C.A.R.E - the Centre for Animal Rehabilitation and Education - is an animal sanctuary that does extensive work educating the public and ensuring the safety of vulnerable primates, especially Chacma baboons. Many visitors choose to work at the sanctuary, also known as Primate Care, as volunteers.

Did you know?

C.A.R.E. is the only facility in southern Africa that focuses on baboons in need.


Rita Miljo founded the Centre for Animal Rehabilitation and Education (C.A.R.E) in 1989 as a rehabilitation centre for injured indigenous wildlife. The centre is located along the Olifants River in the Limpopo province, very close to the world-famous Kruger National Park.

At the start Miljo mainly took care of small mammals, reptiles and birds, treating them and releasing them back into the wild. But the C.A.R.E. animal sanctuary quickly developed into a haven for injured and unwanted Chacma baboons.

Miljo, who died in 2012, was trained as a zookeeper in Germany and because of her enormous dedication, was affectionately known as ‘the baboon lady of Phalaborwa'.

C.A.R.E Animal Sanctuary is also known as Primate Care, and thrives on the help of volunteers who come from all over the world to sign up for hands-on experience in rescuing and rehabilitating orphaned and injured baboons.

Many become quite smitten with baboon and return again and again to check up on ‘their babies’.

Baboons are offered little or no protection from provincial and national conservation authorities in South Africa, which often regard them as problem animals. Habitat destruction and agricultural encroachment have resulted in reduced home ranges, and where crops or urban habitats are threatened, people sometimes revert to drastic measures to kill the animals.

Supported by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Miljo's South African animal rescue initiative treats injured and orphaned primates and in 1994 C.A.R.E. was instrumental in the first successful release of hand-reared chacma baboons into the wild.

C.A.R.E has successfully released many baboons into protected area, and where necessary, cares for them on a long-term basis.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

C.A.R.E Animal Sanctuary (Primate Care)
Tel: +27 (0)15 769 6251
Tel: +27 (0)11 468 3553
Cell: +27 (0)82 452 0146
Email: care@lantic.net or info@primatecare.org.za.

How to get here

C.A.R.E. animal sanctuary is located close to the town of Phalaborwa, along the Olifants River in Limpopo Province, and is easily accessible by car.

Best time to visit

C.A.R.E. animal sanctuary operates all year round.

Around the area

Phalaborwa is a gateway to the Kruger National Park. There are also many private game and nature reserves in the area.

Length of stay

Volunteers can stay at the centre for several weeks, depending on current needs.

What to pack

Sunscreen, a hat and insect repellent are musts.

Where to stay

Phalaborwa has a wide range of accommodation options to suit every budget.