Lion & Game Park Management

Make a difference for the African Lions in Victoria Falls

→ Prices start from $1007 or £769 for 1 week

Why Volunteer with Lions in Africa

Volunteering with animals in Africa is one thing. Volunteering with lions, however, offers a totally unique and incredible insight into what it takes to conserve wildlife on this magical continent.

The Lion population is dwindling fast. According to IUCN research, there were 200,000 lions in the wild just 25 years ago. Today, just over 22,000 remain. The lion population has seen the highest decline of any other species, including the rhino. The Lion is so iconic and precious to Africa, and we must do something now to stop this decline.

Volunteer with Africa’s iconic wildlife and the magnificent African lion, making your mark on wildlife conservation and park management, as you join us in our mission to protect and preserve this exquisite species for many more generations to come.

With incredible and extremely close lion encounters on offer, this is a once in a lifetime adventure that awaits you.

Lion Conservation Volunteer Reviews

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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.

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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!

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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 lions and other wildlife. Due to the nature of the projects your activities may change on a daily basis depending on the present needs of the projects as well as the weather, so this type of work requires someone who is flexible, 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 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 animals while assisting in the upkeep of our resident lions alongside a variety of other species of wildlife. Expand your knowledge and passion for these animals by helping us care for them. Feeding, cleaning and enrichment activities are but a few ways in which to get to know and love their individual personalities and characters.  
  • Join our dedicated team within our private reserve working tirelessly 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 INaturalist and SABAP2 accessed by a multitude of scientists for use in global conservation initiatives. 
  • Accompany ALERT researchers as they conduct vital research in the Zambezi National Park. Assist in tracking and monitoring collared elephant as well as aid in various other projects such as game counts.
  • 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.

Our Goals and Objectives

We pride ourselves on the care and upkeep of our captive wildlife. Our animals are ambassadors for various conservation and community initiatives that we are dedicated to, including rehabilitating the forest estate that our project is located on and collecting data on various species in the Zambezi National Park. 

All our activities have specific aims and objectives to ensure we are reaching our goals.

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 lions with the most suitable nutritional diet and to ensure all lions are hydrated at all times.
  • Meat is measured and distributed to each lion depending on their size, weight and other factors of the individual lions 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. 

Who is ALERT?

ALERT stands for the African Lion and Environmental Research Trust and is an internationally registered non-profit organisation founded in 2005. Dedicated to making a real difference to conservation and communities in Africa.

Initially established to support the Lion Rehabilitation program, ALERT has developed in a holistic, multi-disciplined conservation organisation. 

With focal projects in two key National Parks in Zimbabwe where full ecosystems are studied and monitored, including large predators, their prey and other key species such as elephants. 

A major part of ALERT’s approach is the very important involvement of communities who lie alongside the Protected Areas and who often suffer from conflicts with wildlife. Our conservation education and classroom support allow us the opportunity to spread the importance of conservation to the next generation, and to involve teachers, community leaders and children in developing better ways to coexist with wildlife.

It is many of these projects that our volunteers contribute to throughout their day to day activities.

ALERT Projects

Chizarira National Park

Known as the hidden gorges, Chizarira National Park is Zimbabwe’s 4th largest National Park at 2000 square km and one of the most remote locations in the country. 

Sadly, for more than 30 years there has not been much work done or support for this park.

In 2017, ALERT and the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to carry out various research projects. Today ALERT has established projects focusing on Lion and Elephant populations, as well as various other general monitoring projects such as game counts and vegetation monitoring.

This data is shared on to the Park management, who without it, have had major issues in understanding the status, numbers or trends of the wildlife populations in the area.

ALERT has also introduced and helped to develop various human wildlife conflict mitigation methods in the surrounding communities, as well as establish conservation education in the local schools. Both are firsts for the area.

Victoria Falls

Famed as being home to one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, Victoria Falls is also a wildlife haven. Situated within the Zambezi National Park, there is constant need for effective wildlife monitoring for better coexistence between a flourishing tourist town and the ecosystem surrounding it.

ALERT over the years has established a variety of projects in both conservation and community development in the area.

Conservation work focuses on giraffe population studies, spotted hyena monitoring, elephant demographics and distribution as well as general wildlife surveys.

Community work focuses on human/wildlife conflict mitigation, conservation education and old age care.

ALERT’s works extensively with other stakeholders in the area, and continues to aid in the care and maintenance of this truly unique area.

Lion Rehabilitation and Release Program

ALERT is a proud partner and firm supporter of our Lion Rehabilitation and Release Program. Whilst progress of the program has been stifled, ALERT remains dedicated to testing the model believes it is a solution to aiding a still rapidly declining lion population.  

ALERT continues to promote the program across its network, and aids with scientific data collection, analysis and publishing of its progress.

The lion is a key symbol of Africa, and its long-term survival is at risk. ALERT is dedicated to ensuring the future of this majestic animal for generations to come.

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

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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?  

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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.  

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GEORGE 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!

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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?

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FLIGHT OF ANGELS

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

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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!

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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!  

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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. 

Our Start Dates for 2020 are:

  • 5 & 19 October
  • 2, 16 & 30 November
  • 14 & 28 December

Our Start Dates for 2021 are:

  • 4, 11, 25 January
  • 8, 22 February
  • 8, 22 March
  • 5, 19 April
  • 3, 17, 31 May
  • 14, 28 June
  • 5, 12, 19, 26 July
  • 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 August
  • 6, 20 September
  • 4, 18 October
  • 1, 15, 29 November
  • 13, 27 December
DurationCost GBPCost USD
1 Week£ 769$ 1,007
2 Weeks£ 1,099$ 1,440
3 Weeks£ 1,396$ 1,829
4 Weeks£ 1,691$ 2,215
5 Weeks£ 1,987$ 2,603
6 Weeks£ 2,282$ 2,989
7 Weeks£ 2,578$ 3,377
8 Weeks£ 2,873$ 3,764
9 Weeks£ 3,169$ 4,151
10 Weeks£ 3,465$ 4,539
11 Weeks£ 3,760$ 4,926
12 Weeks£ 4,056$ 5,313
DurationCost GBPCost USD
1 Week£ 769$ 1,007
2 Weeks£ 1,099$ 1,440
3 Weeks£ 1,396$ 1,829
4 Weeks£ 1,691$ 2,215
5 Weeks£ 1,987$ 2,603
6 Weeks£ 2,282$ 2,989
7 Weeks£ 2,578$ 3,377
8 Weeks£ 2,873$ 3,764
9 Weeks£ 3,169$ 4,151
10 Weeks£ 3,465$ 4,539
11 Weeks£ 3,760$ 4,926
12 Weeks£ 4,056$ 5,313

Enquire about this project.

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Lion Conservation Project 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!)
Lion Conservation Project FAQs

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