Book Your Volunteer Stay With Us

Riverside Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre's volunteer programme is a great way to get hands on experience with Primates. As a Riverside volunteer you will be involved in many aspects of rehabilitation, from daily cleaning to caring for the babies.

A big bonus is our world famous Kruger National Park Safari; you'll also have the opportunity to explore some of the wonderful tourist destinations that South Africa has to offer.

Living at the Centre

Living at Riverside generally involves waking up between 6 and 6.30am, then proceeding to feeding and cleaning the animals and their enclosures from 7 until 9 am (sometimes we need to wake up a little earlier to bottle feed babies).
From 9 to 10am we have breakfast and have time to spend with the animals in their enclosures.
Work starts again at 10am with your team and we complete tasks like food prep cleanup, harvesting, bug catching (for our bushbabies) and feeding the babies. 
At 12 we take the baboons in our Monty enclosure on the baboon walk for around 1 hour. This is most volunteers favourite part of the day!
From 1 to 2 we have lunch and there is time to spend with animals and other volunteers.
At 2 we rejoin our groups and perform another 2 hours of work, unless it is your teams "afternoon off". 
From 4 until 6 volunteers have the chance to spend more time with the animals, shower and perform other tasks such as feeding our owls and bushbabies. Wifi is turned on at this time.
Around 6 is dinner time - enjoy a delicious dinner cooked by the Riverside owners and staff around the Riverside dining room (we expand to 4 tables during our busiest volunteer periods!)
Volunteers can hangout in the Hide until 8pm before retiring to the Volunteer Dorms, where we usually have a bonfire. Bob likes to call our bonfire an  "African Bush Telly" as you can stare into it all night long!
Some days can be a little different however and may involve tasks like taking animals for surgery, food pickups and tasks related to your personal skillset.
As Riverside Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre operates 365 days of the year, volunteers are expected to assist every day they are at the project because our animals are our highest priority. We "work" less on the weekends and volunteers have at least 1 afternoon off during the week.
The centre is an amazing place to bring children and for young adults to visit and grow - volunteers young and old develop great personal and working traits, which shape them positively into the adults that will defend animals rights to live in the wild.

Hands On Work

The main role of RWRC volunteers is to look after the orphaned primates and various other animals who need constant care, which involves plenty of Hands On work with the animals. Duties include:
  • Cleaning all enclosures and facilities

  • Food preparation for all RWRC residents

  • Monitoring individuals or groups of animals

  • Collecting incoming animals

  • Record keeping of infant food/formula intake

Other Daily Tasks

Food Prep

Preparing food for the animals is a big part of a volunteer's daily work. There are two major feedings per day: one in the morning and one in the afternoon. You will also sort the food, off-load it when it arrives, keep the food prep area tidy and do laundry for the animals (towels, blankets, cloths...)


Bottle Preparation and Baby Feeding

Our wildlife infants often require scheduled bottle feeding. This is the responsibility of the volunteers. The babies are fed, and the amount of formula they consume is recorded at each shift. We keep detailed records of what our infants are eating and drinking so we can monitor their health closely while they are growing and developing.


Enclosure Cleaning

It is of the utmost importance that our baby enclosures are scrubbed and disinfected to perfection daily. Any leftover waste can lead to illness for our animals, so we rely on our volunteers and their "elbow grease" to keep the animals healthy. The animals are taken out of the cage during cleaning, then the cage is scrubbed with soap and disinfectant from top to bottom, fencing to floor, branches and walls. 


Clinic and Quarantine

Volunteers will be responsible for assisting in the daily cleaning of the clinic and quarantine facilities, and the feeding and watering of the patients, if there are any, and learn about safe and hygienic methods of working in these facilities. All volunteer activities in the clinic and quarantine will be supervised by staff. 


Our rehabilitation animals in the main camps have access to an abundance and variety of native and natural foods to eat, on top of their supplemented food. These foods not only supply nutrition, but can also serve medicinal purposes. Our babies and our animals in introduction enclosures do not have access to these foods so we must harvest them daily from around the property so they also may have access to their natural diet.

Field Work

Riverside prides itself with being one-of-a-kind in it's methods of scientifically studied reintroduction methods and high success rate of releases. With 27 successful Baboon and Vervet releases under our belt, we stand out as the most esteemed reintroduction-oriented Primate rehabilitation centre in the world. This requires the assistance of many volunteers to do hundreds of hours of behavioural observations, take flora and fauna surveys on release sites, erect release enclosures and bush camps, and much much more! It's hard work, but is the most rewarding part of working in rehabilitation. 

Baboon Walks to the River

A very important duty of the Riverside volunteer is to ensure that the Primates under rehabilitation get to experience their natural environment every day. On top of the harvested natural foods our Monty Baboons receive from the volunteers, they will also be taken down to the river to forage  every day. The Baboon Walk is also an important rehabilitation tool for the young Primates to learn their instinctive skills and to move as a troop, as in the wild they will spend much of their days walking with their troop in search of food. 


Book and Make Everlasting Memories With Your Volunteering Adventure at Riverside Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre by emailing us here or sending our Facebook Page a Direct Message.