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Intern in Veterinary Medicine & Animal Care in South Africa

  • Placement locations: Cape Town
  • Role: To assist local staff with the general care of the animals
  • Requirements: None
  • Type of placement: Animal rescue centres, seabird centre
  • Accommodation: Host family
  • Length of placement: From 2 weeks
  • Start dates: Flexible


The Veterinary Medicine & Animal Care internship in South Africa is very much a hands-on, practical volunteer experience for anyone who loves animals and wants to work with them.

There are opportunities in South Africa for those who want to get involved by looking after and caring for animals. A Veterinary Medicine & Animal Care placement is suitable for both gap year students and those taking a career break. You do not have to have experience in vererinary medicine or animal care, just to enjoy looking after animals and want to learn more about them!

We have placements available in the Cape Town area to work with domestic animals as well as at a coastal seabird rehabilitation center.

Volunteer as an Intern with Animals in South Africa

Volunteers take care of penguins on the Animal Care project in South Africa

Interns shadow full time animal caregivers at all placements, gaining first hand experience about the way that animal rescue centers operate in South Africa. There are opportunities to get involved with hands-on work like feeding, exercising, and rehabilitating the animals under your care. As with any volunteer experience abroad, you get back what you put in; showing initiative and a willingness to get involved will result in your getting the most out of the experience.

Interns assisting with domestic animals work mostly with stray dogs and cats at centers in Cape Town. Working with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), you'll be involved with preparing food, cleaning out cages, exercising the animals, grooming, and caring for neglected and abused animals. The love and attention that you give to the animals can greatly improve their quality of life. Local staff will also appreciate any help within the clinic, especially preparing the animals for surgery.

Volunteer does medical examination on a penguin in South Africa

Interns with a special interest in the conservation of coastal birds could also chose to work in a bird sanctuary. Based in Bloubergstrand, 25km outside of central Cape Town across the bay from Table Mountain, this shelter specializes in rescuing injured African Penguins. Volunteers here work in an amazing location, where colonies of penguins, cormorants, pelicans and even pink flamingos are a common sight. Volunteers will assist in preparing food, feeding the penguins, cleaning out cages, and rehabilitating injured or oiled birds. You'll get the opportunity to learn about these ecosystems and unique animals, while having a great time looking after these cheeky animals! You will live with host families in Bloubergstrand, (known locally as Table View, for the spectacular view of the mountain). Transport into the center of Cape Town is fast and frequent.

Interns are required to have an intermediate to advanced level of English to participate in this project.

Working with animals in South Africa will give you access to invaluable work experience that is both rewarding and will enhance your resume. You will gain many practical skills and develop as a person while living and working in a foreign country. Interns with veterinary experience may even be able to get involved in specialized procedures.

Interns should join the coastal birds project for at least six weeks. It is possible to work at the SPCA or ARO for just two weeks. Please be aware that you stay for less than a month you may not make the same impact as someone joining the program for a longer period.

While you’re in South Africa, you might also consider joining a 1 week Conservation & Environment Project. For more information, please visit our African Bushveld Conservation & Environment Project in South Africa page. Our Combinations Page explains how you can combine not only projects, but also destinations.

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