Malawi volunteering holiday

“Spend two weeks volunteering in Malawi, helping care for wildlife at one of Africa’s best sanctuaries, with the option to join research and environmental projects in the bush, too.”


Lilongwe | volunteering at wildlife centre | participate in community projects or join bush research projects | volunteer discount available towards safari in Zambia’s South Luangwa

Description of Malawi volunteering holiday

Spend two weeks (or up to 12) volunteering at one of Africa’s top wildlife sanctuaries, helping to rehabilitate orphaned and injured wild animals.

This sanctuary in Malawi is well known for high welfare standards and is accredited by the world’s top welfare organisations: PASA, GFAS and the Born Free Foundation. In 2017, 286 animals were cared for, 89 rescued and 67 released. On this two-week trip, you will learn lots about wildlife care and there’s never a dull day! What’s more, as Malawi’s only wildlife sanctuary this is a much-needed service, and you can be sure that your help is really making a difference.

Volunteers have the chance to help out with the entire animal rehabilitation process, from orphan care and animal husbandry, right up to integrations, observations and reintroductions. The sanctuary’s goal is to release animals back into the wild and it’s extremely rewarding to see their progress and know that you have contributed to their journey back to the wild. The sanctuary is part of a larger award-winning wildlife charity and volunteers are welcome to get involved in different projects, too. Our education programme reaches over 43,000 children a year and our outreach projects include tree planting, fuel-briquette making and bee keeping, all designed to promote wildlife conservation through sustainable livelihoods.

And, new for 2018, volunteers can also choose to split their time between the sanctuary and undertaking elephant or samango monkey research at one of our beautiful bush camps in Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve or Nyika National Park.

Our lobbying and advocacy work on wildlife crime, in conjunction with the Government and Parliament, might interest you, too and we also welcome any volunteers with experience in PR, marketing, photography or documentary making. We’ll tailor your stay, matching your skills and passions to the projects available. Of course, if you prefer to focus all of your time at the sanctuary, helping the animals, this is also terrific!

Mixed dorm-style accommodation is provided, with hot water and electricity. Private accommodation is also available for an additional fee. A mix of Western and Malawian vegetarian meals are prepared from Monday to Saturday by the chef, with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables on offer, too.

Malawi has beautiful landscapes, friendly people and a reputation as the safest country to travel in Africa, which is why it’s known as the Warm Heart of Africa. So we’d definitely recommend rewarding your hard work with time away to explore this country, with game drives in Liwonde National Park, snorkelling or diving Lake Malawi and horse riding at Kande Beach. Or why not use your volunteer discount on a safari in Zambia’s awesome South Luangwa?

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

Departure information

Departures can be arranged at anytime to suit you
Holiday type

Volunteer travel - what's it all about

Are you looking for an adventurous trip with a purpose, or on a gap year or career break? If you want to make a difference in some of the world’s most important conservation areas - and in community projects - then volunteer trips are for you! Volunteers tend to have a sense of adventure, and come from a range of different backgrounds and from all over the world.
Edward Abbey said 'sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul'.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Malawi volunteering holiday


Malawi is known as ‘the warm heart of Africa’, both for its stunning beauty and friendly people. It’s also one of the most densely populated countries in Africa and one of the poorest countries in the world, which puts enormous pressures on its natural resources. As a result, the illegal trade of wild animals and their slaughter for bush meat is still a big problem in Malawi, at a time when conservation of both the environment and wildlife is more critical than ever.

We work to protect Malawi’s wildlife & habitats. Since our inception in 2007, we have rehabilitation over 800 animals, with more than half released back into the wild. Our programmes have evolved in response to local needs, working with wildlife as well as people and approaching the issues from all angles. Lilongwe Wildlife Centre is the only sanctuary in the world to have obtained all three accreditations from PASA, GFAS and the Born Free Foundation's PAW scheme and are Malawi's only member of the Species Survival Network.

We rescue and rehabilitate wildlife in distress and conduct scientific research to better inform both our welfare and conservation projects. We’re working with the highest levels of Government to tackle wildlife crime through advocacy and enforcement initiatives, tens of thousands of school children are engaged in our environmental education programmes across the country and our community conservation projects are helping people to live more sustainably.

We owe a great deal to those partners, volunteers and generous donors who have helped make our work possible. Thanks for your support and for others interested in joining our cause, please do get in touch.


We believe we can make a real difference working with the local communities in terms of raising awareness of the importance of respecting our environment and keeping wildlife in the wild, whilst also providing alternatives to practices such as deforestation and the illegal bush meat trade.

The sanctuary provides jobs for over 60 local Malawian staff, and as a ‘centre for the people’ make every effort to ensure that the less privileged people in the communities benefit from the facility. For example, we organise wild picnics for local orphanages to come on a wildlife tour and enjoy the local playground, or run training scholarships for a number of children from the poorer local schools.

As a pilot ‘People and Wildlife’ project we also hope that our success will be used as a model for others around the world. In years to come we will be able to showcase the benefits of addressing conservation issues in partnership with the local communities through education and outreach, and become a true centre for the people and wildlife of Malawi.

17 Reviews of Malawi volunteering holiday

4.5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 02 Jul 2016 by

Just do it, you won't regret it! Read full review

Reviewed on 24 Mar 2016 by

Great from start to finish - the staff, the country, the project, the work - I was sad to leave and hope to go back. I went for the animal work which I really enjoyed but an unexpected highlight of the trip was getting out into the community to see one of their fuel briquette projects. Read full review

Reviewed on 13 Oct 2014 by

A great experience. I got to know some local people and volunteers from different countries and I learned about animal conservation and the social/ economic situation in Malawi. Read full review

Reviewed on 02 Sep 2013 by

The most memorable part of the holiday has got to be the people. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly throughout my stay. You were made to feel at home as soon as you arrived which is just what you need after a long flight and arriving in a new country! The most exciting part was riding in the local buses, you get to see the city, meet local people and really immerse yourself in Malawi! Read full review

Reviewed on 25 Sep 2012 by

It was so good to get the chance to meet so many local people and the most exciting part of the whole thing for me was helping to bring in an orphaned yellow baboon who was being sold on the street, and she was later named after me! Read full review

Reviewed on 19 Sep 2012 by

to name but a few... hearing Bella the lion's roar all the way from the volunteer house and seeing her purrs and rolls of pleasure when you visit her enclosure. Watching the monkeys playing around right outside the volunteer house door and being able to bottle feed the baby baboons were the most memorable parts of the holiday. Read full review

Reviewed on 09 Jul 2012 by

the most memorable part was the family feeling at the centre, although lots of different ages and backgrounds, it really felt like coming home from short trips away. Read full review

Reviewed on 19 Mar 2012 by

I think the most exciting part of the stay was to meet all these amazing people, working and living in Malawi. And more precisely, my most memorable part was visiting children at an orphanage to give them a little Christmas party. Read full review

Reviewed on 26 Jan 2012 by

Meeting all the amazing people, working along side the animals, being involved in community projects and the range of work available...Brilliant!! Read full review

Reviewed on 09 Jun 2012 by

The most memorable part was the moment when baby vervet monkey Boo was accepted by his new monkey mum i'd had the chance to care for him as surrogate mother and was part of the introductions - amazing! Read full review

Reviewed on 17 Apr 2012 by

The most memorable part was the opportunity to act as foster mother to a baby baboon for a few days. Read full review

Reviewed on 30 Mar 2012 by

Going to the orphanage and giving the children the books, crayons and clothes I'd took over, they were so happy. All the locals who work at the centre are very helpful and hard working, the work the centre itself carries out is great for Malawi. Read full review

Reviewed on 22 Nov 2011 by

If you are looking for an unique experience, with exposure to Africa animals and people then give it a go. Be prepared to embrace the opportunity. Read full review

Reviewed on 05 Jul 2011 by

Safari, arranged through the Wildlife Centre, to Zambia was fantastic! But there were many moments at the Wildlife Centre too! Night safaris, exploring wilderness trails, working with the animals, visiting schools etc. Read full review

Reviewed on 08 Jun 2011 by

My most memorable moment was when our Hyena was ill and I was allowed to join the vet when he was darted so we could take a better look. I have never been that close to a wild animal and I even got to hold its mouth open!...Brilliant, itching to go back and do it all again! Read full review

Reviewed on 23 Jul 2011 by

My trip had so many memorable moments, too many to write down here. My volunteering at Lilongwe wildlife centre was great, it was all planned well and I met some amazing people and animals of course!! Everyone works very hard for the animals and the community, it was inspiring. Read full review

Reviewed on 20 Jul 2011 by

It is wonderful to be able to immerse yourself in this truly unique and tranquil wildlife setting in the middle of the bustling, colourful city of Lilongwe. Read full review

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