ABOUT OUR VOLUNTEERING
With the pressing need for wildlife conservation, Feracare's volunteer program aims to breed some of the worlds most endangered species (which includes the majestic Cheetah) while giving opportunities to people of any age to work with wildlife and experience the African bush. Our program plays an important role in the biology of conservation in its effort to support scientific studies of these endangered species and to continue in its support of future breeding projects that aim to re-establish endangered wildlife into their endemic areas..
Life-changing (but not once-in-a-lifetime, if I can help it).
My husband and I spent our honeymoon volunteering at FeraCare for two weeks. It was truly life-changing. The bush is stunning: vivid sunsets catching on the clouds of the rainy season, seeing giraffe and impala wandering through the trees, being woken up by a hornbill tapping at the window, hearing the lions roar in the distance. Being around people who are so dynamically and fiercely devoted to their demanding and worthy work…it’s inspiring and renewing. Kim is like a badass Disney princess, the way she interacts with animals. Monique and Tasch are superheroes. I have the utmost respect for them; helping them in their work is a true honor. Make no mistake: this is not playing with tame, oversize kitties. This is not a holiday with cool pets. These are wild animals, exactly as they should be, accustomed to humans only to the extent that they must be in order to survive or promote education. You’ll get to pet a couple through the fence, feed all of them, maybe groom a few, but you are there to aid in the cause. Spending days cleaning out enclosures, scrubbing tile in the meat room with a toothbrush, mending fences- that is what you can expect. And it was one of the deepest privileges of my life. If I could do exactly this every day forever, I would. These women and men are real heroes, and they and the animals they serve deserve your commitment and respect. They certainly have mine. I will be back as soon as I can be. If you have the opportunity to assist these noble creatures, bipedal and otherwise, please take it. You won’t regret it.
Amazing, that is the best way to describe this place!
I’ve been at FeraCare for two weeks. It’s really a complete mystery when you arrive, you don’t know what is coming, how many people are there, how actually will be your routine. But I was very well received, everyone is so friendly and concerned with you. There are good and better activities, not always easy, but as rewarding as it can get when you look to a wonderful cheetah knowing that you are part of the group that make their life possible. The best part of the day: Feeding in the morning. The Worst part of the day: going home after work because you just feel that you can do more, that you have the motivation to do more. I made real friends there, friends I’ll take for life, both humans and Cheetahs (besides other many species)! Among going to the best pizza place in South Africa, having barbecues with bonfire, watching stars, sunset, working, relaxing with the animals, doing day and night safaris I can say that I was happy every minute of my day. Of course, you have to be aware of the dangers: Snakes, cheetahs? No… They are harmless… The danger is to not want to leave this place. To consider it to be your home! Well, I’ll be back soon, but I know it’s not my home; Is just some place better!
Amazing experience in a wonderful place!
Staying 2 weeks on FeraCare Wildlife Centre was the best experience i’ve ever had! The close contact with the nature, animals and people is indescribable! We really lived 24 hours the experience of being in the middle of the Bush and learned more about the Wildlife there. The reserve is big and very beautiful, we could seen the animals in to the wild and how amazing they are, it is extraordinary this contact with the Cheetahs, Zebras, Giraffes, Wild dogs, Impalas and many others animals that live on Feracare. Other point that deserves a comment is the Staff, awesome people that really become friends and family! They really makes us comfortable and teach us about the life there, at the end i felt myself part of them! The life with volunteers of all over the world is also incredible, people with different cultures that really made the experience even better! The worst part was to say goodbye, for me 2 weeks was not enough, being there was really fantastic, every day something different, everyday a new experience and the nature really talked to me and touched my soul! FeraCare thank you for this extraordinary time! Hope to see you soon! Ohhh Mcdonalds has a farm yeah yeah oh, and on this farm has Cheetah, yeah yeah oh, and “Meoww” here “Meoww'” there , “Meoww” here “Meoww” there “Meoww” on FeraCare!!!!
My time at Fetacare
I spent 2 weeks at Feracare in Jun/Jul 2016 and it was amazing. I have done alot of volunteering during my times in Africa but at Feracare I got to experience so many new things. ..bottle feeding a baby Zebra was quite a highlight for me. Their passion for the animals was very apparent and the cheetahs are very well cared for. The owners & all staff are amazing – it’s like a big family. They were always there whenever you needed something, very accommodating and always went the extra mile to keep you entertained in the evenings or your days off at the weekend. My fellow volunteers from all around the world were fantastic and we got along so well. The accommodation chalets are beautiful & have everything you need. Thank you for the opportunities and I wish you all the luck for the further development of Feracare. Would love to come back in the near future.
If you want the experience of a lifetime, then volunteer at FeraCare! The owners and staff are awesome. They truly care about the animals and the volunteers. All the animals are well taken care of, and the staff makes sure all your needs are met as well. The cheetahs are magnificent! Your days will be spent feeding the cheetahs, going on game drives to check on the other wildlife on the property, and interacting with the cheetahs and other animals. I was licked be a cheetah, had a bat eared fox fall asleep on my lap, and bottle fed a baby zebra. I will never forget the sound of a cheetah purring or meowing to be fed. Of course you must also be willing to help out with some daily chores, but that’s all part of the experience. I enjoyed working outdoors, and it felt good at the end of the day knowing I had done something to help the cheetahs and the staff at FeraCare. In the evenings you can look forward to a “sundowner” sunset picnic, going on a night game drive, having a bonfire, or just hanging out at your chalet with your new friends from all around the world. You will see the most amazing stars ever. Thank you Bart, Kim, Rene, Amy, Chris, Pieter, and Nelda for your kindness and devotion to the cheetahs. You are all awesome and I miss you. It’s been over a month, but I think about the cheetahs every day. I am looking forward to the day I can return! Give Zulu a kiss for me. Monica La Bounty from California
It’s impossible not fall in
It’s impossible not fall in love for this place and the cheetahs. In the beginning, when I arrived at the airport I didn’t knew what to expect about the volunteer program and fortunately I had my expectations exceeded. Feed the cheetahs was the best part of my mornings and even build fences was fun with everyone singing together. I appreciate all the Feracare team for receive me so well, for sure I created great friendships. I miss this place so much!! Wait for me! I’ll come back! Thank you everyone for the opportunity, and please, send a kiss to Nova for for me! <3
This summer I had the pleasure of experiencing my first foray into Eco-tourism. I wanted to do something to “give back”and as a seasoned traveler,I ventured across a YouTube video ( volunteer.sa.com) which featured several projects helping various animals in South Africa. I was drawn to the cheetah project. So in May of this year, I packed my bags and headed to the Feracare Wildlife Center. Feracare was purchased by Kim Hiltrop and Bart Saayman earlier this year. The original owner, Ann Van Dyke, started the center back in 1971. Ann dedicated her life as a cheetah conservationist and still lives on the property and takes an active role in the daily operations of the center. Ann is now in her 80s and continues her commitment to the cheetahs. She is truly an inspiration! Once I arrived I toured the center with Amy who is extremely knowledgeable about the area as well as the facility. All the people who work at the center ( Kim, Bart, René ,Nelda, Amy and Pieter) have a deep respect and profound love for these magnificent animals . As a volunteer, René guided me in the intricacies of how the reserve is run. Feracare is a working farm and the work is never ending. As a volunteer, I was able to clean enclosures, mend fences, cut hay for an injured zebra, and feed all the animals on the property. René has a respect and genuine love for all the animals at Feracare. She is a very calm and reassuring person. I learned a lot just from watching her interact with the animals. I never expected to have such a close-up experience with all of the animals. The most exciting part of the day was feeding the cheetahs and African wild dogs! I went to bed each night knowing I was able to keep up and felt grateful that I had the opportunity to see these magnificent animals up close. What amazed me the most was how powerful the cheetahs are and at the same time, how gentle . To actually hear a big cat like that purr was such a thrill – like nothing I’ve experienced and then to see them run- I mean, really run- was AMAZING! It was beautiful and thrilling g at the same time! Cheetahs deserve our profound respect, it’s so important that we don’t lose these majestic animals. I had an experience of a lifetime, so much that I will be brining my family to Feracare in the future. My experience has changed me. It made me aware that these beautiful animals are in danger of becoming extinct. It has made me realize that the people who work so hard to conserve these animals are struggling in an up- hill battle. The cost to keep these animals safe is ever-increasing . Places like Feracare run on donations and the goodness of people to come and help out, because of my time at Feracare, my daughter, Juliette and I, decided to set up a gofundme/casasforcheetahs page. The center currently has 41 cheetahs. The females have shelters, the males have none. Due to the unpredictable weather the animals are exposed to the elements. We are trying to raise money to build new shelters for the males and update the female shelters. If you would like to donate please go to: gofundme/casasforcheetahs Any amount is greatly appreciated. Our family has adopted a male cheetah named Kongo, and we have purchased the first house on the block for him! I would encourage anyone who is interested in conservation of these amazing animals to go out to Feracare, volunteer and adopt a cheetah! You can book directly on the web site of Feracare . Mary Schroeder
The Best time of My life!
I loved it to be with you Guys. Everyone was like Family, and everyone was sweet. I was one in a big group of, i think it was 14 People. And you could talk to everyone. And there was not one day That They didn’t think about you, and how you were today. And every morning They asked “did you sleep well” and “how are you today” 🙂 Thank you feracare for the Best time month in My life!
THE VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE
With the continuous development of rare and endangered species in mind (which includes the cheetah and African wild dog). Volunteers will learn to care for these animals and are taught about all the processes involved in conserving , caring and interacting with endangered species. As a volunteer you will become responsible for the continued development of these animals.
The program includes activities such as preparing food and feeding of the animals, cleaning of the waterholes and feeding stations, maintenance and other farm work and any other animal related tasks.