If you’re passionate about helping our big cats and really want to support the work of the LIONSROCK sanctuary why not come and do it in person?

At LIONSROCK we not only welcome volunteers, we depend on them. You can join our team for a minimum of 4 weeks and a maximum of 12 weeks, helping with many critical aspects of our animals’ welfare and the smooth running and maintenance of the sanctuary.

You’ll live at the sanctuary in our volunteer accommodation, where you’ll be able to cater for yourself in your new home away from home. While you’ll be expected to work five days a week, you’ll also have plenty of free time to explore the surrounding area and visit nearby towns and tourist attractions.


We are keen to receive all motivated and hardworking volunteers, although experience of working with animals is certainly beneficial.

Main tasks:

  • Closely monitoring all the animals to give them the best possible care and chance to thrive in their new home
  • Observing the animals’ behaviour and progress, especially relations between individuals within a lion group and interactions between neighbouring lion groups
  • Feeding the animals and preparing and implementing enrichment measures
  • Building new structures for enclosures and helping with basic maintenance work
  • Assisting with ad hoc tasks such as fundraising, marketing, interacting with visitors and filming groups
  • Guiding school children as part of their educational visits

Other things to do and see:

There is loads to do in the Eastern Free State, famous for its warm South African hospitality and a mix of arts and culture. From experiencing life in a tribal village to tasting the exquisite wines of South Africa, there is something for everyone here, especially for those who love the great outdoors. The Maluti Mountains provide a dramatic backdrop to our nearest big town Bethlehem, which is just 18km from the LIONSROCK sanctuary. Founded by the Voortrekkers during the 1840's, Bethlehem is home to a number of historical sandstone buildings, many of which are now provincial heritage sites. The town has excellent facilities, including numerous good restaurants, shops and supermarkets and a varied entertainment calendar.

Nearby tourist attractions include Clarens, the Golden Gate National Park, and Fouriesburg. Within 2 hours you are in Lesotho, and at the Drakensberg Mountains. The sanctuary is 4 hours’ drive to Durban and 3 hours to Johannesburg.

Volunteer qualities:

  • Love of animals and a particular interest in big cats
  • Happy to work outside in any weather
  • Love of nature and patience to observe
  • Understanding of what it means to work for but not in direct contact with animals
  • Fluent in spoken and written English
  • Students of biology, zoology and veterinary medicine are particularly welcomed but this is by no means essential
  • Prior experience of having worked with animals is beneficial


£1795 for 4 weeks. Each additional week £230. If you stay for more than 8 weeks, the extra week price will be reduced to £200 per week.

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What’s included:

  • Accommodation on site in a purpose-built and well-equipped self-catering bungalow which has two twin bedrooms, bathroom and kitchen
  • Transfer from and to Johannesburg airport
  • Weekly transport into Bethlehem for shopping, sightseeing etc.
  • Laundry
  • Wi-Fi at the accommodation
  • Official Certificate from LIONSROCK for the period of training
  • Work materials
  • Dates flexible to your free time - minimum 4 weeks

What’s not included:

  • Flights
  • Insurance
  • Food
  • Visa
  • Medical expenses
  • Phone calls
  • Transport outside the sanctuary during free time

What you should bring:

  • good walking shoes
  • rain coat
  • towels
  • items for your personal hygiene
  • hat or cap
  • warm clothes or sun block, depending on the season


Departure Months: January - November

Closure Dates:
mid-December to mid-January

General terms of Conditions:

Age limit: the minimum age is 18 years

all volunteers must sign;
1) that they will follow the general rules of accommodation
2) that they will follow the safety instructions at any time (you must be aware that we are caring for dangerous animals)

Your booking will be dealt with by our partners Oyster Worldwide, a responsible gap and responsible travel organisation which places hundreds of volunteers at animal welfare and community-based projects around the world.

How to get involved:

For more information and to express your interest, please contact Anne on anne@oysterworldwide.com or give her a call on +44 (0) 1892 770 771.


When contacting Anne via email, please provide the following details: Name, Country of residence, Age, when do you want to go, How long do you want to go for, Do you have any prior experience with animals or studying in this field.



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