Volunteering in Zimbabwe for 5 weeks at the African Wildlife Orphanage project gave me enough time to see and experience so much that people who only stayed a few weeks missed out on. I was able to go to Victoria Falls where I rode in a helicopter and do the big air experience (bungee jumping, zip lining, and the gorge swing) as well as spend a day in Matopos National Park where I saw wild rhinos and cave paintings that were thousands of years old.
I was also lucky enough to watch 5 hyenas get darted, 2 of which received radio collars and were released back into the wild. They also received a pangolin that had been thought to be hit by a car in touch and was examined for any injuries and then released. The main duties for volunteers is caring for the babies 3 times a day and then any other random jobs that need to be done around the orphanage. They had several babies including 3 barn owls, a grey duiker, 3 pookies, a serval, and several tortoises.
Each day brought new challenges, new memories, and new tasks to be completed. You are also given an hour of ‘animal time’ each day to spend time with any of the animals in the orphanage. This become a highlight each day for me as you start to become attached with so many of the animal there.
Being there for 5 weeks also allowed me to meet several volunteers since people were constantly coming and going. This gave me the opportunity to meet people from all around the world and forge deep friendships since you’re together majority of the day. Overall it was the most amazing experience and I learned so much not only about animals but about the world.