The Nakavango Conservation programme is perfect for those who are dedicated to positive action! Through making a difference, our volunteers experience self-enrichment, increased self-knowledge and an unparalleled sense of fulfilment.

Our volunteer programme is the primary experience offered at the Nakavango Conservation Centre, and is open to volunteers from around the world, throughout the year. As a Nakavango Volunteer, you will engage in “behind the scenes” conservation and game reserve management activities, wildlife research, and community development programmes. About 80% of your working time is dedicated to conservation activities, with 20% being dedicated to community development projects. We suggest a stay of 2-4 weeks, you may choose to stay for up to three months!

Volunteers are kept busy Monday to Friday with weekends spent at leisure, providing you with the opportunity to explore the Victoria Falls area and take part in the adrenalin and leisure activities on offer, as well as give you time to soak up the local culture.

Volunteers are kept busy Monday to Friday with weekends spent at leisure, providing you with the opportunity to explore the Victoria Falls area and take part in the adrenalin and leisure activities on offer, as well as give you time to soak up the local culture.

The Nakavango Conservation Programme has five major focal areas:

  1. Education
  2. Conservation Management
  3. Conservation Research Projects
  4. Community Development
  5. Sustainability

Don’t have the funds to join our programme?

Get ideas in our fundraising guide and make your dream come true!

Our student co-ordinators will ensure that you leave the programme with an excellent understanding of all activities and issues related to conservation management, African wildlife, important conservation issues and sustainable community development.

You will be thoroughly briefed before each activity, particularly regarding the importance of the activity, and aspects related to safety precautions, as well as ethical and respectful conduct during activities.

Nakavango Volunteers will enjoy entertaining and interesting lectures on various topics, either delivered by our highly knowledgeable and qualified co-ordinators and reserve manager, or guest speakers. You will also receive practical education throughout all activities.

Educating people about how important vultures are on International Vulture Awareness day

The conservation management practices you will assist with are all vital to the success of the game reserve. Conservation management activities may include:

  • Alien vegetation removal
  • Applying soil erosion control methods
  • Vulture Restaurant maintenance
  • Fence patrols
  • Anti-poaching snare sweeps
  • Waterhole creation, maintenance and monitoring
  • Game counts
  • Road maintenance
  • Reserve clean-up operations
A major focus of the project is in tree protection and tree mapping to help protect the bark from elephants, whom often push over trees and remove bark in order to reach the leaves for them to eat.

The research projects are primarily aimed at gaining a better knowledge and stronger understanding of specific species, enabling more informed decision making regarding species conservation action plans. The projects may be directly or indirectly connected to a particular species or group of species, which have been identified by our Reserve Manager, as per the Red Data Species list as Vulnerable to Endangered. Research projects that you may be exposed to during your time at Nakavango include:

  • Oxpecker monitoring
  • Ground Hornbill monitoring
  • Raptor conservation in association with EWT
  • Bird species data collection for Birdlife Zimbabwe
  • Freshwater ecosystem analyses along the Masuwe River, one of the tributaries of the massive Zambezi River
  • Monitoring projects for specific species: Elephant, Black Rhino, Buffalo, and Predators
Elephant and rhino identification is a major focus on this project which means you will get to spend a lot of time in close proximity to these magnificent mammals.

Volunteers assist at local schools and under the guidance of our experienced co-ordinators through the following activities:

  • Community clean-ups with the scholars
  • School vegetable garden and tree nursery maintenance with the scholars
  • Fundraising events for the initiation of specific community projects
  • Environmental awareness
As part of this programme, we team up with outreach programmes based in Victoria Falls, volunteers can get involved in helping teachers at a local school

All the facilities on the reserve, including the student facility, are committed to “green” operations in order to achieve balance with and minimise impact on the natural environment. Our Green operation projects that students may get involved with include:

  • Vegetable garden upkeep – aiming to sustain the lodge, student centre, and staff community
  • Indigenous tree nursery
  • Composting
  • Installation of solar pumps at waterholes – this is done on successful fundraising campaigns by our volunteers
  • We stick to the ethos of Respect, Reduce, Re-use and Recycle as much as possible
Help the team plant indigenous trees as part of environment rehabilitation efforts