3 independent reviews for Wildlife volunteering in Malawi, with Zambia safari

Reviews for Wildlife volunteering in Malawi, with Zambia safari

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review 13 Aug 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Volunteering at the wildlife sanctuary was amazing. My favorite animal belonging to the feline family and to be as close as a few inches (with a wire fence between) of the lions was amazing. The day is well organized and the staff takes great care in teaching the volunteers how to interact with the animals that are being rehabilitated to be released into the wild. The Sanctuary also has animals that will never be released due to special conditions. These animals are used to teach tourists, especially the local population, about how to preserve wildlife and their habitat. My granddaughter and I spent two weeks in Lilongwe and one week in Kuti. We also enjoyed a wildlife safari in Zambia over a long weekend - a great adventure to see how wild animals live in nature.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

The accommodation is very basic - some days there is hot water for showers and other days there is no water. Be adaptable. If you are interested in being part of the Sanctuary's mission, there are daily duties that need to be completed. Be prepared to work at least 8 hours per day. Some of the volunteers during our stay preferred to treat this as a "fun" vacation which left more work for the dedicated volunteers.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Over one weekend, I was asked to go to a town in northern Malawi. Two schools were doing a parade and presentation to teach the local people about conserving the local habitat and stop killing wildlife. We also worked with local women and helped them make briquettes from sawdust and shredded paper. These briquettes are used in place of charcoal and cutting down trees for wood. Purchasing local products for gifts to bring home, also benefited the local people. Construction workers make about US$ 1 per day. Buying their handicrafts benefited the local community.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

This was a wonderful vacation for my granddaughter and myself. If you are interested in making a difference in the lives of animals and local people, we highly recommend volunteering at this wildlife sanctuary and their associate project, Kuti. Well organized and staff in charge who care about their project.

review 5 Dec 2013

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Regardless of species, feeding the orphaned animals or those undergoing rehabilitation would have to be a holiday highlight. During my stay, I was able to bottle-feed baby monkeys and baby duikers, and deliver food to two young servals and an owl. This is an opportunity that I believe would be very difficult to experience elsewhere, and one that I felt also greatly benefited the animals. I also enjoyed the safari associated with the trip - leopard sightings are unusually common at South Luangwa National Park, and I was even fortunate enough to see a pack of wild dogs! The accommodation at Thornicroft Lodge is exceptional, and the guides are very professional and experienced.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Firstly, there is no point to maintaining any pretense of cleanliness. You will get covered in both dirt and monkey urine during your stay, and it is worthwhile being aware of this before you book. However, if you can look beyond this, the experiences you will encounter are unique and unparalleled. I would also recommend taking the safari option at some point in your stay. I would advise to do this in the middle of your trip if possible - it can help break the established routines and spice up Center life. I would also recommend using your days off to experience the local culture - I visited a local music festival during my time off, and had a fantastic opportunity to dance and play with village children.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

During my stay the environmental officers were away, so I was unable to experience this side of the Center's endeavors, but I definitely believe that I helped to rehabilitate a variety of wild animals (in addition to those already mentioned I was able to monitor and feed vervet monkeys, blue monkeys, olive and yellow baboons, and the resident lion). I also assisted with cleaning rubbish from the wilderness trails associated with the park, which granted me the chance to enjoy the solitude of the bush for some time.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

My time at there was fantastic - I would recommend the Center in a heartbeat to anyone wishing to have a conservation-oriented holiday. Work is not too difficult on the whole, and you will have enough spare time to develop solid relationships with other volunteers and otherwise enjoy your time. Besides, where else would you be able to feed baby monkeys as they crawl over your limbs and back? However, if you dislike common dorm rooms, I would definitely recommend booking the chalet - personal space is somewhat limited, although secure storage spaces are provided. Overall, I had a great time volunteering at the Center, and only wish I had more time to develop small projects of my own!

review 3 Nov 2011

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Working with the young orphaned animals, helping to provide their day-to-day care, was a truly unforgettable experience. Seeing wild Lions, Leopards, Elephants (and many more) up close on safari was fantastic, surpassing all my expectations.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Get stuck in! Treat yourself to the safari towards the end of your holiday - as a relaxing reward for all the hard work volunteering.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes. As well as the obvious benefits to the animals, the Centre also runs various community projects - which it is possible to get involved with.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Top marks! A great experience. It was a privilege to spend time with such a dedicated team of employees and volunteers.

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