Free To Be Wild

Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

Volunteering at Free To Be Wild

Get ready for a unique and special experience, as you nurse adorable primates back to health and happiness, with this hands-on wildlife orphan care program; specialising in wildlife rescue and rehabilitation. In the early days, baby baboon and monkeys need close contact with humans, in the same way as they would with their mothers, during the first phase of rehabilitation and orphan care. 

Support founder, Baye Pigors, who was awarded the ‘Unsung Conservation Hero’s Award 2016’ by Africa Geographic, in her mission to provide a home for and to rehabilitate suffering primates and other wildlife species. You will be working alongside Baye’s team, which consists of 4 top, experienced wildlife handlers, who care for, raise and help release all the orphans that come through the sanctuary. 

To date, 250 animals have been released back into the wild, including 18 pangolins, rescued from the illegal wildlife trade. You could be lucky enough to experience one of these rescue cases, during your time with us.

This is your opportunity to interact with wildlife orphans, raise baby monkeys and baboons, from their first days to bush walks, as part of this hands-on wildlife experience. Take part in behaviour enrichment programs, designed for stimulation and valuable insight into what it takes to rescue, care for and rehabilitate these bundles of joy! 

Free to be Wild work with some of Zimbabwe’s top wildlife vets. Depending on the rescue cases, you may have the opportunity to meet and work alongside these medical experts.

From Zebra and Antelope to Birds and Bushbabies; the sanctuary is always ready with open arms to give as many wildlife species as possible, another chance at life. We need your help to take our mission further!

About Free to be Wild Sanctuary 

Established in 2014, as Zimbabwe’s first primate rehabilitation sanctuary, Baye founded Free to Be Wild, after she was unable to find a release centre for a baby baboon, she rescued. From humble beginnings, to what is now a recognised force, in the conservation world, the sanctuary is dedicated to taking in any wildlife species in need of a home, love and attention. We have successfully released many primates, in search of a better quality of life, into some of Zimbabwe’s largest and most intact national parks. 

But it’s not just primates, but also rare and endangered species including the pangolin, alongside other smaller, but just as important species, such as hedgehogs and owls. 

The sanctuary is not open to the public, as the sole focus is on the welfare and care of the animals. Our aim? To save and release as many animals as possible. Volunteers provide essential assistance and funding for helping us do this.

Our animals are released on a case by case basis. While we wish it was possible to release all the animals in our care; for some it is not possible, due to mental and physical issues from their past. These cases instead become permanent residents with us. Those who are suitable will be released into appropriate sites when they are ready.

What will you be doing?

Volunteers are fully involved with the day to day runnings of the sanctuary and all that goes with it.


From regular bottle feeds for our youngest orphaned animals, providing vital nutrition from their earliest days; to planning a nutritional meal for a variety of herbivores, omnivores and carnivores. You will be fully involved in making sure these animals are well fed and nourished; as well as daily food prep, 3 times a day.

Behaviour Enrichment:

Take part in daily bush walks, designed to stimulate our resident orphans and give them the opportunity to explore their natural environment. Interact with the little monkeys and baboons, with big personalities and build toys, platforms and playgrounds.

Rescue & Release:

As a member of the team, you will assist in nurturing and raising abandoned wildlife.  Take part in monitoring released wildlife, who are collared for tracking, as they discover their newly rehabilitated lives, in their natural environments. For our not so lucky residents, you will be fully involved in the care and upkeep of our animals, who are unable to be released. Take part in vital boundary patrols of the release site, to ensure all animals are safe and secure. 

Be prepared for the unexpected!

Don’t be surprised if an activity pops up that isn’t on the agenda. From driving across the country, on a rescue mission, to saving suffocating fish from drought, there is no such thing as a typical day at the sanctuary.   

Where you will be staying

You will be living at the sanctuary, in the spacious and comfortable thatched safari house; which boasts two volunteer bedrooms, a kitchen and lodge for the volunteers to use. Depending on the number of volunteers, you may be required to share a room, although most of the time volunteers have their own room. There is an en-suite bathroom attached to the house with running water. The house runs on just solar power, so be prepared for any little ‘This is Africa’ moments and be ready to go with the flow. But, you will have access to hot water, when the sun is shining! 

Living on-site means you will be with the orphans all the time. You may be called on for nightly feeds, or to cuddle a little one through the night. It’s all part of the hands-on experience! 

All meals are provided for you during your stay. You are provided with all the necessary ingredients to prepare your own breakfast and lunch. For dinner, volunteers cook at the house. We can accommodate any dietary requirements.

If your heart is set on helping to provide animals with a second chance, at a better quality of life, this is the project for you. We welcome volunteers with a passion for wildlife, a kind heart and a desire to make a difference. Join us in taking our mission far and beyond and be part of what we strive to achieve: “No primates remaining in captivity in the country.” We need you to make this happen.

Duration Price USD
1 Week $ 700.00
2 Week $ 1,400.00
3 Week $ 2,100.00
4 Week $ 2,800.00

Start Dates for 2022 are:

  • 3, 17 January
  • 7 & 14 February
  • 7, 14, 28 March
  • 4 & 18 April
  • 2, 16, 30 May
  • 6 & 20 June
  • 4, 11, 18 & 25 July
  • 1, 15, 22 & 29 August
  • 5 & 19 September
  • 3 & 17 October
  • 7, 14 & 28 November
  • 12 & 26 December