top of page
Reptile Vet Project

South Africa

This hands-on project involves assisting in a reptile centre and sanctuary as they strive to rescue and rehabilitate a plethora of different reptile species. You will be involved in the day-to-day care of the centre’s residents, assist on impromptu rescue missions to remove reptiles safely from neighbouring areas (and either release or rehabilitate the patient dependant on circumstances), have the opportunity to handle a range of different reptiles, as well as assist in veterinary procedures. You do not need any qualifications to attend this project, although if you have a veterinary background you will be able to be more involved within medical procedures.


  •  Work alongside a dedicated team of herpetofauna specialists

  •  Assist in the rescue and relocation of reptiles within the surrounding areas

  • Work alongside an onsite reptile veterinarian to rehabilitate injured reptiles

  • Assist with emergency, reactive and preventative medicine

  • Learn how to handle a range of different reptiles, maintain animals exhibits, prepare animals' diets, create animal enrichment and participate in research or document filming

  • Visit some of the best South African attractions on your days off

  • Contribute to reptile conservation efforts

Project video

Reptiles and amphibians are often misunderstood and persecuted within the modern world. This project provides the perfect opportunity to work hand in hand with a dedicated team determined

to provide a safe haven for these creatures and instill a deeper appreciation and understanding of their importance within the ecosystem.

The centre's onsite herpetologist and conservationist, together with the on-site veterinarian who specialises in all wildlife but has a special affinity for reptiles and amphibians provide the perfect

team for a hands-on, wholistic experience from animal care to rehabilitation. When there are medical cases the volunteers would be exposed to medical procedures such as administering medications, wound management, reconstruction (carapaces, broken legs etc), supportive care or anything else an animal may need. At the center preventative medicine procedures are often practiced such as fecal testing and deworming where necessary.

The centre's mission is to reeducate the local community and rehabilitate surrounding populations - a perfect balance of conservation through education. As a volunteer on this project you will be treated as part of the family and learn how to handle different reptiles, maintain animals exhibits, prepare animals diets, create animal enrichment, and even get involved in rescue and rehabilitation missions for these outstanding creatures. There will also be the additional opportunity to learn how to handle venomous snakes for those who are interested.

During your days off you are welcome to explore the nearby local attractions with fellow volunteers such as visiting Blyde River Canyon or the Kruger National Park amongst many other

awesome opportunities!


The centre has some awesome permanent residents that volunteers will be very involved in caring for from feeding to cleaning enclosures and everything in between! Some of the permanent residents include a Nile Crocodile, baboon spiders, alligator snapping turtles, scorpions, and a variety of indigenous and exotic snakes.

· Daily assessment, cleaning and maintaining of enclosures.

· Upgrading of enclosures.

· Administration duties such as maintaining animal records.

· Health and wellness checks of all animals.

· Food preparation and feeding of animals.

· Medical work with sick or hurt animals.

· Animal enrichment.

· Animal handling training.

· Attend any courses/programmes/lectures being given at the Centre.

· Attend any emergency call outs for rescue/injured reptiles.

· Attend any community outreach or excursion programmes scheduled


No two days at the Reptile Centre are the same therefore your schedule will be changeable and flexible as events and structure will vary from week to week based on bookings. Nevertheless, every volunteer will experience at the very least the following during their time at the Centre:

  • The normal day to day routine at the Centre

  • An excursion into the wilderness to see reptiles in the wild

  • Any courses/tours/programmes booked during the duration of their stay

  • Any community outreach programmes booked during the duration of their stay

  • Preventative medicine and medical care for animals that require it at the Centre

  • Developing an enrichment protocol for a reptile species at the Centre and implementing it

  • Presenting a short lecture about reptiles to the staff and your colleagues at the Centre

  • Various lectures on reptile husbandry, physiology and behaviour will be given throughout their stay

Project Photos


Mamba Manner, nestled within the park property, offers shared accommodation for those seeking to contribute their time and efforts. With its self-catering kitchen and shared bathrooms, volunteers can enjoy a comfortable and convenient living space.

The lounge provides a cozy area for relaxation and socialising, while the large garden and swimming pool offer refreshing outdoor activities. To stay connected, free WiFi is available throughout the house, ensuring volunteers can stay connected with friends and family.

Volunteers at the house cook their own meals using the ingredients provided. The self-catering kitchen is equipped with everything they need to prepare their favorite dishes. By utilizing the provided ingredients, volunteers can exercise their culinary skills, create delicious meals, and enjoy a personalized dining experience during their stay.


The Reptile Centre is located in the town of Hoedspruit, situated in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. Hoedspruit is a small town known for its proximity to various natural wonders. The immediate area surrounding Hoedspruit boasts remarkable biodiversity, with the presence of diverse ecosystems and abundant wildlife.

During your stay, there will be scheduled rest days within the program. On these days you can choose to either relax with your fellow volunteers at the volunteer house or to explore the surrounding areas and take in all of the local attractions. The Blyde River Canyon, one of the largest canyons in the world, is just a short distance away from the reptile centre, offering breathtaking views of towering cliffs, lush vegetation, and the meandering Blyde River. The iconic Kruger National Park is easily accessible from the reptile centre, making it an ideal base for wildlife enthusiasts, researchers and the good conservation work the centre does.



2 weeks: £846

3 weeks: £1269

4 weeks: £1692

Longer stays by request.


2 weeks: £888

3 weeks: £1332

4 weeks: £1776

Longer stays by request.

Want to know what is included? Great news, it’s almost everything including:

  • Pre-departure planning and assistance

  • Pick up and drop off to the airport

  • Accommodation

  • Fully equipped and stocked self-catering kitchen

  • Support at the volunteer accommodation by on site staff

  • Someone is always available in case of emergency


  • Medical and travel insurance

  • Flights to your destination

  • Visas

  • Extra activities


  • AGE: 18 +, no upper limit

  • QUALIFICATIONS: no requirements, qualified vet/nurse welcome but clinical work may be limited

  • EMS (other), CEMS, CPD, CE


Volunteers fly in and out of Hoedspruit Airport and can start every Monday of the year. There is some flexibility with the start dates of this project so please ask us if you are looking at a different start date.

Volunteer feedback

Kaitlin Jones

September 2023

"An amazing experience to work so closely with a team so passionate about the reptiles and other creatures in their care"

Thomas Stead

November 2023

"An unforgettable experience- the whole team was knowledgeable and friendly"


If you want to gain valuable work experience, develop a  variety of skills and grow your CV, whilst learning to care for animals  and support conservation, then this project is for you.

To chat to our team, discover availability and have  all your questions answered by our volunteer coordinators, just click  the "apply now" button, fill in our form, and we will be in touch with  you right away.


A 2 week project for pre-vets and those considering careers in animal care or conservation. Gain work experience with cattle, horses, dogs and wildlife.

Vet Visions

Kruger Vet Project

Live in the heart of the Kruger park area and join veterinarians for valuable training and work experience in South Africa.

Two week internship, full of lectures and practicals hosted by wildlife veterinarians in South Africa. Wildlife immobilisation, surgery and treatment.

Safari Vet Internship

bottom of page