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The Great Projects

Centre for Orphaned and Injured Wildlife

Lilongwe, Malawi

Join the world renowned Lilongwe Wildlife Centre as an animal care volunteer or as a member of the veterinary team if you are a veterinary student.

About the Project

The Lilongwe Wildlife Centre is an award-winning wildlife sanctuary located in the heart of Malawi. It is currently the country's only wildlife sanctuary for orphaned and injured wild animals. The centre has around 200 wild animals, including monkeys, lions and antelope - all of whom have been rescued with the aim of releasing as many of these as possible back into the wild when they have been successfully rehabilitated.

This project is for wildlife conservation enthusiasts and offers the opportunity to assist the experienced animal care team in a number of different activities at the centre. These include caring for orphaned animals, assisting with integration observation, contributing to the local community initiatives and even some veterinary assistance.

The Lilongwe Wildlife Centre also offers another type of volunteering experience. If you want to improve your veterinary knowledge we also offer the project "Veterinary Work at a Wildlife Orphanage". 

Lilongwe Wildlife Centre really offers incredible opportunities for both those with a big passion for wildlife and those looking to increase and expand their veterinary knowledge.

What's more, the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre has won a number of awards for its work and achieved PAW accreditation from the Born Free Foundation in 2012. The support from volunteers is crucial to the work that this project carries out.

Please note that we take animal welfare very seriously and therefore the project has a strict no-animal-contact policy. The only exception to this is if you are hand-rearing an orphan or working with the vet.

Prior To Arrival

You will need to arrive into Lilongwe International Airport on the start date of your project where you will be met by a representative who will transfer you to the wildlife centre (a 25 minute drive). Kenya Airways, Ethiopia Airways and South African Airways all serve routes to Lilongwe with flights normally landing around 12am.

If you arrive early and the dates of your trip exceed the project length then we recommend you stay at Mubuya or Madidi Lodge.

Visas are not required by citizens of most Commonwealth countries, the USA, Japan, most European Union countries and certain other countries. If unsure, refer to your nearest Malawian Embassy, from which visas for any nationality can be obtained. For those nationalities that do require visas, these cannot be obtained on arrival but must be obtained in advance from any Malawi diplomatic mission around the world.

Typical day

First Day

You will arrive into Africa's 'friendliest nation' via the Lilongwe International Airport, where you will then be met by a project representative. You will then transfer to the project site, which is a 25 minute drive away. Once you have settled in, you will be taken into town where you can buy anything you may need before enjoying a tour of the centre and meeting your fellow volunteers and some of the sanctuary's residents!

Regular Days

This project is extremely flexible so you will mostly be able to spend time on the activities of your choice, although we ask that all volunteers are flexible and able to step in if urgent tasks arise. Activities that you may take part in on a day to day basis include:

Orphan and animal care

Work alongside local animal carers with cleaning, feeding, hand-rearing baby orphans and providing enrichment to those that need it.

Veterinary Care

There is a lot for you to choose from already, but as a veterinary student you will also have the fantastic opportunity to work alongside the on-site veterinarian, assisting with all aspects of veterinary care including minor trauma, routine diagnostics, vaccinations and conducting full health checks on all new arrivals.

Rehabilitation and release

Join our dedicated animal care manager to rehabilitate rescued animals and settle them into new groups. These animals need to be fed and cared for, as well as monitored to collect data, which is essential to their safe release. Some volunteers at the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre may have the opportunity of helping with a release; however, this is dependent on whether any are scheduled to take place when you are at the centre.

Centre support

Helping with construction and the maintenance of the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre, is vital so that rescued animals can always be accepted. This, therefore, may be something you are involved in when on the project and can include anything from enclosure repair to physical building work and even painting.

Education and community outreach

This is a big part of the project and involves various different aspects including assisting with guided tours for local people to help educate on the importance of wildlife conservation and also working alongside the community outreach manager to visit local communities and help with existing outreach projects such as the ‘Learning Through Wildlife’ adult-literacy programme, and Malambe Juice Co-operative.


For those interested in conservation management, there are several ecological surveys, mammal censuses and an important afforestation project which always require volunteer support for wider wildlife conservation in Malawi. This offers a whole new side of the project which you can get involved in.

Working hours are 8 am to 5 pm, 6 days a week with a long weekend off every 4 weeks.

Final Day

On your final day you will return to Lilongwe airport for your return flight or continue with any independent travel plans.

Details on Arrival

Start Dates

It is possible to start this project on any Tuesday throughout 2017 and 2018 (subject to availability)

Please contact us to check whether your preferred start dates are still available!

Free-time activities

You get one day off each week. These can be spent relaxing at the Centre, exploring the city or visiting one of the city hotels to chill by the pool.

Those staying 4 weeks or more have a 3 day long weekend off which are perfect for a safari to the beautiful South Luangwa National Park in Zambia or a trip to Lake Malawi.


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).
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
The construction work undertaken on this project requires a moderate level of fitness. The other tasks however, are not particularly, physically strenuous, but a fair level of fitness is advised. No specific skills or experience are required, just a commitment to the project and its aims. However, if you do have specific skills or experience that you feel will greatly benefit one of the project’s programmes, this is always warmly welcomed!
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 08:00 - 17:00

Suitable for


Any questions? Just ask. We at The Great Projects are happy to help you.

Contact Project Coordinator
Contact & Reservation

Included Services

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Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by The Great Projects.
Services by The Great Projects

  • A monetary contribution to the project itself
  • Transfers to and from the airport
  • Full orientation and support from the project managers
  • Accommodation and meals as indicated
Airport Pickup at Lilongwe International Airport

You will be collected from the airport upon your arrival in Malawi and you will be taken back on the last day of your project. The drive is about 25 minutes long. 

As a volunteer staying at the project you can look forward to waking up to the sound of a lion roaring and the sight of monkeys playing from the bedroom window. Volunteers stay together at the project’s brand new Volunteer House within the heart of the wildlife centre, surrounded by the centres amazing animals. The House has mixed dorm-style accommodation with electricity, a kitchen, lounge area, bathroom and hot showers. We also have a delightful garden area for relaxing in the evenings and on your day off.
Dorm Room
Food & Beverages
All meals are included and prepared by the project’s local cook, who provides international dishes along with some delicious local Malawian favourites. We can cater for vegetarian or vegan diets but please let us know in advance.

If you prefer to eat out there are many good restaurants just a short drive away and the wildlife centre’s restaurant serves fantastic lunches.
Internet Access
Limited 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.
Costs (Prices in USD)
2 weeks (min. stay)
3 weeks
4 weeks
5 weeks
6 weeks
7 weeks
12 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees

You can volunteer at the project site in Lilongwe/Malawi between 2 weeks and 12 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. The Great Projects 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 Malawi.
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 The Great Projects during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.
Africa Eastern Africa Malawi Lilongwe, Lilongwe Wildlife Centre

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