Immersive Big Cat Welfare Programme


Share your heart and skills with these beautiful big cats

A highly ethical big cat sanctuary dedicated to the rehabilitation of big cats and is also a platform aimed at creating awareness about big cats in captivity and providing crucial education on animal welfare and unethical breeding practices.

Invest in yourself through an extensive animal welfare programme in South Africa to set yourself up for a career in animal conservation.


Four unique promises underpin our services to give you total peace of mind.


Ready to yourself and learn?


A highly ethical big cat sanctuary in the Western Cape of South Africa dedicated to the rehabilitation of big cats. The sanctuary is also a platform aimed at creating awareness about big cats in captivity and providing crucial education on animal welfare and the importance of changing breeding facilities into sustainable ethical projects. The sanctuary is home to 26 big cats of various species including; lions, leopards, cheetah, tigers, caracal, and jackals. All of the resident animals were rescued and have been rehabilitated from sources such as the canned hunting industry, household enclosures, bone trade, unethical zoos or circuses, and more. The sanctuary is dedicated to each animal’s welfare, with the aim to rehabilitate and provide the best possible living conditions for animals who are unable to live in their natural habitat. The organisation provides education and advocacy around the threats facing big cats today. They aim to expose unethical practices such as; illegal poaching, hands-on lion experiences, breeding, using big cats in performances, and more. Through community education outreach, on-site education centre, training initiatives, and more, the conservation programme aims to evoke advocacy and change for big cats.

Role & Responsibilities

Here's what you'll be involved with as a big cat welfare volunteer:

  • Caring and getting to know the resident big cats
  • Cleaning and maintaining enclosures
  • Making and implementing enrichment for the cats’ enjoyment
  • Preparation of food and monitoring feeding
  • Making and maintaining firebreaks
  • General farm work as needed
  • Testing of fences and walking perimeter
  • Assisting with our educational visits and trainings
  • Optional community education opportunities
  • Ensuring the smooth running of the project as a whole
Location and Accommodation

The sanctuary is located in the Overberg area of the Western Cape. The provided accommodation is in a shared home on the property, which will be home to other international participants. There is a swimming pool and braai facilities on site, as well as access to beautiful scenic walks. There are many nearby areas to explore including:

  • The quaint town of Hermanus which is internationally renowned for whale watching
  • The Hemel en Aarde wine region which is home to a variety of historical and picturesque wine farms
  • Shark cage diving 
  • The city of Cape Town is about a 2-hour drive so weekend visits can be arranged
  • The Overberg region sits along the famous Garden Route which boasts an endless list of amazing things to do and has become one of the most popular backpacking journeys in the world. 
Example Schedule

06:00 - 07:00: Breakfast Make your own with food provided

07:00 - 08:00: Morning Meeting

08:00 - 12:00: Morning Project

12:00 - 13:00: Lunch Meal provided by the host organisation

13:00 - 17:00: Afternoon Project

18:00: Dinner Make and purchase your own food for the meal, then leisure time!

Programme Requirements
  • You must be at least 18 years of age to join this conservation project.
  • The program is run in English so you need to be able to communicate effectively in English and understand health and safety briefings which are taught in English.
  • You should be relatively physically fit as a large part of the program involves walking.
  • You should have enthusiasm, passion for wildlife conservation and the ability to learn as you go.
  • Any participants must be willing to comply with the organisations code of conduct, health and safety policies and ethical policies.

What's included in your learnership programme?


Have peace of mind with your transport to and from Cape Town International Airport arranged and included in your programme fee. You’ll be welcomed at the airport and can enjoy a comfortable and stress-free journey to/from the sanctuary. We'll also take you into the city if you have holiday time planned. Dates can be scheduled for both 2020 and 2021.


Enjoy living with your new friends in a modern and comfortable house with fantastic facilities. There’s a fully equipped kitchen, spacious living and dining area and an amazing outdoor space with a braai area, swimming pool and stunning views.


The only food you’ll need to budget for is an evening meal. Breakfast and lunch will be provided and are included in the programme fee. Life on project is made easy with free transport provided for you to do a weekly shop for any groceries you need for dinners!


Weekly Wednesday activities- As Sundays and Wednesdays are your day off, Wednesdays are typically reserved for enjoying the amazing Overberg area together with the other volunteers and our volunteer coordinator. Any tours and activities on these days you choose will be at your own cost, but arranged by the volunteer coordinators.


A volunteer experience of a lifetime! A unique opportunity to work closely with lions, cheetahs, tigers and leopards and make a valuable contribution to an important conservation initiative. Become part of a close community of volunteers and share your experience with new friends from around the world.


24/7 on the ground support and guidance. Learn from and work alongside a friendly, dedicated and experienced team of staff. You’ll become part of a family during the programme and as well as working with the big cats, there will be plenty of opportunities for you to share the highlights and challenges of your day with the staff and volunteers.


Why Bridging Gaps?

Three ways we stand out from other internship programme providers

Totally customised

Our programmes are tailored to meet your specific interests and goals and we provide a wide range of opportunities in many different inspiring local organisations.


Holistic and immersive

We are committed to providing each of our participants with a personal and holistic experience of the vibrant Mother City, and ensuring that your adventure runs as smoothly as possible.

Suitable for all

Bridging Gaps Programmes are suitable for people looking for Gap Year opportunities abroad, professional placements to supplement their studies, post-graduate international work experience and meaningful career breaks.


Programme Costs

2 Weeks:
R 18 630
3 Weeks:
R 25 875
4 Weeks:
R 32 500
5 Weeks:
R 38 125
6 Weeks:
R 43 100

Custom: All IMMERSE learnerships are customisable. We will design a programme to suit you and work with your host organisation to accommodate your requirements as far as possible. Please follow the normal enquiry process and we will talk you through your options.

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Fees are calculated in South African Rand.
All of our programmes deposits are 100% refundable and backed by industry leading guarantees.