Sanctuary vervet monkeys in South Africa


This eco-volunteering mission is to help a program to save the Vervet monkey, a species of primates from South Africa. In a sanctuary dedicated to this species, you help the project to take care of the collected monkeys and if possible to rehabilitate them in the nature. This mission is the ideal opportunity for anyone who dreams of working with primates.

DUREE : 2 weeks minimum

DATES : all year

ACTIVITY : Sanctuary

SPECIES : Monkey Vervet, Chlorocebus pygerythrus

WORK LANGUAGE : English (minimum level A2)


INVOLVEMENT: 6 days a week, 8 hours a day, night work possible (to feed babies)

PUBLIC: all ages over 18 years, individuals, eco-solidarity holidays, students, study courses accepted

TO KNOW : 100% vegan project 


Since 2003 the project invests in save the Monkey Vervet, Chlorocebus aethiops pygerythrus. This shelter collects orphaned vervet babies and has set up for more than 10 years a monkey rehabilitation program. Currently more than 500 vervets are hosted and several new orphans arrive each year.

A very common species in Central and South Africa, the vervet is now threatened by the loss of its habitat and the persecutions inflicted on it.

The project intervenes in several ways for the safeguarding of the Vervet monkey.

- It collects orphaned babies and gives them a complete program for their rehabilitation in their natural environment.

- Monkeys who are sheltered and can no longer be released are kept in a dedicated sanctuary.

- A research program is carried out on the monkeys but also on the problems of coexistences man-monkey.

- Finally, a regular educational program is conducted to allow the public to better understand the Vervet dream and also to better protect it.

Ecovolunteers intervene at every stage of the project, which simply could not exist without them.

Qu'écovolontaire as you can, depending on the period of your participation and needs help to care for baby monkeys, rehabilitation of adolescents in the pens, the daily care of the monkeys, or the construction of new enclosures .

No special experience is needed to participate.

Location / Habitat

The project is located in Tzaneen in Limpopo province, north-east of South Africa, near the Zimbabwe border. It is essentially a rural province. Its main attraction is its huge private reserves. You can admire the entire African wildlife (antelopes, wildebeest, zebra, kudu, etc ...).


The project is close to the Kruger National Park. The province consists of vast plains, high mountains and forest of native species. The climate is subtropical with temperatures between 10 30 ° C and ° C in winter, and 20 42 ° C to ° C in summer.

For more information on local weather conditions


The Vervet, Chlorocebus aethiops pygerythrus, is part of the monkey family, it is the most common species in Africa. Its characteristics are long arms and legs, a long tail, a small round head, and a face lined with hair. The specific characteristics of the Vervet are a black face, black feet and black underside of the tail; a spotted gray and white fur on the belly.

Vervet have spread across Senegal, Sudan and in the southern part of Africa. They are suitable for almost all woodland habitats except the rainforest. Their preferred habitats are located in wooded areas (Acacias) near lakes, rivers and other waterways.

Vervet live mainly on the ground but take shelter from predators and sleep in trees. They move relatively slowly and therefore can not afford to venture away from the security offered by trees.

Vervet organize into complex but very stable family groups. Groups are organized around an alpha male, the leader, and several smaller groups of adult females, their offspring and male non-dominant adults. Males leave their group in adolescence and migrate from one group to another throughout their lives. Within each group there is a hierarchy based on dominance, and the rank of each is maintained by threats and skill monkeys.

Social groups still reached 120 individuals a few years ago, today they are rarely made up of more than 30 monkeys.

Vervet breed throughout the year, but the majority of babies are born between November and December, just before the rainy season. Females take great care of their baby. Juvenile females are also involved often young monkeys.

Vervet communicate among themselves by gazing as well as a wide variety of sounds. Staring is a signal of dominance or threat. Their sounds range from acute and short cries and barking.

Involvement ecovolunteer

As an ecovolunteer you will participate in the different daily tasks of the project:

  • Meal preparation (washing, cutting) and distribution of these monkeys
  • Cleaning of cages and pens
  • Care of the baby monkeys and help in the infirmary
  • Support during the introduction and rehabilitation of new monkeys
  • Help with medical care and medication administration if necessary
  • Monitoring of wild monkeys in the region
  • Support for the construction of new enclosures
  • Clearing in fire prevention and maintenance of the village volunteers
  • Uprooting invasive plants
  • Help outings and patrols
  • Preparing meals for the volunteers on weekends

> From November to February, volunteers have the opportunity to work with orphaned baby monkeys. The baby monkeys will eventually be adopted by a female vervet and then integrated into a social group. watch the video

They will have to carry the babies in the pen reserved for them, prepare the bottles of milk, prepare their food and administer their medicines if necessary. You will feed and take care of babies during the day, constantly checking their progress.

Note that the vervet babies defecate and urinate on you - we recommend you provide old clothes.

> From March to October, you will be able to observe the young monkeys integrating into a group (Following the project of the rehabilitation program).

Rehabilitation of baby monkeys involves volunteers.

> Note that you will only be able to work in total autonomy within the project from the third week of participation. The first two weeks are dedicated to your training under the supervision of a project member.


The project may occasionally host interns. These must work on a project related to primates and that does not involve animal handling. Applications must be made at least 6 months in advance and will be accepted on a case by case, depending on availability and the candidate's profile.

Mission costs are the same for eco-volunteers and trainees.

Internship applications must be made to Cybelle PlanèteWe will help you in your efforts.

Requirements and constraints

To participate in this mission:

  • You must be over 18 years
  • You must speak English : The minimum level of English is required A2 : view details you self-assess
  • You must be in good physical condition
  • You have to update your anti-tetanus vaccine
  • You must have a recent negative Tuberculosis (Tuberculosis) test (less than one year old).

Before you register:

  • It is important to read the detailed documentation to download.
  • You will need to return the medical fitness form (attached to the detailed documentation) completed and signed by you and your attending physician.
  • You will need to send us a letter of motivation written in English (by email).
  • You will need once enrolled in this mission, contact the project at least 15 days before your arrival date to communicate the necessary information to organize your transfer to the project.
  • On arrival to the project you will have to sign an "indemnity form" stating that you agree and understand the implications of working with wild animals, recognizing that your work in the project is at your own risk.

Language (s) used (s)


Conditions for minors

Minors are not accepted.


On your arrival at the Sanctuary, the first day, you will be welcomed by a member of the project, after a first visit you will be able to rest from your trip. From the second day you will start your work at the sanctuary. Volunteers are called upon every day, including weekends, on the basis of a rotation with other volunteers. A typical day is 8 hours.

You will have one day off per week, during which you can if you want to visit the area or just relax.


> You stay in a basic wooden chalet with another volunteer. Cottages do not have electricity. The project provides you sheets, you must bring your sleeping bag. The infrastructure is very basic.

In the village volunteers, cabanons are dedicated to hosting ecovolunteers (2 cabanon), sanitary are separated: dry toilet and shower with hot water (gas heated, you can sometimes have cold water). In the common area you will find a kitchen and a dining area. The electricity arrives in the common house where you can recharge your batteries if necessary, This is where you take your meals. A free laundry service is provided every Monday and Friday, but you must hand-wipe your underwear.

A double cabin is available for a couple who needs a little more privacy. The use of the latter involves additional weekly fees (ask us).

> The food within the project is strictly vegan : meat, fish, eggs, dairy products are not allowed. 3 daily meals are provided from Monday to Friday. On weekends, only breakfast and dinners are served, volunteers will have to prepare their lunch (food is freely available). The project is one of the few places in South Africa where you can experience a vegan diet, healthy and delicious at the same time.


The project hosts up 30 ecovolunteers both.


You must arrive at the project on a Sunday or Monday.

The minimum period of participation is 2 weeks. Learning to work within the sanctuary takes time. Thus the first week will be dedicated to the training of ecovolunteers, the second week you will be able to perform some tasks but under the supervision of a member of the project. It is only from the third week of participation that you will have acquired all the necessary experience to help the project independently. Thus the project recommends, as far as possible, to participate for a duration of 3 or 4 minimum weeks.


Due to the pandemic, Cybelle Planète has set up specific conditions for participation. Please consult our conditions of participation before signing up for a mission.

See information related to Covid-19

Travel Information

You have to fly to Johannesburg (Oliver Tampo) and from there to Tzaneen. For this you can travel by yourself or take a private service (recommended by the project) which will take you to Midrand or Pretoria (count between 20 and 30 euros round trip). From there a bus will take you to Tzaneen.

A member of the project will pick you up from the bus stop in Tzaneen and take you to the shrine.

The transfer from Tzaneen to the Sanctuary is free if you arrive on a Monday or Sunday, it will be charged for arrivals on other days of the week.


Your eco-volunteering mission involves your voluntary participation in the project as well as your biodiversity donation. For each mission, the amount of the Biodiversity Donation is calculated according to the needs of the project and the time you will spend there. 70% of your donation is donated to the hosting project, it will largely be used to cover its material and personnel needs for its sustainability, and also to cover the hosting costs of eco-volunteers. learn more about Don Biodiversity

The costs of the ecovolunteers' missions consist of : your biodiversity donation and your membership in the mission, and non-tax deductible costs (ex: insurance, additional heating costs, over-classification of your accommodation - if offered)

Compensation for the impact of your trip

Cybelle planet pledges to reduceimpact of long-haul flights on the environment. In order to offset greenhouse gas emissions and the impact of your trip, Cybelle Planète has set up specific measures :

  • We no longer accept entries of less than two weeks involving long-haul travel.
  • Flat-rate contribution of 200 € to a territorial and carbon compensation fund for missions of less than 3 weeks.

We consider that a stay of at least 3 weeks, during which you have a positive action for local biodiversity (ex: eco-volunteering mission), and where you adopt a responsible mode of travel, partially offsets your emissions at the regional level. 

Amount of Don Biodiversity

  • 2 weeks of participation: 1105 €
  • 3 weeks of participation: 905 €
  • 4 weeks of participation: 905 € (same amount as for 3 weeks)
  • Per extra week: 220 €

tax deduction : For individuals, participation entitles you to a tax deduction of 66%. So a donation of 1105 € will only cost you 376 €.

For companies, the participation of your employees entitles you to a tax deduction of 60%. So a donation of 1105 € will only cost you 442 €.

Annual fee

Cybelle Planète is a French law association 1901, ecovolunteer stays are reserved for members who are members of their annual subscription of 50 €. This membership automatically gives you access to insurance (including liability, repatriation, medical expenses). Membership in Cybelle Planète is subject to a tax receipt. Learn more about memberships

Your budget

The hosting project supports:

  • accommodation and food,
  • the frame,
  • your transfer from the Tzaneen bus stop to the project (if arriving on a Sunday or Monday),

You remain at your expense:

  • your trip to South Africa,
  • expenses incurred (drinks, restaurant, ....),
  • your complementary travel insurance (mandatory), including a Cancellation, Air / Train Delay, Baggage, Interruption of Stay.

Double cabin option

This option is offered to couples wishing to benefit from a double cabin. It will be invoiced in addition to the mission donation. The Double Cabin option is not tax deductible.

  • Double cabin (supplement per week and per couple): 94 € 

Travel arrangements

You must organize your own trip to the project: transport, visa, vaccinations if necessary, ....

You will find on our website information concerning visas.

Cybelle Planet can arrange for you to book your airline ticketsThis service is optional.

Conditions of participation

The general conditions of participation in eco-volunteering mission from Cybelle Planet are available online.

Commitment ecovolunteer

Before committing yourself as a Volunteer, you must have read and accepted the charter of ecovolunteers.


In addition to the insurance included in your membership, you must take out cancellation insurance, loss or damage to luggage, and flight delay. Cybelle Planète will offer you insurance during your pre-registration or you can subscribe one by yourself. A certificate of insurance will be required before departure. To learn more about insurance

ethical commitments Cybelle Planète

The Cybelle Planet associationcommitted to the ecovolunteering charter. We have always chosen sharing, equity and solidarity for all our actions.

Tax deduction

Participation in our eco-volunteering mission is reserved for our "support" members.

Ecovolunteers pay Cybelle Planète a Biodiversity Donation in addition to their commitment in the field. 

Only the Biodiversity Gift and membership entitles you to a tax deduction (For companies or persons subject to corporation tax or income tax in France).

Medical fitness form

Your registration can not be validated unless we have received your medical fitness form completed and signed by you and your attending physician.

In order to avoid possible difficulties, we ask you to describe to us, as honestly as possible, your physical and emotional state.
Regardless of the medical situation, all projects are designed to accept as many participants as possible. For this reason, they remain attentive and are very understanding of the various health problems a candidate may have. All solutions are considered to enable the candidate to participate in the project, regardless of his or her state of health, and to the extent possible.
The consequences of misleading and / or omitted medical declarations can be very restrictive for the entire team involved in the mission, and in some cases dangerous (missions on the high seas, in very isolated sites, etc.). So, Any false declaration, omission or false information may be sanctioned by the immediate and definitive exclusion of the participant At its own expense and upon the exclusive and unilateral decision of the project. 

Download the form for a francophone mission

Download the form for an English speaking mission


An ECOVOLONTAIRE T-shirt is offered for any registration to an ecovolunteer mission.

Note that no resumption or exchange is possible, we invite you to consult the description and the size guide .

Testimonials for this mission ecovolunteers