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Zimbabwe - Lion Rehabilitation in Antelope Park

Walk and work with lions in the stunning Antelope Park Reserve. Be involved in the research of lion behavior and rehabilitation and work towards releasing them back into the wild.



Fast Facts

Location of ProjectAntelope Park, 10km from Gweru, Zimbabwe Midlands
Project LengthMin 2 weeks - Max 8 weeks
Arrival AirportBulawayo or Harare Airports
Volunteer WorkManagement of the lions’ daily needs including food preparation, feeding, maintenance of enclosures and community work and conservation education
Number of ParticipantsUp to 30 international volunteers
Age17 - 70
Suitable For Groups and couples

What's Included

AccommodationTwin or quad rooms at volunteer camp
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 will be sent following registration
Orientation All necessary training and introductions provided upon arrival
Insurance Comprehensive travel health insurance with volunteer abroad coverage
Laundry Weekly laundry service

What's Not Included

Flights, personal expenses, entry visa (between $50 - $100 USD depending on nationality), levy of $30 USD upon departure from Zimbabwe


This project takes place at Antelope Park, a private game park located 10km from the Gweru town center, in the heart of the Zimbabwe Midlands.


About the Project

Over the last 40 years, the African lion population has drastically decreased by 80-90%, from about 200,000 in 1975 to as low as 32,000 today. In an attempt to offset the rapid decline, the Antelope Park lion rehabilitation program works to reintroduce the offspring of captive-bred lions into the wild so they can one day have their own wild-bred offspring, a process that volunteers will learn more about during their involvement with the project.

Spending time with the cubs in the wild each day is an essential part of developing the cubs' natural instincts, which is this project's priority. If the cubs are to be released into a wild environment it is important that they adapt to, learn from, understand, observe, feel, and smell the wild.


Volunteer Work and Contribution

As a volunteer, you will get a chance to learn about and get involved in the three-step process of this lion rehabilitation program: the pre-release stage, the release stage, and the wild stage. Your duties may include the following: 

  • Join handlers on lion walks in the African bush and watch as the young cubs learn to stalk their prey
  • Make toys from natural materials for the young cubs as part of behavioral enrichment to stimulate their predatory and sensory behaviors
  • Observe and collect data on the cubs' hunting skills 
  • Clean lion enclosures
  • Prepare meat for the lions 
  • Sweep snares 

A typical day: You'll start off your day bright and early at 6:30 am taking 6-18 month-old cubs on a walk around the bush as you observe and record their hunting skills. After taking a break for breakfast around 8:00 am, you will partake in various duties including cub walking, enclosure cleaning, boundary patrols, meat preparation, snare sweeping, and bush walks. Lunch is at 1:00 pm, followed by afternoon activities, briefing with the volunteer coordinator, and dinner. 


Living Arrangements

Accommodations: Volunteers will be staying in comfortable twin or quad rooms in thatched accommodations at the main reserve camp. Volunteers have separate, clean shower and toilet facilities located adjacent to the sleeping area. The rooms will be cleaned daily by the housekeeping staff. Room upgrades are available at an additional fee. 

Food: Volunteers are provided with 3 meals a day. All meals, unless a volunteer gets a packed breakfast for their lion walk, will be served at the main camp

Laundry: Laundry will be washed, ironed, and folded free of charge

Internet: WIFI is available, though can be sporadic due to the remote location


Project Orientation

On arrival at the Antelope Park project, you will receive a comprehensive orientation, including:

  • Meet and greet with your Volunteer Coordinator, Volunteer Manager, Scientific Researcher and all senior project staff
  • Introduction to Antelope Park and surrounding area
  • Overview of the project and volunteer manual, which includes information that will help with your integration into the project
  • Familiarization of the work areas – including lion and cub enclosures, rivers, internal roads and tracks, and some of the wildlife species
  • Safety briefings and cultural induction
  • Any extra training that you will need for volunteer duties such as data capture
  • Further information on the lion breeding program and our ultimate objective of releasing lions into the wild


Travel Highlights

During their stay at Antelope Park, volunteers will have the opportunity to enjoy excursions to some of the other spectacular spots that Zimbabwe has to offer. These trips are also a great time for volunteers to interact and to get to know each other better. Some of the available activities include elephant rides, sunset cruises, horse rides, overnight safaris, and Polo Crosse games. 


Minimum Requirements

  • Minimum age 17
  • Basic English
  • Good physical fitness
  • Motivation to work with animals
  • Immunizations (please consult your local travel clinic)
  • Police clearance form



Here's an excerpt of Elise's experience:


"Sure, at the time did cleaning out lion enclosures seem glorious? No. But it was actually just as memorable for me as walking the lion cubs. When I first arrived at AP I knew that these were going to be people that I considered friends for years to come. I am generally a little shy and I was incredibly nervous but I was welcomed with open arms into this diverse group of animal loving people. They were the ones that made the dirty tasks enjoyable because we would laugh through it all together."

Read the rest of her story on the GoEco blog!



Here's an excerpt of Naama's experience:


"I sat there and couldn’t believe I was on my way to fulfill my biggest dream. I had a lot of mixed feelings, but most of them were related to excitement. After two flights and three hours of driving I arrived at Antelope Park. I was so excited that I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. On the first day I got to meet the local people and attempt to understand what was going on. The place was beautiful. I took a walk around and just felt the nature go into my body and fill me up with the best feelings in the world."

Read the rest of her story on the GoEco blog!


Here's an excerpt of Lovisa's experience:



"At about 6 am the next day we got up to get ready for another lion walk. I must say, the sunset was amazing, but the sunrise walk was way better. The air is a lot cooler, but it gets nice and warm as soon as the sun makes its way over the horizon. Even the cubs are a bit lazy in the morning, greeting us with the biggest yawn followed by a friendly stroke with their head against our legs."

Read the rest of her story on the GoEco blog!



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