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Pumbaa Wildlife Park

Founded by Melanie and Hennie Maritz, Pumbaa Wildlife Park is a testament to childhood dreams and unwavering compassion. In November 2017, their journey began when they adopted an abandoned warthog, nursing it back to health against all odds.


Realizing the challenges faced by a hand-reared warthog in the wild, Melanie and Hennie took action. They purchased a piece of land, creating a haven for their newfound friend. Thus, Pumbaa Wildlife Park emerged.


Situated in Mbombela, Mpumalanga Province, South Africa, Pumbaa Wildlife Park has evolved into a sanctuary. It's not just a home for the warthog, but a haven for numerous rescued animals, providing safety and care for the injured, orphaned, neglected, and abused.

'The true measure of a society's greatness is reflected in its commitment to preserve and protect its wildlife. A nation that cares for its natural treasures paves the way for a future where life can thrive'.

~ Pumbaa Wildlife Park ~


Join a new and exciting volunteer programme at Pumbaa Wildlife Park.


Volunteer with Purpose:

Dive into a once-in-a-lifetime experience by staying at Pumbaa Wildlife Park for two to twelve weeks. Gain exclusive behind-the-scenes insights into daily operations, working hands-on with diverse wildlife species from across the globe.


Conservation and Education:

Be a part of something bigger! Volunteers actively contribute to conservation and education initiatives, shaping the perspectives of future generations.


Passion-Driven Owners:

The founders of Pumbaa Wildlife Park harbor a deep love for their animal residents. Through youth education, conservation, and ethical ecotourism, they aim to inspire, connect, and equip individuals who share their values and vision.


Hands-On Involvement:

Volunteers play a crucial role in the daily management and maintenance of the facility. From feeding and cleaning, to health monitoring and enrichment activities, every day brings a new adventure.


Community Impact:

Beyond the gates, volunteers participate in community education programs and attend enlightening lectures, fostering a broader understanding of wildlife and conservation.



School Trips/Tourists:

Volunteers have the opportunity to support staff by leading guided tours throughout the park, an excellent way to gain in-depth knowledge about each species.



Upon completing your stay, Pumbaa will issue a certificate of completion/experience signed by Hennie and Melanie.


Veterinary Care:

Pumbaa is equipped with a newly constructed veterinary hospital where all medical procedures are conducted. Volunteers can shadow Dr. Cobus Raath and actively participate in these procedures.


This offers a valuable chance for those interested in pursuing a career in veterinary medicine, especially in zoo medicine.


Qualified veterinary professionals will also find this to be a unique and enriching experience. While the extent of veterinary work observed during your stay cannot be guaranteed, it depends on the current medical needs of the animals.

Lion receiving veterinary care



Both Wild Inside Adventures and Pumbaa Wildlife Park are firmly opposed to canned lion hunting. This unethical practice involves hunting lions in confined spaces, where they have no chance of escape. Unfortunately, numerous volunteer programs associated with big cats in South Africa are linked to the canned lion hunting and lion farming industry.


Volunteers are often recruited to hand-raise captive-bred lions under the misleading belief that these animals will eventually be released into the wild. Tourists may also encounter opportunities to pet lion cubs or participate in activities like 'walking with lions,' contributing to the habituation of these animals to human contact.

Pumbaa Wildlife Park does not engage in the breeding of lions, or offer lion cub petting. Many of  resident lions have been rescued from the canned hunting trade.


While Pumbaa is not a rehabilitation center, the mission is to provide a sanctuary for animals that cannot be released back into the wild due to inappropriate domestication, deformities, or injuries.


If you're interested in learning more about canned lion hunting and how to avoid it, please feel free to contact us.




Volunteers will gain insights into the specific dietary needs of each species at the park, which can include a variety of items such as fruit, mealworms, and meat. While some volunteers may be requested to assist in preparing meat for carnivores and big cats, we acknowledge that this task may not be suitable for everyone, and individuals are free to opt out if necessary.


Enclosure Upkeep:

Volunteers play a crucial role in the daily cleaning and safety checks of enclosures. They also receive training on creating environments that mimic the natural habitats of each species.



Enhancing the daily lives of captive animals is a top priority, and volunteers are actively encouraged to participate in enrichment activities. They are welcome to propose new ideas to keep the animals engaged, providing an excellent opportunity for zoology and animal behavior students to apply their knowledge.

Wild Dog



'We strive to safeguard and honor the diversity of our planet's wildlife and ecosystems by preserving, protecting, and celebrating them. Through education, conservation, and responsible stewardship, our goal is to instill a deep connection between humanity and the natural world, fostering a shared commitment to safeguard our environment for present and future generations.


Our steadfast devotion to the welfare of animals, coupled with our promotion of sustainable practices, positions our park as a beacon of hope and a driving force for positive change in the realms of wildlife and environmental conservation'.

Two tigers cuddling

For more details on the programme, including accommodation, available dates, available weekend excursions, and frequently asked questions, please request a brochure via our booking form


 2 Weeks: £1000

 3 Weeks: £1500

 4 Weeks: £2000

 5 Weeks: £2500

 6 Weeks: £3000

Subsequent Weeks: £500

Maximum of twelve weeks. 


                 Included: Programme Activities, Accommodation, Food (three meals per day), Airport Transfers

Not Included: Flights, Insurance, Extra Excursions


  A 30% deposit is required to secure your place on the project.

  The remaining balance must be paid in full eight weeks before your arrival date.


Flight Details:


Ensure your final destination when booking flights is Nelspruit Airport (Kruger Mpumalanga) MQP.

 The project starts every Wednesday, and flights need to land and depart on Wednesdays to include transfers.

  Flights can arrive and depart at any time on Wednesdays.

  For arrivals or departures on other days, a transfer fee of approximately £30/R500 will apply.

Tiger receiving veterinary treatment
Male white lion
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