Zimbabwe - African Wildlife Orphanage



Start Date


End Date


Time Commitment

Part time (10-30 hrs/wk)


Short-Term (few weeks/months)




Volunteer at one of the largest and most successful wildlife rehabilitation and release centers in Africa! Volunteers on this project work with a range of animals, anything from monkeys to lions. Experience beautiful Zimbabwe while making a positive impact on the delicate African ecosystem.

About the Project

The orphanage is a haven for wild animals who have little hope for survival in the wild; these are creatures which have been orphaned, abandoned, injured, born in captivity or brought up unsuccessfully as pets. It is often the last refuge for those brought in sick or injured, and increasingly it is a sanctuary for confiscated animals. The orphanage has been featured in countless documentaries and is now world renowned for its pioneering work and is famed as one of Africa's largest and most successful wildlife rehabilitation/release centers.

The wildlife orphanage was established in 1973 by an ex-game ranger, and its primary function is to offer a home to orphaned, abandoned and sick wild animals. The wildlife orphanage is not a zoo. Wherever possible, rescued animals and birds are rehabilitated and returned to the wild. If safe release into their natural habitat is not possible, animals are cared for and kept for educational purposes and zoological study. In the case of endangered species, captive breeding programs may also be undertaken.

The five primary goals of the orphanage are as follows:

1. Wildlife Orphanage/ Animal Rehabilitation Centre:to provide a service to rescue and care for injured wildlife, thereby providing a home for the many injured, sick, orphaned, abused, confiscated or abandoned wild animals from anywhere in Zimbabwe.

2. Education: to educate the Zimbabwe public, especially young children, with the aid of live viewing of many species not easily seen in the wild. Provide relevant lectures, film and slide shows for visiting groups. Thus providing a local resource centre for children to appreciate the important value of Zimbabwe's natural heritage.

3. Nature Conservation: to teach people and especially children, to appreciate the wonder and variety of indigenous wildlife and not to take it for granted; that these animals or their environment will not always be there for their enjoyment without the correct management of our natural resources.

4. Research: to observe and record useful zoological information on captive animals such as body growth and development, nutrition, dentition and gestation periods. Relevant research and field surveys are undertaken in the wild, under natural conditions in National Parks and protected areas.

5. Cooperation: To provide a link between local and governmental authorities thus being able to offer assistance to organizations like SPCA, National Parks, schools, and private individuals wherever problem animals are concerned.

Volunteer Work and Contribution

Upon arrival, volunteers will be met by a staff member who will take them straight to the orphanage (about 45 minutes). No experience is needed to work with the animals as all the training will be provided. All we ask is that volunteers are enthusiastic and dedicated to working with animals. During the first week, volunteers will be getting to know how the orphanage runs. During this orientation period, volunteers will work with different teams. Volunteers will get an introduction to working with the carnivores, primates, birds of prey, snakes and domestic animals. The main duties will include:

  • Preparing food for the animals (keeping in mind the different diets of the various animals, including meat preparation)
  • Feeding the animals
  • Cleaning out enclosures
  • Contributing enrichment ideas for the animals
  • Helping to build and maintain enclosures
  • Giving tours and educating the public
  • Hand rearing orphans (comfort them when they cry, feed them when they become hungry, and generally just play with baby animals. However, this can also be very tiring as they may need feeding during the night or just need a cuddle when they get scared.)

Schedule: Volunteers are expected to work 6 days a week, with Mondays off. Volunteers will work 8 hours a day (8:00 to 16:00) but will always be on call during fire season and when we have babies in. Baby shifts will be shared between the volunteers as we would not expect them to be awake with them all night.

Apply now for an experience of a lifetime!

Fee Required


Training Provided

Housing Available

Language/Cultural Support Available

We welcome

International Volunteers

How To Apply