre, assisting the team with nutrition, rehabilitation and, where necessary, veterinary care. The centre is currently home to over 40 rhinos making it the largest rhino care centre and orphanage in Africa. The orphaned rhinos are of various ages, ranging from infants right through to young adults.

The project is set within a remote reserve in Southern Africa and is home to wild populations of giraffe, wildebeest, kudu, primates, hyena, and other species.

How you can help

  • Be part of a dedicated team that helps stabilise and integrate new young rhino calves into the population at the centre as fast & as successfully as possible
  • Provide animal care and husbandry to orphaned rhino
  • Assist with the treatment and care of injured animals
  • Learn about monitoring and socialising the older rhino
  • Get your hands dirty with designing, building, cleaning and maintaining wildlife enclosures
  • Help out with habitat management in the wildlife reserve surrounding Care for Wild Africa

Your Role


Care for Wild Africa is situated on a beautiful game reserve, in the picturesque Krokodilpoort Mountains of the Mpumalanga province. With vast experience in the care and conservation of wild animals, you will work alongside experienced coordinators and the team, focusing on caring for orphaned rhinos, but also looking after a variety of other wildlife species that have been entrusted to the centre. This project allows you to learn in depth about hand rearing and infant care as you work closely with rhinos and other species. During your placement you’ll be living with other volunteers in a designated volunteer camp in the heart of the South African bush.


Caring for young wildlife

To hand rear and rehabilitate a wild animal means to return an animal back into its natural habitat in such a condition that the animal can, initially, survive the elements and re enter a social hierarchy that may already be established. The ultimate objective, in successful rehabilitation, is for that individual animal to breed and pass its genes into the wild population.

The nursing, care and management of these animals requires intimate knowledge of their requirements and habits of the various species, as well as an understanding and ability to adapt those requirements to a captive and compromised condition.

As a conservation volunteer you will learn the processes involved and become responsible for the continued development of the animals being hand reared. You will take responsibility for the precise preparation of the formula for the youngest animals which are being care for. You will also do the bottle-feeding and keep careful records of feeding behaviour, weight gain and development of individual animals.

Rehabilitation, treatment and care of injured animals

Most animals arrive at a wildlife rehabilitation centre with some level of injury and or trauma. The baby rhino in particular arrive at Care for Wild Africa in a critical condition: They are severely traumatised, having suffered the loss of their mother, attacks by poachers and predators and the stress of being darted and transported to Care for Wild Africa.

Many animals require veterinary treatment for wounds and infections, as well as a period of intensive care on arrival so you are likely to be involved in some veterinary nursing.

Rhino monitoring and socialisation

The older rhinos are moved into large “bomas” (enclosures) where they are socialised with other rhinos. You will monitor the rhino groups to determine compatibility of the individuals, and to observe their feeding behaviour in order to anticipate any complications.

Start of Rehabilitation Back Into the Wild

The young adult rhinos are accompanied out of the centre and into the reserve with specialist staff who shadow them for protection the entire day. The animals only return back to the centre at night. This is a vital step in the process of the animals going back to the wild permanently.

Lectures on hand rearing and infant care

Care for Wild Africa’s founder and coordinator will provide detailed lectures on the theory behind hand rearing and infant care.

The nutritional requirements of the species will be covered as a main topic crucial to their needs, and how these can be adapted in an abnormal environment.


Continual development of the care facility

Care for Wild Africa relies on conservation travellers like you to support the centre and assist in its continual development through your funding and the building and design of new enclosures.

Reserve management

Game walks in the wildlife conservancy.

At times you may be involved in enriching the species’ environment to increase biodiversity.

Conservation Value

Care for Wild Africa specialises on the hand-rearing and rehabilitation of orphaned rhino calves. The escalating rate of rhino poaching is taking a huge toll on South Africa’s rhinos, leaving behind many orphaned calves as their mothers are killed by poachers. This has created a real need for a facility that provides specialist care for the traumatised and injured infant rhinos. The team at Care for Wild Africa are using their considerable experience and expertise to provide the best possible care for the orphaned rhinos until they can be released into safe reserves. You are directly involved in fulfilling these aims and in the continuing development of the wildlife centre, accredited by the NSPCA and the National Parks Board of South Africa.

“ACE provides both the funds and the hands to achieve our aims through volunteers. Simply put, without them we would not exist.” – Petronel Niewoud, Founder Care for Wild Africa

Our partner conservation projects do not condone “cub cuddling”: While the wildlife rehabilitation centres provide sanctuary to some predators, they do not breed predators in captivity. Please read our detailed document on “Responsible Predator Conservation” through the link below to find out more about the predators you might encounter at your chosen wildlife rehabilitation project, including why they are there and what your involvement would be.


Prices And Dates

Placement Dates

Subject to availability, you can join Care for Wild Africa any week of the year.

Placements in 2017 run from Tuesday-Tuesday in South Africa, or Monday-Wednesday from London.

Placement Fees

Duration £ / Including London – Johannesburg flights £ / Excluding flights US$ / Excluding flights
2 Weeks 3,100 2,220 2,885
3 Weeks 3,760 2,880 3,745
4 Weeks 4,370 3,490 4,535
5 Weeks 4,970 4,090 5,315
6 Weeks 5,580 4,700 6,110
7 Weeks 6,755 5,300 6,890
8 Weeks 6,780 5,900 7,670
9 Weeks 7,390 6,515 8,470
10 Weeks 8,000 7,120 9,255
11 Weeks 8,600 7,725 10,045
12 Weeks 9,220 8,340 10,840


NOTE: “2 weeks” duration refers to the length of stay at the project. Therefore, a “2 week” flight inclusive placement is actually 17 days including travel days.

Prices include accommodation, meals, transfers from Johannesburg airport, 24/7 support and financial contributions to the project. Prices are subject to change but will be confirmed in writing at the time of booking.

We also accept payment in EUR, CAD, AUD and ZAR. Please ask us for a quote, subject to exchange rates at the time.

You are welcome to join two or more projects during your stay. These placements are more complicated as they include travel arrangements between the projects, so please ask us for a quote for your desired project combination.

Rhino Rating

What is a “Rhino Rating”?

The “Rhino Rating” is our way of ranking a project in terms of how challenging it is – both physically and in terms of culture shock, comfort levels and skills required. Please refer to the “Rhino Ratings Explained” section for the general criteria for each rhino rating. The paragraph below explains the method behind our madness in choosing the rhino rating for this particular project.

Why does this project have a “4 rhino” rating?

Care for Wild Africa is best suited to participants with a good level of fitness, physical ability and personal resilience. The centre is sprawled out across a nature reserve in hilly terrain. You will be walking up and down a steep hill, carrying bottles of milk formula, to get to the rhino enclosures several times a day. The rhino calves themselves can be boisterous and a handful. You will be on your feet and physically active for most of the day, as there are a lot of animals to care for. In addition, you might need to get up during the middle of the night to feed the baby rhino. Accommodation is in shared cabins with little privacy. Electricity is available for most of the time but hot water supply can be intermittent. A placement at Care for Wild is physically, as well as emotionally, tiring as you might deal with some challenging situations when badly damaged baby rhinos need care.


Discover more about the Care For Wild Africa experience by watching this video.


Care for Wild Africa volunteer testimonial

Hear from ACE volunteer Anna Smith about her Care for Wild Africa experience


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