Black Rhino and Elephant Conservation in Zimbabwe

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About

Contribute to a long term, sustainable conservation programme focusing on the ongoing protection of Zimbabwe’s wildlife, especially the black rhino. Volunteers will be involved with a variety of conservation projects including; working with our black rhinos and elephants, studying and learning about their behaviour; assisting in the daily activities required to run a game park and undertaking anti-poaching patrols to ensure the continued safety of the animals.

This is a unique opportunity to get a behind the scenes look at life on a 10,000 acre privately owned game reserve, experiencing all its challenges and joys, and live amongst African animals in the heart of the Zimbabwe bush. We have four of Africa’s Big 5 game - lions, elephants, rhinos and buffalos and a huge range of plains game including sable, kudu, waterbuck, wildebeest, crocodile, hippo, giraffes and zebra. With 150 species of bird plus numerous snakes and lizards, Imire is truly an animal-lovers paradise.

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Questions & Answers

Reviews

99%
based on 10 reviews
  • Impact 9.7
  • Support 10
  • Fun 9.6
  • Value 9.6
  • Safety 9.6
Showing 1 - 10 of 10
Genevieve
10/10

Imire is Magical

Imire is absolutely, unequivocally magical. I participated in the volunteer program for 3 weeks and it was a life-changing experience. Whether working with the community (and especially the local schools), interacting with the animals or just contributing to this amazing conservation project, the work is so rewarding and presents an incredible opportunity to learn about yourself, the world around you, and most importantly, what unites all people. You work hard, you play hard, and you make memories that will last a lifetime. I've visited over 40 countries in my life and this is one of the most special places on earth. Imire is incredible beyond words.

How can this program be improved?
If you're headed down there, some supplies are hard to get in Zimbabwe. The school always needs new laptops and educational material, while the volunteer lodge could use some board games, a few badminton rackets, and a kitchen knife sharpener. I'm sure everyone would really appreciate you bringing a few things down! :)
Yes, I recommend this program
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Catherine
10/10

Imire is my favorite experience out of 35+ countries

The volunteer program at Imire has been my favorite experience out of the 35+ countries I have traveled. Better than any safari. Every morning on my walk, I was accompanied by either African elephants or Black rhinos. I got to feed them, pet them, care for them, and bathe the elephants in the lake. The volunteer house was beyond expectations and is located right on the lake with beautiful views, good food, and an accommodating staff. At night you can hear Mumbo the lion roar.

How can this program be improved?
I would not have changed a thing. It is a good program.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Yvonne
10/10

Truly a bit of heaven...

Going to Imire was a life altering experience. It is breathtakingly beautiful and manned by generous and extraordinary people who lovingly watch over and provide for the animals in their care. Being with the wise and gentle elephants and the naughty and treat-loving rhinos is beyond amazing and such a privilege.

If there is anyplace in the world where hope for the future lives, that place is Imire!

When I started travelling in Africa I told myself I would never go back to the same place twice. I was at Imire in Oct. 2014 and I'm going back in Aug. 2016. How could I not return to that little bit of heaven on earth?

How can this program be improved?
There was not one moment of one day that I would change.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Bob
9/10

Imire Volunteer Program

I loved this program. Spending time with local people, working and being with the elephants and Rhinos was amazing. The program is sort of a cross between a resort and a volunteer experience: Rooms are dorm style but there's a pool, delicious meals and laundry service. They limit the group to 10 people so you get a lot of hands on contact. There is some hard work (eg cutting trees with machetes) but not more than 1-2 hours a day. One of the ways that the program really serves the community is by providing jobs for 15 or so local families.

How can this program be improved?
The time spent at the local school could have been organized better. But overall the program was great including the school visits.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Jane
10/10

Amazing Imire

What an amazing holiday, We did something different everyday, from horse riding in the early morning sun to walking with the rhino. from riding magnificent elephant to watching local cattle being dipped.
Then there was the time we spent at the schools, an unforgettable experience. the children were inspirational and showed their pleasure in seeing us by singing to us and giving us wonderful hugs and smiles.
3 or 4 of us had taken an extra suitcase each of toys, pencils, paper and clothing which we distributed amongst the younger children, they were so thrilled, not a dry eye in the house......
our farmhouse style accommodation was basic but more than adequate, we spent most of our waking moments outside anyway.
The solar heated outdoor showers were just the best! and a pool to splash around in at the end of the day was perfect.
Meals were cooked for us, again basic but very tasty and more than enough to eat. We even had a local lady come to the house to show us how to cook Shona style, roasted peanuts a speciality.
On a less positive note, please remember there are bugs and creepy crawlies in Africa. one of our team got very upset about this, but although not fan of them,I just forgot about them and didn't let them bother me. The whole experience was too much fun to let bugs bother me. My best holiday ever......

How can this program be improved?
The beds and chairs could be comfier, but I honestly cant think of anything else I would want to change .
Yes, I recommend this program
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Charlotte
10/10

Incredible Moments at Imire

I am Zimbabwean and this was an incredible experience for me who lives there. Everything from the hot tea and walking with rhinos in the early misty mornings to viewing the sunset from balancing rocks and enjoying a couple of cold ones. The days are filled with incredible experiences. We visited the local school to help create awareness that wildlife needs to be protected and can be a source of income instead of them turning to poaching as they grow older. We went on long bush walks with the elephants and learnt about the animals on the reserve. The elephant and rhino handlers are very knowledgeable and are such happy and wonderful people it was sad for us to say goodbye. Home-cooked meals were made even better after a busy day, and the outside-shower view of the dam was priceless. I could only afford one week but would have loved to stay longer.

How can this program be improved?
I honestly cannot find anything I would change. I truly loved every part of this program.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Oni
10/10

do this !!!!!!!!!!!!!

I like to do the off the beaten track scene and Imire elephant and rhino is the place. I was so amazed how all of the animals in the park are so cared for and so loved. the park Is amazing. the owners of the park John and Judy Travers are the most genuine people you will ever meet.
the work is hard but so worth it. such a nice feeling when you help do cleaning up in the park. all nice and clean. so work out at the gym before you go and be prepared to see what conservation is all about and a place that is genuine in their mission. I missed the baby rhino being born by 3 weeks so I will definitely love to go back :)

every day was different and so many animals to see all the time.

How can this program be improved?
I was under the assumption that I would be horseback riding a lot there. but it was only once. there was a equestrian program . but I didn't notice it when I signed up so maybe it was my mistake.

the volunteer place has two bathrooms but truthfully needs 3. and I know they are on top of that as a priority. these people bend over backwards to make sure you are happy
Yes, I recommend this program
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Paul
10/10

get ready to fall in love.

this experience was more than you could ever expect. working with elephants and rhinos on a daily basis is incredible enough, but everyone there makes it even more amazing. the love and devotion that these people have towards these animals and conservation is truly inspiring.

this was my first time volunteering for any program, so i didn't entirely know what to expect, but i wasn't disappointed for a second. i also got to meet a lot of people who have done plenty of volunteering at other projects, but this was the first one that they would love to return to in a heartbeat.

some helpful tips:
- as someone who was there for a couple months, i got to go into the city a few times, and not once was a scared for my safety.
- i was there during the rainy season, and mosquitos weren't a problem at all. (i personally brought malaria pills, but didn't really take them, as i didn't need them)
- the food was fantastic. during my stay, none of the volunteers had an issue handling the food.
- some days there is power on all day, but most of the time, it cuts out. it's not a big deal at all, just don't be glued to your electronics.
- if you are a coffee drinker, you may want to bring your own. most of the coffee in zim is instant, and it is trying, especially during your early mornings
- if you want a little sneak peak into how amazing this place and family is, check out the documentary "there's a rhino in my house"
-honestly, you're going to want to go for more than 2 weeks. everyone i met there who only stayed for the two weeks, regretted it. i couldn't imagine only being there for such a short period of time.

i absolutely fell in love with Imire, and have wanted nothing but to come back. assuming that you are open to new experiences, adventurous, and well aware that there are some differences between africa and the western world, i can guarantee that you will not regret your stay at imire.

please, if you have any questions about this program, feel free to contact me.

thank you

How can this program be improved?
i was honestly very happy with my stay. there is honestly nothing that NEEDS to be changed, but sometimes the wifi was really frustrating, even just to do small things like send emails... this was when the wifi was on, which was obviously when the power was on. so if you're going to go and need a daily fix of the internet, you're going to have a bad time.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Lindsey
10/10

Imire, an amazing experience!

Having previously volunteered with another project in Africa, I was excited at the prospect of returning and looked into several projects trying to find my best fit. I was interested in a project that involved conservation, community work, as well as the opportunity to work closely with animals. Imire not only met these expectations, but went above and beyond in what it offered.

From the moment I arrived at Imire, I felt welcomed. The staff working with the volunteers, the animal handlers, as well as any other staff member I met along the way went out of their way to make sure I felt happy and comfortable the entire time I was there. Between the staff and other volunteers, I was able to meet some truly wonderful people, and made lifelong friendships.

No matter what job we were asked to do, I always felt that it was something that needed to be done, and we were truly being helpful. In addition to working with the elephants and rhinos, we had many other jobs, ranging from painting fence posts to keep termites away, using machetes to chop down the invasive Jacaranda trees, working in the vegetable garden, and helping out at the local school - I enjoyed every job we did. The people at Imire made sure that every job was fun, making some of the tasks I wouldn't normally think I'd enjoy (removing fences, chopping Jacarandas) into some of the most fun jobs I did while I was there.

Imire is a truly wonderful place and I have nothing but great things to say about the time I spent there. I was able to experience and learn so many amazing things, including swimming with the elephants, riding the elephants while they learn to track poachers, hand feeding the rhinos after work and taking a trip to see Victoria Falls (Imire staff booked the whole trip for me). I've only been home a few weeks, and I already miss Imire immensely. It's hard to describe how wonderful my time there was, and I can't thank Imire enough for the amazing experience they provided me; I know my memories will last a lifetime.

I would recommend this program to anyone. So if you're considering going to volunteer there, all I have to say is.....GO!!
I know i'll be going back!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Mila
10/10

The wonderful world of Imire

Early 2014 I spent a month at Imire and when the time came to leave, I couldn’t. That in itself should tell you all you need to know! However, for want of painting a slightly bigger picture, I’ll go on.

Having been fortunate enough to be part of a fair few different volunteer projects around Africa I can safely say that Imire has taken top spot.
Spending your days up close and personal with some of Africa’s most beautiful animals, getting to know their wonderful handlers, watching incredible sunsets over the dam, singing dancing and playing with the truly delightful children at the local school whose smiles put that of the Cheshire Cat to shame and game counts on horseback all make for what will become some of your most precious memories. Couple that with sharing these experiences with new found friends that you can no longer imagine not having in your life and I think it’s easy to begin to understand the magic of Imire.

How many people can say they have slept with rhinos in their back yard? Used elephants to herd a particularly stubborn rhino to bed? Woken up on their birthday to a breakfast with ellies and later on a swim with them too? Sang and danced to traditional Shona songs? Tasted the horrific local brew that is Chibuku? And stared up at an incredible night sky whilst fireflies played merrily in the dark and a full moon rose bright as the sun, glowing red as it did?

At Imire, a truly inspirational family are pulling together to create a truly inspirational place. If you are in any doubt whatsoever if this is the best way to spend your time in Africa then I beg you, trust this total stranger and sign up. I can promise you, you will not regret it.

To all the team, a heartfelt thank you for making me feel part of the family and for some of the best weeks of my life. You are all wonderful people and I hope to see you again very soon.

Yes, I recommend this program

Interviews

Meet the Alumni

Meet the Staff

About Imire: Rhino and Wildlife Conservation

Imire Game Park began life as a cattle, maize and tobacco farm in the 1950s. During the 1970s, Imire made a name for itself by bringing significant numbers of game animals back to what was formerly under-used farmland. By the mid-1980s, during a...