Cheetah Rehabilitation Project
The Cheetah Rehabilitation Project is, to this day, the only one in the world to breed cheetahs for the sole purpose of releasing them back into the wild. The founders have developed a programme with different stages to successfully release these captive bred cheetahs.
They have already released several of their cheetahs in South-African games reserves and all of them are doing very well. One of the female even had a litter.
This projects offers the unique oportunity to work closely with these majestic animals, to get to know them while contributing to real conservation efforts to save cheetahs from going extinct in the wild.
Arrivals and departures are scheduled every Monday at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg before 2pm. A shuttle will come and meet you to drive you to the game reserve (abouth 2h30 drive) for R490 to R980 (depending on how many volunteers there are).
The Project is located in a 1000 hectare game reserve with several different antelope species, zebras and giraffes.
As its name indicates, the Cheetah Rehabilitation Project’s main objective is to breed and release cheetahs in order to repopulate south-african game reserves as there are less than 600 wild cheetahs left in the country at the moment. The project will also start the same programme for caracals, servals and african wild cats. It is also a sanctuary for a few animals that cannot be released.
While participating to this project, the volunteers directly help the team with the conservation of the species while having a very hands-on experience with these animals. This contact does not prevent the cheetahs from going back to the wild thanks to a specific rewilding programme : predator avoidance, a successful hunting training regime and a well-managed post release monitoring system, de-humanising process, vaccination and health protocol.
The project does not allow tourists to have contact with the animals and does not sell them. Their goal is absolutely not commercial but only to give back freedom to its animals. They have also saved three lions from the canned hunting industry that the volunteers can feed but not contact with them is allowed. They also have caracals, servals, a meerkat and an albino porcupine.
Here is a list of activities that you may take part in during your stay (please note that this is for your information and that you may or may not take part in all the activities listed below):
- Monitoring and data capture of the animals and their health and behaviour
- Cleaning and maintenance of the enclosure
- General camp upkeep
- Assist/help prepare food for animals and feed them (this includes to handle meat in various shapes)
- Remove bones etc. left over from the animal feeding and overall cleaning of camps.
- Clean water dams and bowls and refresh with clean water
- Assist with fitness training as well as help improving cheetah’s hunting skills by helping staff with the cheetah run on the lure machine
- Bush clearing and creating pathways
- Removal of invasive plant species
- Maintenance work: building, painting or repair work for animal night enclosures and other structures
Volunteers get half a day off and every Sundays. Volunteers can stay at camp and relax or go on tours & activities outside.
- a day visit to the Big 5 game reserve of Pilanesberg
- canopy tour
The volunteers stay in large wooden cabin, next to the predator camps and in the middle of the reserve. 2 to 4 volunteers share one cabin which has two bedrooms. There is a bathroom and a large living room.
Arrivals and departures are scheduled every Monday.
Period Programme fees in Rands (ZAR) 2021
2 weeks R16800
3 weeks R24600
4 weeks R32200
5 weeks R39200
6 weeks R46100
7 weeks R53100
8 weeks R59000
Are included in the Programme Fees: the registration fees, accommodation, three meals a day, your supervision, laundry, Wifi.
“Thank you Elizke & Desmond for your dedication, commitment and love for these animals. I am extremely grateful for all I have experienced and learned with you. The kindness and generosity you have extended to make me feel welcome is extraordinary.” Michelle, Portugal
“Since 2015 I have been volunteering with Elizke and Des. They became friends and I became godmother of their cheetah’s. I support them wherever I can and go back every year. They do what they promise : putting back cheetah’s into the wild!” Nadine, Belgium
“I have just come back from the most amazing 2 weeks at the Cheetah Rehabilitation Project. I can not put into words how much I learnt and the experiences I had. Spending everyday around these beautiful creatures in the hope that they will soon be wild and free was just so inspiring. I have so much respect for Elizke and Desmond and everything they are doing to help their cats. I would highly recommend volunteering at this project.” Tara, Australia