Living With Big Cats-Wild Edition FAQS -

Living With Big Cats-Wild Edition FAQS

Q Is there a preferable time to submit my application in hopes of gaining a spot on the roster?
A There is no real cut off period in terms of time to apply since we run our programs year round. We do, however, have peak periods, so the earlier you book, the better chances you have of securing a placement.
Q What is the age limitation for participating in Volunteer South Africa projects?
A We have a minimum age of 18 and there’s no maximum age, so long as you are willing and physically able to contribute. However, we do allow minors to attend our projects with their parents or a guardian (with parental consent) to accompany an individual under 18.
Q What is the minimum stay?
A The minimum stay at Living with Big Cats – Wild Edition is 1 week.
Q How do the arrivals work/which airport do I arrive into?
A If arriving by air, we will be waiting for you at the Hoedspruit Airport (HDS).
Q Are flights included?
A No
Q What are the flight arrival times?
A We advise volunteers to fly into Hoedspruit airport (HDS) via Johannesburg (JNB). There are two flights from Johannesburg to Hoedspruit each day.

    • Flight #1 leaves JNB at 10:15AM and arrived at HDS at 11:20AM.
    • Flight #2 leaves JNB at 12:15PM and arrives at HDS at 13:12PM.
  • There are also two departure flights from Hoedspruit to Johannesburg daily. Volunteers can arrive/depart on any of the flights.We highly recommend volunteers to fly, however, transport can be arranged. It is approximately a 6 hour drive.When booking your flight, select your location of origin and insert your destination as Hoedspruit, South Africa (HDS).
Q Do you monitor the flights?
A Yes, we monitor the flights before your arrival to get the approximate time of your landing, and will be at the airport when you land.
Q What if there’s a flight delay?
A Please contact us as soon as you receive notice of flight delay, if possible. We will arrange for your pick-up at the airport at a later or different time.
Q Do I need a Visa?
A Please enquire through the South African embassy in your country regarding Visa concerns. For your convenience, please see the “South African Home Affairs” link for a list of countries exempt from acquiring Visas. Please note, we are not responsible for your travel documentation.
Q When does the project start?
A The project starts on Monday, where you will be met either at the airport or a pre-arranged address for your transfer to the project. Departures take place on Sundays, unless you prearrange for a different departure date at an additional cost. If you are flying out of the country upon your departure date, we ensure your arrival at the airport in time for your departure flight. You can also elect to be transferred to any address in Johannesburg at no extra cost.
Q What if it doesn’t suit me to arrive on a Monday?
A For an additional cost, we can arrange for a special pick-up for you.
Q Are airport transfers included?
A Yes, 2 airport transfers included – to and from the project.
Q Can anyone apply?
A Yes, anyone can apply to join our Living with Big Cats – Wild Edition program, subject to being 18 and above. (Please refer to question 2 of this document.)
Q Do you cater for vegetarians or other dietary requirements?
A Yes, we can accommodate most dietary requirements, please enquire with us and let us know beforehand.
Q How do I pay for the project?
A We require a $300 (USD) deposit to secure your place at the project, and ask for the remaining balance to be paid 60 days before your arrival.We have two payment options, you can either pay via international bank – transfer/wire (please note that the administrative costs are at your expense) OR you can pay via a safe and secure online credit card facility.
Q Do you offer payment options?
A Yes, you are welcome to discuss other payment options with us.
Q Is there a best time of the year to go?
A We are lucky to have incredible weather at the Living with Big Cats – Wild Edition program year round. Our winters are from May to August. During the winter, we have beautiful warm days, blue skies, and no rain, with an average temperate of about 23 degrees Celsius/73 degrees Fahrenheit. Evenings can be cool, but just require a warm jumper. Our summers go from September to March.The days can be quite warm – around 31 degrees Celsius/88 degrees Fahrenheit. The afternoons have a chance of spectacular thunderstorms, which only last about an hour.
Q Which insurance company is often used for this type of trip?
A We recommend using a company called AVI International ( You should be covered for travel insurance in general; this covers any medical costs and other costs you may enquire.
Q Would I need any vaccinations /anti-malaria medication?
A The only vaccination you would require is Tetanus. During the summers, we recommend malaria medication. Speak to your doctor or local travel clinic to enquire.
Q Are there any medical facilities on site to deal with serious issues quickly?
A All of the rangers are very knowledgeable about first aid. There is a private clinic 15 minutes away form the program.
Q My doctor suggests a rabies shot.
A Although we have never had never had rabies on the property, this is a personal choice and not a requirement.
Q My travel clinic suggests Yellow fever, Typhoid, Hepatitis A, and Hepatitis B etc.
A None of the above are required.
Q Do I need mosquito repellent?
A We highly suggest mosquito repellent in the summer months, from September to March.
Q What do you recommend for communication between South Africa and home?
A Your volunteer package includes an Internet connection, where you can connect a laptop or smart phone/tablet to access the Internet. Volunteers also have an option to buy a pay-as you go SIM card for their mobile phones upon their arrival at the airport. We recommend the VODACOM mobile network so you can buy a SIM card with some airtime, which would work to receive calls. It is probably not a good idea to makes calls on a “pay as you go” contract. There is free unlimited Internet for volunteers in the main lodge area.
Q Do you offer any discounts to volunteers?
A Volunteers receive a 5% discount if they opt for two or more packages.
Q Any returning volunteer discount?
A Yes, past volunteers receive 10% off their future volunteer experience.