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Zimbabwe - Wildlife Photography and Conservation in Victoria Falls

Take part in a photography and research program in the most spectacular setting - the Zambezi and Victoria Falls National Parks in Zimbabwe. You will be staying in the National Park, on the banks of the Zambezi River, with hippos, elephants, and bushbucks as neighbours. Take part in a three day photography workshop, and assist in collecting vital research data on Africa’s most iconic species.



$3,100

 

Fast Facts

Location of ProjectZambezi and Victoria Falls National Parks - Zimbabwe
Project LengthMin 4 weeks - Max 8 weeks
Arrival AirportVictoria Falls International Airport
Volunteer WorkAssist in collecting vital research data, be a part of the daily operations in two of Africa’s most beautiful national parks
Number of ParticipantsUp to 10 international volunteers
Age18 - 70

What's Included

AccommodationShared cottages located within the National Park and on the banks of the Zambezi River
Food3 meals a day
SupportLocal in-country team and 24hr emergency support
Airport TransfersIncluded on arrival day
Photography Course The course will offer a basic overview of key concepts in photography including technical, artistic and post processing aspects
Pre-Departure Kit Full project details will be sent following registration
Travel Insurance Comprehensive travel & medical insurance with volunteer abroad coverage
Orientation All necessary training and introductions provided upon arrival

What's Not Included

Flights, personal expenses, visa (if required), levy of 30$ US upon departure from Zimbabwe
* Volunteers will need to bring their own photographic equipment
 

Location

This project takes place at Zambezi and Victoria Falls National Parks in Zimbabwe, which are undoubtedly among the most impressive wildlife areas in Southern Africa and offer some of the most spectacular photographic opportunities.

 

About the Project

This project is a collaboration between wildlife organizations and the Zimbabwe Parks Authority, in order to research and protect these vital ecosystems.

The Victoria Falls National Park, comprising 23km of riverine jungle with ilala palms, ferns, figs, liana vines and mahogany provides a tranquil setting from which to view the five cascades of Mosi-oa-Tunya – the smoke that thunders.  Bushbucks and troops of baboons can frequently be spotted along the walkways, and depending on the season, spray from the Falls creates magnificent rainbows. Also dependent on the season, it is possible to view a lunar rainbow over the Falls during a full-moon.  
 
Victoria Falls National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is home to a relic of a true equatorial rainforest, the unique vegetation being supported by the seasonal spray from the Falls.
 
The 56,200 hectare Zambezi National Park, home to a lot of big game, stretches along the Zambezi River for 40 kilometres.  Animals include big-game such as elephants, buffalos and lions, larger antelope species such as greater kudus, sables and waterbucks, along with a large number of smaller mammal species including duikers, genets and honey badgers.  

 

Volunteer Work and Contribution

Throughout your stay you will be participating in various research based activities where you will also have the opportunity to improve your photography. Your day will be split between conservation/research and photography, but normally you will be able to take pictures throughout. Depending on the season, you may be involved in the following activities. Please note that some activities, and some research methodologies, are seasonal and you may not be able to take part in every activity during your stay.  

Large Predator Research – the Zambezi National Park is home to lions, leopards, cheetahs, African wild dogs, and spotted hyenas. Your role will be to assist in collecting baseline data on each species that are used to improve species conservation management plans.  Data collection is undertaken by a variety of means including driven transects, observations at water holes, remote camera traps, baited call-in stations and community questionnaires.  When animals are sighted you will attempt to take photographic evidence for individual identification and will record the GPS location as well as other information useful to the research effort.

Elephant Research – the populations of elephant in this region are huge, but little is known about their seasonal behaviors.  You will be assisting in documenting the location, size and structure of elephant herds, helping to build up a database of individual animals using their ear notches, tusk size, and shape as identification markers.  We will also be looking at feeding behaviors to assess the species’ impact on the vegetation of the Park.

Biodiversity Assessment – to complement the large predator research, you will assist in monitoring the number and distribution of other species within the Park.  Data is collected by driven transect surveys on historically used routes to allow for comparison over time.

National Park Management – you will be assisting the Park’s staff in many aspects of management including invasive alien plant species removal, waterhole and fire management programmes, snare sweeps, creating maps for visitors to the Park, as well as helping out in the Park’s offices with general administrative duties and visitor management.

Entomological Survey – we hope you enjoy insects. This research program is trying to understand the complex relationships between the vast array of insects and the even greater array of plants and trees within the Parks. You will lay out traps and assist in identifying what we catch.

Conservation Education – a vital part of your role will be assisting with our outreach programmes with the local community.  These programmes help increase support for conservation efforts.  You will therefore be assisting in preparing lesson plans which you will later teach.

Walk with Lions – As part of your experience you will have the opportunity to walk with lion cubs up to the age of 18 months old as they participate in the African Lion Rehabilitation & Release into the Wild Program.

A typical day might be:

  • 6:00 am: Rise and shine! Depart the base to photograph wildlife or landscape in the early morning light

  • 9:00 am: Back to the base for breakfast

  • 10:00 am: Get involved in conservation or research activities, working closely with our experienced team

  • 12:00 pm: Lunch break. You will be picked up from your project and taken to the volunteer house for lunch

  • 2:00 pm: Depart for afternoon projects assist the park rangers in vital conservation and data collection

  • 4:30 pm: Photography time as the sun starts to set – make your way to a good spot, e.g. a local watering hole

  • 6:30 pm: Dinner at the volunteer base where evenings are very sociable affairs! Volunteers share images and discuss their day’s work while enjoying a cooked meal. After dinner some volunteers choose to venture out to one of the local night spots

 

Living Arrangements

Accommodations: volunteers stay in one of the project’s cottages located within the National Park and on the banks of the Zambezi River.  This area is frequented by hippos and elephants! Rooming will be shared with up to 2 others. We can also arrange for couples or groups of friends to share rooms.  

Food: volunteers receive three meals a day, which, unless we are on an activity, will be served at the cottages. If you have any dietary requirements please make sure you forewarn us so that arrangements can be made for you. All your meals will be prepared for you by our staff. 

Laundry: weekly laundry service during your stay (please note you will need to wash your own underwear).

Internet: Internet facilities are available in town.  

 

Project Orientation

On arrival at the project you the following orientation will take place:
  • You will receive your volunteer's manual which includes information that will help with your integration into the project.
  • Introduction to all project staff and those of our partners
  • Familiarization of the two national parks in which you will be working, including vital safety information about how to safely enjoy your stay on the project
  • Familiarization of Victoria Falls town so you know how to get around
  • Introduction to the research programmes and how you will assist with these including a briefing on how to complete data capture forms and enter data into the computer systems

You will also take part in an extensive 3 day Photography Course. The course will offer a basic overview of key concepts in photography including technical, artistic and post processing aspects. It will aim to equip you with usable, practical, and creative skills.

 

Travel Highlights

One of the greatest aspects of this volunteer project is the vast number of optional activities, trips, and excursions available to volunteers, at an additional cost. During free time, why not take advantage of the infinite adventures Africa's "adrenaline capital" offers! Helicopter flights over the falls, bungee jumping, horse-back excursions, elephant rides & swims, game drives, gorge jumps, skydiving, canoeing, sunset cruise, Victoria Falls National Park hike, and white water rafting are just some of the many activities available to volunteers.

 

Minimum Requirements

  • Min. age 18
  • Basic English
  • Good physical fitness
  • Enthusiasm for photography and for African wildlife is essential
  • Full travel & medical insurance
  • Immunizations (please consult your doctor - the area is a malaria zone)
  • Police clearance form
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