Rhino & Elephant Conservation:
1 - 8 weeks
Up to 12 people
1 - 8 weeks
Up to 12 people
What's the project about?
This family volunteering project is based at Imire: Rhino & Wildlife Conservation in Zimbabwe. Imire is dedicated to the sustainability of all African wildlife, focusing on the endangered black rhino. Their vision is to ensure the long term protection of Africa’s natural heritage, taking a unified approach to conservation. This is done through the creation of positive relationships between local communities and the wildlife. Family volunteers experience the thrill of witnessing Africa’s most iconic animals close at hand, while supporting a worthwhile conservation organisation.
How will I be contributing?
This unique family volunteer programme in Africa gives you a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience wild animals in a safe and natural environment. Family volunteers learn about rhino and elephant conservation within a private conservancy, where you can get up close with the wildlife. Family volunteers undertake practical conservation activities, learn about Africa’s endangered wildlife and interact with iconic African animals. Engage with community leaders and schoolchildren, visit homes, share cultures and learn bushcraft and survival skills.
What makes this project ethical?
Private conservancies such as Imire play a vital role in protecting and breeding endangered species. The human-wildlife conflict is possibly the greatest issue currently faced by conservationists. Through volunteering at Imire, you are directly participating in not only the protection of threatened wildlife, but also contributing to a conservation success story – where communities and conservancies peacefully and beneficially co-exist.
Our Rhino & Elephant Family Volunteer Programme gives your family the opportunity to live on a 10,000 acre private conservancy and learn about endangered species and their battle to survive. This family volunteering project is the sister programme to our popular Rhino & Elephant Conservation Programme, with activities adapted to make it suitable for younger children.
Families with children aged 14 and over will join the main volunteer group, doing the activities listed within that project – click for more details.
Family volunteering at Imire is a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in a new country and culture, and experience first-hand, day-to-day life in Africa. In return you will contribute to an important conservation cause. The experience will be life-changing for your whole family.
The conservancy has wonderful guides, experienced at teaching children to appreciate and understand the bush, and help them develop leadership and empathy towards people from different cultures.
Family volunteers will usually get involved in some or all of the following activities:
Wildlife conservation and animal interaction:
- Walk with the conservancy’s rhino and elephants, and learn from their experienced handlers;
- Learn about rhino conservation and what the reserve is doing to support the species in Zimbabwe;
- Learn to track and locate the white rhino using telemetry;
- Identify the different tracks and signs of animals, as you take guided nature walks through the bush;
- Repair elephant damage and cut browse for night time feeds.
Get a sneak peek into the behind-the-scenes operation of a large conservation area.
- Go on snare patrols to check for evidence of illegal poaching and trapping, and report your findings;
- Deliver feed and nutritional supplements to sable, zebra, buffalo and other plains game. Help feed the lion;
- Join the Anti-Poaching Unit as they undergo training exercises;
- Meet Murwi, star of the Anti-Poaching K9 Unit;
- Assist with fence building and repair;
- Remove invasive plants and help with tree planting.
Develop new skills:
Your guide will teach you how to survive in the bush; how to find water and how to navigate without using a map or compass – all activities great for developing leadership skills. Take part in practical conservation lessons, learn how to work as a team and practice your new skills in fun training exercises!
Culture and community projects:
Imire has been closely involved with the Wedza community since its foundation. Community engagement is the essence of sustainable conservation, and Imire has been a long-time champion of local employment, education, healthcare and poverty alleviation projects in the local community. The project are dedicated to the surrounding villages and work hard to emphasise the importance and benefits of protecting wildlife and the environment. Family volunteers will:
- Experience Shona culture first-hand. Go on home visits, learn to cook traditional meals and move your feet in traditional dances;
- Meet members of the local community and share ideas and experiences;
- Visit the ancient Bushmen paintings and hear the history of the Wedza area;
- Brave the ladder and climb to the top of Castle Kopje, as you learn about the conservancy’s rich history from local guides;
- Help with the community vegetable gardens;
- Visit the local school and pre-school.
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