I embarked on this experience with SAASA, through GWE, as a volunteer and as a university student to complete my internship. It was five weeks during which, in addition to working with primates in the sanctuary's forest, I had the opportunity to explore and see more of what South Africa has to offer. If you want to try to understand and experience conservation work that truly respects animals with the right rules in place for their well-being, this is the right place to do it. Being a volunteer, you also have the freedom to decide when and how much you want to work, so if there are days when you prefer to explore or discover new things, you are free to do so.
This is made possible, thanks to Paula, the coordinator, who is always available to assist you in every way and never leaves you alone. In general, the staff members are all very kind, friendly and eager to introduce you to their culture, making you feel more at home. As a Natural Sciences student, I highly recommend this sanctuary for these reasons and, above all, because it genuinely contributes to the conservation of species.
Alissa Fumagalli, July-August 2023, Italy.
Thanks for giving volunteers and people in general the opportunity of spending time near nature and wildlife.Thanks especially for the unique help and daylife teaching and taking care of volunteers of persons like Paula and Rue. It's an amzing experience waking every day to live a new adventure with animals. Rain, sun, hard work, lazy days, always sharing with monkeys who need our help.....just giving or trying to give them a new change to be free.Loving animals, loving monkeyland. Thanks!!!
Leni Garcia, October 2022, Spain
Volunteering at Monkeyland-KZN was the best decision I've ever made. Paula is not only an amazing host but also just a lovely human being and caring like a mom. The people working at the sanctuary are special in the best possible way and so is the experience working for the animals. The people are so kind and will make you feel welcome from the first day on. The monkeys are really good taking care of and it's wonderful to see them happy living the wild way like they should. There is no touching or petting of these animals (wild animals). Only observing and caring for them. A way to make not only you happy but also the animals. So it's a win-win situation. The work can be tough but you'll get rewarded with the happy monkeys around you and the good people make even harder tasks easy.
And at the end of the day you'll always have a delicious meal made by Paula waiting for you. So if you want to work at a sanctuary where you feel like home even from far away, meet the loveliest people and know the animals are truly happy and taken care of, you have to go to volunteer at Monkeyland-KZN.
Leonie Leu, July-August 2022, Switzerland
I went in August 2022. It was a wonderful experience. I worked with very good people. They teach you a lot about monkeys and the forest. You can see the real life of South African people and the amazing people they are.
Normally you work from Sunday to Thursday and Friday and Saturday you can do a lot of activities alone or with Paula. She can organise everything for you. I really recommend to go on safari in St Lucia with her because it was amazing.
The accommodation is very cute, comfortable and safe. I really recommend to go there.
Priscilla Sergi, August 2022, Italy
My time at The Hidden Forest Wildlife Sanctuary was short and sweet but still left me with eye opening experiences and knowledge that changed my life for the better. Going into my stay at Monkeyland, I didn't really know what to expect and while it was tough at times, it also gave me the opportunity to learn on the go, throw myself into various different activities and meet people from all different cultures. The staff were friendly and always happy to answer my questions, no matter what they were and Paula really made the difference out of work hours. Whether it was Monopoly marathons in the evenings, three day safari adventures or talking me through my homesickness, she was always there and I definitely made a friend for life.
There were not many other volunteers there for the majority of my time which was challenging but the short bursts of time that another volunteer joined me made the experience much more enjoyable.
If I were to give anyone advice before beginning their volunteering journey, it would be to throw yourself into everything and do not hold back. Say yes to everything and take advantage of your time there because KZN truly is a beautiful place.
Megan Frater, Jan-March 2020, UK
A while ago I was dreaming of traveling to South Africa. But I didn't want to just travel. I wanted to do something reasonable. Something which would fullfill me with joy and which I've never done before. So I was scrolling through the internet and found Monkeyland. I liked how they presented themselves and I thought I could give it a try. Within just a few days everything was organized and I was going to volunteer at The Hidden Forest Wildlife Sanctuary. And I can tell you: volunteering at The Hidden Forest Wildlife Sanctuary was one of the best experiences I've ever had! It's hard to name just some of the reason which made my stay so special... One reason was because of the whole team. They were all so friendly, happy, welcoming and never tired of answering my million questions... And working with such experienced people is a privilege. I learned a lot and I had so much fun working. Actually - it didn't felt like working. The hours just flew...
And then: Walking through the forest before or after opening hours. Still one of my favorite memories. Observing the monkeys within some distance but still being close as never before. Hear the forest whisper. The birds singing. Time stopped somehow and it was just magical.
Norina Müller, April 2019, Switzerland