Monkeyland – top eco-tourism attraction on the Garden Route


Location Plettenberg Bay, South Africa
Duration Minimum 4 weeks (28 days)
Dates All year around
Requirements Minimum age 18
You must have an upper intermediate lever of English
Special skills : An honest desire to help animals and a true love for animals
Your impact Element of tourism are added to this volunteer experience
  This project is an linked to SAASA.ORG
  The South African Animal Sanctuary Alliance (PBO Number 200/060 667/08), is the sole custodian of all the Jukani inhabitants.
  Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary funds itself by means of responsible eco-tourism and we strive to achieve an effective balance between conservation and economic reality.
  This NGO depends on volunteers to assist them.  Your work will make a real difference.
Day of Arrival Sunday
Day of Departure Sunday


  • You gain a great insight into these fascinating creatures in a natural habitat.
  • You will be situated in the heart of the world-famous South Africa Garden Route.
  • From the accommodation, you are transported daily to and from the projects.
  • The accommodation you will be hosted in is home to a local family who will assist you for weekend excursions and multiple local activities
  • There are a variety of social activities to take part in after hours
  • 24-hour emergency assistance
  • You’ll make new friends from all over the world
  • You will learn English in a comfortable social setting

Project Information

This project opened its doors to the public on the 6th of April 1998. This unique primate sanctuary is currently the top eco-tourism attraction on the Garden Route, for very sound and sunny reasons.  The sanctuary has captured the hearts of visitors in its efforts to rehabilitate and free previously caged primates. The sanctuary is exceptional as it caters for several species of primates. They are free to move harmoniously about the forest.

The sanctuary conducts guided walking safaris for visitors. Visitors see the primates as they are meant to be – free and in a natural habitat. The safaris are conducted by multi-lingual, knowledgeable game rangers and are fun, exciting and educational.


The guests leave the sanctuary with a greater understanding of primates and the threats they are facing. Primates ranging from the Gibbons of Asia to the Lemurs of Madagascar and many other specie-variants are housed at Monkeyland. During these guided tours/visits, guests encounter primates up-close and personal (but strictly hands-off) roaming free in the forest.

Guests learn about the wonders related to the primate-groups co-existing in the forest, the rich diversity of bird life and the intricate workings of the forest itself. The sanctuary project includes preparing previously caged primates for their eventual release into the sanctuary.

Awareness of the world’s environmental problems is increasing all the time and as a centre of conservation, the sanctuary is an important educational resource-link in this field.  Situated in an eco-sensitive location, about 20km East of Plettenberg Bay, South Africa. This Primate | Monkey Sanctuary has found its niche and works hand in hand with interest groups to enhance conservation-orientated tourism in the area and be part of the growing international movement towards preserving primate species. In so doing so, they also help to preserve the Garden Route’s natural beauty. This is a prime location in an indigenous forest (which contains the primate sanctuary). The free-roaming aspect of the sanctuary enables them to convey a positive environmental message in ways that are both interesting and memorable to all age groups. Because it is tourism driven, it is totally sustainable.

Sanctuary Objective

The sanctuary provides the primates who live there with a stable environment. There is permanence and no exploitation. The care provided at this sanctuary exceeds the requirements of animal welfare regulations. Most importantly, the sanctuary is a place where primates are rehabilitated both physically and emotionally. It strives to achieve an effective balance between conservation and economic reality.

Your Role

Your role Monday to Friday, from 08:00 to 17:00 is to assist the safari guides and primate keepers with their daily tasks. Depending on your skills and experience, it may also be possible to assist the marketing department.

Daily tasks (may vary)

  • Arrive and begin feeding primates and cleaning the cages of primates that for various reasons, have not yet been released into the forest.
  • This is followed by a quick “Rubbish Run” – walking through the forest picking up papers that the visitors have dropped, or the primates may have stolen and dropped on the forest floor.
  • Cleaning the car park of litter that was left behind by visitors.
  • Welcoming guests upon arrival and escort them to the main reception area.
  • Pending your attitude and aptitude, conduct one-hour guided tours (most probably in your mother tongue and/or English) through the forest and visiting/observing the 350 – 600+ primates that roam freely, giving relevant information about them and observing them “up close and personal” in a natural setting.
  • Lunch is not taken at any pre-determined time as it can only be taken as the situation allows. However, as an international volunteer, you are always given preference over staff when it comes to taking lunch.
  • Other tasks that may (or not) include maintaining the forest walkways and suspension bridge throughout the day, assisting the curators in observations, veterinary visits and treatment, etc.


At no time is human contact with the primates allowed. SAASA.ORG have a strict “HANDS OFF” approach towards the management of the primates, simply to secure their natural development and habitat.

It is important also to note that these task-lists and descriptions serves as examples only. The daily tasks and challenges depends on the volunteer’s skill-set and attitude, the time of the year and the work that needs to be done. The final job description can therefore vary from the above.

What to bring

A uniform will be provided BUT it is best to bring your own khaki-coloured clothing

Outdoor brown or black shoes (only) for work, preferably with no bright colours. Waterproof boots are also highly recommended.

The general colours are dark green, brown and khaki – if you have any warm clothing in this color-range (pending the season) it will be useful.

Please note that there is a non-negotiable deposit of ZAR 800.00 required for your volunteer uniform. This deposit is returned to you when you personally hand back your uniform.


There are no other special requirements in this regard but we recommend bringing the following:

  • Pocket money
  • Toiletries
  • Any specific medication you require
  • Sunscreen and mosquito repellent
  • Travelling clothing
  • Reading books and/or laptop
  • Camera
  • Any needed items of a personal nature, etc.

All these items (and anything else you might need) are readily available at local supermarkets in South Africa.

We welcome you to join us!