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Hands-on Lion and Wildlife Conservation in Victoria Falls
Volunteers and local kids playing Volunteers and local kids playing

Hands-on Lion and Wildlife Conservation in Victoria Falls

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 African Impact experience

Volunteering with African Impact was one of the most enjoyable and influential 4 weeks of my lifetime. I was on the lion project which was an extraordinary experience because it's not every day that you get to walk with lions, let alone rub their bellies! Each day was different, and I enjoyed the hands-on nature of the project-for instance building a platform for the lions and a dam for the new site. It was also nice to see that the behavioral enrichment and lion walks are having some impact on the lions, shown to us when they killed a kudu whilst walking with clients. The game drives and research in the national park were also incredible to experience and very well organised.
I feel I have learnt so much from my time in Zimbabwe. Every day I gained more insight into Zimbabwe's history, culture and wildlife thanks to the project's diversity and educational element. All the work we did seemed to be done in a sustainable manner and we were given the opportunity to really immerse ourselves in the communities surrounding Victoria Falls and their culture. The coordinators offered us a lot of freedom off project hours, which allowed me for example to attend a football training session with a Division one team, go white water rafting, and visit Botswana in my free time. All in all, it was an amazing experience, done with amazing people, in an amazing location.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Amazing experience

Best time of my life! I encourage anyone who is looking to make an impact and have an amazing vacation to do This! The people I met and the experience I had was literally the best time of my life. I will never be the same :)

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Two weeks of new, exhilarating experiences in an incredible natural setting.

I am a nature lover, and this was a nature experience to beat all others. Loads of time in the park on game counts and research drives with passionate and knowledgeable research staff. Who needs a safari holiday? We went on a total of eight half-day game drives in just two weeks, with the option of three others! We saw a huge variety of animals, bird and plant life. Work on the Lion Encounter was an overwhelming experience too, with hands on engagement with the project lions and their care. All this happened in the positive atmosphere of the project accommodation, complete with knowledgeable and helpful staff. Staff arranged add-on tours and activities for us around Victoria Falls, including several fun social evenings. Victoria Falls itself presents a huge variety of adventurous activities. We were invited to see several aspect of community life in a genuine setting and were honoured to attend choir practise sessions, church meetings and evening classes for adults. Overall, we are very glad we chose this project. It was an experience of a lifetime, with new surprises and experiences every day.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Amazing!

It's hard to explain in words how brilliant my experience with African impact has been, but I will try... From the start to the finish I have felt safe and comfortable in what can seem like a very different place to home! From the pre-departure advice to the inductions and ongoing support, I have been able to make the most of this beautiful place and its inhabitants - both humans and animals! I booked this experience as the start of my honeymoon and it really is the best thing I could have done. We stuck to the schedule we were given at the start of the two weeks and were rewarded with unforgettable experiences, highlights include: being surrounded by wild lions, white water rafting down the Zambezi river, speaking on a local radio show and spotting a cheetah for the first time in the park for 10 years! I know animal sightings are not guaranteed, but if you make the most of the people, the animals and the country then you will not be disappointed. I whole-heaterdly recommend this experience to anyone interested in working with animals or the community in a beautiful part of wild Africa. Thank you to the coordinators at African Impact for a honeymoon to remember!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

A double folded project

After almost 2 weeks I think I understood the idea behind the lion conservation project: I've seen not only a great interest and respect for wild animals, but also attention to the human community and how human can coexist with lions and elephants. Despite the fact that this is clearly written in the project details, I had to live the project (working with lions and visiting the homesteads) to properly understand it. I'd like to thank all the organization for this opportunity and I wish my best for the future of the project.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Had an amazing time

Had an amazing time would defiantly recommend and have complete intentions to return. developed many field research skills which i believe i can take with me into my future career and presented my with knowledge and understanding of future areas i can go into as well as broadening my perspective for future further studies accredited to my learning from this experience

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Review

I had an amazing time volunteering here in Victoria Falls! Everyday was always a good time and never a dull moment. I loved being with the lions, doing the research game drives and doing things within the community. The other volunteers were great and helped make my experience awesome.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Lions at Victoria Falls

10/10 would recommend. Absolutely amazing experience. I got much more than thought I would. I went into this thinking I just be working with lions but soon found that I got to do conservation work and community service too! Very rewarding. I never wanted to leave and want to return ASAP.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Absolutely amazing

Overall I had one of the best experiences of my life. I expected traveling to Africa would be a great adventure but it was even better then I had anticipated. I had no complaints, I was very well taken care of and every day was an amazing new adventure.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Another amazing experience!

Second time volunteering with African Impact and again was not disappointed! I had such a great time. I got to be involved with so much more of the project than I imagined. The staff (Hayley in particular) where all incredible, helpful and made my time even more enjoyable! Thank you all at African Impact!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    8

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    9

Joy

The two weeks of my life. Werking with the lions and Lennart and the guys was a experience that I will never forget. The inkt thing I missed was that we didn't workshop with clients. All the other community and nature experience completed a great holiday.
Thanx

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Absolutely amazing!

The overall experience and volunteering at Victoria Falls was absolutely amazing! Every day we did something different and fun! Whether it was walking with the lions (Lila, Liuwa, Lala and Lekker), being on the fantastic game counts at Zambezi National Park or planting trees and helping the community, it was always an amazing day. We even got to influence our own schedule, so that we could do the things we loved the most even more often. The social life at both Lion Encounter with the handlers and Tokkie Lodge with all the volunteers and staff was fantastic as well - Amy Turriff, Evie Ndhlovu, Becky Robinson and all the other volunteers were so welcoming and positive when I first arrived and it continued that way. Is it not often that you meet so positive, friendly and professional people as they are. You instantly become a little family and spend all your time together. Even on our days of we would go do fun things like trying the Gorge Swing, having dinner at the restaurant Jungle Junction and visiting the beautiful Victoria Falls. Some of os volunteers have even agreed to take another trip together in September!

The program administration and the overall coordination of the different activities was excellent too, we were always right on time and everything was so organized. Even though there was a bit of confusion in the beginning, because our volunteer manager suddenly had to leave, everything went on as it should - thanks to the photography manager Amy Turriff, who took over and handled everything to perfection, while still having the energy to plan fun things at night as sunset drinks and night game drives!

The Lion Encounter program was as amazing as I thought it would be. We got to interact with the lions almost every day - walking with them in the bush, playing with them with toys we made and petting sweet Lila on her belly, which she loved. You get a very special bond with all the volunteers, interns and handlers, but you definitely also get a special bond with the lions. Every day you could see how they got to know you better and better and how they reacted and recognized your voice. Everything about the program and how to interact with the lion was explained when we first arrived. We had a good introduction to all the stages the lions goes through and what happens when the are fully grown. All the handlers at Lion Encounter were so professional and you always knew that our safety at the project was very important.

I can’t describe how glad I am that I decided to go on this trip, it has really been one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had and I would truly recommend everyone to go on a trip like this. This project, the staff and handlers working here and Zimbabwe in general is absolutely fantastic! 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

African Impact experience

Ah-Ma-Zing! The staff and community make this program truly Life changing and fun! So much information was given about the program and we even learned about the cultures. You go away with so much more than what you expected to leave with. I don't want to leave. It was so organized and you can see the impact being made.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Lion encounter

It was the most amazing two weeks. It was an entirely different yet equally as amazing experience as volunteering with ALERT in Zambia which I had done for two weeks previously. The ability to have a hands on experience with the lions has been second to none and I felt as though research with the Dambwa pride has only enriched the experience further.
The staff, both at the lodge and the lions have been so accommodating and eager to share their knowledge, enriching the experience further. I've been so fortunate to have played a part in such an amazing program and to have loved every minute!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Lion conservation

I came here to learn about lion conservation and research. As a college student studying sustainable eco tourism, I have learned so much useful information about conservation and preservation of the surrounding environment. I had such a great time working with the lions and the community during my 3 weeks here. I have learned so much about different conservation efforts that are being put in place here. The other volunteers that I work with are so friendly and nice. I would recommend this program to anyone who is willing to work hard, get their hands dirty and want to help out the local community. There are so many wonderful projects here!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Amazing volunteering experience!!

WHAT A SUPERB Programme!!! Great organization and support throughout all 2 weeks we were volunteering with African Impact. BIG THANK YOU to Alanna, Nuppy and Mel for taking care of us and organising our schedule, Guys, you are just great! Special thank you to all Lion Encounter employees, Lennard and the Team and of course Interns who helped us and been very attentive and patient - very grateful for the experience and knowledge you shared with us. Never could imagine that there will be so many interesting activities and very happy that we could help local community and Lion Conservation programme. Lions are unbelievable!!! It is just fantastic we could spent so much time looking after them, doing research and learning so many things about these gorgeous animals!!!
This programme exceeded all our expectations and we will definitely come back!
Highly recommended for everyone who loves wild life and want to contribute to Lion conservation initiative as well as meet fantastic people, contribute to supporting of local communities and learn more about
African culture!
What a cool experience full stop!!!
Love you All and hope we shall see each other very soon!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

African Impact Victoria falls lion project - IMMENSE!!!!

My girlfriend and I arrived with no expectations on 10 October for 2 weeks on the lion volunteer programme with African Impact in Victoria Falls, and the experience was nothing short of breathtaking. Non-stop programme, well organised and I would have no hesitation in taking part in another African Impact programme.

Alanna and Nuppy displayed excellent organisational and management skills during our stay. They put a lot of time and effort into arranging the weekly schedule to make sure that each participant optimised their time on the programme and they were always on hand to help out with daily queries. I was impressed with their professionalism and personability and the house and programme were both managed with aplomb.

Mel worked tirelessly as the Volunteer Coordinator and is entirely suited to the role. She looked after the group really well, making sure we all knew what has happening, what was needed, and providing excellent support throughout the project. I found Mel to be the perfect combination of professional and personable and the programme was enriched by her presence.

Nelly and Grace were unobtrusive with their cleaning duties and I would like to give a special mention to Shi and Dennis in the kitchen - I enjoyed their food and would happily eat another two weeks of it and I found them to be delightful human beings.

On the culinary side of things, Nuppy's Indian cooking was restaurant standard, hats off!

Matunda our daily driver was a happy soul to start the days off and Lenard, our link to the community and so knowledgeable on so many topics, was a gentleman and a scholar. He looked after us incredibly well and I learned a lot from him in a short space of time. He works hard for his community and has built excellent bridges to it with the programme. The lion handlers were cool people, great with the animals and I learned so much from them in such a short space of time.

The programme itself was awesome. Days were full, lion interaction was on a daily basis and I was sad to say farewell for now to Lekker, Lila, Lala, and Luwa. I look forward to returning and seeing how they are getting on in the future. To give you an insight into what activities we packed into two weeks, some of the other activities we took part in were: introduction to conservation with Bob, meat preparation and cub feeding, behaviour enrichment, hyena monitoring, litter patrol, boundary patrol, language class in N'Debele, classes on Zimbabwean history and culture, Introduction to birds and insects, snare sweeps, introduction to tracks and signs, Kids club at the local orphanage, the list is endless and the memories created, magical.

We also took advantage of the following activities at an extra cost: Devil's Pool, trip to Livingstone and one of the release sites, getting close to white rhino, training with the local football team. Still can't quite process that it all took place in two weeks!

Massive recommendation, would definitely return, and what an ace programme!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Lion Conservation Vic Falls

Overall, amazing and an unforgettable experience. I have been wanting to do this for such a long time and I am so happy I did. The only complaint I have is that I didn't stay longer! Already counting down the days until I can come back!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

If you don't do this you will miss out the best experience of your life

When I came here to be honest I didn't know what to expect, but after getting here the accommodation was amazing not the Hilton but clean and tidy and being a lodge with all the other volunteers made it feel like a family home. The other volunteers where aged from 18 - me the eldest 49 but if you where 70 you still would of fitted in. Everybody mucks in with the weekly chores, laying the table, locking up at night and even feeding the household cat. Normally leave to start your first of 3 programs of the day at 6.30 am which lasts till 9 when you stop for breakfast out in the bush hut. The 2nd program starts after that till approx. 12.30 when you come back for lunch. You have couple hours rest as the sun is at its hottest till approx. 3 o clock. When you go out for your 3rd program of the day till 6pm followed by a communal dinner with the other volunteers to talk about your days experience. As you aren't all doing the same programmes together, the programmes range from lion walking, teaching in schools, bush drives, bird watching, data collection of where wild animals have been spotted, learning the basics of African language, and history and culture of Zimbabwe and so much more. It has been the most educational, humbling and eye opening experience of my life. In the most beautiful settings with Victoria falls being the cherry on a very special cake, the local people are so friendly and happy to see yo. When you walk around you don't feel threatened or intimidated at all (although you are badgered a bit in town to buy souvenirs, but no different from most places I've been ) the people who run African impact are very professional and extremely good at their job and the lion encounter guides are trained to the highest level, all speaking perfect English and have their own special personalities, trying to make this experience one you will enjoy and want to return (they are all trained by a man called Leonard (aka Lemmon ) who is the like the wise old owl who teaches them all. I've thoroughly enjoyed this holiday. In fact it's been the best time away from home I've had in my life and I am very well travelled. I'd recommend this experience to anyone, whether single, couple or as a family experience. If you are looking for a life changing experience or a holiday that's just different from the norm. You need to try this!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Amazing experience

I had such an amazing time volunteering with African Impact! Everyone was so nice and the program was very well structured. I will definitely be returning in the future. Im so sad to be leaving. I met so many cool people and made new friends all over the world.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    10

My first volunteer experience - Vic Falls 2016

Having spent hours researching opportunities to volunteer abroad, I finally decided to go with the 'Hands-On Lion Conservation project in Victoria Falls. After spending 4 weeks volunteering with them, I do not think that I could have chosen a better project to partake in. With this being my first experience volunteering abroad, I had no idea what to expect but I honestly did not think it would be possible to feel so happy and at home for such a long period of time.
I'm sure every other volunteer who's stayed at outpost and volunteered there will agree that it is genuinely impossible to wake up in a bad mood; you just knew that every day was going to be a good day.
Whilst staying at the lodge and working alongside Lion Encounter, I felt myself become a part of a family - I went to Africa to work with Lions and give myself the experience of a lifetime, and don't get me wrong, having the opportunity to work so closely with such a beautiful species was incredible, but what really made my time in Victoria Falls special was the people. From the Lion Handlers and Guides to the Volunteers and the Coordinators; they were the ones who really made me feel like this was an experience of a lifetime - I cannot imagine working alongside a better group of people.
From day one, I felt I was making my impact; with every activity I did, I was told exactly why I was doing it and therefore knew the effect that it would have on the conservation project. I learnt more than I ever imagined I would; as well as working on the conservation project, I also had the opportunity to learn for myself - I was taught about the History and culture of Zimbabwe; about the trees and their uses; how to walk in the bush safely; and how to read the tracks and signs within the bush. We also had the whole conservation project explained to us in depth so that we were able to understand the importance of what we were doing.
I cannot express how amazing my time was in Victoria Falls and I don't know how I could compare this to any future volunteer projects that I take part in. One thing I do know is that my experience in Victoria Falls really has motivated me get saving again so I can see more of the world whilst volunteering and making my impact. My time in Victoria Falls with stay with me forever and I intend to return as soon as i can.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

On my 50th birthday, this is how I celebrated

It was the best 2 weeks ever, and it was not enough time. Thank you to the staff and handlers. I had the best time ever.i wake up and waited to see the cups and to walk and pet them. I meet wonderful new friends all over the world.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Victoria falls' lion volunteering

Had an amazing time here, learnt so much and met some wonderful people. One of the greatest experiences I've ever had and would love to do it again whenever I can. Looking forward to seeing the cubs when they've grown up in a few years!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Hands-on lions conservation Victoria Falls

I really enjoyed my time at the hands-on lion project in Victoria Falls. The atmosphere in the volunteer house is familiar and I got the opportunity to get to know open minded people from all over the world.
Beside the amazing nature and wildlife around Victoria Falls, we were able to learn all about the locals' life during this project. My highlights were the daily work with the lion cubs, the camping trip to Zambezi National Park, playing with the kids at the local orphanage and ofcourse the amazing African sunsets. For me it was the best way to spend my holidays and switch off from the everyday life.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

African Impact lion project at Victoria Falls

My time with African Impact has exceeded my hopes and expectations by far. The lion conservation program was amazing and I was privileged to also be involved in some of the community activities which has opened my eyes to potential volunteering avenues in the future. There are so many trips and adventures to have in your free time and the location is incredible. The people here are the warmest, happiest and most helpful people you could ever hope to meet. I would highly recommend volunteering with African Impact.

Institution Affiliates:

World Youth Student & Educational Travel Confederation