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.
Visit the Victoria Falls
You'll spend a morning walking along and learning all about the largest waterfall in the world. 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 in tree protection and tree mapping to help protect the bark from elephants, whom often push over trees and remove bark in order to reach the leaves for them to eat.
Alien plant monitoring and removal
This is an essential part of this 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.
You will help with research around elephants, rhinos, predators, raptors, and Ground hornbills to gain a better knowledge and stronger understanding of specific species, enabling more informed decision making regarding species conservation action plans.
Elephant and rhino identification is a major focus on this project which means you will get to spend a lot of time in close proximity to these magnificent mammals. This will help the project team to gain a better understanding of the number of animals present and their range.
Stray off the beaten path and go on a bush walk - this is a fantastic 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
Expect to be involved in a range of activities from game counts, to predator checks, to fence patrols and bush walks. These activities are an essential contribution towards the successful operation of the reserve. Activities will vary from day to day so you should get a full taste of Zimbabwean conservation efforts during your time here!
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 roar of lions) at night time! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to sleep out in the African bush, and you'll come home with some amazing memories from this activity!
Visit To Masuwe School
As part of this programme you will visit a local school to help them build a better future for their pupils. You will be taking part in any construction or maintenance activities that need completing at the school 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 and meeting your fellow volunteers and taking a tour of the project site.
Day 2 - Project Briefing and Activities Begin:
Breakfast is eaten before a pre-week briefing. You will receive an orientation talk from the volunteer coordinator Justine, before going on an orientation game drive with another volunteer coordinator, who will point out the various wildlife that the region is famous for.
After you return to camp for lunch, you will then head out on a longer, more in-depth game drive to get a true taste of the projects aims!
Day 3 - A Trip To Victoria Falls & Game Drive:
On Tuesday morning you will head out for a guided tour of the world-famous Victoria Falls. This is a once in a lifetime experience, so remember to pack your camera and a poncho!
After you return to camp for lunch, you will venture back out to the project site to tackle a conservation activity which could be anything from creating compost for the vegetable garden through to a game drive!
Day 4 - A Visit To The Local School:
Wednesday morning is when volunteers spend time at the Masuwe Primary School. Here you will be completing whichever task needs to be finished, and examples of previous volunteers work include; building a new playground, painting the classrooms before term starts and helping with the school vegetable garden! Who knows what will need completing next!
After returning to camp for lunch, you will head back out and complete a conservation activity before returning home for some much needed rest!
Day 5 - Camping Out In The Bush:
Thursday mornings begin with volunteers all mucking in together and completing another conservation activity.
Then in the evening you will head out into the bush for what some volunteers have called their favourite part of the whole experience! Tonight you will be camping under the stars with your fellow volunteers and a guide from the project, taking in the sights and sounds of nocturnal Zimbabwe.
Day 6 - Alien Plant Removal:
Friday may be the day that the working week begins to wind down at home, but this is certainly not the case at the project! After enjoying another delicious breakfast, you will head out to take on your first conservation activity of the day.
Then, after returning for a hearty lunch (which we recommend filling up on as you will need it!) 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.
Day 7/8 - Free Time:
Weekends are the volunteers to do with as they please on the Victoria Falls Conservation Project, so you may want to spend them 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 just as hard for your second week!
Day 14 - Time To Return Home:
Saturday marks the end of your stay at the Victoria Falls Conservation Project so 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 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, from simple things that individuals can do on a daily basis to local and global conservation challenges and existing initiatives.
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, and experiences and education offered to students and volunteers, thereby enriching the lives of all people involved and simultaneously preserving the unique natural environment and biodiversity of the Victoria Falls area.
- 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.
Read Alexa's review of her time at the Victoria Falls Conservation Project, and see how you can get involved on this incredible conservation trip!
Is this trip for you?
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 also 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. The lecture room at the conservation centre is well equipped with presentation equipment and a comprehensive book library. One of the highlights of the conservation centre is the open-air entertainment area, which includes a deck and small swimming pool. All overlook the game reserve so you may be able to spot some wildlife whilst relaxing.
You will enjoy three meals a day, prepared by the camp cook. Meals are simple, yet tasty and nutritious. 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.
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. In conjunction with this, we would recommend that you check Fit for Travel’s website.
When Is The Best Time To Volunteer?
There are two definitive seasons here.
November to April which is summer is considered the Green Season. This brings warm weather and also rain, but importantly is also 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 newborn animals.
May to October is the main safari season and is very dry which makes it more favourable for viewing 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. This transfer is only around ten minutes. 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 project 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, and you will need to pay cash for the visa in USD – currently $55.00 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 you 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, week day 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)