Lilongwe Wildlife Centre

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Join the world renowned Lilongwe Wildlife Centre as an animal care volunteer or as a member of the veterinary team if you are a veterinary student.

Set in the heart of Malawi, the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre is currently the country’s only accredited wildlife sanctuary, serving as a sole beacon of hope for orphaned and injured wild animals. Malawi is blessed with a phenomenal array of wildlife species, but issues such as deforestation and the illegal wildlife trade have put these species at risk.

The sanctuary is home to around 200 rescued wild animals; amongst them are monkeys, birds and small mammals, each with their own stories and a desire to be re-released. However, with an increase in pressure on the country’s animals, their habitats and their survival, the team at the centre requires consistent help in the form of volunteers.

The Lilongwe Wildlife Centre offers two focuses: one which invites volunteers to help out with animal care and support around the sanctuary, and another which welcomes veterinary students to assist the on-site vet in all aspects of care (such as incoming exams, minor trauma, health checks and routine diagnostics). Both roles have the potential to make a real difference to the lives of Malawi’s at-need animals, and you could contribute to Lilongwe’s incredible efforts by becoming a volunteer today!

Set in the heart of Malawi, the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre is currently the country’s only accredited wildlife sanctuary, serving as a sole beacon of hope for orphaned and injured wild animals. Malawi is blessed with a phenomenal array of wildlife species, but issues such as deforestation and the illegal wildlife trade have put these species at risk.

The sanctuary is home to around 200 rescued wild animals; amongst them are monkeys, birds and small mammals, each with their own stories and a desire to be re-released. However, with an increase in pressure on the country’s animals, their habitats and their survival, the team at the centre requires consistent help in the form of volunteers.

The Lilongwe Wildlife Centre offers two focuses: one which invites volunteers to help out with animal care and support around the sanctuary, and another which welcomes veterinary students to assist the on-site vet in all aspects of care (such as incoming exams, minor trauma, health checks and routine diagnostics). Both roles have the potential to make a real difference to the lives of Malawi’s at-need animals, and you could contribute to Lilongwe’s incredible efforts by becoming a volunteer today!

Orphan and Animal Care
Orphan and Animal Care
You will work alongside local animal carers by cleaning, feeding and hand-rearing adorable baby orphans, as well as providing enrichment to those that need it. Please note that the welfare of the animals is a top priority, and a strict no-contact policy is enforced across the sanctuary except in the instance of hand-rearing the animals or working alongside the vet.
Rehabilitation and Release
Rehabilitation and Release
Join the project’s dedicated animal care manager to help rehabilitate rescued animals and settle them into new groups. These animals will need to be fed and cared for, as well as monitored for data collection purposes. This data is essential in ensuring their safe release, which is also something you may be able to take part in if you’re lucky!
Construction And Maintenance
Construction And Maintenance
Your help with construction and maintenance at the centre is vital in helping the project to exist as a sustainable refuge for wildlife. You may assist in tasks such as enclosure repairs, husbandry, and painting among others, all of which will ensure the animals currently living at the centre have the best environment to live in.
Environmental Work
Environmental Work
For those interested in conservation management, there are several ecological surveys, mammal censuses and an important afforestation project that always require volunteer support for wider wildlife conservation in Malawi. This offers a whole new side of the project that you can immerse yourself in, as you help collect vital information which provides the team with an accurate indication of the health of the surrounding environment at Lilongwe.
Veterinary Care – Veterinary Students Only
Veterinary Care – Veterinary Students Only
If you are visiting the project as a veterinary student, you will have the opportunity to work alongside the on-site veterinarian, assisting in all aspects of care ranging from emergency operations to health checks and routine diagnostics. You may also spend some time at the national parks, learning new techniques such as wildlife health surveys and veterinary outreach. This is an excellent way of gaining first-hand experience in the field and expanding your knowledge base.

This itinerary is set as a two-week block with volunteers able to choose their own schedules according to preference but within reason. If you choose to volunteer for a longer duration, the number of project days would increase.

Day 1 - The Adventure Begins:
After arriving at Lilongwe International Airport, you will be met and transferred to the project site (around 30 minutes away). Once you have settled into your accommodation, you will have the opportunity to go into town to collect anything you may need during your time on the project, such as any personal necessities or snacks/drinks. You will then return to the centre in time for a tour, so you can meet your fellow volunteers and some of the sanctuary’s animal residents!
Day 2-14 - Project Days:
Your project days will be spent working on an array of activities. There is a certain amount of flexibility here, meaning you may be able to focus more on your preferred activity. However, if there are certain tasks that the team urgently need to be completed, you will be asked to assist with these, so please be prepared to be flexible! Working hours are between 8am and 5pm, 6 days per week, and you will have one day off to relax. Should you volunteer for four weeks or more, you may be allocated two consecutive days off per week, allowing you spare time to explore the local area if you wish!
Day 15 - Final Day:
Today is unfortunately your last day, so bid farewell to your new-found friends and the centre’s adorable animals. You will take a return transfer back to Lilongwe Airport, either for your return flight home or to continue your own independent travel plans.

To secure a place on this project a deposit of $245 is required at the time of booking, with the remaining balance due any time up to 60 days prior to your start date.

Select a duration below to see the available start dates. All dates shown are currently available for you to join this project!

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Accommodation

The on-site volunteer accommodation can host up to 18 people at a time across six triple-share same-sex bedrooms. It includes a lounge, kitchen, inside and outside dining spaces, two bathrooms, laundry space, an outdoor deck and a garden. The building is located within the heart of the wildlife centre, which means you’ll experience the magic of bush life after a hard day of work – spending evenings by the fire listening to the sounds of the forest.

Meals & Beverages

All meals are included and prepared by the project’s local chef, apart from on Sundays when the chef has the day off. The menu is vegetarian with a mix of international and local dishes. Special dietary requirements can be catered for but please let us know in advance so the team at the project site have plenty of time to prepare for your arrival.

If you would prefer to dine elsewhere on occasion, there are many delicious restaurants just a short drive away and the wildlife centre’s on-site restaurant serves fantastic lunches. Whichever option is your preference, you can certainly look forward to indulging on the local Malawian cuisine!

Getting There

You will need to arrive at Lilongwe International Airport between 9am and 5pm on your project start date, where a project representative will be waiting to transfer you to the wildlife centre. This transfer takes approximately 25 minutes.

If you arrive in Lilongwe a day early, we recommend that you spend a night at the Mumbuya Camp or Kiboko Hotel.

Visa Requirements

Most visitors to Malawi will require a visa to enter, and whilst visas can typically be obtained on arrival at the airport, we advise arranging your visa in advance via the Malawi e-visa system at https://evisa.gov.mw/. It takes approximately 5 days to receive your visa after applying and a single-entry tourist visa which allows for a stay of up to 90 days costs approximately US$50.

Fitness & Skills

The construction work undertaken on this project requires a moderate level of fitness. The other tasks, however, are not particularly physically strenuous, but a fair level of fitness is advised. No specific skills or experience are required, just a commitment to this dedicated project and its commendable ethos. However, if you do have specific skills or experience that you feel will greatly benefit one of the project’s programmes, this is always warmly welcomed and every contribution has a lasting impact on the endangered species that need it most!

Vaccinations

To volunteer on this project, a chest x-ray or skin test will need to be provided to show that you do not have Tuberculosis. This is ESSENTIAL, as without it you will not be granted access to the volunteer areas on site. All other vaccinations will depend on the medical history of each volunteer. We recommend that you consult your Doctor/GP regarding your own vaccination needs to ensure you are fully protected and prepared to volunteer in Malawi.

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What's Included

  • Accommodation
  • Three meals per day
  • Airport transfers
  • Full orientation and support from the project managers
  • Local SIM card
  • Project t-shirt

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Visas (if required)
  • Soft and alcoholic drinks
Where you can go
Contact Info
UK Office
The Great Traveller Ltd,
3 Dairy Yard
Star Street
Ware, Hertfordshire
SG12 7DX
United Kingdom

Opening hours:
   Mon-Fri 8:30am–5:30pm
   Sat 10am-4pm

T: +44(0) 208 885 4987