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Prepare For Your Visit to Riverside Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre

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 for 1 week's stay

   Please contact Lynne Venter on for pricing..


What's Not Included?


    Excursion Fees



    Medical Fees/Insurance

    Phone/Internet Usage

    *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 Hoedspruit via Johannesburg

    Option 2: Fly to Johannesburg and get a shuttle to Tzaneen (Please contact Lynne)

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:

Summer:    Shorts

                 Light Weight T-Shirts / Tank Tops

                 Tough Shoes (ie. Keen-type or boots)

                 Rain-Proof Jacket

                 Light Weight Trousers

                 Rain-Proof Trousers

                 Sun Hat

                  Flip Flops or Crocs

Winter:     Warm Trousers

                 Long Sleeved Shirts/Sweatshirts

                 Fleece Zip-Up

                 Warm Coat for Night Time

                  Warm Socks



Other Things to Consider:

                 Padlock for your locker in 'Safe Room"

                 Bathing Costume

                 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.*

***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


   Sun Block

   Mosquito Spray

   Diary or Journal

   Laundry Bag

   Backpack/Ruck sack

   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)

   *Pindakaas (Netherlnds)

   *Drop Zacht Zoet (Netherlands)

While At Riverside



Laundry facilities are available at a nominal charge.



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.



There is Wi-fi available at the main complex


Daily Routine:

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...



Days Off:

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.


Accommodations are dorm-style. You will be provided with a bed, pillow, sheets, duvet. Dorms are padlocked and are to remain locked during working hours. There are outdoor shower facilities with hot water, and flush toilet facilities.




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.

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.


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.

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)

Bottle Brushes

Unused Towels

Rubber Kitchen Gloves (Heavy Duty)

Hand Brushes 

Plastic Picnic Baskets or Pet Carrier (right)

-Minimum Size: 19x12x13

Pens and Note Pads 

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. 

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