Conserving Black Rhinos
This is your chance to help conserve on of the last remaining Black Rhino populations in the Victoria Falls region. Our Conserving Black Rhinos programme is based at the Stanley & Livingstone Private Game Reserve. The reserve is a mere ten minute drive from the town of Victoria Falls, home to one of the natural wonders of the world, the Victoria Falls. The Victoria Falls are recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Volunteers from across the globe are provided the unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience in conservation management activities, research projects, and community development projects.
Conserving Black Rhinos is a game reserve conservation programme with five major focal areas:
Conservation Research Projects
Our volunteer coordinators will ensure that our volunteers leave the programme with an excellent understanding of all activities and issues related to conservation management, African wildlife, important conservation issues and community development. Our volunteers are 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. Volunteers will enjoy entertaining and interesting lectures on various topics, either delivered by our highly knowledgeable and qualified coordinators and reserve manager, or guest speakers. Volunteers will also receive practical education throughout all activities.
Volunteers can expect to get involved practically in conservation management practices, all of which are vital for the successful running of the game reserve. Conservation management activities may include:
Alien vegetation removal
Applying soil erosion control methods
Vulture Restaurant maintenance
Anti-poaching snare sweeps
Waterhole creation, maintenance and monitoring
Reserve clean-up operations
Conservation Research Projects
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 as per the Red Data Species list as Vulnerable to Endangered. Research projects that our volunteers may be exposed to during their stay at Nakavango include:
Black Rhino Monitoring
Ground Hornbill monitoring
Freshwater ecosystem analyses along the Masuwe River, one of the tributaries of the massive Zambezi River
Monitoring projects for specific species: Elephant, Buffalo, and predators
Sports coaching for scholars at local rural schools
Community clean-ups with the scholars
School vegetable garden and nursery maintenance with the scholars
Fundraising events for the initiation of specific community projects
All the facilities on the reserve, including the volunteer 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:
Installation of solar-operated pumps at waterholes
Vegetable garden upkeep – sustains lodge, students programme, and staff community
Indigenous tree nursery
Conserving Black Rhinos is based at the Stanley & Livingstone Private Game Reserve. The reserve is a mere ten minute drive from the town of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, home to one of the natural wonders of the world, the Victoria Falls.
The Reserve is a 2300 hectare privately-managed piece of pristine land. It is home to Africa’s Big 5 and hosts vast species of birdlife. The focal point of activity at the Reserve is preservation and conservation through non-consumptive activity in order to sustain and support the various ecosystems.
The Reserve is the only “Big Five” area in the vicinity of Victoria Falls, due to the presence of Black Rhinoceros. The Reserve was fenced in 2000, and is recognised as an Intensive Protection Zone (IPZ) for Black Rhino in the area. An intensive Black Rhino monitoring programme is in place, with the aim of increasing the Black rhino population in the area, in the fight against the recent and widespread poaching of rhinoceros in southern Africa.
The Reserve falls within the recently-declared KAZA Transfrontier Conservation Area, the largest conservation area in Africa. The KAZA TCA extends across the boundaries of five countries: Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and Angola, and aims to achieve goals of sustainable ecotourism in the area.
The vegetation and fauna characteristics are similar to that of the surrounding National parks and safari areas, with large numbers of raptors being present due to the vulture restaurant programme in place on the Reserve. The dominant vegetation type is Rhodesian Teak forest. The reserve also holds a large dam along the Masuwe River which flows through the Reserve, and into the Zambezi River.
Our Conserving Black Rhino Volunteers are accommodated in our purpose-built student programme facility, called Camp Nakavango, at the Stanley & Livingstone Private Game Reserve. Each participant is accommodated in single rooms at the conservation centre. The rooms are comfortable and each is equipped with a single bed, ceiling fan, desk, chair and storage shelving. Bathrooms are shared by up to four volunteers of the same gender, and offer western toilets and hot showers. Bed linen is provided. The facility also boasts a spacious, fully-equipped kitchen and canteen area where all meals are prepared and served. Please note that some meals may be packed and taken out into the field for consumption. There is a safe on the premises for cash and small valuables. The lecture room at Camp Nakavango is well equipped with presentation equipment and a comprehensive book library. One of the highlight features of Camp Nakavango is the open-air entertainment area, including a deck, bar facility and swimming pool, all overlooking the riverbed with waterholes along the Masuwe River’s ancient “oxbow”. It should be kept in mind at all times that Camp Nakavango is in the middle of a “dangerous game area” and volunteers are not permitted to exit the camp unless accompanied by one of the student co-ordinators.
Volunteers can enjoy three meals a day, prepared for you by the camp cook. Meals are simple, yet tasty and nutritious. If volunteers wish to eat food different than the food provided, you are welcome to buy your own ingredients from the supermarket at your own cost during weekends or town trips. Any meals eaten at restaurants and other places will be for your own cost. Please note that on some days, meals (especially lunches) will be pre-made and packed, and taken out into the field, giving our volunteers the opportunity to make the most of your time in African bush, while applying yourselves to conservation and community activities. Please ensure that any information regarding special dietary requirements is included in the relevant space on your booking form.
On arrival at the O.R. Thambo International Airport in Johannesburg (this is your first point of entry into Southern Africa), you will have to clear immigrations and collect your baggage. Once you have cleared customs formalities, proceed to the domestic terminal (even though you’re flying to another country from there) for you onward Victoria Falls flight. The domestic terminal is clearly marked and within walking distance. We recommend a minimum of 2 hour connecting time between your flights.
On arrival at Victoria Falls International Airport, you will have to clear customs and pay any required visas before collecting your baggage. Volunteers will be collected at 4pm from the downstairs coffee shop at the airport or from Wild Horizons 310 Parkway at 11am if your are arriving overland. Your student coordinator from Nakavango will be waiting for you with a board stating “Nakavango Conservation Programme”. From here, your coordinator will transfer you (about a 15 minute trip) to your home, Camp Nakavango, for the next few weeks, and get you settled in and ready for your placement!
The best way to communicate is via email as there is a wireless internet facility at the camp. Wi-Fi access is included so is at no extra cost. There are also internet cafés in the nearby town of Victoria Falls. Students can also buy local sim cards for cell phones in town or at the airport.
The climate is tropical, although markedly moderated by altitude. There is a dry season, including a short cool season during the period May to September when the whole country has very little rain. The rainy season is typically a time of heavy rainfall from November to March.
Summers in Zimbabwe are hot, and in some areas extremely humid. Winters can be very cold, with temperatures as low as -18C recorded in Hwange National Park, which is situated 100km from Victoria Falls.
Weekends are off-time, when volunteers can choose to either stay at Camp Nakavango, or explore the surrounding area of Victoria Falls and enjoy some of the diverse activities on offer. Should our volunteers wish to book an activity in Victoria Falls, your student coordinators and facility manager will be happy to advise you and assist you with the booking/s.
Discounted Rates On Activities Are Arranged For Our Volunteers Through Specific Operators!
The following are just some of the activities on offer at Victoria Falls:
White water rafting
Upper Zambezi canoe trails (day trails or overnight trails)
Livingstone Island tours
Micro light flights (operate from Zambian side)
Hi-Wire activities such as the gorge swing, zip line, flying fox
Village and township tour
Vic Falls cycle tours
Chobe day trips into Botswana
Victoria Falls Steam train rides
Airport transfers shared on arrival
All lectures, week day field activity and community visits
Volunteer arrivals are welcomed on the first and third Sunday of each month. Orientation is on the Monday after your arrival. The amount of working hours in an average day is 7-9 hours. You will generally go out between 7am and 12pm. After lunch, work begins again until 7pm. There is no strict schedule however and weather may affect the schedule. Evenings are generally at leisure, unless nocturnal activities have been arranged by the coordinators – these nocturnal activities are generally very popular with our volunteers!
Weekends are off-time, when volunteers can choose to either stay at Camp Nakavango, or explore the surrounding area of Victoria Falls and enjoy some of the diverse activities on offer. Should our volunteers wish to book an activity in Victoria Falls, your student coordinators and facility manager will be happy to advise you and assist you with the bookings.
*Please note that the schedule is subject to change
Comprehensive Information Pack
Country & Area : Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls
Nearest Airport : Victoria Falls Airport (VFA)
Transfer Time : ± 15 min
Duration : 2 – 12 weeks
Minimum Age : 18