Duration & Fees
Please note: The currency conversion is an estimate based on today's exchange rates and is to be used as a guide only. All payments to Amanzi Travel have to be made in Pounds Sterling (GBP)
Volunteers can join his project on alternate Mondays throughout the year.
2018 Start Dates:
8 Jan | 15 Jan | 29 Jan | 12 Feb | 26 Feb | 12 Mar | 26 Mar | 9 Apr | 23 Apr | 7 May | 21 May | 4 Jun | 18 Jun | 2 Jul | 16 Jul | 30 Jul | 13 Aug | 27 Aug | 10 Sep | 24 Sep | 8 Oct | 22 Oct | 5 Nov | 19 Nov | 3 Dec | 17 Dec | 31 Dec
This project remains open over the Festive Season.
£180 deposit at time of booking – balance of project fee due 12 weeks before departure
- A contribution that goes directly back into the project itself which facilitates funding for items such as food for the lions, management and maintenance of the park infrastructure and further developments to the lion breeding and rehabilitation programme
- Transfers to and from Victoria Falls Airport on arrival and departure
- Daily transport to the project sites
- Assistance in the projects
- Comfortable, shared accommodation including full board and lodging and 3 meals a day
- Laundry and daily domestic service
What's not included
- Travel insurance (to include cover for repatriation)
- Personal items eg clothes, travel goods, curios and gifts
- Flights to and from Victoria Falls Airport
- Soft drinks, beer and snacks
- Visas and any trips undertaken other than in the planned programme
- Emails and telephone calls made during the placement (charged out at cost)
Eversince David Livingston discovered the breathtaking Victoria Falls in 1855 it has been a prime destination for all around the world. Known now as the adventure capital of Africa it is actually a small town with only two major streets. Surrounded by National Parks and the mighty Zambezi River, you are never too far from wildlife in a town where warthog and baboons roam the streets. Even elephants and buffalo are sometimes spotted in the back gardens of the town's homes! Afternoons and evenings can be spent exploring the quaint streets of the small town, where there are souvenir shops, craft markets and local restaurants to keep everyone busy. For a little luxury why not head down to the Victoria Falls Hotel for "High Tea" - overlooking the bridge and the gorge. Finally, for volunteers who do not want to venture too far from home, there is a shop just around the corner from the volunteer house where snacks and drinks are for sale.
According to IUCN estimates, African lion populations have declined by an astonishing 43% in just the past 21 years (1993 - 2014) and fewer than 20,000 lions remain across the continent.The main reasons for the decline are habitat loss and reduced prey numbers, two forces that combine to create conflict between lions and people. Retaliatory killing of lions in response to lion predation of livestock if rife in many parts of Africa and constitutes a major threat to lion populations. Addressing such threats is critical, but doing this alone is simply to place a temporary Band-Aid on a long term problem that is only going to get worse. What is ultimately required is an understanding of the conflict and targeted solutions to address its root cause - direct competition between lions and the rapidly increasing human population in Africa, competition for the same resources of space, shelter and food.
Launched in 2004, the African Lion and Environmental Research Trust (ALERT), is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the conservation of the African lion and its habitat. The Trust takes a responsible development approach to lion conservation in Africa by tackling both the immediate threats to the species and the underlying issues of human-lion conflict. ALERT aims to create solutions that protect populations of the African lion and help humans and lions to live alongside one another. What will create the motivation for such co-existence? People benefiting from the presence of wildlife, including lions. This belief is at the core of ALERT'S approach to conservation and is the reason why it favours African solutions to meet African challenges and needs. To this end the Trust takes a multi-disciplinary approach to facilitate and promote sound conservation and management plans for the African lion and the ecosystems on which the species relies.
In Victoria Falls volunteers can play a vital role in contributing to the future of the African Lion by taking part in the Hands-On Lion and Wildlife Conservation Project in support of ALERT's key programmes. Take part in ex situ lion conservation efforts and the lion rehabilitation and release into the wild programme through day-to-day care of the captive lion cubs. Make a valuable contribution to research by collecting data during interactions with the cubs and in the local communities located in close proximity to wildlife areas. Conducting such research improves our understanding of lion behaviour in Africa's eco-systems which is vital as we work towards successfully releasing lions into the wild and minimising human-lion conflict in the wild. Volunteers will also work with rural communities to help them to meet the challenges of living alongside dangerous predators such as lions, and help with conservation education in schools.
Not only will volunteers enjoy working closely with the lion cubs and local communities, they will also make a valuable contribution to several other research prjects that are run in the spectacular Zambezi National Park. All these projects are carrried out in partnership with the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA) and are designed to help conserve biodiversity and specifically the wildlife areas of Victoria Falls and southern Africa at large for the continued survival of ALL wildlife that inhabits them.
Reasons to join this project:
- Be part of the first effort to release lions into the wild in Africa through this pioneering, globally recognised lion conservation project. Enjoy close enounters with captive lions on their daily walks and watch their natural instincts develop while collecting data for the lion rehabilitation and release into the wild programme.
- Work alongside a team of researchers tracking and monitoring large predators such as hyena, lion and leopard in the Zambezi National Park. Conduct surveys and research during night drives in the heart of Africa - unfenced and untamed - and discover your own night vision.
- Play a part in the mitigation of human-wildlife conflict through the use of new, innovative technologies for deterring wild lions from livestock. Continue your community work through the facilitation of Conservation Education programmes and help to inspire passion in the local children about the animals alongside which they live.
- Join the frontline of African conservation efforts in the Zambezi National Park which forms part of the world's largest conservation area, the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) encompassing five African countries and traversing over 519,000 km squared. Make your own contribution to regional conservation efforts and management plans by assisting with research on a diverse array of wildlife including elephant, giraffe and birds.
- Live a stone's throw from one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World - Victoria Falls - where wildlife such as elephant and warthog roam the streets. Play a vital role in the conservation of this World Heritage Site.
- Enjoy living in Africa's adventure capital, where weekends can be filled with adrenaline activities such as bungee jumping and white water rafting. Take adventage of optional trips to wildlife havens such as Botswana's Chobe National Park, or visit the wild-born cubs in release sites located in Livingstone, Zambia or Antelope Park, Zimbabwe.
- Make friends for life with other international volunteers along the way.
How to make an impact:
Lion Conservation and Research: Volunteers will spend time working hands-on with the captive-bred lions in the wild each day, to familarise them with their natural environment. They need to learn from it, understand, observe, feel and smell the wild. Volunteers will take part in some of the daily walks with the cubs as they encounter wildlife such as buffalo, and observe as their natural instincts take over. In addition to the walks volunteers will be involved in animal care. The animals need to be fed, have their enclosures cleaned and maintained and occasionally need veterinary care to ensure they are kept in the best of health. Volunteers will play an integral part in behaviour enrichment sessions for the cubs, which involves making toys from natural materials to enhance their time duirng the outside of their daily walks.
A vital part of the volunteer's role will be assisting in data collection and research on the lions. This information is essential for decision-making about their welfare and most importantly to improve our understanding about lions as part of the rehabilitation and release programme. Whilst walking the cubs through the bush volunteers will take note of their behaviour, be it playing, hunting, socialising or resting - the team wants to know! Research being undertaken will vary depending on the needs of the programme at any time but may also include taking note of character traits of cubs, mane growth, spoor sizes and the effectiveness of behaviour enrichment strategies.
Research in the Zambezi National Park: Volunteers will work alongside the skilled research team in the Zambezi National Park, home to lions, leopards, cheetah, African wild dogs, spotted hyena and many more. Their role will be to assist in collecting baseline data on the presence, or absence, of each species within specific areas that are used to improve conservation management plans. This includes tracking and data collection on spotted hyena as well as general large predator census creation through spoor transects, physical sightings and call up surveys conducted at certain times of the year. Large predators play a key role in the health and survival of the overall ecosysstem, and as such their populations and distribution must be constantly monitored. Take part in other key wildlife research that is conducted such as weekly game counts, bird surveys, and elephant and giraffe research to compile identification kits - projects all designed to monitor wildlife populations and support conservation efforts locally and across the region.
Community Activities: Volunteers will assist with outreach programmes in the communities including human-wildlife conflict mitigation in rural communities and conservation education in schools.:
Reserve Management and Conservation: This is when volunteers really get their hands dirty with removal of alien plant species, creation of fire-breaks, carrying out snare sweeps and litter picks.
A week in the life of a volunteer
Every day is different, but as animals rarely operate to schedule, volunteers are asked to remain flexible. However, this is an example of a typical day with the lions to be used as a guideline only.
||Early mornig lion walk
||Elephant and Giraffe Reasearch - to compile ID kits and monitor populations
Night Game Drive
|Enclosure Cleaning and Maintenance/Behavioual Enrichment
||Large Predator Occupancy Survey
||Reserve Management Activities - Fire Breaks, Snare Sweeps
||Bush Walk - learn about tracks and signs in the wild
||Bird Survey - Spot as many species as you can
||Game Count in Zambezi National Park
||Hyena tracking - on foot
||Human - Wildlife Conflict Mitigation
||Lion walk/meat prep and cub feed
||Overnight Camping in the Zambezi National Park
||Dinner at one of Victoria Falls Restaurants
||Games/Movie or Quiz night
||Night Game Drive
||Long lion walk - enjoy hanging out with the furry felines
||Day off! Victoria Falls is the advenure capital of Africa so take advantage by doing a bungee, horse ride, boat cruise
Zimbabwe - From Mana Pools National Park to Victoria Falls
Why visit Zimbabwe?
The beautiful country of Zimbabwe offers something for everyone; from the absolute wilderness of Mana Pools National Park, the ruins of Great Zimbabwe and the mountains overlooking Mozambique, to fine dining in Harare or bunjee jumping over Victoria Falls. It is rich in culture and colour and the Zimbabweans have not lost their humour and resolve.
Victoria Falls is one of the worlds’ biggest and most spectacular waterfalls, with a network of trails leading through the rain forest surrounding the “smoke that thunders”. Take an umbrella and raincoat and gaze at the incredible vistas of one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Victoria Falls village is home to a seemingly endless variety of adventure sports from bungee jumping to canoeing and white-water rafting. Apart from its appeal to adventure enthusiasts the village still has a gracious, pioneering and colonial atmosphere.
Hwange Park is one of the finest conservation areas in Africa and is said to contain the widest variety and greatest density of wildlife in the world. Game viewing is generally restricted to the Hwange Park road network, but it has private concession areas allowing off-road safaris and nature walks. Mana Pools is an unspoiled, remote Park in the Zambezi Valley, a subtropical region, with the terrain and vegetation varied from the river up to the Zambezi Plateau. Walking is allowed (at visitor's own risk) and can be exhilarating and rewarding, if caution is taken.
Lake Kariba is one of the largest man-made lakes in the world, with abundant game-sightings and excellent angling for bream and tiger fish. The Lake provides pleasure to locals and visitors alike with fishing, canoeing, sailing or drifting along on a houseboat. The Matopo Hills is an area of incredible beauty with a mythical history and a proud people, the Matebele. The Matobo Hills were so named because they looked like the bald heads of indunas (chiefs). The entire region is a complex of bizarre and exposed granitic formations. Once inhabited by the bushman, today one can find magnificent examples of rock art in and amongst the caves. The Matobo National Park is one of Zimbabwe's prime wildlife sanctuaries with a large population of white rhino, the elusive black rhino, a variety of antelope species, baboon, rock hyraxes and a large population of leopard and black eagle.
Highlights of Zimbabwe
- The magnificent Victoria Falls are classed as one of the seven Natural Wonders of the World.
- Zimbabwe is home to four World Heritage Sites - Victoria Falls, Mana Pools National Park, the Great Zimbabwe Ruins and the Khame Ruins.
- Lake Kariba is one of the world's largest man-made lakes, with abundant game and excellent angling for bream and tiger fish.
- Magnificent national parks include Hwange, Mana Pools, Matusadona and Chizarira.
- Adventure activities abound and include canoeing on the lower Zambezi, kayaking and rafting on the upper Zambezi, and bungee jumping at Victoria Falls.
- For high adventure enthusiasts, white-water rafting is most exciting when the Zambezi waters are low (generally from August to December) and is often referred to as the best one-day white-water rafting in the world.
- Canoeing down the Lower Zambezi affords an ideal opportunity to get close to Africa's wildlife.
- Magnificent scenic areas in the Eastern Highlands Highlights of Zimbabwe.
|Seasons ||Max ||Min
|Summer/wet (November - April)
|Winter/dry ( May - October)
|Rainfall: November – March
Zimbabwe offers excellent game-viewing opportunities throughout the year. Due to Zimbabwe’s high altitudes, it has a beautiful and moderate climate, where temperatures are never very extreme. It has warm summers, November to April, where days are generally sunny in the morning with possible dramatic afternoon/evening thunderstorms. Temperatures of 35°C in summer are considered boiling.
Winter occurs from May to October and days are sunny and cool to warm while evening temperatures drop sharply. Temperatures of 7°C in winter are considered freezing. The end of the cool, dry season, around September/October, is the top time for wildlife viewing.
The main rains fall between November and March, although the Eastern Highlands are damp for most of the year. The Victoria Falls are spectacular in April and May after the rainy season.
Population – 12.5 million
Capital - Harare
Currency – none. The Zimbabwean dollar was suspended by the government due to hyper-inflation. The US dollar, South African rand, Botswanan pula, pound sterling and Euro are used instead. The US dollar has been adopted as the official currency for all government transactions with the new power-sharing regime.
Language – English is the official language, with Shona and Ndebele being recognised regional languages
Time difference – GMT +2 hours
Telephone – country code 263, international access code 00
I truly had an incredible experience from start to finish. This project was a perfect balance of both volunteering and vacation. I met wonderful people from across the world who I was able to bond with almost instantly, and truly felt that our work was making a difference for both the wildlife and community. Amanzi Travel made me feel confident in my excursion alone from the beginning stages of choosing a project all the way until the day before leaving. If you're on the fence about making the trip of a lifetime or choosing AmanziTravel, do it!!!! It will be everything you hope for and more. Thank you Amanzi Travel! Looking forward to choosing another trip with them in the future.
Kathleen, USA aged 24 (Victoria Falls Lion Conservation Project)
Writing this made me feel so nostalgic - was such a great experience, I cannot thank you girls enough for all your help.
I developed a great relationship with Pat prior to departure as she was incredibly helpful helping me decide on the project I wanted to go on. She also went above and beyond to ensure that I was comfortable with the departure information and answered all my questions
Well, I can honestly say that I had the best experience of my life at the Vic Falls Lion project. It was my 30th birthday and I wanted to do something completely different - think I achieved that!! Pat & Gemma made the booking and everything up to departure such a smooth and easy process. I was never worried about travelling alone as I knew I would meet people there and I have made some great friends (volunteers as well as staff).
You immediately feel welcomed and if you have any issues, there is always someone willing to help.
My time at the project and Vic Falls was amazing, I went in with an open mind and joined in as many of the additional tours and excursions that I could, which was great! The lions were a joy to work with and be around, so much so that I miss them so much - it is amazing how close you get to these animals after just a few weeks. I feel that I contributed to getting the lions to stage 1B of the programme. The guys made my actual birthday day memorable by going to Sunset Lodge and Boma restaurant and I would like to say thanks to all who were involved I really appreciate it.
Vic Falls is an amazing location as well, from the actual Falls to the bungee jump brige - in your spare time you will have plenty to see and do!!
What I would like to say to end this with, is if you go to these projects, go with an open mind, it will not be five star accomodation or food, but it will be the best experience that you ever invest in! Book today, you will not regret it
Chanelle, UK aged 30 (Victoria Falls Lion Conservation Project)
The trip was absolutely incredible and Africa has most definitely made it's mark on my heart. All I have left to say is thank you very much for all your work in making our trip one of our best ever holidays.
I cannot fault the project and the people who are a part of it. It was a special experience and will be remembered for many years to come. My time was spent in such close proximity with lions that it felt almost surreal. They are animals of such beauty and grace, yet they progress towards such a bleak and uncertain future. The project offers a hands on experience, and one is an active part of lion conservation in Zimbabwe. Seeing the development of the lions and the subsequent positive impact of my involvement was a heartwarming feeling. Nowhere else in the world will anyone find such a real and unique experience working with one of the most admired and feared animals in the world; my time at the project was phenomenal.
George, UK, aged 17 (Victoria Falls Lion Conservation Project)
I was extremly impressed with how helpful and quickly all of my questions were answered and also the quailty of information i was given before my trip. Also, i loved the website and how easy it was to navigate yourself around, but also with the wide range of projects it was also able to offer me, allowing me to make sure i definitely picked the trip that suited me most.
The project was better then i ever expected it to be and when i arrived in Victoria Falls everyone was so friendly and welcoming so i settled in immeditatley.
I think that it was extremly valuable because i definatley feel like i had an big impact on the lions and getting them to stage 2 of the lion encounter project. I also like i was able to help the community by visitng the orpganage and also by seeing their smiles when we came to visit them.
Going on this volunteer project was the best decision of my life. I had the most amazing time and I came away from the project feeling like I have really made a difference to the people and lions I was working with. The whole experience seemed surreal to be able to be so close to lions and interacting with them, but this is certaintly something that I will never forget. Everyone is so friendly and welcoming and make you feel right at home. I have been able to take away so much from my trip and learnt my valuable life lessons, and I certaintly plan on booking some more in the future.
Lydia, UK, aged 18 (Victoria Falls Lion Conservation Project)
I had an awesome time in Zimbabwe on both the Amanzi Travel volunteer projects. Both experiences gave me some time to reflect and to savour doing something completely new and exciting. The two projects were very different but both were enormously valuable. I loved working with the lions, it was particularly rewarding to take cubs for walks and watch them discover the bush. It was also extrememly encouraging to see captive bred lions living successfully. Not all the volunteer duties are glamourous so be prepared to get your hands dirty, but if you have ever considered volunteering then my advice would be 'Go for it'!
Liz, UK, aged 56 (Victoria Falls Lion Conservation Project, Lion Conservation Volunteer)
An amazing life changing experience mainly due to the dedicated and friendly staff. The other volunteers really made me welcome and from day one welcomed me into their team, even though I was 40 years older – interacting with the lions, walking with them in the bush and learning about their behaviour and feeding them was unforgettable. All activities were varied and interesting as well as being well organised. Accommodation was good. Food very average but considering the economic situation in Zimbabwe it was varied and substantial. Staff were friendly as well as knowledgeable and dedicated to the project. All pre-departure information was handled professionally and promptly.
Maureen, UK, aged 64 (Victoria Falls Lion Conservation Project)
Going on this project is the best thing I have done in my life, it has opened my eyes in so many ways and feel I have come back with a much more positive attitude. AT were excellent agents to go through they answered all my questions and were very friendly and helpful. Zimbabwe is such an axazing country and my 4 weeks were well spent although I wish they could have lasted a little longer. All of the people at the lodge I was staying and all the guides at the lion rehabilitation centre were fabulous. I could not have asked for better people to have guided me on my journey. They were all incredible! I am so glad I took the courage to go on this trip and I hope I return.
Kerry, UK, aged 18 (Victoria Falls Lion Conservation Project)
Undertaking this project was undoubtedly the best experience of my life. Not only did I get to work with these incredible lions but I got to explore this beautiful region of Africa and met some amazing people who will remain life long friends. I would recommend it to anyone. I can't wait to go back!
Judi, UK, aged 33 (Victoria Falls Lion Conservation Project)
The Vic Falls project was an incredible experience. The time I spent in Zimbabwe was like nothing I have ever faced before. I will never forget the experience and will always appreciate everything I learned. The country is beautiful, the people are caring and giving, the staff were knowledgeable and informed, and the program was the experience of a lifetime. The hard part was leaving!
Brenna, Canada, aged 24 (Victoria Falls Lion Conservation Project)