Drakenstein Lion Park Volunteer Programme

Drakenstein Lion Park is an award winning and internationally acclaimed sanctuary for captive born lions that cannot be rehabilitated into the wild. The Park provides these displaced lions with a lifetime home in an enriched environment, where they are treated with compassion and respect and allowed to live out their lives with dignity.

As a genuine sanctuary, the Park is not involved in breeding or any form of commercial trade.

Drakenstein Lion Park is situated in the scenic Cape Winelands and although the Park is located in a rural setting, civilization is only 5 minutes away in the town of Paarl!

Volunteers have the unique opportunity to become a part of our team of dedicated animal care givers and experience the day to day running of a lion sanctuary, working for the animals and not with them.

Projects where volunteers can work with lions are in most cases primarily captive breeding operations and volunteers who work in these programme’s hand rearing lion cubs are ultimately working for the captive breeding industry.
The captive breeding industry is the primary source of victims for the canned hunting industry!

Why pay to volunteer?

Most non-profit organizations that run international volunteer programs are to some extent funded by volunteer contributions. In return for the opportunity to work at the organization, volunteers fund themselves, ensuring that the host organization does not incur any expenses. The process of preparing, training, transporting, housing and supervising volunteers is not cheap.

Volunteer fees generated by our programme also go towards the care costs of our resident lions, as well as the costs associated with future rescues. The cost to join our programme is R2500 per week (arriving on a Monday and departing on a Saturday by 11h00, for volunteers staying one week only).


Accommodation is in the form of shared same sex units (maximum 3 persons) with a communal kitchen / recreation room. The kitchen is fully equipped with a gas stove and fridge. Volunteers are responsible for keeping the accommodation tidy at all times.

The accommodation units are situated a short distance from the lion and chimp enclosures, so volunteers will have the added bonus of hearing the lions roar every night!

Volunteers are responsible for supplying and preparing their own meals. Volunteers will be taken on a scheduled shopping trip to purchase the necessary supplies and can safely budget on 400 ZAR per week for food.

Volunteer Duties

General volunteer activities will include but not be limited to the following:

• Monitoring visitors to the sanctuary to ensure our animals well being.
• Food preparation for the lions.
• Cleaning the grounds and facilities.
• Cleaning lion camps.
• Clearing alien vegetation.
• Clearing fence lines and general fence maintenance.
• Fence construction..
• Firebreak maintenance (and fire fighting in the summer!).

Programme Details

Volunteers work from 08h30 to 17h00 Monday to Friday and have weekends off (except in emergencies, e.g. fires).

The programme includes:

• Accommodation and a scheduled shopping trip to town.

Volunteers should have a basic understanding of English, be at least 18 years of age and reasonably fit.

To apply please contact us.

Please Note: There are many lion projects where volunteers can hand rear and play with lion cubs. A large number of these projects are in fact factory farms for the canned hunting industry and the lion cubs that volunteers care for may eventually end up on hunting farms. Please choose your project carefully!

To learn more please click here.

Be careful of the program you choose! Click here to read what some volunteers had to say about certain captive breeding projects that they worked at.