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Conservation Travel Africa

Animal Sanctuary Supporter

Harare, Zimbabwe

A personal and hands-on experience for animal lovers, as you join a team of dedicated conservationists at an animal rescue and rehabilitation sanctuary in rural Zimbabwe.

Help take care of all kinds of rescued animals in a wildlife sanctuary in Zimbabwe. Rehabilitate and release animals back into their natural environment and look after sick and injured wildlife. Fall in love with all the animals in your care!

About the Project

This wildlife sanctuary was established at its current site in 2011 and is based on a 70 hectare area of stunning bush about 1 hour from Zimbabwe's capital, Harare.

The sanctuary trustees are both true conservationists, who run the sanctuary on a daily basis and live on site next to the volunteer house, with a selection of unusual animals! They also run a large veterinary practice and a vet outreach programme in the rural communities. The vet team travel around Zimbabwe carrying out vaccination and spaying programmes and wildlife rescue operations, taking animals which are being illegally trafficked or have been abused or abandoned

Volunteers play a vital role in the care of the animals at the sanctuary, enriching their lives, giving comfort, and carrying out general husbandry tasks such as feeding, enclosure cleaning, enrichment activities and sanctuary maintenance. The impact of volunteers means that the permanent staff can be free to rescue animals from across Zimbabwe, and ensure that animals kept within the local community are being correctly cared for

The money invested in this project by volunteers and other donors also goes towards community initiatives, helping to educate local people about the importance of animal conservation and the threats facing their wildlife due to the bush meat and exotic pet trade.

The Animals

The animals at the sanctuary have come from across Zimbabwe and range from dogs and cats (over 40 are fed each day), tortoises, monkeys, baboons, duiker (a small indigenous antelope), bush babies, and a multitude of birds, including owls and other birds of prey. The majority of animals are rehabilitated and then released, either within the reserve, or in other suitable wild areas. Some can never be released, either because they are too habituated to humans, or they just won't leave! Like Gizmo and Bill, the bush babies, who leave their enclosure every night and return in the morning for breakfast

Our Programme

Volunteers live and work alongside the trustees of the sanctuary, which offers a safe haven to a wide variety of African wildlife. Most of the residents were either orphaned or abandoned, or have been rescued from the exotic pet or bushmeat trades across Zimbabwe. You will live on site in a spacious volunteer house with twin or single rooms and shared bathrooms. You will share your home with a number of different animals, including dogs, cats, monkeys and baboons - and any other animals who need care during the night. In the garden are the enclosures for many of the smaller animals, so you are right on hand when needed!

Volunteers get involved in the day-to-day activities of the sanctuary, including feeding and vaccinating up to 200 local dogs at the weekly veterinary clinic, or helping with injured and traumatised animals and birds. You will be given your own project and animals to work with during your stay, which is an incredible rewarding and fulfilling experience. Volunteers work alongside the permanent members of the sanctuary team and learn about small animal care and rehabilitation. You will also get to observe the veterinarians as they undertake small procedures and health checks during the community vet clinics.

Family Volunteering

The project will consider applications from families who wish to volunteer together at the sanctuary. If you have children aged 10 and over then your family may be accommodated. A family group will take over the volunteer house to ensure that individual needs are fully catered for and so that everyone has a great time!

Vet students and pre-vet students (solo travellers and groups)

If you are a pre-vet student, studying vet science or animal care, or you are a professional animal care worker, and you would like to get some wildlife healthcare experience in Zimbabwe, then we can add in some additional activities while you are on the programme. You will be able to join the veterinary practice in Harare for one day per week, where you can observe clinic, get involved in general health checks, assist in minor surgical procedures and help with the animals who are staying at the practice.

 In addition you will get involved with the outreach clinic, where animals are brought to the sanctuary from the rural areas for health checks, vaccinations, spaying and wound checking. You will assist in the pre-surgery care of any animals who are kept at the sanctuary prior to going to Harare for operations.

Groups of vets or vet students may request a tailor-made programme to give them a wider experience of vet care in Zimbabwe.

Typical day

Volunteer Work

The sanctuary's mission is to create a loving and safe refuge for the animals' in its care, whether they are only there for a short time, or need a permanent forever home. Volunteers are instrumental in providing care to the animals and support for the daily work of the sanctuary staff. You will get involved with:

Small animal care:

  • Prepare morning and evening meals for all the animals - this could be dry food and fruit for the monkeys, or you might need to go and cut browse for the bush babies
  • Feed the reptiles and clean their enclosures
  • Clean enclosures and refill water bowls
  • Clean wounds and tend to injured and sick animals
  • Sit with older and sick animals, monitor their health and behaviour and reassure them with your presence
  • Bottle feed small orphans and keep them warm - this is often a night time duty as you baby sit tired monkeys and baboons!
  • Help with domestic animal rescue when required
  • Learn about rehabilitation of a wide variety of animals, both exotic and domestic

Veterinary outreach (no vet experience is required, although vet students are very welcome):

The sanctuary provides a weekly community outreach vet clinic where animals from the local communities can be brought for vaccinations, spaying and health checks. Some dogs make their own way unaccompanied because they know every animal gets a free meal!

  • Prepare food for the clinic, which feeds hundreds of dogs
  • Help vet staff prepare for injections and help with health checks
  • Vet students can get involved with rounds, and help is always needed with de-worming, dipping and sterilising

Habitat enrichment and wildlife conservation:

  • Build activity centres for the primates to enable them to run, jump and climb
  • Make toys to stimulate foraging
  • Help with the release of animals and birds around the property
  • Patrol the farm boundary and check for snares and traps
  • Help repair roads and paths
  • Build new and maintain current enclosures
  • Show local children around the sanctuary and teach them about animal care
What's a typical day?

Your day will start arond 6.30am with tea in the volunteer house. Prepare morning food for the primates, herbivores, small mammals and reptiles, and make your breakfast deliveries around the sanctuary. Expect a warm and excited greeting from the animals! While they are eating, clean out their enclosures and make sure there is fresh water available. Check on any injured or sick animals.

At 9.30 break for your own breakfast at the volunteer house, which is situated alongside the animal enclosures, in a lovely garden on the edge of a large dam. The rest of the morning is spent doing habitat enrichment for the baboons and monkeys, or collecting fresh browse or the bush babies and other herbivores. Repair any damaged enclosures and fences.

After lunch you might do a snare patrol around the boundary, or walk along the fence line learning about the different tracks you see, and about animal and bird behaviour. You may be sent to sit with a traumatised or injured animal who needs reassurance, or to look after one of the new animals and help them settle in.

At 5.00pm you will prepare meat for the nocturnal predators, and twice a week you will assist in feeding the lions. This is a dirty but essential task, and the sound of lions roaring is an iconic African experience. While this project does have lions, they are not handled by staff or volunteers, nor are they used for breeding. Some of these lions came to the sanctuary from tourist facilities which ran lion walks, where the lions had become too old and were too habituated to ever be released, and were too expensive to be kept. Others were rescued from farmers who had captured them on their land, and others still from irresponsible captive breeders. The lions at this programme are cared for with a strictly hands-off policy but are fed by volunteers who are also responsible for habitat enrichment and exercise.

You will be very busy during your stay and should be flexible about your working hours, as you may be called upon for night duty with animals that might need round the clock care. Volunteers are also responsible for orphaned animals, which live in the volunteer house at night - including monkeys, duiker and baboons!

Details on Arrival

Volunteers should try to arrive on a Monday before 5.30pm, but the project can be flexible. The programme is closed from mid December to early January.

Free-time activities

During your leisure time you may go on walks and hikes around the reserve or to local places of interest, or go fishing or canoeing on one of the many dams. Weekend excursions to Victoria Falls can be arranged. You may also take a trip to a local National Park where you will have the opportunity to see wild rhino.

Water Sports
Swimming
Safari/Zoo
Hiking
Riding

Program Requirements

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). Of course, there is an exception for children that are accompanied by their parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Health Declaration
required
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday

Suitable for

Singles
Couples
Families
Groups
50+

Any questions? Just ask. We at Conservation Travel Africa are happy to help you.

Contact Project Coordinator
Contact & Reservation
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Included Services

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What does the cost include?

  • Programme fee - financing which goes back into the programme your are involved with; this includes funding for equipment, supplies, vehicles and foodstuffs etc
  • Transfers to and from Harare International Airport to the project on a Monday
  • Full board and lodging for the duration of your programme including laundry (exc. any snacks, alcoholic or fizzy drinks from the bar)
  • Three meals per day
  • Full 24 hour support and training from your sanctuary staff during your stay
  • All programme-related transport and equipment required to do your work

The programme cost excludes:

  • Flights or travel to Harare
  • Visas fees on arrival (variable depending on nationality)
  • Any expenses prior to your programme start date
  • Any personal items such as alcoholic drinks, snacks, additional food or souvenirs
  • Excursions outside of those planned by the project
  • Personal medical and travel insurance, which must cover the entire duration of your programme and should include cover for repatriation, air evacuation and any activities you may undertake or plan to undertake
  • Any additional trips outside the volunteer programme
  • Telephone calls and internet

Airport Pickup at Harare International Airport

Transfers are provided from Harare International Airport or from any location within Harare. Please aim to arrive before 5.30pm on your project start date.

Accommodation

Your home on this project is in a spacious farmhouse style property in the heart of the sanctuary - the rehabilitation enclosures are in the garden! There is full housekeeping service including laundry (detergent is provided) and the house has a swimming pool and large verandah. Inside there are two double rooms, one single room and two bathrooms. Bed linen and towels are supplied

There is reasonable cell phone signal and limited wifi internet access can be purchased on site.

Bedroom (Double) Bedroom (Single)
Food & Beverages
You will receive three meals per day while you are on the project, prepared by our resident cook, and there are always soft drinks, tea and coffee available in the house. Vegetarians and those with dietary requirements can usually be accommodated - please just let us know on your booking form! There is a small bar, with alcohol generally available during weekly socials where staff and volunteers relax and enjoy the sunny Zimbabwe days.
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 Harare International Airport (HRE) in Harare. We assist you to find cheap flights to Zimbabwe.
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 Zimbabwe provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccines
If you are intending to volunteer in Zimbabwe you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Zimbabwe.
Costs (Prices in USD)
1 week (min. stay)
$750.00
2 weeks
$1,475.00
3 weeks
$2,205.00
4 weeks
$2,895.00
5 weeks
$3,595.00
6 weeks
$4,295.00
8 weeks (max. stay)
$5,695.00
Average fees
$731.00/week

You can volunteer at the project site in Harare/Zimbabwe between 1 week and 8 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Conservation Travel Africa will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Zimbabwe.
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 Conservation Travel Africa during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.
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