Volunteering at Antelope Park

Make a difference with communities & wildlife in Gweru, Zimbabwe

Why Volunteer at Antelope Park

A Wildlife experience like no other

Location in the heart of Zimbabwe, close to the town of Gweru is Antelope Park, the country’s leading private game park, set in over 3000 acres of open savannah grassland; with an abundance of game with zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, impala, kudu and waterbuck; alongside over 200 bird species.

Here, getting up close and personal with these majestic creatures is not just guaranteed, but also a daily activity.

According to National Geographic Traveler, Zimbabwe has now been listed as one of the Top 20 countries to visit in the world in 2019, the highest for any African country.  Lonely planet, another very respected travel publication places Zimbabwe at #3…

With at least five World Heritage sites, Zimbabwe is expected to bring a record 2.7 million arrivals next year. So what are you waiting for?

Take advantage of optional excursions to see Zimbabwe’s most incredible sites. Victoria Falls (one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World), Matopos National Park (the world’s biggest granite outcrop and a rhino trekking location) and The Great Zimbabwe Ruins (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) are just some of them.

Antelope Park, Zimbabwe’s leading Private Game Reserve with WORLD TRAVEL AWARDS for the past 3 years, welcomes new volunteers all year long.

Fabienne Mos

I stayed at Antelope Park (AP) for a month and it was amazing! I had the best time there meeting new people from all over the world and of course, meeting the beautiful animals. The activities, like walking the lions and elephants every day, cleaning enclosures, feeding the big lions and many more, were a lot of fun and it’s definitely an experience I’ll never forget. Also thanks to the amazing staff who made the activities and my stay a lot of fun

Tyra

Not only do you get to spend time with the lions and elephants here at AP, they also have quite a few snakes. A lovely surprise for a snake nerd like me.

Antelope Park Volunteer Projects

Lion Conservation

Play your part in ensuring the African Lion will always have a place on this planet, as you carry out vital research and animal maintenance.   

Location: Antelope Park

Duration: 2 – 12 Weeks

Community Healthcare

Become part of the team as we take vital steps towards improving the current state of healthcare and making a difference in rural communities.

Location: Antelope Park

Duration: 2 – 12 Weeks

African Equestrian Volunteering

Discover incredible wildlife and scenery from the saddle, while taking part in vital stable mgt, with incredible horse activities on offer.

Location: Antelope Park

Duration: 2 – 12 Weeks

Teaching & Lion Conservation

Get involved in providing vital individualised teaching assistance to kids in local schools, while getting involved with our conservation efforts.

Location: Antelope Park

Duration: 2 – 12 Weeks

Tourism, Hospitality & Marketing

Get ready to gain invaluable experience in lodge management as you learn about what it takes to run and manage a successful African lodge.

Location: Antelope Park

Duration: 2 – 12 Weeks

Horse Mgt. & Lion Conservation

Get ready to learn about stable management from our experienced team, while also contributing towards our lion conservation efforts.

Location: Antelope Park

Duration: 2 – 12 Weeks

Photography

Capture the beauty of iconic Africa, as you raise awareness of our conservation and community efforts through your lens.

Location: Antelope Park

Duration: 2 – 12 Weeks

Teaching & Community

Be part of our goal to improve education, by providing essential individualised classroom support to kids eager to learn and prosper.

Location: Antelope Park

Duration: 2 – 12 Weeks

Healthcare & Lion Conservation

Join us as we lay the foundation for basic, but essential healthcare, while contributing towards our protecting the magnificent African Lion.

Location: Antelope Park

Duration: 2 – 12 Weeks

Antelope Park Volunteer

Gentle Giants

Our 4 rescue elephants spend their days roaming the bush. You can join these breath-taking beauties in the African bush.

Take to the Saddle and Discover Wildlife

Discover the real sights and sounds of the African Bush from an angle like no other; getting closer to the wildlife than you ever thought was possible. Nowhere else can you take a dip in the dam on horseback, whilst spotting giraffe, zebra & wildebeest in the bush. What’s more? Our ultimate overnight horse safari….

With heaps of horse opportunities on offer

We have a volunteer program dedicated to our 40 horses.

Stable Activities on offer include:

  • Show-Jumping
  • Cross- Jumping
  • Schooling
  • Polocrosse
  • Horse Safari
  • Horse Swim
  • Overnight Horse Safari* (additional cost)

Exclusive Lion Opportunities

Discover the chase as part of an unforgettable night encounter. The time where a lion’s natural behaviours come out the most. Witness our post-walking cubs, demonstrating their innate natural instincts, in search of their latest kill.

What Makes Antelope Park so unique?

Ground-breaking Initiative to Release Lions Back into the Wild.

Developed with extensive research by qualified and experienced conservationist and expert Ph.D. researchers, our initiative has the potential to become a solution to the dwindling number of lions in Africa and has the capacity to expand further, across the whole continent.

Phase 1 – Once in a lifetime opportunity to walk with cubs.

Our resident lions are bred to produce offspring, who are raised by our highly experienced lion handlers. These cubs are gently introduced to humans, through cub sits with our volunteers and guests; closely monitored by our animal handlers.

These cubs take part in lion walks. These walks are designed to entirely copy how a lion cub becomes familiar with their natural habitat and the bush in the wild. Our volunteers and guest take part in these walks to create the essence of a “pride.” This essence encourages our cubs to engage in natural play and to explore their natural instincts and behaviours. 

Not only do these walks encourage our lions to put their natural instincts into practice, while they are still at a safe age to engage in these walks; but also they also allow for anyone with a passion for wildlife to find out more about the situation surrounding lions and their rapidly decreasing number. We also believe that by offering this once in a lifetime opportunity to volunteers and guests will support us in our goal to spread the passion and ability to be able to relate to the situation further. This way participates become ambassadors for wild lions in Africa. This could be you!

Not only do these walks supplied vital income to support the rest of the program; they also prove to be very effective. One of our awesome cubs, Lala Mika, at just 14 months old, took down an adult wildebeest with her own two paws, all on her own! Her natural instincts are innate.

Where do we offer these walks? Victoria Falls

Phase 1, Part 2 – Experience the Chase

Following their walking careers, our walking cubs develop to the next step – Day & Night Encounters. This is an incredible opportunity to watch our lion cubs putting their natural instincts into practice. Our lions are free to roam the park, following a vehicle, totally free to explore their natural behaviours.

There is no better time than at night when our lions are at their most active. You could be one of the few who can really say, “I’ve seen a lion hunting for its latest kill!” Our Lions have proved to be experts on these encounters, with a very impressive 40% chance of making a kill.

This phase is vital in demonstrating how our walking cubs still have their natural instinct intact, even after their interaction with humans.

Where does this part take place? Antelope Park

Phase 2: Taking out the Human Element, Introducing our wild pride.

Resident Lions, with the most desirable characteristics for surviving in the wild; are released into a semi-wild environment, which is fenced and managed; where they can come together naturally. With a mix of captive-bred lions (the parents,) who produce wild cubs (who experience no form of human interaction;) this pride is a semi-wild pride; where it is absolutely possible for the wild cubs to be released back into the wild.

During this stage; all human involvement is taken out. These cubs will never experience human involvement.

Introducing our Ngamo Pride; who have already demonstrated their efficiency as a wild pride; by already killing over 600 Antelope Park, between 11 of them. We aim to release 4 wild lionesses into national parks, as part of Phase 3 of our Release Program.

We welcome volunteers and guests to get fully involved with our Ngamo pride and our world-first innovation, by participating with vital research sessions, from the safety of our research vehicle.

Our vision is to have more of these release sites in the future. With vital funding, this is wholly possible.

Where does this phase take place? Antelope Park

Phase 3: The Ultimate Goal - Reintroducing into The Wild

The final step to our ground-breaking program. Following over 10 years of research, verifying their stability as a pride; the 4 wild lionesses from our semi-wild pride, are translocated, ahead of their reintroduction into fenced, secure and protected game and national parks.

ALERT is searching for the best possible national park or reserve, that is looking to restore the declining lion population.

How do we see our program working? We have 3 vital key points to ensure a successful release.

  • Bonded Prides
  • Disease Free
  • DNA tested

Where this phase will happen? The best possible national park or reserve, that is looking to restore the declining lion population.

Antelope Park Highlights & Excursions

Antelope Park is situated in a reachable distance of some of Zimbabwe’s most iconic destinations, not forgetting some incredible horse opportunities right here at the park.

VICTORIA FALLS - 4 DAY TRIP

They don’t call this adrenaline-filled town the adventure capital of the world for nothing! Choose the type of experience that is right for you, or several of them ranging from white water rafting down the Zambezi river to bungee jumping over it! Enjoy a group dinner at an African themed restaurant where you will have the chance to try everything from crocodile to warthog!

OVERNIGHT HORSE SAFARI

Experience Africa’s wildlife on horseback, ride through the dam to cool down and have a swim with your horses. Then settle down at our bush camp for a special 3-course dinner around the campfire with your new friends. Sleep under the stars and wake up to the wonderful sounds of nature and a delicious cooked breakfast.

WILDLIFE SANCTUARY IN BULAWAYO - DAY TRIP

Spend the day in this wildlife sanctuary that specializes in rescue and rehabilitation of primates. Enjoy an unforgettable bush walk with baby baboons and interact with monkeys, bushbabies and a wide variety of other animals.

GREAT ZIMBABWE RUINS - DAY TRIP

These are Africa’s 2nd oldest ruins behind the pyramids and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spend the day trekking around these ancient ruins and learn about ancient kings of the past and ancient Zimbabwean culture.

MATOPOS - DAY TRIP

Spend the day in Matopos National Park tracking rhinos on foot! This is a unique chance to get up close and personal with these endangered animals and take in the natural beauty of Matopos.

STABLES ACTIVITIES

Antelope Park has stunning stables with different activities ranging from safaris to polocrosse games. If you are not a Horse Management Intern it doesn’t mean you have to miss out! 

Volunteer Accommodation

You will spend your days and nights in an authentic African thatched lodge, surrounded by nature and wildlife. You will share either a twin or quad room with your fellow volunteers, with access to clean toilet and shower blocks within the volunteer village.

The volunteer village consists of a social volunteer lounge & firepit. You will have access to the laundry facility and WIFI is available to purchase at the park. You will enjoy the taste of African home cooking, with three tasty meals provided for you a day.   

You will be immersed into the true African bush. Wake up to the sounds of lions roaring at the crack of dawn each morning. At the end of the day, you can cool off by the pool or relax with a cold drink at our raised deck bar overlooking the river. They can watch birds and horses interacting in their natural environment or hear the wonderful sound of bush babies in the distance as the sun goes down.

Accommodation upgrades at the parks authentic lodge are available to those who wish to have a more ‘exclusive’ volunteer experience.

Know Before You Go to Antelope Park

Visa Requirements

Packing List

Code of Conduct

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the weather like at Antelope Park?

Seasons:

December- March: Rainy Season (Expect plenty of rain so come prepared!)

May/ June-August: Winter (It can get VERY cold at Antelope Park during the winter.)

September- November: a Very hot season, especially in October.

April-May: Transition from summer to winter; still very warm, but with some colder spells)

The climate in Gweru and at Antelope Park is considerably cooler than the rest of Zimbabwe. Don’t be fooled into thinking that African heat does not apply here, it certainly does! We advise you to pack accordingly to the season that you plan on joining us in.

The weather and climate in Southern Africa are reversed to the Northern Hemisphere. The weather is generally warm reaching hot most days, with evening cool to warm evenings.

However, during the winter months, May-September the climate drops significantly, with the evenings and early mornings dropping to very low temperatures, although the days will warm up by mid-morning. Warm jackets and shoes are essential for this time.

The summer months, October- April can get very hot; with October reaching peak temperatures.

Between the raining season December-February, you can expect a lot of rain. Boots and waterproofs are essential for this time.

It is worthy to note that the climate in different areas of Zimbabwe can differ hugely.

Check out our packing list for more guidelines on what to pack, depending on the time of year you choose to join us!

Is Antelope Park safe?

Despite how Zimbabwe is often portrayed in the Western media, Zimbabwe remains a very safe country to visit and considerably safer than our neighbour, South Africa.

Antelope Park is a very safe and secure game park, nestled in the African bush. The safety is our volunteers is our utmost priority. While you are in camp, you are free to wander around and enjoy all our facilities on offer. We have free-roaming wildlife out in the park and our resident lions are safely homed there as well. It is important that you do not exist camp or open any gates out of camp or into the game park, without a manager with you.

Our closest town is Gweru, were we offer volunteer trips on a weekly basis. Check out our safety tips for more information about keeping safe at Antelope Park, out in the town or on our community; project as you explore all the incredible opportunities Zimbabwe has to offer.

What is the currency in Zimbabwe?

International tourists in Zimbabwe are able to use the US dollar ($), at tourist resorts. Antelope Park accepts US dollars and in most tourist places, US dollars are widely accepted.

However, you will not be able to spend US Dollars in the local town. We have measures in place to enable volunteers to buy and spend in the local town.

We ask you to bring plenty of USD cash with you, as you will not be able to withdraw cash in Zimbabwe, due to the national shortage of currency.

Which Electrical Plugs are found at Antelope Park?

The power sockets at Antelope Park are ‘Type G’ the square three-pin style, found in the UK & Ireland.

Is there Malaria at Antelope Park?

There is very low-risk malaria at Antelope Park or in the immediate surrounding areas. We do not advise that you need malaria medication while at Antelope Park. However, if you decide to take part in one of our incredible excursions while you are here (which we fully recommend you do) you may require medication.

There is a high risk of malaria in Victoria Falls, so we recommend you bring the correct malaria medication, while you are visiting one of the seven natural wonders of the world! Find out more about Victoria Falls here.

How do I get to Antelope Park?

Antelope Park is located in Gweru, in the midlands of Zimbabwe. Gweru is about 4 hours away from Harare and 2 hours from Bulawayo. We ask all our volunteers to fly into either Harare or Bulawayo airport, where we arrange transfer to the park on our arrival weekends.

If you are arriving at Harare airport, we ask you to arrive on Sunday and for Bulawayo, on Monday. We can also organize a private transfer, at an additional cost, if you cannot arrange your flights for these days/locations.

Getting to Bulawayo: There is a daily flight from Johannesburg (O.R Tambo Intl,) with South African Airlink. We ask you to arrive before 1 pm, in time to use our transport, back to the park.

Getting to Harare: There are multiple international flights arriving into Harare airport, daily. We ask you to arrive before 2 pm, in time to use our transport, back to the park.

Airlines that fly to Harare Airport:

  • Ethiopian Airways- Addis Ababa to Harare
  • Emirates Airways – Dubai to Harare (via Zambia)
  • South African Airways – Johannesburg to Harare
  • British Airways (Comair) – Johannesburg to Harare
What is the language in Zimbabwe/ Antelope Park?

The official language is English, alongside the two main local languages Shona and Ndebele. We ask that English is spoken amongst our volunteers. We have a large number of volunteers from different nationalities.

In order to create an inclusive environment, we ask English is spoken in social situations.

What is there to do at Antelope Park?

Your opportunities are endless at Antelope Park. From lion & elephant opportunities, to get involved with our stable activities, or simply enjoy the swimming pool, or enjoying a drink at our raised deck bar.

Here are just a few things you can get involved with, while you are here. Please note, depending on which project you choose to get involved with, extra activities will come at an additional cost.

  • Day/Night Lion Encounter
  • Lion Walk (until August 2019)
  • Elephant Walk
  • Research Drive (of our semi-wild Ngamo Pride)
  • Horse Safari
  • Horse Swim
  • Overnight Horse Safari
  • Sunrise Ride
  • Carriage Ride

For those looking to relax in their spare time, you can explore our guest facilities, open to our volunteers as well:

  • Swimming Pool
  • Coffee Shop

Volunteering Safety Tips

  • Avoid travelling alone, especially at night.
  • Ensure that excessive amounts of cash are left in safe boxes, not lying around in plain sight.
  • Do not carry excessive amounts of cash on you
  • If you are taking a taxi anywhere, make sure you book it in advance through a trusted and reliable driver.
  • Avoid wandering down dark streets, even in large groups.
  • Be aware and alert at bars. Do not leave your drink unattended at any time. If you drink has been left out of your sight, discard it.
  • Do not enter township areas without being accompanied by one of our local staff members.
  • Be wary of people who seem too friendly too fast.
  • Avoid leaving your personal items like bags or mobile phones unattended.
  • Do not share personal information with anyone under any circumstances.
  • Save your project manager’s number on your phone and make sure to provide us with a copy of your emergency contact person at home.

Antelope Park Vaccinations

Please consult with your private physician or doctor in regards to what immunizations or vaccinations are needed.  

Our recommendations:

  • Tetanus: Recommended
  • Hepatitis A&B: Recommended
  • Typhoid: Recommended
  • Malaria:  There is very low-risk malaria at Antelope Park or in the immediate surrounding areas. We do not advise that you need malaria medication while at Antelope Park. However, if you decide to take part in one of our incredible excursions while you are here (which we fully recommend you do) you may require medication. There is a high risk of malaria in Victoria Falls, so we recommend you bring the correct malaria medication, while you are visiting one of the seven natural wonders of the world! Find out more about Victoria Falls here. 
  • Yellow Fever: Zimbabwe is NOT at risk to yellow fever.
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