Sanctuary volunteers

High­lights Require­ments What's Included Dates & Fees Rev­iews
founded in 2007
Lilongwe Wildlife Trust
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Coordinator | Kate
Coordinator | Kate
We are looking for dedicated and passionate volunteers to help us rehabilitate the wildlife that comes through our door. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+

About the Project

Lilongwe Wildlife Centre is an award-winning project, reputed by PASA as one of Africa’s best sanctuaries, and houses almost 200 rescued wild animals, including carnivores, primates, reptiles and antelopes.  Our animal releases are highly acclaimed and we can boast some of the world’s best success rates. This is due to the expertise and effort that goes into the releases, and volunteers are crucial to the process, helping with rehabilitation, observations, integrations and the final release and subsequent monitoring. The goal is to release the animals back into the wild, where they belong, for every case possible so it can be an incredibly rewarding experience to see their progress and know that you have played a vital part in their journey back to the wild. 

What to expect

Alongside the animal carers you can get involved with various aspects of animal care. Whilst we operate a strict hands-off policy, orphans in particular do need special attention and round the clock care to ensure that they have the best possible chance of rehabilitation, so the chances are you’ll be stepping in with surrogacy work and providing all aspects of care until they enter the next phase of our rehabilitation programme.

Qualified vets and vet nurses are an asset to our volunteer programme, so volunteers who are skilled in that area are always warmly welcome as well. We deal with regular intakes, health checks and routine diagnosics, as well as wildlife emergencies. Though we cannot guarantee veterinary work every day, our veterinarian runs a busy on-site clinic and any experienced help is greatly welcomed. We also offer a limited amount of vet externship placements for students in vet school.

Volunteers can also contribute to a number of community initiatives that are run by the Trust, from our education programme to tree planting and fuel briquette projects, all designed to help repair fractured relationships between humans and animals, reduce deforestation, and stop the loss of animal habitats from the selling of firewood. Anyone with experience in website design, PR, events, photography or documentary making would also be very welcome. Depending on the demands of the work going on at the Centre there is also the opportunity to volunteer at our partner project, Kuti, a beautiful wildlife reserve just two hours from Lilongwe and home to large mammals such as giraffe, zebra and sable. This project offers a great contrast to LWC and a chance to get involved in a diverse range of projects such as park management and biodiversity conservation.

Responsible Tourism

Lilongwe Wildlife Centre is located right in the heart of the capital city within a beautiful wildlife reserve, and we aim to offer the tens of thousands who visit us each year an enjoyable outing, at the same time inspiring a passion for wildlife and a desire to protect it. We have won awards for our commitments to responsible tourism, an ethos which we have adopted throughout our operations. Investment into our visitor facilities – such as the bar, café, gift shop, amphitheatre, playground, gardens and walking trails – have all helped to drive visitation, and all of the revenue generated as a result goes back into feeding and caring for the rescued animals at the sanctuary. We also operate a tiered entry fee scheme so that those on a lower income can visit us – the majority of Malawians can’t afford to visit wildlife in their own national parks. 

What’s more, the existence of such a visible and popular tourist attraction within prime urban development territory has undoubtedly contributed to the protection of this beautiful 180 hectare wildlife reserve, one of the last examples of acacia combretum woodland in the region and itself an important area of urban biodiversity that is home to abundant wildlife.

Typical day

By volunteering your time, we hope that you will be happy to get stuck in with a range of tasks. Work will be very much dependent on what projects are going on at the time and we try our best to mix up the program for you so you get variation in your work. The tasks include feeding the animals, observing their behaviour, checking, maintaining and enriching the enclosures, assist in health checks and many more. If there’s anything you’re particularly interested in doing while you’re here it’s worth mentioning on application and our volunteer manager can accommodate this while you’re here. It’s all hard but very rewarding work, reflected by our reviews and regularly returning volunteers!  You will be able to see for yourselves not just the impact the project has on the lives of individual animals but also the bigger picture of conservation in Malawi itself.

Free-time activities

Being in the capital city has its perks: there are plenty of opportunities to head out with fellow volunteers for a meal, a drink, a spot of shopping at the local craft market or sample the city nightlife. With plenty of nearby lodges you can go swimming and chill out in the Malawian sun! And with the must-see Lake Malawi just a short car journey away, it makes the perfect relaxing day trip or long weekend. There is horse riding at Kandy beach or diving at Cape Maclear. We can also arrange discounted safari trips for you to hop over the border into Zambia’s stunning South Luangwa National Park, which is known as one of the best wildlife-spotting locations in Africa!

The Wildlife Centre itself is a great place for socialising in the evenings and on your day off. You can grab a drink at the on-site bar, enjoy a picnic or kick back with a book by the river along the wildlife trails. Despite being in the heart of the city, the Wildlife Centre is located within a reserve that feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of city life, with sounds of the wilderness all around, so expect to wake up to the chattering of monkeys!



In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Required Documents
Application Form
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
All we ask is for a keen attitude and a willingness to work!
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 08:00 - 17:00

What's Included

Services by Lilongwe Wildlife Trust

Accommodation, All meals and unlimited tea, coffee and water, Transfers to and from the airport and all work related transport, Free t-shirt and local phone sim-card, Orientation and training in all relevant departments and full support and assistance from the Volunteer Coordinator.

Airport Pickup at Lilongwe International Airport

Our placements start and finish on a Tuesday, and on those days we will have our driver, or a representative, pick and drop off any volunteers at the airport. They will hold a sign with your name on it and the logo of Lilongwe Wildlife Centre, so you know who to look for! Orientation and training start on Tuesday evening, so it's important that you arrive on time so that you don't miss anything!


Volunteers stay together at the volunteer house which is within the heart of the sanctuary and so surrounded by our animals. The programme is limited to a maximum of 15 volunteers at any one time. The house has mixed dorm-style accommodation sleeping ten with electricity, a kitchen, lounge area, bathroom and hot showers. You can also upgrade to one of the two en-suite chalets if you want more privacy. One can sleep up to two and the other can sleep up to four people. They both have a small balcony and are just by the volunteer house.

Dorm Room Bedroom (Double)
Food & Beverages

Vegetarian meals and drinking water are included and from Monday to Saturday are served by our local cook who provides international meals along with some Malawian dishes. He takes a day off on Sundays so you can alternate with the other volunteers to cook or you can check out the local restaurants. Food in Malawi is basic and we have to work with the seasons and availability but Joseph does a great job and we can still cater for any specific dietary requirements.

Internet Access
Good access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Lilongwe International Airport (LLW) in Lilongwe. We assist you to find cheap flights to Malawi.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Malawi provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Malawi you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Malawi.

Dates & Fees


Details on arrival

Our arrivals and departures are on Tuesdays to minimise disruption to the daily functioning of the centre and so that all new volunteers receive detailed training and orientation.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2 - 12 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in GBP (USD)
2 weeks (min. stay)
£1,370 ($1,630)
3 weeks
£1,775 ($2,112)
4 weeks
£2,235 ($2,660)
5 weeks
£2,575 ($3,064)
6 weeks
£2,885 ($3,433)
7 weeks
£3,180 ($3,784)
12 weeks (max. stay)
£4,350 ($5,177)
Average fees
£524 ($623) /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Lilongwe Wildlife Trust will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Lilongwe Wildlife Trust during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

Extra security layer by Volunteer World
Volunteer World is the world's leading comparison platform for international volunteer opportunities. We guide you through a safe and easy application process - including all necessary payments. Planning your next meaningful trip with Volunteer World gives you free access to our:
Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if Lilongwe Wildlife Trust cancels your trip
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We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Lilongwe Wildlife Trust.

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  Africa Eastern Africa Malawi  Lilongwe, Kenyatta Drive

Sanctuary volunteers

We are looking for dedicated and passionate volunteers to help us rehabilitate the wildlife that comes through our door.


from £1,370 ($1,630)
see price table
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

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