What is: Bambelela

[This content is extracted from website's owner on 6th of March 2021] Silke von Eynern, the founder and major benefactor of the facility, originally immigrated to South Africa from Germany in 1990, with her late husband. After his death in 1997 she decided to dedicate her life and savings towards the care and conservation of South African Wildlife and so Bambelela (which means “to hold on” in Zulu) came into being in December 2003. The original objective was to reintroduce game into the Groot Nylsoog area of the Waterberg. She purchased five Blue Wildebeest, but upon their arrival quickly determined that the animals were only a couple of days old. One died that first night; however, with the advice and assistance of Brian Jones from Moholoholo (“The Very Great One”) Rehab in Hoedspruit, she managed to pull the other four through. Silke had to hand raise these babies and in order to do so had to apply for permits from Nature Conservation Limpopo, and so the process began. Silke began taking over the care of animals from Moholoholo that were almost ready for release back into the wild and in doing so, recognized her true calling: to help wild animals in need. People from the Waterberg district learned of her work and started to call upon her for help, as did the veterinarians from the region. Bambelela became well known and well regarded as a Rehabilitation Centre and has successfully rehabilitated and released many species of antelope, including Eland, Kudu, Impala, Red Hartebeest, Nyala, Blue Wildebeest, Warthogs, Bush Pigs, Serval Cats, Zebra, Yellow-billed Kites, Black-back Jackals, Porcupines, and many more. Silke even had the pleasure of looking after an orphaned Rhino baby, who is now a sub adult and living free. Then, by chance, Silke’s heart was touched by a Vervet monkey. It was found abandoned in a cage on a property outside Bela Bela, which was for sale. The owners had already departed, so the estate agent brought the young, female Vervet to Bambelela.A few days later, a neighbour dropped off a younger Vervet. Then, a Vervet baby was taken away from someone in Naboomspruit and she ended up at Bambelela, too. The spark of interest in Primatology was ignited! Silke began her quest for knowledge about these special creatures, how to hand-raise them, how to build appropriate enclosures or camps for them, how to feed them, and how to prepare them for release back into the wild. She is exceedingly grateful to the late Rita Miljo, founder from C.A.R.E., the Baboon Rehabilitation Centre in Phalaborwa, for her mentorship all along the way. Silke applied for a Rehabilitation and a Hospitalization License to officially operate as such a Centre. Obtaining the licenses takes a lot of time and isn’t easy, but Bambelela has taken great care to build enclosures according to specifications outlined by other Nature Conservation offices in other Provinces and maintains the standards for cleaning, feeding and caring for wildlife in line with all regulations given to them by Nature Conservation Limpopo. In August 2010 the application was approved by the officials and since then Bambelela has been an official Wildlife Care and Rehabilitation Farm for Vervet Monkeys. The next step is to establish a Vervet Monkey Sanctuary for the Waterberg. Bambelela is now home to over 300 Vervet monkeys, necessitating a team of FGASA students, field guides and volunteers from around the world to join Silke in her work with these monkeys and all the other wildlife that comes to Bambelela for rehabilitation. They work in close collaboration with Marius du Toit, the veterinarian from Bela Bela. Silke also works very closely with C.A.R.E. and Bambelela functions as an in-between-transfer station for orphaned or injured baboons in the Waterberg area. Silke transfers the baboons to C.A.R.E as soon as possible, with a transport permit from Nature Conservation’s office in Modimolle.




💵 From 0 USD/week

Staying time

Not specified

Language spoken

🇬🇧 English

Accommodation provided

🏡 No

Food provided

🥗 No


🇿🇦 South Africa


🌍 Africa

Type of habitat

Not specified


Typical day at the center

Bambelela is a great opportunity for wildlife enthusiasts to get involved in true wildlife conservation, rehabilitation and release. Volunteers work directly alongside the experienced wildlife staff and will be trained in all aspects of primate care, including acting as “surrogate parents” to orphaned baby monkeys, introducing juvenile monkeys to existing troops at the sanctuary, and preparing established troops for release. Long-term volunteers may even get to experience living at the release site and monitoring the progress of the newly released troop. Bambelela has four (4) openings for an internship as a Primate Caretaker and Animal Medic per year. Monkey hand-raising and introduction in troop/rehabilitation Caring, cleaning, and feeding (including formula preparation) of orphaned or injured Vervet monkeys in the wildlife care General husbandry Preparation of food and feeding of sub-adult and adult animal Assistance with treatment and transport of sick animals Data collection on wild, released, and caged animals possible Game Ranch Management / minor farm maintenance Assistance with awareness and educational tours Helping with rescue-rehabilitation and releases Irregular working hours guaranteed


In addition to the many projects which are constantly running, volunteers also assist with the day-to-day running of the sanctuary. The volunteers’ daily tasks may include: Feeding of animals in the wildlife care (with food prep / cleaning) Making baby bottles and feeding orphaned baby monkeys Caring for and playing with baby monkeys, as surrogate parent and/or in Bambelela “kindergarten”- -Caring for injured or sick animals Assisting with basic medical practices, administering medications Cleaning of cages, camps, clinic, kitchen, bomas and enclosures Creating natural environments in enclosures Developing behaviour enrichment programs for the animals Going out on calls to collect monkeys and/or food supplies Assisting with introduction of new monkeys Monitoring monkeys requiring daily attention Building of new camps and quarantine facility Writing up reports and keeping data lists Assisting with fundraising and social media efforts 24 hour emergency stand-by (once a week) Caring for animals requires patience, compassion, and a calm demeanor. A positive attitude, willingness to help and learn, and a sense of humour are essential – volunteers should expect to be dirty and exhausted by the end of the day!

Food and accommodation

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The animals they take care of in this center are:



Qualification required

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How to apply?

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Practical information

Internet access

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Cost details

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How to get there?

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Is there a minimum age?

Not specified

When can volunteers join?

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