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Golola Rhino Orphanage and Rehabilitation Centre

Help save Africa’s rhinos in a ‘big 5’ wildlife reserve

Just as conservationists fight to protect important wildlife populations, a UNESCO World Heritage Site protects the legacy of a particular place. Golola 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 big 5 reserve within a UNESCO protected site.

In the morning you could be training anti-poaching dogs in the bush. In the afternoon you might be surrounded by lions and elephants while monitoring rhinos back in the wild. And by night you could find yourself keeping close watch over a recently orphaned baby rhino, giving it milk and comfort until the sun breaks on a new day.

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.

Rhino Rating

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This tells you how physical the experience is. More >

3 out of 5 rhino rating
Category

Wildlife Care and Rehabilitation

Species

White rhino, black rhino, lion, cheetah, giraffe, elephant

Impact

Wildlife rehabilitation
Wildlife research and management
Rhino conservation

Country

  South Africa

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  • Highlights
  • Do
  • Learn
  • News
  • Costs

HIGHLIGHTS

Hands-on care for baby rhinos

From bottle-feeding an orphaned rhino calf to assisting with medical care there’s a chance to take part in every aspect of rhino rehabilitation. 

Work side-by-side with rhino experts

The project only take 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 in the big 5 reserve, to analysing dung for parasites there’s an opportunity to make a meaningful impact and share vital information to help protect rhinos in Africa.

Protection from poachers

With a qualified ranger and anti-poaching dog handler in the team, there’s a rewarding chance to learn new skills – both for the dogs and volunteers assisting in their training.

Monitor rhinos in a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The big 5 wildlife reserve and World Heritage Site is home to lions, leopards, cheetahs and elephants as well as rhinos. You will monitor the rehabilitated rhinos to ensure they integrate well, remain healthy and adapt well to their new environment.

A social setting

With project staff living on-site there is often an open fire in the evening and the chance to chat, share stories and take in the stars of the southern hemisphere.

DO

There aren’t many places in the world where you can gain hands-on experience with rhinos rehabilitation. The Golola Rhino Rehabilitation Project 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
  • Work as part of a team, keeping a baby rhino warm and calm throughout the day and night
  • Clean the rhino enclosures by mucking out, replacing hay and scrubbing feeding troughs
  • Create mud wallows for the rhinos to bathe in
  • Accompany staff exercising the rhinos in the bush
  • Be guided through vet nursing work, such as helping clean and dress a wound

Monitor rhinos in a big 5 reserve

Once they’re old enough, the rehabilitated rhinos are released into a big 5 wildlife reserve which is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Monitoring the interactions and success of the breeding populations across the site is another key part of rhino conservation work at this project.

  • Record data on breeding behaviour
  • Assess and record how well-rehabilitated rhinos are integrating into the existing rhino population and whether they are adapting to their new environment
  • See lions, leopards, giraffes, elephants and Africa’s other large charismatic animals in their natural habitat
  • Capture the moment with your perfect wildlife photo

Assist with scientific research

Conservationists are some of the few people who get excited about dung and the story it tells. But don’t worry, there’s more to research than just the animal droppings.

  • 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
  • Monitor baby rhinos’ milk intake, teeth development and physical growth

Work with anti-poaching dogs

Poaching is the primary reason for baby rhinos being orphaned. While you would never be tracking poachers, anti-poaching walks can provide useful information on poaching activity and an opportunity to learn about plants, birds and bushcraft along the way.

  • Work alongside a qualified ranger and dog handler
  • Help care for the anti-poaching dogs
  • Help train 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 and other African species 
  • 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 their reaction to large predators
COSTS

Our costs include:

Accommodation

Airport Meet & Greet

Transfers

24/7 Support

Personal Guidance

Cost Calculator

TOTAL COST: £0000

Looking for something bespoke?

You can volunteer at more than one project during your time in Africa. Please contact us for a bespoke quote including travel arrangements between locations.

Payment

Prices are subject to change but will be confirmed in writing at the time of booking.

My trip was quite unique as I was already in South Africa but having ACE do my planning and itinerary to make sure everything went smoothly was the best!

Every day was somehow better than the day before. And it’s not just being with the rhinos but also the relationships you make with the team.

Charlie Krekels, Review Photo, African Conservation Experience

Every experience is a unique one. You’re not going to get the same one as a person who will go three weeks before you, nor two weeks after you. Your experience is very much unique and just… go for it!

What Makes Us Different?

ACE have been operating as a conservation travel company since 1999

Southern Africa's original conservation travel company

We are qualified zoologists and conservationists

Personal guidance before you book

Join real wildlife conservation projects

Enjoy total peace of mind, with 24/7 in-country support

Empower vital conservation initiatives

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