WORK CONTENT AND DESCRIPTION
- Experience the African bush in a very special way on this private reserve. Explore
the savannah grasslands either on horseback or whilst riding on African Elephants
- Bottle feed and help take care of younger lion cubs, should there be any in camp
at the time
- Undertake important research on the behaviour of the African Lion
- Assist with numerous activities related to the care of these majestic beasts
- Swim on the back of an African elephant
- Assist staff at our local orphanage to care for the many children in their care.
Some of the work on this project is quite unusual, to say the least. (Where else
would you take lions for a walk every day to exercise them and to familiarise them
with a game reserve environment!). On the walks, the lions are 'free roaming' -
no leashes - they romp, they play and they stalk, and you may frequently be lucky
enough to have a large cub sitting on your lap sucking your thumb.
Duties are fairly varied and you will be expected to turn your hands to whatever
is required at the time you're there. Generally, your work would include some or
all of the following:
LION WALKS: Spending time with the lions in the wild each day is
an essential part of the cubs upbringing. If the cubs are to be successfully released
it is important that they spend time out in a natural environment. They need to
adapt to it, learn from it, understand, observe, feel and smell the wild.
Since the start of this intensive lion walking programme, they have noted a marked
increase in the lions’ awareness of their natural surroundings, as well as an improvement
in their hunting skills. The larger cubs are now able to take down smaller game
species whilst out on walks, and these abilities are being enhanced each day whilst
under the supervision of volunteers. These are invaluable discoveries, which have
earned us further support for our world first endeavours.
Alongside the walks you will be involved in the care of the animals which overnight
in enclosures. They need feeding, cleaning, and occasionally will need veterinary
care to ensure that they are kept in the best of health. NB. With the lion breeding
programmes, you'll also take part in meat preparation, stuffing the raw meat with
vitamins and minerals to feed to the lions; this is a compulsory activity.
Join the team of professional guides and other dedicated volunteers, gain a deeper
understanding of the King of Beasts and assist us in gathering vital information
that will facilitate their eventual release back into the wild.
RESEARCH: As part of the program they conduct a number
of research activities to better understand lion behaviour and ecology. The lion
walks offer unique opportunities to observe lions close up in their natural environment
with the data collected assisting us to make the best decisions for the animal’s
welfare and eventual release.
Volunteers will assist the research technician in gathering and analyzing this vital
ELEPHANT: You will also have the opportunity to spend time with
our orphaned African Elephants and their trainers. The elephants at the Park were
saved from certain death during a severe drought that ravaged Zimbabwe’s South Eastern
Lowveld in 1991 and 1992.
FREE ROAMING WILDLIFE: The few remaining areas of wildlife sanctuary
in Zimbabwe are extremely precious and must at all costs be protected. Part of your
project will involve assistance with the wildlife management scheme such as finding
and removing snares (‘snare sweeps’) within the game park and checking for holes
or fence cuttings on the boundary fence (‘Boundary Patrols’) and repairing them.
These activities are usually conducted on foot, within the Park and accompanied
by one of our trained guides.
OTHER DUTIES: You may also be asked to assist in any other duties
at the game park such as:
cleaning the lion enclosures;
preparing meat for the lions;
building and painting new lion enclosures;
cutting and collecting firewood;
daily schooling and exercising of horses;
basic repairs and maintenance;
any other wildlife or camp related activities that involve the assistance and development
of the lion programme.
There is also an opportunity to visit children at a local orphanage and interact
with them. They love to have the care and attention shown to them that they so richly
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A VOLUNTEER:
Every day is different as animals rarely operate to our schedule. We ask that you
remain flexible, but here is an example of a typical day on the project, as a guideline
- 6:30am – 8:00am Meet the guide and their clients and join them for a lion walk,
taking cubs from 7 months to 18 months out into the bush. If there are no clients
then volunteers and staff will be involved in taking the lions out for their walks.
Observe and take data notes as the cubs practice their hunting skills. Or possibly
spend the morning training the elephants and going on a ride.
- 8:30am – 9:30am Breakfast
- 9:30am - 12:30pm You could be involved in various duties including enclosure cleaning,
cub walking, boundary patrols or meat preparation, snare sweeping, bush walks, enclosure
- 12:30pm – 2:00pm Lunch
- 2:15pm - 4:00pm Your afternoon duties could include cub sitting, horse rides, cub
descriptions, elephant herding, or more enclosure cleaning and maintenance if needed.
- 4.00pm – 5.30pm Take the cubs out into the ‘bush’ again for their afternoon walks.
- 6.45pm Briefing by your volunteer coordinator about the following day's activities.
in winter months briefing meetings are held at 6.00pm and dinner is at 6.30pm.
- 7.00pm The volunteers socialize at dinner and around the cosy camp fire pit under
the stars. On some nights we take out the larger cubs for a night hunt and watch
as they stalk, chase and catch prey – a vital stage in their development and training
For 2016 the start dates are:
Jan 4th, 18th
Feb 1st, 8th, 15th, 29th
Mar 14th, 28th
Apr 4th, 11th, 25
May 9th and 23rd
Jun 6th and 20th
Jul 4th and 18th
Aug 1st and 15th and 29th
Sep 12th and 26th
Oct 10th and 24th
Nov 7th and 21st
Dec 5th and 19th
The start dates for 2017 are:
Jan: 2nd , 16th and 30th.
Feb: 13th and 27th
March: 13th and 27th
April: 10th and 24th
May: 8th and 22nd
June: 5th and 19th
July: 3rd, 17th and 31st
August: 14th and 28th
September: 11th and 25th
October: 9th and 23rd
November: 6th and 20th
December: 4th and 18th