Nestled in a picturesque setting at the base of the Drakensberg escarpment in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, Moholoholo has become a haven for the rehabilitation and care of abandoned, injured and poisoned wildlife.
Moholoholo ('The Very Great One') Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre was established in 1992, after realising the need for a safe and professional rehabilitation centre for all wildlife. The centre has grown tremendously over the years and is well known in Southern Africa as well as abroad. The rehab centre is situated on a 700ha reserve with free roaming wildlife.
Wildlife is brought to the centre from all corners of South Africa, and once healthy enough are re-introduced into their natural environment. Those creatures who cannot be returned to the wild due to the nature and extent of their injuries have found a permanent home at the centre and are ambassadors for their species; giving the public the opportunity to get an 'up close and personal' experience of these incredible creatures and an insight into the problems these species are facing in the wild.
Another important function of the centre is breeding. They have succesfully bred and released into the wild the endangered Crowned Eagle, Serval and many others.
The rehab now houses confiscated Lions from a Mozambique Circus, Leopard, Caracal, Serval, Cheetah, Crowned Eagle, Marshall Eagle, Vultures, various owls, species of antelope and many more that have been confiscated, orphaned, abandoned or injured.
They are also actively involved in a research forum which looks at the movements and behaviour of leopards. To date they have captured and collard a number of leopards for this research and the results have been astounding. The centre is regularly called to remove a 'problem animal', for example hyaena or leopard. This occasion is then used to collect data from the animal, after which the animal will be released again. Where funds allow the animal will be fitted with a GPS collar. Their research also extends to a number of vulture species and they monitor those which visit the 'vulture restaurant' at the entrance of the rehab on a daily basis.
Another plight of the centre is to create awareness and educate the public about the sensitivity of our ecosystem and how fast we are losing it. Daily tours through the centre provide the visitors with awareness and understanding in this regard.
At the project you can expect to take part in the following:
No previous experience is needed in order for you to fulfil these daily tasks, all you will need is a love for animals and nature and be prepared to do the dirty work.
Daily schedule for students:
07:00: Meet at the clinic (at the rehab) to join the feeding round team and attend to your animals
09:30: During baby season, there are many 'baby duties' which need to be done
10:15: Daily meeting at the clinic. The days jobs and activities are discussed. This is also a time for any interests, concerns or questions to be raised
14:00: Meet at the clinic for any remaining jobs and spend extra time with animals that benefit enormously from human attention and stimulation
15:30: Afternoon feeding rounds start. After that, each evening the rehab does a 'vulture run' where they feed the wild vultures out on the reserve, and every other day the cheetahs at the centre need to be fed
18:45: Meet at Rangers Cottage where you will depart for dinner at Forest Camp
There is no typical day at the rehab centre... anything can happen! Everything that happens just adds to your experience here in Africa. Working with animals can scramble up all plans made, can delay meals and rob you of your sleep, so be prepared for the unexpected...
Other activities: Excursions are arranged on occasion. These will be at an additional cost and there is no set schedule for these trips. Our quiet time is on Sundays, and although you will still assist with feeding the animals, you get to relax between the feeding rounds.
Three delicious meals are provided while at the project. Breakfast and Dinner are served at Forest Camp Lodge, a 10 min. walk from the rehab. At night, however, you get a bush ride by vehicle to and from the Lodge, which gives you a chance to see nocturnal animals and others in the evening.
There will be occasions when you all go to a local restaurant for dinner as a change, but this will be at your own cost.
Students are housed in three separate buildings. The female and male accommodation is separate, but the common areas are shared by both sexes. Females are housed in two or four bed rooms, and have en-suite bathrooms. Males are housed in a dormitory-style room which sleeps four, they have a fully equipped ablution block next door to their rooms.
Each person has a cupboard, bed and bedside pedestal. You are responsible for keeping this tidy. Your rooms are cleaned regularly and linen is provided, but do bring your own towels.
The common-room is there for games, building puzzles, as well as sitting in the evenings chatting and drinking coffee.
There is electricity, running water (that one can drink), and a telephone service that needs a 'world call card' to operate. Internet facilities are available in the common-room for which you can purchase vouchers from the office (at the rehab).
The project has the following requests while you stay with them (these are for your own safety, and in accordance with cultural beliefs) :
Dress code: During working hours and on any trips made in the centre's vehicles you are kindly requested to wear the T-shirt provided by the rehab and a pair of good closed shoes. At the accommodation and at night you are welcome to wear your own clothing. Note that no 'strappy type' tops and shorts are allowed in the work place, and that no bikini's or swimsuits are worn down at the accommodation (this is due to cultural differences and we ask that you respect the local peoples cultures during your stay).
Alcohol and narcotics: No alcohol or any narcotics is allowed to be consumed on the premises, if found you will be given 24 hours notice to leave the centre. This is for your own safety due to working around birds and animals, which can be dangerous. Added to this the project leaders ask that you remain sober on your nights out.
Smoking: no smoking is allowed in any of the rooms or at the Rehab Centre. Please use the veranda for this purpose and do not throw any cigarette stumps outside or leave them lying around as these are toxic when consumed by animals.
Please contact us for information regarding programme costs.
Available spaces fill up quickly between June - September. We therefore advise to book well in advance (at least 6 months)! Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions!
Age: from 18 to 80 (for the young at heart)
Group size: 1 - 20 students
Minimum stay: 2 Weeks. This project is open throughout the year.
Arrival on every day of the week, except Sundays.