Zimbabwe – Lion Conservation in Victoria Falls

Please Note: This program is temporarily unavailable. Check out our alternative programs in Africa or schedule a one-on-one call with one of our expert volunteer advisors.


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.


Location icon Location of the Project: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Project length Project length: Min 2 weeks – Max 8 weeks

Arrival Airport Arrival Airport: Victoria Falls International Airport (VFA)

Volunteer Work Volunteer Work:  Management of the lions’ daily needs including food preparation, feeding, maintenance of enclosures and community work and conservation education

Age Age:  18-60. Age Exceptions: Volunteers aged 17 may apply with parental consent. Volunteers over the age of 60 require a medical certificate.

Number of Volunteers Number of Volunteers: Up to 10 International volunteers

Important Note Important Note: Suitable for groups and couples. Volunteers staying longer than five weeks will require a “temporary residence permit.” This costs an additional $500-600 USD, to be paid upon arrival.


What’s Included

Accommodations Accommodations: Lodge rooms for 1-4 people

Food Food: Three meals per day

Airport Transfers Airport Transfers:  Airport transfers are provided on both arrival and departure days

Orientation Orientation: Orientation upon arrival includes introductions to staff members, the lions, and project overview.

Support Support: Comprehensive and professional pre-departure travel guidance, 24/7 GoEco emergency hotline, experienced local field team.


What’s not Included

Flights, business visa (between $30 – $75 USD depending on nationality), travel health insurance, personal expenses

This project takes place in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. It is located on the outskirts of the town of Victoria Falls, a stone’s throw away from the magnificent thundering waters of the Falls.


As a volunteer on this project, you will be involved in conservation education as well as in all aspects of the day-to-day running of the conservation project, including lion walks and important research as well as general conservation activities.


Lion walks: Spending time with the lions in the wild each day is an essential part of the cubs’ upbringing. If the cubs are to be successfully released, it is important that they spend time in their natural environment. Since the start of this intensive lion walking program, there has been a marked increase in the lions’ awareness of their natural habitat, as well as an improvement in their hunting skills.
You will also be involved in the care of the animals who are housed overnight in enclosures. They need feeding, cleaning, and occasionally veterinary care to ensure that they are kept in the best of health.


Research: A number of research activities are conducted to better understand lion behavior and ecology. You will assist our research technicians in gathering and analyzing vital data necessary for making the best decisions for the lions’ welfare and gauging their progression through the release program. The research studies being undertaken during your placement will vary depending on the needs of the project at the time. Tasks may include looking at hunting and developmental skills, character traits, spoor sizes, or mane growth. Volunteers will receive all the training they need in order to ensure that they are able to provide valuable input to this program, regardless of previous experience.


Work in the National Parks: As a volunteer, you will work with the research team and rangers on any number of conservation activities that may include some or all of the following, based on the park’s needs at the time of your placement:

  • Assist in the development and renovation of a new waterhole
  • Carry out snare sweeps to remove the wires set by poachers to illegally catch the animals that inhabit the reserve
  • Work with local communities to mitigate lion/human conflict
  • Remove invasive species


Conservation education: You will be involved in elements of community development, where you will help youth learn about wildlife, animal habitats and why it’s important to preserve the environment.

Internet icon Internet: Wifi is available, though can be sporadic due to the remote location.

Laundry icon Laundry: Weekly laundry service. Laundry will be washed, ironed, and folded at an additional fee of $5.

Accommodations icon Accommodations: Volunteers will be staying in shared, spacious safari tents in Fuller Forest with up to five other people. The accommodations are located on the edge of the Zambezi River, and the tents are a short walking distance from the showers and washrooms. There is a volunteer lounge as well with views of the 1500-hectare forest and Zambezi National Park.

Food icon 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.


Please take note of this project’s minimum requirements:

  • Minimum age of 17
  • Police clearance
  • Basic level of English
  • Good physical fitness
  • Motivation to work with animals
  • Immunizations (please consult your local travel clinic)
  • Ability to work as part of a team

During your stay in Victoria Falls, you will have plenty of opportunities to explore some of Zimbabwe’s spectacular sights. For an additional cost, you can also enjoy exciting activities in the “adrenaline capital” of Africa, including: helicopter flights over the falls, bungee jumping, horse-back excursions, game drives, gorge jumps, skydiving, canoeing and white water rafting.


Project Orientation (Included):
On arrival at the Victoria Falls project, you will receive a comprehensive orientation, including:

  • Volunteers will receive their volunteer’s manual which includes information that will help with their integration into the project, as well as give them further tips for their stay.
  • Introduction to all the project’s senior staff
  • Familiarization of your duties and the work areas
  • Introduction to the lion and cub enclosures
  • Briefing on how to complete data capture forms
  • Further information on the lion breeding program and our ultimate objective of releasing lions into the wild

Volunteer Experiences

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