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Everything you need to know before you arrive

In this section

Planning your trip

Make sure you're all covered and avoid dissapointments!



You must have an up to date tetanus & TB (BCG) vaccination as your doctor advises.


When working with animals or in the health care industry some doctors recommend having rabies vaccinations and hepatitis. Please ask your health care practitioner / doctor what they recommend. We have never handled a rabid baboon and none have ever been diagnosed with hepatitis, but there is always a potential risk. Your doctor may recommend other vaccines such as polio, typhoid and diphtheria; you can decide on which advice to take.



If you are on any medications, you must ensure the staff are aware and ensure that you have more than enough for the period of time you are with us.  Always have the trip cleared by your doctor if you are on medication and take out the necessary insurances.  Listing your medications is mandatory.

If you are on a repeat prescription and are volunteering long term, we can arrange a doctors appointment for you to organize your repeats.



Phalaborwa borders a malaria zone and the Kruger National Park is referred to as a malarial zone.  Whilst the long-term staff from overseas (UK, Australia, US mainly) do not use anti-malarial medications due to its negative long-term use side-effects, usually your doctor will recommend it for a shorter stay. 


Please see your doctor for the latest information for overseas travel advice.  The usual anti-malarial medications used are Doxycycline (which if you have any left-over we’d be happy to take from you as a donation to our clinic; we use it for the baboons for certain ailments) or Malarone (more expensive). 


It is your choice and responsibility to get all the latest information from your health care practitioner and decide on the best options for yourself.  Always advice the C.A.R.E. staff on your decision; you will have to list all your medications on your Enrolment Form.




Upon arrival to Johannesburg most European, American and Australian citizens over 18 will be granted a 90 day visitor visa free-of-charge and without any complications. Please check the VSF website for the most up to date visa guidance if you come from anywhere else in the world. 


The 90 day visitor visa is all you need to stay at C.A.R.E. for a short <90 day visit to help the animals.


C.A.R.E. typically does not enroll under 18’s.  However, those under 18 must follow the rules of providing additional documentation.


Anyone staying longer than 90 days must apply for a Volunteer Visa in their host country. Volunteers staying longer than 90 days are so valuable to the centre, so please know that your efforts to obtain the necessary paperwork are truly appreciated!


The application process has been made more efficient and easier than before as it is all handled by VFS Global.  Follow the guidance on the official VFS website to make your application. Make sure you check the most recent requirements for submission well in advance of your travel date so that you are not left disappointed.  Obtaining the necessary paperwork can often be time consuming.


There is a possibility if you are on a 90 day visa to extend it further whilst you are within the country, but it is made difficult as the closest offices to submit the application are Polokwane and Nelspruit; meaning you will need to hire a car.  Additionally, you must pick up the visa once it is processed in person (or someone can collect it on your behalf if they have your ID & written permission), meaning another long trip with car hire.  As per other visa applications, for this option you must initially apply via the website and you will then choose to book yourself an appointment at one of the nearest offices.



It is essential and mandatory for you to have travel insurance whilst visiting C.A.R.E.  You are working with wild animals, in a wild animal reserve; it is necessary to have a plan in place should you require hospital treatment.  We have very good doctors and hospitals in Phalaborwa; but the local private hospital (Clinix) is very expensive and will only treat you with proof of funds/provision of a credit / debit card.  Doctors’ appointments usually cost R300-R500 for a consultation.

What to bring

What to bring

There is a packing list on the volunteer guide which is important to read over. There will be limited opportunities to go into town to pick up items you have forgotten.

There is no access to get your money exchanged, so make sure that you bring enough ZAR cash to cover your payments on arrival and for the first week at least. You can then use your card to get more cash out in town. For your first week you will need:

  • T-shirt deposit - R400 (this cash will be returned to you when you leave)

  • Transfer fee - R500 (if arriving in Hoedspruit)

  • Reserve entrance fee - R100 (a once-off payment)

  • Unlimited WiFi - R100 (a once-off payment)

  • Excursions - depends on whether you have booked any during your first week

Please make sure that all your paperwork is printed and that you bring it with you. This includes:

  • Enrollment forms

  • Signed photo policy

  • Any additional forms (depending on your application)

  • A photocopy of your passport

Travelling to C.A.R.E.

From Johannesburg there two main options to travel to C.A.R.E..

There is a flight from Johannesburg to Hoedspruit, where we can send someone to pick you up. There will be a fee for the transport to the centre as it is quite a long drive, which must be paid in cash.

The other option is the shuttle bus from Johannesburg to Balule Grietjie gate (many people use Swift Kruger Shuttles). This is a much cheaper option and drops you at the gate to the reserve. In many cases, you may need to book a hotel in Johanesburg and get the bus the following morning.

Travelling to C.A.R.E.
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