Twala Trust Animal Sanctuary Volunteer Program - Zimbabwe

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About

This unique Sanctuary provides a safe haven for an array of animals in need. This is a very personal African experience with the volunteer house beautifully situated in the very heart of the Sanctuary in pristine African bush, overlooking the lake and swimming pool, with the animal residents right on your doorstep and making regular visits to the house. Natural interaction between the host of different species will astonish visitors. Volunteers participate in every aspect of the Sanctuary's work, feeding and cleaning the animals, raising orphans, rehabilitating sick or injured animals, building habitats, environmental enrichment and dog feeding programs. Ideal for Vet students, individuals and woman travelling alone. Vet students have the opportunity to spend time at our Harare vet surgery observing our small animal practice.

Questions & Answers

Hi Erika, we are in contact via email. We do day trips but you will not see all the Big 5. However we can assist you with arrangements. I will send you a further email.

Reviews

10 Rating
based on 21 reviews
  • Impact 10
  • Support 10
  • Fun 9.8
  • Value 9.7
  • Safety 10
Showing 1 - 8 of 21
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Laura
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A unique experience with a lasting impact: in today's crazy world, Twala is a place of love and hope

I first learned about Twala Trust on a documentary programme and the main message that came across was harmony. Animals of all shapes and sizes were living peacefully together and forming the most unexpected friendships. They were well cared for by the Twala staff and I was pleased to learn that Twala accepted volunteers regardless of having prior experience with animals or not. I had long wanted to work with animals in some capacity and Twala seemed like the perfect opportunity. From the moment I reached out to Twala to receive information on their volunteer programme, I knew I had come to the right place. Everyone I interacted with was welcoming and offered their assistance to make my visit as best as possible. As soon as I arrived, I felt at home. Twala staff have the kindest, most generous spirits. They provide much love and care to their resident animals and are just as loving and kind to the volunteers they welcome. You truly feel at home! Living at Twala among the animals is a unique experience. In the early morning hours, you are awakened by the sounds of donkeys, lions, peacocks, cockatoos, parrots, and others! I actually missed the morning wake up calls once I got home! Morning food prep is a great time to begin the day, chatting with the staff, enjoying coffee together and delivering breakfast to the residents. Another highlight of the day was the daily walks with the Waggley Tail Club - the beautiful dogs who have found a forever home at Twala. These dogs are amazing and have so much love to give. There is never a dull moment at Twala, whether it's Horace the vervet monkey up to his daily antics, or the group of cockatoos on the veranda chatting loudly, there is always something happening. My most memorable moments of my time at Twala are caring for the baby vervet monkeys Artie and Benson. Benson in particular had an immense impact on me and one I was not prepared for. Benson arrived a few days before I left, and I became his substitute mom for that time. He was found dehydrated and alone; it is not sure what happened to his mom. The poor guy was quite traumatised. He was not able to sleep alone in his cage, so he slept snuggled into my neck. I completely fell in love with Benson. I cared for him up to the last moment before I had to say goodbye to Twala. I know he is in good hands now and I wish the best monkey life for him. I am so very grateful to have been able to come to Twala. It gave me renewed hope in this crazy world where we are constantly being fed negative stories. It is so wonderful to see a group of people completely dedicated to caring for the local community and working to preserve wildlife. They are true heroes. I highly recommend volunteering at Twala. I am already making plans to return; Twala has won me over!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Volunteers have the possibility to go on day excursions. One day we went on a game drive at Thetford Private Game Park which has a rhino sanctuary. You see the rhinos at the end of the drive when it's their dinner time. We were lucky to have seen a new addition to the rhino family, a baby rhino only 8 days old. Amazing!
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Nicole
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing veterinary volunteer experience.

I had previously volunteered at Twala in 2014 and 2016, which sparked my interest in a career involved in animal care. I went on to train as a veterinary nurse with a degree at the Royal Veterinary College and qualified this year. I came back to Twala just after qualification to gain experience and utilise the skills I have learnt in an environment that needs them the most. Having just got home from 4 months at Twala, I can honestly say that I have had the most amazing experience in caring for and treating new species - not just dogs and cats, but also horses, donkeys, ostriches, duikers, tortoises, owls, servals, civets, monkeys and squirrels.

The community outreach programme for low-income families was one of my highlights. This involves feeding 400-600 dogs per week, sometimes it being their only meal, and seeing the happy faces on both dog and owner. As a veterinary volunteer, I would assist the resident veterinarian Vinay with vaccinating dogs against rabies and overseeing interesting cases. I also assisted the vets in surgery with sterilising these dogs; I gained so much surgical knowledge and experience. Being an integral part of this programme was highly rewarding.

At Twala, each and every volunteer is treated as part of the family. Twala trustee Sarah will take you in with open arms and make you really feel at home, and Twala manager Collin will look after you and provide lots of laughs. Volunteers live together in a house at the heart of the sanctuary and get involved with all aspects of working with the animals. It truly is a hands on experience in an extremely ethical way, with the animals interests and needs put first. It really is the definition of a sanctuary - a safe place for people and animals.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
I nursed a dog with severe distemper on the sanctuary, and got her from the brink of deaths door to a healthy and happy dog. This is a disease I have been taught about, but have never seen, and I had to think outside of the box and use all my veterinary knowledge to be able to treat her. Seeing her being able to go back home to her family was one of my happiest moments.
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Julie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Rewarding experience..

This is a hands-on experience giving the opportunity to interact with a variety of animals both wild and domestic.Those who have, or who are learning, vet skills, will find this program particularly rewarding but any dedicated animal lover will feel needed and useful in the day to day care of all the different Twala residents...Twala is also about community involvement and education ...You get the chance to participate in this and you can see the very real impact Twala makes on their local community with the chance to participate and meet the children and their pets to whom Twala makes such a difference..
Here you will learn about Zimbabwe and the unique challenges facing those who live there.. You will feel part of something much bigger than yourself ..You will feel like family....

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would take more games or crafts to interact more with the children ...
Casper the cockatoo and me
Rebekah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Experience of a Lifetime

I had been following Twala on Facebook for awhile and with my 50th birthday fast approaching I decided to take a chance and go volunteer. It was by far the best decision I have ever made.
Twala is magic. The people, the wildlife, the land are cared for in all ways, it's inspiring and fulfilling work, it's exhausting in the very best way.
I went because I love animals, I grew up with National Geographic magazines and have always been fascinated with African wildlife so this was a dream come true.
If you are interested in anything and want to lend a hand or your talents, they are more than happy for your help. If there are things that you're interested in but haven't experienced, they do their best to teach you. I'm not a vet student, and didn't think I could go to the vet surgery, I was mistaken. It was interesting and educational and I'm so appreciative that they took me and helped me learn new things.
As many others have mentioned in their reviews, I was not ready to come home. As much as I missed my kitties, I truly felt at home at Twala and felt like there was so much more I wanted to do there. Twala is my version of paradise and I will be going back as many times as possible. I have been home now about 3 weeks and I'm already planning my next trip.
If you are looking for something truly immersive and fulfilling, this is it.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be prepared for anything! Go with love in your heart, and be ready to receive so much love in return. Please ask what they are in need of and take donations. Things as simple as vaseline, E45 lotion for Mr. Chips, all natural baby wipes, and some herbal supplements (just ask when corresponding and planning you visit what they need). It's a small thing, but makes such a big difference.
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Cary
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An Animal Lover's Eden // A Place Where You Actually Help, a lot!

I have volunteered with five different organizations in Southern Africa over the course of three trips. Without a doubt, Twala is my favorite. I have visited twice and will continue to return!! I think part of what makes Twala special is that it’s this universe where all the staff treat the animals as their equals. At other places the animals will be symbols of the place’s identity, or a means to promoting conservation, an attraction. But at Twala they are living beings deserving of happiness and respect and that’s the end goal. What an eden! Full disclosure: you must love animals with all your heart. Compared to other programs, volunteers do more work at Twala, but it's way more fun work. We are not just there on vacation, we are actively contributing the animals' happiness and safety. We are constantly moving, petting, feeding, cleaning, petting again. By the end of the day I was exhausted but I was so caught up in taking care of the animals that I didn't realize how much work I had done! The staff are warm, welcoming, accepting, and they are your friends. The individual animals will capture your heart forever. I'm talking about you, Casper the Cockatoo!

What would you improve about this program?
I would not want to change a thing about Twala. Not a thing!
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Jennifer
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Incredible experience!

I had the most amazing experience at Twala. The work is hard but incredibly rewarding. Being surrounded by an array of beautiful animals each day was so much fun. It was also beautiful to witness the love and dedication of the Twala staff. They work tirelessly to ensure that every animal is well taken care of and loved. Wonderful company, great food, and great accommodations only added to an already incredible experience. Don’t be deterred by the current political climate, I felt 100% safe on Twala’s grounds. I was warmly greeted at the airport and well taken care of throughout my trip. I’m forever changed by these wonderful people and animals. I'm so grateful for the experience and can’t wait to return. Next time, I will stay much longer!

What would you improve about this program?
I wouldn't change a thing about my experience at Twala. I only hope to stay longer next time I visit.
Kristin
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life changing experience!

Whenever I'm in Zim, I just can't resist going back to the place that helped change my outlook on life.
I know the recent events in Zimbabwe might scare off some people, but there is absolutely no need for that:
Twala looks after you, takes care of you and assures your safety at all times when travelling to and from the airport.
The first time I came, a Twala staff member (Rodrick) was already at the airport waiting for me, he drove me straight to Twala, where I was welcomed with open arms (and paws) by the Waggley tail club, trustee Sarah, housekeeping manager (and so much more!) Becky, and volunteer coordinator Tracey.
Such a warm feeling to be so welcome! I immediately felt at home. Ever since, whenever I go back there it really does feel like coming home.
Once you're there, it feels almost like the outside world doesn't exist, you are sheltered from it.
When it comes to the love and care for the rescued animals: it is unconditional, their wellfare is what drives everybody at ths place.
These animals deserve a good life after all they've been through, and that's exactly what they get here.
For the volunteers there is a good balance between work and play time. The accomodation in the volunteer house is excellent, clean, spacious, good healthy food prepared by Becky and Clarice.
They have good quality Wi-Fi signal, which allows you to keep in touch with the home base. The occasional swim in the pool is definitely a plus.
On top of all that, it was also very important to me to see that nothing goes to waist at Twala: the household waste gets separated and wherever possible reused.
To sum it all up, this place is an absolute must for all animal lovers. You'll never regret it, and you'll never forget it, it will stay in your heart forever!

What would you improve about this program?
I can't think of any points of improvement whatsoever.
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Marie-Line
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Paradise

In 2015 I discovered the page of Twala and looked all the photos and videos. I said to myself, one day I will be there because it was like a paradise.
When I arrived at Twala, I saw a beautiful place, better what I imagined.
You will discover animals you never seen, you can't imagine to see and approach or touch.
All animals are cute, they know your are here for them, and they love you.
All the staff is very kind, you will feel at home and don't want to leave Twala.
I stayed 13 days and didn't want the experience end. I now looking for a new stay at Twala.
It was my first experience as volunteer, I travelled alone (i'm a wife) and now I think do more volunteer programm.
If your are looking for a beautiful place, something connecting to paradise, Twala is the best place.
I hightly reccomend this place for an amazing, rich volunteer programm.
If Disney is a magic place, Zimbabwe have is magic place and is Twala.