If you want to gain a volunteer experience with wildlife in Africa, this Wildlife Emergency and Conservation Centre is certainly an opportunity for you! Back in 2009 when it all started it was Malawi’s only wildlife sanctuary Centre and is now the leading wildlife centre with projects for conservation and also welfare across the country. Volunteers tend to spend most of their time working at the Wildlife Centre with the rescue and rehabilitation team, but of course there are plenty of opportunities to gain experience in other areas of our volunteering work with wildlife.
Why volunteer in Wildlife rescue and rehabilitation, Africa?
Certainly you saw already many photos and read the news about the orphaned wild animals, their rehabilitation and release. You have heard about the sad stories that make you cry about the wildlife being killed by the poachers. So here is your biggest chance for you, as a volunteer, to help directly in the middle of the happening. By volunteering for this rescue and rehabilitation centre you will take part in animal husbandry, take care for the adult animals while they are in the process of a release program back into the nature, helping them to enrich their lives. Additionally, if your passion is in veterinary field, you might get a direct view into the wildlife rescue and rehabilitation and veterinary treatment. Come along and leave an important imprint with your voluntary work for these wild African animals.
Airport of Arrival:
• Lilongwe Kamuzu International Airport (LLW) via
• South African Airways (via Johannesburg)
• Kenyan Airways (via Nairobi)
• Ethiopian Airways (via Addis Ababa)
Wildlife rescue and rehabilitation, AfricaWildlife rescue and rehabilitation, Africa
Important volunteering work for these African wildlife will be on the following activities:
- volunteer opportunity in an Orphan Care
- volunteer activity in an Animal Husbandry
- volunteer experience in animal release program
- help in the wildlife rehabilitation and release program
18 – 60
# of Volunteers:
13 International volunteers
What is included?
Volunteers will be collected by a representative at the arrivals area at the airport.
Accommodation is in the middle of the sanctuary, so you will be surrounded by the animals! You’ll wake up to a lion’s roar and monkeys playing!
All inclusive; vegetarian, vegan also available; typical Mediterranean food.
Meals are cooked by a local chef and are included. International and local dishes.
You can pay also in USD. After applying you will receive an email. Then please follow the guidelines about the price conversion.
Please check with your general practitioner about the latest travel advice regarding vaccinations. For more precise information regarding this, pleas have a look under the “location” tab.
It is essential to have malarial prevention.
other attractive excursions are available prior or after the team dates.
In country support from the project stuff is available, if needed.
Flights, health and travel insurance, free time excursions, personal extras (e.g. phone calls).
Get live chat for the volunteer adventure in African Wildlife.
- Minimum age: 18
- Language: basic English
- Enthusiastic and a team player
- Vaccines: several vaccinations are needed. Please see the tab: ‘orientation’
- No police Background check is needed
I have had the incredible pleasure of being an intern for Great Barrier Reef: Snorkeling & Conservation during the summer period of 2017-2018. My initial intent was to find a site or a company that would form the basis of a three-month fieldwork period that would inspire the trajectory and the larger source of data input of my Master’s thesis in Social Anthropology.
Unsure of how the Great Barrier Reef: Snorkeling & Conservation team would see the potential in my proposed research project based in the social sciences, I was taken aback by the extremely warm welcome I received and in the infectious positive attitude of the volunteer project leaders. I was guided by another stuff person through the relevant aspects of the Marine Volunteer program and am entirely grateful for her patience with me through the entire experience. Her pedagogical supervision and fortitude will not soon be forgotten and have shown me example qualities that make an excellent educator.
No day was like any other at this project. The extensive efforts, passion humour and incredible knowledge base shared among the staff at Great Barrier Reef: Snorkeling & Conservation seemingly boundless. Their nightly information sessions are unforgettable and rank as some of the most enjoyable lectures/information sessions I’ve ever attended. I am now entirely inundated with fantastic data for my research, more than I could have foreseen and am entirely grateful for having been given the chance to work with such incredible individuals. I was entirely envious of the new intern who had just commenced their internship as I was about to return to my university city, as working with the project team has been a highlight in both my professional/academic career as well as in my own personal development.
Madagascar Forest Volunteer: A Unique Vacation
“Being part of the forest conservation project on Nosy Komba has allowed me to experience and appreciate some of Madagascar’s tremendous biodiversity. It is incredible – despite its relatively small size, the country holds 5% of the world’s species. What amazes me the most though, is the way Evolution has carved life forms in bizarre and marvellous shapes and colours – unlike anywhere else on Earth – designing them to perfectly blend in with their surroundings.
However, being here for as long as I have, it was inevitable that I would witness one of the country’s major problems – environmental degradation. As one of the world’s poorest countries, its people’s survival depends upon natural resource use. They are forced to live off the land, destroying primary forest for plantations, cutting down trees to make pirogues, which is justified through a need to fish. Native species are being aggressively hunted and collected by people, desperately seeking to provide for their families.
We can’t really blame the Malagasy for what they do, what we can do instead, is go to Madagascar, either as volunteers or tourists, not to see it before it is too late, but to invest in its preservation, even by simply enjoying a one of a kind vacation.
There is no doubt that once in Madagascar, anyone is bound to fall in love with it. I definitely did, and not only because of its ‘million shades of green’, but the Malagasy too – their beauty, their hospitality, and most of all, their ability to enjoy life despite all.
I come from a place with traffic, people, big buildings, and smog. The strangest part about being in a place so foreign as this is that, quickly, it all becomes old hat, old habit, routine. Of course we take cold showers and wear flip flops and watch the sun set every day over the ocean. That is our life here, and as I have lived it, it has become just as much mine as the traffic and people and smog.
Many folk like to call this place paradise, and it is but not because of its beaches, the jungle, and the sea. Nosy Komba is paradise because I came here a stranger, a vazaha, a foreigner, but I have, nevertheless, been received by here people here on camp and in Lemur Island’s many villages with an ‘mbola tsara’, maybe a bowl of rice, and a friendly smile to let me know that though this place is not home these people are still family.
I have gotten a lot from the people of Madagascar (free food, a necklace, a place to rest my weary head) and the more abstract things too like happiness, companionship, and goodwill. The people here have given and I have received. My only regret is that I may never be able to repay them for it all.
When I decided that I wanted to volunteer on a faraway island, I never thought that it would have such a big impact in my life. Madagascar will always be close to my heart because it taught me so much about myself, about other cultures and, most importantly, it taught me how little I really need to be happy.
I was on Nosy Komba for two months in the Marine Conservation program and I can say that it was the best decision of my life. My day consisted of diving, learning about the ocean, and being around people I love and will never forget. I will always regret not staying longer because saying goodbye to this little piece of paradise and to all the people I met was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.
To anyone who is looking for a volunteering experience, I extremely recommend this organization for marine program – you will have the time of your life, and stay as long as you can, because time flies in paradise.
The most important things that I have learned from the South African Shark volunteer program are for sure shark work experience and data analysing. I enjoyed the most being on the water and doing fieldwork, as well as I was amazed by the cage diving. I felt greatly integrated in the volunteer environment, where it was always a positive and encouraging attitude. It was great to get the constructive feedback and staff member were always available. I found this programme also intellectually stimulating and I learned practical knowledge during my placement. There were many outcomes emanating from this programme which will be useful for my skill development. I would strongly recommend this volunteer programme to another volunteer or a student. It all made a big difference to me and I certainly had wished that I could stay there for a longer time.
Working with sharks everyday is feeling like I was actually contributing not just doing busy work! I enjoyed about various species and about conservation efforts. Of course working out in the field was also amazing but I also enjoyed the quiet days getting things sorted around the lab.
I think I was trained very well while I was at your program although I need to improve my listening skills!
This program will certainly make a difference to my future studies. I had the most amazing time and I am very sad that it has come to an end so soon! I wish that I could stay for longer! Thank you so much for everything, everyone has been so kind and incredible to work with. I have learned so much since I have been here that no doubt will help me along my way through marine bio! I am so thankful to my new Shark research family for teaching me so much and making me feel at home! I am going to miss everything about the South African Shark program! I would rate this program overall definitely as excellent!
A dolphin research organization where I took part was like a blast for me! You can be a volunteer and have an amazing experience with other volunteers from all around the world and with a lot of fun. The work for dolphins comprises of team work everyday: every volunteer gets a task they have to do daily. Before we first went with the boat to the sea, we had two presentations about dolphins and on dolphin conservation. When we first saw the Dolphins on the sea everyone was excited about it. It was such an amazing moment when the first dolphin jumped out of the water. We also saw a dolphin with her calf. That was a really amazing and emotional moment. There are about 150 dolphins, and each dolphin has its name. When we helped in the analysis we compared the dorsal fins to know which dolphins we have seen. When we were at sea there were a lot of dolphin watching boats that drive very near to the animals whereas the research boat always stays a distance away to prevent the disturbance. And when they drive so near to the dolphins they don’t jump anymore and we can’t see them again because they are scared. It’s really important to solve the problem so the Dolphins can live in peace. It makes a lot of fun to work in a group of international volunteers and to learn biology of Dolphins, other languages and volunteering for the nature and the Dolphins.
I have come to do the volonteering for dolphin conservation because I have been fascinated by the dolphins since my childhood. While volunteering we have learned so much about these wonderful creatures – and to see them LIVE in the nature was an absolute highlight!
Last but not least, especially our team was so unique because it team was the oldest ever J and we had one younger volunteer that we at once ‘adopted’ and called her »our baby«. So we have harmonized very well. We have worked together, cooked, cleaned, harvested even olives and did also the tours. Almost like in a family! We laughed until our bellies hurt! Everything fitted just perfectly! And then, of course, there is a team leader, who, by her cordial, open manner and her presence is a real personality! It is absolutely a joy, that you can, through the love to the dolphins meet even so dear people!
I have always been into the sea and dolphins so I was really excited when I found out this project for dolphin conservation. I thought to volunteer for such a purpose would be a good thing. When I had to choose what to do for my matura, final work exam at school, I asked if I could do it about dolphins and from what they are endangered and the project leaders agreed with it.
By volunteering for dolphins I learned more about the research work. But not only this, I also had a good time during doing my work with the other volunteers.We went swimming in the sea, sunbathing at the beach or just drinking a beer and get to know each other better.
But what’s the best of all: you see dolphins in the wild. It’s so great to see them swimming in the wide ocean free and their movements. I can’t believe people are catching them and put them into an aquarium.
I would recommend this poject to everybody who wants to have a closer look at the researcher life and wants to do something good for the sea and its amazing inhabitants.
After a short search on volunteer opportunities I became quickly aware of the project for the bottlenose dolphins, which was, in my opinion, a total jackpot. From the first day on I got the feeling I was into something important. From the little tasks like washing the dishes to gardening I was always feeling the spirit. We did good work on research comparing dolphin fins on the pictures we took. In our free time we enjoyed the underwater world of the Adriatic Sea, snorkeling for hours! Of course, the most beautiful time I spent here was when we went out on our boat trip to get new pictures and data of our lovely dolphins.
I will always remember the first time when I saw a fin breaking through the surface of the sea and the joy I felt having a look into the eyes of an animal that is so intelligent and free!
Lilongwe is a pleasant city and is a capital of Malawi. Here you’ll find embassies and government buildings and the “old town”, which is much livelier as a “new town”. It has a great market where you can buy almost everything – from bikes to fans. You can enjoy in observing the bartering here. Lilongwe is a good place to regroup if you have friends that also travel in this part of the world and it has some decent restaurants. Some of the embassies and cultural centers host local art shows which are worth attending. Also a project volunteer team can help you out with some additional hints and information. You can travel to the city with the local transport (mini buses and push bike taxis) or a taxi which are quite cheap. You can also find a second hand mountain bikes or cars on sale on the Lilongwe Chat.
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More about vaccination for this volunteer project
Currently the following immunisations have been recommended by MASTA (those highlighted in bold text are a requirement for attendance on the Volunteer Program):
– Hepatitis A
– Hepatitis B
– Meningococcal meningitis (ACWY)
– Yellow Fever
– Typhoid Fever
A Yellow Fever certificate will be required if you plan to travel on from Malawi (unless you cannot have live vaccines and in that case a note from your GP to this effect should be carried with you). This will be requested at border control in Malawi and adjacent countries.
Rabies is prevalent in Africa, and as you will be working with animals it is important that you are protected.
Even if you have been vaccinated against TB you may still be a carrier of the disease and pass it onto our animals and one case of active TB could mean that all the primates at the Centre would have to be euthanised. An outbreak of TB would be devastating for the Wildlife Emergency and Conservation Centre so the proof that you are not a carrier is required. Therefore the program enquires you to undertake a TB test. If you have not previously had a TB vaccination (BCG) then a Mantoux test, a blood test or a chest x-ray will be able to show that you are TB free. If you have had your BCG then a chest x-ray will be the most appropriate for you and will provide the proof we need that you are not a carrier of TB. Please consult your doctor or travel clinic for the test.
- TB negative test result
Admission on to the Volunteer Program will be refused if volunteers do not have up to date Rabies or a negative TB test result.
The use of a malarial prevention medicine is absolutely essential and this volunteer program requests you to declare which drug you are going to use in the medical declaration form. If in the UK it may be advisable to receive a prescription from your GP then call around various pharmacies, to check the differing prices. As a rule of thumb, Doxycycline is much cheaper than Malarone, but please go with what your GP recommends.
Volunteer work is outside and you will be exposed to the sun. Please ensure that you bring sun protective clothing and apply sunscreen multiple times a day. The center provides drinking water and it is wise to carry a refillable water bottle with you to ensure you stay hydrated.
This incredible African wildlife volunteer program, that started back in 2009, is dedicated to the conservation and sustainable development through research and outreach. Since its start volunteers can now be a part of a wildlife charity, dedicated to the welfare and conservation activities across the country. Whilst volunteers tend to spend most of their time working at the centre with the rescue and rehabilitation team, there are plenty of opportunities to gain volunteer experiences and best practices across other areas of the work as well.
Whether you’re a passionate volunteer about the wildlife conservation or at an early career in the veterinary or ecology this wildlife program might be a life changing experience for you. The wildlife rescue and rehabilitation volunteering can be an incredibly rewarding experience to see animals progress and know that you have played a vital part in their journey back to the wild.
Wildlife rescue and rehabilitation volunteer program will offer you a variety of activities to help in:
1) Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation
Volunteers are critical across all areas of the rescue and rehabilitation activity, from orphan care and animal husbandry (feeding, cleaning, etc) to integrations, observations and reintroductions. There were over 125 rescues and more than 200 animals under rehabilitation in the year 2016 with 45 animals released.
The program goal is to release as many animals as possible back into the wild, thus this volunteer wildlife program operates in a strict hands-off policy. Some orphans on the other hand need special attention to ensure the best possible chance of survival, so as a volunteer you may be stepping in with surrogacy work.
2) Wildlife rehabilitation course
As a volunteer who is interested in wildlife rehabilitation you might also be keen to learn more about hands-on experience and combine your volunteer placement with this intensive course. The program consists of lectures, practical assignments and hands-on wildlife rehabilitation techniques, as well as a field excursion to one of the release sites.
Topics which will be addressed for this volunteering course are:
- Rescue and intake
- Disease screening and control
- Orphan care
- General rehabilitation techniques
- Animal capture and restraint
- Behavioral observation techniques
- Release and monitoring techniques
3) Education and Community Outreach
Volunteers can support the team delivering the wildlife rescue and rehabilitation education to the community. You can also get involved in any specific projects that are in need at the time, such as developing education materials or helping out at events. The community outreach team welcome assistance of volunteers on their programs on the adult literacy, fuel briquette and tree planting. Another great volunteer hands-on opportunity for you!
Most volunteers choose to focus on wildlife rescue and rehabilitation activities. They have the biggest demand for volunteering, but you’re welcome to spend part, or all, of your time on other animal related projects within the center. Volunteer working hours are completely dependent on the animals that are in at the time and on the level of care they need. Ideally, volunteers will work from 8am till 5pm, but during orphan season feeds will be scheduled during unsocial hours. The exact orientation info will be given to you once you arrive to the volunteering facilities. The duties will be split up between the volunteers but please be aware that there may be some long days or even some night shifts. The team will certainly care that you get have an amazing and memorable volunteer time and at the same time that animals in need have the best possible care with your help.
Many interesting volunteer opportunities are waiting on you at the Rehabilitation Centre. If the volunteer is staying longer she/he will get to do a wider variety of tasks. Some of volunteer wildlife activities are:
Volunteer opportunity in an Orphan Care
Orphans at the Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre need special attention and they may need round-the-clock care to ensure that they have the best possible chance of rehabilitation. The welfare of the animals always comes first, and so the team follows care plans based on the standard operating procedures that are adapted for each individual. In general most volunteers will find themselves in the orphan care schedule, however in some cases animals may require interaction with volunteers that are there for longer periods of time (3+ weeks). Depending on how many orphans we have at any one time, surrogacy work may be needed which can include looking after orphaned animals of different species.
However there is also a lot of other volutneer work involved in orphan care which everyone will muck in with such as cleaning, washing and preparing food or collecting browse for the animals.
Volunteer Activity in an Animal Husbandry
Welfare of the animals that are residents at the Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre is an absolute priority. Here volunteers can work alongside the Animal Care team helping with cleaning, feeding and caring for the animals, which can include lions, vervet monkeys, baboons and antelope.
Volunteer experience in animal release program
This volunteer experience, called also enrichment, is an important part of the care of the adult animals that are within the release program. They are social adult animals and may need to be kept alone in an enclosure. Enrichment helps to keep the animal busy and helps in stress prevention. It is an ultimate volunteer activity crucial for the animal release.
Wildlife rehabilitation and release
Animal releases are highly acclaimed and the rehabilitation and release center boast some of the world’s best success rates. This is due to the expertise and effort of both – the team and volunteers that go into the releases. Each volunteer is therefore crucial to the process – helping with rehabilitation, observations, integrations and the final release and subsequent monitoring.
Accommodation is right in the middle of the sanctuary and you will be surrounded right there by the animals! You’ll wake up to a lion’s roar and monkeys playing outside your bedroom window! The rehabilitation and release reserve includes a river, woods and walking/running trails. Volunteers can therefore experience the wild side of Africa and yet are close enough to the city to enjoy some of the benefits of civilization.
The program is limited to the 13 volunteers at a time. The main house has basic mixed dorm-style accommodation sleeping ten with electricity, a kitchen, lounge area, bathroom and hot showers. Volunteers have an access to an attractive garden area for relaxing in the evenings and on the days are off. There is an employed cleaner so volunteers don’t have to worry about washing the sheets on the day off. A volunteer can also upgrade to the chalet if he/she wants a bit more of their own space.
Volunteers are responsible for cleaning up after themselves, and food & dirty plates should be cleaned up straightaway. Any food you purchase should be kept in the cupboards in the kitchen or in the volunteer fridge.
Please contact our VET customer service for more information.
Single bed linen – fitted sheets, pillow cases, duvet covers are provided for each volutneer.
Meals for the volunteers are cooked by the local chef every day except on Sunday when extra food is provided. The menu is vegetarian with a mix of international and local dishes (Joseph is more than happy to show you how to make them). You are invited to let the VET customer service know if you have other special dietary requirements and we will let you know if the team can accommodate them. Volunteers are welcome to buy in other luxuries or meat if they wish.
There is wifi available at the Centre down by the main office, rather than at the volunteer house. However the bandwidth is low and therefore the usage is limited to the hours outside the working time.
You can be given a local sim card when you arrive so please make sure you bring an unlocked smartphone if you want to use the internet. You can always buy a basic phone for around £12, which can be used to send texts, make calls and for some basic internet activities. It is essential that you carry a local phone at all times as we often will need to get in touch with you and we are unable to call international phones.
There is a cleaner who does basic cleaning and laundry, apart from underwear & socks which can be hand washed.
The local currency is the Malawian Kwacha. It is useful to bring a little extra to cover nights out, transport and any souvenirs that you might wish to buy. Around £20-30 per week should be enough to cover this.
Kwacha are only available in Malawi, so you cannot bring them over with you. Money can be exchanged at the airport, or can be exchanged, withdrawn from cashpoints. It is useful to bring some US$ (dated 2006 or newer) or GBP in order to exchange for Kwacha.
It is advisable to bring a Visa. MasterCards and travellers cheques are not widely accepted.
You can make a weekend trip with other volunteers. Renting a car is easy and affordable.
Here are few ideas for volutneer travel:
Zomba Plateau – Zomba Mountain is one of the biggest mountains in Malawi. It has waterfalls and streams and is great for hiking. The plateau offers a bird’s eye view of the town and Lake Chirwa. There’s an Inn on the mountaintop that is also a popular destination.
Lake Malawi – is one of the very attractive options to visit. It is beautiful and well worth visiting via local transport. You can take a bus or minibus to Senga Bay where there are several places to stay including the backpackers hostel. You can swim, canoe, windsurf or simply relax on the beach.
Mount Mulanje boasts the highest peak in Malawi and is a great place for hiking. There are clear paths up the mountain and several huts along the way. A hike to the top typically takes about three days.
Liwonde National Park is located in the south of the country. You can take a river boat safari where you’ll be able to view elephants, hippos, crocodiles, and even the occasional lion.
Zambia – you could also consider doing a safari to nearby Zambia, one of the best wildlife reserves in the whole Africa or visiting Malawi’s famous tea plantations and climbing up Mount Mulange.
You can also enjoy a few days looking for ‘the big five’ and also ‘the small five’!
Apply now and secure yourself a place in this amazing volunteer project.