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GoEco

Chimpanzee Wildlife and Orphan Care

Chingola, Zambia

Agency | GoEco

Volunteer on the largest chimpanzee sanctuary in the world! Play a vital role in the protection and conservation of this endangered species and experience Zambia.

About the project

Chimpanzees are the animal kingdom’s closest relative to humans, but unfortunately the wild population has decreased to less than 150,000, putting them on the endangered species list. Their population is continuing to diminish by about 6,000 per year because of relentless poaching, logging, habitat destruction, and human encroachment. They are hunted for meat or captured for sale to zoos, animal testing labs, circuses, and even as pets. Many of the chimpanzees at the orphanage have been rescued from poachers or terrible situations where they have been kept as a pet in a cage or sold in local markets for bush meat. The orphanage is a safe haven for all its residents and is home to the healthiest captive chimps in the world and, with about 1,500 acres of land, it aims to provide the most natural environment possible for their chimps.

About the location

This project takes place at a chimpanzee orphanage founded in 1983 as a family-run orphanage. This project is located 60 kilometers northwest of Chingola, Zambia and right on the banks of the Kafue River, participants will get to experience the natural beauty of such a remote setting on a daily basis.

Volunteer tasks

The orphanage has five different focuses. They include research aimed at the identification of social dynamics within the species, behavioral enrichment that works to keep the chimpanzees stimulated and thriving in their environment, farming on excess land so that the orphanage could become more self-sufficient and sustainable, infrastructure improvement, and a fruit tree nursery to propagate both indigenous and exotic fruit trees. As a volunteer, you'll be involved in any of the following initiatives: 

Chimpanzee research: Volunteers will work alongside researchers at the orphanage, studying how chimpanzee groups differ in their social dynamics. The study aims to be able to classify standard chimpanzee behavior by assessing these social dynamics using food distribution and video data collection.
 
Behavioral enrichment: Volunteers will be involved in creating permanent behavioral enrichment structures (such as tire swings and shaking boxes), as well as organize temporary challenges (often food based) in order to further the behavioral enrichment of the chimps.

Farming: The orphanange's farming land is used to grow crops such as cabbage, maize, sweet potatoes, onions, tomatoes, and groundnuts to feed the chimps and enable the orphanage to be more self-sufficient. Volunteers will work at least twice a week on the farm harvesting, sorting, weeding, fertilizing, and picking crops.

Infrastructure improvements: The orphanage attracts many tourists and schools groups so it's important for it to be well-kept. Volunteers will help keep with any ongoing projects, and may participate in tasks such as building picnic sites and shaded viewing shelters, or putting up information boards to educate visitors. 

Fruit tree nursery: Volunteers will work in the nursery, assisting with the weeding, bagging, watering, and planting of fruit tree seedlings. 

Please note that this should not be considered a ‘hands-on’ project. For your protection, the protection of the chimpanzees, and in order to adhere to sanctuary guidelines, ‘hands on’ contact will be limited to recently rescued chimps undergoing quarantine and rehab.  

Orientation: all necessary training and introductions provided upon arrival. Volunteers staying longer than 30 days will need to apply for a "temporary employment permit." This costs approximately $250 USD to be paid upon arrival in Zambia.

Typical day

Every day is different as animals rarely operate to our schedule, so we ask that you remain flexible and open-minded. However, a typical day begins at 7:30 am when you'll leave the project base to head out to the orphanage. You'll likely spend the morning preparing and participating in enrichment activities, assisting with food preparation, cleaning enclosures, and undertaking any research-related tasks. After a lunch break, you may spend your afternoon making enrichment toys, watering plants at the fruit tree nursery, or building structures to improve the existing tourist infrastructure. At 4:00 pm, you'll head back to the project base to enjoy dinner at 7:00 pm, followed by an evening of relaxation. You will work a 5 day week, with Sundays off. On Friday, you will get the chance to go to the nearest town (Chingola or Kitwe) to browse the local markets or buy any snacks/curios.

Free-time activities

Zambia is a fantastic country to travel in and there are some incredible National Parks to explore, like Kafue and South Luangwa. Many travellers go to Livingstone to see the world famous Victoria Falls – one of the 7 Natural Wonders of The World. There are lots of adrenaline-filled activities to do in Livingstone too – like white water rafting, bungee jumping and micro lighting to name a few. Or you could join an overland tour from Livingstone to Cape Town or Livingstone to Nairobi as a great way to end or begin your placement.

Water Sports
Hiking
Museum/Opera

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
Good physical fitness - must be able to walk at least 4kms a day
Immunizations (please consult your local travel clinic)
Volunteers travelling to Zambia for over 30 days will need to apply for a Temporary Employment Permit which costs approximately $250
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 07:30 - 16:00

Suitable for

Singles
Couples
Groups
50+

Any questions? Just ask. We at GoEco are happy to help you.

Contact Project Coordinator
Contact & Reservation
Jan
Feb
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Included Services

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We refund your fees if GoEco cancels your trip
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Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by GoEco.
Services by GoEco

Included in the program fees are the accommodation, food in the form of three meals a day on weekdays, airport transfer on arrival and departure day, comprehensive travel health insurance with volunteer abroad coverage. Also, you will get support from our local in-country team and 24hr emergency support.

Airport Pickup at Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport

Airport transfer on arrival and departure day.

Accommodation

Volunteers will be provided with basic, clean, and comfortable on-site dormitory style housing with up to 4 volunteers. The accommodations include a bed with bedding, Earth toilets, and hot showers. A cleaning service is provided daily and electricity is available. Laundry service is available for a small fee, otherwise hand washing is possible. Internet is available for a small fee.

Dorm Room Guesthouse
Food & Beverages

Volunteers will be provided with three meals a day, excluding weekends. Breakfast is serve-yourself, lunch is a packed lunch at the volunteer site, and dinner is a cooked meal served in the dining area. Meals are not provided on the weekends, so this is a great time to go out and explore the local restaurants and cuisine or buy and prepare food on your own.

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 Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport (NLA) in Ndola. We assist you to find cheap flights to Zambia.
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 Zambia provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccines
If you are intending to volunteer in Zambia you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Zambia.
Costs (Prices in USD)
2 weeks (min. stay)
$1,900.00
3 weeks
$2,400.00
4 weeks
$2,900.00
5 weeks
$3,700.00
6 weeks
$4,200.00
7 weeks
$4,700.00
8 weeks
$5,200.00
9 weeks
$5,700.00
10 weeks
$6,200.00
11 weeks
$6,700.00
12 weeks (max. stay)
$7,200.00
Average fees
$775.00/week

You can volunteer at the project site in Chingola/Zambia between 2 weeks and 12 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. GoEco 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 Zambia.
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 GoEco during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.
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