We have compiled a list of things you need to know before travelling to Riverside Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, and also to give you as much information about your stay so you are fully prepared for this wonderful experience:
Before You Go
What's The Cost?
Please contact Lynne Venter on for pricing..
Three meals per day plus coffee, tea and drinking water
Bed, bedding, insect net
What's Not Included?
*Please bring two pairs of heavy duty rubber gloves for working.
*Dust coat for wearing over your clothes whilst working.
*Gum boots (optional).
Where To Go
Option 1: Fly to Phalaborwa via Johannesburg
Option 2: Fly to Johannesburg and get a shuttle to Tzaneen (Please coontact Lynne)
Option 3: Fly to Johannesburg and take the bus to Tzaneen (Please contact Lynne
for the best bus or shuttle options.)
Please email confirmation of your travel plans and itinerary so that we may collect you at the appropriate time and destination.
What To Pack
Summer (December to February) temperatures can reach over 45°C (115°F). Summer is also the rainy season. In the Winter (June to August) it can drop to as low as 0°C (32°F), although by midday it usually warms up. Spring and Fall are rather mild. Make sure you have clothing for the appropriate time of year:
Light Weight T-Shirts / Tank Tops
Tough Shoes (ie. Keen-type or boots)
Light Weight Trousers
Flip Flops or Crocs
Winter: Warm Trousers
Long Sleeved Shirts/Sweatshirts
Warm Coat for Night Time
Other Things to Consider:
Padlock for your locker in 'Safe Room"
Dress clothes (one or two sets) for occasional nights out and government
and other organisation meetings.
*Bring old clothes or clothes you don't mind getting dirty or torn.*
Prepare For Your Visit to Riverside Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre
Items To Donate
Nappies size Premature to size 2
Baby Bottles (normal shape) 125mL or 250mL
Baby Teets or Puppy Teets (i.e. Royal Canin)
Rubber Kitchen Gloves (Heavy Duty)
Plastic Picnic Baskets or Pet Carrier (right)
-Minimum Size: 19x12x13
Pens and Note Pads
Keep in Mind:
Working with animals is very rewarding, but not a glamorous job and is very hard work. Volunteering at Riverside Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre does not allow for a lot of down-time or relaxing during working hours. You will lift, carry, push wheel barrows, clean, scrub, sweep, sweat and get dirty. You may be soiled on and the animals may pull your hair. You will work when it's hot, and when it's cold, when there's wind or rain. Animals cannot forgo food or care because of bad weather. Animals require full time care as per the Riverside standards, during all weather conditions.
Animals under rehabilitation are 100% dependent on their human care-takers, and as a volunteer you will be entrusted to be responsible for and look after these animals' every need. Volunteers obviously become the eyes and ears of the Project Leaders and the Certified Wildlife Rehabilitator and therefore Riverside depends on hard-working and dedicated volunteers. In that respect we have been very lucky having had only the best volunteers globally.
Breakfast normally includes toast, porridge or oats, cereal, juice, coffee, plus condiments. On occasion eggs, bacon, muffins, yogurt.
Lunch will be set out in the kitchen - normally a sandwich lunch with the ingredients - for you to make yourself. If you wish to have additional foods for lunch or snacks you must purchase these items yourself on shopping days.
Dinner includes a variety of prepared dishes, usually including rice, pasta, vegetables, and meat.
***On Fridays we often drive to the local pub and restaurant "The Junction". The Junction has excellent prices for the quality of food. Costs of meals are not covered by Riverside. Attendence is not required, however dinner is not cooked at Riverside on Friday nights. If you choose not to go, ingredients are available for preparing your own meal.
***On Saturdays we have a traditional South African Braai ("BBQ") around the fire which consists of meat (or veggie meat for vegetarians), pap and sheba.
***On Sundays we have a traditional South African Potjie. This is a South African meal which you will learn to prepare yourself.
Dietary Restrictions - Riverside will try to accommodate any dietary requirements as best as possible. Vegetarian and vegan options are easily catered for. If you have another strict dietary requirement, please let us know at the time of booking in order for us to discuss your needs to ascertain if they can be catered for.
***South African markets do stock free range, grass fed, organic, Glutin free products. However, in the smaller towns it is problematic finding selections Gluten-free products. If this is a concern for you, please notify us prior to your arrival.
Accommodations are dorm-style. You will be provided with a bed, pillow, sheets, duvet and mosquito net. Dorms are padlocked and are to remain locked during working hours. There are outdoor shower facilities with hot water, and flush toilet facilities.
The dorm area is outfitted with security lights and silent alarm for your safety and the safety of your belongings while you are working and away from the dorms. There are also two security dogs that sleep outside dormitory facilities at night, and escort volunteers to and from dormitory facilities.
Daily duties for volunteers may include:
-Preparing food for and feeding the animals
-Preparing and giving bottles
-Cleaning enclosures and facilities
-Monitoring the animals
-Assisting in the clinic
-Assisting with buidling projects
-Assisting with releases
-Harvesting natural foods for the animals
-Off-loading incoming food for the animals
-Taking the monkeys and baboons to the river
-Helping with processing and introductions
-Various other projects...
Caring for animals is a 24/7 job. The animals are totally dependant on volunteers for food, water, a clean environment and general care. There are no set days off, but volunteers do get an afternoon off per week, Saturdays and Sundays are considered resting days, provided that all of the essential chores have been completed and the animals are fed. Weekends are also earmarked specifically for excursions. There are opportunities for excursions which depend on amount of volunteers able to stay and look after the animals. Also, volunteers will be permitted to go to town twice per week as long as there are enough people to stay behind and look after the animals.
While At Riverside
Laundry is done on Tuesdays and Fridays and is R20 per wash. You will recieve vouchers for each laundry day during your stay at Riverside. Vouchers are to be turned in with your dirty laundry on Tuesday and Friday mornings at the Laundry Room, and you will be able to pick up your clean laundry at the end of the day.
Riverside has a 'safe-room' with individual lockers, where you are required to leave all valuables including wallets, passports, cameras, lap tops, phones, etc. No valuables are permitted in the dorms during the day.
You will have opportunities to use ATM machines. Bringing excessive amounts of cash is unnecessary.
Internet and Phone Use:
Riverside's wireless internet services and phone usage is only permitted during off-times from 4pm to 6pm. Phone use is not permitted during working hours or at meal times, saved for emergencies.
Riverside's office phone is only available for volunteers to use in case of an emergency. Depending on your length of stay, if you do not have a mobile phone that will work internationally, you may purchase a relatively cheap "pay as you go" mobile phone at the airport in Johannesburg or in Tzaneen during a town trip.
***Please Consider When Packing***
While Riverside has strict policies regarding hygiene and cleanliness, you will be working outdoors and hands-on with animals. Everything you wear runs the risk of getting torn or coming into contact with dirt, urine and faeces. Please keep this in mind when choosing your work attire.
Soiled clothing will not be worn during meal times, even if you have just come from a chore or shift. Riverside will provide "work shirts" you can choose to wear over your clothes, or you can keep a change of clothes near the facilities to change into for meal times.
The volunteer dormitories are a 5-10 minute walk from the working facilities. Many volunteers choose to carry around a backpack/ruck-sack for daily necessities i.e. change of clothes, camera, sun block, etc. There may not be time during the day to return to the dorms for forgotten items.
Other Things To Remember:
Hair Ties for Long Hair
Contacts - Glasses may be easily broken by grabby fingers
Diary or Journal
Debit Cards/Credit Cards/Alternate Form of ID (ie Driver's License)
Wall Adapters for Electronics and Chargers (3-Prong)
*S'More indredients (no we are not joking - we love S'Mores) - (US)
*Yorkshire Pudding Mix (UK)
*Coleman's Pepper Sauce (UK)
*Speculaas Biscuits and Speculoos Spread (Netherlands)
*Drop Zacht Zoet (Netherlands)
Who Should Volunteer?
You needn't have prior animal handling or care experience to volunteer at Riverside Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. We welcome volunteers of all backgrounds to share the Riverside experience.
Even if you have worked with animals before, every place is different, with different methods, people, protocols and animals, so the learning experience is new for everyone. So if this is your first time working with animals, have no fear: you are not alone!
We look forward to sharing your experiences and every volunteer brings something new and positive to the table.