FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How do I know CROW is trustworthy ?

CROW has been running for over 36 years as a rescue and rehabilitation centre for South African wildlife. We are members of IWRC (International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council) and a registered charity number 046-898-NPO. CROW is legally registered as a trust and is, therefore, governed by a Board of Trustees who are elected on an annual basis. CROW also has an Executive Committee who meet monthly and are responsible for managing the organisation. You’ll also find our annual reports on our website. Hundreds of volunteers have come through our doors – should you want to verify any information we do have contact details of past volunteers who are happy to answer questions. Please let us know if you would like further information.

What animals will I work with?

As a rescue and rehabilitation centre CROW sees a wide variety of injured and orphaned wildlife. There is no guarantee of what wildlife will be in the centre when you are volunteering or how many animals or birds will be here. We do have species that are regularly at CROW such as birds, grey and blue duiker, vervet monkeys, baboons, tortoises, banded mongoose, genets and bush buck. However, you won’t necessarily work with all these animals. If you have a particular interest in any animal or bird please note this on your application.

Will I get touch the animals?

CROW is a rescue and rehabilitation centre for wildlife and these are wild animals. To ensure their successful release back into the wild they must stay wild. Volunteers are not allowed to touch or interact with any animal or bird. CROW is not a sanctuary and releases all animals and birds, touching and engaging with them would make them tame and likely to be poached, captured or further harmed should they have no fear of humans.

Will I get to rescue or release animals ?

Once you have received the proper training, you may be able to go on a rescue with a trained member of staff. Where possible, volunteers get an opportunity to go on releases but there is no guarantee with rescues as it all depends on admissions.

What is the accommodation like ?

Volunteers are in a single level house on the CROW property. There are shared bedrooms, with mostly single beds but the occasional bunk bed. There are two bathrooms with showers, bath, a kitchen, dining area and lounge with a TV. The house has wi-fi, a small garden and patio with barbeque facilities. There is a maximum of 10 volunteers at any one time.

What is included in the price ?

Your fee covers your accommodation, food and non-alcoholic drinks, training, transfer from the airport to CROW, your volunteer t-shirt, and transport for fortnightly excursions as well as donation towards CROW’s work.

Will I get any qualifications or certificate for volunteering?

At the end of your stay you will be presented a certificate acknowledging your participation in the program. While you don’t receive any formal qualifications from your stay at CROW you do gain valuable experience and skills in animal care.

What kind of work will I be doing?

Volunteers at CROW will be helping staff to take care for the animals and birds. The work is hard, dirty and although every day is different much of the work is repetitive. Volunteers will be cleaning enclosures, preparing food for animals and birds, ensuring the work areas are clean and tidy, cleaning towels and carpets that are used in animal and bird cages, cutting branches and greenery, making enrichment activities for the animals and other jobs where relevant. You may also assist in animal rescues and releases where possible.

What does a normal day look like?

Work starts early at 7.00 with a daily volunteer meeting. After this it’s onto cleaning cages and preparing the morning feeds. Once the animals and birds have their food there are various other jobs around CROW which need to be done before lunch.
After an hour for lunch cages again need to be cleaned and food prepared and delivered. The day finishes at 3pm and unless you are on rescue duty that evening the rest of the day is yours.

What clothes should I bring?

As mentioned the work can be dirty and you are likely to get your clothes dirty too. Bring old clothes to work in that you don’t mind getting ruined. The days are hot and humid in Durban so shorts, t-shirts or vest tops are the best bet. You may want to bring something a little smart in case you go out to dinner or attend a CROW event, otherwise bring what is comfortable to wear and easy to clean.
A pair of closed shoes is also a requirement for volunteering although a full list will be given when your booking is confirmed.

Is there anything else I need to bring with me?

A full list is given when your booking is confirmed but a torch, phone and/or laptop, wet weather gear, mosquito repellent, spare glasses/contact lenses are useful.
There is a small supermarket nearby but please note your favourite brands may not be available so stock up if they are a must have.

Do I need any qualifications or experience?

While experience with animal care is looked upon favourably, no experience is required. you will receive training upon your arrival. No qualifications are required to volunteer.

Is there an age limit?

Volunteers need to be over 16 but as long as you are fit, healthy and can work there is no upper age limit.

How do I apply?

Applying is simple. Just download the application form and send it off to CROW.
A deposit will hold your place but full payment is required 4 weeks before you arrive. Any questions on your application simply email us.

Can I travel before or after the project?

Yes you can. Travel before or after you volunteer is a great way to see more of South Africa or other countries in Africa.

Can I volunteer with friends or as a couple?

It is possible to volunteer with friends or as a couple but please note that couples will be in separate bedrooms.

How far in advance do I need to book?

There is restriction on this. If we have availability then you can volunteer. Please note that November to March is our peak period – therefore, it’s best to book as far in advance as you can. Please note that the deposit you pay is non-refundable.

Do I need a visa?

You will need a visa to enter South Africa. Please check the South African embassy in your country for full information.

Do I need insurance?

You do need travel insurance. In South Africa, you need to pay for any doctor’s visit or medical assistance. If your insurance provides it ask for a medical air card as these are accepted in South Africa.

What inoculations do I need?

CROW is not legally allowed to provide medical advice so please consult with your own doctor in regards to medications required.

Do I need to bring anti-malarial tablets

CROW is not legally allowed to provide medical advice so please consult with your own doctor in regards to medications required.

How do I get to CROW?

CROW is located in Durban, South Africa. You will need to book your flight to Durban to arrive on the 1st or 15th of the month. A CROW representative will come and pick you up from airport. Please not that although Durban is an international airport many flights will go to Johannesburg and you may need to book a domestic flight from there to Durban.

Can you book my travel for me?

CROW is a charity and is unable to book travel for volunteers.

What's the food like?

The food is varied and will depend on what is in season. Breakfast and lunch is probably what you are used to in many western countries with toast and cereal for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch. As a dinner many dishes you will be familiar with from pasta dishes to burgers to stews. You will also be able to try some local specialities for the complete African experience.

Is South Africa safe?

CROW is located in a quiet area of Durban which is as safe as most western countries. However, volunteers should not walk around at night or display their valuables or money. Please check your home country’s travel guidance on South Africa as situations can change quite rapidly in Africa.

How much money should I bring?

As your fee covers your food and accommodation at CROW the only thing you will need to pay for is snacks, any personal items, personal travel and entertainment. ATMs or cash machines are located just a fifteen minute walk away in our local shopping centre.

Can I bring anything to help the animals?

Firstly thank you – we do appreciate all donations. We have a list of items that we do need at any given time. Please check our website or Facebook page for the latest wish list. Alternatively contact us and we will gladly let you know what we need. Thank you.

I'm a trained vet/ vet nurse how can I help ?

It’s great to have a vet or vet nurse volunteer at CROW. Unfortunately due to South African law you won’t be able to practice at CROW. However, vets from overseas who have volunteered at CROW do tend to get more involved with our work.

I have experience working with animals how can I help?

Any animal care experience is great when you come to volunteer at CROW.
Please note that you may not be able to do everything you do in your home country due to our legislation and the different species that you will be working with. Please make a note of your experience on your application form.

I have experience working in marketing/ fundraising how can I help?

Being a charity CROW is always fundraising and marketing our work to the wider public. If you have any experience and/or skills in this area you could volunteer with our marketing and fundraising team which is quite small. Any extra help in this area would be greatly appreciated. Please make a note of your experience on your application form.

I'm a trained plumber, electrician, carpenter how can I help?

Skills like these are in great demand at CROW. Being a charity we try to keep our costs as low as possible by getting work sponsored. If you are a trained plumber, electrician or carpenter CROW definitely needs your help with our large property. Please make a note of your experience on your application form.

Do i get any free time?

Yes, you will. The working day is from 7.00am until 3pm most days with an hour for lunch and other short rest breaks. After you have finished work for the day your time is your own – unless you are on after hours rescue duty which means you need to be on stand-by until 8pm. You will also get two day off per week.
Should you need a specific date or day off this can usually be accommodated too with enough notice.

I'm a vegetarian/ have food allergies will there be suitable food?

Yes. We cater for vegetarians, food allergies and can work with many dietary requirements. Please let us know your dietary requirements and any allergies on your application form.

How many volunteers will I be working with?

The numbers vary depending on the project and the time of year – it’s not possible to give an exact figure as they often change. CROW has a maximum of 10 volunteers at a time.

What nationalities are at the project?

Volunteers come from all over the world but many of our volunteers come from Europe, Australia and America. All of our volunteers speak English.

What age are the other volunteers?

The age of our volunteers ranges from 18 to people in their fifties and older. As long as you are physically fit and able to work you’re welcome to volunteer at CROW.

Why to I need to pay to volunteer?

The fee you pay covers the costs and a donation to the project. The fee goes towards the costs of accommodation, food, your CROW tee shirt, transport, internet as well as volunteer training, preparation and supervision. As a charity CROW relies on donations from volunteers and other donors to keep its doors open.
By volunteering at CROW you’re helping to give orphaned and injured wildlife another chance at life in the wild.