Rhino and Elephant Conservation

Video and Photos

About

An amazing opportunity to get involved with the conservation of the endangered Black Rhino at a world-renowned black rhino breeding centre in Zimbabwe. You will be based at a 10,000 acre family-owned conservancy, where you will get hands-on experience with anti-poaching activities, rhino and elephant research projects, wildlife monitoring and game park management.

Experience day to day life on an African game reserve and contribute to the long term protection of endangered African animals, focusing on rhinos and elephants. Learn about four of Africa’s Big 5 game - lion, elephants, rhinos and buffalos, as well as a huge range of plains game including giraffe, zebra, sable, kudu, waterbuck and wildebeest. This project is truly an animal-lovers paradise.

During your spare time you will have the opportunity to enjoy horse safaris, hiking, canoeing and fishing, as well as enjoying camp-outs in the bush under the amazing African skies.

Highlights
  • A unique opportunity to live and work alongside two of Africa's most iconic species - the rhino and elephant
  • Immerse yourself in daily conservancy life as you get involved in everything the reserve has to offer
  • Experience the local community and culture as you work in the local school and visit rural villages
  • Learn to identify the tracks and signs of wild animals, and understand large mammal behaviour
  • Form close relationships with animals and people and make new friends for life

Questions & Answers

Hi Lena, All volunteers need to have their own personal travel insurance which covers them for the activities on the project, lost or delayed baggage, flight cancellations, evacuation and repatriation. We recommend World Nomads for this project. Travel insurance is for your own cost. Thank you for your enquiry!

Reviews

98%
based on 13 reviews
  • Impact 9.7
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.4
  • Value 9.5
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 1 - 13 of 13
Default avatar
Rob
10/10

'An experience that I shall never forget'

I knew volunteering at an animal conservation was going to be difficult and I knew I was going to walk away with some scratches and bruises (here’s looking at you, cutting down trees). I also knew it would be incredibly rewarding, and I was not wrong. [This project] was an experience that I shall never forget. The people in the community, the animals and the staff were all truly wonderful in every way. I was only at [this project] for a week and yet I got to experience so much! From being hands on with the rhinos and elephants and spending time with the local children, learning how to cook pumpkin leaves and shucking corn, to of course cleaning out the bomas. Every second was was exciting and meaningful, except all the hay, the hay was not exciting buuuuut important so I guess that makes it ok! I would and will recommend the [] volunteer program to anyone with not only a passion for animals but a passion for people as well. I look forward to one day returning to [this project] and will keep my beautiful memories with me forever.

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

A Place To Call Home

This conservancy has so much heart. Every where you turn you are moved by this place. The Travers family are such dedicated wildlife conservationists, the staff are so passionate, the animals are so respected and protected. It is beyond heart-warming to be involved in the day-to-day aspects of conservancy. You work hard, you experience, and you walk away having grown and learned more than you could have imagined. This place gets under your skin, it becomes a part of who you are, and because of this, you will undoubtedly be back. The hardest thing I’ve had to do in my recent memory was leave this project, but I know it wasn’t goodbye, it was see you next time.

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

Why Imire is better than the 35 countries I visited

1. When you travel internationally it is always nice to make new friends. When you travel to Imire you make friends for life and they become your family away from home.

2. You get more interaction with elephants and rhinos than people who spend thousands on safaris. You also feel like you can really make a difference by being a volunteer.

3. Imire really cares and values their volunteers. The Imire team goes out of their way to not only accommodate the needs of their volunteers but goes above and beyond - way above and beyond and removes any stress and makes you happy!

4. The food is good with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

5. I felt very safe.

6. The people at Imire are amazing! Imire is blessed to have such a wonderful team. I have so many wonderful things to say about Mike, Bright, Mr Brown, the elephant handlers, Jane on pre-trip help. I am so thankful for Mike as our house host - he was perfect. He really makes the experience great for all the volunteers.

I have travelled to 35 counties and this is the first place I want to go again and again. It tops Thailand and Australia and that is hard to do!

How can this program be improved?
Disclose the extra costs in the pack and add work gloves to the packing list!
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Ada
10/10

The whole trip was amazing!

As I arrived I felt welcomed straight away. Mike is an amazing guy and I knew whatever I needed he would help me.
All the activities were amazing and the handlers were very friendly. I had a great experience that would be hard to replicate anywhere else. Every day was different and enjoyable.
Thank you so much for this experience and keep doing your wonderful work!

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

An amazing trip!

This whole trip has been an amazing one. There is nothing I can fault. As soon as I arrived I felt welcomed and comfortable straightaway. The staff are all lovely and are more than happy to help you and answer any questions you might have. Mike and Bright are amazing at their jobs, they always make you feel welcomed and are very funny and interesting men!
The activities were great and I am sure that this experience would be hard to replicate anywhere else. It has been worth every penny and every second that I have spent here and I am so glad I chose this wonderful place and project.
The work that is done with the animals is wonderful.
Spending time with the animals, especially the rhinos and elephants, was surreal - its so hands on and I wasn't expecting the wonderful experience that I had. It was such a brilliant trip.
The social life was also good and there was a perfect balance of work and relaxation. The other volunteers were all really nice people and I have made some amazing friends. The food was always on point and the meal out at the lodge was delicious.
A brilliant 3 weeks, thanks for everything!

How can this program be improved?
Nothing needs improving, it's fantastic as it is (maybe build me a house here if possible!).
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Amy
10/10

My time in Zimbabwe

I don't have a day that really stands out as every day was so magical and special to me. Some great times:
- My first ride with Judy and Anne was amazing. Riding amongst the African animals and listening to Judy's stories was great!
- Being at Imire and around the Travers family taught me to look at life differently, don't take anything for granted and if you have a problem, find a positive and work on it.
- Being able to work alongside inspirational people was fantastic. Meeting Jacob and his family was such a special part of my time. Working alongside his family, we have helped create a better life for him.

Day to day life was so good, it feels like home. The staff are incredible, clean house, amazing food, beautiful garden - I could live here forever. This was my first time in Africa and my first time volunteering. And what a great way to start! Bright is simply amazing, he kept everyone going!

Before coming here I never thought I would achieve anything like this on my own as I had very rough patches a while ago with a brain injury. Yet it has made me such a strong person. I know I can go on and do whatever I want - that is because of you! I could never say thank you enough :)

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

Rhino girl is back!

This was my second time visiting Zimbabwe and this project. Needless to say I love this place! When I received the news that Tafika the baby rhino was born I knew I had to come back ASAP! My favourite animal and what my friends would call my obsession, is Rhinos! My friends even call me rhino girl so seeing Tafika was a given highlight as well as catching up with my dear "old" friend, aka the best rhino in the world, Tatenda!

The best thing about this project and with coming back was seeing all my shamwaris (friends) and all the kids here. I love them all! They are so incredibly happy and funny 24/7. Spending time with the handlers and the kids at school and the local community is filling my heart and soul with simple joy and endless love! I have no doubt in my mind that I will come back for yet another round of volunteer fun and Zimbabwe awesomeness!

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

Imire and all its wonders!

Obviously coming to this project is not an opportunity that everyone gets to experience in a lifetime. And what an opportunity it was! By coming here I was taught the ins and outs of what goes into running a conservation game park and for that I am extremely grateful.

Meeting the famous Tatenda would certainly have to top off my list of lifetime goals ticked off. He is a good listener and most definitely a good smoocher! I can honestly say that some of the best advice I received at Imire resulted from long conservations with this insightful rhino. Apart from this handsome man I thank God for the opportunity to meet baby Tafika and all the rest of the fatty boom boom rhinos. That little girl has the ability to brighten up even the darkest of days.

Filled with joy, knowledge and wisdom, I leave here today feeling complete in my journey and ready to set foot into my next adventure The main things I am appreciative of learning here are: all about the resident antelope species, how to make proper sadza, everything I learnt about rhinos, knowledge of cattle herding and what goes into running the game park and tobacco farm.

My deepest appreciation goes out to:
Bright - for putting up with my shenanigans and teaching me so much along the way
Mike - for being my rock
Judy - for teaching and guiding me throughout this fantastic journey
All the house staff for their hard work and good times

This adventure has been a gateway to a new world and a new life - for this I will never forget my time here and will be forever grateful.

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

A moment at Imire

On one of my first days we were walking Tatenda the rhino home back to his night pen and the elephants came up from behind us. So there we were with a black rhino in front and an elephant in the back.

It felt like we were in a documentary or a movie. It was like a dream come true for me.

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

Meeting extraordinary people

While I expected to meet extraordinary elephants and rhinos on this project, I did not expect to meet some of the most extraordinary people I've ever met.

Madame Matsika so impressed me with her dedication to the children and their opportunities, to the preservation of the Shona culture and to the encouragement of the principles of sustainability. She is the personification of goodness and wisdom.

Judy Travers' principles of ethical treatment of people and animals are astounding. Once can see her influence throughout Imire - every single animal you meet, whether it is a dog, horse or rhino, clearly expects to be treated with kindness and respect. And the same goes for people.

How can this program be improved?
I have two minor complaints.
One is wifi access. I should not have been told there was reliable wifi access. I would have not created expectations at home of regular contact.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Carl
10/10

Deeply satisfying

You will never have a better, closer experience with the big animals of Africa—every second day I rode an elephant! And I fed rhinos in the morning. Plus zebras, giraffes, warthogs, wildebeests, gazelles, elands, hyenas... Showering in a bamboo stall, with solar heated water, watching the mist rise off the pond (that you can swim and fish in and watch the hippo) outside the house where the volunteers stay. Mending fences, tracking animals, topping up and relocating feeders, building paddocks, cleaning up elephant poop—the fun doesn't stop. All of the staff are fabulous and deeply committed. And the volunteers come from around the world (from three continents when I was there) bringing diverse cultures to a shared commitment.

How can this program be improved?
I actually wanted to work harder, at the dullest menial jobs. I like to take a job to completion, though that is hard with thousands of hectares of land and hundreds of tasks. But they do keep the work varied and having fun is just part of the work ethic.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
amy
10/10

Loved It Loved It Loved It

Such a great experience, learned so much and loved loved the interaction with the animals. The people there were all lovely and very welcoming, I got everything I wished for out of the experience and more.

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

Amazing doesn't cover it!

I spent 2 weeks at Imire on this project. It was AMAZING to say the least. The animals are amazing, the people are amazing, the house and surroundings are amazing, the project and efficiency of the programme are amazing.
I have done a few projects before and Imire is at the top of the list!! You are part of the family as soon as you arrive. You get straight into the project and the flexibility especially at weekends ensure that the project is tailored exactly to your needs.
AMAZING!!!!!

How can this program be improved?
maybe some more evening ride outs, or camp outs? We didn't have electricity for a good few days and although you understand that it's Africa, it did mean that the evenings felt very long.
Although I understand this could also depend on the group of vols your with.
Yes, I recommend this program

Interviews

Meet the Alumni

About Conservation Travel Africa

Conservation Travel Africa provide meaningful and responsible volunteer programmes, focusing on wildlife conservation and education. From our base in Southern Africa we are ideally placed to coordinate your volunteer experience.

We have chosen our...