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Hands-on Lion and Wildlife Conservation in Victoria Falls
Volunteers group photo Volunteers group photo

Hands-on Lion and Wildlife Conservation in Victoria Falls

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Amazing experience

The project was amazing and spectacular . I learn't so much about the African bush and its history, the project included interesting perspectives of wildlife and the community . It avoked me about our environment being destroyed and how to implement it in the right way. the guides were friendly, joyful and very helpful, they were ready to teach or talk about anything of Africa at anytime which was truly mind-blowing.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Back for another go!

This was my second time on this project. I was first here in October 2107 for 3 week and couldn’t wait to get back for another go. I signed up to the lions hands on projects but it was the people and community projects that got me back here. I couldn’t get back quick enough.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    9

Excellent conservation efforts

A lot of effort put into conservation methods & engagement of local community, education, human wildlife conflict management and empowerment. Using the solar ?blinkers appears to be effective in reducing wildlife attacks on cattle at night times. It’s great to hear that lions will be released in near future into one of the National parks. In my opinion should there be enough funds, Phase 1 of Lion walks could be scrapped and the project can start with release site (phase2). Although I haven’t read the reference articles thoroughly there’s no concrete evidence to suggest that Phase1 of lion walks is absolute necessity. In my opinion it is not productive for the cognitive development of lion cubs that are taken away from their at a very young age. And maternal bonding of lion cubs should be taken as priority, even if that means some of the research programs may not continue. It is also the responsibility of Universities that approves Research activities to critically and ethically evaluate the impact of separating lion cubs from their mothers and unnecessary interactions with humans. We are currently at a stage where wild animals are not allowed in circuses, however it seems it has taken a full circle when it comes to conservation. In my opinion a risk/benefit analysis (including financial costs of managing lions after retirement from walks into enclosures) of Lions walks to be carried out and it would be great for the lions not to have any direct contact/interactions with humans, however that would depend on the volunteers to consciously choose this wonderful program to continue without any interactions with lions. I would return probably in a couple of years to contribute to most of these programs.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Day to Day Life

    8

Amazing experience at African Impact

My time at African impact was short but incredibly life changing and eye opening. The people and the projects I was exposed to and learnt so much from will stay with me for life. What a privilege to take part!!

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    7

Sweet sweet Zimbabwe

I think it’s hard to come into a group of people who already know each other, but everyone has been so welcoming and social so it doesn’t take much time to feel like a part of the group. I’ve had a great month, even if it’s been hard sometimes. It’s easy to feel lonely and it’s easy to get overwhelmed of everything you see and experience here. But in the end of the day everyone cares of each other at the lodge and you can always talk to somebody.

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 encounter

Wow wow wow what an amazing time i have had. The staff at lion encounter are truly amazing and i have learnt so much from them all especially my best buddie lenard. The staff and volunteers at tokki lodge are truly marvellous and they have all made my trip so enjoyable and i will definitely be going back for sure. Working in the community was a eye opener for me and i throughly enjoyed working with them all. I have had so many memorable moments with everyone and i wont forget one bit of it. Thank you so much.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Vic falls 2018

I found the program to be extraordinary and I loved every moment I spent in Victoria Falls. It was everything I imagined it would be and, as cliché as it sounds, so much more. As I expected, I fell in love with the lions instantly and was heartbroken to have to leave them. The different activities, visits to the local schools and orphanage and the people I met, particularly the staff, made this an enriching and fulfilling experience.

Overall Rating

6/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    4

  • Program Administration

    6

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Community Engagement

    7

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Day to Day Life

    5

Unlike the standards of other African Impact projects

Honestly disappointing bed after two other AI projects. Accommodation was fair, but food was mediocre at best with incredibly small and unsatisfactory lunch. We'd leave in the morning at around 7:30 or 8 and would HAVE to return at 12 EVEN if there's nothing to do on project. Lion walks can get very dull seeing that we just sit next to the lions while they sleep and the handlers just talk amongst themselves. The few community projects I was required to go on offered me no briefing or explanation prior to project time and always left me confused and angry seeing that I didn't know what was going on.
There should definitely be more planning going on for all projects so that we'd feel less like glorified customers of lion encounter and more like actual volunteers contributing to sustainability.

  • African Impact responded to this review March 07, 2018 at 7:17 AM

    First of all we would like to thank you for your valuable review, we appreciate any feedback including criticism as this aids us with improving on our program.

    With regards to your meals, we have addressed this with the catering department and have already put systems in place to improve this.

    With regards to the lion project, it’s important to realize that the primary purpose of a volunteer walk is to observe and record data on the cubs as they exhibit natural behavior. Lions in general are very lazy animals and do tend to sleep the majority of the day, so if they chose to sleep for most of these sessions then that is still useful information. We cannot force the cubs to “perform” for the volunteers as this compromises the data and is unethical. Besides, all volunteers take part in other activities such as behavioral enrichment sessions, cub feeding and meat preparation which they often enjoy. With regards to the handlers not communicating, this is being addressed.

    With regards to the community project, a full induction is given to all volunteers upon arrival. This aims to give a generic description of what the project will look like as well as provide complete information on every single community activity. Additionally, we have a full afternoon of weekly planning where volunteers plan each and every project you will be attending. During our planning sessions, we also fill in the planning sheets which are available to every volunteer in case you forget what you have planned. Unfortunately, excessive rainfall during February was a significant hindrance to many of our activities and made circumstantial day to day planning unusually challenging. However, we tried to explain the implications and each one was kindly requested to remain flexible.

    We are very sorry to hear that despite our efforts, you felt confused, angry and was not sure what was going on during community projects, however we would have appreciated you raising your concern about the matter while being here first to give us the opportunity make you feel more informed and included.

    To conclude, we would like to say thank you for joining us here in Victoria Falls, we greatly appreciate the time and effort you have invested in our projects.

    Please feel free to contact us at marketing@africanimpact.com should you have any other questions or concerns.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Dream come true!

I’ve had the most amazing days in Victoria Falls. All the staff make you feel at home. Evie is the funniest person I’ve ever met. I totally recommend doing this volunteer program! I miss everyday! I hope I get back to Zimbabwe some day.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Lion encounter

I was in the lion encounter project. I got all I expected and more. Even if you were in the lion project, you were scheduled for several community events. Those were an extra and wonderful experience.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    9

Excellent experience

The whole experience was excellent. The work/activities we did were hugely enjoyable. The staff/ organisers were friendly, helpful and always available. The accommodation was basic, but perfectly adequate and cleaned on a daily basis, which was more than I expected. Food was plentiful and always delicious - again, more than I expected.

I would be more than happy to come back again or recommend the placement to others who might be interested.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

A walk to remember

I was the best experience I've ever had. It made some really good friends and we made some important memories together. The people in Zimbabwe are so sweet and smiling, the staff are so helpful and caring, and the lion walk is the best way to start your morning. I'm not done with Zim, and I'm planing to go back in February! And I can't describe how much I'm looking forward to be in the surroundings again. The only thing I don't like, is the fact that we had to be home by 02:00 on Saturdays. I get why we have a curfew when we have things to do the next morning like on Fridays and the other weekdays.
But it was truly an amazing time, and I never got bored! My foot got hurt really bad, but Anna was super helpful and drove me to the doctor, and stayed there to help me fill out the papers. She was in general really good to all the volunteers, and taught us a lot of things about Zimbabwes culture and history. She eats quit funny though.

I wish I could bring all I know to my next visit!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

You won't regret a second

Amazing and unforgettable experience. I left home, feeling like a month was a long stay, and that I would wanna go home after 2 weeks. When I had to leave 4 weeks later, it was the last thing i wanted. I loved it there. I would have stayed for 6 months if i could.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

3 weeks in Vic falls

Loved every minute. I felt like I was at home the entire time and would have stayed longer if I had a never-ending flow of money. We were well looked-after and I'm very grateful to the wonderful people that work there.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Lion encounter

I've really enjoyed working with lion encounter, I've had a great experience and met a lot of people from all around the world. Working with lions was such and amazing experience and I recommend that everyone goes on a project like 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

Good for the soul

A year ago, I decided that I wanted to visit Africa while participating in some sort of Volunteer Service Program. While there are many programs out there, I was fortunate enough to find this project with African Impact. It exceeded my expectations in almost every way possible. Within a day of arrival, the Tokki Lodge felt like home and the staff and other volunteers felt like family. The town and the people of Victoria Falls have so much to offer (not to mention the majestic falls themselves!)

The layout of the project itself was just what I was looking for. During the week, we participated in a morning project and a separate afternoon project with time in between for lunch, relaxing or heading in to town. Most days I spent the morning with the 4 lion cubs; walking them, recording their behaviors, feeding them or making toys. The 1:1 interaction with these lions was unlike anything I've ever experienced. The afternoon projects often offered a balance of research or community-style work such as game drives or work at a local school or orphanage. I really appreciated how the days varied so much so that I really got the most out of my time there getting to immerse myself into the world of lions and the culture of the people of Zimbabwe.

When we weren't working on the projects, there was plenty of time available to spend with other volunteers going out for dinner/drinks (Zambezi sunset dinner cruise was spectacular), participating in excursions (don't miss Devil's Pool on the Zambian side of the falls), or simply hanging out by the pool or playing cards.

This project as everything I could have asked for. The staff at the lodge (Anna, Angie, Evie and Irina) are so awesome and really care about the experience of the volunteers and the work that this project does. (And if you like cats, you'll have a friend in Stan and James the lodgecats).

I couldn't be more grateful to African Impact and LionAlert for this experience. It was an experience which was not only humbling yet invigorating, but most importantly good for the soul.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    7

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Lion project review

Overall a great couple of weeks, well organised and plenty a variety. I think the program would benefit from more interaction with the community and we could have got more painting done at the school if we had more rollers. Overall all though 10 out of 10. Keep up the good work guys.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    9

What a blast

My stay was perfect! I loved the combination of wildlife research experiences mixed with some community outreach programs. I shared the lodge with a bunch of other amazing volunteers. The city is beautiful with lots to do on your free time but more expensive than I thought. The trip greatly exceeded my expectations.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    9

What? What shall I write.. hehe

Well, I absolutely loved it.. everything. And honestly I did not believe that I could get so attached to a place and a lifestyle in just three weeks. But now I'm sitting at the airport, almost crying and wanting to go back. There is no doubt I will be back! I think Anna did an amazing job, even though it was a bit of a crazy time with both the celebration of independence (Woop Woop) and all the interns coming. So at times things were a bit confusing, but I did not mind, everything worked out fine anyways. Overall it was just fucking amazing! And if I could I would hug every single person one more time and say "thank you".

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    9

Do it!

I had a great time on the volunteer program. I got to know Zimbabwe in a way I could never have "just" travelling. Well run program, lots of very nice people and I feel I have contributed to both wildlife and people during my stay. Recommended for everyone!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Excelente experiencia in Zimbabue

Excelente experiencia que mezcla la relación con los animales y con la sociedad. Orfanato, escuela...
El personal está siempre disponible y es muy cercano.
La comida excelente.
Maravilloso el paseo y el contacto con los leones. Tener tan cerca a los elefantes, jirafas, etc

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    7

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Day to Day Life

    7

Amazing experience

I enjoy a lot my time volunteering here. The project with the lions is amazing and i'm so glad to had direct contact with lions. Also the community project are amazing. Thank's to Anna and Eve for the great job they do!! You are amazing!!!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Three amazing weeks. Go go go!

The most amazing three weeks in Victoria Falls. Accommodation had everything needed. Meals great, projects exciting and the staff here are fantastic. Anna, Evie, Angela, Leonard, Irina, security staff, drivers and even our taxi driver Eddie have help create memories that will stay with me forever. It’s the first time in 12 years that I have travelled on my own and not for one second did it feel like like it. 3 weeks in this incredible place and you can’t help but make friends from all over the world... Even if my English hands up in air dancing was frowned upon (i’ll work on it Evie). I signed up to the lions hands on conservation which was amazing but have also attended a lot of other projects throughout the community. I feel like I now know Victoria Falls. I may have only spent 3 weeks here but I will alway look at it on a world map and class it as my African home. Book it people!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

An incredible experience

Two weeks ago, my plane landed at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. I was about to start a one-month placement with African Impact on their Lion Conservation project.
I was nervous. I had just spent six months in South Africa at another volunteer placement. I had met some incredible humans and witnessed some amazing wildlife sightings. I didn’t think anything could top that… Turns out, I needn’t have worried.
I was welcomed with open arms by the staff and other volunteers. All of us sharing a passion for conservation

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Best trip in my life!

This has definitely been the best trip I’ve ever done! So much things to do and see. And when you live close together like this you will make many new friends!
Water rafting was great! I will be back soon!

Institution Affiliates:

World Youth Student & Educational Travel Confederation