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Due to an increase in deforestation and the struggles between man and wildlife, many of Malawi’s wild animals are not only losing their natural habitats but are often found injured or in severe distress. This project offers a safe haven for these animals, assisting in their recovery and rehabilitation and wherever possible releasing them back in to the wild where they belong. Those that can’t be released find a permanent home in large natural enclosures where they can roam freely.

There are currently just under 200 animals on the reserve, including birds, reptiles, lions, monkeys and antelope. Many are orphans and victims of the illegal pet and bush meat trade which is unfortunately still very common in Malawi. Others may have been caught in snares, hit by cars or stoned after wandering into the local village. Thanks to a state-of-the-art clinic, orphan care center and experienced animal care team, as well as the volunteers, many of these animals fully recover and are able to return to the wild.

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Location of the Project:  Lilongwe, Malawi
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Project length:  2 weeks min- 12 weeks max
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Arrival Airport:  Kamuzu International Airport, Lilongwe
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Volunteer Work:  Animal care and rehabilitation
Age:  18 - 65
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Number of Volunteers:  Up to 15 International volunteers

What's Included

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Accommodations:  Shared room in a volunteer house
Food:  Three meals a day
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Airport Transfers:  Included on arrival and departure day
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Insurance:  Comprehensive travel health insurance with volunteer abroad coverage
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Support:  Local in-country team and 24hr emergency support

What's not Included

Flights, personal expenses, travel health insurance, local transportation, visa

Landlocked between the East African countries of Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique lies the home of Africa’s warmest people; Malawi. Malawi is a country filled with national parks and game reserves, lush highlands and tropical forests split by the Great Rift Valley and the clear waters of its main attraction – Lake Malawi.

Lilongwe is the largest and capital city of Malawi. Named after the Lilongwe River, the city is an essential economic and transport hub to the rest of the country. Despite its urban surroundings the project site is located on a reserve that feels a world away from the chaos of city life.

Volunteers will help with a host of different tasks and projects while volunteering at the wildlife center.

Animal Care: Alongside the animal care professionals you may be able to help with various aspects of rehabilitation including the possibility of assisting in clinical procedures or the release of animals back into the wild. The center maintains a strict hands-off policy, but orphaned animals, in particular, may need special attention for full rehabilitation and there is a chance you may be able to help with surrogacy work.

Rehabilitation and Release: Animal releases at the center are often more successful than not and this is due to the high level of effort and expertise that goes into the care and hard work that gets put in to every aspect of the rehabilitation and release process. This includes focusing on the different stages of the process including observation, integration and the actual release and monitoring.
Specific tasks at the center may include:

  • Orphan care, including feeding and hand-rearing orphans.
  • Veterinary assistance, including supporting the on-site veterinarian in all aspects of veterinary care including initial exams, minor trauma, health checks and routine diagnostics.
  • Rehabilitation including integration and observation.
  • Volunteers can also help with community outreach including conservation education programs, tree planting and fuel briquette projects.
It is important to remember that the nature of the work as well as the types of animals in care can vary from day and not all tasks may be required at the time of your volunteering. Nonetheless, all work that gets done is incredibly beneficial and worthwhile.
Volunteers work 6 days a week and schedules vary depending on what animals are in need of particular attention at the time, but there will often be animal feeds, observations, enrichment, orphan sitting (not guaranteed), as well as general orphan care duties (cleaning, food prep, washing etc). Work is evenly split among volunteers, but volunteers can expect busy days including some early starts and late finishes. There is a great sense of achievement in helping the animals.

Evenings and breaks in schedules offer free time for volunteers to do as you wish – take a trip to the supermarket, go for lunch/dinner in town, out in the evening etc.

Volunteers that are at the project for more than 4 weeks get one long weekend off per month – a perfect opportunity to visit the famous Lake Malawi or hop over the border into Zambia for a safari in the world -renowned South Luangwa Nation Park.

Internet
Internet:  WiFi is available at the office on-site.
Laundry
Laundry:  Laundry service is available a few times a week.
Accommodations
Accommodations:  Volunteers will stay in a volunteer house in the heart of the sanctuary surrounded by animals. The house has a mixed 10 sleeper dorm. The house has electricity, a kitchen, lounge area, shared bathroom and hot showers. For an additional fee volunteers can upgrade to an en-suite chalet.
Food:  Three vegetarian meals are included and are served by the local chef who provides international meals as well as some Malawian dishes. He takes a day off on Sundays so you can alternate with the other volunteers to cook up a feast. Drinking water is also provided. If you prefer to eat out there are many good restaurants just a short taxi ride away and if you can’t live without luxuries like chocolate, the shops aren’t far either!

Please take note of the project's minimum requirements:

  • Minimum age 18 
  • Good command of English
  • Physical fitness
  • Motivation to work with animals
  • Immunizations (please consult your local travel clinic) All of the standard vaccinations for Malawi plus Rabies vaccination and proof that you are not a carrier of TB.

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