ENDANGERED BLACK RHINO & ELEPHANT CONSERVATION

Quick Facts

from $900$7,200

ENDANGERED BLACK RHINO & ELEPHANT CONSERVATION

Passionate about conservation and want to contribute towards saving some of Africa’s most iconic endangered species? This is the project for you! Imire is a family-run conservancy, offering a unique way for volunteers to partake in the conservation of endangered rhinos and elephant.

Wildlife in Africa is under threat from illegal poaching, over-population, and habitat loss. Conservancies like Imire play a vital role in both protecting and propagating these endangered species, to ensure viable wildlife populations and genetics continue to exist.  

Responsible volunteering in Africa is a chance to travel with a true purpose. As an Imire volunteer, you have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work hands-on with incredible wildlife, side-by-side with conservation experts, and within local communities.  Volunteers play a key role in protecting the wildlife, and also develop deeper intercultural understanding and empathy, through working in the vibrant community, alongside friendly and like-minded people. 

Volunteering at Imire makes a real difference to wildlife conservation in Zimbabwe. Volunteers are involved with the first-hand care of endangered rhinos and elephants, conduct important research on the behaviours of all wildlife in the conservancy, get involved in anti-poaching efforts, conservancy management and maintenance, and undertake conservation awareness and education initiatives in local communities.

Volunteering at Imire makes a real difference to wildlife conservation in Zimbabwe. Volunteers are involved with the first-hand care of endangered rhinos and elephants, conduct important research on the behaviours of all wildlife in the conservancy, get involved in anti-poaching efforts, conservancy management and maintenance, and undertake conservation awareness and education initiatives in local communities.


Project Highlights

Play a vital role in the conservation and care of the reserve’s rhinos and elephants
Observe and research the behavior of other wild animals on safari drives through the reserve
Learn about day-to-day game park management as you work alongside game rangers at Imire
Get involved in anti-poaching patrols and gain special insight into what it takes to be an anti-poaching ranger
Experience local life and learn about the culture on various community outreach projects
Live in the heart of an African Game Reserve, surrounded by wildlife and soothing sounds of the bush
Explore the game park on foot, by game viewer, or on horseback

the destination

Only 90 minutes from Harare, Imire Rhino & Wildlife Conservancy is dedicated to the conservation and welfare of wildlife, with a specific focus on the protection and breeding of the critically endangered Black and White Rhinoceros. Due to a rise in illegal poaching in the 1980’s, many black rhino were relocated to private conservancies for their safety. Imire was one such conservancy, which has worked towards increasing the wild black rhino population ever since. To date Imire has successfully released 11 rhino into the wild, thereby helping to protect Zimbabwe’s heritage with the successful re-introduction of this incredible endangered animal back into the wild.

At the reserve, you’ll encounter a diverse range of landscapes in 10,000 acres of conservancy that includes woodlands, savannah grassland, rocky outcrops, riverine forest, and thorny scrub. Living on this privately owned conservancy, you will witness amazing animal relationships and get a unique behind the scenes look at life on a reserve. You can visit Markwe Caves to see bush paintings and ancient tribal artifacts (if the guide is available). Sundowners from the lookout point are a great way to start off your evenings. End the night off by doing some stargazing and falling asleep to the sounds of nocturnal Africa.

You will be comfortably accommodated while volunteering at Imire. Group sizes are a maximum of 12 volunteers. Rooms are shared and include comfortable single beds with bedding. *Room configuration is at the discretion of Imire management. Showers and toilet facilities at Imire are shared and have hot, running water. Power sockets for electrical items are available in communal areas.

Three home-cooked meals are provided daily on a self-serve basis. Water at Imire is pumped from a borehole and is safe and clean for drinking. Vegetarian and limited vegan options are available. Please note this project is unable to cater for very specific dietary needs (for example gluten, dairy or wheat intolerance) so should you need them you will be required to bring any specialist foods along with you, which chefs can prepare alongside standard meals.

The official languages of Zimbabwe are Shona and English. Most people speak fluent English. The cell-phone signal at Imire is variable and intermittent, and the 3G can be unreliable. You can buy a local SIM card and data bundles at the airport should you wish to connect to the internet during your stay.

Summer (October – March): daytime temperatures in the summer can reach 35°C and days can be long in the field so make sure you have a wide-brimmed hat, plenty of sunscreen, and a water bottle. Summer is also the rainy season so it is a good idea to bring a waterproof jacket. Winter (May – September): winter evenings and nights can get very cold in our area of Zimbabwe so if you are coming during that period make sure you pack some warm clothes, a woolly hat, and long trousers as the mornings can also get very chilly. Tracksuit trousers and warm pyjamas are essential from May - September!

PROJECT IMPACT AREAS

BLACK RHINO AND ELEPHANT CONSERVATION

This will be one of your greatest experiences volunteering with animals abroad. You will feed and walk with the rhinos, maintain and clean the rhino beds and also be involved in observing and collecting data on the behavior and social interaction of these animals. You will undertake essential anti-poaching and snare patrols, maintain and clean the elephant beds and observe their family interactions.

MONITORING AND RESEARCH

Monitoring the wild animals, game counts and research are vital to help create an effective management plan for the reserve and to decide on what conservation initiatives need to happen. You will monitor animals and record information by taking notes on water dependency, interaction with own species and others, competition within and between species, as well as dominance and hierarchy.

ON-SITE CONSERVANCY DUTIES

In order to ensure the best possible environment for the longevity of the animals at the reserve you may have to get your hands dirty and build up some muscle! Maintenance of game fences, roads, fireguards, pens, stalls and equipment may form part of your duties as well as building and maintaining bush camps, tree planting and bush clearance.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

This project also involves assisting in a local primary and secondary rural community school. Your voluntary teaching skills will be required to teach skills of self-sufficiency, English reading and language lessons, educating rural children and their parents on vegetable gardens and cropping using a permaculture method, and teaching the children the value of conserving wild animals.

Recent Reviews

“I absolutely loved this program!! I met so many amazing and personable people during my stay. I also loved working with the elephants!! There is no way to put in words how amazing my experience was because it just wouldn’t do it justice. I’m already planning on going back to Africa because of how wonderful an experience it was!”

Erika Obrock, USA

Endangered Black Rhino and Elephant Conservation

“It was a wonderful and so worthful experience in Zimbabwe. Working with rhinos and elephants was fantastic and there are a lot of other animals to work with. I have had a great time! The Zimbabwean people are very nice, and I have known nice people from all over the world. If you like animals, if you like nature, if you are a person for special moments in life join this project! I was sad when I was leaving but I know I will come back.”

Alex Edhofer, Italy

Endangered Black Rhino and Elephant Conservation

Other Activities

You can go on game drives through the reserve to spot wildlife or try something completely different and go on a horseback safari. Horse riding safaris are available on Saturday mornings for 2 hours, pending availability of horses and volunteer numbers.

Volunteers can visit local cultural sites to learn about Zimbabwean culture and traditions. Head to the capital city of Harare to get lost in the hustle and bustle of the markets on shopping trips.

Having come all the way to Zimbabwe, it will be a shame not to take a short trip to Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Victoria Falls will leave you in awe of its sheer power, volume, and magnificent scenery, but also invite you to partake in a multitude of adventure activities including white-water rafting, canoeing, bungee jumping, zip-lining, and abseiling.

dates and rates

Once you have submitted your application, a Destination Specialist will be in-touch to discuss the project with you.

Please note that an additional GB£20 | US$25 | EU€20 | AU$35 is added to the program fee as a mandatory contribution to the African Impact Sustainability Fund.

project fee includes

  • Accommodation
  • 3 meals a day cooked by a local chef (weekdays only)
  • Airport pick-up and drop-off
  • Transport to and from project
  • 24/7 support from experienced international and local staff
  • Full orientation to ensure you contribute responsibly
  • Project equipment and resources

project fee excludes

  • Flights
  • Medical or travel insurance
  • Visa-related costs
  • Weekend trips or tours not on the itinerary
  • Snacks, soft drinks, gifts, and souvenirs
  • Mandatory contribution of US$25 that is donated to the African Impact Sustainability Fund
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