Lion & Big Cat Sanctuary

Volunteer and care for big cats in an ethical and environmentally friendly sanctuary for captive bred animals in Stanford, Western Cape South Africa.

Minimum Duration: 2 weeks
Cost: From 580 Euro per week from  
Minimum Age: 18 years


The fight against canned hunting of captive bred Lions has been going on for years. We encourage everyone to watch the Blood Lions documentary and be aware of signs of unethical wildlife volunteer projects.

Once the big cats are removed from dangerous circumstances, where exactly do you go with them? It’s not like you can keep a few Lions in your back yard (even though many foreign visitors expect this is the norm in South Africa, sorry guys, this is not what happens in our suburbs)

The Lion and Big Cat Sanctuary close to Stanford, Western Cape, South Africa is a  safe haven for mainly lions, leopards, tigers and jaguars where they can live enriched lives while some amazing people look after them. This project is an ethical and environmentally friendly sanctuary.

The project also offers an educational program for both visitors and international volunteers which helps to creates awareness for the conservation of these threatened and endangered species.

The Lion and Big Cat Sanctuary believes in the connection between both environmental and wildlife conservation and aims to become the first “green” Big Cats sanctuary in South Africa and run solely on solar energy.

As a volunteer at this project you will have the opportunity to participate in the following:

  • Caring for the predators
  • Enrichment program
  • Preparation of food and feeding (please keep in mind these predators eat raw meat)
  • Cleaning and maintaining enclosures
  • General farm work
  • Educating visitors


Daily Activities

This project will offer you the unique opportunity to be involved behind the scenes of the Sanctuary and how to care for its animals – daily tasks can include:

  • Caring for the amazing big cats
  • Enrichment program
  • Preparation of food and feeding
  • Cleaning and maintaining enclosures
  • General farm work
  • Educating visitors

Please note that as a Sanctuary we do not allow animal petting and close interaction with our cats, so please do not expect to play with them and pet them. Any project that does allow that kind of interaction cannot be regarded as a true Sanctuary.


Working Days & Hours

This really depends on the weather and the season of the year. Summer days can be very hot so working hours will be adjusted. In general expect to work 5 days a week for 6-8 hours a day with weekends being free to explore the surroundings.


Daily Guidance

Guidance will be offered by experienced coordinators that will supervise your daily work. Under no circumstance will you be allowed to work with any of the cats alone or without proper supervision. Days will be scheduled with different activities every day.


Other Volunteers

You most likely won’t be alone when volunteering at the Sanctuary and meet both local as international volunteers. We get volunteers from all over the world, from the USA, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, the UK and many other countries.



Volunteers are accommodated in a one-story, 7 bedroom house; which overlooks a large garden and is within walking distance of the local bar and basic shops. Most of the rooms are doubles or triples and are male or female only. There are 3 bathrooms in total with a hot water shower and toilet.

A communal dining and sitting room with digital satellite TV is central to the house, with a well-equipped kitchen and office space adjoining. A sun room provides an additional seating room where the internet and telephone are available. The internet is available for a small additional charge.



Your meals are all included when on the reserve and consist of self-service breakfast and lunch and a home-cooked dinner. Volunteers are expected to be independent and proactive and be able to contribute to the household chores. This is not a luxury lodge where you are catered for, but rather your home that you share with other passionate, hard-working, like- minded volunteers!

Dinners may consist of pastas, oven-baked or roast dishes and, of course, our famous braai (barbecue) to enjoy under the stars.

What is included?

  • Information and assistance before departure
  • Pick up upon arrival and drop off at Cape Town airport
  • Accommodation in volunteer house
  • Onsite volunteer coordinator available 24/7
  • One social activity
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch


What is excluded?

  • Flight tickets
  • Dinners
  • Private Luxuries (snacks, cool drinks, alcohol etc.)
  • Insurances
  • Lodging in Cape Town on arrival and departure if required
  • Volunteers will be charged R50 per week for WIFI to be collected upon arrival
  • Activities and sightseeing that require a fee


Starting Dates

Start and end dates are on Saturdays. The project does pick-ups and drop-offs at Cape Town International Airport between 10am and 2pm on Saturdays.  If you arrive after 2pm you will need to arrange your own transportation to the project.
Even if you arrange your own transport it is advised to arrive on a Saturday because orientation is done on Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings.
Should you, however, like to make alternative arrangements with us; we will do our best to accommodate you.


Stanford, South Africa

The project is located near Stanford, which is a small village in the Western Cape. It has 4800 citizens. With the Klein River running through the village, stunning mountain views and only 30 min. away from the ocean, Stanford is ideally positioned for a laid-back getaway. Stanford has some nice antique stores, restaurants, vineyards, coffee shops and more. Besides this, for the ones looking for some more adventure, there is also horse riding, boat cruises, hikes, bird watching and great white shark cage diving, all within a 20km radius of Stanford.
Stanford is beautiful. Its preserved Victorian cottages, dirt roads, mountains and river make it one of the most popular villages in the country.
It has the most beautiful river, stretching all the way down to the Hermanus lagoon. You can swim in it, kayak, float or launch a boat on it. You can float paper boats down it and keep your feet cool in it and locals also use it to irrigate their veggie crop. Stanford has a market square, which is very rare, where we hold farm markets, play cricket and arrange the odd festival on it. The town is famous worldwide for offering the most bird species in one place in the world. Bring your binoculars and notebooks and take a trip down the river to discover them yourself!

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