Most Affordable & Trusted Volunteer Programs in Victoria Falls from $880

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About

Trusted by 90,000+ volunteers, IVHQ offers the most popular volunteer programs in Victoria Falls and 40+ other destinations around the world.

You can participate in the Wildlife Conservation project in Victoria Falls and give back for periods ranging from 2 weeks to 12 weeks. Your Program Fee includes airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support. You’ll be accommodated in a volunteer house, with other like-minded, impact-focused travelers from around the world.

IVHQ is trusted to support the meaningful adventures of thousands of volunteers every year, so before you even depart for Victoria Falls, you’ll receive outstanding personalized service from your expert Volunteer Program Manager and exclusive access to superior pre-departure volunteer training.

With IVHQ, you can expect to establish real connections within the local community while supporting projects that make a genuine difference.

IVHQ Volunteer Program available in Victoria Falls:

  • Wildlife Conservation: Located within a private game reserve, playing home to the African 'Big 5' (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo), IVHQ volunteers in Victoria Falls have the opportunity to get involved in conservation management practices, all of which are vital for the successful operation of the game reserve and the ecosystems of surrounding areas.

Highlights

  • Programs available year-round, starting on the first and third Monday of each month
  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support
  • Highly affordable program fees from $880 for 2 weeks
  • Community-driven projects focused on supporting local needs and delivering sustainable positive impacts
  • Superior support services both pre-departure and while volunteering
  • Free online volunteer training for all IVHQ volunteers
  • Between 5 and 15 volunteers start in Victoria Falls each month
  • Weekends are free to explore Victoria Falls with fellow volunteers - see one of the largest and most spectacular waterfalls in the world and explore the area via safari
Highlights
  • IVHQ’s Victoria Falls program is available year-round, starting on the first and third Monday of every month
  • Highly affordable program fees starting from $880 for 2 weeks - IVHQ provides the most affordable and top-rated programs
  • You’ll be joining between 5 and 15 other IVHQ volunteers who start in Victoria Falls each month
  • You’ll be traveling with IVHQ, the volunteer travel experts, and joining a network of 90,000+ volunteers. Our outstanding safety systems and track record set us apart, we are the world’s safest organization
  • Your efforts will have a positive impact because our programs are community-driven with a focus on supporting long-term local needs

Impact

Questions & Answers

Volunteers must be 18 years or older to participate on an IVHQ program alone. However, if they are volunteering as part of a group with adult minders, or with a parent, guardian or family member who is 18 years or over, they are eligible to participate. When a volunteer under the age of 18 applies to volunteer with IVHQ, it is important that the name of their minder is noted on their application,...

Reviews

99%
based on 34 reviews
  • Impact 9.1
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 9.4
  • Value 9.6
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 16 - 30 of 34
Me and Sylvester!
Emma
10/10

Beautiful Zimbabwe, Beautiful Experience!

Where to begin?! If you are seriously interested in traveling with a purpose in a beautiful country with incredible down to earth people, learning about conservation and education... then this is the program for you! Volunteering in Victoria Falls Zimbabwe was one of the best decisions of my life thus far. During every part of my adventure, from the second I landed at the airport, to the second I boarded my plane home, I felt safe, informed, happy and grateful. Zimbabweans (and Botswanans!) are some of the kindest, generous and most helpful people I've ever met. Everyone was willing to sit down with you and tell stories, share information or go out of their way to answer your questions or to just chat.

Each day we (the volunteers) were ready at 6:30am, with our backpacks full of waters, apples, work gloves and extra rain gear totally geared up to take on the morning work load! Since we went during the beginning of the rainy season, we did a lot of road construction, digging irrigation trenches, invasive species removal, and clearing and rebuilding bridges/dams. So we'd spend the morning doing these various projects, then come back to the Nakavango Conservation Center for lunch! A delicious meal was served by the wonderful Deva, and volunteers would just sit around and chat about the day so far, or get intellectual and chat about conservation ideas and wildlife management methods. Sometimes Ian would give lectures in the classroom about his experiences managing African wildlife and how his work has been effected by factors like poaching or climate change. Other times volunteers would call up Sheppy (our kindhearted taxi driver) and he would drop us off downtown Vic Falls to explore the shops or get some ice cream. Then at 4pm, we would rally the troops again and head back out for an afternoon of work. Sometimes afternoon work would consist of tilling the sustainable garden in the backyard, or turning the compost beds, or simply going on game drives to look for jaguars, baboons or an African sunset. Dinner was served around 7pm, and volunteers would once again sit around, sometimes drinking African wine, just chatting about the days adventures. One night we all sat out in the backyard admiring the gorgeous night sky, filled with stars, galaxies and planets. We would go to bed early, to wake up and do it all again the next day! Nakavango offered consistency in our work days, so you definitely get used to a schedule, however each day is different and there is always something exciting happening! As for weekend activities, Justine McGregor is AMAZING at offering her advice and organizing our big group adventures. On Saturday our group did the Gorge Swing (amazing for adrenaline seekers and badasses!) as well as the Canopy Tour (little bit more low-key with incredible zip line views.. thanks Michael and TK!) On Sunday a group of ladies adventured into Botswana on the Chobe National Park day trip (highly recommend!!) We got some more stamps in our passports and had the opportunity to see gorgeous Botswana and Namibia.

At the risk of sounding cliche and sappy... I'll say that journeying to Nakavango Conservation Center in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe was an absolute life changing experience. Thats all there is to it. It seriously was a transformative experience. To see the way these people live and to be so grateful and appreciative, gave me new insight into the human spirit and what it means to be happy. The Nakavango Staff (Justine, Dean, Delta, Damien, Ian, Deva, Derry, Noel, Cornelius, Ndaba, and all the rest!) was hospitable, kind and always willing to provide information. They truly became family. As for my fellow volunteers...they too became family. We already have plans to journey to Cartegena, Columbia for Juan and Aura's wedding at the end of the summer! If you are at all hesitant to sign up for this trip... JUST DO IT! It's a once in a lifetime experience and every part of this trip is worthwhile and incredible!! Ngiyabonga (thank you) Zimbabwe!!!

How can this program be improved?
I wish I went for a longer period of time!! 2 weeks was absolutely not long enough! I could have easily stayed there for months. Even if you are hesitant to stay longer then 2 weeks..just do it! I wish I stayed longer because there is just so much to see and do every day!
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Emma, What an absolutely fantastic review! We are so thankful that you have taken the time to write a detailed description of your time on the Victoria Falls program in Zimbabwe, as this will be such a valuable resource for anyone considering volunteering on this program. It sounds like your days were jam-packed with rewarding volunteer work, adventure, sightseeing, delicious food, learning opportunities and conversations with our local team and other volunteers. Sometimes clichés are appropriate and we are so happy to hear that your time at Nakavango Conservation Center was a life-changing experience. Thanks for being an awesome volunteer and we hope you have a great time reminiscing when you catch up with everyone in Cartagena!
Claire – IVHQ Victoria Falls Program Manager

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Laurel
10/10

Amazing Experience at Nakavango in Vic Falls!

I've travelled a lot and done other volunteer programs, including 6 months in Ghana. But one of the best adventures I've ever had was bush camping at Nakavango. It was indescribable. We set up our tents and campsite just in time to enjoy one of Africa's epic sunsets in one direction and to the other was a herd of 27 female elephants (from 40 years old to 2 months old) walking out single file to meet at the watering hole and take a drink. Meanwhile, giraffe are walking past and hippos are surfacing to the top of the water to get out and enjoy their nightly grazing of the grass. As the sunset and we ate a delicious meal of chicken and rice around the camp fire under a blanket of stars. Taking in the scene and the sounds of the wild animals was almost too much. No photo can do it justice.

For anyone who has any interest in animals and nature, do yourself a favor and go to Nakavango. It's a unique experience that people paying four times as much to stay at 5-star lodges miss out on. You will learn so much about the entire ecosystem and the issues that these animals and the environment are faced with and hopefully you will feel as empowered as I do to help educate others.

How can this program be improved?
The only suggestion I have is to include optional lectures during the downtime. I really loved learning as much as I could so I would have enjoyed more instructional time while I was there. The staff is incredibly knowledgable.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Laurel, Thanks for your awesome review! Your experience bush camping at Nakavango sounds picturesque and incredible, we would have loved to be there too! This is clearly an excellent program for anyone with an interest in animals and nature. You are an absolute legend for continuing on the conservation work by educating others on your return home. Thanks for being an IVHQer!
Claire – IVHQ Victoria Falls Program Manager

Yes, I recommend
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Emily
10/10

My Experience In Victoria Falls

I had never traveled out of the country before this trip and I only recently got my passport in May of 2016, but for some reason when I was looking at the different programs through IVHQ this one really stuck out in my mind and making the decision to travel across the world to Zimbabwe, as my first trip out of the United States, was one of the best choices I have ever made. First, the site coordinator really tries to do everything she can to help make you as prepared as possible for the trip and to relieve as much stress as she can. Second, the program is based on a wildlife reserve so every day when you drive to whichever location you are working at for the day you're going on a mini safari drive. The staff is absolutely wonderful and the accommodations are quite nice for volunteer housing as well. I would highly recommend this program to anyone that is interested in wildlife and learning more about ways to help to make a difference in the environment to protect these animals.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Emily, We are so glad that you decided to join the Victoria Falls program in Zimbabwe. This is a massive trip for a first time traveler and we are very proud of you. Thanks so much for your great recommendation and for being an IVHQer!

Yes, I recommend
Zenya
10/10

IVHQ Victoria Falls Wildlife Conservation

Volunteering with IVHQ at Nakavango Conservation Programme was an amazing and life changing experience. On this program we stayed on a private game reserve, were able to live in nature and have a truly amazing and humbling experience. Living on the land the way we did made me realize everything I take for granted at home and how simple and amazing life can be.
I remember one day on a drive to the school, which we would volunteer with once a week, we drove through a little village that was on the way. Here was saw people using the land and living a very humble lifestyle. Seeing these happy people who clearly did not have the material items that I have, made me realize how I want to change my life and become a better person.
The actual work we completed on this program was physically demanding but you saw progress being made. The staff at Nakavango and IVHQ were sooo amazing, the accommodation and atmosphere were fantastic. There is a lot of activities to do on the weekends and this trip was a perfect combination of work and play. I had the best time volunteering there and I would 100% recommend this program.

How can this program be improved?
Honestly I don't believe that much could be improved or changed. I had an amazing time and never felt as though something needed to change. If I were to suggest an improvement it would be to have more work on some days because after a while I felt as though there was too much free time and the game drives became repetitive.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Zenya, It is absolutely our pleasure, thanks for being an IVHQer! We are so glad that you had a great time on the Victoria Falls program. It looks like you really made the most of your volunteer experience and free time – you look like a great group of volunteers. We hope to see you at another IVHQ program again soon.

Yes, I recommend
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Stephen
10/10

And People Think Safaris are Fun..

We were part of a team that helped tranquilize a black rhino in order to relocate it to a safer location. Once the rhino was knocked out, we physically (by hand) had to lift the rhino onto a tarp and then slide it onto the back of a truck. It took a team of about 25 people to do it. When you think about that fact that you are handling a black rhino, an endangered species that is so heavily protected by the people who inhabit the land it roams, it really puts into perspective where you are and what you are doing. This was the first day I was on the program.

How can this program be improved?
Don't allow wifi throughout the entire place. During the two weeks we were there, the wifi only worked in one room. We bonded so much more because people weren't hiding in their rooms on the internet.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Stephen, what an incredible experience! Thanks for sharing this story with us. It’s great to have you as an IVHQer and we hope to welcome you back on another IVHQ program again in the future.

Yes, I recommend
Miguel
10/10

The best time in Nakavango with IVHQ-Victoria Falls

I spent 4 weeks volunteering with Nakavango conservation program through IVHQ and it was definitely a one in a life time experience. Since the first time i got there to the very last day the local staff was the most friendly and helpful it could be. The accommodation was so good with a room to my self and a ceiling fan. The food was really good as well.
During the week we helped out in the reserve and also in the community, we did things like trash pick ups, helping in the local school, maintaining roads in the reserve, soil erosion management and cutting and burning invasive plant species. The best thing is that most of this activities are inside the reserve so you spent the whole week seeing the most beautifull animals every single day, girafes, elephats, lions, zebras, crocodiles, hienas, you name it. But i have to say my favorite activity of the week was camping in the reserve, we did it once a week and it was unbelievable. From having elephants passing by our camp or having hienas come SO CLOSE while we were having dinner or even waking up at 2am with some really weird noises right next to your tent... And the stars, dont forget to look at the stars.
In the weekends we normally went to town and did a lot of activities, some of us bungee jumped, went to Botswana for the day and did an horse safari.
On my last week we got so lucky, a giraffe had a piece of metal in her paw so we had to take her down with a rope and jump on top of her for the vets to take it off. I have to say running next to a 1300kg giraffe is, at least, intimidating.
So to future volunteers, just come, you will have the time of your lifes.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Lance
10/10

Real Experiences at the Nakavango Conservation Programme

My six weeks in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe were nothing short of amazing. The first day I arrived at the Nakavango Private Game Reserve, I saw several African elephants trumpeting not far off the two-track road we were traversing. I saw plentiful amounts of giraffe, zebra, impala, kudu (an African antelope), warthogs, hippos, crocs, baboons, bugs, birds, lizards, you name it. I absolutely loved each and every sighting. To be cliché, as Taylor Swift would put it based on her latest music video, while volunteering at Nakavango I saw all of my “wildest dreams” come to life. I was also particularly lucky to see the black rhino while at Nakavango, a creature that played a significant role in my decision to go to Zimbabwe in the first place. This reserve is a special place; it is the home of 8 black rhino when there are less than 300 remaining in all of Zimbabwe (a country about the size of Texas). That speaks wonders about this reserve. While volunteering here, I was grateful for the chance to do things that help protect these prehistoric-looking creatures from the evils of poaching. While I could write stories for days about my encounters with the black rhinoceros at Nakavango, for this program review, I am going to share an experience I had with another beloved African animal that I will never forget. Long story short, this animal encounter got my heart racing even faster than when I went sky diving in Hawaii the month before traveling to Africa.

Each day on the reserve, we went out in the safari cruiser and do different tasks to help the ecosystem here thrive. We did a morning job from about 7am-12am and an afternoon job from about 4pm-7pm (taking refuge and relaxing during the heat of the day). One night, we were out particularly late on the reserve removing invasive plant species (it’s very tough work digging up massive Lantana roots, by the way) until dark had almost fully set in around 7:30. As we drove back to HQ in the dark, only the outline of the trees were visible in the sky that was still dimly lit from the last remnants of sunlight over the horizon.  I was in the back left seat of the 12-person cruiser and the girl in the front left passenger seat next to our guide—remember, cars in Zimbabwe are English-style with the driver on the right side of the vehicle—had a spotlight, shining the trees beside the road as we drove. We all liked these dark drives home; it was fun to try to spot eyes staring back at us from the depths of the forest while in the safety of the cruiser.

We were cruising along and she was shining the right side of the road. But I was looking to the left for anything in the bushes, when we passed a HUGE bull (male) elephant on our side only about 5 meters from the road! I was the only one who saw it because it was so dark, but regardless how dark it was there was no way I could miss the outline of an animal that large and that close. As we passed, he moved back and I could hear him stepping on twigs over the roar of the cruiser motor. I quickly yelled “Dean (our guide), elephant on the left!” He quickly replied, “Nice” before stopping the vehicle, putting it in reverse, and backing up towards it. At that point, I was already kind of on edge because I knew how close the big guy was to the road and I didn’t think Dean did. But he backed up anyways until we were about 15 meters ahead of where I saw him on the road. Dean then stopped, cut the engine, and shut the lights out so we could sit there in the dark and just listen to him.

We all heard him making a ruckus behind us—breaking branches, grunting, stomping around—and I assumed he was about 20 yards off the road. I couldn’t see him but that made sense because I think he retreated into the forest a ways after we passed him. We all sat quietly in awe, listening to the incredible grunts he was making with his mouth and waiting for him to settle down/go back to feeding. He did settle down slightly, and started working his way through the woods, parallel to the road in our direction. He soon closed the gap and was only about 5 yards behind our car, but he was still out a ways to our left. We could hear he was close.

To me, it was clear that he knew we were still around and was coming closer on purpose. Remember, I was in the back left corner, the closest seat to the elephant with the best view from the elevated back row. It was very dark though and I still couldn’t see him, but I searched diligently nonetheless. There was a 2-meter-tall bush in front of me that I had to look around, but I finally saw his white ivory horn come into my view in the starlight. My heart was racing. I was so excited to see him and could now see the outline of his massive body again. I assumed he was just grazing and would continue along, although he was still making rather loud vocalizations, which was unusual. Soon though, it became apparent this was not his usual stroll through the forest to eat.

Quickly, he turned his tusks right at me and the truck, and started stomping towards us with a perfect line aiming at me in the back row. His grunting became louder and it was clear his temper was starting to flare again. He got close, uncomfortably close. Only three meters from me! We were still separated by the about 2-meter-tall bush on the ground, but he stood well above that exposing his large head to my view, with both of his big ears flapping wildly and both of his tusks above the bush that now looked small. His size alone was enough to make a 23-year-old man shake in his shoes. Then, he did something I never thought I’d see an animal do.

In one motion, he violently ripped a large branch off the tree next to him and threw it on the ground as he quickly lunged in and out of the bush between us before standing his ground. I couldn’t believe my eyes! He flinched at us in an attempt to scare us away, similar to what a bully would do to the small kid on the playground. And oh did it work. This was not your average, chubby neighborhood bully. This this was a 6-ton bull elephant with ivory tusks thicker than my arms and a trunk that could knock me unconscious with one flick. Unlucky for me as the closest one to him, it was like I had drawn the short straw and was the main target of this bully’s abuse!

After he flinched at us, my heart was beating faster than I can remember it beating in years. My friend Owen from Maine, who was in the middle seat of the back row next to me, grabbed my hip unconsciously and pulled me back towards the middle of the vehicle. Everyone was moving back in their seats. The scene was unbelievable! My mind was scattered, full of excitement and fear as he continued to make a lot of noise, break branches, and flinch at us to intimidate us. I imagined that this guy could flip our truck with one quick swipe of his tusks if he wanted to. Finally, Dean (a well known guide in Victoria Falls who has been at it for 25 years and really knows his stuff about elephant behavior and everything about this environment better than the back of his hand) decided to call it quits and started up the car to drive off. This startled the elephant; he grunted before scurrying off as if to say “That’s right.” We drove off unharmed, but not without a skipped heartbeat here and there.

As intimidating as this display was, I loved every second. We all did. Of course it helps that no one got hurt, but we all were beyond amazed by such a unique encounter. We talked about it the rest of the night. Dean thinks that the elephant was in musth, a mating time where their hormone levels (like testosterone in humans) are raised and they are more aggressive. He obviously didn’t like when we backed up close to him, stopped there, and stood our ground. It didn’t help that it was at night in the dark forest, a place he felt should be his at that time. For this, I don’t blame him one bit. He was a wild creature that deserved having space away from humans when it is night time and time for him to eat or mate in peace. All in all, it was incredible experience, one that I am glad happened without a doubt. We had seen elephants roaming gracefully many times, but it takes an experience like this to gain a true appreciation and respect for the massive, wild, unique creature that he was.

There was an operation on the edge of the reserve there called ‘The Elephant Experience’ that allows tourists to come in and ride elephants. There are many ethical arguments about such operations, including how the elephants got there, how they are treated, and how they cope psychologically with being held captive. In addition, the captive elephants (that are allowed to roam the reserve under supervision) have destroyed the native ecosystem in the area they are limited to, which has stressed the rest of the reserve—which is only 30 square kilometers—as a result. It is us volunteers and the staff at the reserve that are left to clean up the mess that these contained elephants cause. That is why it is so important for volunteers to visit the reserve and do things like plant native trees, remove invasive trees, protect trees from elephants (which I learned are programmed to be sometimes volatile), work to combat soil erosion, and do several other things on the reserve to try to boost the ecology of that ecosystem to be in the best balance it can.

Regardless of these ethical and environmental issues, many people still partake in these rides, and many really love their experiences. I even met a tourist in town that claimed their elephant experience was life changing, and helped him appreciate the true size and beauty of African elephants. But is that the best way to really observe the complexity and awesomeness of an African elephant? Can that man’s staged “horseback-riding-like” experience on a tamed, African elephant even be compared in the same light as my wild elephant experience?

My answer is absolutely not. I would take my elephant experience over theirs 100 times out of 100. My glimpse at that elephant in its natural, free environment was more authentic than any elephant ride could ever be. Never again will I be that close to an animal so large, so territorial, so powerful, so in control, so beautiful. It was clear that he should have the right to stroll the dark forest at night as he pleases. We did nothing to intentionally disturb that creature, and Dean knew when to call it quits before the situation crossed the line. He waited just long enough for us all to have an experience that made us learn to admire that and respect these magnificent creatures for what they are.

As appealing as it sounds to go somewhere simply as a tourist and ride an elephant, I think more meaningful experiences are possible while volunteering in a program like IVHQ’s in Victoria Falls. More meaningful, real elephant experiences that take place under real circumstances in their real environment. Experiences like that are how the true personality of these amazing beasts can be understood. How their actions can make a lasting impact on someone. How one’s love for this symbolic African animal can take new meaning.

Trust me, I know.

How can this program be improved?
There could have been more food for volunteers with bigger appetites, but besides that it was as close to perfect as they get.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Lance, Thanks for taking the time to share a few of your experiences while volunteering in Victoria Falls. It sounds like you has really memorable time. Thanks for being an IVHQer!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Aaron
10/10

LIFE-CHANGING NAKAVANGO

The time I spent at Nakavango has honestly changed my life. The other volunteers were fantastic and friendly, the chef whipped up some amazing vegetarian food and catered for all, saw some of the most beautiful animals in the world and I wouldn't change a minute of the time I spent there. Justine and Dean (and the rest of the team, obviously) made me feel right at home as soon as I arrived and clearly love what they do! I really couldn't thank them enough for everything that they done for me whilst I was out there! I would recommend this program to anyone who's even considering it in the slightest, it was honestly change your life for the better!

How can this program be improved?
I honestly couldn't think of anyway this programme could improve... Justine and Dean do an amazing job!
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Aaron,
Thank you for your amazing review and recommendation! We are so glad that you had a life-changing experience in Victoria Falls. Cheers for being an IVHQer - we hope to see you on another program in the future!

Yes, I recommend
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Paula
10/10

You won't regret choosing Nakavango!

This was really four of the best weeks in my life. I got to experience so much I've never experienced before, and it was amazing from the beginning to the end! I will remember every singel bit of my journey, like when we almost got chased by a rhino, or when we slept by the dam and heard the hippos fighting all night, or just seeing the smiles on the children when we played with them. Even the things that was "less fun", like trash Tuesday, or meatless Monday, will always be a good memory for me, haha. Even if it was hard sometimes, it was all worth it. And the staff made it great too, they welcome you with open arms and is always there when it gets tough. It was like we all became a big family, haha! I know that if you choose to be a volunteer at Nakavango, you won't regret it.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Jessica
10/10

August - Sep 2015; one of my favorite life experiences

I had an incredible time here, ate some of the most delicious food, met some of the most kind people, and created lifelong memories. Zimbabwe is a unique country with a vivid history and Nakivango was the perfect way to experience Zim for the first time. If you're considering this program, please move forward - you will be glad you did for the rest of your life.

How can this program be improved?
I can't think of anything
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Jessica, Thanks for the review and for the advice you have left for readers, we couldn't agree with you more :). It's great to hear you had such a memorable experience volunteering on our Victoria Falls program. Thanks for being an IVHQer and we hope to have you back on another IVHQ program again soon.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Danielle
10/10

Amazing experience - you won't regret going!

I volunteered for the first two weeks in June in Victoria Falls at the Nakavango Conservation Program ran by Justine and Dean. The experience was absolutely amazing. The staff are awesome and really make it that much better. Their humor, passion, and kindness are great. You'll help out a lot, learn a great deal about the reserve, and of course see tons of animals. I wish I had stayed a little longer, but I plan to go back. Zimbabwe will always have a special place in my heart.

The accommodations:
Each person was given their own room and shared a bathroom with one other person typically of the same sex. Rooms and bathrooms were cleaned everyday which was very nice. The rooms each have a twin size bed, a desk with a folding chair, and a closet unit next to it with a couple of hangers and three shelves to place your belongings. We were also provided one towel and one blanket (in addition to the sheets on the bed). The sitting areas around the camp were nice. They were covered and offered a great view of the pool and reserve - very nice eating lunch and seeing giraffes and kudu walk into the 'backyard'. Lunch and Dinner were provided every weekday which was tasty; the chefs are very good. Basic breakfast is available all week which includes toast, cereal, and yogurt. On the weekends instead of lunch, the chefs will prepare a hot brunch and dinner is still prepared.

Weekly routine: -- This agrees to the program pamphlet --
Most days you will head out to start working about 7 or 8am until 11 or 12pm. This varies depending on the sunlight and the weather. If it gets too hot, they won't make you stay working out in the sun too long which is very considerate. Everyone will then head back to Nakavango for lunch and some downtime until about 3 or 4pm at which time you will head out again for a couple hours until about 6pm. Again, this also varies depending on the task, daylight, and temperature. The rest of the night consists of dinner and relaxing.
Mondays: typically game drives and tracking
Tuesdays: Mornings, picking up rubbish and taking it to the dump - this is your chance to go into town should you need to quickly pick anything up. In the evenings, typically worked around the Nakavango camp - composting, clearing and cleaning the grounds, various other projects
Wednesdays: Mornings, working at a local school with different projects (we helped construct sinks out of 'Shake Shake' bottles while I was there). In the evenings, typically we did a game drive.
Thursdays: Mornings on this day varies, the first week - myself and the other new arrivals were taken to Victoria Falls. The second week - we pulled out the lantana plant. Evenings, you'll leave a bit earlier because it is the camping night in which you camp out on the bush.
Fridays: Mornings, a few people will go out tracking for about 2 hours while the others stay at camp and help clean up. Evenings, the first week we pulled out the lantana and the second week we asked for the night free so those of us leaving that weekend could go on the boat cruise .

Free-time:
-During the week, many of us played cards, laid by the pool (the daring ones including myself actually swam in it - the water was quite cold!), watched movies, and/or napped.
-Weekends, this is your chance to go into town and do many of the great activities offered. We used a taxi - Sheppy - for getting around - this is the taxi service that Nakavango always uses. The white water rafting and bridge swing were awesome. Also, managed to do the Boma dinner in which we were able to try crocodile, warthog, buffalo, impala, etc. For nightlife, you'll go to Shoestrings, the local backpackers bar, and then likely head to Adventure Lodge's bar afterwards. Both a fun experience.

What you may want to know:
-Bring good gloves. I brought the kind used for gardening only paid $6 at Target (USA) and they worked very well. You'll use them for potentially digging in the dirt, picking up rocks, trash etc.
-Bring a book. I wish I had brought one to read in my downtime since there was more of it than I expected
-Bringing cards or any board games you don't want anymore may also be good for downtime
-Good hiking boots. I wore sneakers which were fine, but going tracking in certain areas were very sandy and had thorns and grass seeds that would stick to my sneakers and made even through the sneakers
-Bring extra clothing to trade - t-shirts, shorts, shoes, socks, hats etc. as you can trade these items at the Elephant Walk markets for various trinkets you may want. They also seemed to want hair ties (hair elastics) and water bottles.
-Depending when you go, it can get quite cold at night I wish I had brought an extra sweater or sweatpants

How can this program be improved?
While I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Nakavango, I wish we had done more. I felt there was a bit too much downtime; I would have liked to work a bit more. Also, I would have liked more variety of projects and/or more impacting projects to really help the community and reserve.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hey Danielle, thanks for the great review! We are so happy that you had an amazing experience in Victoria Falls for the two weeks you were there. We hope that you join us again in the future on an IVHQ program :-)

Yes, I recommend
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Rebecca
10/10

Can't miss this experience

This program is very fulfilling but you also need to be prepared to put in some hard work to see results. Perfect for someone wanting to make a contribution to real conservation. You also have weekends to explore Victoria Falls and neighboring countries.

How can this program be improved?
I would want to do more, we have a lot of free time
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hello Rebecca, thanks for your feedback - glad to hear that you found the program fulfilling. Sounds like you had the hard working attitude to get the most from your time in Victoria Falls. We hope to have you join us on another Program in the future. Thanks for being an IVHQer!

Yes, I recommend
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Joe
10/10

Life Changing

You truly cannot get a feel for what it's like without going yourself. The nature, the food, the people and especially the staff. Justine and Dean run the show and add a hilarious and unique element to the trip that just cannot be understood from reading online. Stay a while! You do meaningful work, see amazing animals, learn an incredible amount and have plenty of time to enjoy the town and its endless attractions. Friends become family and it becomes your home. My biggest mistake was only staying two weeks!

How can this program be improved?
Recommend some warmer clothes for the winter months in Zimbabwe. It gets fresh!
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Joe - thanks for the great review! It's so amazing to hear that you enjoyed your two weeks in Victoria Falls! Thanks for being an IVHQer - we hope that you join us on another program soon :-)

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Chris
10/10

The best chapter of a year long journey.

From skills and experience I brought forward some ideas for some projects in my time at the Nakavango conservation reserve. With the eagerness of the resident team and hard work of some volunteers an idea or two came to fruition. Having the opportunity to teach and learn from Zimbabwean locals will be unforgettable. The plastic bottle building projects were of great use to the school and hopefully new projects continue to thrive. Forever greatful for the experience I had, the things I taught and learnt and the people I met.

How can this program be improved?
I would have stayed for longer.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Chris - thanks for sharing your thoughts on your Volunteer Experience in Victoria Falls! It's great to hear that your ideas and projects came to life while you were there. We hope to see you on another IVHQ program soon :-)

Yes, I recommend
Jingying
8/10

Take the leap!

was there for 3 weeks last September, loooved the daily game drives, food/accommodation was lovely, the entire staff simply amazing and helpful. Especially enjoyed our time playing with the school children and camping on Thursdays. Never a dull moment..glad to have learnt more about rhinos and conservation. I'll never forget everyone I crossed paths with..
Be prepared for some manual labour (lantana removal/tree protection), it may not seem like you're making a tangible difference but every little bit goes a long way!
Highly recommended - whitewater rafting, gorge swing. You'll have plenty of time during the weekend for fun stuff.. or just chill at the pool : )

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi there Jingying - thanks for the review of your 3 weeks in Victoria Falls! Awesome to hear that you learnt more about the wildlife and their conservation. We hope that you can join us for another Volunteer Program sometime in the future!

Yes, I recommend

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