Chukudu Rehabilitation Centre in the heart of South Africa gives you a hands-on experience in animal care and rehabilitation of injured, sick and orphaned wildlife. This newly established facility is run by Juanita Geyser, who has been the local Dr. Dolittle for most of her life. Juanita turned her passion into her career and, with tremendous help from the local community, she has created a hugely successful rehabilitate and release programme.
We have created this brochure to help guide you to understand what Chukudu is all about, what you can expect, and to inspire you to an unforgettable African experience!
We appreciate each and every volunteer that visits Chukudu. The day-to-day activities at this incredible centre are made possible because of your tremendous efforts!
Chukudu is home to a large variety of species, and you will have the pleasure of working with these animals. These species include cats (such as lions, leopards servals, genets, and caracals), honey badgers, owls, antelopes, monkeys and so much more! The goal of the sanctuary is to release wildlife if and when it becomes possible to do so. Therefore, we cannot guarantee precisely what species will be at the centre at any given time.
Over and above your day-to-day tasks at Chukudu (feeding animals, cleaning enclosures, animal stimulation, record keeping, general maintenance at the sanctuary), there are various additional activities that you can engage in:
– Assist and follow an experienced local veterinarian who has over 30 years experience working with wildlife. This may include the darting of wild animals and small operation procedures.
– Visit, play, and educate kids at a local orphanage. Any additional and/or unwanted items that you may have will be greatly appreciated by the kids!
– Pick-up/Drop-off food and other items that have been donated to the local baboon sanctuary. You will get to spend a day helping the team with the baboons;
– You can join a wildlife capture team for a day. Work with the team, using various techniques to move animals.
– Makapansgat Caves
– Zip Line in Mokopane
– Bouncy Crocodile Farm
– Entambeni Big 5 Game Reserve
All duties and tasks are divided between volunteers, the owner and other workers at the sanctuary. Whilst you aren’t expected to perform the impossible, we can safely say that you won’t find yourself getting bored during your stay.
No two days at Chuku Rehab Center are ever the same! The animals will always find a way to keep you going and thus, it’s difficult to elaborate a “typical day”. You must be prepared for anything!
New arrivals can happen at any time and often, these animals will require a lot of attention. A call out to rescue problematic animals that are captured by Chukudu staff is a familiar experience. If the animal is in an overall good condition, an immediate release plan is put into place. If the animal requires medical attention, an effort will be made to recover the animal, and bring it to the sanctuary. It is also a very rewarding and emotional experience when a rehabilitated animal is due for release.
The day’s happenings are generally discussed around the evening fire where you find yourself learning more about conservation.
– You will be accommodated in chalets on the rehab premises. Each room has 2 single beds, a shared bathroom, living area and a kitchen. There is a small swimming pool that you can embrace on those hot African days.
– Three meals are prepared for you daily (breakfast, lunch and dinner). We can cater for different dietary requirements however, please understand that not all diets can be catered for when in the African bush.
– There is a security guard on the premises 24/7 in case of an emergency, and the owner lives on the premises.
– There are housekeeping staff that will regularly clean your living areas, and assist with your laundry when required.
VACCINATIONS AND MALARIA:
– We are not located in a yellow fever or malaria area. We generally only recommend that volunteers have an up-to-date tetanus shot. You’re welcome to get a rabies shot, hepatitis A & B, Typhoid should you wish.
Please seek professional medical advice regarding any other vaccinations that you wish to get before travelling to Chukudu.
– Travel insurance is a mandatory requirement for all our volunteers, and we will not be able to accommodate a volunteer that does not comply. You will be required to forward your policy details to us before volunteering. Please ensure that it covers you for volunteering with wild animals.
FLIGHTS AND TRANSFERS:
– You are required to fly into O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, where a shuttle service will be arranged to take you to Pretoria. Your volunteer coordinator will be waiting at the drop-off point to take you directly to your destination. Regarding preferable flights, please always try to book a flight that arrives in the morning and, when departing, please try to book for the evening.
– September to March: It can get very hot during the day (remember your sunscreen!) and you need to be prepared for the occasional thunderstorm as this is also the rainy season (waterproof clothing!).
– April to August: The dry winter season sees daytime temperatures that are generally very pleasant, but temperatures can plummet during the night and early morning. Please make sure you pack some warm clothing, pyjamas, gloves etc