The Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC) is living proof that people can make a difference to the long-term survival of the planet and its animal inhabitants.

HESC focuses on the conservation of rare, vulnerable and endangered animal species. Cheetah Conservation is one of its core disciplines.

The centre is actively involved in research; breeding of endangered animal species; the education of learners, students and the general public in conservation and conservation-related activities; tourism; the release and establishment of captive-bred cheetahs in the wild; the treatment and rehabilitation of wild animals in need (including poached rhinos); and anti-poaching initiatives on the reserve.

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Conservation of rare, vulnerable and threatened species

Volunteer programme details

HESC offers the opportunity to experience, first hand, the work of the centre. This intensive 21-day programme is divided into 3 main sections: Participation; Conservation; and Sightseeing. The programme is for the adventurous spirit looking for a unique African adventure; for the passionate animal lover; and for the conservationist.

The programme is based at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre, which is home to cheetah, wild dogs, white rhino, lion, African wild cats, Ground hornbills, Sable antelope, to name only a few.


WCE participants will be involved in the everyday care of the many animal species at the centre. This includes cleaning, feeding and, where required, assisting with or observing any veterinary activities that may occur during their stay.

The knowledge gained about the animals and the work of HESC through this kind of participation is both specific and personal. Participants may also get the opportunity to learn more about the day-to-day operations at ‘Rescued Rhinos @ HESC’, a sanctuary for orphaned rhinos and rhinos which have been victims of poaching.


This section of the programme involves informal lectures on all aspects of conservation and includes specialist input on all animals, grasses, trees and basic biodiversity.

The programme enables participants to put theory into practice, either through direct observation in the wild or at other centres that specialise in other areas of research or conservation.

TEP HESC Wildlife Conservation Experience Info Pack


The Expedition Project is a social enterprise! Please use the enquiry form below – by doing so you are supporting both this project and projects nearby at no extra cost. You will also get access to similar projects, accommodation discounts and special offers.

Book via TEP and your project cost will be the same PLUS get a £100 shop coupon! If you make arrangements directly with the project, quote The Expedition Project!

Contact your programme co-ordinator here or via the enquiry form below for a volunteer information pack.

Endangered Species Centre

Direct links: Website | Facebook | Instagram


Donation options here.

Live Updates

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Cheetah Cubs Born at HESC🐾🐾 — So beautiful and barely nine weeks old, the four cheetah cubs born to Shelly at @hesc_endangeredspeciescentre earlier this year still sport the thick coat of fur, or mantle, that is characteristic of young cubs. — The mantle is thought to provide camouflage and protection from predators in that it causes the cubs to resemble a honey badger – an aggressive little creature that is mostly avoided by predators because of its fierceness. The mantle is also thought to help regulate the cubs’ temperature against rain and the heat of the sun. — The mantle starts to disappear at around four and a half months, but traces may still be present at the age of two years. After four months, baby cheetahs have the tawny, spotted coats of an adult. By the time that a cheetah is around 15 months old, it will have reached its full adult size and will have the white tip on its tail. — Due to the high mortality rate of cheetah cubs in the wild, on average only about 20 percent survive to adulthood and between 50 and 70 percent die before the age of three months. At HESC cubs are spared this lot because they are not exposed to predators. — Baby cheetahs nurse for approximately three months, but this age does vary. If for some reason a mother cannot feed her cubs, we bottle-feed them, initially every three hours. — Over the years, Lente Roode herself has done this more times than she can remember, as have her curators and guides. Lente says new-born cubs are very like human babies and need just as much nurturing and love. he says it took trial and error to develop the correct milk formula and that we now also know to add supplements to ensure the cubs grow into strong and healthy adults. — We’ll keep you updated on the progress of our cubs. — Thank you to our Head Curator, @linrijvr for these lovely photos of Shelly and her cubs. — #hesc #southafrica #kapama #wildlifeconservation #conservation #limpopo #hoedspruit #thisissouthafrica #cheetah #hoedspruitendangeredspeciescentre #cheetahconservation #bigcat #bigcats #catsofinstagram #cats_of_instagram #cats_of_world #cat_features #catoftheday #catstagram #catlovers #bigcatsofinstagram #feline

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