In 2019, Sweetwaters will offer four, two-week volunteer opportunities for veterinarians. You can find out more about these programs; just click here.


Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Kenya
Though chimpanzees aren’t native to Kenya, Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary opened in 1993 after the outbreak of civil war forced the closing of sanctuaries in nearby Burundi. Today, after rehabilitation, new arrivals join other chimpanzees living one of two large enclosures hugging opposite sides of the Ewaso Nyiro River.

But Sweetwaters is just one part of a much larger conservation project, the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, a mosaic of grass plains, wooded grassland, Acacia woodland and evergreen thicket extending for over 90,000 acres. It’s located about three-hour drive from Nairobi. The Conservancy is situated at the foothills of the Aberdares and the magnificent snow-capped Mount Kenya. In addition to chimpanzees, the Conservancy hosts both black and white rhino, leopard, elephant, buffalo and lion. The combination of amazing wildlife and stunning views makes volunteering at Sweetwaters an unforgettable experience.

There are two opportunities for volunteers at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, a one-week and a two-week stay.

One-Week Stay
The one-week stay costs $1,100 per person. That includes breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, and a full range of intensive experience in wildlife care and conservation.

Your first full day starts with an early-morning game drive and a visit to the last living white rhinos. You’ll help with cleaning and feeding the rhinos and meet Baraka, the blind rhino.

On your second day, you’ll learn rhino tracking and animal identification and get exposure to life in the field. Day three you’ll take an early-morning bush walk and bird-watching. Then you’ll hear how Ol Pejeta prevents poaching and you’ll help in dog-training exercise. Later, you’ll visit one of the communities that surround the Conservancy to see first-hand how Ol Pejeta is improving their lives.

Day Four is a full one, starting with an optional 7/5 km run with Ol Pejeta’s rangers. Then you’ll be in the field, monitoring hartebeest, learning how to track lions and identify the many animals in the Conservancy. The day ends with an evening rhino patrol, dinner around a campfire, and a night sleeping under the stars.

On your fifth day, you’ll visit Mount Kenya Wildlife Center to learn the do’s and don’ts of handling captive wild animals, wildlife management and cleaning, food preparation and feeding techniques, and treating sick animals. The day ends with a visit to Bongo Sanctuary.

Day six starts with an early-morning, behind-the-scenes look at the chimpanzee house. Later, you’ll help with cleaning and maintaining the chimp house and be on hand for the chimps’ lunch-time feeding. Then you’ll get to know the visitor center, including its adoption center and river walk. The day ends with another chance to observe the evening meal, this time, with the newly arrived chimps at their holding facility.

On your last full day, you’ll travel to Kamok to learn how Ol Pejeta integrates cattle with animals in the wild. You’ll spend half a day with the herders. The final afternoon you’ll help with administrative tasks. Then, after dinner, you’ll head out for a final nighttime game drive.

Two-Week Stay
The two-week volunteer stay costs $1,557 per person. In addition to many of the activities in you would experience in a one-week visit, you’ll get more intensive exposure to wildlife management. One day is devoted completely to the Sweetwater Chimpanzee Sanctuary. You’ll learn sanctuary management protocols, how Sweetwater cares for chimps’ welfare, including enriching their lives. You’ll visit the chimpanzee platforms and adoption center and learn first-hand from Stephen Ngulu, the staff vet, about their care. Another full day later in your visit will be spent feeding the chimpanzees, cleaning and working with the chimpanzee caretakers.

You’ll spend two full days in the field with the Wildlife Department monitoring and collecting data on black rhinos, and the Ecological Monitoring unit checking the wildlife corridor and servicing the infrared cameras.

You’ll also spend a full day in the Tourism Department, developing ways to engage local children in the Conservancy’s environmental education program. You’ll also spend a day with the Community Development Staff and visit an outreach program. Your final day will be spent at Mount Kenya Wildlife Orphanage.

Not all of your time at Ol Pejeta will be full of activities. One day is reserved for free time, when you can shop in Nanyuki town or relax on your own.


Number of Volunteers
Typical Length of Stay
1 Week or 2 Weeks
Dates *
For the 1-Week Stay:
10/14/2018 – 10/21/2018
12/16/2018 – 12/22/2018
07/08/2019 – 07/16/2019
07/16/2019 – 07/24/2019
10/21/2019 – 10/29/2019
For the 2-Week Stay:
01/21/2019 – 02/04/2019
03/11-2019 – 03/26/2019
04/16/2019 – 04/29/2019
05/13/2019 – 05/27/2019
06/24/2019 – 07/08/2019
07/29/2019 – 08/12/2019
09/16/2019 – 09/30/2019
Minimum Age
Biology, Conservation or Captive Animal Care
1 Week: $1,100/person
2 Weeks: $1,557/person
At Sanctuary
At Sanctuary
Nearby Nanyuki
Volunteer Contact
More info here …

* Includes Arrival & Departure Days