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Chimpanzee & Wildlife Orphan Care Project, Zambia
Volunteers group photo Volunteers group photo

Chimpanzee & Wildlife Orphan Care Project, Zambia

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    9

I don't know what this means. ??

I had a very special time at Chimfunshi. Two weeks was not to short. I even thought going a short periode is better otherwise you don't want to leave again. Very special experience to be so close to chimps!

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    6

A beautiful place in Zambia

What I like best with Chimfunshi, beside the chimps of course, is the calm and silence here. Even if the days days are filled with different kind of work there are also a lot of time to observe the chimps and learn a lot about them.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    7

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    9

Very good family experience

We volunteered for two weeks with our kids (ages 12 & 14) as part of our year traveling through Africa. We have done several other volunteering opportunities with mixed success as they are often not set up for a family. Africa Impact was clear with us that the kids were welcomed to participate in the vast majority of activities but there were a couple specific aspects which they would not be allowed to participate because of their age. We were fine with those limitations as they are obviously safety related. The low point for us was the pre-departure aspect as it was extremely difficult to complete while traveling, especially in Africa where the bandwidth is limited and we would receive conflicting information from different aspects of Africa Impact. Once onsite, however, everything was amazingly well organized and executed. We knew what to expect, were all actively engaged throughout the process, and the volunteer coordinators were always available when needed for guidance or advice. As former outdoor educators, we have very high expectations for leadership in these situations and the Africa Impact staff onsite were very professional and competent. Kudos to Jo and Jane!

The project itself is worthwhile. What started as a private family rescuing local animals has developed in to a large organization with all of the support services necessary (farming to feed the chimps, vet care, school for employee's children, health post, etc.) to care for more than 120 chimps. We provided behavioral enrichment activities for the chimps on a regular basis as well as assisted with farming/harvesting, food prep/feeding, sanitation (cleaning enclosures), focused observation of chimp behavior, and an after-school club. When possible, the onsite vet would engage us with what she was doing - everything from explaining reptile anatomy and morphology to bush baby health to chimp social behaviors. She is an amazing source of knowledge and ability. The activities varied by day so that there was always something different to keep you engaged. The schedule is somewhat dependent on the needs and staffing of the facility so remember to stay flexible - as a volunteer you are there to assist the project staff where and when needed.

In summary, we would definitely recommend the project.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    9

Brilliant project

I had a great time at Chimfunshi. Made all the more brilliant by excellent staff and a friendly community. It's almost 2 months later and I still miss them all (including all the Chimps!).
I really appreciated the no nonsense approach to this project and the sustainable and responsible approach to dealing with the Chimps and other animals. An excellent project to choose if you are prepared to get your hands (and feet!) dirty 6 days a week, and work hard to support the Chimps and local community. You won't be cuddling any chimps (as this is not a zoo/tourist zone...but a sanctuary) but you will have the ability to observe and be fascinated by their behaviour. We were also introduced to animal care by the brilliant vet. Such an inspiring place to spend time. I would love to go back.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    8

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Day to Day Life

    7

Annika S. review

I spent 8 weeks here at Chimfunshi and had a great experience. The amount and diversity of work related activities was ideal and each day promised something new and interesting. I learned so much from both the African Impact and Chimfunshi staff. I really enjoyed the community aspect of the project as well. Living and working together with a small group of other volunteers and staff created a sense of family. As someone who has never volunteered abroad before, I would call my time here at Chimfunshi a "success".

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    8

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    9

Feedback form Laetitia

I have spent 4 weeks here in Chimfunshi and I think it was one of my best place to travel. I meet amazing people and I improve my English. This place make my dream came true to see a chimp and to spent time with them. Thank you.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Chimfunshi Review 2017

I had an amazing time at Chimfunshi, Zambia. The staff, the people, the locals, all made me feel welcome. I felt like I really made a difference. Jo and Jane really made us all feel at home with their humour. They handled a tricky start with a difficult volunteer well and kept spirits up. I'll never forget my time there and the staff going above and beyond to look after us!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    4

  • Living Situation

    5

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Chimfunshi

I've had an amazing two weeks at Chimfunshi. I've been travelling all around southern Africa for the last six weeks completing different volunteer placements and this one has been the most authentic in my opinion. I know all the work I am doing here is worthwhile and ethical and there is no controversy whatsoever in the animal interactions. The chimps are absolutely incredible and the bush walks are just something else. I did my university dissertation on chimpanzees so the chance to meet them face to face (& even give one a piggyback ride) was just a dream come true. Meeting Sheila was another highlight as she was just lovely and so friendly and told us lots of stories about Billy the hippo. It was really cool that she signed my book although I later found out the copy I bought here had a tonne of typos in so I just wish I'd remembered to buy the book on amazon before I came like I was planning to! I still love my book regardless though. I also liked the fact this project wasn't all bush walks though but there were lots of different activities each day as it meant that I felt like a proper volunteer rather than just a tourist going on a million and one excursion. I only got to go on two bush walks and each was just amazing whereas I started to take the lion walks for granted which is sad as obviously walking with lions again should always feel like such a surreal experience. The volunteers were all lovely so I've made firm friends here and am even planning to do another project with one of the girls later this year. I also loved having the dogs at the camp as they always wanted lots of love so if you ever felt lonely you just needed to step outside and Zeus and Skinny were there for cuddles. The whole experience has been amazing and I'd thoroughly recommend it to all my friends.

  • African Impact responded to this review March 05, 2018 at 2:56 AM

    Hi Katie. We're very sorry about the last minute arrangements which let down the project admin side of things. We're so happy to hear that you're planning another trip back at the end of this year. Please will you email us at marketing@africanimpact.com so we can keep in contact about which project you're planning on doing!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Great project

Great communication beforehand with Danny the project manager. He was very helpful and made me feel more comfortable about my first solo project. I would very much recommend African Impact for this project and others from other volunteers experiences.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Franzis review

It was a amazing experience to be in Africa. I enjoyed being part of the Chimfunshi family. I really loved working with the chimps and doing several activities with the kids. Farming was always great and a good feeling. Jo Anna and Jane are great and we had a lot of fun.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

A dream come true

I have never had a more rewarding, enjoyable experience in my entire life. I learned so much about life, myself, the chimps and the wonderful people that I came into contact with. Jo and Jane are two remarkable people that made this experience possible.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Really satisfying experience

Wonderful experience. i had the best time of my life here at chimfunshi. My favourite chimp was nikki, i loved the bushwalk and the behaviour enrichment. canoeing picnics were also the best! i will tell all my friends and hope to come back

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Great experience

I have had an amazing 3 weeks at Chimfunshi. The experiences and schedules are well organised and the accommodation is simple but comfortable. I have eaten well and met some amazing people. The project coordinators were very friendly and helpful.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Chimfunshi wildlife orphanage volunteering

Volunteering at Chimfunshi is an experience that you won't regret; as long as you are willing to put in the effort. Chimfunshi is unique and it is a real privilege to see so many happy chimps spending their lives in a sanctuary surrounded by people who really care about them. Whilst some of the work is physical, there is plenty of down time to relax, recharge and get ready for the next activity, of which there is a good variety. It is nice to see the direct impact that each of the activities has; whether it be an impact on the chimps, their keepers, the local community or even yourself. Jo and Jane are instantly welcoming and you feel part of a family very quickly. There is a real community feeling when you volunteer at Chimfunshi. If you have a passion for primates, you cannot go wrong volunteering here.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Day to Day Life

    8

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Community Engagement

    6

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Volunteer Placement

    8

8 weeks at Chimfunshi

It was an incredible experience and one I'm very glad I did it. Being around the chimpanzees makes for an interest project to volunteer for. The variety of work is good, while the number of hours worked per week isn't very large a bit of the work is physically hard. I enjoyed meeting fellow volunteers, but this is a fairly quiet project - when I was staying there were only two or three other volunteers most the time, so don't expect a party atmosphere! I would recommended a length of stay of 4 weeks. Less and you may fell you have not done enough, more and the same weekly pattern of work will get less exciting.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Day to Day Life

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Volunteer Placement

    7

My experience as a first time volunteer

A lot comes down to the group of volunteers i wish a matched a bit better with mine- good people but not that interested in hard work and in taking initiative. I think there should be a prioritised list over things that need to be done at all times to make it easy for volunteers that want to work more than others to go ahead. Initiative is of course important, but its a lot easier if you set up goals to work towards. Overall great stay and i loved it!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    7

  • Health & Safety

    6

  • Day to Day Life

    7

2 weeks with the chimps

Amazing experience! It was a fantastic opportunity to get close to and understand these amazing animals, I only wish I could have stayed longer. We were very well looked after, and the only drawback I felt was that we weren't actually doing much to really help & make a difference, other than paying towards the charity. However that made me feel better about the cost of it. The people who work there full time do an amazing job.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Day to Day Life

    9

Time of my life!

I had the time of my life at Chimfunshi! The staff were very nice and friendly and encouraged you to come up with new ideas and activities. Living simply and meet the locals gave me a new view of life and what requirement I have.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Day to Day Life

    10

My review

The experience in Chimfunshi enhanced my knowledge about the chimps' life. I'm happy I had the chance to have a small impact on the chimps. It's certainly a unique and extraordinary experience that I would recommend.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Day to Day Life

    7

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

A truly amazing experience with chimpanzees

Going into my arrival at Chimfunshi, I was worried that I was supporting a tourist trap or zoo-like attraction that promotes animal captivity. With our first tour of the property, it was clear as day that Chimfunshi is not any of those things. It is a sanctuary where chimpanzees truly have the chance to live like they would in the wild, yet with the safety of protected land. As a volunteer, you are involved with many different aspect going towards the greater goal at the sanctuary, from farming the fruits and veggies that feed the chimps, to behavioral therapy. A usual day at Chimfunshi was never quite that usual, which was the part I enjoyed the most about this program! One day we would spend our mornings at the nursery, planting new fruit trees, followed by an afternoon of harvesting in the orchards - then chucking these harvested oranges for snack time was always a riot. The following day we would start off the day with preparing food for the chimps, followed by lunch with the keepers, (who are AWESOME!) then cleaning the feeding area, with an afternoon fixing and maintaining some of the infrastructures around the property. Cleaning, feeding, farming, and observing were part of the main daily chores, and we even spent some time at the orphanage and with Sheila Siddle, which was an honour. This program is not for the faint of heart though, with my experience, there was a lot of manual labour, spending a lot of time outdoors and working hard! Which, for myself, was great. I felt that with each evening that came, we had accomplished much throughout our day, and that is one of the most important goals for myself as a volunteer. And it should not go unnoted that you are in the middle of the equatorial jungle, and the evenings can be VERY quiet, especially if you are only one or two volunteers. Although the administration and volunteer managers are awesome, you will need to be prepared to keep yourself entertained in the evenings. Town trips were long and exhausting, and I eventually opted out of these trips and spent the days with the keepers instead. The best part of being at Chimfunshi was definitely the opportunity to observe and understand the way chimps are! Each chimp, you learn, has their own personality and traits, and with time you learn the family hierarchy and grow to have favourites within each community. (Zsabu holds a special place in my heart!) Another great feature, especially if you are keen to learn about apes, is the knowledge that the keepers have and are willing to share, and not only that, they are equally curious and wanting to learn from you. One of my favourite moments during my time there was sitting around the cookfire one lunchtime at enclosures 1 and 2 with the keepers, where we had a long conversation about animals from different areas of the world, and they had so many questions about the animals from Canada, and we would discuss each unique animal at great lengths, until they were satisfied and moved on to the next animal they had heard comes from my home country. Just thinking about this memory brings a big smile to my face! I feel privileged to have had such a great experience volunteering at Chimfunshi Wildlife Sanctuary! Ps. Definitely read Sheila's book AFTER you visit Chimfunshi, being able to relate to what you're reading was great.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

My time with the Chimps, is a time I'll never forget.

The Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage in Zambia is an amazing place to be. When I got there, I knew nothing about Chimpanzee's, thankfully the staff and other volunteers graciously helped me catch on quick. We would start our day's out by biking to the enclosure for a visit with some of the chimps in the escape artist enclosure. We'd make things for them to play with and keep them busy, like puzzle boxes with fruit inside them, and they would have to try to get the fruit out, or we'd hide things for them to find. We'd also help the keepers make the food for Chimps. Every day we'd get an hour for lunch where we were free to do whatever we please. I spent most of my lunches helping the keepers feed the chimps, and playing peek-a-boo or tickles with some of the baby chimps. After lunch we'd do an activity like fishing, canoeing, helping out on the farm, or just playing with the chimps in the orphanage. On the weekends we'd go for a town trip. A town trip is where we'd go into town for a few hours and get somethings we need, like grocery shopping, or getting supplies that we might have ran out of. My time there was amazing and went by so fast, but I will never forget it. I met so many lifelong friends that I hope to see when I go back!

Institution Affiliates:

World Youth Student & Educational Travel Confederation