Lion & Wildlife Sanctuary Volunteering

Get your hands dirty at our Lion and Wildlife Sanctuary as you assist in the day to day care of Lions, Hyena and a variety of other orphaned injured and sanctuary animals.

→ Prices start from $1115 or £769 for 1 week

Why Volunteer At A Wildlife Sanctuary?

Volunteering with animals in Africa is one of the most rewarding adventures you can have. Not only do you get to experience and work hands on with some of the world’s most exotic wildlife such as lions, hyena, ostrich and more, but you get to do it surrounded by nature and in one of the most breath taking destinations, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Running a Wildlife Sanctuary is a 365 day a year job. Our animals need daily care and upkeep to ensure the highest standard of welfare.

As a volunteer with us, you will join a team of dedicated people and animals making a difference and spreading the word of conservation.

Duration Cost GBP Cost USD
1 Week £ 769 $ 1,115
2 Weeks £ 1,099 $ 1,594
3 Weeks £ 1,638 $ 2,375
4 Weeks £2,072 $ 3,004
5 Weeks £ 2,275 $ 3,299
6 Weeks £ 2,478 $ 3,593
7 Weeks £ 2,646 $ 3,837
8 Weeks £ 2,912 $ 4,222
9 Weeks £ 3,213 $ 4,659
10 Weeks £ 3,570 $ 5,177
11 Weeks £ 3,927 $ 5,694
12 Weeks £ 4,284 $ 6,212

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

Start Dates for 2023 are:

  • 2, 16 January
  • 6 & 13 February
  • 6, 13, 27 March
  • 3 & 17 April
  • 1, 15, 29 May
  • 5 & 19 June
  • 3, 10, 17 & 24 July
  • 14, 21 & 28 August
  • 4 & 18 September
  • 2 & 16 October
  • 6, 13 & 27 November
  • 11 & 25 December

Enquire about this project.

Let us know how to get back to you.


Lion Conservation Volunteer Reviews

Linda Henriksen

My two weeks with Volunteer Encounter has been amazing and a great experience! Every activity has been educational and the people you get to meet and work with are so nice. By participating in a project like this, you get very close to the animals and learn a lot about wildlife in the area. You also learn a lot from the local people that you work with, so you get to know about the local language, culture, history, etc. All this makes the journey much more meaningful!
Overall my two weeks on this project has been really good, and I would really like to come back here, but for a longer time.

Jacob Fellner, Slovakia

Before I came here, I was expecting to learn a lot about lions and wildlife around me but in the end, I got so much more out of these 6 weeks of me staying here. I met amazing people, engaged in community and research project, made friends and I really felt like I was at home here these past 6 weeks and not just a volunteer.
10/10, would recommend to anyone!

Katarina Larsson

By volunteering with Volunteer Encounter I have learned so much, I have got experience of wildlife and conservation of nature that I could only dream of just by going here for a month. I have grown so much as a person, especially by going here by myself. I have met so many wonderful people, met friends for life. Besides the volunteer work, the weekends have been filled with a lot of amazing activities that you can find here in Victoria Falls. These four weeks will be with me for life.

What does volunteering on this project entail?

There is no such thing as a typical day when you work with wildlife.

Due to the nature of the project your days will be varied and activities may change depending on the present needs of the projects, the weather and the behavior of the animals. This type of work requires someone who is flexible, adaptable, understanding and adventurous!

You can expect to get involved in a variety of different activities that include the following:

  • Find yourself at the forefront of wildlife care and conservation initiatives on a private game reserve in Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of The World.
  • Enjoy unique and unforgettable close encounters with magnificent African animals such as lion, hyena, ostrich, a variety of birds of prey to name a few.
  • Assist in their daily care and upkeep through feeding, cleaning, behavior enrichment and more. Expand your knowledge and passion for these animals and get to know and love their individual personalities and characters.
  • Get involved with the rescue and rehabilitation of orphaned and injured animals that come into our care. Send time with them to settle them into their new environment and closely monitor their condition and wellbeing. This may include working with vets for any medical attention required.
  • Join our dedicated team within our private reserve working tirelessly on anti-poaching initiatives, game management tasks and to develop and maintain an environment for ecosystems to thrive.
  • This includes gathering and submitting essential, first of its kind data to several Global Data banks such as INaturalistand SABAP2 accessed by a multitude of scientists for use in global conservation initiatives.
  • Spend time camping and exploring the surrounding Zambezi National Park, home to 4 of the Big 5. Assisting in game monitoring and being a constant positive presence for the Park.
  • Assist with outreach initiatives in the local communities by delivering conservation education lessons in local schools and get a handle on issues to develop methods to try and reduce human wildlife conflicts.
  • Spend your free time in Africa’s adventure capital, Victoria Falls. Whether it’s adrenaline activities such as bungee jumping and white-water rafting, or day safaris to the iconic Chobe National Park and scenic boat cruises on the mighty Zambezi.
Animal Volunteers

Our Goals and Objectives

We pride ourselves on the care and upkeep of our captive wildlife and aim to maintain the highest standard of welfare. Our goal is to aid in the rescue and rehabilitation of orphaned and injured animals as well as provide a forever home at our sanctuary for wildlife that cannot survive in the wild.  

Our animals act as ambassadors for various conservation and community initiatives by helping us spread the word of conservation through education and exposure.

We are dedicated to preserving and maintaining the private game reserve our project is based. Monitoring and managing its flora and fauna, anti-poaching and data collection. 

All our activities have specific aims and objectives to ensure we are reaching our goals of providing a safe and secure environment for our captive animals, as well as a healthy, diverse ecosystem within our reserve.

Behaviour Enrichment

To provide our lions with the best quality of care, thus avoiding uncommon behaviour. We provide our lions with triggering enrichment to encourage natural and instinctive behaviour, while also monitoring the behaviour and health anomalies using the data collection sheets.

The purpose of behaviour enrichment is to keep our lions mobile, alert and energetic, whilst in their enclosures. We aim to contribute our ideas and findings to science and for the benefit of other captive animal establishments.

Enclosure Cleaning
  • To provide our lions with a clean and healthy living environment.
  • To remove all foreign items that may have found their way into the enclosure and all old bones, feeding leftovers and excrement. To clean all water pans and water troughs and refill them with clean water.
Enclosure Maintenance

  • To ensure that our lion enclosures are clean and secure, providing our lions with a safe living environment.

 

  • To fix any broken equipment within the enclosures, such as lion platforms, or build new structures. To make sure all fencing is secure and in order.
Meat Preparation

To provide our animals with the most suitable nutritional diet and to ensure all animals are hydrated at all times.

  • Food is measured and distributed to each animal depending on their size, weight and other factors of the individual animals to ensure each is receiving the correct amount. Every lion is monitored, and their food intake is regularly assessed. For extra nutrients; “Carnivore Mix” – a pre-mixed bag of crushed vitamins and minerals is added to the meat.
Conservation Education
  • To further our conservation efforts by educating the local community on the importance of wildlife conservation practices, methods and activities.
  • To engage with local schools with the aim of changing people’s perception of conservation as a whole.
  • Volunteers conduct regular conservation lessons, to expand the pupils’ understanding of conservation and to encourage pupils to become passionate for saving wildlife and getting involved with our conservation initiatives.
Camera trapping
  • To gain a better understanding of the species present within the land we manage and to identify which species are utilising which areas. 
  • To add to our species list of animals present in the forest we manage and to map where different species are being seen and in what quantity.
Animal sightings
  • To gain a better understanding of the species present within Fuller Forest and to identify which species are utilising which areas. 
  • To add to our species list of animals present in Fuller Forest and to map where different species are being seen and in what quantity. 
  • To gain an understanding of family groups of animals and begin to identify individuals/groups where possible. 
Game feed
  • To ensure that game species within Fuller Forest have a sufficient supply of food to survive the dry season
  • To supplement feed these species with an appropriate feed. 
Bird survey
  • To gain a better understanding of the species present within the land we manage and to identify which species are utilising which areas. 
  • To add to our species list of animals present in the forest we manage and to map where different species are being seen and in what quantity. 
  • To contribute data to the South African Birds Atlas 2 project.
Grass survey
  • To determine the quality of grass available for grazing animals and grass composition in order to understand the most appropriate course of management. 
  • To conduct an appropriate number of grass surveys throughout Fuller Forest and complete a veld condition assessment. 
  • To contribute data to the INaturalist project 
Boundary patrol
  • To ensure that Fuller Forest has not been entered by unwanted persons. 
  • To patrol the border of Fuller Forest, looking out for any evidence of unauthorized personnel entering the land.
QGIS mapping
  • To create maps determining the locations of animal sightings, snares found, species of interest tracks and other points of interest in order to determine land use by animals and poaching attempts in order to put in place the appropriate park management efforts.
  • To regularly drive/walk the forest and waypoint animal sightings, snares found, species of interest tracks and other points of interest using a GPS and to upload these to QGIS. 
  • To make monthly maps logging this information as a visual guide to help with management procedures. 

Victoria Falls Highlights & Excursions

Not much can beat the roar of Africa, but even less can beat the flavours of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe holds a very special place in our hearts. As our home, we are very proud to represent  Zimbabwe and all its glory

WHITEWATER RAFTING

The most popular activity is also one filled with adrenaline and emotion! Let the Zambezi river take you on the most thrilling ride of your life and connect with nature in ways you never thought possible. Are you ready?  

BUNGEE JUMP

Terrifying. Breathtaking. Absolutely crazy. The best thing in life! There are so many ways to describe this. For some people, it’s the best bungee in the world.  

GORGE SWING

For some, it’s a must do! For the rest of the world, this is just crazy! Jump off and free fall for about 70m towards the rocks and river below. Hopefully, you’ll survive to tell the story! Just kidding!

ZIP LINE

This zip line is not like all others. Here, the zip line is not horizontal; it is at an extreme angle so once you let go you will be accelerating downhill at speeds of over 100km/h. Who’s ready?

FLIGHT OF ANGELS

Take advantage of this huge opportunity to see the mighty Victoria Falls from the best angle there is, above and beyond!

DEVILS POOL

This is the ultimate infinity pool and one of the most exciting experiences you can embark on. Swim and lean over on the edge to see the 100-meter waterfall drop. Put that swimwear on and do it!

SUNSET CRUISE

If you are looking for a peaceful experience, an abundance of wildlife and the most magnificent sunset from a luxury cruise boat, then this activity is right for you!  

BOMA RESTAURANT

Enjoy more than just a fabulous dinner in the most popular restaurant in Victoria Falls. Specializing in a superb selection of traditional Zimbabwean dishes, The Boma also incorporates traditional dancers and singers and even an extravagant drum show.

About Fuller Forest (Victoria Falls)

Our volunteer village is nestled in Fuller Forest – 4000 acres of pristine forest estate, surrounded by beautiful flora and fauna. You will stay in our spacious and authentic safari tents of 2-4 people with a large ablution block just a few steps away.

In your free time, you can enjoy the volunteer lounge overlooking the watering hole and your quintessential bush surroundings. Enjoy 3 wholesome meals a day, freshly prepared by our onsite chefs and build friendships with fellow volunteers. 

It’s only a 20-minute drive to Victoria Falls Town, which boasts a variety of restaurants, bars, shops, steps from the magnificent Falls themselves. The forest is also only a 10-minute drive from the Victoria Falls international airport. 

So, you have the best of both – immersed into the tranquillity of the African bush, surrounded by wildlife, our resident lions & nature; whilst moments away from the hustle and bustle of Victoria Falls, a tourist hotspot with a vibrant atmosphere and unique opportunities. 

You will be waking up to the sounds of crickets and birds every day, the lions roaring, or elephants trumpeting. Here, each day will offer exciting new experiences and surprises. 

Lion & Game Park Management Vic Falls 4

Lion and Wildlife Sanctuary FAQs

How endangered is the lion population?

Lions have been declared as vulnerable species. Lions now occupy just 8% of the land they once dominated. 80 years ago, 200,000 lions were roaming the wild (WWF Living Planet Report 2016.)

Today, it is understood to be to just 22,00 wild lions remaining. That’s a 43% decline in the last 25 years alone! (1993-2018.)

What are the biggest threats facing the lion population?
  • A loss of habitat:  Lions have lost 92% of the territory they once roamed. This drastic reduction of their natural environment has caused a decrease in prey and food sources.
  • Human-wildlife conflict – the biggest issue.  Lions who roam outside of fenced or protected areas are exposed to less natural prey and turn to farm livestock instead. On a continent where locals’ livestock is their wealth, African people who have seen their wealth and therefore livelihoods destroyed, turn to create traps to kill the lions that harmed their livestock and livelihood. This is a major focus of our conservation efforts, to overcome the conflict between local people and the surrounding wildlife.
  • The disease has been a dominant contributing factor to the vast decline in the lion population in the last few years. Diseases including feline leukaemia virus, bovine tuberculosis and morbillivirus have severely harmed South Africa and its lion population. A combination of inbreeding, as a result of small population growth, has also caused genetic problems and therefore, further problems to the already dwindling population.
Is it safe to work around lions?

Working around any lion (captive or wild) comes with its risks. However, the safety of our volunteers is of our utmost priority. You will be accompanied by experienced animal handlers whenever you are in close contact with lions. We advise you to use your common sense and remember that you are working around wild animals, not domestic cats!

Our lions are not tame but are safe to interact with until a certain age/ point. By following the advice and instructions of our experienced handlers and remain aware of your surroundings at all times, you can have an incredible and safe experience around some of Africa’s most iconic animals.

Why this lion conservation program?
  • You will be part of the team, implementing our innovative conservation efforts and contributing towards securing the future of the incredible African Lion.
  • You will assist in vital park management and lion upkeep.
  • You will have the opportunity to take our conservation efforts further, out to the local communities as part of our mission to overcome human-wildlife conflict.
  • Experience the once in a lifetime opportunity to walk alongside side the incredible African Lion, experience and memory that will last a time life; as well as a range of wildlife-based activities.
  • You will meet people from all over the globe and create amazing new friendships, while also experiencing the best of what Victoria Falls has to offer (and trust us, there is a ton on offer!)

Know Before You Go

Visa Requirements

Packing List

Code of Conduct