WORK CONTENT AND DESCRIPTION
- Join the conservation education team in local schools giving you a wonderful insight
into the community, as well as giving you a chance to help save the future of the
Zimbabwean environment by educating the local children.
- Enjoy the many adventure activities available from white water rafting on the mighty
Zambezi River; bungee jumping from the Victoria Falls Bridge or taking to the air
for a helicopter flight over the Falls giving a bird’s eye view of this natural
Your primary task whilst on placement will be to assist management and the team
of guides, handlers and scouts in all aspects of care for the animals in their charge;
giving them the opportunities to develop their natural instincts in preparation
for their release into the next stage of the program.
You may also be involved in research work, but this is dependent upon what is required at the time and can be seasonal. This may involve collecting data not only on the development of the lions, but also joining our research team in the Zambezi & Victoria Falls National Parks.
You'll also help us with our various community programs that may include conservation or health education as well as a number of other projects that you will told about on arrival.
To give you an idea of how your time will be split between the different aspects of the program, the following should be taken as an approximation:
- 75% Lion Rehabilitation & Release into the Wild Program
- 20% Conservation work within the National Park
- 5% Conservation Education & Community Development
Your daily tasks may include:
LION WALKS: Spending time with the lions in the wild each day is
an essential part of the cubs upbringing. If the cubs are to be successfully released
it is important that they spend time out in a natural environment. They need to
adapt to it, learn from it, understand, observe, feel and smell the wild.
Alongside the walks you will be involved in the care of the animals which overnight
in enclosures. They need feeding, cleaning, and occasionally will need veterinary
care to ensure that they are kept in the best of health. NB. With the lion breeding
programmes, you'll also take part in meat preparation, stuffing the raw meat with
vitamins and minerals to feed to the lions; this is a compulsory activity.
RESEARCH: As part of the program they conduct a number
of research activities to better understand lion behaviour and ecology. The lion
walks offer unique opportunities to observe lions close up in their natural environment
with the data collected assisting us to make the best decisions for the animal’s
welfare and eventual release.
Volunteers will assist our research technician in gathering and analyzing this vital
data. The research studies being undertaken whilst on your placement will vary
depending on the needs of the project at the time but may include looking at hunting
development, character traits, spoor sizes or mane growth. You will receive all
the training you need in order to ensure that you are able to provide valuable input
to this program regardless of previous experience.
WORK IN THE NATIONAL PARK: There is a vast amount to do to keep
a National Park ecosystem healthy, and this project is blessed by having two unique
parks right on its doorstep. As a volunteer you will work with the research team
and National Park rangers on any number of conservation activities that may include
some or all of the following, based on National Parks needs at the time of your
- Assisting in the development of a new waterhole (please note that this is dependent
- Carry out snare sweeps to remove the wires set by poachers to illegally catch the
animals that inhabit the reserve.
- Work with local communities to mitigate lion/human conflict.
- Victoria Falls Rain Forrest: Volunteers will be involved in the removal of Invasive
Alien Plant species as and when required by the Park Warden.
*Please note: Research activities will be conducted on a case by case basis in collaboration
with the National Parks team and their needs at the time as well as seasonality
and accessibility to the bush based on the time of year. Please understand that
whilst we have made every effort to be as accurate as possible in our explanation
of what conservation and research activities you will be involved in during your
placement, it is essential that you are flexible and accommodating during your project
visit, and that you understand that our team on the ground will make every effort
possible to maximise your involvement in these areas.
TEACH A CONSERVATION CLASS: Volunteers will join our conservation
education program visiting local schools to garner support for conservation through
education. The syllabus was originally devised under the Worldwide Fund for Nature
(WWF) “We Care!” project and adapted to Zimbabwe by The Curriculum Unit of the Zimbabwe
Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture. Lesson plans are designed to offer children
a full understanding of their environment and to build an appreciation for the need
to conserve what remains of the wild areas of Zimbabwe.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A VOLUNTEER:
Every day is different as animals rarely operate to our schedule. We ask that you
remain flexible, but here is an example of a typical day on the project, as a guideline
- 6:15am You will be collected by your project manager and driven out to the lion
project base at Masuwe lodge located within the Zambezi National Park. This is approximately
a 10 minute drive.
- 6:30 – 9:00am Meet your guide and their clients and join them for a lion walk, taking
cubs from 4 months to 18 months out into the bush. Watch and take data capture recordings
as the cubs practice their hunting skills on the many game species they encounter.
- 9:00 – 10:00am Breakfast.
- 10.00- 12.00pm One group might head off to nearby Chamabondo school to begin the
day’s Conservation Education classes – sometimes there are up to 60 kids in a class!
Chaotic but fun! The other group will be cleaning or feeding the cubs, or driving
into the National Park to conduct a game census.
- 12:30 – 2:00pm Lunch back in Victoria Falls town at our volunteer base.
- 2.30 – 5:00pm Your afternoon duties could include updating the species inventory
in the Victoria Falls National Park or a lion walk at Masuwe.
- 6.45pm Briefing by your project manager about the following days activities.
- Evenings: The volunteers socialize at dinner at 7.00pm at cosy Hunters Lodge. On
some nights volunteers venture off into Victoria Falls town to experience the night
life of this tourist Mecca. For others you may be camping out at a water hole to
watch the African Bush come alive at night – you may spot the rarely seen Aardvark,
known as the “earth pig”
The start dates for 2017 are:
Jan: 2nd , 16th and 30th.
Feb: 13th and 27th
March: 13th and 27th
April: 10th and 24th
May: 8th and 22nd
June: 5th and 19th
July: 3rd, 17th and 31st
August: 14th and 28th
September: 11th and 25th
October: 9th and 23rd
November: 6th and 20th
December: 4th and 18th