Lion & Game Park Management
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Lion & Game Park Volunteering Project
Africa would not be the same without its incredible beauty nor its majestic lions. Nothing would be more devastating to this continent and its economy than losing its natural resources and wildlife.
With this project, not only will you be joining a dedicated team as they work towards restoring and maintaining 4000 acres of a natural haven, but you will also play a vital part in the lion conservation efforts by getting closer to this animal than you’ve ever imagined.
Helping the environment and Africa’s wildlife is possible, with you on the team!
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.
I have travelled all around the world and experienced an eclectic mix of adventures and I would count my 2 weeks as a volunteer in Victoria Falls as one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Every day was an education, as the itinerary covered a variety of tasks, some of which built confidence in my abilities as they were out of my comfort zone. The itinerary was varied and managed very well. Each day was filled with fun, learning and a sense of achievement. I would recommend this experience to anyone that wants to add value to their life and help others in the process. You cannot put a price on such an experience and no matter what age you are Volunteer Encounter will welcome you, as will the other volunteers. I am getting withdrawal symptoms already!
‘I have had a great time. The projects have been interesting and diverse, the interactions with especially the lions have been everything I hoped for and more and the staff have been perfect all the way through. Special thanks to Maaike for all her help, she has really gone up and beyond and ensured that the stay has been as fun and comfortable as possible, to Lenard for freaking us out with his stories and endless knowledge of everything, and of course to chef for delicious food.’
‘I had such a great time volunteering with lions in Victoria Falls. The staff and crew were so nice and friendly and they all made my time in Zimbabwe so fun. The housing and the food was good, and just being so close to the wildlife and the amazing falls was truly an amazing experience! ’
You know a trip has been good when you wish you could do it all again! As a volunteer for Volunteer Encounter focussing on lion conservation, I learnt so much about these amazing animals, their habitat and the initiatives in place to stop them becoming an endangered species. Each day brought new activities from working in villages to see how smallholders protect their land from lions, to teaching primary school children and I even enjoyed litter picking, to keep the habitats of wild animals clear. In the evening I loved listening to my fellow volunteers, who were working in the community or on the photography course and enjoyed the fun atmosphere around the fire. Weekends were free but we were keen to pack as much into them as possible with a trip to Botswana, a trip to the thundering Vic Falls and the local markets. I learnt so much about Zimbabwe, it’s wildlife and the extensive work being done to protect it, the wonderful communities, my fellow volunteers but most of all I learnt a lot about myself!’
Your Project, Your Purpose
You will alternate your days between park management tasks and lion conservation work. Both are very incredibly rewarding, unforgettable and satisfying experiences.
The project focuses on the rehabilitation of 4000 acres of prime forest estate and then its maintenance as a wildlife haven. Originally leased from the government of Zimbabwe what once was protected land later lost its purpose and was in a rapid state of decline. That’s where your help comes in!
Be part of the team that creates an environment where ecosystems can thrive by helping with the following activities: Game feeding, wildlife habituation, bush manipulation, road creation and maintenance, waterhole management and development, wildlife surveys through camera trapping, tracking and monitoring, anti-poaching through boundary patrols and snare sweeping among others. How exciting is that?
But that’s not all! Here’s where the big cats make their entrance!
African lion populations have been declining by an astonishing 43% from 1993 to 2018, according to IUCN research. That means that from 300,000 lions 25 years ago, only slightly over 22,000 remain in the wild across Africa today. The decrease in population is higher than any other species, including the rhino.
That’s why the groundbreaking program ALERT (African Lion and Environmental Research Trust), was launched in 2005. Not only it is the only one like it anywhere in the world, but also, it has proved to be successful. Recently, one of our cubs, Lalamika made her first kill at only 14 months of age. Without her mother’s teachings and only with the skills that she learnt through our walks with volunteers, she was able to succeed in doing what nature programmed her to do.
The staged lion release program aims to release the wild offspring of captive bred lions into appropriate national parks, and reserves across Africa. But in order to accomplish all goals, we need you.
We know the lion as the king of the jungle. In reality, the lion is an ambassador for all wildlife by generating the much-needed income required to sustain our various conservation and community development initiatives.
You will play a vital role in the care and upkeep of our captive lions by helping with the following activities: Spending time with our cubs on their daily walks as they get more familiar with their natural environment, preparation of their meals, cleaning of their enclosures and development of ingenious enrichment activities designed to spark their natural instincts and test all their senses.
Because wildlife conservation and community development go hand in hand, you will also work with communities to educate them on meeting the challenges of living alongside dangerous predators. Conducting research to improve our understanding of the lion’s behaviour in Africa’s ecosystems helps to minimize human-lion conflict within the surrounding communities.
Helping the environment, people and wildlife, all at once.
A Day In Your Life
- Find yourself at the forefront of various conservation initiatives in and around Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of The World.
- Enjoy unique and unforgettable close encounters with magnificent African lions by taking the cubs on daily walks in the only place in Zimbabwe that you can do this!
- Assist in the upkeep of our resident lions by caring for them, by feeding them and cleaning their enclosures while getting to know their personalities and take part in behavioural enrichment activities by making toys from natural materials to stimulate the lions’ predatory and sensory behaviours.
- Attend conflict scenes in order to provide help and solutions, record vital data, map predator movements through camera trapping and spoor surveying as well as strengthen livestock bomas and field fences to limit wildlife accessibility.
- 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 the level of conflicts.
- Join our team of dedicated conservationists who work tirelessly within our private reserve ensuring that we maintain an environment for ecosystems to thrive.
- Get your hands dirty (Yeah!) by helping to remove alien plant species, by going through waterhole and fire management tasks and by joining snare sweeps and litter picks. It’s as important as it sounds.
- Spend your days and nights tracking and monitoring wildlife within our area.
- At an additional cost, fill your weekends with adrenaline activities like bungee jumping and white water rafting. Take advantage of optional trips to Botswana’s Chobe National Park or visit our wild-born cubs in release sites located at our bases in Livingstone, Zambia or Antelope Park, Zimbabwe.
- Make friends for life with other international volunteers while you play a vital role in the conservation of one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and World Heritage Site, the magnificent Victoria Falls.
→ Prices start from $2376 or £1391 for 2 weeks
Our start dates for 2019 are:
We generally ask for volunteers to arrive at this project every other Sunday or Monday, and you can volunteer from 2 weeks up to 12 weeks.
- 7, 14 & 28 January
- 11 & 25 February
- 11 & 25 March
- 8 & 22 April
- 6 & 20 May
- 3 & 17 June
- 1, 15 & 29 July
- 12 & 26 August
- 9 & 23 September
- 7 & 21 October
- 4 & 18 November
- 2, 16 & 30 December
(This project remains open over the Christmas period)