All year round from just 10 days to 3 months. Arrival day is a Monday, however this can be flexible
For more information call Anne on +44 (0) 1892 770771. Alternatively email

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Give monkeys the chance of a family and life in the wild

Find out where the saying "cheeky monkey" originates from whilst giving and receiving more hugs than ever again in your life in this exceptionally friendly and life changing rehabilitation centre in the African bush.

Become an instant member of this warm environment, run by a close-knit family who are eager to welcome you into their family of volunteers, monkeys and baboons alike- there are even a few dogs and a tortoise to count as part of your wider group!

The location in the lush African bush couldn't feel further from city life. Your days are spent feeding, interacting with and playing with these cheeky creatures, watching them leap from tree, to volunteer to dog's back, and understanding them whilst experiencing the privilege of contributing to their release back into the wild.

Volunteers love the centre’s comfortable cabin style accommodation, complete with pool table and swimming pool. The outdoors showers offer a view of the Milky Way through the trees. The surrounding area boasts numerous attractions and natural wonders, including Kruger National park where you can see the Big 5 in their natural environment.

If you do not feel that you are able to give 2 weeks of your time, talk to Anne directly about the possibility of going for a lesser amount of time.



What will I be doing?

The centre is very well regarded in the conservation community and has received special accreditation from the government. It is known for its exceptional standard of care given to the monkeys (as well as to the volunteers!) and for having undertaken many successful releases into the wild. Oyster have been working closely with the centre to send highly-motivated individuals to help with this important work, which also contributes to several research projects around the world.

What will I be doing each day?

No day is ever really the same, as these are wild animals that can be utterly unpredictable- one day you may be helping out in a routine operation, the next you may be transporting seven or eight monkeys and baboons around the centre on your head, in your arms or clutching to your feet. Actual tasks that you can expect to help in though are as follows:

  • Feeding baby monkeys and baboons as they snuggle up in your arms

  • Cleaning out of enclosures (often with a monkey hugging your back or your neck!)

  • Preparing food for the adult monkeys and baboons

  • Taking the young monkeys and baboons down to the swimming pool to bathe

  • Helping to prepare for current and future releases

  • Planting and picking fruit and vegetables for the monkeys from the centre's own garden

  • Helping with the food collection forays at local farms- a fantastic way to see the surrounding areas

  • Caring for the various quarantined adult monkeys

  • Helping with various veterinary procedures when necessary

  • Monitoring the progress of the 400 monkeys and baboons as they gain strength, adapt to family life and become released to the wild in their new family

This work is crucial, as it allows for the smooth running of the centre and means that more monkeys in distress can be cared for.

Getting there

You will fly in to Johannesburg (JNB), where you will either take a bus (5 hours) or transfer to a connecting flight to Phalaborwa air strip (PHW). Here you will be met by a member of the team and driven the remaining 90 minutes to the sanctuary.


Bob and Lynne Paul and Lynnette
Paul and Lynnette have been involved in primate rehabilitation for 16 years and set up the centre to help get monkeys back to the wild. They treat you as part of the family. They have welcomed over 1000 volunteers over the years, and many keep coming back for more!

Highlights - what will I get out of this?

  • Plenty of monkey hugs!
  • Second to none hands on experience with monkeys, from fun and feeding up to helping out with veterinary procedures
  • Become an important member of the extended family of 400 monkeys and baboons, welcomed by the lovely owners of the centre Paul and Lynnette
  • Making a genuine difference to the lives of these monkeys- without the work of volunteers, the rehabilitation time is much greater, and fewer monkeys can be cared for.
  • Living in a beautiful setting in the northern area of South Africa, surrounded by wildlife and natural parks. You feel like you are experiencing real bush life and it is warm year round!

Accommodation and Food

You will be living in basic yet comfortable dormitories and cabins in a beautiful wooded area close to the centre. You will be welcomed with a friendly smile and a chocolate on your pillow! Outside sleeping arrangements are also possible for the courageous!

Accommodation is set a few hundred metres from the monkeys and has outdoor space and a fire to sit around with a cool beer or glass of South African wine. The food is excellent and plentiful and dinner at 6pm is an event to look forward to after an outdoor shower and a drink. There is a pleasant veranda to sit on after dinner where volunteers play games and (during baby season) feed the babies as they untie your shoelaces and pick at your buttons. Internet access is available and mobile reception is good.

You will have full access to a swimming pool and pool table

Volunteers are welcomed all year round.

Cost and what support is provided?

Costs at the Rehabilitation Centre start at £795 for two weeks. Additional weeks cost £200.

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 rehabilitation centre with accommodation.
  • Met and greeted warmly at Phalabowra airport or bus station and transfer to accommodation.
  • Accommodation with bathing facilities, lounge, BBQ and internet access. Excellent food full board.
  • Oyster will prepare you thoroughly before you leave and support you while you are out there.
  • Linen
  • ATOL financial protection (if Oyster books your flight)
  • Transport to town on a weekly basis.
  • Free access to InterHealth's Travel Health Advice Service
  • Free myTsafe secure document storage account - worth £25!

What do I need?

  • Flights to Phalaborwa (PHW) via Johannesburg. There is a bus from Joburg, but this takes about 5 hours.Oyster can book your flights.
  • A passport valid for the duration of your stay.
  • Insurance (covering your placement time and any planned independent travel).
  • Cost of changing your return flight date if you need to.
  • Independent travel costs and money for return transport to Phalaborwa airport (provided by the centre at a cost of approx £25)
  • Any additional costs such as trips, snacks, entertainment (allow £20 per week depending on lifestyle).
  • All home country travel costs (to airport and interview if face-to-face).
  • No visa is necessary for under 90 days from UK and most western European countries.
  • The rehabilitation centre is not directly in a malaria area but precautions are suggested. Please consult a doctor in good time about this and other inoculations needed.

And one more thing....

Did you know that monkeys express affection through grooming? Expect to have your hair played with...

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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