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 four weeks (and for as long as you like) helping with many critical aspects of our animals’ welfare and the smooth running and maintenance of the sanctuary.

You’ll live on the sanctuary in our volunteer accommodation, where you’ll be able to cater for yourself using food provided by us. 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.

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
  • Cleaning and maintaining the animals’ enclosures
  • Looking after day visitors, including giving them briefings on the work of the sanctuary and taking them on game drives and horseback tours
  • Patrolling the sanctuary borders


Your working hours will sometimes start very early morning or even overnight, given that these are the most active times for the animals and their predators. However we’ll make sure that there is a good balance between work and free time.


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.


£1395 for 4 weeks. Each additional week £215. Special rates for 8 weeks+.

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What’s included:

  • Accommodation on site in a purpose-built and well-equipped self catering unit which has one twin bedroom and one single room, bathroom and kitchen
  • Food
  • Transfer from and to Johannesburg airport
  • Weekly transport into Bethlehem for shopping, sightseeing etc.
  • Laundry
  • Internet access (via the office)
  • 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 with:

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


Departure Month: Any

Closure Dates: None

General terms of Conditions:

Age limit: the minimum age is 18 years

Agreements: all volunteers must sign

a) that they will follow the general rules of accommodation
b) 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 0044 1892 770 771. To make your booking, you will need to provide the following information:


  • Name
  • Address
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Mobile number
  • Date of Birth
  • When do you want to go?
  • How long do you want to go for?
  • Number in party




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