"once in a lifetime place"
I have just arrived back in the UK after two weeks volunteering at Ukutula and I can honestly say that it has definitely some of the best weeks of my life. The people are amazing, especially Gill and Willi, nothing is too much trouble, and their passion for the research and conservation of lions. I cannot stress how amazing this place is and the animals are so well looked after and understood, the staff of Ukutula know what is best for the lions and how to care for them in order to conserve and help those left in the wild. - I am already planning my trip back next year!
Kate R. Salisbury, UK
Visited May 2014
“volunteering at Ukutula - WOW!”
"I have just spent 2 weeks as a volunteer at Ukutula - and met Courtney and Alex too (see comment Trip of a lifetime). Gill and Willi, the owners, are committed to the conservation of these wonderful big cats and everything they do here is dedicated to this. They are also involved in lion research. I was a bit concerned before I went as you hear so much about lion breeding for trophy hunting, but I can assure you they are absolutely against this (as am I). Being able to hold and interact with the four 2 month old cubs and 3 month old "devils" was a dream come true...let alone holding/feeding baby Leigh! Staff, accommodation and food were wonderful. We also helped on ranger duties such as road repairs, collecting vegetables for the resident ostriches and antelope and collecting food for the lions too. We also went on the most amazing walks with a few "gremlins" (18 month old lions)...awesome is just not the word! Hated to leave and will try to return....
Best experience you will ever have."
July 2014 - Sue S.
"I was a volunteer here for a month...,the accommodation was amazing the services the lodge offer from room servicing to food to the laundry service was awesome. I couldn't have asked for a better place to stay whilst in South Africa. The staff made me feel like I was part of the family, incredibly helpful all the time and very friendly."
"I did a volunteer placement here and it was the best thing I have ever done. Really worth going to......Gill and Willi are lovely people and will go out of their way to make your stay the best it can be."
Visited December 2013.
Steph London, UK
"a trip I know that I will be doing again!”
I volunteered at the Ukutula Lion Park in March - it was an amazing experience! I have always had a passion for lions and that passion certainly increased by doing this project! I enjoyed having hands on experience with the lion cubs, both the smaller ones and the larger ones - feeding and playing with them was so much fun, even stimulating the smaller ones (although the least pleasant job when it came to cubs)! Ranger duties were also great as we got to see the adult lions feeding - although quite frightening, it was something I would happily watch again. Watching cheetahs being fed whilst I was INSIDE their enclosure was so cool - although again, it was quite frightening! With ranger duties, no two days were ever the same! The accommodation I stayed in was situated within the larger cubs enclosure (which is actually a lot more fun than it sounds) and was top of the range with an En suite bathroom and was cleaned on a daily basis! On the whole, volunteering at Ukutula was probably the best thing I have ever done in my life and I will definitely do it again."
Indrajit G. UK - May 2015
“wow! amazing place"
"So I have now visited Ukutula twice and at time of writing I am packing for my 3rd visit. I have always visited as a volunteer rather than a guest but believe Ukutula offers a great experience whichever you choose. The site is fantastic - over 200 acres of fenced African bush with zebra, giraffe and ostrich roaming free. The 'farm' is host to a breeding programme of lions used for research by the University of Pretoria for tracing the recessive White lion gene and research into TB which is badly affecting the lions in the Kruger National Park...As a volunteer your duties include collection of deceased hoofed animals like cattle, horses and gazelle from local reserves and farms which are cut up and fed to the older lions, cleaning enclosures, collecting veggies from a local pack-house for feeding to the zebra, giraffe and ostrich and some occasional work on roadways. Don't be too discouraged by the dead animals, you very quickly become acclimatised and a good friend of mine – a hard-core vegetarian - even came to terms with the need for lions to eat meat and the use of dead animals being an efficient way to utilise the carcases. You don't have to do anything that you don't want to! The best bit is by far the hands-on interaction with young lion cubs and occasionally cheetah and tiger cubs and hyena pups and the unsupervised time spent playing with the slightly older 'devil' cubs (12-24 weeks). There is a really nice swimming pool and bar on site and vollies (volunteers) are fed 3 good, wholesome meals per day and washing is done for you.....what Willie and Gill have achieved is a balance between conservation, education and tourism. The atmosphere is great: staff are friendly and everyone comes away having made some really good friends. Over half the people I have met there have been back....."
Lincolnshire, United Kingdom