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South Africa Baboon Orphanage Adventure

  • 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's landscape whilst working at this wonderful baboon orphanage where baboons that have been orphaned, injured, abandoned, or even shot, are rescued and rehabilitated. Immerse yourself in the experience of bonding with these incredible wild animals and make a positive contribution to their release back into the wild. 

Why not spend some time exploring the enchanting surroundings of this magical country? Nicknamed "the Rainbow Nation", South Africa has something to offer everyone, a colourful and enjoyable country that attracts millions of visitors every year to its wide, sandy beaches, cosmopolitan cities, friendly people and magnificent African bush; you’ll never want to leave!

If you have a passion for primates then this project is perfect for you. You will enjoy a varied volunteer work programme that combines carrying out a number of different duties with caring for the young baboons. From the moment you arrive on site you will be involved in a wide range of hands on activities, working alongside expert park rangers and making friends for life!



  • Help assist the hand-rearing of charismatic baby baboons
  • Make a positive contribution to the release of baboons into the wild
  • Develop your experience working in a ‘Big 5’ nature reserve


  • Minimum age of 18 years
Emergency Hotel Wildlife Encounter Family
Location South Africa
Activities Hands on wildlife rehabilitation
Hand rearing orphan baby baboons
Cleaning enclosures
Enrichment programme & behavioural observations
Collecting food
Enclosure maintenance, renovation and design
Bush walks
Animal tracking lessons
Community outreach programmes
Transport Airport or bus depot 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
Self catering
In-country emergency support
24-hour international HQ back-up


Throughout Southern Africa wildlife habitats are being destroyed and South Africa’s wildlife areas are becoming increasingly fragmented, turning the baboons’ foraging grounds into farms, towns and other urban areas. As a result, many orphaned or injured animals can no longer live in the wild and need to be taken care of and supported. Wildlife refuges and rehabilitation centres are a crucial means of providing this support as well, wherever possible, as reintroducing animals back into the wild. They also play an important role as a means of educating the public about human wildlife conflict.

Rescued and traumatised baboons are welcomed to this rehabilitation centre in order to integrate them gently into new social groups and regain their confidence. In the wild they would be part of a close knit family unit, referred to as a troop. In normal circumstances a baby baboon would be born into a shielding family and have a protective father, devoted mother and several caring siblings and aunts who all fuss over the baby and keep it safe. Where possible we try to replicate this nurturing environment to give the orphans a second chance. 

This project will give you the perfect platform from which to develop your experience of hands on wildlife rehabilitation and care. As a volunteer you will help hand raise baby baboon orphans and assist with the rehabilitation of rescued and mistreated baboons. You will contribute to the animals' healing, bonding with them in a way that is incredibly valuable. To watch them grow in confidence, assisting them to become self sufficient, sociable but still wild animals again is an unforgettable experience with unparalleled rewards.


Many orphaned baby baboons come to this rehabilitation centre to receive unique and specialist care. Your help is needed to assist with the hand rearing of the orphan babies and provide them with all their physical and psychological needs. The hand rearing involves supervising the nursery enclosure, preparing and giving out food and milk bottles and ensuring that the babies get a stable and loving upbringing. You will be taught how to interact with the baboons, spending time everyday playing with the little ones. You will communicate with them, offering them love and reassurance.

Working at this amazing and outstandingly worthwhile sanctuary gives you an unmissable chance to study the behaviour of these incredible animals, each with their own unique character. You will build up a relationship with the baboons and they will learn to trust and accept you. The daily routine will include a very varied schedule depending upon the focus of the project at the time of your visit but may include:  

  • Hand-rearing orphan baby baboons
  • Cleaning enclosures
  • Enrichment programme
  • Behavioural observations
  • Collecting food
  • Enclosure maintenance and renovation
  • Bush walks to learn about the local flora and fauna
  • Community outreach programmes


You will be met upon arrival at Phalaborwa by a friendly Frontier representative. Flights and buses are available to Phalaborwa from Johannesburg so arrangements will be made to collect you from Phalaborwa airport or bus depot. This will be arranged in good time with your Frontier volunteer coordinator.


Whilst participating on this project, you will be staying in shared dormitory style accommodation with your fellow volunteers, which is a great opportunity to make friends and build team spirit. You will be staying in a communal, rustic house in the bush, situated at the heart of the project site.


This project is self catered, giving you the chance to enjoy communal cooking with your fellow volunteers. You will have access to cooking facilities which you will share with your housemates. Once a week staff members will go into town to stock up on supplies for the group. You'll have great fun cooking with your new friends, so make sure you have a look at some cookbooks before you head out!

I wish I could take my trip all over again  | 13 Aug 2018
The 2 months I spent at the Baboon Sanctuary were the 2 best months of my life.  I just got ...

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I still found time for my favorite activity, monkey massage!  | 25 Jul 2018
With one look at the picture on the website I was hooked!   My first friend was Mr. ...

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Incredible!  | 11 Jul 2018
Incredible!  On the way the project I saw a herd of elephants crossing the river, a giraffe ...

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I spent three weeks at a baboon orphanage in South Africa specialised on raising orphaned Chacma ...

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It changed my life!  | 17 Jun 2018
The baboons are incredible.  Whilst it was the babies that first appealed to me, I soon foun...

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The project site is located near the Kruger National Park, one of the most spectacular and biodiverse areas on the planet. Catch a glimpse of awe inspiring mammals such as elephants and giraffes and many more. Take in the dramatic landscape from the back of a jeep, as you get a taste of the real and raw Africa. The project site is in the Limpopo region, which is famous for its outstanding natural beauty.


2 weeks US$ 1,095

Extra week US$ 545


Weekly. Please aim to arrive on the Monday to be met upon arrival at the airport or bus station.


2 weeks +


Before you go

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


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



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.