CountrySouth AfricaCategoryAnimals, Conservation, Culture, Nature, Research, Teaching OrganisationThe Vervet Monkey Rehabilitation Centre Costs€ 201 - € 300 per weekLocationNature / FieldGroup sizeSmall group (max 8)Minimum stay4 weeks HightlightsAPES is a unique destination for volunteers, back-packers and wildlife enthusiasts seeking enviro-experience and eco-tourism opportunities in Southern Africa. Our home is now on a game farm /nature reserve called, Khobotho Game ranch, with a Bush camp included. APES focuses on the rehabilitation of primates (primarily the South African Vervet Monkey) and other wildlife.
The Vervet Monkey Rehabilitation Centre was established by Dawn and Rodney, a couple that have been working with monkeys for over 19 years. Besides monkeys, they also take care of ducks, geese, cats, dogs, and any other wildlife. Their home is Khobotho Ranch, situated deep within 'Zulu' country on a 3000 acre game reserve neighbouring a rural community where traditional Zulu huts are still the norm. This nature reserve is surrounded by a heavily wooded series of hills, cliffs and valleys mainly of virgin bush. The reserve includes a stone built, thatched bush camp that sleeps up to 12, where there are many species of wild animals to be seen. As a volunteer, you become a part of this big family, and you are required to assist with preparing feeds, hand-rearing infant monkeys (if and when necessary), feeding, cleaning and many other tasks in and around the centre.
The centre is unique in its approach to rehabilitation and over the years they have had great results, seeing many vervet monkeys return to the wild. The centre rescues orphaned and injured vervet monkeys (some only a few hours old) and with care and correct management. When they have healed or reached maturity, they are released back into their known territory or on site.
Some of the rescued monkeys live on the property as a free troop by choice. They are able to interact with the vervets in the enclosures. Some of these are unreleasable monkeys that can never survive in the wild due to previous injuries, others are infants waiting to be released. Wild troops that live outside the centre are encouraged to visit the centre's free troop. Over time these troops get to know each other, allowing for easier integration.
Infant vervets need a great deal of love, attention and stimulation. Feeding takes place every four hours throughout the day and in some cases throughout the night. When they are older, they spend their days in their outside enclosure, and are brought indoors overnight until they reach plus minus 7 months, at which time they are mature enough to remain outside permanently with the older monkeys. The centre does not have infants all year round, and most of the infants that are cared for by the centre are orphans, their mothers having been killed one way or the other. We at the sanctuary are far happier not having infants the reason being is that we know that their mothers are dead, mothers do not abandon their infants and the troop are very protective of youngsters as well.
The APES Community & Wildlife Project also carries out snare/trap clearing game counts; bird watching and maintenance of the non- releasable vervet monkeys and others by creating 'feeding stations' when necessary (to supplement the diet of the nearby wild vervet monkeys due to their continued loss of habitat; this eliminates the need for the primates to steal food, an act which could result in their death at human hands). We also supply information verbal and other to the general public who seek advise in regard to so called vervet monkey problems in the urban areas.
Role of Volunteer
Monkey food preparation & enclosure cleaning; there are a number of monkeys that cannot be released due to injury, this allows for closer observation and contact. We rescue and rehabilitate monkeys and other animals, birds etc and educate humans regarding these creatures. Visits to local schools to assist in environmental education etc.
Livestock food preparation & feeding this includes the sanctuary's numerous domestic pets- dogs, cats. Ducks, geese, hen, goat etc etc.
Hours of work Generally 5 to 6 hours per day, five & half day week. TIME OFF: 1,5 days, to be taken by arrangement with management.
There are many other things to do, for example maintenance work, assisting with house chores, fence repairs, snare patrols, game counts etc. Volunteers must be willing to muck in with daily life at the centre, and not be afraid to get their hands dirty. Monkeys are wild animals, so there are no guarantees that you won't get a nip or two (but no life-threatening bites!). Remember that monkeys DO NOT carry rabies
There are also opportunities for volunteers to interact with rural Zulu children on a cultural and educational level by assisting the teachers during school terms. This may also include maintenance, painting, repairing fences, environmental and recycling education, etc. Many of the children walk long distances to get to and from school, they and the teaching staff look forward to meeting volunteers from overseas. You can aslo help local AIDS workers, and to participate in an up-coming project involving more intensive snare/trap clearing in forest plantations, invasive weed removal and other environmental management activities.
There are many exciting opportunities for volunteers; overnight stays at our bush camp, hiking trails, visits and overnight stays with traditional Zulu families and "live like a Zulu" experience. You can be sure of a truly memorable African experience without the usual luxuries of city living.
The centre also encourages volunteers to visit other areas of KwaZulu-Natal, Tours can be organized for them.N.B.Tours etc are to the volunteers own account: For example trips to Hluhluwe gamepark to see the Big 5 and many other species of game, visits to St Lucia wetlands which is a world heritage site, underwater dives, hiking in the Drakensberg, visit the Battlefields or go to Durban's Shaka land, Seaworld, educational tour to the Shark Research Centre etc We encourage our volunteers to see as much as possible of our beautiful country.
Requirements / Conditions
These thoroughly rewarding projects will suit all volunteers with an interest in wildlife, zoology, veterinary sciences, natural history, environmental issues, study of the local Zulu traditions, and South African history.
Shared volunteer accommodation, furnished, bedrooms have 2 bunk beds each, linen is provided but please bring an extra towel & sleeping bag (for out door camping if desired) Shared bathroom includes toilet, bath/shower units hot & cold running water. Laundry done on site minimum weekly.
On site: Bush walks, game trails on foot, please note:The following visits can be arranged at extra cost.
Wildlife/white water rafting (seasonal)
Mountaineering & hiking in the Drakensburg mountains (accommodation available)
Coral reef/wreck diving at a National Heritage sites
Surf boarding (accommodation available)
Visit to traditional Zulu village & Zulu dancing by local villagers
Visit to a Sangoma ( traditional healer/ herbalist/fortune teller)
Hluhluwe Game Park on the North Coast has the " Big 5," accommodation available
Other Venues are also available please ask for more details if you are interested. N.B SIGHT SEEING TOURS/, SIGHT SEEING TRIPS OR OVERNIGHT STAYS ARE TO YOUR OWN ACCOUNT:
Bank, Internet café, Photo developers, supermarket, hotel, restaurant, police, post office Library, Museum in Greytown (14kms from APES).
Transport: Car hire can be arranged at extra cost. Extra airport & bus depot transfers to and from Pietermaritzburg +-120kms from APES, or Mooi River 80kms from APES are not included in the package, however the collecting and returning to your arrival and departure destination are included. Visits to Greytown weekly at no extra cost.
We advise you fly to Johannesburg where you are met by a friend who owns a back packers. If it is necessary you are booked in to stay over (at your own cost), also the bus is booked for you again at your own cost you then travel down to our collection point MooiRiver which is about 6 hours from Johannesburg. This way you get to see a lot of the countryside as well.
Volunteers pay 2.100 ZAR per person per week. Reduced rates for 3 months or longer maybe available on request.