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South Africa Primate Sanctuary

  • In Brief
  • The Project
  • What to Expect
  • Reviews
  • Gallery
  • Extras
  • Dates & Costs
  • Apply
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Find out more about South Africa

Start your adventure now by reading our country guide for South Africa!

Frontier Partner Projects

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Enjoy the spectacular backdrop of South Africa whilst working at a monkey sanctuary where a range of different species are rescued and rehabilitated. Nicknamed "the Rainbow Nation", South Africa has something to offer everyone: a colourful and enjoyable country full of history and culture that will make you never want to leave! If you have an interest and passion in primates then this project is perfect for you. From the moment you arrive on site you will be involved with a wide range of hands on activities working alongside the expert park rangers.


  • Work closely with rare & endangered primates
  • Discover the Rainbow Nation
  • Make lifelong friends


  • Minimum age of 18 years
  • CV
Emergency Hotel Terrestrial Wildlife
Location South Africa
Activities Feeding the primates
Helping clean the facilities
Giving tours to visitors
Educating visitors on the problems facing primates in South Africa
Helping out at reception & in the gift shop
Transport Airport pick-up
Accommodation Shared volunteer house

Before you go Pre-departure support & documentation
Travel & medical advice & documentation
Advice on visas & equipment
Discounted medical kit
Free Frontier t-shirt
Project orientation
In-country emergency support
24-hour international HQ back-up



One of the sad consequences of population growth and industrial development in Africa is that animals have increasingly been under threat from habitat destruction and hunting. As a result many orphaned or injured animals can no longer live in the wild and need care and support. The demand for bush meat is the most significant threat to wildlife populations in South Africa, comprising an unsustainable over utilisation of the wildlife resources of this part of the world, as a result of which natural habitats are being denuded of their indigenous wildlife. Primates in particular are hunted for their meat, as pets and for medicine, and their habitats are being destroyed at an alarming rate.

Wildlife refuges and rehabilitation centres are a crucial means of providing the necessary support and, wherever possible, reintroducing animals into the wild. They’re also an important means of educating the public about human wildlife conflict.

You will be helping with all activities at the centre – maintaining the animal's living quarters, helping with game reserve maintenance, caring for the orphaned animals and helping maintain the reserve in general. The work will be hard but extremely rewarding and being so close to some of the world's most fascinating primates is sure to be an experience that you'll never forget.


Whilst working in the primate reserve you will be indispensable to the park rangers, helping them with all the daily tasks necessary to keep the monkeys healthy and happy. You will carry out tasks which may include feeding the primates, helping clean the facilities, giving tours to visitors and educating visitors on the problems facing primates in South Africa, such as the bush meat trade and other conservation issues. You may also be helping out at reception and in the gift shop. As you can see there are a great variety of activities to enjoy and get involved in and, in addition to this, you will be able to see a multitude of different types of monkeys interacting and living in their natural surroundings. These include common marmosets, black lemurs, white-handed gibbons, brown howlers and grey necked owl monkeys amongst many more.


You will fly into Cape Town where you may like to spend a few days sightseeing before taking the 500 km bus journey to Plettenberg Bay. You will be met there by one of the friendly project representatives and taken to your project accommodation, which will be a short 1 km walk from work. 


Whilst participating on this project you will be sharing accommodation with your fellow volunteers, which is a great opportunity to make friends and build a great team spirit. Volunteers stay in clean, comfortable houses and individual mobile housing units. There is also a cafe and post office 2 km from the project location.


This project is self catered, giving you a great opportunity to enjoy communal cooking with your fellow volunteers. You will have access to cooking facilities which you will share with your housemates and there are plenty of farms, markets, restaurants and shops nearby to buy food. The local people's farms and supermarkets are very inexpensive and you should not expect to pay more than around US$26 each week for food. You'll have great fun cooking with your new friends, as it is a great way to bond, so make sure you have a look at some cookbooks before you head out!

A day in the life of a primate sanctuary volunteer  | 13 Aug 2018
As a volunteer I live around 10 minutes walk from the project. I live with two other volunteers i...

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You'll feel like a member of the family  | 25 Jul 2018
"This is a free-roaming sanctuary. Our primates are not in cages. Therefore there is some ru...

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Great Opportunity  | 11 Jul 2018
This was such a great opportunity for me to do something totally different after I finished schoo...

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Volunteering is a great way to get know a country and not just to be a tourist in it.  | 4 Jul 2018
This was a great volunteering experience; it was such a unique environment to work in, It will st...

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Fascinating monkey species  | 17 Jun 2018
The unique free roaming sanctuary is an interesting place to learn a lot about the South African ...

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You really experience the country as a local  | 3 Jun 2018
As a volunteer you have lots of possibilities and you get to know the country from another side. ...

Read more

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In your spare time you can take advantage of your incredible surroundings and try out some adventurous activities that you've never tried before! The project is in Plettenberg Bay and the local area has a variety of activities which can be booked through local providers from horse riding to hiking. You'll have plenty of days off to try various sports, such as windsurfing, surfing, hang-gliding and many more.


8 weeks US$ 2,295

Extra month US$ 1,195


Please check availability for 2019 start dates. 


2 month minimum stay. Shorter term placements may be available, please enquire beforehand.


Before you go

  • Pre-departure support & documentation
  • Travel & medical advice & documentation
  • Advice on visas & equipment
  • Discounted medical kit
  • Free Frontier t-shirt


  • Accommodation
  • Project orientation
  • In-country emergency support
  • 24-hour international HQ back-up


Nearest airport(s): Cape Town (CPT)



Flights are not included in our project costs. However, Frontier have partnered with an experienced and professional team of travel experts to help our volunteers find the best flight deals for their trips with Frontier. This travel specialist operates in the tailor-made, long haul multi-stop travel market, arranging complex airfares and transfers for independent travellers. They provide expertise, security and a vast product range along with a Travel Butler service which is a single point of contact and support whilst you are overseas.

We recommend that you obtain a quote using the following contact details rather than book online, as our partner will offer you the most competitive fares. To receive your quote or to seek any advice for your flights, please contact Frontier’s dedicated team of travel experts on 0800 082 9994 (or +44 800 082 9994 outside the UK) or email frontier@flightcentre.co.uk .


For fast, efficient and up-to-date visa advice please contact our recommended visa consultancy partner:

Depending on your destination country and your country of origin, you might require a visa. Please see the appropriate country consular website for details or contact our affiliate visa consultancy service. Please note that your visa will usually start on the date that you enter the destination country regardless of when it was issued. Please check with the relevant embassy or high commission. If you are purchasing your visa or paying entry/exit fees in-country you will probably need to pay in US Dollars. If you have any questions please consult the relevant embassy or high commission. Please check the visa information regularly, as changes often happen without warning.


You'll need to buy appropriate travel insurance covering your participation on the project. You won't be able to go without the right travel insurance so double check to avoid disappointment. Please make sure that you're covered for the whole duration of your trip – from the day you leave the UK to the day you return. It's also best to get your travel insurance at the same time as paying the deposit for your project. Depending on your policy, this will cover you for any unexpected cancellations.

Your insurance should include the following:

  • Medical cover, including medical emergencies and medical evacuations (up to USD$3,000,000 / GBP£2,000,000);
  • Personal liability (up to USD$1,500,000 / GBP£1,000,000);
  • Cancellation and curtailment of your trip (up to the value of your project contribution).

If you are going to be scuba diving you should get coverage for scuba diving up to 30m, including hyperbaric therapy treatment (unlimited). You should consider obtaining insurance to cover you for any additional activities which you plan to do during, before, or after your Frontier project. We recommend that you obtain cover for your baggage and personal effects.

Frontier Partner Projects and Frontier group projects are run in partnership with in-country NGOs, small community based organisations, local research institutes, academic organisations and conservation agencies. Project descriptions and information are supplied directly by our partners or field staff and are accurate at time of publishing.

We aim to keep information up to date and accurate, however, the nature of our projects and in particular the fact that they are constantly evolving and developing in response to changing needs means that project activities, travel schedules, tour itineraries and daily timetables can change overnight and without notice.

To apply for this project, or to register your interest, just click on the orange "Apply Now!" button at the top of the menu. Fill out and submit a short application form and then one of our advisers will give you a call back to answer any questions and to progress your application if you wish to continue.

There is no obligation when making an application, and you do not need to pay anything at this point.