Golola Rhino Orphanage And Rehabilitation Centre

Help save Africa’s rhinos.

Just as conservationists fight to protect important wildlife populations, a UNESCO World Heritage Site protects the legacy of a particular place. Golola Rhino Orphanage And Rehabilitation Centre offers you the chance to be part of both these stories. You’ll gain hands-on experience caring for orphaned or injured baby rhinos and monitor those released in a wildlife reserve within a UNESCO-protected site.

In the morning you could be observing the training of an anti-poaching dog. In the afternoon you might be surrounded by wildebeest and zebra while monitoring rhinos successfully released back into the wild. And by night you could find yourself bottle feeding a recently orphaned baby rhino as it starts its rehabilitation journey.

With one-on-one supervision from a knowledgeable team of zoologists, conservationists and researchers, you’ll be actively involved in every detail of rhino rehabilitation.

Find out more in the video below - you can click 'CC' for subtitles and find chapters in the progress bar!

ACE volunteer bottle feeding a rhino calf, close up, The Rhino Orphanage

The person interacting with the rescued rhino in the background of the video (at 05:12), is a qualified animal physiotherapist who committed to working with the baby rhino for a three-month period.

Rhino Rating Tells you how physical the experience is. Click to find out more.

This project has a "Rhino Rating" of 3

Species

  • Rhino
  • Giraffe
  • Warthog
  • Zebra
  • and many more.

Conservation Impact

  • Wildlife rehabilitation
  • Wildlife research and management
  • Rhino conservation

Country

🇿🇦 South Africa

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Highlights

Hands-on care for baby rhinos

From bottle-feeding an orphaned rhino calf to assisting with monitoring rhinos successfully released back into the wild there’s a chance to take part in every aspect of rhino rehabilitation.

Work side-by-side with rhino experts

The project only takes a few volunteers at a time, so you have a chance to work directly with professionals. As part of a small team, you’ll have a valuable role and be welcomed as part of the project staff.

Research that really counts

The research this project does is vital. From monitoring rehabilitated rhinos to the taking of blood samples there’s an opportunity to make a meaningful impact and share vital information to help protect rhinos in Africa.

Monitor rhinos in a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The wildlife reserve and World Heritage Site is home to giraffes, zebra, warthogs, and elusive leopards, as well as rhinos. You will monitor the rehabilitated rhinos to ensure they integrate socially, remain healthy and adapt well to their new environment.

A social setting

With project staff living on-site, there is the chance to chat, share stories and take in the stars of the southern hemisphere at night.

Do

There aren’t many places in the world where you can gain hands-on experience with rhino rehabilitation. Golola Rhino Orphanage And Rehabilitation Centre offers just that, under the guidance of skilled professionals with extensive knowledge and passion to share. You will be an integral part of this small team assisting with the daily care and monitoring of white and black rhinos:

Care for baby rhinos

Many of the orphaned rhinos are injured and emotionally distressed on arrival at the project. You’ll help to care for and rehabilitate them so that they can eventually be released back into nature.

  • Prepare milk formula and bottle feed the baby rhinos
  • Saw off branches with fresh leaves for the black rhinos and put out grass for the white rhinos
  • Clean the rhino enclosures by mucking out, replacing hay and scrubbing feeding troughs
  • Create mud wallows for the rhinos to bathe in
  • Accompany staff on walks in the wildlife reserve
  • Observe as the staff train anti-poaching dogs which help to protect the baby rhinos

Monitor rhinos in a UNESCO World Heritage reserve

Once they’re old enough, the rehabilitated rhinos are released into the surrounding wildlife reserve which is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Monitoring the rehabilitated rhinos on a daily basis is another key part of rhino conservation work at this project.

  • Assess and record how well-rehabilitated rhinos are integrating into the existing rhino population and whether they are adapting to their new environment
  • See giraffes, wildebeest, zebras, and comical warthogs as well as many other animals in their natural habitat
  • Capture the moment with your perfect wildlife photo

Assist with scientific research

The project is part of a team doing a number of long-term scientific studies into rhino health and development.

  • Observe a veterinarian taking blood samples to measure things like oxygen and glucose content, useful indicators of rhino health 
  • Look at rhino dung under a microscope and record the numbers and species of parasites, another health indicator

Observe the training of anti-poaching dogs

Poaching is the primary reason for baby rhinos being orphaned. Anti-poaching dogs are very successful in deterring poachers.

  • Work alongside a qualified dog handler
  • Help care for the anti-poaching dogs
  • Observe the training of the dogs to look for signs of poachers

Learn

Alongside a ton of practical experience (see the ‘Do’ tab for details), you’ll learn first-hand about the behaviour, threats, conservation, protection and ecology of rhinos.

Conservation

  • The reasons rhinos are being poached in southern Africa
  • The role of the rehabilitation centre
  • The process of rescuing orphaned rhino calves 
  • How to provide the best care for orphaned baby rhinos
  • The role of rangers and anti-poaching dogs

Ecology

  • Ecological factors affecting rhinos 
  • How rhinos fit in the wider ecosystem as an ‘umbrella species’

Biology

  • The differences between white and black rhino
  • Rhino physiology
  • The diet of white and black rhinos in the wild and in rehabilitation centres

Behaviour

  • Creating a stimulating environment for orphaned rhinos before they are released 
  • The way rhinos communicate and interact with each other
  • How orphaned rhinos integrate back into the wild, for example, their breeding behaviour and social structure

Costs

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

Cost Calculator

Total Cost: GBP 0000