You can volunteer at LIONSROCK from January to November for a minimum of 4 weeks. Arrival day is a Monday.
For more information call Anne on +44 (0) 1892 770771. Alternatively email

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Return the King of the Jungle to his pride

Can I hug a lion cub?

Read this blog article first if you are thinking of hugging lion cubs in South Africa.

Devote your time to the King of the Beasts, living and volunteering in South Africa's largest big cat sanctuary, situated against a backdrop of magnificent mountains and with spectacular views of the South African savannah. You will become a part of the important work taking place at LIONSROCK, run by FOUR PAWS international animal welfare charity and home to over 80 lions, tigers, leopards and other large cats.

You will need to be passionate about animal welfare to take part in this project, with plenty of experience or education in this field. This is a great opportunity for people studying biology, zoology or animal management, or who have had experience of hands on animal care. It is important that you have a strong knowledge base from the outset to help you settle in to the day to day routine, and to build successfully on that experience. This is a fantastic opportunity for those looking to learn and contribute at the same time.

Be surrounded by lions and other majestic big cats from the word go- wake up to the roar of the lions, and open your curtains to see the lions basking in the warm African sun as it rises over the sanctuary. Your contribution as a volunteer is essential to improving the conditions for these majestic creatures. Rescued from appalling conditions either in cramped enclosures in zoos or saved from the hands of hunters in canned hunting farms, the freedom that the lions experience arriving at LIONSROCK is something that they will never before have tasted. For many, it is the first time that they can properly stretch their limbs, let alone run, and the first time to feel grass under their feet.

You will be helping with the important research being carried out here, much of which helps towards further improving conditions for the lions and encouraging their natural instincts. As well as contributing to some valuable rescue and rehabilitation work you will witness and be involved in the extraordinary and complex work for animal welfare.

You will also enjoy some of the best countryside South Africa has to offer. The sanctuary is situated against a backdrop of magnificent mountains, with spectacular views of the Eastern Free State Plains below. The accommodation, complete with swimming pool access, is some of the best volunteer accommodation that Oyster has to offer in the world!


Watch the Oyster video


What will I be doing?

Work at the sanctuary involves caring for the lions and other big cats, monitoring their progress and behaviour, helping with visitor education and refreshments, administration and maintenance work. Typical tasks include:

  • helping out with the bi-weekly sanctuary feeding
  • observing the behaviour of the lions and the progress of any new arrivals
  • helping with any medical treatments required
  • building new structures for enclosures and helping with maintenance work
  • helping with game drives and guided horseback tours for guests
  • getting involved with the other activities at the lodge, such as the reservation departments, presentation, accommodation, conferences, weddings, hiking trails and more
  • marketing activity, like brochure distribution to local towns and the surrounding area
  • guiding school children as part of their education program

It's a great opportunity for someone who has a keen interest in big cats, enjoys being part of a team and is prepared to get involved in all aspects of conservation work. You will need to have a keen interest in animal welfare, either studying a relevant subject or with hands on experience with animals.

Getting there

You fly in to Johannesburg, where you will be met and taken up to the sanctuary. The drive is three hours long through beautiful South African scenery- look out for the wildlife!

Highlights- what will I get out of this?

  • Becoming part of a real conservation programme and getting to know the complex issues surrounding mistreated animals
  • Get some great first hand experience of animal welfare and animal management- perfect for those looking for some experience alongside their studies
  • Live on site with the lions, tigers, cheetah and leopards right nearby.
  • Making great, and sometimes lifelong friends
  • Enjoy the stunning experience of a South African sunset, from the top of the LIONSROCK mountain or over the sanctuary itself
  • Become part of an international charity's effort to improve the welfare of abused animals worldwide.

Accommodation and food

You stay in comfortable, brand new accommodation located at the heart of the sanctuary with other volunteers and some staff. The house boasts wifi, electric blankets on the beds, a fully equipped kitchen and bathroom, and views out over the lions. There is plenty of space to relax, to get involved with cooking a good South African braai and even swimming in the on-site swimming pool. If you don't fancy cooking, you can enjoy discounts at the LIONSROCK lodge restaurant.

Cost and what is provided?

1395 for 4 weeks. Additional weeks cost 215 p/w. Special discounts for 8 weeks +

What is Provided?

  • Phone or face-to-face interview and detailed briefing
  • Advice on visa requirements
  • Help and advice from our UK office before departure and whilst away
  • Pre-arranged voluntary work at the park with accommodation and food
  • ATOL financial protection
  • Being met at Johannesburg airport and taken to your accommodation
  • Return transport to the airport in time for your flight
  • Free access to InterHealth's Travel Health Advice Service
  • Free myTsafe secure document storage account - worth 39!

What do I need?

  • A passport valid for 6 months beyond the end of your placement
  • Insurance - we recommend you a policy
  • Pocket money - eating out, trips etc
  • Warm outdoor clothing for the evenings
  • Funds for any independent travel
  • Flights to Johannesburg (JNB). We can help organise these.

Combine two South Africa projects and save 50 Find out more...

All the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it.Please see our booking conditions for further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to:
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