When deciding between the various volunteering experiences offered through GoEco, I was most drawn to the African Wildlife Orphanage project because of the opportunity to work closely with a wide range of animals. I was not at all disappointed and in just over two weeks, I was involved in the feeding and caring for lions, leopards, servals, a cheeky baby duiker, owls, and so much more.
Another aspect I really enjoyed about volunteering at the Wildlife Orphanage was getting to learn more about the usually unseen wildlife, like nocturnal bushbabies. At the orphanage, there were three bushbabies being cared for by our hosts and we were able to play with them every night and prepare their food.
I’ve never traveled on my own and am the kind of person who can’t calculate time zone differences and gets on wrong trains, so I was pretty nervous about getting to Bulawayo and back. Fortunately, the correspondents at GoEco were really understanding and arranged my flights over email and even suggested transit hotels where I could stay while I waited in Johannesburg for the connecting flight home.
While at the orphanage, our volunteer coordinator Talana was absolutely wonderful and patient with us and planned two trips for me to Victoria Falls and to Hwange National Park.
Talana even managed to reorganize the latter within a morning after my roommate and I belatedly realized she would be flying off on the day we get back from Hwange. I loved those excursions immensely and I don’t think they would have gone so smoothly without the arrangements Talana made, such as introducing us to really experienced and friendly guides at the national parks and booking us affordable and quirky animal-themed rooms at a backpackers lodge.
It was an amazing first experience volunteering in Zimbabwe and I’ll definitely return.