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Tenikwa Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre

Donate or join the vet skills program in South Africa


To educate people on ethical treatment of wildlife, sustainable tourism and successfully release rehabilitated animals back into the wild.


Len & Mandy


Animal Welfare

Plettenberg Bay, South Africa



Besides our wildlife rehab work, we also educate the general public on the plight of wild life while they are on one of our conservation-based tours.

Our Impact

Through guided tours with the general public and a sustainable volunteering program we are able to successfully rehabilitate and release various animals into the wild. 


Our story

Tenikwa grew from humble beginnings in 2002 when the owners started rehabilitating injured birds in a wooded shed behind their house.  Today it is one of the largest active wildlife rehabilitation centres in the Western Cape, attending to a diverse variety of animals accepting both terrestrial and marine species.

Animals arrive at Tenikwa on an almost daily basis. Each case is individually assessed and a rehabilitation schedule is designed, a fitting enclosure prepared and eventual safe release plan is implemented to give each animal the best chance of survival.

What we do

We rehabilitate and release injured and abandoned wildlife from across the Garden Route, Both Marine and terrestrial animals. We have created a sustainable model to ensure that all the operations being conducted at Tenikwa are directed to achieving a positive outcome for the animals and people involved.


We have released over 80 endangered African Penguins to date along with a multitude of other indigenous wildlife. We admit between 200 and 400 wild animals each year. We have treated birds, mammals, reptiles and everything in between.

On top of that we also offer wildlife tours to see the indigenous cats of South Africa and other local wildlife and change the minds and hearts of every visitor. Our tours are conservation based and focus on promoting ethical tourism and ethical treatment of animals.

Local change

Our staff are role-models in their community and take the message of conservation home to their families. Staff at Tenikwa are full-time employees, and Tenikwa contributes significantly to the employment of the local community sourcing its staff locally.


Donate directly to Tenikwa Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre


Learn in a skills program along with the dedicated staff who are on hand to assist you at all times


Money, we receive is used for
  • We take the donations to fund our rehabilitation work, feeding, medical bills, enclosure maintenance enclosure maintenance and arranging transport and so forth for releases.
  • Besides the wildlife education tours with our resident animals that receive lifelong care from us, we depend on regular donations from the public to maintain the appropriate level of care and quality of food that the animals deserve.
Our current project
  • We are in the process of trying to rescue a lion from Madagascar. He is being kept as a pet. He will stay with us for the rest of his natural life. The enclosure that we are building for him is not quite done yet. We would need about R50 000 to finish the enclosure and about R200 000 to care for him for the rest of his life.


Join the vet program of Tenikwa South Africa

What we need

  • We currently run a “volunteering” program to help sustain the running of Tenikwa. The program does not take work away from the local staff but rather helps us to complete more projects and focus more of our time and energy on the animals. We are happy to have people who are willing to help by giving their time and money in exchange for a life changing experience.

  • We started our programs as a work experience for veterinary and veterinary nurse students. You are still very welcome to apply to learn essential animal husbandry skills at Tenikwa.
  • We run our programs with the best interests of the animals, the staff and the volunteers in mind.

How this will help

  • We use the income from our tourist tours as well as from the vet program to fund our care for resident animals in lifetime care and animals we rehabiliate back into the wild.
  • By attending and learning from our skills you can fund our wildlife rehabilitation program and protect indigenous wildlife in South Africa.
  • Your direct contribution will benefit the animals of Tenikwa and the rehabilitation cases we have on site. The work you do here will have a lasting impact on Tenikwa.


  • The minimum stay is two weeks at the rate of R 11.180 for a two week stay including accommodation and Food, (no meat products supplied). 

    There is no maximum stay.

  • For these two weeks we have a planned itinerary with different skills and experiences so that you get the most of your time at Tenikwa.

Required skills from the volunteer

  • We will accept anyone who is physically fit and capable. We generally accept applicants between 18 and 65. There is an online interview involved and an application form to complete.

  • To benefit from our specific veterinary knowledge you need to be studying to be vet or even a vet nurse. We ask you for proof of study. You do not need to be at a specific time in your studies, as long as you can proof that you started.

When do you take volunteers?

We generally take people during the whole year. Please contact us to know, if there is a free spot currently.

How much does it cost?

R2000 (110 Euro) per week

What is included?

A basic weekly ration of various ingredients is issued out, things like rice, potatoes, pasta, cereals, eggs, bread and so forth. No meat products are supplied. A weekly shopping trip will be conducted to purchase whatever else  you require. Accommodation is included as is the weekly social night Braai. A full list is available for download in our information pack once you get in touch with us.

Do you have accommodation for the volunteers?

Yes accommodation is provided, it is usually 2 people to a same-sex room with a bathroom and may be 3 if required. You can check the pictures above so see what the stay will look like. It will be similar like this. 

Kathrin David Portrait Sonnenlicht Feld Köln

Who visited the project personally?

Kathrin visited Tenikwa August 2018. It was very difficult to find an ethical wildlife rehabilitation center in South Africa. Meeting and interviewing Elzette for her Podcast (see below), felt to her like she learned about a whole new world. Is it ok to breed with animals in captivity? (no!) Is it ok to touch animals? (no, never). Why is volunteering sometimes good and sometimes it doesn’t make sense. Tenikwa is a special place and it needs all the support, it can get.

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Looking for a homestay with social impact?

Are you a responsible traveler and not studying to become a ver or vet nurse? You can still stay with Tenikwa and support their mission.

Book a homestay with Socialbnb.

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