'At the start of 2017, I was able to spend 7 amazing weeks at the Dell Cheetah Centre in Parys. Over those weeks I had so many incredible experiences, creating lasting memories of interacting and helping beautiful African wildlife. The hands on experience with the animals there such as caracals, servals, hyenas, and of course cheetahs was unlike anything else I had experienced before. I fell in love with the beauty of the animals, and the landscape. Estelle with the help of Georgia, and Michael have created an outstanding organisation helping these majestic creatures and providing the best volunteer experience I have encountered. The team really makes Dell seem like a family for those who volunteer, not only do they provide amazing experiences with the animals they help you understand why it is important to conserve these animals and teach you about them as well as Africa itself.'
'I volunteered at the Dell Cheetah Centre for three weeks in June of 2017. After being back home just a few days, I had already planned another trip. I returned to the center for 5 weeks in June and July of 2018. The time I spent at the Dell has been incredible. I have learned about nutrition and the balance of vitamins a cheetahs needs to survive, when it is safe to allow two cheetahs into the same enclosure with hopes that they will mate, and much more. The time I spent taught me not only about cheetahs and how to care for them, but about the wildlife of the area and other animals that inhabit it. I have gained a new understanding of how humans have impacted these animals, and why it is now necessary to help them to the best of our abilities. The animals at the center are well kept, and although they are far from tame, the love Georgia, Michael, Estelle, and Pieter feel for them is obvious. I respect these four an unmeasurable amount, as they have selflessly dedicated their lives to helping animals that are helpless at the hands of people.
The center is in a great location. On my off days I have gone skydiving at Skydive Parys, water rafting, wandering through the antique stores of Parys, and visited wildlife sanctuaries in the surrounding areas. I spent off time on the Vaal River bank reading on the rocks, and enjoying a braai (barbeque) with other volunteers in the evenings. There are also many surrounding game farms, which gave me the rare opportunity to go on a ride along as the local vet sedated a giraffe for just 3 minutes, in order to remove wire that had wrapped around its neck. I hope to return once again to continue learning about and caring for the animals I love!'
I’ve had 3 trips to the Dell cheetah centre Georgia and Michael are fantastic and welcoming. It is a project I have seen grow on my visits there and hope to continue to visit.
I am throughly looking Forward to my next trip there. Lizè is welcoming as well and always ready to help.
Last but not least Estelle is fantastic and always around if there is anything you need as are Georgia, Michael and lizè.
'The 2 weeks I spent at the Dell were 2 of the best weeks of my life, aside from the obvious thrill of working with the animals (there are more than just Cheetahs at the Dell), everything from the people to the food was amazing.
My time at the Dell was evenly spread between work and leisure, getting to work early in the morning and evening to prepare the animals’ food, whilst the middle of the day consists of maintenance of the grounds along with lunch and chill time, where you can choose to go and spend time with the animals. The Cheetahs are spectacular, and each have their own personality, it was fun getting to know them and trying to earn their trust, whilst doing things that I knew would benefit them in the future. On our day off we went to the elephant and monkey sanctuaries in Hartbeespoort Dam which was also incredible.
The managers and owners couldn’t be more passionate about the Cheetahs and do a really good job of running the centre whilst also hosting the guests. The staff are unbelievably friendly and also a great laugh. The food was great with regular braais, and I’d recommending ordering a Bunny-chow from the local Indian.
All in all the experience was unforgettable, but what made it even more special was the fact we were lucky enough to arrive shortly after the birth of a Cheetah litter, we got to experience the highs and lows of it all, but I’ll never forget babysitting Cass and Zach.'
Liam ( England)
'As long as I can remember, I had always wanted to visit South Africa. When I made up my mind to go, I decided I didn't want to just visit, I wanted anexperience, an adventure. I started researching volunteer projects, and found The Dell Cheetah Centre! What a lucky decision that was, because my first two weeks spent at The Dell Cheetah Centre were the first of many; I have been going back every year since.
The scenery is beautiful, with gorgeous sunsets over the Vaal River. The volunteer quarters are very comfortable, and the food is good. But what draws me back each year is the time spent caring for, and learning about the amazing animals they have. And I didn't just learn to meet these gorgeous animals' immediate needs, but their future needs, and the future of their species. Pieter and Estelle, as well as their staff, are passionate about conservation, and they share that with their volunteers. As I sat near a cheetah enclosure and listened to a cheetah purr, Pieter and Estelle's passion became my passion. I will never forget my time spent at The Dell.'
'Over the past four years, I've stayed at the Dell Cheetah Centre four times. My first time, I was terrified! I'd never volunteered before. I was travelling some place new, alone, and would be living full-time with people I didn't know. Eeek!
Then, Estelle Kemp retrieved our little group (we didn't know we were together), and from that very first car ride, Estelle made me feel welcome. She answered lots of questions about the cheetahs, the program, and the work and research she and her husband, Pieter, had undertaken to create the Centre. I soaked in every word. I was really in South Africa, about to support a program devoted to the ongoing existence of cheetahs - wow!
When the van pulled up to our home for the next two weeks, I gasped. Right outside the car window, in a camp about 10 feet from my face, a real, live, beautiful cheetah walked the fence line. It's hard to express the wonder of those first moments. This is NOT a zoo. Besides my fellow housemates (the other volunteers and staff), these beautiful animals were who I got to live with for the length of my stay.
I had thought it would be the trip of a lifetime, and it was...every single time! My third visit, I found there had been a staffing change. Estelle remained the committed owner of the program, while Georgia and Michael were now the on-site management team. They could not have been kinder, funnier, or more compassionate. Both LOVE answering questions about all the creatures living at the Centre (and there are LOTS more than cheetahs).
On that particular visit, I was lucky enough to meet a three month old cheetah cub, born at Dell since my previous visit. Do you know what it's like to play with, stroke, and cuddle with a cheetah cub? It's magical!
At Dell, the volunteer program is limited to about 8 participants. This means every person has a chance to make a real contribution with the effort put forth. And, because the numbers are kept small, there's an opportunity to meet and learn about people from around the globe who share your interest in animals. Best of all, your time visiting with the animals will feel more personal, because you'll be one of the few people on site when you visit.
If you're not yet convinced this is the program for you, there's one more outstanding opportunity that I'd encourage every volunteer to take advantage of: sign up for the monthly Kruger trip! For a bit extra, Estelle becomes your tour director and field guide at Kruger National Park. There is nothing quite like seeing a herd of elephants crossing your path or playing in the water in their natural habitat. From watching the giraffes attempting to mate or catching sight of a pride of lions, a leopard, or a wild dog eating a fresh kill (I've seen all of these with Estelle!), the experience is simply breath taking. My excitement and adrenaline ran so high the entire first day, I slept like the dead my first night in Kruger. It seems to me that Estelle possesses a couple of super powers, on par with those of most super heroes. Her x-ray vision and amazing knowledge of the Kruger wild life, including an incredible wide range of birds, compete only with her sense of humor, enlivening the experience in the most delightful way possible.'
'We have been volunteering at the Dell Cheetah Center a few times already and enjoyed every time very much.
We admire what the Center does in order to protect the Cheetah as a species from extinction and like to contribute to that goal. Also the Center cares about several other animals which need their help.
Especially preparing and helping feed the animals in the mornings and evenings was always something we were looking forward to every day especially. Besides that we took on other tasks during the day around the facilities. This is always fun - working hand in hand with other volunteers.
Besides the work we did fun things in our off time like cooking, do Barbecues and eat together and had great times with the staff and fellow volunteers. Everybody has been great and helpful.
Especially the trips to the Kruger Park, which are organized once a month, are something to remember every time.
Rafael is our favorite among the animals and we have known him since he was still small. So we decided to adopt him for a year and we want to encourage everybody to help out the Dell Cheetah Center by volunteering and/or help out financially, too. You will certainly not regret it. The Dell Cheetah Center is a great place to go to and to support. We are looking forward to coming back already.'
Fran and Andy (Germany)
'I spent 1 & 1/2 months at The Dell Cheetah Centre and it was by far the best experience I’ve ever had in my life. From the moment you step foot there you’re amazed by everything. The most amazing thing is how dedicated the owners, and property managers, are to giving the animals the highest quality care. I think they go above and beyond and it’s obvious they truly love the work they are doing.
Being able to work directly with these animals was incredible. I’ve followed pictures of Cassidy on social media since the day he was born and it was so exciting to finally meet him in person. I miss all the animals there every day!
Another thing that amazed me was how welcoming everyone is. Traveling alone can be a little daunting but I felt comfortable the entire time I was there. Georgia and Michael are the managers who live on the property. They are both very easygoing and fun to be around, as well as great at their jobs. I learned so much from them about African wildlife and African culture as well.
I’ll be forever grateful for the opportunity to have gone there and I can’t wait to return one day!'