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

100%
based on 19 reviews
  • Impact 9.9
  • Support 10
  • Fun 9.8
  • Value 9.7
  • Safety 10
Showing 1 - 15 of 19
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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.

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Sarah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The perfect volunteer program!

If you are looking for the opportunity to be hands on with animals and really make a difference then Twala is the place for you. It is a very special experience. I had intended to go for a month in Sept 2018 and ended up staying 2.5mths (I would still be there if I could).

I had always been skeptical of many volunteer programs but Twala changed that for me. I chose Twala because it was a small program with a max of 6volunteers and I felt I would be given the opportunity to be hands on with the animals and make a difference. I'm so pleased I chose Twala. Volunteers are actively encouraged to get involved in everything that is happening be it caring for new babies coming in, going out to pick up rescues or just spending a bit more time with the animals that need it. Personally, I lived with two rescued jackal pups under my bed for two months, an experience I will never forget - neither will my chewed up shoes:) Every day is different at Twala, you really never know what will happen and that's what made it so hard to leave - fear of missing out!

Beyond the phenomenal interaction with the animals, the kindness, generosity and welcome of everyone at Twala is what makes it special. I travelled as a solo female and always felt so safe and at home in Zimbabwe. This is thanks to the Twala staff who are always around and look after you so well. I can't recommend it highly enough. If you're thinking about going, just do it!

Read my full story
Sarah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The perfect volunteer program!

If you are looking for the opportunity to be hands on with animals and really make a difference then Twala is the place for you. It is a very special experience. I had intended to go for a month in Sept 2018 and ended up staying 2.5mths (I would still be there if I could).

I had always been skeptical of many volunteer programs but Twala changed that for me. I chose Twala because it was a small program with a max of 6volunteers and I felt I would be given the opportunity to be hands on with the animals and make a difference. I'm so pleased I chose Twala. Volunteers are actively encouraged to get involved in everything that is happening be it caring for new babies coming in, going out to pick up rescues or just spending a bit more time with the animals that need it. Personally, I lived with two rescued jackal pups under my bed for two months, an experience I will never forget - neither will my chewed up shoes:) Every day is different at Twala, you really never know what will happen and that's what made it so hard to leave - fear of missing out!

Beyond the phenomenal interaction with the animals, the kindness, generosity and welcome of everyone at Twala is what makes it special. I travelled as a solo female and always felt so safe and at home in Zimbabwe. This is thanks to the Twala staff who are always around and look after you so well. I can't recommend it highly enough. If you're thinking about going, just do it!

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

Fantastic!

I went to Twala in September 2018 and it was the best thing I’ve ever done. I volunteered for a month and was treated like part of the team from day one. The staff looked after me from the moment I arrived in Zimbabwe to when it came time to leave with a very heavy heart. I loved all the close contact with a wide variety of birds and animals. I learnt a lot about caring for them as I participated in the work involved, preparing food; cleaning and enriching enclosures; playing with the animals and sometimes just watching them as they went about their day. The volunteers also take responsibility for baby animals, it gives you an opportunity to observe wildlife up close and I cannot express how great it feels to see the little ones thrive. The staff were great fun and no two days were the same, it’s like being in the garden of Eden where man and animals interact and all have fun together. Zimbabwean people are special and it’s a safe place to go to despite the political challenges. I’d recommend this experience to anyone who loves animals, you cannot leave Twala without being impressed by the work they do both with the animals and within the community.

What would you improve about this program?
It’s difficult to think of anything that could be done better.
Read my full story
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Evangeline
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best Volunteering Experience!

I know it sounds cliche, but my time at the Twala Trust Sanctuary changed my life. I got hands on work with such a variety of animals. I was given the opportunity to nurse, and rehabilitate a number or orphaned creatures from kittens to antelope. Each animal there has been given a second chance, and the opportunity to live the rest of their life in being loved and cared for. The sanctuary has such a peaceful and healing atmosphere, even when the residents do their very best to create chaos, keeping you constantly on your toes. The staff is so friendly and welcoming, especially Sarah Carter, and her husband Vinay Ramlaul. Such a fun, and inspirational group of people have impacted my life in such a significant way.

In conclusion I recommend volunteering at the Twala Trust Sanctuary to everyone! It is such fulfilling work, surrounded by amazing people!

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Sophie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Being a local volunteer

In 2016 I got the chance to go and volunteer at the Twala Trust Animal Sanctuary on a number of occasions. It was such an incredible experience that taught me so much about the care and handling of animals, as well as filling me with a complete sense of purpose and contentment. All the staff at Twala are so welcoming and kind and their dedication to the animals is incredible. It is so fulfilling to become part of such a special community and is definitely something to look forward to when visiting Twala!
Every animal has their own personality and throughout your stay there you will learn what each one likes and dislikes, as well as all their quirks. The animals then become part of your life, and for weeks (and even months in my case!) you yearn to be back at Twala!
Being a local volunteer, I got to meet people from all over the world and learn about their heritage and culture. This was fantastic as I had never previously been exposed to such a diversity of nationalities. Also, they share your common love of animals which is something very special.
Overall I would highly recommend volunteering at Twala, whether you are local or international, as there is nothing to lose and everything to be gained.

Response from Twala Trust Animal Sanctuary

Thank you so much Sophie for your lovely review and your help with the animals at Twala. We are really happy that you enjoyed your time with us. It is great to meet the other Volunteers from all over the world and we are so grateful to you all.

Tasha
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A month in heaven

I had the privilege of spending a month volunteering at this sanctuary, before they moved to their new site. From day one, it was clear that no matter the species of the animal, they will all the best care possible - from goats to lions. I had a special bond with two animals while I was there - Smeagal the serval who after his 2pm tuna would love to cuddle up and you would both have a siesta in the sun, and also Rover the rescue dog. Before I arrived, Rover was found tied up to the gates and it took days to get close enough to him to free him. Sarah and the team had been working with him for a while before I arrived, and for some reason Rover trusted me. He would actually relax enough to play and let me touch him all over, everywhere I went he was there.
I also got to help in the rescue of a donkey, who unfortunately couldn't be saved, as well as rescuing two puppies who were on deaths door. After a lot of care they became two beautiful girls who have since been adopted.
I cannot thank Sarah and the team enough for my magical expericene, you couldn't ask for a better group of people who are so welcoming.
Do I recommend this place? Of course - you are crazy if you don't want to go and help give a helping hand to those animals that will steal your heart.

Response from Twala Trust Animal Sanctuary

Thank you so much for all your help and for the lovely review Tasha. We are so glad you enjoyed your time at Twala. It is such a privilege for us at Twala (humans and animals!) to have the remarkable help of our Volunteers. We hope to see you back again one day.

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Nicole
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Twala is a place of dreams!

I first went to Twala (in 2014) as I wanted some unique work experience to get into a veterinary degree, and volunteering there confirmed to be that all I want to do is work with animals. I can honestly say that visiting Twala changed my life. It is unlike any other sanctuary as each animal has such a special story, and being part of their recovery is the best feeling you could ask for. I am now doing a Veterinary Nursing degrees at one of the best veterinary universities in the world (Royal Veterinary College), and it is thanks to Twala and the experiences I gained there that I am able to do so.

In 2016 I planned to go travelling to other sanctuaries, however I realised the only place I wanted to visit was Twala as it is so special to me. Even when I am not there, seeing the animals updates makes my day, and on any low days I am having I always look back on my pictures there. When I'm at Twala I am constantly smiling and it really is my happy place in life.

Sarah, the founder of Twala, is the most amazing lady you will ever meet. Every animal absolutely adores and respects her dearly, and you can tell as soon as she is near them. The rest of the staff at Twala are all so friendly and keen to help you out. I cannot praise this place any more, it is truly amazing!

What would you improve about this program?
I could not fault this program in any way. Not only are you able to help rehabilitate the animals, spend time with them and care for them, you are often taken out for the day into Harare or to a game park for a day off!
Response from Twala Trust Animal Sanctuary

Thank you for your lovely words Nicole and we love your photos. We at Twala are so grateful to all our Volunteers, you know first hand how much work it takes to look after these beautiful creatures and we really could not do it without you all. We hope to see you back at Twala one of these days. We are so proud of you doing your Vet Nursing Degree and we know you will help animals so much. Do keep us posted on how you get on, we would love to hear from you.

Cecilia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Never a Dull Moment

For the first time in a very long time, I’m was constantly in a state of FOMO – fear of missing out. From day one of being at Twala, I’ve learned that we are here to give these beautiful animals a second chance at life. It broke my heart to hear some of their stories, but at the same time, I felt so privileged to be a part of this team to help care for them during my two week stay. From the meticulous way their food is prepared and presented to the level of thought and detail of which each enclosure is fashioned, anyone visiting Twala will see that these animals are truly loved.

My favorite experiences at Twala include visiting two bush babies who like to climb all over you, caring for a bunch of rollie pollie puppies, and assisting in a wonderful dog clinic that takes place every Wednesday. As I’m learning more about the Zimbabwean culture, dogs are such an integral part of life here. However, many of these people who live in the villages can barely afford to put food on the table for their families. Therefore, Twala runs a wonderful clinic to help feed, vaccinate, and sterilize the dogs in the community. Every single one of them gets a full meal of chicken! It’s such a rewarding experience and one that I will never forget.

Twala is constantly growing, and they are taking in new animals and releasing rehabilitated ones almost everyday. Education and conservation is their utmost priorities, and I have learned more than I can imagine in the short time I have been here. I loved the staff here, as they are always willing to impart knowledge to a hungry mind. I loved sitting on the porch and watching all the animals live harmoniously in the garden. I loved the warm welcomes I received everyday from Kiko, the housedog; Horace, the vervet monkey; Sheila, the cockatoo; all the house cats, and the lovely hellos from Leila and Skittles, the duikers. I also loved that every night, I fell asleep to a chorus of roaring lions, howling dogs, and singing birds. It’s just such a magical place.

You won’t be sitting around doing nothing here. There’s always a project going on, furry critters to play with, or enrichment toys to make. The staff is just fabulous too, and they are always there to support you in your daily activities. Your mornings will start off early and more often than not, you will feel absolutely bushed after a long days work. However, in the end, you know it’s all worth it because you made a difference in the animals’ lives. Knowing that is the best reward.

Response from Twala Trust Animal Sanctuary

Thank you Cecillia for your wonderful words. Yes feeding time is pretty hectic but it is a joy to feed fresh and healthy food to cater for each animals requirements. You did indeed make a difference to the animals lives, thank you so much from us and all the animals and thank you for choosing Twala for your Volunteer experience.

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Rebecca
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life-changing Experience

My volunteering at Twala Trust Animal Sanctuary was a truly life-changing experience.

Although I have always loved animals, I realised my true passion was to work with dogs. After leaving Twala I decided to quit my job as a Wedding Coordinator and took on a new job, in a new city as a Fundraiser for a dog and cat home.

The staff were so supportive throughout my time at Twala and were always there to answer any questions.

It was a really hands-on experience from food prep to enclosure enrichment. I took on some tasks that I never thought I would do and learnt a lot about myself as a person throughout the experience.

I even got the chance to watch some surgeries being performed at the local vet clinic who provides care for all of Twala's animals.

One of the best parts of my experience was having the opportunity to bottle-feed Violet and Harvey and to see them really come out of their shells and open their hearts.

I plan to return to Twala in 2018 and will hopefully be able to bring along some friends!

By then, a member of their Waggy Tail Club, Scooby, will be living with me in Scotland as following my trip I have decided to give her her forever home!

Response from Twala Trust Animal Sanctuary

What a great review Rebecca, thank you so much. We are so happy that Scooby will be with you and know how much love and special attention lucky Scooby will be getting from you. Wonderful work you are doing for the dogs and cats, keep up the great work, its so special.