Animal Care Volunteer Project in South Africa - Cape Town
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.
- Programs start on the first and third Monday of each month
- Affordable fees from CA$338 for 1 week
- Includes accommodation, meals, airport pick up, orientation and 24/7 support
Help care for and improve life for abandoned dogs and cats
Discover South Africa’s natural beauty and diversity
Stay in volunteer house in a relaxed coastal surfing town
Who is this program suited to?
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
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
- 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.
South Africa photo gallery
The IVHQ South Africa volunteer program is based in Muizenberg, a beautiful, small coastal town with excellent surfing. It is about 30 to 40 minutes from the city of Cape Town, and 20 to 30 minutes from volunteer placements located in the Philippi, Steenberg and Grassy Park communities.
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. 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.
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, language training details, 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
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.
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 - 8:30 AM||Volunteers leave home and travel to their placements.|
|12:00 - 2:00 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.|
|7:00 PM||Dinner at the volunteer house.|
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
You’ll stay in volunteer houses and can expect to share a room with one to five other volunteers. Bedrooms have single beds and bunk beds with bedding provided.
The accommodation is safe and secure with the volunteer houses located in a safe suburb near the communities where volunteers work. Living is comfortable with a vending machine for snacks and a television.
The volunteer houses have electricity and running water with Western toilets, but you’ll need to bring your own towel and toiletries.
The volunteer houses have 4G internet access. Data is limited so volunteers will not be able to download or stream TV shows/movies.
Volunteers in South Africa receive three meals a day, Monday through Friday. 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$6) 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.
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
|1 week||CA$340 Equivalent to CA$49/day|
|2 weeks||CA$571 Equivalent to CA$41/day|
|3 weeks||CA$802 Equivalent to CA$39/day|
|4 weeks||CA$1034 Equivalent to CA$37/day|
|5 weeks||CA$1265 Equivalent to CA$37/day|
|6 weeks||CA$1496 Equivalent to CA$36/day|
|8 weeks||CA$1959 Equivalent to CA$35/day|
|10 weeks||CA$2421 Equivalent to CA$35/day|
|12 weeks||CA$2884 Equivalent to CA$35/day|
|16 weeks||CA$3809 Equivalent to CA$35/day|
|20 weeks||CA$4734 Equivalent to CA$34/day|
|24 weeks||CA$5659 Equivalent to CA$34/day|
- 24/7 in-country support
- In-country program orientation
- Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
- Airport pick-up
- Personalized preparation tools, guides and check lists
- Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
- Certificate of International Volunteering
- All programs attract a Registration Fee of CA$404 in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services. IVHQ fees are priced in USD but you may elect to pay in CAD.
- A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
- Additional things to budget for include: Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check and return to the airport when your program finishes.
- Recommended spending money: Volunteers in South Africa generally find US$50-75 per week to be sufficient for expenses.
Check what's required to visit South Africa
Check out the widget below to find out what the Covid-19 restrictions and visa requirements are for South Africa, based on your country of residence.
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.
Protecting against COVID-19:
Volunteers tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours of travel
Health & safety information provided during orientation
Strict disinfecting standards for programs & accomodation
Greater physical distance between volunteers
Essential country information
|Capital||Pretoria (Executive), Bloemfontein (Judicial), Cape Town (Legislative)|
|Languages||Afrikaans, English, Zulu, Xhosa, Swati, Tswana|
|Currency||South African Rand (ZAR)|
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).