African Impact - Volunteer Projects in Zambia

Provider: African Impact

Join African Impact on an amazing journey to volunteer with lions and make an impact through community volunteer work in Zambia.

African Impact offers medical gap year projects, teaching projects - educating children in one of the country's most underprivileged communities and an opportunity to volunteer at the Chimpanzee Sanctuary in northern Zambia. With HIV/AIDS projects and orphan volunteer projects to invest yourself in, we can guarantee that your time in Africa will be one that makes a difference and is never forgotten!

Zambia is the perfect destination for voluntourism as it is rich in wild-life, ideal for safari adventures and is home to one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Victoria Falls. Here you can bungee, abseil, river-raft, take a cruise and enjoy many more breath-taking opportunities on the waters of the Zambezi River.

Program Info

Location: 
  • ZambiaLivingstone
Volunteer Types: 
Health
Sexual Health
Disabled Care
Medical
Childcare
Orphan Care
Street Children
Community Development
Conservation
Environmental Conservation
Wildlife Conservation
Education
Teaching
Sports
Program Length: 
2-4 weeks
1-3 months
3-6 months
Cost: 
$500 - $2,000 (USD)
$2,000 - $5,000 (USD)
See site for details.
See More
Age Group: 
18-22
22-35
50+
Cost Description: 

The volunteer fee for our projects not only covers your board and lodging, transport and resources used while on project; but it also contributes to the development of new projects in communities and areas where they are needed, and gives us the ability to sustain our projects even during the quiet season.

Languages: 
English
Other
Housing: 
Volunteer House
Application: 
Online Application

Videos

Program Reviews (12)

97%
Positive
Leave a Review
  • Impact
    90%
  • Support
    96%
  • Fun
    97%
  • Value
    96%
  • Safety
    96%
  • Carleen Green
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    London, Ontario
    University of Western Ontario
    Jump right in
    11/02/2014

    I'm sitting in front of the computer screen here wondering how to write a review that can do African Impact justice. Although any experience amounts to what you put into it, my time with African Impact was more meaningful than I can begin to explain. It started with walking into the accommodations and meeting the staff and other volunteers. Almost immediately, all of my worries about the first day were gone. Everything from the meals, to laundry, to weekly activities are organized and inclusive and make you feel right at home. I took part in a sports development project and the incredible relationship that African Impact has in the community shone through. It was important to me to be able to jump right in and African Impact made that step seem effortless. As soon as you have to pull away in the van to head back for lunch, you are already counting down the minutes before you can jump right back into the fun! One of my most memorable moments was helping run a session for the local tag rugby team at the sports centre one afternoon, and the next morning, heading to the school and seeing the kids I had learned to play tag rugby with the day before. I couldn't help but think that this is exactly where I needed to be. Whether we were playing Uno at the Old People's Home or picking up a few good soccer moves from the kids, it didn't matter what time it was or what day of the week it was, all that mattered was doing something that mattered in that moment. Incredible trip.

    How could this program be improved?

    I would not change anything about the program, but I would suggest that volunteers looking to stay for shorter periods of time (2-3 weeks) for any reason, consider an extra few weeks if at all possible. I wish I had known that 2 weeks would fly by like it was yesterday, however this was a personal learning curve that I am hope by sharing - will lead to new volunteers opting for longer stays...the community and the follow up is incredible.

    Was this review...?
    Useful: 0 Inspiring: 1
  • Stephanie Chase
    Age: 25-30
    Female
    Canada
    University of British Columbia
    Livingstone Teaching & Community Project
    10/10/2014

    Volunteering with African Impact in Livingstone was an amazing experience. I had great expectations about the trip, and these were exceeded! Volunteering in the teaching and community project was a perfect way to be involved with the local people and see many aspects of their daily lives in Livingstone. I taught in a grade six class every morning during the week, and then in the afternoons we were assigned in groups to different projects, such as farming, reading club, or playing games with the elderly at the Maramba Old People's Home. Something I had not expected so much was the social life outside of the volunteer projects. Some of us would go play volleyball with the locals every Tuesday and Thursday, and socialize during Happy Hour on Fridays, with some dancing to follow at one of the local bars! We also were able to visit Victoria Falls in the evenings or weekends, and a group of us also went on an overnight safari trip to Botswana. And I cannot forget walking with the lions at the Lion Encounter! I will never forget my experience in Livingstone, especially the children and the people, who all open their hearts to you. I cannot wait to return one day!

    Photos:
    Was this review...?
    Useful: 0 Inspiring: 0
  • Jaikrishnan
    Age: 25-30
    Male
    Singapore
    University of London
    Lion Encounter Project
    08/08/2014

    I never thought i could walk side by side with a lion and what an amazing experience it was! Unfortunately the numbers are declining and the project still seems to be in it's first steps, it is a step in the right direction. The staffs and organisers aim to let volunteers have a true and controlled exposure and experience and it was thoroughly enjoyable. An experience i would not forget for the rest of my life definitely!

    How could this program be improved?

    Accomodation and food.

    Was this review...?
    Useful: 0 Inspiring: 0
  • Matt
    Age: 18 or younger
    Male
    Munich, Germany
    Teaching Project in Livingstone
    07/28/2014

    Words can't really describe how unbelievable my experience with African Impact was. The staff are amazing, Livingstone is beautiful and so are the people, the accommodations are lovely, the food is great and above all you make a genuine impact in children's lives. You are assigned to a school and go into a specific classroom to help support a local teacher. In the time that you are there you will forge unforgettable relationships with your kids and hopefully leave a long lasting impact! Bottom line is: African Impact in unbelievable and you have to do it!

    Was this review...?
    Useful: 1 Inspiring: 1
  • Libby Scott
    Age: 51 or older
    Female
    Newport Oregon
    California Institute of the Arts
    Wish I could have stayed forever!
    06/26/2014

    I spent two weeks at Lion Encounter and it was incredible. The staff was wonderful, the guides LOVE their lions, I met the incredible people from all over the world and made new life long friends. I read a past review of someone who didn't feel safe as a woman traveling alone and I always felt very safe at Lion Encounter. I was always treated with respect and kindness. The accommodations are rustic but suitable, hot showers only last about 3 minutes, food was good, lots of down time to relax (a pool would be great!) I enjoyed some of the other great things in the area; a bungee jump, micro flight over the falls, and a traditional English Tea at the Royal Livingstone Hotel. I should have stayed longer though, at least 3 weeks. I hope that this program can continue to raise money and build larger enclosures for the lions that no longer go on walks. They have close to 50 lions at the project and many of these lions have to get out in to the wild or at least to larger areas where they can roam more freely. It takes time and I wish them nothing but the best to raise the funds they need. I'll be back!!

    How could this program be improved?

    As I said above I worry about the lions that no longer go on walks and are still living in smaller enclosures. Being someone who has worked at a zoo for 20 years, it almost is like you have a "zoo" there. The enclosures are somewhat big which is good. I don't think there is enough enrichment done for those lions as we made the same toys for them over and over. I understand why you can't use anything artificial but since there are no immediate plans to release them and they may never be released I think some other things to keep them stimulated would be good to avoid stereotypic behaviours. When people clean the enclosures they should try and rearrange the habitat as much as possible as well so the lions always have something to explore. I know your resources are limited but there are always things you can do...even if it's just little changes here and there. **I had no idea that I was going to be working with tourist on Lion Walks - you should really mention that in the description. Maybe you do and I missed it?

    Was this review...?
    Useful: 0 Inspiring: 0
  • qyan
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    UK
    University of Buckingham
    Amazing experience
    06/26/2014

    I joined this programme this year. To be able to get a chance to take care of the loins and to build the connection with the lions are just incredible. I also get a chance to help the local community, such as attend the book club to teach English to the primary students. Staff there are super helpful and friendly. And don't even need to mention that I got to see the spectacular Victoria Fall. This programme really worth the time and the money. You get more than you put in.

    Was this review...?
    Useful: 0 Inspiring: 0
  • Louisa P
    Age: 25-30
    Female
    United States
    Other
    Most Amazing
    04/05/2014

    This program is doing so much to help reduce and one day eliminate the decline of the African Lion. They are on the up and up with a friendly staff and an amazing mission. I wish them much success! Highly highly recommended program. Looking to go back soon!

    How could this program be improved?

    The only thing I would have liked to know prior to going would be to have known that we were to work everyday 7 days a week. I was not prepared as I was assuming we'd work 5days a week with two off. It got a bit overwhelming two weeks in it can get exhausting but they do give you a chance to take time off. I just wasn't properly prepared mentally for the continuous work days.

    Was this review...?
    Useful: 0 Inspiring: 0
  • Marissa
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Oak Lawn, Illinois
    University of Illinois- Urbana-Champaign
    Helpful Staff, Fun Environment
    02/10/2014

    I participated on the teaching project with African Impact in Livingstone, Zambia and had a wonderful experience. The staff was extremely helpful and did their best to make sure you were comfortable and feeling at home. They also did a great job of addressing unexpected situations that arose, which are common in Africa.

    On the projects, we would teach every weekday in the mornings, then have a break for lunch, and then volunteer for a few hours in the afternoon at various places such as after school reading clubs or the old people's home. We had the weekends off to participate on any adventures or excursions that we wanted to! The volunteer house also has plenty of activities for the volunteers. There is a pool, bar, and rock climbing wall out back, and plenty of couches and areas to kick back and relax.

    Volunteering abroad was an amazing life changing experience that opened up my eyes to other parts of the world. Don't be discouraged if you don't have any teaching experience. I didn't either and I was able to catch on quickly with some help from the on-site staff and other volunteers. I volunteered for just 2 weeks and was able to meet tons of lifelong friends from all over the world. The people in Livingstone were so friendly and welcoming, and it is a joy to work with the kids and see how eager they are to learn. For more on my experiences, check out some of my blog posts from my trip: http://itsthelittlethingsblog.wordpress.com/category/traveling/africa/

    How could this program be improved?

    My only complaint is that I would have preferred to receive the pre-departure email from them further in advance. The content in the email was extremely helpful in preparing you for what to expect upon arrival, but it would have been nice to have that information earlier.

    Was this review...?
    Useful: 0 Inspiring: 0
  • Stew Rose
    Age: 25-30
    Male
    Toronto, Canada.
    Brock University
    My experience with African Impact
    02/04/2014

    Working with African Impact was the most profound and fruitful experience of my entire life. I advise any potential volunteers to embrace the culture and keep an open mind in order to learn more about yourself and the world around you through the experience of giving. Thank you so much for allowing me the opportunity to build relationships with so many wonderful people from all ages and walks of life in the beautiful community of Livingstone!

    How could this program be improved?

    More feedback on volunteer performance from Coordinators.

    Was this review...?
    Useful: 0 Inspiring: 0
  • I Forys
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    UK
    Manchester Metropolitan University
    Best Experience of my life!!
    05/03/2012

    Volunteering in Livingstone allowed me to soak up the culture whether that was through Home Based Care or just chatting to the children at family support. It changed my perspective on life; it made me a more positive person and showed me how people in Livingstone live such a difficult life yet are still so happy and how back home we should appreciate everything that we have. The medical programme is very well put together; from the organisation beforehand and getting it booked to the support from staff on the project. I fell in love with Africa and hope to return in the very near future.

    They have the most helpful staff, making an amazing impact on local communities! Always so much going on. Weekends free to see local sights such as the amazing Victoria Falls. I met some friends for life and wouldn't have changed a single thing about it!!!

    Was this review...?
    Useful: 0 Inspiring: 0
  • Kayla
    Age: 25-30
    Female
    Ontario, Canada
    Other
    Lion Encounter Volunteer Program
    03/26/2012

    Volunteering with Lion Encounter was a great experience. It was my first time to Africa and I fell in love with Zambia and its people.

    The program itself was very interesting and everyday was different. Although walking the Lions was the main purpose, behind the scenes tasks also needed to be done like meat prep, enclosure cleaning/maintenance, behaviour enrichment and snare sweeps to mention a few. Research tasks also needed to be conducted for hunting purposes with the cubs and activity budgets with the release site lions and elephant research as well.

    Client walks were also conducted for tourists in the area wanting to experience walking with lions. All in all a great experience and every task related back to the purpose and need of the program.

    Not only were the tasks varied they were well organized and conducted by experienced handlers/guides who were always open to questions and helped along the way.

    The accommodation was basic but comfortable for Africa and the food was amazing. Our chef was very talented and could cater to various dietary needs.

    This program also allows interaction with a couple of local schools through teaching an Environmental Club and Kids Club either during the school week or on a Saturday morning.

    Volunteering really made me appreciate the time I spent in Zambia with both the animals and the people. The African way of life if quite different than that of the western world but rarely do you see someone without a smile on their face!

    I would highly recommend volunteering in Zambia, Lion Encounter specifically was amazing but I believe anywhere in Zambia would create amazing experiences and the locals are very welcoming and thankful.

    Was this review...?
    Useful: 0 Inspiring: 0

Alumni Interviews

  • Izabela Forys - Zambia Volunteer

    Morning: We would get up around 7am and help ourselves to toast and cereal before setting off on the project at around 7:45am. As I was on the medical project I would spend my morning either in clinics or on home based care in the community. When I was in the clinics I would be checking blood pressure, taking temperatures, weighing babies or helping out in the pharmacy.

    If I was out on home based care we would be going round the communities with a caregiver and offer advice or some very basic medication, for example, pain killers or multivitamins. Once the morning was up we would be taken back to our backpacker's accommodation for lunch.

    Afternoon: After lunch we would head out on the community projects. There were a variety of afternoon projects so you would be somewhere different every day. You could be painting the inside of a school, doing some farming at a local farm, teaching at art club or taking part in reading club.

    However, my favorite was family support where we would take books, balls, coloring books, skipping ropes and lots more to an empty piece of land and all of a sudden all of these young children would appear. They would always be smiling and would just want to play with you or read with you. Many of the children have no toys at home so this was their only chance to actually be children.

    Riding an elephant
    Amazing ride on an elephant

    Evening: In the evenings we had our own free time to do whatever we liked, sometimes we would catch some rays before our evening meal or we would go out to a local bar for some drinks as a group. One of the evenings we went to see an African dance show which showed lots of different dances from all over Zambia. There was a bar at our backpacker's so a lot of the time we would chill out, grab a drink and play cards or prepare for the following day of volunteering.

    Highlights: I loved every second of my time in Livingstone and there were many highlights. It was amazing to see one of the natural wonders of the world, the Victoria Falls! Absolutely stunning!

    I also got to walk with lions, ride an elephant and see one of the few white rhinos remaining in Zambia. I made friends for life, it is an experience I will never forget. I cannot wait to return to Livingstone this summer!

  • Why did you decide to enroll with African Impact in Zambia?

    The lion is walking me
    The lion is walking me

    Libby: I was looking to take a vacation that would provide me with more of a lifetime experience rather than sitting on a beach drinking beers.

    I had been to Africa twice before and it was always a very rejuvenating, special, and meaningful trip. I needed to remind myself of what's important in life, connect with nature, and give some of my time.

    In my search for a trip to take, I simply put "Volunteer in Africa" in google knowing that I would find several options.

    After looking at the African Impact page and seeing the hands-on lion conservation program, I knew that it what I wanted to do. I have been working in the zoo industry for 20 years and got my start working with lions in captivity.

    Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

    Libby: My day started early with our first group meeting at 6:45am to get our day's assignments. You would either do a client walk (lion walk with paying tourist) or a walk with just the guides and other volunteers.

    There was also meat prep for the lions, creating enrichment toys for the lions, learning about the culture of Zambia, helping clean up trash along the road, cleaning lion enclosures, going to local schools for community outreach, or the best...walking and spending time with the cubs!

    The morning, afternoon, and late afternoon sessions were about two hours long so you had a break for breakfast, a long break for lunch, and you were done by 5:00pm pretty much every day.

    I also had the opportunity for some free time and had the thrill of bungee jumping off the Victoria Falls Bridge. I also got a traditional "high tea" at a luxury hotel and did a micro flight over the falls as well.

    Do you feel like you made a significant impact on the local community? Why or why not?

    Walking with lions
    Walking with lions

    Libby: As far as school community outreach, I did help (but very little as I was there for the lions) with reading to kids. I helped with physical education and taught art class.

    I know the kids really appreciate it. I would have liked to talk more to the community about why lions are so important to the ecosystem.

    Without a predator to regulate prey populations, the ecosystem will collapse, ultimately affecting not only animal populations, but the climate, the rivers, the land, and etc.

    I think, on a whole, the project is making an impact. I personally just played a small role, but as mentioned, I think more lessons should be made on the demise of wild lion populations.

    What was the most interesting cultural difference you encountered?

    Love at first sight!
    Love at first sight!

    Libby: I did not really encounter any cultural difference since I had been to Africa before and had seen the difference between life in a game reserve and life in a populated city like Livingstone or Nairobi.

    Tell me about one person you met.

    Libby: It would be impossible to name just one! I met wonderful people from around the world and became instant friends with some of them.

    They are people I will know for a very long time and who I hope to visit in their home county or town. I was touched by some of the lion handlers and how much they loved "their" lions.

    They were all very friendly and fun to be around as well. The staff was very helpful, approachable, and took the time to make sure we were all happy and enjoying ourselves.

  • Why did you decide to volunteer with African Impact in Zambia?

    Marissa with Godfrey, one of the students at Holiday Club

    Marissa: I had a month off from school for winter break, and I knew I wanted to take advantage of that time by traveling and doing something useful rather than sitting around at home.

    I was familiar with a few different volunteer organizations, but I was looking for a program that ran during the Christmas holiday.

    African Impact had the perfect program where I was able to work with kids on a teaching program during the holiday season.

    They are also a reputable company that has many projects running year round all over Africa, so I was confident that they would be a great organization to volunteer with.

    How has this experience impacted your future?

    Marissa: After volunteering in Zambia I am much more open minded about the viewpoints and cultures of others.

    I am also more appreciative and grateful for the simple necessities in my life that I had previously taken for granted. Some of the kids would come to school barefoot every day or wear the same clothes for the entire week. One boy even came to school once in just his underwear!

    It was a life enhancing experience that made me realize how much I have, and it gave me the desire to give back more to those in need, whether it is around the world or right in my own community.

    What was the best moment of the entire trip?

    Students at Zambezi Sawmills Community School with their crowns we made for "England Day"

    Marissa: Determining the best moment is always difficult because there were so many to choose from!

    One of my favorites was playing "Freeze Dance" ("Musical Statues") with the kids. They loved the music and were so happy to dance and play a game. Lots of them were actually very good dancers!

    It was uplifting to see the kids let loose for a while since many of them have to look after their younger siblings and take care of many other adult responsibilities when they are not in school.

    What did you wish you knew before going to Zambia?

    Marissa: I thought I wouldn't need it, but that "travel rule" of always bringing at least one nice outfit still applies here! We would go out on the weekends sometimes or occasionally go to a nicer place for dinner. It never hurts to throw a dressier outfit in your suitcase to be prepared just in case!

    On the flip side, it's always helpful to bring plenty of old clothes that you don't care much about anymore. I brought some, but I definitely could have squeezed more into my luggage. These are great for working on projects since you may get dirty and will likely be sweaty depending on which project you are working on.

    And the best part- you can leave with a fairly empty suitcase coming home! Some of the locals at the markets will be happy to trade some of the items they are selling in exchange for clothes/shoes/hats/etc., or you could even donate any unwanted items to African Impact.

    I brought along an old bag that ripped while I was in Zambia. What I initially thought would be garbage turned out to be completely fixable thanks to the fantastic sewing skills of the Zambian staff.

    It made me wish I had brought along more of the clothes and other accessories I have lying around my house that I don't even use anymore!

    Do you feel like you made a significant impact on the local community? Why or why not?

    A group of the girls at Holiday Club.

    Definitely! Although I do wish I could have stayed longer, even in the short period of time that I was in Zambia I learned that every little bit of help counts.

    Whether it is bringing along donations, teaching others something you are skilled at, or showing a child that you care about them, every little thing makes a difference.

    Specifically for the teaching program, providing education for kids who may not be able to afford it otherwise can go a long way.

    Ultimately what it comes down to is the impact that all the volunteers make by uniting together. Everyone comes and goes through the volunteer program, but regardless of the length of their stay each person plays a role in contributing toward African Impact's larger vision of "bringing about positive change where it's needed."

  • Wildlife in Zambia, Africa
    Volunteer in Zambia, Africa with African Impact

    Why did you decide to volunteer with African Impact in Zambia?

    Anthony: I decided to volunteer with African Impact because they are a very reputable company specializing in volunteer projects in Africa. African Impact is a very vibrant and fun company solely dedicated to making a difference and making sure that all their volunteers and staff are safe and having a good time. I also chose African Impact because all of the volunteers roomed together in one large building and travelled to and from projects together; this made sure that I never felt alone or uncomfortable.

    Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

    Anthony: Each morning we would wake up at 7:00, have a typical breakfast of cereal and toast, and depart to project by 07:45. As a part of the medical project, we would either spend our time in the local clinics, at the Old People's home or out doing home-based care. Home-based care was truly fascinating - we were dropped off at the cusp of rural villages, armed only with a backpack of supplies, and we would move from house to house treating people with any and all kind of ailments. One of my most memorable moments involves cleaning and bandaging the old wounds of a male patient! The local clinics were always bustling with local people and always left us with a memorable morning; every Wednesday morning we would weigh over 100 babies at the Linda clinic!

    Volunteer with local kids from Zambia
    Anthony playing with local kids

    After eating lunch at 12:00 we would relax by the pool and catch some sun before it was off to afternoon project at 14:00! The array of afternoon projects that African Impact supported was truly amazing - these projects included: reading club, art club, after-school programs, YCTC, farming, HIV education at the local prison, football club and painting. No matter which project you are assigned, you are guaranteed to have a small group of children following you around and climbing all over you! A few of my favorite afternoon memories come from the after-school program and HIV education at the local prison. The after-school program included participating in games/activities with a whole bunch of children in an open field - all while kids climb all over you! The HIV education program at the local prison was truly amazing; not only were the prisoners very intent and appreciative of the information, it was a truly enlightening experience.

    After arriving "home" from project at 16:30, all of the volunteers would hang out around the house or perhaps venture into town to the local markets. The local markets in town, like the Marumba Market, were great for finding unique items not typically found at the "tourist" markets, like quality Zambian football jerseys. The Curio market, a "tourist" market, was a 5 minute walk away from the Livingstone Backpackers and had everything from paintings to small wooden carvings - make sure to go towards the end of the day for the best deals! Dinner was at 18:00 and was always amazing - from home-made lasagna, to a full-out braai (Zambian barbeque) we were never left hungry.

    After dinner, the Livingstone Backpackers became a fun and exciting place - the comfortable and relaxing atmosphere made it very easy for all of the volunteers to enjoy each other's company and get to know one another. Fridays were especially fun as most of the volunteers and staff got together to celebrate "happy hour." No matter what night of the week, there were always volunteers and backpackers alike sitting down by the bar enjoying a drink, having a swim in the pool or playing cards in the volunteer house! Whatever social scene you prefer, you are guaranteed to have a great time!

    Volunteer with African Impact group with a rainbow
    The volunteers lounging in a natural pool

    What made this experience unique and special?

    Anthony: This volunteering trip was unique and special because I was able to experience another part of the world that I may never see again. Zambia is a truly special place with an amazing landscape and even more amazing people, everyone was so welcoming and I felt right at home as soon as I arrived. While on project, I was able to get right into the action giving me a sense of satisfaction - I actually felt like I was making a difference. After leaving Zambia, I look back on the two weeks that I spent with African Impact and I have absolutely no regrets.

    How has this experience impacted your future?

    Anthony: This experience has made me much more appreciative of all that I have in my everyday life. Volunteering in Zambia has made me realize that having your health and family, above all else, are the most important things in life. Also, I have come to the self-realization that whatever career I pursue, I would like to be helping those who are less fortunate than I am.

  • Why did you decide to volunteer with African Impact in Zambia?

    Christos: I woke up one day wondering what it is I wanted do for Christmas and suddenly it hit me! I thought, why not try volunteer tourism... I would get to see new places, travel to real Africa, meet interesting people while at the same time I would be involved in something humanitarian. Believe it or not, it was a self-healing process, a wonderful trip and a beyond words experience. I didn't know African Impact until then, but after Googling "volunteer tourism" I reached the conclusion that this organization serves its purpose in a sincere and secure way.

    Christos volunteered with children in Zambia with African Impact
    Christos volunteered with children in Zambia with African Impact

    Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

    Christos: The day to day activities were pretty simple. We would wake up early in the morning, have breakfast, shower and then prepare for the days project. Depending on what your project was (medical, teaching, farming, old people, etc.) we would gather in the preparation room with the other volunteers assigned to the same project for the day and take all necessary equipment as well as discuss with them what it is we will be doing.

    For example, I was teaching at an orphan's school in Livingstone, the Nakatindi. We would get our geography maps, our soccer balls, our pens and pencils, notebooks, picture books for children, and a few stickers to reward those children that come in time, and would later get in the van that would drop each volunteer at their project. We would spend the first few hours in the classroom and then we would take the kids out to play soccer..their favorite sport in the world. The first half of the day would end there. We would then gather by the volunteers house, have lunch, get some rest and head for the second half right after. That would either be Mwandi school, or the old peoples home where we would read the elderly travel books for example or play with them bingo and checkers. After finishing that half, we had the rest of the day free.

    Volunteer in Zambia at a school or orphanage to make a difference in young lives
    Volunteer in Zambia at a school or orphanage to make a difference in young lives

    How has this experience helped you grow personally and professionally?

    Christos: There is more than one way this experience impacted my future, past and present on a personal basis as far as I'm concerned. First of all, I realized that these kids are happy the way they are. The Western world tends to think that we need to adopt a couple and offer them a better life. That's mistaken.

    All they need is education. Education to move forward with their lives and do something. They don't need to leave their country, and believe me they don't want to. There are more lessons I took from these kids than what I gave them. And to that, all the volunteers agreed. The biggest one was that possession doesn't guarantee happiness as we tend to believe. A smile and a hug would do just fine.

    Overall, it was an experimental trip for me, as it was something I had never done in the past. The experiment was successful. I'm leaving again in April for a different project, again with African Impact.

  • Why did you decide to volunteer with African Impact in Zambia?

    Kayla: The reason I decided to volunteer overseas was because I had always wanted to volunteer and have an chance to give something back. After consulting with a friend from college we decided to go volunteer together and thus began our research to find the right program for us. A friend from high school had recently been involved in a volunteer program so I messaged her for more information which is how I found African Impact. After reviewing their website and the various programs they offer I felt confident in the organization and decided to send them an enquiry. The knowledge, accuracy and information on the website was really helpful and most questions could be answered through the website.

    Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

    Kayla: Day to day activities vary but the basic schedule is the same. Every morning there is a house meeting at 6:45am. Here the manager, or intern in my case, goes over the board on which the days tasks are delegated.

    The first activity begins at 7am and, depending on your task, a handler will come to the house and meet you to take you to workstation whether it be the Lion Enclosure, Meat Prep area, Bush or perhaps onto a vehicle if you are heading to a different site. Each activity your are placed on always has handlers or guides and sometimes management members so there is always someone to teach you, help you, answer questions and just have fun with.

    The first session is approximately 2 hours long and once complete you return to the house for breakfast cooked by the amazing house chefs. Second session begins at 10am and follows the same pick up/meeting arrangement with the handlers and lasts again approximately 2 hours. Occasionally you may have a double morning session where you will receive a packed breakfast, for example Dambwa Research you have lunch at the Boma on the Dambwa Release site grounds or if your are teaching at Maunga school on a Saturday Morning packed breakfast is provided.

    After lunch the last session begins at 2:30pm again being collected by a handler and heading off to your workstation. This again lasts approximately 2 hours when you return to the house for dinner at 6pm.

    Discover wildlife while volunteering in Zambia with African Impact
    Discover wildlife while volunteering in Zambia with African Impact

    The evenings are free however if staying at the house there are limited grounds you can roam freely due to living within the national park and the fact that wild animals are roaming as well. Taxi's can be arranged for trips to town, our for dinner, optional excursions etc. There is also security at the house that can escort you to/from Bristol (another lodging area) or Thorntree Lodge (Guest lodge next door with a great deck and bar). There is also a TV with DVD player in the lounge and some board games for the evenings or free time.

    The various task you could be doing are Lion Walk, Client Lion Walk, Training Lion Walk, Meat Prep/Enclosure Cleaning, Enclosure Maintenance, Behavior Enrichment, Dambwa Tour, Dambwa Research, Dambwa Enclosure Cleaning, Elephant Research, Lesson Planning, Conservation Club (teaching), Children's club (teaching), Tour of Tour, Town and Snare Sweeping. Of course there may be times when you have a session off or are away doing optional excursions.

    What made this experience unique and special?

    Kayla: I think the people of Zambia have truly made this experience unique and special as all the handlers and guides were local Zambians and each of them make you feel welcome and part of the team, they are very friendly and encouraging as well. They are also very knowledgable on both their own and other countries so make sure you know facts about your own country as they will definitly ask.

    The general public of Zambia that I had the chance to see were always friendly and said hello even when passing in the streets and those that ran the optional excursions were also great. Even the school children were very polite and eager to learn.

    Not only locals made this experience special but the Management at Lion Encounter were also very welcoming, answered any questions you had, helped book tours and were a fun crowd.

    Last but not least the other volunteers. There were 5 of us that arrived on the same day and we got on well which helped since I was traveling solo I knew I had people to do optional activities with, go for drinks or dinner etc. There were also some University students on site doing research who were locals but amazing people, so friendly, fun and encouraging. I can't not mention the amazing 7 Lion cubs I was able to work closely with and get to know, they could be doing absolutely nothing and bring a smile to my face!

    How has this experience helped you grow personally and professionally?

    Kayla: This experience has impacted my future in many ways. It has made me look at life in a new light. Seeing how other people live with perhaps not as much as we have in the Western world really made me appreciate not only what I have but what I need. It really showed me that I can get by with the basics and still have fun, be happy and enjoy life. Through learning about the Lions themselves and the decrease in population it has opened my eyes to the need of this program and the value of the outcome of its success.

    Professionally, being a travel and tourism college graduate, I have been able to see the direct influence of this industry to the economy of Zambia as without tourism the country would not be where it is today. If this program didn't exist and as a result the lions become extinct in Zambia the country will financially suffer through the loss of tourism as safari game drives and seeing African Lions is one of the major attractions of this country. Through this experience it makes me want to do more to encourage travel to the area and help promote the need of the Lion Rehabilitation Program and its success.

About the provider

African Impact is a multi-award winning volunteer travel organisation which runs and manages meaningful and responsible volunteer experiences and internship programs throughout Africa. The organisation was founded in 2004 in Zimbabwe, and since then has grown into the Africa leaders in volunteer tourism, having facilitated over 12,000 volunteers and interns in 12 countries across the continent.

We're proud to offer fun, safe and structured placements where volunteers understand their contribution to responsible projects run in partnership with local communities and conservation efforts. Our journey so far has been both inspiring and humbling and we will keep pushing the horizons of what volunteering can achieve.