Twala Trust Animal Sanctuary Volunteer Program - Zimbabwe

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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.

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based on 10 reviews
  • Impact 9.9
  • Support 10
  • Fun 10
  • Value 9.6
  • Safety 10
Showing 1 - 10 of 10
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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!

Yes, I recommend this program
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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.

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.

Yes, I recommend this program
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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!

How can this program be improved?
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.

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.

Yes, I recommend this program
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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.

Yes, I recommend this program
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An Amazing Experience

If you have a genuine interest in animals (domestic and wild) then the volunteering programme offered by Twala is perfect for you. There are many programmes where you feel like you're not actually doing or achieving much but Twala keep their volunteers very busy and engaged (while also allowing them time to relax or go sightseeing).
The animals at Twala are all very well cared for by a team of experienced staff members who are passionate about and invested in the welfare of the animals in their care. Staff members are also happy to assist volunteers in whatever way they can.
The work which volunteers are expected to carry out, or assist with, can vary from chopping vegetables for the animals' breakfasts, bathing tortoises (they are surprisingly heavy) to going out in the pickup truck to feed dogs living in rural areas round about the sanctuary.
Having travelled abroad a few times to complete volunteering programmes I can honestly say that Twala is where I felt like I was contributing the most, and where I felt like the people behind it were the most passionate about their cause.

Response from Twala Trust Animal Sanctuary

Thank you so much for this great review Samantha. We are so pleased that you know how much you have contributed - we are so grateful for all the help people such as you give to the Twala animals. We so appreciate you and thank you for the wonderful photos. We hope you will come back and see us again.

Yes, I recommend this program
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My time at Twala

I have never enjoyed working hard as much as I loved my short time volunteering at Twala and I don't think I stopped smiling the whole time, except when we took new animals into the sanctuary that had been suffering due to terrible injuries and/or neglect. The staff and founders of the sanctuary are some of the warmest and most genuine people I have met and, even though it is a few years ago now since my time there, I remember each and everyone that I worked with, with affection and total respect for what they do. When I first met Sarah (Founder) and she began to talk about her achievements with the sanctuary and how she has done things, she instantly became my role model for my approach to life. I totally admire her for her courage, relentless energy and strong values, as well as her unerring love and skillful handling of the animals in her care. I woke up every morning with a spring in my step, knowing that I would be spending the day doing so much good work for animals who deserved much better starts to their lives. The hands on experience of working with such a variety of animals was amazing and, even though I was already quite experienced in looking after horses, dogs and other animals, I learned so much more while I was at Twala. The only negative was having to leave at the end of my time there - I had withdrawal symptoms for weeks after! I would recommend volunteering at Twala to anyone that loves animals - there is nothing more fulfilling x

Response from Twala Trust Animal Sanctuary

Melanie, thank you so much for your wonderful words and for your amazing work and help during the time you volunteered at Twala. Love the photos too and we do hope we will see you again. All of us at Twala, both human and animals, send you huge love back.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Loved all of it ! Staff, animals, environment, surrounding, contact with population, trips.

Super experience. Learnt a lot about animals and myself. Wish I could do this full time. It is also very nice to have the feeling that you are doing something necessary and important.

Days start early at Twala but is there a best way to start the day than giving a bottle of milk to a baby vervet monkey? Never been so happy to wake up early. The most difficult part is to leave this fantastic place.

Left part of my heart there and will come back to leave a bit more !

Yes, I recommend this program
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Life changing

I spent 2 weeks at twala and since then everyone I have ever talked to for more that 10 minutes, has now heard atleast one twala story. It was an absolutely incredible time to completely immerse yourself in looking after the animals and taking care of the sanctuary. I made life long friends with other volunteers after working closely, sharing 5am starts, midnight servill hunts and a lot of monkey wee with them! The staff are brilliant, very knowledgable, and with enough convincing will agree to help you make a swing and seasaw for the bush babies.

An amazing amazing experience for you and the animals. Couldn't recommend enough to any person !

Yes, I recommend this program

About Twala Trust Animal Sanctuary

Twala Trust is a non-profit organisation providing a safe haven for animals in need in Zimbabwe. Twala is home to serval groups of rescued lions, serval cats, primates, reptiles, birds of prey, antelope, African hedgehogs, bush babies and other...