Rhino’s and elephants are at the top of the news reel almost every day. Unfortunately, it is normally to do with the poaching of these beautiful animals. Here at this project you can make a different in the fight to save these two species, in addition to other animals. At this rhino breeding project you will have first-hand experience at a wildlife breeding facility that has had many successful stories with reintroducing rhino to wildlife areas. Also get involved with the rescued elephants that are used to do anti-poaching patrols.
Volunteer with Wildlife Conservation
Project fee from EUR 930
Your Role as a Volunteer
The conservancy began in 1972 by a passionate and dedicated conservationist, who together with his wife began the rhino breeding programme. In the 1980’s poaching of rhinos became so severe that the Department of National Parks and Wildlife removed the remaining rhino’s in Zimbabwe and placed them into Intensive Protection Zones within private conservancies, in hopes of saving the dwindling species. As a result of this, seven rhino calves were handed over to the conservancy, which then decided to start a rhino breeding project with which to restock the national parks around the country. The original seven bred very well and produced 14 calves, 11 of which were reintroduced to a local national park. However, in 2007 tragedy stuck the project and four rhinos, including an unborn calf, were killed by poachers.
Today this rhino breeding and conservation organisation has 4 black rhino and 2 white rhino and are positive about their efforts to get back to where they were before the poaching incident. They also have a small herd of elephant, lion, buffalo, zebra, giraffe, wildebeest, crocodile and hippo, as well as a variety of antelope. Due to the poaching catastrophe that has hit Africa in the last number of years, these animals are accompanied by armed guards both day and night to make sure of their safety. During the day, while accompanying the elephants out to feed the guards perform anti-poaching patrols.
This project offers volunteers a unique experience to live amongst wildlife and share in the daily experiences of a conservation project. You will get to know the animals individually yet still know that you are taking part in prolonging the existence of their species. Additionally, as a volunteer you will help collect important data to be used in research projects by wildlife conservationists and biologists.
- Observing the behaviour and social interactions of the black rhino
- Feeding and walking rhino with their guards
- Teaching co-operative elephant handling
- Animal and plant monitoring
- Night drives and camping in the bush. Bush patrols on foot, in a vehicle or on horse-back
- De-snaring and anti-poaching patrols
- Fish-netting patrols by canoe
- Daily feeding of nutritional supplements to animals: lion, buffalo, rhino and elephant
- Tree planting and bush clearing – removal of alien species. Maintenance of the game fence
- General teaching assistance at the local school including conservation education plus lessons in permaculture and sports
- Working in the vegetable gardens and tree nurseries.
If you would like to come for a longer period time and volunteer and want to focus on a particular activity, it can also generally be arranged. If you are studying biology, zoology, ecology or towards a conservation degree this project is ideal for you to expand on your knowledge and experience in the field, as well as give you the opportunity to apply your knowledge.
The Project’s Mission
This project aims to protect and conserve wildlife and restore rhino species to their previous habitats in Zimbabwe. Together with their work in the community this conservation organisation strives to teach the local people about the importance of conservation and protection of their wildlife.
A large thatched house on the banks of the largest dam in the heart of the conservancy will be your home while volunteering with this project. The house is fully equipped and has 3 twin rooms and a large dorm room that sleeps up to five people. There are two bathrooms inside the house as well as an outside shower for those really hot days. Additionally, hot and cold water is provided for baths, showers and cooking. The house has its own borehole, so safe drinking water is available at the house. Three cooked meals are served a day, prepared by the in house cook. On Sunday however, volunteers will be expected to prepare their own food. If you have any special dietary requirements please be sure to fill it out in your application form.
Laundry can be arranged for volunteers and washing powder is also provided if volunteers want to wash their own clothes. Internet access is not good; however volunteers will be given an opportunity to send emails one day a week during their stay. Internet is very slow however and connection cannot always be guaranteed. Electricity is available at the house; with a generator to provide back-up should there be any power outages supply: 220V. Sockets: 3 pin UK-style.
How to book a trip?
You can book your trip with Volunteer Travels by calling us on (+46) 08-23 93 00 or by booking through our website www.volunteertravels.com by clicking on “Book a trip”. You can also email us on [email protected] When you have registered yourself we will send you an invoice with a registration fee of £200.00. The registration fee is later incorporated into the trip price and the amount is then deducted from your final invoice. When you have paid the registration fee you are formally registered. You will then receive preparatory information from us in good time to plan your trip.
On arrival in Harare, Zimbabwe, the project can either meet you from Harare International Airport or from the approved accommodation partners in Harare (listed in additional information to be sent to you on booking). Please note that if your flight arrives after 5.30pm then volunteers will need to arrange overnight accommodation (at listed accommodation) for the night before their programmes start date. Someone from the project will then pick you up from the lodge the next day on your programme start date. Please make sure that you inform us of your travel plans before you leave home.
The project is located on a remote game park and therefore traveling around the area will be difficult. Transport is included for all your volunteering activities. Further travel inside of Zimbabwe can be achieved using inter-city buses and pre-arranged transfers. Staff at the project will help you with this.
Accommodation and food
As a volunteer you live in the heart of the project. You live in a big house with a thatched roof located next to a large pond. The house is fully equipped and has three twin bedrooms and a large dormitory that accommodates up to five people.
Inside there is two bath rooms with only cold water. There are three showers outside with hot water if it has been a sunny day since they run on sun panels.
Electricity is in the house with English sockets.
It includes three meals a day except on Sundays when you stand for your own cooking. Are you allergic to anything or have special dietary requirements, it is important that you notify this in your application.
During your volunteering time at the conservancy you will have one day off a week to relax or take part in one of the many activities available at the project. Volunteers can go fish, canoe, undertake rifle training, go camping, enjoy a day of horse-riding, go hiking up Wedza Mountain or find the bushman paintings in Markwe Caves. Of course volunteers are also able to relax around the volunteer pool and enjoy the African sun.
Trips to Harare can also be arranged for souvenir and gift shopping. Of course Zimbabwe is also home to the famous Victoria Falls. Staff at the project can also assist you in planning and booking your trip before or after your stay at the project.
Zimbabwe means “house of stone” in the indigenous Shona language from the first ancient civilization that arose from what is now known as the Great Zimbabwe Ruins. Zimbabwe’s vastness encompasses diverse tourist attractions from Victoria Falls and Lake Kariba to the Eastern Highlands. Zimbabweans are known for being friendly and hardworking despite the many years of hardship under Robert Mugabe’s rule.
Security and Safety
The vast majority of visitors to Zimbabwe suffer no problems but if you have any specific questions we advise you to ask our reservations team when you book. The project itself is a family run organisation and provides a very close, comfortable and secure environment.
On arrival in Harare, Zimbabwe, the project will meet you at Harare International Airport. Be sure to check that the arrival and return date of the ticket is consistent with project start and en. You fly to Harare and you will arrive on the same Monday as the project starts. A transfer will depart at 3 pm and if you arrive after the transfer, you will have to pay your own transfer (USD 100). Note that you should inform us about your travel plans before you leave. For your return, a transfer from the project to the airport is at 8 am on Mondays when your project is over, so be sure to book your flight so that you are in good time at the airport based on the transfer.
It is the volunteers responsibility to acquire the right visa for the trip. Different visa rules may apply depending on your nationality. Visit the embassy web page of your destination to find out what the visa terms are between your country and that destination.
It is your own responsibility to make sure that your insurance covers illness, injury and theft whilst you are volunteering. Most travel agency’s sell a travel insurance that is valid for volunteer work, so be sure to enquire about it when booking your flight tickets. Volunteer Travels does however, supply liability insurance and is included in the price. Liability insurance applies to instances when compensation for damages is demanded of you, as a private person, for unintentionally hurting someone or for unintentionally damaging someone else’s property
Remember to get vaccinated with all the necessary inoculations before this project. Check with a vaccination centre or your doctor for which vaccinations you need. We recommend that you have a full protection against Hepatitis A and B, cholera, and polio. There is malaria in the area that you are traveling to. Please contact your doctor to find out what kind of prophylaxis you should be taking. Please be sure to also have your tetanus and rabies shot up to date as well.
Additionally, Zimbabwe has one of the highest HIV/AIDS rates in the world. We strongly advise against promiscuity while you are traveling anywhere in Africa.