Rehabilitation of vervet monkeys in South Africa

  • Vervet monkeys
  • From age 18
  • South Africa
  • From 4 weeks
  • English (basic knowledge)
  • Fee: From €900

Get involved in the protection of vervet monkeys in South Africa, at a sanctuary that is a pioneer and innovator in the protection of this primate species. 

The vervet monkey rehabilitation project

Vervet monkeys have long been considered pests in South Africa. They were mistreated and often killed for the damage they caused. The monkey population was also poorly understood, making it difficult for humans and animals to live together. It wasn't until 1989 that the situation of these primates came to light, with the discovery of an orphaned baby vervet monkey. The need to create a refuge for vervet monkeys quickly became apparent.

An NGO founded in 1993

The sanctuary that will welcome you is one of the largest refuges for vervet monkeys. An NGO founded in 1993, it has rescued nearly 600 monkeys, and takes in many orphaned vervet monkeys every year. Over the past decade, the foundation has developed a unique program for primate rehabilitation. The enclosure design is now used in similar projects around the world. The foundation has also achieved numerous innovations in the rehabilitation of this primate species with the help of volunteers, gap year students and caretakers.

Rehabilitating orphaned baby monkeys

The rehabilitation center is designed in particular to cope with the large number of baby vervet monkeys that are orphaned every year. To date, the center has successfully rehabilitated hundreds of babies. They have been rehabilitated and raised in a natural environment, and have retained much of their natural fear of man. The foundation's program can return an orphaned baby monkey to the wild in four to eight weeks. To achieve this, the team of carers introduce a baby monkey to a female monkey living in a natural environment at the center.

In addition to the program to rehabilitate orphaned and injured primates, the foundation carries out other actions such as : 

  • Research into the lifestyle and environment of vervet monkeys.
  • Research into the damage and problems caused by vervet monkeys and the search for possible solutions for coexistence.
  • An education program to inform the public about the role played by the vervet monkey in the ecosystem.
  • The Vervet Forest campaign aims to purchase 300 to 500 hectares of indigenous bush in South Africa into which rehabilitated troops can be released. This land will provide a protected forest for orphaned and abused vervet monkeys. As well as providing a sustainable home for the released monkeys, this land will also maintain a thriving ecosystem that will benefit native flora and fauna, while creating dozens of local jobs.

Volunteering with vervet monkeys in South Africa

Volunteers are essential to the life of the NGO. You'll help care for the baby monkeys (during the baby season) and observe them with their adoptive mothers. Outside the orphan season, it's the ideal time to study monkey group dynamics and the integration of young monkeys. Here are the main tasks you will be entrusted with:

  • Care of baby monkeys (from November to around February), help in the infirmary.
  • Observation of orphans with their foster mothers and integration of adults
  • Cleaning monkey cages, bowls, plates and blankets.
  • Help with the introduction and rehabilitation of new monkeys
  • Aids for monitoring monkey health and administering dietary supplements
  • Clearing undergrowth to create firebreaks
  • Participation in education and awareness programs
  • Participation in fundraising and newsletters,
  • Long-term volunteers can help integrate monkeys into social groups.
  • All year round
  • The baby season is from November to February
  • Four weeks minimum, 3 or 6 months possible
  • 900 € for 4 weeks - 225 € per additional week
  • Reduced fees if you commit to at least 3 months.

Included in fees

  • Housing
  • Food (vegan vegetarian)
  • Internet
  • Framing

Not included in fees

  • Airport transfer
  • Insurance
  • Plane ticket

From age 18


You stay in a wooden house called Volunteer Village. You share your room with one other person, but you can have a room on your own for an extra charge. Toilets are dry, and hot water is not always available for showers.


The foundation is based in a malaria zone. It is advisable to take anti-malaria medication between October and May.


You arrive at Johannesburg airport. We can arrange a transfer for you.

You have 1.5 free days per week. This is your chance to explore the surrounding area.
Excursions can be organized to Kruger Park or Blyde River Canyon.

Vervet Monkey Foundation

About the NGO

The foundation (NGO), created in 1993, manages the world's largest center for vervet monkeys. In 2006, it became a member of PASA (Pan African Sanctuaries Alliance) and is also a GFAS (Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries) certified sanctuary. Over the past decade, the foundation has developed a unique rehabilitation program that has helped revolutionize the way primates are rehabilitated. In the absence of government funding, the sanctuary relies on international volunteers to care for the primates. Volunteering at the foundation is very important. Not only does your financial contribution go towards helping the apes, but so does your work in all the day-to-day tasks.