This is your opportunity to take part in meaningful conservation as you follow in the footsteps of explorer David Livingstone. Get up close to some amazing animals, enjoy the breathtakingly beautiful surroundings, take part in some awesome adrenaline activities and meet like-minded individuals from around the world.
Home to the famous African Big Five, this 2,500 hectare game reserve boasts many elephants, black rhinos, lions, leopards, buffalo and a wealth of other native wildlife, including; giraffes, zebras, antelopes, crocodiles, hippos and a wide array of birdlife.
You’ll be staying just 10 minutes from one of the seven natural wonders of the world and a UNESCO world heritage site, Victoria Falls. Enjoy this incredible chance by visiting one of the most sought after destinations in Southern Africa with a guided tour from our local co-ordinator – you may get a little wet!
The reserve was fenced back in 2000 and has been specifically developed and created to address conservation issues facing the wildlife and environment of this UNESCO protected area.
In the fight against the recent and widespread poaching of rhinoceros in Southern Africa, the reserve is now recognised as an Intensive Protection Zone for the critically endangered black rhino.
Working in tandem with members of the game reserve team and anti-poaching unit, you will get hands-on experience in conservation management. You’ll assist with on-going research and community development work, where the day-to-day activities contribute to the successful operation of the game reserve, it’s surrounding areas and their ecosystems.
There are five main focal points; education, conservation management, research, community development and sustainability. You will have the chance to contribute to all aspects above by taking part in incredible activities like elephant & rhino monitoring, game counts, anti-poaching snare sweeps, visiting the local school and more.
You will be actively involved in a number of initiatives that help to protect and conserve the reserve’s numerous species, most prominently the black rhino and elephant. These include the vital black rhino monitoring efforts, whereby volunteers help to collect data on the behaviour and movements of the area’s black rhinos in order to protect them from poachers and increase their numbers.
During your time in Zimbabwe, your knowledge of conservation and African wildlife will be greatly enhanced and you will leave after having made a real contribution to nature conservation and the local communities.
You may get the chance to enjoy entertaining and interesting lectures on various topics that are regularly delivered by our highly knowledgeable and qualified co-ordinators or sometimes even guest speakers. You can also gain a greater understanding of all topics by talking with the wildlife manager who is always on hand to enhance your experience.
While volunteering in Victoria Falls, you will have plenty of time to take part in many free time activities. Challenge yourself to do a bungee jump or zip-line off the Victoria Falls bridge, go white water rafting, take a sunset cruise down the Zmbezi River listening to the cries of the hippos and elephants or simply relax on the reserve around the swimming pool taking in the views.
You will generally go out onto the reserve Monday to Friday, starting around 7am and returning for lunch at 11am. After a rest to stay out of the heat, you will begin volunteering again at approximately 3pm and return for dinner at 7pm.
During your time in Zimbabwe you will have the chance to participate in many activities, these may include:
Victoria Falls Visit
Within your first few days you will get the incredible opportunity to visit one of the seven natural wonders of the world, Victoria Falls! Our local co-ordinator will accompany you as your guide and you’ll get to learn all about this magnificent site.
Research & Identification.
Contribute to important on-going research projects, focusing on elephants, rhinos, predators, raptors and more! We are in need of gaining a better understanding of the animals and the environment so staff can make better informed decisions. Spending time in close proximity to the elephants and rhinos you will carry out identification tasks to help the project gain a better insight in to the number present and the range that they cover. What better way to spend a day!
On an on-going basis you will be involved in many activities to help aid the successful operations of the game reserve. You may be involved in game counts, predator checks, fence patrols and more!
This is your chance to see some of the smaller animals that call the reserve home as you head off into the bush. As you walk through this amazing landscape you will also get to learn all about the extensive flora in the local area.
Alien Plant Removal & Tree Protection
Assist in the manual task of removing invasive species such as the lantana bush and teak tree, helping the local wildlife thrive in a natural and pristine environment. You will spend time building structures to help protect trees as elephants often push them over and remove the bark in order to eat the leaves.
We regularly assist the local school to help provide education so the pupils have the chance of a brighter future. Here you can help the school by teaching English, playing games or by more labour intensive tasks such as painting classrooms, repairing fences and general construction and maintenance.
Camp Under The Stars
What better way to get back to nature than camping out surrounded by the sounds of the African bush. Build a campfire and gaze up at the stars in this unforgettable experience.
You will be staying within the purpose built volunteer accommodation situated in the heart of the game reserve. Make sure to keep you eyes peeled as you wander around as it is not uncommon to see wildlife throughout the day!
The accommodation boasts an open-air communal area that overlooks the reserve. It’s the perfect place to congregate with everyone else and comes complete with a swimming pool, braai (BBQ) and an eating area.
All bedrooms are comfortable and equipped with a single bed, ceiling fan, desk, chair and some storage. You will be sharing bathrooms that have western style toilets and hot water with up to 4 other volunteers of the same gender.
There is a fully equipped kitchen and canteen area where all meals are prepared and served.
Volunteers are welcome to use the office safe to store any valuables and there is also a weekly laundry service.
Wifi – Yes
People per room – 1
Single sex rooms – Yes
Airport Transfers – 15 minute drive
You’ll receive three meals a day that are cooked on site by the local team. On weekends just brunch and dinner are served. All meals are aimed to be as varied as possible and include a mix of western and traditional Zimbabwean food. At times, lunch may be pre-made for you to take out into the bush so you can enjoy even more time out with wildlife.
You can expect some of the following meals:
Breakfast – Cereal, porridge, fruit, toast, coffee, tea
Lunch – Sandwiches, quiches, burgers, salads
Dinner – Pasta, fish, meat, starches, vegetables
The local chef is happy to accommodate special dietary requirements, such as vegetarian, vegan, dairy / gluten free. Please just let us know in advance.
What are the requirements to join?
We welcome all volunteers from any background, religion and nationality, as long as you have no criminal convictions and are able to supply a clean criminal background check.
Individuals need to have a good level / understanding of English but it dose not need to be your first language. As some programmes can be quite strenuous, we recommend that you should be physically fit.
What date should I arrive and leave?
You should arrive to Victoria Falls International Airport (VFA) on your selected start date, being a Sunday. You will be collected from the airport at 15:00 so please ensure your flight lands before this time. If you cannot find any suitable flights, please arrive a day before and check into a nearby hotel – you will be responsible for making your way to the airport the next day.
Our local team will meet you at the coffee shop downstairs and will then take you to the project site – around a 15 minute drive.
Are there any age restrictions for solo travellers?
The only age restriction in place is that you have to be at least 18 years old before your programme start date. Anyone over this age is welcome. Generally the average age range for our programmes is 18 – 25, although this is by no means definitive and we regularly have volunteers of all ages.
When should I apply for the programme?
You can apply for this programme at anytime, however we advise all volunteers to apply as soon as possible to have the best chances of securing your placement on your selected dates.
Generally speaking, you need to book at least 60 days before your programme start date, although if you are wanting to apply after this, please contact us and we will do our best.
What duration would you recommend?
On gaining feedback, we believe 2 – 4 weeks is the ideal time to get settled in and really involved in the placement. This also allows you to make the most of free time and explore the local areas and participate in any activities.
Can I volunteer if I live outside of the UK?
Yes of course. We welcome volunteers from around the world, no matter how far away from the programmes you are.
The majority of volunteers that we host, come from the UK, US, Canada and Australia.
Can I go with my friend / partner?
You can travel and volunteer with friends, family and / or your partner.
If you are wanting to request to stay in the same accommodation please outline this in the special requirements section within the application form.
Is it safe to travel to these destinations?
We regularly visit and participate in each and every one of the programmes we offer to rigorously check all aspects of the project and accommodation are safe and that all procedures are being followed. These include but are not limited to checking the living conditions within the volunteer accommodations, checking the neighbourhoods you’ll be staying in, tasting the food you’ll be eating and going on any weekend trips recommended by us or our local team.
We monitor the stability of all of our volunteer destinations on a daily basis and have constant contact with our overseas teams to ensure that our volunteers are safe.
All volunteers will receive a comprehensive volunteer handbook when you choose to join us on one of our programmes. This detailed document addresses a large range of issues such as health, safety, visas, as well as going into details about local cultures and traditions.
When you arrive in-country, you will be given a safety briefing during your orientation that will cover things like emergency procedures, how to use local transport and any cultural differences.
Our in-country team are on hand to help with any issues or to answer any questions and please do not forget that our UK office is available 24/7 in case of any rare emergencies.
While we can never guarantee your volunteer experience will be 100% trouble free, we have taken all of the necessary precautions to minimise all risks and to ensure the programme is as safe as possible.
Before You Depart
When do I pay?
To confirm and guarantee your placement on one of our programmes, you need to pay the registration fee of £129 within 7 days of receiving confirmation that your application was successful. The remaining balance is then due to less than 60 days prior to your programme start date.
Payments can be done all at once or be spread out over several months and can be paid via BACS (bank transfer). We do accept additional payments methods, such as debit and credit cards, although there may be additional fees.
Do I need any vaccinations and / or malaria tablets?
As we are not trained medical experts we cannot tell you exactly what vaccinations or other medication you may need for your trip. You will need to consult with your local doctors or travel clinic.
You can also find additional information on the NHS Fit For Travel website.
How do I arrange my flights?
All flights need to be booked by you, although we can point you in the right direction on where you may be able to find the best prices.
Before booking any flights, we strongly recommend that you wait to have confirmation that your application was successful.
How do I arrange my travel insurance?
We have teamed up with Endsleigh to create an affordable and comprehensive travel insurance policy that is suitable for all of the programmes we offer. You will receive information about this policy along with your volunteer handbook.
If you decide to purchase your travel insurance from an alternative provider, please ensure it covers you for everything you will be doing. Adequate travel insurance must be in place no less than 60 days before your programme start date. Without proof of this insurance, we will not be able to accept you onto the programme.
When will I receive my volunteer handbook?
You will receive a welcome email from us as soon as you have paid the registration fee and your placement has been confirmed. The welcome email will include the volunteer handbook that provides a wealth of information that will help you better understand all aspects of your upcoming trip as well as details about our insurance policy.
Please note, that all material is sent via email and hard copies cannot be sent.
On Your Trip
Can I arrange a private room?
You will be staying in a private room as standard.
Can you cater for my dietary requirements?
We will try are best to cater for any dietary requirements. When you submit your application please include any required details within the dietary section and we will liaise with our local coordinators.
Are there any public holidays that would effect the project?
Although we try to be as clear as possible of all holidays that effect project availability, due to the nature of some countries, holidays can often be sporadic or prone to change.
If such a holiday falls when you are on your placement, this is generally a good time to experience unique festivities where you can join in with the locals.
What is the dress code at the projects?
We ask that all volunteers take the approach of a smart and responsible image during your time in the communities and on projects. It is best to also take some older clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty.
Generally, it is best to avoid tight and very short clothing and anything that may have offensive slogans on it. Its recommended that you take some nicer clothes for weekends or any free time you may have.
We do not wish to impose strict regulations, however we do ask that you respect the local culture and do your best to adhere to the clothing guidelines within the volunteer handbook.
How much spending money will I need?
For general expenses and some travelling, you should find that £50 – £100 per week is sufficient. However, this can vary greatly depending on the amount of activities or trips you do and if you are eating out during the week..
Will I be able to travel whilst on the programme?
There should be plenty of time to travel while on your placement and we actively encourage that you do! The local coordinators will be able to give you lots of travel tips and provide any help needed for your independent adventure.
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