Wildlife Conservation Volunteer Program in Victoria Falls
Ready for an adventure as a Wildlife Conservation volunteer in Victoria Falls? International Volunteer HQ’s Wildlife Conservation project is a thrilling opportunity for volunteers to get hands-on experience in a private game reserve home to Africa’s most incredible animals. Volunteers help with the upkeep of the reserve, contribute to ongoing conservation and research projects and stay in a spot where lions, elephants, buffalo and endangered black rhino could wander past at any moment.
- Programs start every first and third Monday of the month
- Affordable fees from CA$1348 for 2 weeks
- Includes accommodation, meals, airport pick up, orientation and 24/7 support
- Protect and preserve Africa's amazing wildlife
- See and explore around the world-famous Victoria Falls
- Stay at a conservation center on a private game reserve
Who is this program suited to?
What to expect and how you'll make an impact
Sweeping savannahs dotted with grazing herds of buffalo and zebra, bathing elephants, stalking lions and leopards flashing by. That’s what you can expect on IVHQ’s Wildlife Conservation volunteer project.
But without the help of volunteers, future generations may not have the glorious experience of seeing the world’s most amazing wildlife in their natural habitat. Many species of African animals are endangered or threatened, sometimes after decades of poaching which has left their numbers dangerously low. This is the case with the critically endangered black rhino which has been a popular target for poachers wanting to sell their horns on the international market.
IVHQ’s Wildlife Conservation project is set at a conservation center on a private game reserve which aims to protect the natural environment and the creatures that call it home, as well as being an intensive protection zone for the black rhino. As a Wildlife Conservation volunteer, you’ll be getting hands-on experience and the unique opportunity to help with the upkeep of the game reserve, conservation activities and research projects.
You shouldn’t expect to be doing hands-on research or touching the animals, but you’ll have an important support role, with activities that can include:
- Alien vegetation removal
- Soil erosion control methods
- Waterhole creation, maintenance and monitoring
- Freshwater ecosystem analysis
- Animal and bird monitoring, tracking and counting, as part of regular game drives
- Road maintenance
- Upkeep of river crossings
- General clean-up of the reserve and surrounding areas
- Attend conservation lectures
- Camping out on the reserve
- Community development work at a nearby school
Work varies during the year and at times may also include:
- Game census counting
- Animal tracking
- Watching rhino supplement feeding
You’ll be working in tandem with members of the game reserve team, with their work also benefiting partner organizations including Birdlife Zimbabwe, Endangered Wildlife Trust and Zimbabwe National Parks Authority.
Why do Wildlife Conservation volunteering in Victoria Falls with IVHQ?
As a wildlife volunteer in Zimbabwe you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:
- Supporting conservation and wildlife preservation efforts
- Helping protect endangered animal populations
- Developing your communication skills
- Gaining a wide range of conservation volunteer experience
- Learning about wildlife and the challenges it faces
- Experiencing life on an African game reserve
- Volunteers aged 16-18 must be a accompanied by a parent or guardian to participate in this program and may be asked to provide additional documentation to the local team
- All volunteers are required to provide a criminal background check to IVHQ prior to departure. Those aged 16-17, if unable to obtain a criminal background check, can provide two character reference letters instead
- All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance
- All volunteers must speak fluent English.
”My volunteering experience in Victoria Falls has been amazing! Great volunteering activities arranged, you get to learn a lot about wildlife and also conservation work that the staff do. Lastly you will meet a lot of new friends where everyone works together on volunteer activities. It is also pretty cool to be living in the middle of the wildlife conservation centre where you can see giraffes, elephants and antelopes walking around.”
Read reviews from Wildlife Conservation volunteers in Victoria FallsSee more reviews
The IVHQ Victoria Falls project is set on a private game reserve on the Zimbabwean side of the world’s biggest waterfall. The project is based at a conservation center on the reserve, 20 minutes away from the town of Victoria Falls. The town is popular not only with visitors wanting to visit the breathtaking falls, but also with many seeking adventure and others interested in wildlife and safari trips. Many of the surrounding towns and villages lack modern infrastructure and their people don’t have access to the basic necessities of life. Volunteers can make a difference to these people while on IVHQ’s Wildlife Conservation project by helping with community development at a nearby local school.
Arrival and orientation
The program orientation begins on the first and third Monday of each month and volunteers need to arrive in Victoria Falls on the Sunday before orientation. After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at the Victoria Falls International Airport (VFA). Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee.
When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation in Victoria Falls. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night before your program orientation.
If you are traveling in Zimbabwe prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up from the Victoria Falls town center, on the day before your program orientation.
Orientation is hosted by our Victoria Falls team at the volunteer accommodation. Orientation begins on the morning of your chosen start date and covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Victoria Falls – an introduction to Victoria Falls and Zimbabwe, culture and customs, rules and expectations, safety, travel opportunities, and an introduction to your project and placement.
Volunteer schedule example
First Day On your first day of volunteering, you will take part in your program orientation at the center on the reserve.
You will have a morning and afternoon shift, each of which will last around 2 to 5 hours. Your daily schedule will vary depending on the season and the nature of the work being done at the time, but a fairly typical day would be as follows:
|7:00 - 7:30 AM||Breakfast at the conservation center.|
|8:00 AM||Volunteers typically begin work for the day on the reserve or in the surrounding area.|
|11:00 AM||Volunteers return to the center to clean up before lunch. If volunteers are not able to return to the center they will receive a packed lunch.|
|3:00 PM||Volunteers resume work at the center or surrounding area.|
|5:00 - 5:30 PM||Volunteers return to the center to clean up before dinner.|
|7:00 - 7:30 PM||Dinner at the conservation center.|
There is no shortage of things to do in Victoria Falls, with activities ranging from whitewater rafting to sunset river cruising. Victoria Falls is one of the largest and most spectacular waterfalls in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nature enthusiasts and animal lovers will have the unique opportunity to explore via safari and guided tours, visiting rainforests swirling with clouds of mist that hide a plethora of endangered species.
The town of Victoria Falls offers many popular tourist spots for sampling Zimbabwean cuisine and buying handicrafts from local artisans. Extreme sports are also plentiful in Victoria Falls, with whitewater rafting, bungee jumping, abseiling, zip lining and gorge swinging on offer. Outdoor enthusiasts can take part in fishing, horseback riding, canoeing and cycling.
Volunteers staying for longer periods of time who wish to travel further afield, can explore the ruins of Great Zimbabwe, check out the unusual rock formations in Matobo Hills National Park, or go diving in the cobalt blue water of the Chinoyi Caves.
Accommodation and WiFi
Volunteers are accommodated within private rooms at the conservation center where the program is based. As the center is situated on a game reserve, it is not uncommon to see African wildlife grazing throughout the day.
Bedrooms have one single bed per room and a ceiling fan, desk and storage shelving. Bathrooms are shared between up to four volunteers of the same gender and offer western toilets and hot showers. In addition to the sleeping quarters, the accommodation also has an open-air communal area with a swimming pool, braai (barbecue) and picnic tables where volunteers can socialize and enjoy meals.
WiFi is also available at the volunteer accommodation.
Bedding is provided and during the hot months a sheet should be adequate cover in the evenings, as there is no air conditioning in the volunteer accommodation. During the cooler months, you may wish to bring a sleeping bag for an extra layer of warmth. Volunteers are asked to bring their own towels.
The conservation center has staff on site 24-hours a day and a safe is available in the staff office for volunteers to store small valuables. As the reserve is a ‘Big 5’ area (home to lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo), the property is protected by an electric fence and volunteers need to ask permission before leaving the facility and cannot leave the facility on foot.
On-site staff clean the accommodation throughout the week, however volunteers are also required to keep these areas tidy. Laundry services are provided on a weekly basis.
Volunteers are served three meals per day, prepared by an on-site local cook. All meals will be a mix of western and traditional Zimbabwean food.
Breakfast may include cereal, eggs, pancakes, porridge, fruit or toast, accompanied with coffee and tea. Lunches will be a mixture of sandwiches, quiches, burgers, salads and other similar foods. Dinners will commonly consist of pasta, fish, meat, starches and/or vegetables.
The local team is happy to accommodate special dietary requests. Please let your IVHQ Program Manager know of any special dietary needs in advance so we can ensure the local team is prepared for you.
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
|2 weeks||CA$1348 Equivalent to CA$97/day|
|4 weeks||CA$2326 Equivalent to CA$84/day|
|6 weeks||CA$3305 Equivalent to CA$79/day|
|8 weeks||CA$4283 Equivalent to CA$77/day|
|10 weeks||CA$5262 Equivalent to CA$76/day|
|12 weeks||CA$6055 Equivalent to CA$73/day|
- 24/7 in-country support
- In-country program orientation
- Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
- Airport pick-up
- Personalized preparation tools, guides and check lists
- Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
- Certificate of International Volunteering
- All programs attract a Registration Fee of CA$395 in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services. IVHQ fees are priced in USD but you may elect to pay in CAD.
- A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
- Additional things to budget for include: Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check and return to the airport when your program finishes.
- Please note: Volunteers staying longer than 4 weeks will need to budget an extra US$500 to obtain a temporal work permit from Zimbabwe Immigration in order to stay up to 90 days.
- Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Victoria Falls generally find US$100 per week to be sufficient for expenses.
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Safety and support
IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.
- All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
- All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
- All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
- All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Protecting against COVID-19:
Volunteers tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours of travel
Health & safety information provided during orientation
Strict disinfecting standards for programs & accomodation
Greater physical distance between volunteers
Essential country information
|Population||14.65 million (Zimbabwe)|
|Languages||English, Shona, Ndebele|
|Currency||US Dollar (USD)|
Weather and climate
The climate in Zimbabwe is tropical, however this is moderated by altitude. There is a dry season, including a short cool season from May to September when there is often very little rain. The rainy season is typically a time of heavy rainfall from November to March.