Volunteer with APES Sanctuary

APES Sanctuary

Kwazulu Natal, South Africa, Africa

A non-profit organisation specialising in Primate rehabilitation and rescue,
based in Kwazulu Natal - South Africa

Volunteering Activities

What We Need

Volunteers can get hands-on experience here at A.P.E.S. which is a working Primate Sanctuary and Rehabilitation Centre we are based in the Midlands of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. Our mission is to treat and assist all forms of wildlife and domestic animals that are sick, injured or orphaned. Wild animals that are sick or injured are treated hospitalized if necessary and then returned to their natural habitat within the shortest time possible.

Domestic animals that have been assisted, treated, hospitalized if necessary, then when well enough only then are they are returned to the owners without charge. Special discounts for spaying and neutering by our vet are arranged by us through our local SPCA.. When necessary APES also assist the rural people by administrating rabies injections and medication to their domestic animals. Animals that are not recovered enough are homed in the best way possible avoiding zoo type environments all this is done with charge.

APES is unique throughout the rehabilitation world for their methods the care and correct management of the rescued, and or injured vervet monkeys these are returned back in to their known territory depending on the circumstances or on site. Here they are totally free to either remain or go back into the wild. The infants are given prenatal care and spend the first few weeks in doors they are then gradually introduced to the free outside troop and eventually the juveniles stay out permanently, we do not keep them in permanent captivity they are free to live at APES or leave whenever they wish.

Unfortunately there are times that some Monkeys that have been badly injured cannot be re released as they would not be able to cope and would not survive in the wild. These are given the best of both worlds, their enclosures are as natural as possible and they are able to interact with the outside troop, these monkeys are also visited monthly by our vet. Volunteers are able to enter the enclosures to interact with them, thus allowing the volunteer to observe their behaviour at close quarters this unique factor being of particular interest to students studying zoology, botany, environment, veterinarian, primatology, Anthopology, and other animal sciences

.Other tasks at APES include maintenance work, assisting with house chores, fence repairs, snare patrols, game counts and many other projects, the volunteers must be willing to muck in with daily life at the centre, and not be afraid to get their hands dirty. During the school term there are opportunities for volunteers to visit a rural school, to interact with the children on a cultural and educational level that includes environmental education and assisting the teachers. Many of these children walk long distances to get to and from school and look forward to meeting volunteers from overseas.

There are also many other exciting opportunities for volunteers; including overnight stays at other venues that are connected to APES, hiking trails, visits and overnight stays with traditional Zulu families learning some of their culture including basic Zulu language. Volunteers can be assured of a truly memorable African experience. This centre also encourages volunteers to visit other areas of KwaZulu-Natal. For example, trips to Hluhluwe Game Park to see the Big 5, St. Lucia (a world heritage site), hiking in the Drakensberg, visit the Battlefields, Durban's Shaka land and Seaworld, educational tour to the Shark Research Centre and many more . If the volunteers require assistance in regard to visiting these and other points of interest we offer assistance helping to make their stay at APES a memorable and happy one.

No special skills or previous experience are required. All that is needed is a great love of the environment, animals both domestic and wild. APES has many exciting environmental and educational projects to offer please contact us for more information in this regard. Volunteers are appreciated and do make a great difference by helping us continue our work in the future for the primates and other animals that need help.

When & Who

Nope, we don't require a minimum duration
4 weeks

What we Provide

Volunteers are collected by a staff member at the coach terminal in Mooi River

Our Fees

A donation to the sanctuary of £610 per volunteer for a 4 week period is required and covers everything including board and lodging laundry, free internet in Greytown.

Contact Person

Kwazulu Natal, South Africa.

Additional Info about Us

Up to 5 people

Natal is on the east coast of South Africa. Pietermaritzburg, the capital, is 90 kms inland. Durban is the principal administration centre. A.P.E.S. is situated in the Greytown area, know as Umvoti, in the Natal Midlands area. This is 200 kms west of Durban, It is subtropical and has a wide variety of birds and mammals, including silver backed jackal, duiker, bush buck, vervet and Samango monkeys, mongoose (both water and banded,) monitor lizards and many more. Summer averages at 29 degrees Celsius, and winter averages at 15 degrees.


Consist of various extra projects that now have become necessary and or were iniated in the past and have now become possible.

1) This consists of building extra enclosures in order to house any rescued monkey/animal that has been injured and needs to recuperate before being released back to its own area. During captivity, they will be monitored continually and treated if necessary to reduce any stress caused by incarceration.

2) The infant Vervets will be housed in a dedicated enclosure during the day thereby reducing the time spent in doors; this will be dependant of weather conditions.

3) Separating food preparation areas are already available but need restoration due to been vandalized. A separate room needs work done it too has been damaged this is to incorporate animal food, bulk fruit and vegetable storing area a cold room effect must be assured.

4) The live stock area also need up grading, again due to vandalism the chicken house, stables and cattle enclosure poles repaired or replaced etc all need work and many hands to assist.


These are based entirely around our donated site where we hope to create a small animal nature reserve restoration to the dam site etc within nature reserve.
This site requires the clearing of invasive plants, snares, traps and the areas that surrounds the main house including the volunteer accommodation as well as the clinic and workshop/ garaging area accommodation.
ALL facilities need work done on them Adequate opportunity to become involved from the foundations upwards will; hopefully encourage volunteers to have a part in establishing APES’S new permanent home.
WILDLIFE ORPHANAGE INCOOPERATING A.P.E.S.. All orphans, both domestic and wild will be catered for and allows ample opportunity for hands on experience from the volunteers point of view.
A permanent home, free from land claims, the vagaries of the lease
holder trespasses etc, a goal we have been aiming for many years. During the this time, a full time person will be employed to assist with driving, building, animal/plant identification etc, this person has been ear marked and is at present the current helper (Foreman). OF COURSE THIS IS ONLY IF FINANCES PERMIT ‘SO VOLUNTEERS IT’S UP TO YOU!!


The long-term goals of APES, having established the above, are to train someone with the interest and passion, to continue our work to perpetuity. This is envisaged to be in partnership with John Mozeleni Zondi the person previously mentioned at being in our full time employment.
All the above requires time, materials and resources both human and financial, we feel that one will automatically follow the other as the motivation is not in doubt, this has to happen, to satisfy us, everyone in authority and Parks board, including our Trustees

Through word of mouth people got to know about us and soon we were being called for help and advice, rescue of sick and injured Vervets and educational talks at schools and in local communities.

All this work has been done with our own funds and a few donations. Fortunately, we have built a network of friends and associates - kind people who help make a difference, offering veterinary services, food, hands-on help and moral support. We have been able to purchase an acre of virgin bush adjacent to our home and extend the sanctuary.

The monkeys are our prime concern. Our greatest wish is to be able to expand and help more of these now endangered creatures return to their natural habitat and areas, to rehabilitate troops to areas where they once roamed, to eradicate the senseless cruelty we see daily and to educate people of all age groups to help them understand and protect their natural heritage before it is lost for all time.


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