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“Unique experience, especially for young kids and teens”

Bambelela Wildlife Care&Vervet Monkey Rehabilitation Farm
Ranked #2 of 14 things to do in Bela Bela
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Munich, Germany
1 review
“Unique experience, especially for young kids and teens”
Reviewed August 22, 2014

I stayed at Bambelela with my two kids aged 8 and 11 and its was an absolutely great experience for them. While my younger kid obviously still needed supervision and guidance, my elder daughter was able to deal with the daily routine herself: cleaning the monkey cages in the morning (while the monkeys were of course inside), preparing food, the working on some projects like fencing etc, preparing food for the monkeys and then again some more cleaning and spare time doing nonsense with the other youngsters. After doing quite a bit of research this was the only wildlife centre that would accept kids at that age - and I don't regret it. It was great! Thanks to the team and for the lovely bonfire nights with hot chocolate!

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank brebrebre30
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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103 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
1 review
“Had the time of my life monkeying around!”
Reviewed August 10, 2014

I just returned from a month in South Africa at Bambelela and I could not be happier with my experience! I was looking for an amazing place to have hands on experience with animals!
Firstly the monkeys were incredible! It was amazing to learn all about the lives of the vervets and to have hands on experiences with the Kindergarten and the handicap cages! The best part of the trip in my eyes was getting to know each and every baby monkey and building relationships with them!
Secondly the people were amazing all the permanent staff do their absolute best to make your experience at Bambelela as awesome as possible! Id like to make a special mention of Sarah the volunteer coordinator. No one works harder to make your stay amazing and to make you as comfortable as possible. She had a huge part of making my experience as amazing as possible and it was incredible seeing her work as hard as she did everyday.
Overall bambelela was an amazing experience, even when cleaning cages and doing work I was having a great time and was feeling good about my contribution to a great cause.
If I was to go back in time i would choose bambelela again and I really hope that one day I can return for another amazing experience!

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
Thank Samantha P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Bambelela Experience of a lifetime”
Reviewed August 1, 2014

My sons and I first went to Bambelela in December 2012 and that first weekend was incredible. We learnt so much from the amazing people and incredible animals.
The chalets were wonderful (we have stayed in all of them) and the swimming pool is heaven in summer.
The work they do with wildlife and especially the vervet monkeys is phenomenal and the volunteer experience is fantastic.
We have been back to Bambelela every opportunity we have had and we will continue to go and visit and volunteer.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank CandiceShaer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
“The experience-”
Reviewed July 31, 2014

My friend and I were looking for a couple of weeks experience with animals that we could get hands on with the animals to mainly help us in our Veterinary Medicine applications..
This is exactly what we got at Bambelela! The hands on experience with the monkeys in handicap & kindergarden was amazing, exactly what we haf hoped for.

All the monkeys were incredible, with their stories and sometimes horrible backgrounds- my personal favourites were Kingsley & Shalanti!

The rest of the experience was also good, all the other volunteers were incredible to meet and get to know, I'm so glad we met them!
Other socials: such as the weekly bonfires (with the most incredible hot chocolate), trip to Zebula and games evening with Belinda & the rest of the volunteers were equally as fun.

The food was plentiful, I ate more in one meal sitting as I would in a day at home! Damien catered to everyones needs, whatever you preferred.

The work was hard most of the time but incredibly meaningful, everything was to help the monkeys and the conservation of all the wildlife & injured animals that came to the sanctuary.
Sarah was so hard working and lovely, I really admire all that she did to help us.

The only thing I didn't particularly like was the fact that by the end of the day when motivation was lacking we had to do 'something' to look busy for the sake of it. I think that if all the chores & projects are done to the best of the volunteers abilities before 5pm (finish time) then they should be allowed to start their free time earlier. Or more projects (smaller, end of day type activities) provided.
For this reason I am personally quite glad we didn't stay a full month or longer.

If you want an adventure into the stunning bush, to work with some lovely people & to get hands on husbandry type experience then I would highly recommend!
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to be able to volunteer there.
From England

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
Thank Lau_pratters
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bambelela-Silke, Owner at Bambelela Wildlife Care&Vervet Monkey Rehabilitation Farm, responded to this review, August 1, 2014
Thank you so vervet much for your review, we appreciate all kinds of critic and aim constantly to improve Bambelela. Generally our rule is, that when projects for the day have been completed, that volunteers can spend time playing with the monkeys, monitoring wildlife, enjoying the view from our Lapa-deck while using the Internet, go for a Bushwalk, enjoy a hike in the mountains or in summer time...jump in the pool. I apologize if you were told otherwise....can you please let me know by whom you were instructed "to make like you are busy" ? Thank you so much....sending monkey luvies from Bambelela
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Family of 4- review”
Reviewed July 28, 2014

We have just returned from 3 amazing weeks in SA. 1 week was spend as volunteers on Bambelela, and what an amazing an enriching experience it was. We are a family of 4 (daughter 15 and son 10 yrs), and was looking for a less ordinary way to spend our holiday and do something meaningful at the same time. We arrived slightly apprehensive due to some negative reviews we read here (after making the booking). Truth be told, we would probably not have gone ahead had we read the reviews first. I am so glad we didn't, as this turned out to be an unforgettable and rewarding experience. Nor we or our kids will ever forget their interactions with those adorable little clever creatures. I could write lots about how positive an experience we had, but instead i will try to address some of the negative critique I've read here, as things has either changed dramatically at Bambelela since or the negative reviews seems very unfair. If you arrive Bambelela expecting a cheap holiday, petting cute little monkeys and sunbathe and being pampered as if you would in a resort, then you WILL be disappointed. However, if you read - and actually take in -what they say on their website, then I can't for the life of me see how it could disappoint. I should add that we upgraded to a chalet, which we were glad we did. They are very nice indeed whereas the dorms are somewhat basic. some of the critique I've read is:
1. "Not enough food/bad food". Due to these remarks we stocked up on food before we arrived expecting to fed very minimal: This was not necessary. It was nice to have some snack for the evenings, but otherwise food wasn't needed. Damien (the Chef) cooked us breakfast and dinner everyday, and it was very good food and sufficient portions. He made a big point of saying the we could always come to the kitchen for more food if/when we were hungry.
2. "Work load too high": We started each morning at 7.45 am and worked until 10 am. Breakfast from 10-11 am, then work from 11-1pm. Lunch break from 1-2 pm and then work from 2-5 pm. at 5 pm you are off duty and dinner was served around 6 pm. The work is everything from cleaning monkey cages to chopping food or raking pathways and removing alien plants. Everyone have 1 or 2 one hour shifts every day with the baby monkeys where you bottle feed them and play with them.
3. "Management not helpful": We had quite the opposite experience. Sarah who is the daily manager of the facility was there to greet us upon arrival and briefed us about the place. She was super friendly and helpful throughout our stay. She made sure we were comfortable around the monkeys and was an absolute pleasure to be around. She even spend her weekly day off to take all the volunteers to Zebula resort when we had our day off, and waited for us all day until we had finished all our activities. Her hard work, dedication and hospitality should be commended. The nature of such a facility a Bambalela requires a certain degree of structure. Certain things needs to be done at certain times, and her job is to ensure that it gets done. If you don't like to have someone telling you (in the nicest possible way) what to do, then i guess Bambelela is not for you.

Silke (the owner) was around the whole time, but didn't interact much during the time we were there. She was very friendly, but we didn't get to know her as well as Sarah. She came over to say goodbye and thanked us for coming and genuinely looked like she meant it. We all felt welcome and appreciated from start to finish.

So if you love animals, don't mind to get (very) dirty and filthy and align your expectations with the information on their website, then this is an unforgettable experience. Obviously the monkey interactions while at Bambelela are everyones highlight. They are so funny, adorable and human-like in their behaviour. You will get peed and pooped on (bring a raincoat), you will get bitten (nothing serious) and you will lose any item you have left in your pockets!!! But you will also get you hair groomed, nose picked, eyes checked and you will have monkeys crawling under your clothes and landing on your head. After a few days you will start to recognise a few of them and remember their name. My new best friend is Toledo, and I darn near got teary eyed when I had to say goodbye to him. On behalf of our family of 4 I want to extend our thanks and give Bambelela our best recommendation. We came looking for an extraordinary experience, and thats exactly what we came away with.
Sorensen Family

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank Emil S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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