We are looking for dedicated and passionate volunteers to help us rehabilitate the wildlife that comes through our door.
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, from assisting the vet to helping with releases. 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
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.
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.
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.
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 and the roar of the lions!
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!
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 the chalet if you want more privacy. It can sleep up to two people complete with private bathroom and a little balcony and is just by the volunteer house.
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.