Vervet Monkey Rescue

Volunteer and assist with the rehabilitation of orphaned and injured Vervet monkeys and baboons in the beautiful province of Limpopo in South Africa. 

Minimum Duration: 1 week
Cost: From 360 Euro per week
Minimum Age: 18 years


Vervet monkeys are known as, “old world monkeys”, which means that they have been around for over 65 million years, before apes and humans existed.  Vervet monkeys form an integral part of the natural food chain in parts of Africa and are vital to the South African ecological system.

The centre has successfully rehabilitated 13 troops of monkeys who are now living on nature reserves in Limpopo. The centre is also home to 300 Vervet Monkeys and several baboons.

Volunteers at this project will work hands on with orphaned monkeys and must be prepared to form close relationships with them like spending long hours with them and at times even sharing a bed with baby monkeys.  Even though there are many challenges there is also tons of fun to be had with these cute animals.


Project Needs

We are often asked by volunteers what they can bring for the babies so if you have any spare capacity in your luggage, here are a few suggestions:

  • Pampers nappies-newborn to size 3
  • 50ml and 250ml baby milk bottles and teats
  • Soft toys
  • Soft blankets
  • Tennis balls
  • Baby Dummies/pacifiers
  • Baby bottle brushes
  • If you have access to veterinary supplies, please contact us.


Daily Activities

Vervet monkeys show their emotions through biting, they bite when happy, when sad, they give you little love bites and they bite much harder when they are upset with you!  Expect a few bruises (especially in the first few days) you will get urinated and pooped on (we call it “Monkey blessings”) so you will be dirty at the end of the day.  It will all seem worth it when you have gained the trust and confidence of one of our orphans who climbs onto your lap for a cuddle or a nap.

Normally the working day starts at 7h45am and depending on the season, finishes between 17h00 (winter) and 18h00 (summer).  Always remember that the needs of the animals come first, so working hours and duties can change at short notice.


Guidance & Supervision

You may find your first few days a little overwhelming and confusing. Don’t worry, you will find yourself fitting in very soon. You will have a tour of the compound and meet the staff and your fellow volunteers. All will be happy to show you the ropes. Much of our day is scheduled; you will have activities and responsibilities assigned to you in due course. As you show an aptitude for various things, different assignments may come your way.



It is important that volunteers of this project understand the importance of the following:

Caring for animals requires patience, compassion, and a calm demeanor. A positive attitude, willingness to help and learn, and a sense of humor are essential – volunteers should expect to be dirty and exhausted by the end of the day!


Other Volunteers

You will meet a variety of local and international volunteers at this project but do check with us first if you want to know how many other volunteers there will be as we cannot guarantee other volunteers at all times.



The volunteer accommodation consists of 2 rooms which sleep 4 each in bunk beds, with en-suite bathrooms (shower and toilet) and a communal lounge/kitchen area to cook and relax. The outside ‘stoep’ (porch in Afrikaans) offers a shaded area to eat meals and socialize.

Volunteers will also share accommodation with some of the orphaned monkeys and baboons, as they need to be fed every couple of hours and have their nappies changed. Expect to share your bed with a monkey or two.

There is internet access 24 hours a day, available for an extra fee of R100 (about 7 EUR or 8 USD) per week.

On weekends only, the bar will open for a game of pool and a drink or two and volunteers can ask permission to use the swimming pool on the premises.



Meals are included and consist of cereals and rusks with coffee and tea early in the morning and a brunch at 10:00AM.

Dinner is around 17:30 and volunteers rotate with cooking and cleaning duties.

The project staff usually shop twice a week in the nearest town, and volunteers will be given the opportunity to travel into Bela Bela to shop for themselves and for the other volunteers. There is also a small shop on the premises stocked with beers, snacks and sodas. All profits go towards supporting the monkeys.

What is Included?

  • Information and assistance before departure
  • Accommodation in volunteer house
  • Meals
  • Onsite volunteer coordinator available 24/7

What is Excluded?

  • Transport from Johannesburg airport (additional costs apply)
  • Private Luxuries (snacks, cool drinks, alcohol etc.)
  • Air tickets
  • Insurance

Starting dates

Volunteers will start work on Mondays, but contact us for more information as we try to be flexible.

Please note Avis does not do night transfers, the transfers are between 8am and 2pm only.


Bela Bela, South Africa

Bela Bela formerly known as Warm Baths (English) or Warm Bad (Afrikaans) is a small bush veld town famous for its hot springs. The small town is now mostly a stopover point for the many safari reserves in the area and popular with holiday makers from Johannesburg. The village has all shops you might need for groceries, clothing, medical services and restaurants.

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