goeco@goeco.org   |   USA: +16462404545

Zambia - Chimpanzee Wildlife and Orphan Care

Volunteer on the largest Chimpanzee sanctuary in the world! Give your time and care to this endangered species and experience the beauty of Zambia.



Fast Facts

Location of ProjectClose to Chingola, Zambia
Project Length2, 4, 6, 8, 10 or 12 weeks
Arrival AirportSimon Mwansa Kapepwe International Airport, Ndola, Zambia. Connections through Johannesburg, South Africa and Nairobi, Kenya.
Volunteer WorkFood preparation, feeding chimps, general maintenance, farming, education, and behavioral enrichment activities with chimps
Number of Participants5 - 10 international volunteers
Age18 - 70

What's Included

AccommodationComfortable dormitory on the project site
Food3 meals a day
SupportLocal in-country team and 24hr emergency support
Airport TransfersIncluded on arrival and departure day
Pre-Departure Kit Full project details are sent following registration
Orientation All necessary training and introductions provided upon arrival
Insurance Comprehensive travel health insurance with volunteer abroad coverage

What's Not Included

Flights, personal expenses, and entry visa (approximately $50 USD).
* Please note that volunteers staying longer than 30 days will need to apply for a "temporary employment permit." This costs approximately $250 USD to be paid upon arrival in Zambia.


This project takes place at a chimpanzee orphanage 60 kilometers northwest of Chingola, Zambia. Located on the banks of the Kafue River, participants will get to experience the natural beauty of such a remote setting on a daily basis.


About the Project

Chimpanzees are the animal kingdom’s closest relative to humans, but unfortunately the wild population has decreased to less than 150,000, putting them on the Endangered Species list. Their population is continuing to diminish with a calculated decrease of about 6,000 per year because of relentless poaching, logging, habitat destruction, and human encroachment. They are hunted for meat or captured for sale to zoos, animal testing labs, circuses, and even individuals as pets. 

The orphanage works in five main areas of sustainability. They include research aimed at the identification of social dynamics within the species, behavioral enrichment exercises that work to keep the chimpanzees stimulated and thriving in their environment, farming from extra land that was recently purchased so that the orphanage could become more self-sufficient and sustainable, infrastructure improvement, and a fruit tree nursery to propagate both indigenous and exotic fruit trees thus furthering the success of self-sufficiency. Volunteers will work on a combination of these tasks that are all aimed to further both the success of the orphanage and conservation efforts for this wonderful species.   

The Chimpanzee Wildlife and Orphan Care Project gives volunteers the opportunity to contribute to the largest chimpanzee sanctuary in the world. The wildlife orphanage provides a safe haven for chimps that are rescued from the harsh fate that too often awaits the wild chimpanzee population. With about 2,000 acres of land, it aims to provide the most natural environment possible for their chimps. 


Volunteer Work and Contribution

During your time volunteering, you will participate in a variety of tasks, all vital to the continuation and sustainability of the orphanage. There are five main areas that you will have the opportunity to become involved with:

  • Chimpanzee Research: volunteers will work alongside researchers at the orphanage, studying how chimpanzee groups differ in their social dynamics. The study aims to be able to classify standard chimpanzee behavior by assessing these social dynamics amongst chimpanzee groups through food distribution and video data collection. 
  • Behavioral Enrichment: volunteers will be involved in creating permanent behavioral enrichment structures (such as tire swings and shaking boxes) as well as organize temporary challenges (often food based) in order to further the behavioral enrichment of the chimps.
  • Farming: the farming land is used to grow crops such as cabbage, maize, sweet potatoes, onions, tomatoes, and groundnuts to feed the chimps and enable the orphanage to be more self-sufficient and sustainable. Volunteers will work at least once a week on the farm with harvesting, sorting, weeding, fertilizing, and picking crops so as to keep this initiative effective in sustaining the chimps. 
  • Infrastructure Improvements: volunteers will help with whatever current enrichment projects are taking place during their placement and may include tasks such as building picnic sites and shaded viewing shelters, or putting up information boards to educate visitors. 
  • Fruit Tree Nursery: volunteers will work in the nursery, assisting with the propagating, weeding, bagging, watering, and planting of fruit tree seedlings. 

Every day is different as animals rarely operate to our schedule - we ask that you remain flexible. Your work day will begin each day at 7am and work through to 4pm, six days a week. You will have a rest day each week, as well as a half day on Fridays to go into town.

Please note that this should not be considered a ‘hands-on’ project. For your protection, the protection of the chimpanzees, and in order to adhere to sanctuary guidelines, ‘hands on’ contact will be limited to recently rescued chimps undergoing quarantine and rehab.  


Living Arrangements

Accommodation: volunteers will be provided with basic, clean, and comfortable on-site dormitory style housing. Up to 4 volunteers will share each room. The accommodations include a bed (with bedding), Earth toilets (5 spread across the grounds of the sanctuary), and hot showers (2 located near the volunteers' rooms). Towels are not provided and therefore volunteers will be required to bring their own. A cleaning service is provided daily and electricity is available. Small safes are available in the rooms to lock up valuables, but volunteers must bring with them their own padlock to secure it. 

Food: volunteers will be provided with three meals a day. Breakfast is a help-yourself arrangement, lunch is a packed picnic at the volunteer site, and dinner is a cooked meal served in the dining area. 

Internet: available on a shared computer for a small fee.

Laundry: a service is available for a small fee, otherwise hand washing is possible. 


Travel Highlights

Zambia is a fascinating country with access to multiple exciting opportunities in the region. Both the Kafue and South Luangwa National Parks are stunning places to visit, as well as access to Livingstone, home to the world famous Victoria Falls – one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World. 


Minimum Requirements

  • Minimum age 18
  • Basic English
  • Good Physical Fitness - must be able to walk at least 4kms a day
  • Full Travel and Medical Insurance
  • Immunizations (please consult your doctor)

Important Notes

Please note the climate in Zambia is tropical, and varies depending on time of year. Please consider this when choosing travel dates. November to April is considered the rainy season, despite the fact that they correspond to the summer months. May to October months comprise the dry season. The temperature can vary within the seasons.

Important: Collection from the airport to be driven to the volunteer site (approximately 3 hour drive) occurs at 1 pm on the scheduled start date, and drop-off at the airport after the program occurs by 11 am on the end date. These are very strict time constraints, so please book your flights accordingly. 

Visa: Tourist visa can be purchased on arrival for around $50 (single entry) or $80 (double entry). Volunteers should state their reason for entering as 'Holiday'. It is the sole responsibility of the participant to verify this information and obtain a visa in time. 

Volunteers travelling to Zambia for over 30 days will need to apply for a Temporary Employment Permit which costs approximately $250

Recommended By