Volunteer Programs in Zimbabwe with African Impact

Video and Photos

About

Zimbabwe is very special to us as it’s where African Impact was founded in 2004. We have introduced thousands of volunteers to this beautiful country over the years and are proud to see the positive changes volunteering has made. The local people, mostly from the Shona and Ndebele tribes, are amongst the warmest people you'll ever meet, while the country is a playground for much of Africa’s abundant wildlife and has some of the continent’s must beautiful scenery. It is also home to the glorious Victoria Falls, known to the locals as Mosi-ao-Tunya, the ‘smoke that thunders’.

You stand a chance to grow your skill set against this magnificent backdrop, whether you are passionate about lions, conservation, photography, healthcare, childcare, or education.

African Impact's Top Volunteer Programs in Zimbabwe

Questions & Answers

Reviews

98%
based on 15 reviews
  • Impact 9.3
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 9.2
  • Value 9.6
  • Safety 9.9
Showing 1 - 15 of 15
Default avatar
Madison
10/10

Trip of a lifetime!

Volunteering in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe was absolutely amazing! From the amount of wildlife, the incredible staff and people, and the breathtaking adventures combined made this experience extraordinary.
While in Victoria Falls, I was able to go white water rafting in the Zambezi river, take a microlight above the falls, go on safari day trips and much more!
As I was volunteering, I go to get up close and personal with wild lions and would take part on community projects. I really got to understand and experience culture, which was an awesome addition.
Anyone looking to volunteer here, I would HIGHLY recommend it. I would love to go back sometime in the future!

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Imogen
10/10

Zimbabwe photography

Incredible experience with African impact. Tour guides were excellent and made us feel at home and well informed. Would advice to go into the main house as it is a more social environment. Made lots of friends and had an excellent time. You learn lots of photography and the teachers are great, the classes are small and they give you individualised attention. Great trip for people thinking of starting out photography but also beautiful landscapes for more advanced photographers.

How can this program be improved?
None
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Elissa
9/10

My Time as a Photography Volunteer

I had never been to Zimbabwe before, just Kenya and Tanzania, so this was the first time I was going to Africa not knowing what to expect. When I arrived into the Bulawayo airport and later at Antelope Park, I was greeted with nothing but smiling faces. Immediately, I felt so welcomed and appreciated as a volunteer. As I was doing the conservation photography program and there were not many of us, I was worried that we would be very separated from the rest of the group. However, our activities included everything possible—lion walks, carriage rides, horseback rides, research drives, game drives, elephant herding astrophotography, and more! We also had the flexibility to do what we wanted to do, which was always a nice option.

The staff always made sure we were well taken care and that we were safe at all times. The African Impact, Antelope Park and ALERT staff were always willing to answer questions about the program, and I learned so much about lion conservation during my short two weeks during the program... I'm already planning my next African Impact trip!

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Amy
10/10

Completely mind blown!

Volunteering in Africa was something I have wanted to do for as long as I can remember, though in every way my expectations were completely exceeded. Every person I met in Zimbabwe, from cooks and housekeepers to community project managers, lion handlers and the volunteer and admin coordinators were the most friendly people and all so knowledgeable within their respective fields. On top of this, there wasn’t a single occasion I didn’t feel 100% safe!

I was on the community project so majority of my time was spent with people; primary schools, preschools, the Rose of Charity Orphanage and the Old People’s Home. Whether you were teaching maths at Monde Primary (I had 4th Grade!), testing out your finger painting ability at the old people’s home, teaching sounds at Reading Club or simply hanging out with kids on a Saturday at the orphanage, every single second spent on project was so rewarding. You could really see how what you were doing was contributing to the short and long-term goals of African Impact.

An awesome highlight was, thanks to the flexibility of African Impact, despite being based in community, I also got to dabble in the other project areas- walking with the lions on several occasions and being apart of the research projects like game counting and even a camping trip for hyena monitoring! My days off were equally as amazing. We rafted down the Zambezi and threw ourselves of a perfectly stable gorge three times with the adrenaline combo. We also took a day trip into Botswana for safari and to Zambia so we could quite literally hang off the edge of the falls at Devil’s Pools.

Overall the experience was nothing short of incredible- I wasn’t prepared for the attachment I would feel for many of the people (kids and adults alike) I met on project and the way they would fill me with happiness even though I was the one who was meant to be bringing them whatever happiness I could by volunteering in the first place. My advice is simple- if you’re considering volunteering in Africa- DO IT- I’ve only been home a week and I’m already working out when I can go back!

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Ben
10/10

Victoria Falls!!!

The first 4 weeks of 2016 were incredible and thats all thanks to African Impact and the team at Victoria Falls. This was my first time volunteering, my first time travelling alone, and my first time in Africa and I loved every single minute!

The trip taught me so much, volunteering with lions and the community of Victoria falls was so special. The team as Masuwe where the lion project is based made me feel so welcome as part of the team, the knowledge and passion they show is why the programme with continue to be a success, and being a part of it makes me feel proud. Although I spent most of my time with the lions walking, interacting and playing with them, the flexibility of the programme at Victoria Falls enabled me to enjoy the research and community projects. Visiting and helping the community taught me so much and changed my outlook on life, how they live in poverty but give you so much happiness, you always are smiling.

The trip has had a huge impact on my life and I am thankful to the team at African Impact. Victoria falls is such a wonderful location, the perfect place to volunteer, I would recommend any of the projects to anyone, they really are special, I gained so much knowledge and learnt so much, and had the time of my life!! I just hope I can return one day.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Chagit
10/10

Awesome experience

I volunteered in Vic Falls as a community volunteer.
The community projects were diverse, and we really got the feeling that the people we worked with appreciated it. We got to meet so many people that at first it was a bit overwhelming, but after a couple of weeks it already felt like home.
What was really great about the program, apart from the community projects, was that we volunteers were able to go to other projects, and see the research project and help out with the lions. I didn't know that would be an option but it was a pleasant surprise.
After four weeks of volunteering I had to leave, and it was pretty difficult to do. It's amazing the kind of connections one can make over such a short period of time. It has only been a few months since I got back, but I'm already trying to make plans to go again.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Frederiek
9/10

The biggest African family

Even though when I was little my parents took me on holidays no further than France I've always had the desire to travel to Africa. So in 2013 when I turned eighteen I left for Victoria Falls Zimbabwe for the first time. I could have not imagined a more life changing experience, it sounds so cliche but I guess you just have to find out yourself. It's the tiniest things that they do different; the way they share problems and joy, the way even the little kids care for each other, the always 'open arms' mentality, the feeling that there isn't a thing in the world you have to do all on your own. I remember being at the orphanage for the first time on a sunny saturday afternoon, singing and dancing like they do every week. Enjoying the moment my mind started to wander, until I realized what I was actually singing along. 'We sing together, we are a family, we love together, we are a family', and there I stood in the middle of the biggest and most loving family I'll ever know. Luckily I was able to volunteer again in 2015 and will be back soon : )

How can this program be improved?
There is always ways to improve and new ideas that can be brought to life, but the community volunteer program in Victoria Falls Zimbabwe is already full of different kinds of projects, people and activities. The diversity is what makes it so great, you really get to see and experience the local life, know the surroundings, places to be and feel at home in a part of the world you've never thought you would be.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Stacy
9/10

African Impact - Victoria Falls

I have wanted to visit Africa my whole life. To finally make it here, and to be part of such an amazing program is truly a dream come true. I spent four weeks in Victoria Falls on the lion project over the holidays, and enjoyed every moment. All of the staff members, from the guides and handlers to the cooks and housekeepers, were just the most friendly and lovely people. The accomodations are simple and comfortable, and the food was great. There is much to do in Victoria Falls, including adventure sports, restaurants and bars, and plenty of sight-seeing options. But the real draw for me was the wildlife, and soon became specifically a brother and sister pair of lions, Pendo and Pezulu, that quickly stole my heart. Every walk with them was unique and special, and being a part of their young lives was a true privilege. I was truly impressed with the devotion of everyone to the care of these amazing animals. If you are considering this program, the simple answer is DO IT.

How can this program be improved?
It would be ideal for the volunteer accomodations to be in the park with the lions. Faster internet would be very welcome. But overall, no complaints.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Trevor
10/10

Lion Encounter Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe

Do you want to do something that will live with you forever then become a Lion Encounter volunteer in Zimbabwe at Victoria Falls.If you have a love of big cats and their survival in the wild do this program you wont be disappointed.Firstly I have been a volunteer 4 times now at Vic Falls and if I could I would be there full time I just love it that much and you will too.The lions you work with ranging in ages from as young as 2 to 3 months up to 18 months old and at 18 months old they are big.The program is not just with the lions,you are involved in an educational course that will change your life forever.The different aspects of the program range from learning about Zimbabwe the language the history and most importantly the people that live in this beautiful country to me gods country. The staff that you work with are the most friendly and informative people you'll ever meet in Africa from Katy the volunteer co-ordinator to Lenard who is such a pleasure to be with who also works with co ordinating the volunteers, from the lion handlers to the scouts who are ever searching the bush for any signs of danger, the staff in the kitchen who the best meals everyday. There are heaps of activities that you can do in your leisure time from white water rafting the mighty Zambezi River just below the falls to horse riding, fishing,river cruises,day trips to Botswana or Zambia, these extra activities are at you own cost but again these activities are unique.The other volunteers you meet from all over the world will will your friends forever. .Lastly I have done and seen a lot right across Africa but working with lions has been the icing on the cake i'll be back with my wife next year I wish it was this year, you know the Nike saying JUST DO IT while you can.

How can this program be improved?
I would have accommodation for trusted volunteers at Masuwe instead of Adventure Zone in Vic Falls town, this accommodation for people who would like a real feeling of being in the African bush at night, and also when available the National Park Lodges by the Zambezi River, apart from that I think the program is perfect I just love it.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Gregory
10/10

It changed my life!!!

I never wanted to go to Africa. I am 59 years old with 6 children and 14 grandchildren. I always thought I could use my resources to help those in need closer to home, but my youngest daughter wanted to teach in an orphanage in Africa, so I was volunteered by my wife to go with her. I didn't realize until I got there that God was calling me to Africa. WOW!!! First of all, the African Impact staff are wonderful. We worked closely with Norman Moyo in the community project, helping and teaching in the Rose of Charity orphanage, cutting firewood at the old folks home in Chinotimba, pumping water by hand for the community gardens, teaching at the village schools. His love of the people and his commitment to helping them improve their lives was fantastic. He opened my eyes, not only to the great need, but also to the great benefits that can be provided by a volunteer like me, and how the standard of living for the people of the villages can be improved so dramatically by just a few people who really care and have the ability to channel resources to their aid. I will never forget holding the young boy Angle in my arms, and seeing his huge smile as the light of comprehension lit up his face as I taught him mathematics. Playing soccer with young teenagers like So Bright and Nigel, and wondering if a small donation from me could go toward buying soccer shoes for these young men.
I guess what I'm saying is that I found that the local people who are going out of their way to help their fellow countrymen was the greatest revelation to me. These are people I can trust, and if i choose to send donations to them after I leave Africa, I am confident they will use the resources to help the people with the greatest need.
One of my concerns before arriving was about our safety, but upon arrival I felt totally safe at all times. The drinking water in Vic Falls is safe due to a purification plant outside of town. While doing our volunteering we were always with knowledgeable staff who kept us safe, and even when we went into town on our own, the people in the city were happy and a delight to be around.
Learning about and participating in the Lion Encounter project and helping with the other research projects was just an added bonus, and I haven't even mentioned the other volunteers from all over the world. They were amazing - so passionate and dedicated. I was really impressed.
I am now dedicated to helping African Impact in any way I can. I am working to get donations, and I will be speaking at various organizations to encourage volunteerism with African Impact. As I said above, the experience has changed my life, and I will be connected to Africa for the rest of my life.

How can this program be improved?
I would provide more connections to potential volunteers. I would have loved to have spoken to someone from the USA who had been there and been able to learn from their experience, so that I would have been more prepared when I arrived.

I'd also like to see better lesson planning and student tracking. When we arrived, we were just told to teach them anything. We didn't know what the volunteers had taught them before us, and we had no information about the academic abilities of the various children we were being asked to teach. With student records and lesson plans that can be passed from one volunteer to the next, I believe you would see the students progressing much faster.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Prajwal
10/10

Just one word- Perfect!

It's been 7 months i'm back from Zimbabwe, looks like i still can't get over it.

Yes, people thought i was crazy to do this but when i look back i see myself extremely happy with no regrets of listening to others.
Initially i was a little nervous as i was not sure what and how it's going to be like, after i went there,.. I don't know how heaven looks or feels. But i would tell this was HEAVEN to me. Walking with the lions was a dream come true. Watching them stalk,hunt, their behavioral skills. not just lions i was lucky to work with those 4 elephants too. Shibi being my favorite. Staff extremely friendly. Food was delicious. And the people extremely friendly.

I just wish to get back as soon as possible.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Jenna
10/10

"You know you are truly alive when you are living among lions"

Where do I start...the lion rehabilitation programme was amazing and I had the time of my life. I am now officially hooked and am looking forward to arragning my next trip. Being so close to these magnificent creatures is incredible, and you really have to pinch yourself every time. To watch them grow and develop their hunting skills is an honour. And on top of that the staff that work there are incredible - they are friendly, supportive and know their lion facts inside out. Of course the reason that you are there is because of the plight of these king of beasts, not just to stroke and walk them. You are constantly reminded of this and this can only be a good thing, because the more people that know how endangered the lion is, hopefully the more can be done. I dont know what else to say apart from if you want to get involved in a project of great importance, where you get up close to lions and walk in the african bush then go...dont hesitate! I am absolutely sure you will love it.

How can this program be improved?
I do not have any negative feedback, loved every second...
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Lion
10/10

An unforgettable experience

If, like me, you want to get closer than you would have believed possible to the King of the Jungle while contributing to a programme aiming to reverse the decline in numbers of these magnificent beasts, this is the project for you. I spent an amazing month in the beautiful setting of Antelope Park in April 2012. As a solo traveller I really appreciated being picked up at the airport and having every detail of my transfer to the park taken care of. The accomodation is simple but clean and laundy and three fantastic cooked meals a day are included as well as unlimited tea, coffee water and juice. On day 1, after a full safety briefing, you get to go on your first lion walk and meet one of the sets of lions you'll be working with. Safety of guests and volunteers is taken very seriously and there are always experienced handlers with you when you're working with the animals. The snake induction is particularly useful as we encounterd a number of poisonous snakes around camp and on the walks! The day starts and ends with either a lion walk or herding the 4 lovely elephants to and from their bomas. In between you'll have jobs ranging from food preparation to enclosure cleaning and maintenance or boundary patrol and snare sweeping.There are also plenty of opportunities to interact with the lions in smaller groups during cub sitting and behaviour enrichment. Playing with a 16 month old lion was definitely a highlight for me! If you're there during a full moon be sure to go on a lunar elephant or horse ride and a night encounter, where you watch the older lions (who are retired from walking) hunt for prey is also a great experience. AP has a very successful stage 2 of this 4 stage programme where you can observe a pride that is hunting and breeding with minimal human involvement. The lion volunteer programme operates alongside a community programme so on Saturdays you can visit two of the local orphanages. Spending time with the children is both heart warming and an eye opener. The staff, and particular the guides and handlers, are fantastic and go out of their way to make your stay unforgettable. One of the real testaments of this volunteering experience is the number of people who go back time and time again. I met one woman who was on her 6th trip!

How can this program be improved?
If I have one criticism it's that the AP volunteer project is perhaps becoming a victim of its own success. Volunteer numbers are high - there were almost 50 volunteers at one stage during my visit, the majority of these on the lion programme. If there are only 4 walking lions, as there were when I was there, the lion walks can be very busy. If you prefer a higher ratio of lions to volunteers it's worth checking out the Zambia or Victoria Falls programmes where volunteer numbers tend to be lower.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Helene
10/10

Lion Heart

Do you ever dream of seeing a lion up close? To walk next to the King of the Jungle? To feel its soft fur under your hands as you stroke it? Dream no more, volunteer at Antelope Park with African Impact and your dream will be fulfilled.
The experience you will get at Antelope Park will last you a life time. Here,in the summer of 2012, I got to be a part of a crucial program to save the African Lion. And the best part was that you were given proof of the programs success. I saw how the lions evolved in their natural habitat, becoming more and more confident everyday. And this in only 4 weeks time. By the last week, we were running after the lions as they chased Impala, zebra and even giraffes. These are the lions that you as a volunteer will be with everyday. They are only at stage 1 of a 4 stage program to rehabilitate and re-introduce them to the wild. Another proof that made me truly believe that everything African Impact is trying to do for the African Lion really works was when I saw a Kill. As a volunteer you will get the chance to visit Stage 2, the release site where lions who have been thru stage 1 are roaming free in their natural habitat. It was here that we saw the magnificent pride run into the long grass and take down a dukier (small antelope). To see that these lions preformed as lions would in the wild was truly spellbinding and something I will never forget.
Other activités include, meat prep and lion feed (one of my many favorites), elephant training, horse safari, cub sit, research, a weekend trip to Victoria Falls and many more. The staff are some of the greatest people I have ever met and they take great care of you and they always make sure that you are safe.
I suppose the best part of this volunteer program is that you get so close to the lions to the point where you feel you know them, and would never want to leave them. That is why I am planning my return in 2014, but for now I carry all the lions and my memories of Antelope park in my heart.

How can this program be improved?
There is really nothing I would change, and I would have to be really picky to find something to be critical about. So, all I can say is that I wish there was an option where volunteers could stay longer than 4 weeks.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Julie
10/10

Lion Project Volunteer

I visited Antelope Park in September 2012 as a volunteer. I can only give positive feedback from my trip as it was the most educational, exciting and inspiring experience of my life. Being in my 50's I was quite apprehensive initially, I was quite nervous and not sure what to expect. From the moment we landed in Bulawayo the AP team gave us 100% help and support. We were met at the airport and taken straight to AP where we were shown straight to our volunteer accommodation,which was very basic but comfortable. We were then given a full tour of the park. We were given various safety talks, I must say that the team at AP are extremely on the ball when it comes to safety. We were given 3 fabulous meals a day and unlimited tea/coffee/water throughout. A normal day at AP would be to get up about 5.30am working day normally starts about 6.30am depending on what we were doing, I used to love the early morning lion walks, we would then return for breakfast and then going of to work, there are so many different things to do from cleaning up lion poo to elephant training,horse riding, cub sitting (my favorite) behavioral enrichment, elephant herding, border patrol the list just goes on and on. At the end of the day we would enjoy our 3 course evening meal and then time to sit around the fire and catch up with other volunteers. I could write for hours but I don't have the space. All I can say is Antelope Park is an absolutely fabulous place and if you have the chance then you must go to volunteer you will not regret it. From the moment I left AP I knew I had to return, I have already started to save up to return in 2014. Don't forget that the money you pay to volunteer at AP all goes to the rehabilitation project, the African lions need all the help and support that we can give.

How can this program be improved?
I cannot think of anything negative, (only that the showers were cold quite a lot). For personally it was an uplifting experience.
Yes, I recommend this program

Interviews

Meet the Alumni

Meet the Staff

About African Impact

African Impact pioneered responsible volunteer travel in Africa back in 2004 and have since grown into the largest provider of volunteer projects on the continent. Proudly African, they work hand-in-hand with local communities to establish, develop...