The activities you take part in as a volunteer on the Victoria Falls Conservation Experience will vary depending on the needs of the game reserve, however, key focusses and activities on the project are detailed below.
Victoria Falls Visit
You'll spend the morning walking along and learning about the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls. With a width of 1,708 metres and height of 108 metres, this makes the falls the world's largest sheet of falling water! Victoria Falls is one of the seven wonders of the natural world, and you will see why as soon as you arrive and see it first hand.
A major focus of the project is tree protection and tree mapping to help protect the bark from elephants. Elephants often push over trees and remove bark in order to reach and eat the leaves.
Alien Plant Removal
This is an essential part of the project. You will be assisting with the removal of invasive species such as the Teak tree and Lantana bush; to help try and get back to a pristine and natural environment within which the local wildlife can thrive!
Volunteers take part in the research around elephants, rhinos, predators, raptors, and ground hornbills to gain a better knowledge and stronger understanding of specific species. This enables project staff to make more informed decisions regarding species conservation action plans.
Elephant and rhino identification is crucial to this project, meaning you will get to spend time in close proximity to these magnificent mammals. This will help the project gain a better insight of the number of animals present and the range that they cover.
Stray off the beaten path on a bush walk - this is the perfect opportunity to see some of Zimbabwe’s smaller animals and a chance to learn more about the extensive flora of the area.
Conservation Management Activities
There are a wide range of conservation activities that volunteers will take part in here including game counts, predator checks, and fence patrols. These activities contribute significantly towards the successful operations of the reserve. Activities will vary from day to day so you will experience plenty of them while on the project!
Get back to nature with a camp out under the stars. There is nothing more magical than being sat around a campfire, truly immersed in the sounds of Africa (including the whooping of hyenas and the roaring of lions) at night-time! You'll be able to take home some incredible memories of sleeping out in the African bush!
Visit To Masuwe School
As part of this programme you will visit a local school to help them build better futures for their pupils. You will be taking part in any construction or maintenance activities that need completing at the time of your visit. This could be repairing fences, building toilets, or even painting classrooms!
Below is a sample itinerary for a 2 week duration. Please note that the details of your own itinerary may not mirror this one exactly, but the structure will be the same.
Day 1 - (Sunday) The Adventure Begins:
You will be met at arrivals at the Victoria Falls International Airport before being transferred to the project site. You will spend the remainder of your day settling in, meeting your fellow volunteers and taking a tour of the project site.
Day 2 - Project Briefing & Activities Begin:
Breakfast takes place before a pre-week briefing. You will receive an introduction talk from the volunteer coordinator Justine, before going on an orientation game drive with another coordinator, who will point out the various wildlife that the region is famous for! After lunch, volunteers will head out on a longer, more in-depth game drive to truly understand the project and discuss its aims.
Day 3 - A Trip To Victoria Falls:
On Tuesday morning you will take a guided tour of the world-famous and awe-inspiring Victoria Falls!
After a morning visiting one of the natural wonders of the world, you'll return to camp for lunch, before venturing back to the project site. Here you'll tackle a conservation activity which could be anything from creating compost for the vegetable garden through to an eye-opening game count!
Day 4 - Visiting The Local School:
Today volunteers spend time at the Masuwe Primary School. Here you will be completing whichever task is needed, examples of previous volunteer work include; building a new playground, painting the classrooms before term starts and helping with the school vegetable garden. The afternoon will consist of completing a conservation activity on the reserve before returning for some well-deserved rest!
Day 5 - Camping Out In The Bush:
The morning begins with volunteers all mucking in together and completing another conservation activity. Then in the evening, you will venture into the bush for what some volunteers favourite experience! Tonight, you will be camping under the stars with your fellow volunteers and a project coordinator, taking in the sights and sounds of a nocturnal Zimbabwe.
Day 6 - Alien Plant Removal:
After breakfast, you will head out to take on your first conservation activity of the day and after lunch, you will head out to take on the Lantana. This is an alien plant species which has taken over areas of the reserve and it needs to be removed. Alien plants cause issues such as choking native flora by consuming important water and soil nutrients.
Day 7/8 - Free Time:
Weekends are the volunteers, to do with as they please. You may want to spend your time white water rafting on the falls, shopping in town, or simply resting up by the pool after a hard weeks work, the choice is yours!
Day 9-13 - Project Activities :
From Monday to Friday you will take part in the exciting project activities again (apart from the guided tour of the falls which will be replaced by a conservation activity) so be prepared to work hard after a weekend of rest!
Day 14 - Time To Return Home:
Saturday marks the end of your stay at the Victoria Falls Conservation Project. Sadly, it is time to say goodbye and begin your journey home or onward travel plans!
Dates, Availability & Price
Please be advised, although we are able to offer a 7-night option, a minimum duration of 14 nights is recommended for a more in-depth experience. If taking part for only 7 nights there is no guarantee that you will be involved in all the activities listed.
To secure a place on this project a deposit of £195 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!
Updates & Outcomes
This volunteer programme has been developed to address real conservation needs and issues primarily in the Victoria Falls area and beyond. The project team acknowledges the importance of a holistic approach to tackling conservation issues and is all about making a difference through the integration of conservation, education and community. Within the framework of the programme, the project tackles issues, encourages community involvement, and creates awareness of conservation solutions.
The project has teamed up with other great organisations who share their vision, including TUSK Trust, the Children in the Wilderness Foundation, and the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF). The vision is to provide an education centre that is recognised for its high standards in the conservation and community work achieved, thereby enriching the lives of all people involved and simultaneously preserving the unique natural environment and biodiversity of the Victoria Falls area.
This World Rhino Day (22nd September), learn about the plight of one of Africa’s most famous and at-risk species. But while white rhinos are something of a poster-child for conservation, it’s important that their Asian cousins are not forgotten - in fact, it is the continents own Javan species which is the most endangered rhino of all.
- posted on Nov 13, 2017
- by Matthew Prior
Our western calendar is full of unofficial observances, celebrating anything from ‘Ice Cream For Breakfast Day’ in January, to ‘Monkey Day’ in December. There are some serious ones, and some downright ridiculous. However, today’s blog is all about one of the more uplifting occasions: World Kindness Day! Join us as we celebrate the hard work of our amazing volunteers, and see how you can help too!
In light of World Rhino Day 2017, take a look at this infographic which details the current state of this endangered species, and see how you can assist in their conservation.
Is this trip for you?
This project involves a fair amount of manual work, mainly involved in environmental and construction tasks, so a moderate level of fitness is necessary. No specific skills or experience are required, only a positive attitude and full commitment to the cause. You must also be prepared to work as part of a team.
The vaccinations required will depend on your medical history. We recommend that you consult with your GP regarding your own immunisation needs. We would also recommend that you check Fit for Travel’s website.
On this project you will be accommodated in a purpose-built volunteer facility on the game reserve. Every volunteer is allocated their own room with bathrooms shared between two to four volunteers.
The facility boasts a spacious, fully-equipped kitchen and canteen area where all meals are prepared and served. There is a safe on the premises for cash and small valuables. One of the highlights of the conservation centre is the open-air entertainment area, which includes a deck and small swimming pool. All overlooking the game reserve, so you may even be able to spot some wildlife whilst relaxing.
You will enjoy three meals a day, prepared by the camp cook. Please note that on some days, meals (especially lunches) will be pre-made, packed, and taken out into the field, giving you the opportunity to make the most of your time in African bush while applying yourself to conservation and community activities.
When Is The Best Time To Volunteer?
There are two definitive seasons here.
November to April is summer and considered the Green Season. This brings warm weather and rain, but importantly is when the majority of the game animals have their young. This makes it a great time to see baby rhinos, elephants and a whole host of other new-born animals.
May to October is very dry and known as the main safari season. With less leaves on the trees this provides a better viewing opportunity of the animals. May, June and July are the coldest months of the year but still have daytime temperatures of approximately 18°C (65°F). September and October however are the hottest months with temperature of 27°C (80°F).
You will need to arrive at the Victoria Falls International Airport (VFA) on your project start date in time for the 3pm transfer, where you will be met by the project facilitator and transferred to the project site. This transfer is only around ten minutes long. The airport is serviced by flights from Johannesburg, Bulawayo, Windhoek and Harare. If you would prefer you can arrive the day before and be picked up from Wild Horizons, in the town of Victoria Falls, at 11am on your start date.
If you would like help booking your flights, please visit our flights page and fill out the form. A member of our team will get back in touch as soon as possible with a suitable quote.
ALL volunteers are required to get a "Business visa" in order to join this project. These visas are obtainable from the embassy before travel or upon arrival from the immigration officers at the airport. You will need to pay cash for the visa in USD – currently $55 for most European and US citizens, $70 for Canadian citizens and $55 for UK and Irish citizens. It is the responsibility of the traveller to ensure that they obtain the right visa.
Currency and Exchange Rates
The most used currency in Zimbabwe is usually the United States Dollar and the South African Rand. The exchange rate is around 1 ZAR = 0.06 GBP, 0.1 USD, 0.07 EUR. Please note exchange rates are subject to change, and up-to-date exchange rates can be found here.
Criminal Records Check
Please note that to participate in the programme you will need to obtain a criminal background check and present it to the Project Manager at orientation.
What's included in the price of the project?
- Three meals per day (including weekends)
- A trip to the Victoria Falls
- Airport transfer on arrival
- All lectures, weekday field activities and community visits
What's not Included:
- Travel and health insurance (please check you have one covering all aspects of the trip)
- Weekend leisure activities (e.g. you can eat at the Boma restaurant which costs around USD$45)
- Departure airport transfer (this will be by taxi and will cost $30)