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Animal Care Volunteer Project in South Africa - Cape Town

Animal Care Volunteer Project in South Africa - Cape Town

Purpose
Care for & rehome abandoned animals
Start dates
Programs start on the first and third Monday of each month
Duration
Choose from 1-24 weeks
Volunteer hours
Up to 5 hours a day
Age
Volunteers aged 18+ and families
Accommodation
Volunteer house
Program fees
From CA$397 for 1 week
What's included
Find out here
Apply for free
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Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

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This program is ideal for:

Volunteers who enjoy working with cats and dogs and are passionate about animal welfare. You’ll be working closely with the local staff so no experience is necessary and you will need to have had an active tetanus vaccination to join this project.

Project details

Keen to make some four-legged friends as an Animal Care volunteer in South Africa? International Volunteer HQ’s Animal Care project enables volunteers to help at an animal shelter which caters to cats and dogs that have been neglected, abandoned or lost. Volunteers gain animal care experience while providing cats and dogs with care and companionship and helping give them the best chance of finding a new, loving home.

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

Many locals in the Cape Town area enjoy the companionship of dogs and cats. Sadly, many do not have the necessary knowledge to properly care for their pets, and often they cannot afford proper animal care.

As an Animal Care volunteer you will be working at the local animal shelter in the community of Grassy Park. This project is perfect for anyone who is passionate about animals and enjoys spending time around dogs and cats.

As a volunteer on this project, you’ll support the shelter to care for the large number of cats and dogs living there by providing companionship and improving the quality of life for them. Volunteers can help with:

  • Caring for abandoned and lost animals
  • Attending to the sick animals
  • Assisting with general health care, injections and medication
  • Cleaning, feeding and helping with the general running of the shelter
Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #15: Life on Land

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #15: Life on Land

Human activity has altered almost 75% of the earth’s surface and around 1 million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction. Nature is critical to our survival. We must promote kindness to animals and use regenerative techniques to combat deforestation, conserve biodiversity and protect wildlife.

Why do Animal Care volunteering in Cape Town with IVHQ?

When you volunteer with animals in South Africa you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:

  • Improving quality of life for cats and dogs in animal shelters
  • Supporting local animal welfare efforts
  • Developing your communication skills
  • Gaining animal care experience
  • Immersing yourself in South African culture
  • Discovering South Africa’s diverse wildlife

Volunteer requirements

  • Volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to participate in this program, and may be asked to provide additional documentation to the local team
  • All volunteers aged 13+ are required to provide a criminal background check to IVHQ prior to departure. Those aged 13-17, if unable to obtain a criminal background check, can provide two character reference letters instead
  • All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance
  • All volunteers must speak fluent English
  • All volunteers must have an active Tetanus Vaccination
Are you eligible to volunteer?

Submit a free application so we can confirm your eligibility and check availability for your preferred dates.

Apply for free

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'Who is going' users image
Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

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What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience

LH
Laura Hubbard-Perez
16 Jul 2024

I learnt that love and happiness does not come from money and even people living in the worst conditions can spread love and kindness. My heart is whole and I have healed my inner child through the smiles I received from the children everyday. I would tell those who are hesitant, to go for it! It is so worth it. Not only do you learn from the kids, you make friends for life, get immersed in the culture and you will forever have a place in your heart for the children.

...
JM
Jordyn Montgomery
06 Jun 2024

I would recommend this program specifically and IVHQ to anyone and everyone I know. This truly was a trip of a lifetime and the people in Africa I had the pleasure of meeting made such an impact on me.

...
KC
Karen Chahal
02 May 2024

I have gained a better insight on the reality of our world. This trip has made me realize how much more there is to life and what it truly means to “live”. If you are hesitant about joining the program, don’t be! You will meet many amazing people on your journey and find how similar your purpose may be with theirs. You will get the chance to make someone smile, and that will impact your life even more deeply! Book the trip and take in every moment.

...
CV
Chloe Viegas
29 Jun 2023

My favourite moment was meeting so many people from around the world. All these people made a big impact on me, how I see the world, and definitely how I see myself. I’ve met some of the best people while I was here and I’m so happy to have done this program with them. Pushing me out of my comfort zone and truly appreciating life was the biggest impact this trip had on me!

My advice for people who are hesitant to volunteer abroad would be to do it if you want a new life experience where you will grow and change, as well as meet so many new people and create life bonds!

...
HH
Hayley Huggett
22 Mar 2023

Teaching music to the children at one of the placements was something I didn’t expect to do, and it was awesome! Also, I've grown my confidence with my volunteer trip. Do not over think it, everyone fully looks after you to make sure you are safe and supported.

...
MM
Michaela Münster
24 Nov 2022

I loved the location, close to the beach and in a pretty safe area. Also close to grocery stores, ATM etc. I love to be with all the volunteers. We had a lot of free time and spent it well. Cape Town is an amazing place to explore. I would stay longer than 4 weeks if I could. This was probably the best month so far in my 18 years of life! Coming all alone to South Africa was scary in the beginning. Now I feel more confident, and I know that I am able to do stuff like this. I’m also more confident when I speak English. Just go for it, you’re gonna grow as a person whether you enjoy the experience or not. It can teach you something either way. And most likely you will feel independent and have lots of fun.

...

To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

Academic course credit

Academic course credit through International Volunteer HQ and Intern Abroad HQ.

Academic course credit

Gain course credit from your college or university and meet your academic requirements when completing a volunteer abroad program with International Volunteer HQ!

Learn about course credit

Location

Volunteer Abroad in Cape Town, South Africa with IVHQ

Location

The IVHQ South Africa volunteer program is based in Muizenberg, a beautiful, small coastal town with excellent surfing. It is about a 30 minute drive from the Cape Town City, and up to 15 minutes from volunteer placements located in the Philippi, Steenberg, Capricorn, and Grassy Park townships.

South Africa is known for its natural beauty, wildlife, sporting prowess, and diversity of culture and ethinic groups. It’s turbulent socio-political history is also well known, and is important to learn about in order to gain insight and understanding of the country’s people, culture and attitudes. There are many places where you can do this in Cape Town and the surrounding areas.

The IVHQ South Africa program is one of our longest running volunteer programs and has the aim of delivering positive outcomes in communities throughout the area by placing volunteers on a wide range of impactful projects. There is a focus on animal welfare as well as supporting children and young people who have had a challenging start to life because of exposure to drugs, alcohol or physical abuse.

Arrival and orientation

The program orientation begins on the first and third Monday of each month and volunteers need to arrive in Cape Town on the day before orientation. If your start date falls on a public holiday, your orientation will begin on the day following the public holiday.

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at the Cape Town International Airport (CPT). Your airport pick-up is included in your program fee.

When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation in Muizenberg. Your accommodation is covered by your program fee and includes the night before your program orientation and checkout is on Saturday.

If you are traveling in South Africa prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up within the Cape Town CBD area on the day before your program orientation.

Orientation is taken by our South Africa team in Muizenberg, Cape Town. Orientation begins on the morning of your chosen start date and covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in South Africa – an introduction to South Africa, South African customs, rules and expectations, safety, travel opportunities in South Africa, and an introduction to your project and placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and make plans for weekend travel and socializing. Once your orientation is complete you will take a trip into Cape Town before returning to your volunteer accommodation.

Volunteer schedule example

First Day

On your first day of volunteering, you will be escorted to your placement by a local coordinator and introduced to the placement staff you will be working with.

Weekdays

Work and hours are dependent on the project and placement that each volunteer is working at. A typical volunteer day would be as follows:

7:00 AM Breakfast at the volunteer house.
8:00 AM Volunteers leave home and travel to their placements.
1:00 PM Work at the placement usually ends. Volunteers are free to travel back to the volunteer house for lunch, go sightseeing, or do some shopping.
5:00 - 9:00 PM Dinner is available at the volunteer house.

Weekends

On the weekends, volunteers have spare time to relax or take the opportunity to explore Cape Town or other areas in South Africa. See unusual wildlife like antelope and penguins, visit the spot where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, paraglide off a rock high above the city, visit a local vineyard, or watch the sun sink into the Atlantic ocean with a glass of the region’s finest wine in your hand. Long weekends can be taken if volunteers wish to go on safari, bungy jump, or travel to places further afield, such as the Garden Route or Stellenbosch.

Looking for more ideas of things to do in South Africa? Check out our South Africa Travel & Tours page!

Accommodation and WiFi

All volunteers are accommodated in a large two-storey dormitory style volunteer house with capacity for around 40 volunteers, with rooms separated by gender. It is a 7 bedroom house that comfortably sleeps 6 people per room. The rooms on the second floor lead out to a balcony that overlooks the village. The house has 6 bathrooms, a TV lounge, a dining area and a volunteer kitchen.

The beach, convenient stores, ATMs, restaurants etc. are all in walking distance from the house. Bedrooms have single beds and bunk beds with bedding provided. The house is clean and well looked after, and living is comfortable.

The accommodation is safe and secure with the volunteer house located in Muizenberg, a safe suburb near the communities where volunteers work. Muizenberg is a very historical part of Cape Town and the house you will be living in for the duration of your stay is about 150 years old.

The volunteer house has electricity and running water with Western toilets, but you’ll need to bring your own towel and toiletries. During the Winter (June through August) Cape Town can get quite cold and it’s recommended to bring an extra blanket.

The volunteer house has unlimited Wifi 5G with a very good connection.

Meals

Volunteers in South Africa receive three meals a day, Monday through Friday. Breakfast will also be available on weekends. Meals served in the volunteer house are typically Western-style and can be high in carbohydrates.

Breakfast consists of self-serve tea, coffee, toast and cereal. For lunch volunteers will be provided with supplies to make their own sandwiches, and dinner consists of dishes containing meat, vegetables and a starch, such as potatoes, bread or pasta.

It is not possible to drink the tap water in South Africa, however, bottled water is readily available in South Africa, and you should budget approximately US$5 (approximately CA$7) per week for 2 liters a day.

If you have any special dietary requirements, please let us know when you apply for the program so we can make arrangements for you. However, we need to stress the point that you should not expect to eat as you normally do at home. We will do our best to see that you are well taken care of, but also as a volunteer, there is a need to be flexible.

Pricing

  • USD

Spots are limited. For a Registration Fee of just US$329 (approximately CA$476) you secure your spot and unlock all our preparation and training tools.

You don't need to worry about paying your Program Fee until you get closer to your start date.

Duration
Program Fee
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
  • USD
1 week $275 Equivalent to $39/day
2 weeks $445 Equivalent to $32/day
3 weeks $615 Equivalent to $29/day
4 weeks $785 Equivalent to $28/day
5 weeks $955 Equivalent to $27/day
6 weeks $1,125 Equivalent to $27/day
8 weeks $1,465 Equivalent to $26/day
10 weeks $1,805 Equivalent to $26/day
12 weeks $2,145 Equivalent to $26/day
16 weeks $2,825 Equivalent to $25/day
20 weeks $3,505 Equivalent to $25/day
24 weeks $4,185 Equivalent to $25/day
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately CA$476) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Recommended spending money: Volunteers in South Africa generally find US$50-75 per week to be sufficient for expenses.
  • Meals
  • Airport pick-up
  • Transport to and from your placement
  • Accommodation
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Personalized preparation tools, guides and check lists
  • Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
  • Certificate of International Volunteer Service

Learn more about what's included in your IVHQ Registration Fee and Program Fee.

  • Return to the airport when your program finishes
  • Flights
  • Visa (if required), travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check.
  • Personal spending money for snacks, laundry, public transportation, drinks and leisure activities during your free time.

Check what's required to visit South Africa

Safety and support

Safety and support with IVHQ

Safety and support

IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.

  • All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
  • All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
  • All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
  • All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Learn more about IVHQ's safety

Essential country information

Essential country information

Capital Pretoria (Executive), Bloemfontein (Judicial), Cape Town (Legislative)
Population 58.6 million
Languages Afrikaans, English, Zulu, Xhosa, Swati, Tswana
Currency South African Rand (ZAR)
Time zone UTC+02:00

Weather and climate

The subtropical location, moderated by the Atlantic and Indian Oceans on three sides of the country and the altitude of the central plateau, are responsible for the warm temperatures typical of South Africa. Across much of the country, summer (December to February) is characterized by hot, sunny weather with temperatures averaging around 25°C (77°F). Winter (May to September) is cooler and drier with evening temperatures averaging around 10 °C (50°F). In Cape Town, sporadic showers and chilly winds are common during the winter months, but with daytime temperatures can average around 15°C (59°F).

Apply to check if you're eligible!

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How to get started

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Pay the Registration Fee to secure your place and upgrade your MyIVHQ account
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