We’re now firmly into February and we’re looking back at an amazing 2019 on our volunteer projects in Zimbabwe.
We hope that these photos will inspire you to join our one of our volunteer programmes in Zimbabwe, where you can participate in life-changing community projects, play a crucial role in supporting endangered and vulnerable wildlife, and become part of a very special and dedicated team of passionate conservationists from around the world. Our travel team visited seven projects in 2019, in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mozambique and Namibia, making sure that the work volunteers get involved with continues to be meaningful, impactful and genuinely useful.
We selected the following photographs, not always because they are necessarily the best, but because they mean something to us, and represent a special moment taken through the eyes of our volunteers and project staff.
Primate Conservation & Rehabilitation
2019 saw successful ostrich, zebra, antelope and primate releases, a wildlife relocation of more than 60 zebra, new arrivals of all shapes and sizes and lots of joys and tears. Life at this small sanctuary is definitely never dull, and there are always new friends to be made!
“The past two weeks was surely some of the most exciting and breathtaking times of my life. I had the privilege to gain experience and learn more about my absolute passion and love, wildlife. I got to explore different cultures and traditions, (like trying mopani worms and crocodiles ??) and got to work with the most amazing people.
Thank you for giving me this wonderful opportunity and teaching me some of your amazing knowledge about the wild. Can’t wait to return and see how the babies have grown and to meet little Tarzan. Till next time Zimbabwe. ??
**Family-friendly project – click for details!
Rhino and Elephant Conservation
One of our most popular projects, 2019 saw the birth of a baby black rhino, the arrival of a new juvenile male rhino from Victoria Falls and the release of the conservancy’s remaining black rhino into the reserve to roam free 24 hours a day. The project also collared each of their rhinos, with volunteers given the ongoing responsibility of tracking and locating them via telemetry – proving to be a popular new activity. Another new arrival was Nyasha, queen of Chiwawe – a beautiful orphaned serval cat. In the community, Imire built a new maternity ward at the local clinic and volunteers spent 880 hours in the school assisting in English literacy and reading.
“My week volunteering in Zimbabwe has been an experience that I will never forget – from the wonderful staff, the meaningful work, the community engagement and of course, the magnificent animals. My stay was a welcome change from normal life, re-engaging with people and purpose.”
**Family-friendly project – click for details!
Big 5 Wildlife Conservation
Zimbabwe is deep in drought, and the past few years have seen very low rainfall across the country. Nowhere has this been more keenly felt than in the National Parks, where animals struggle to find food and water during the winter months. Field assistants in Hwange and the Zambezi National Parks in western Zimbabwe were focused on the ongoing supply of water for animals, repairing pumps and solar panels, digging out waterholes and monitoring game numbers. It was also the year of the Giraffe Demographics Project – photographing every single giraffe seen, putting them onto the giraffe database and monitoring groups and movements. Volunteers also got involved with butterfly monitoring to identify species distribution and populations – a project that proved very popular! Every day on this project was a safari, exploring far-flung places and witnessing Africa at her most wild.
“Taking part in animal and bird surveys and counts, understanding their habitats and the interventions required to sustain Zimbabwe’s wildlife was very interesting, and has changed my perception of conservation and what caring for our planet really means.”
Community Outreach, Victoria Falls
Greenline had a very busy 2019, with volunteers and the project team working hard to unite communities and conservation. The team have been involved with setting the groundwork for the Elefence – a natural fence to keep elephants out of rural villages and stop crop damage; recycling projects in Victoria Falls town – working with safari lodges to encourage recycling and composting; ‘Gogo’ projects to support local women who care for multiple, often orphaned, children; creating nutrition gardens at the volunteer house and tree-planting campaigns in the rural villages! This project is a never-ending inspiration, with so many different projects in place to ensure communities are able to care for their environment and local wildlife.
“I loved that the project worked so closely within the local communities, and that there was so much for volunteers to be involved with. I was very proud to be involved with the start of the human-wildlife conflict project, going into communities and asking for people’s own experiences of the problem. It was eye-opening just how big the issue is.”
Horse Riding & Rhino Conservation
The sister project to our Rhino & Elephant Conservation Programme has also had a wonderful year, where volunteers have combined rhino tracking on horseback, with work in the community and witnessing the birth of a baby rhino and the arrival of a new rhino. As the rhinos have been released into the main conservancy to be free-roaming, the opportunities to ride up to the reserve’s ten rhinos have never been better!
All my rides with Judy were so very special. I learnt so much about the animals, the history of the park and Zimbabwe. It was so nice getting close to the animals on horse back, such a different experience from viewing in the car. All the people at Imire made this such a great experience. There is such great stuff happening here.
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