Zambia, a small landlocked country in Southern Africa, offers mad adventure and incredible wildlife viewing well off the beaten path. With access to majestic national parks, a natural world wonder, and rich cultural heritage, this country is often underestimated and well worth a long stay.

About the size of Texas, three wide and strong rivers form the lifeblood of the nation. Zambia offers some of the best safari experiences in the world and zebras and giraffe still roam freely in some areas.

With very little infrastructure, Zambia is still very much considered a developing nation. Independent travel can be a challenge as road and public transport are difficult, however, there are many trustworthy program providers that can help any gapper take advantage of the minimal tourist crowds.

Zambia offers a glimpse into the “real Africa” from generations past – there is no reason why volunteers shouldn’t go out of their way to discover its natural energy.

Zambia is in a unique position – with both a real need for volunteers and undiscovered raw beauty, programs have the magic combination of both adventure and purpose. Make sure to do you research and identify a program that allows you to connect with the Zambian people and utilize your skills.

Orphanages

When many people think of Africa they see photos of travelers with young African children. Of course Zambia has a large number of children who are displaced and put into orphanages. Many of these children had their parents die from HIV/AIDS and/or have the disease themselves.

There are many opportunities to get involved – however, make sure as a volunteer you think deeply about your opinion on orphanage volunteering. Oftentimes there is a deep psychological impact on children from short-term visitors. Make sure to research your host organization well if this is the type of volunteering that appeals to you. If you’re untrained, your skills may be better put to use in another area.

HIV/AIDS clinics

12% of the population in Zambia has HIV/AIDS. The rates of infection are continually decreasing but there are still organizations that will take volunteers. If you have medical expertise you can work at an HIV clinic or if you are unqualified you can join teams and participate in community education initiatives.

Teaching

There are plenty of options to teach English or work with school age children throughout the country. You can even use this experience to boost your resume! Depending on your interest -- you can help in a nursery school, give nutrition consultations, assist with women’s empowerment initiatives or join public health trainings.

You will likely have to cover your base expenses depending on the project -- however, don’t underestimate how much you will gain from this experience. If you are willing to give in both time and money the depth of your impact will be far greater.

How much does it cost to do a gap year in Zambia?

The cost of living is fairly low from a western perspective. However, most comfort items are imported – so bear in mind that your typical toiletries and favorite foods will be expensive.

Victoria Falls is without the largest tourist attraction in the area (for good reason, it’s INCREDIBLE) but activities in Livingstone are expensive.

There's a lot to see and do as a traveler in Southern Africa – make sure to budget appropriately so that you don’t miss out on an adventure!

Health and Safety of Volunteers in Zambia

Be sure to talk to your personal physician about the appropriate vaccinations approximately six months before you leave. You also need to have travel insurance during your stay – this needs to include emergency repatriation back to your home country.

If traveling through South Africa, you'll have to have proof of a yellow fever vaccine.

In general, you won’t have any issues finding a private clinic to address most of your health needs while in Zambia. Tap water is usually fine for brushing teeth and cleaning veggies. Just be aware of your surroundings and drink potable or bottled water.

Many of program providers will be based in the capital city of Lusaka. While this is a great option for many volunteers (as it is close to major facilities), there are options throughout the country that will provide you a variety of community-based experiences. Livingstone is also a common place for volunteers as it is a major tourist hub.

Realistically though, while volunteering in Zambia, there’s a good chance you’ll be in a much smaller village outside the major cities.

Volunteer Programs in Zambia

Displaying 1 - 15 of 31 programs
International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ
Most Affordable & Trusted Volunteer Programs in Zambia from $270
Zambia
9.78 •32 reviews

Trusted by 110,000+ volunteers, IVHQ offers the most popular volunteer...

GVI
GVI: Volunteer with Children
Zambia
9.83 •12 reviews

GVI offers a carefully selected range of projects in different...

African Impact
Volunteer Projects in Zambia with African Impact
Zambia
9.69 •32 reviews

Rich culture and adventure are abundant in this African nation...

Love Volunteers
Make a REAL difference in Zambia - From just US$280!
Zambia
9.5 •2 reviews

Volunteer with Love Volunteers in Zambia to help make a difference...

Village Book Builders
Become an Online Mentor
Multiple Countries
10 •12 reviews

Due to COVID we are putting expeditions on pause but you can still...

One World Center
18-Month: Fighting Shoulder to Shoulder with the Poor
Multiple Countries
9.85 •13 reviews

This is a study-volunteer program on global poverty and sustainable...

One World Center
10-Month: Fighting Shoulder to Shoulder with the Poor
Multiple Countries
9.4 •5 reviews

This is a volunteer abroad program on global poverty and sustainable...

Tru Experience Travel
TRU Experience Travel: Volunteer Projects in Multiple Locations
Multiple Countries
9.8 •5 reviews

Tru Experience Travel have some of the most amazing volunteer...

Kaya Responsible Travel
Kaya Volunteer Programs in Zambia
Zambia
10 •1 review

With truly awe-inspiring natural wonders, an abundance of wildlife...

Mukuni Big Five Safaris
Mukuni Big Five Safaris Wildlife Volunteering
Zambia
10 •5 reviews

Where else can you work with 4 species of animals all under one roof...

Unearth the World
Building project in Zambia
Zambia
10 •1 review

Unearth the World has partnered with a non-profit organization in...

Bhubesi Pride
Volunteer and Teach Ruby Throughout Africa
Multiple Countries
9 •6 reviews

After a hugely successful 2014 project in which we worked with 46...

One World Institute
Fighting with the poor - Volunteer in Africa or Asia
Multiple Countries
10 •2 reviews

Fighting with the poor program offers studying which consists of a...

College for International Co-Operation and Development
Fight for the poor throughout Africa, 21 month volunteer program - from £350
Multiple Countries
10 •2 reviews

CICD has taken an active stand to some of the most burning issues of...

Malawian Style
Volunteer Adventure Program Lake Malawi
Multiple Countries
9.33 •3 reviews

This 6 week program offers the perfect opportunity to give back...

What People Are Saying

I had a great opportunity to volunteer at One World Center for 18 months, It was an amazing experience ever in my life, I had so much fun meeting people from all over the world and I also had the...

This picture was taken in Chibutuine School last day of class

I went to Zambia with the willingness, attitude and desire to take advantage and learn from the Zambian culture. After going back and looking back, I realize that with this experience I have grown as...

Lunsala - Mumena, Zambia. I went to four different communities schools around the village.This the experiences we have had has helped us to grow personally, where the working and communication relationships between project leaders, school principals, teachers and students, help us to form a broader and reflective understanding of the important external agents (volunteers) in improving processes for a better education.

I am a volunteer, I always believed in how interesting it would be to serve with goodwill, with my hands, my ideas, my strengths and even more with my weaknesses. It sounds weird, but to think about...

Malawi's Children

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