Vervet Monkey Foundation
The Vervet Monkey Foundation is located in Tzaneen, Limpopo, South Africa. The vervet monkeys are quite common in the country but considered as pests by most people because they have become too close too humans because of forced cohabitation.
The Foundation aims to care for abandonned, wounded and orphan vervet monkeys (some of them are ex-pets) and offert them the best environment possible. When volunteering there, you will adopt the vegan way of life of the place (zero consumption of any animal product) in order to live with the most respect for animals.
The Foundation’s ultimate goal is to be able to release the troups of monkey in a secured forest nearby.
You will need to arrive either on a Sunday or on a Monday so that you receive a group orientation about the foundation and its missions. A bus that leaves from Pretoria will drop you off in Tzaneen where a team member will pick you up and drive you to the foundation (Comprehensive information will be provided during the booking process to assist you).
Home to more than 500 monkeys, the team really needs help from the volunteers to help them. Depending on the time of the year, the volunteers may have the opportunity to take part in different activities, on a rotation system basis.
Each « main feed » involves the daily preparation and distibution of food to all the monkeys. As a volunteer your duty will be to prepare the food bowls.
Babies (Nov – Feb)
During the baby season, there is a possibility volunteers will work with baby monkeys, nearly all orphaned and traumatised. They are introduced to foster mother ensuring each baby is stabilised, healthy and able to drink from a bottle.
Baby rehabilitation involves volunteers handling or observing the babies in their outdoor playpen,mixing up bottles of milk, preparing foods and administering medicine if required. You will feed and monitor them throughout the day, constantly checking their progress.
Monitoring (March – Octobre)
This is a crucial and important job as you will monitor and observe each monkey within the sanctuary, checking for any injuries, stress or sickness – reporting information back to « base » to ensure the vervets are in best of health.
Volunteers are the life blood of the Foundation’s development. You will be involved in constructing new enclosures and facilities, often painting, wire twisting, knot tying, digging, fastening or even pouring cement. Each new enclosure or facility enables the Foundation to do more for the monkeys in our care.
The schedule will be given to you on the evening, for the next day.
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):
- Doing sections (main feed)
- Taking care of sick monkeys
- Taking care of babies
- Grooming ex-pet monkeys
A typical daily schedule (please note that this schedule may vary according to the season and activities undertaken.):
7h – 10 h : 1st session of activities
10h – 10h30 : break
10h30 – 12h : 22nd session of activities
12h – 14h : lunch
14h – 17h : 3rd session of activities
When it’s baby season, another sessions may take place between 17h and 18h30 and a some of the volunteers are in charge of the night shift (sleeping with the babies).
Volunteers get one day off per week; a lift into Tzaneen to purchase supplies, swim in the nearby lodge pool, spa or relax over cappucino in the mall can be provided. Volunteers here for 4 weeks or more are also invited to take one touring day per week to visit local sights. Volunteers often tour with new friends met at the VMF. You may wish to hire a car with some friends you meet there. Popular tours include the world famous Kruger National Park, only 1 hour from here. Blyde River Canyon, God’s Window, stunning waterfalls and of course, wildlife viewing.
You will need to have a valid anti-tetanus vaccination before arrival. We recommend talking to a travel doctor. You will need to have a test for tuberculosis before working with monkeys, a sputum test can be done on arrival for R100.
You will sleep in a wooden cabin, usually with 1 other volunteer. We provide a storage box, mattress, table, pillow and sheets but please ensure you bring a sleeping bag. There is no electricity in the village but accessories can be charged at the cottage.
The volunteer village houses a warm, gas-heated shower, eco-toilet (composting toilet), washing sink, fridge, and a campfire, which is great for an evening under the stars or a traditional braai (South African barbecue!). Laundering is provided free of charge Mon – Fri.
Lunch and dinner are cooked for the volunteers, always with vegan ingredients. During the weekend, the volunteers have to cook themselves with the ingredients provided.
4 weeks and less 2019 R13000 (ZAR)
Additional week 2019 R3250
4 weeks and less 2020 R13500 (ZAR)
Additional week 2020 R3375
On top of the Programme Fees, Registration Fees of 180€ apply.
Are included in the Programme Fees: accommodation, three meals a day, laundry, your supervision, Internet.
Are included in the Registration Fees: administrative and marketing fees, ongoing support from Aventure Africaine, travel costs to visit and experience the projects.
« This has been an amazing experience. It’s hard work and can be quite challenging but the rewarding experience totally makes it worth it. I would recommend the Vervet Monkey Foundation for any animal lover who is not afraid to go back to the basics. » Sarah, Australia
« This has been one great adventure. I am so glad I came. It is amazing being able to wake up right next to the monkeys. Your not surrounded by heaps of technology so it’s really refreshing. The other volunteers are so friendly and welcoming. They do such great things for the monkeys which is great to see. I would highly recommend this experience to any animal lover or anyone wanting a great adventure. » Tara-Lee, Australia