Dog RescueSouth Africa

The Dog Rescue project seeks to provide care for unwanted, mistreated and neglected dogs in the beautiful coastal winelands outside of Cape Town.

Volunteers will support the project by working hands on with the rescued dogs on site. This will involve looking after puppies and their mothers, walking dogs and assisting with general maintenance around the centre. Volunteers are able to support local vets in caring for injured or unwell animals and will help nurse them back to full health.

Spend you free time exploring Cape Town, the surrounding winelands and the beautiful Garden Route.

Volunteers are needed to provide an essential extra pair of hands.


Key Info

key info
  • Location: Cape Town
  • Start dates: 1st and 15th of each month
  • Duration: 2 - 12 weeks
  • Age requirement: 18 +
  • Availability: Limited availability
  • Cost: From £995 / €1165 / $1275 - see fees table below
View More Photos

Project Information

Volunteer role: What will I be doing?

The animal rescue centre takes care of unwanted, mistreated and neglected pets and relies on volunteers to support its work. It is based on the outskirts of the beautiful town of Stellenbosch, near the vibrant city of Cape Town and is nestled within the breath-taking Cape winelands.

The centre has a clinic which treats sick and injured animals as well as a shelter, rehabilitation and adoption facility for stray, surrendered, abandoned and rescued cats and dogs. They also run a succesful adoption programme which hopes to re-home rescued dogs and cats to new, loving homes.

Each day at the centre will differ but tasks include:

  • Preparing food and feeding the dogs
  • Hand feeding puppies
  • Cleaning kennels and outdoor areas
  • Ensuring all dogs have received medication
  • Walking and exercising the dogs
  • Sitting and interacting with the dogs
  • Observing and monitoring dogs to check for illness
  • When the local vet is at the centre, assisting with spaying, dipping and medication
  • Maintenance of the centre including enclosures, gates and fencing
  • Sorting donations and food

One of the most important roles for volunteers is sitting and spending time with the dogs, so they receive much needed care and attention and get comfortable with human interaction. This also enables monitoring of their social behaviour and health.

In your first few days you will have a tour of Cape Town and the local area, you will also receive a full induction of your volunteer role.

Volunteers work 4 days per week Monday – Thursday, from around 7am – 2pm. On your days off there are a variety of free time activities for you to get involved in.

Other volunteers

There are usually 1 - 4 volunteers.

Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) award

This placement has been approved by the DofE as meeting the requirements for the Residential section of the Gold Award.

Volunteer Reviews

Read about volunteer experiences and challenges in our South Africa Dog Rescue reviews.

Why are volunteers needed?

The animal rescue centre predominately runs on donations from the local community who often organise fundraising campaigns to support the work achieved by the team. However, volunteers are needed to assist the day-to-day running of the centre to ensure that the rescued dogs are provided with a necessary level of care. By interacting with and caring for these dogs, volunteers are helping them to become happy and loving animals who can transition into an adopted home.

“Our volunteers are genuine animal lovers and are passionate about the welfare of cats & dogs. Some of the animals have been starved of human interaction and the care and love the volunteers provide makes a huge difference”

Kim, project manager


Volunteer apartments are fully furnished and have all modern conveniences. Bedrooms are shared with 1-2 other volunteers. Bathrooms are shared between volunteers.


Meals are not included in this placement and volunteers will prepare their own meals at the accommodation. Here are typical examples of the meals which you can buy at local supermarkets, restaurants and cafes:

  • Breakfast – fruit, cereal, toast
  • Lunch – sandwiches, salad, pasta 
  • Dinner – pizza, salads, pasta, burgers, stews

There are vegetarians and vegans options available. 

The local team will provide bottled drinking water for you to use at your accommodation.

Location and free time

The project is based in the town of Stellenbosch, which is next to Strand (where volunteers stay). Strand is situated between the Cape winelands and one of the Western Cape’s longest stretches of beach. It combines landscapes of imposing mountains and views of the Indian Ocean, so it’s a beautiful place to be!

The town of Strand has beautiful long beaches and a promenade where volunteers often sit on the beachfront with an ice cream watching the world go by. The beach is well known for surfing too and many volunteers will spend their afternoons sunbathing or having a surfing lesson.

You can use your long weekends to explore the Western Cape. Being so close to Cape Town means that you can take advantage of the sights and activities it has to offer such as Table Mountain, Robben Island, wine tasting and whale watching. The historic town of Stellenbosch is only 25 minutes away and has an array of cafes, pubs and wildlife attractions. Transport and tours are best booked locally once you are at the project.

Travelling in South Africa before or after your placement

South Africa is situated at the southern tip of Africa and ranges from desert to sub-tropical. With dramatic landscapes, amazing wildlife and a rich and diverse culture and interesting history, South Africa has something for everyone. Popular activities in South Africa include:

  • Spotting the Big 5 (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo) on safari
  • Travelling the Garden Route
  • Visiting Cape Town and sampling some of the local wines

To find out more, see the Lonely Planet South Africa.


Start dates are the 1st and 15th of each month.

What's Included


  • Dedicated Pod Volunteer Specialist to support you
  • Airport pick up (Cape Town) and return transfers
  • Accommodation - a shared room
  • Daily travel to the project site
  • Induction
  • Tour of Cape Town
  • Support from the local team
  • Support from the Pod Volunteer UK office by phone and email
  • 24/7 emergency back up
  • Volunteering certificate and reference (on request)

Not included

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Vaccinations and medication
  • Living costs - food, snacks, drinks, laundry
  • Any tourist trips / activities you choose to do in your free time
Price table
2 weeks £995 GB Pounds
Each additional 2 weeks £250 GB Pounds


  • £75 discount for every additional project you book as part of the same trip
  • £75 discount if you have previously volunteered with Pod Volunteer 

Where the money goes - financial transparency

Your fee covers the overseas costs of volunteering and the costs of running our organisation in the UK, on a non-profit basis.  For more details and a breakdown of our costs please click here.

Book with confidence - financial protection

All monies paid to us are financially protected through The Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT). 


Fees in currencies other than GBP are indicative only and volunteers are invoiced in GBP. For current exchange rates please see

Read volunteer reviews from the Dog Rescue project


“If you ever need a change in your life, or a new outlook on the world, look no further. This volunteer program changed my life for the better. There is a new challenge and experience around every corner, and new lifelong friendships to make. Set yourself free!”


“My whole stay in South Africa was absolutely amazing and I will try to integrate all I have learned going forward, and I can’t wait to come back.”


“I really enjoyed the time in Africa and I will return home with great memories.”


“South Africa is a beautiful country with a very interesting history and huge diversity of traditions, languages, people and wildlife… It’s definitely a rainbow nation.”


rescued animals cared for

"It was an amazing experience that will stay with me forever! Pod Volunteer provided the ideal amount of support and guidance"Satvinder


Pod UK Specialist

Iona has visited the project, apply and you'll hear from her soon!

We look forward to receiving your application! There is no commitment by applying and we will send more information.



  • South Africa Dog Rescue volunteer – Elaina

    “I really enjoyed the time in Africa and I will return home with great memories.”

    Read more volunteer reviews
  • South Africa Dog Rescue volunteer – Janna

    “My whole stay in South Africa was absolutely amazing and I will try to integrate all I have learned going forward, and I can’t wait to come back.”

    Read more volunteer reviews
  • South Africa Dog Rescue volunteer – Michael

    “South Africa is a beautiful country with a very interesting history and huge diversity of traditions, languages, people and wildlife… It’s definitely a rainbow nation.”

    Read more volunteer reviews


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  • Tourism Concern
  • Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust
  • Right Tourism
  • DOFE
  • theguardian
  • the independent
  • Sunday Times
  • Year Out Group
  • Best Volunteering Organisation
  • Wall Street Journal