Become a conservation volunteer with Tusk!
Through our continued commitment to invest in the future of Africa, protect wildlife, support communities and promote education, Worldwide Experience has taken it upon ourselves to make a concerted effort to align Tusk with the first of many incredible volunteer projects in Africa that meet with all that Tusk aspires to. The projects we select adhere to a strict criteria and guidelines laid out by the Tusk team.
Nakavango Conservation Program
The first of these is a very important conservation project located in the heart of the world famous Victoria Falls, on the Stanley & Livingstone Private Game Reserve. The project, known as the Nakavango Conservation Program, invites volunteers from across the globe to come and participate in conservation based work on the reserve. The game reserve is home to the last living rhino in the entire region, it is the only place they can be viewed today. It is also home to elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo and thousands of antelope. Crocodile and hippos also make this land their home. The reserve is undergoing an expansion plan and together we intend to increase the population of rhino. This rhino sanctuary will hopefully serve as a base from which the off-spring can be relocated to other parts of the region where the species no longer exists. This is one such project that our volunteers will be exposed too.
The beauty of the location is that Nakavango Conservation Program is a mere 10 minutes drive away from the Victoria Falls, known today as the adrenalin capital of Africa. The white river rafting, bungee jumping, canoe trails on the Zambezi River and vibrant nightlife of the town make this place a must see. The project also aligns itself to the disadvantaged communities that surround the falls – our volunteers help teach, they coach sport and also involve themselves in a nutrition food program.
Nakavango Conservation Program is open to school and university groups, Gap Year students and as well as to those that are slightly older and wish to contribute to an environmental project of this nature – generally those on a career break. We also run a veterinarian program for vet and vet nurse students. The program is also home to one of the region’s leading photographers, and a photographic course is available at the facility for all you wildlife photography enthusiasts.
Many other projects exist on this incredible reserve and are included under the following five major focal areas:
- Conservation Management
- Conservation Research Projects
- Community Development
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 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. You 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.
You 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
- Fence patrols
- Anti-poaching snare sweeps
- Waterhole creation, maintenance and monitoring
- Game counts
- Road maintenance
- Reserve clean-up operations
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 you may be exposed to during their stay 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
The Nakavango Student Programme is proudly associated with the Children In The Wilderness programme, one of Wilderness Safaris’ outreach programmes based at Victoria Falls. You can expect to assist, within the framework of the CITW programme and under the guidance of the programme’s co-ordinator Sue Goatley, through the following activities:
- Tutoring of children
- Homework workshops for scholars
- Sports coaching for scholars
- Community clean-ups with the scholars
- School vegetable garden and nursery maintenance with the scholars
- Fundraising events for the initiation of specific community projects, such as the birth of a PC training centre in the community
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:
- Installation of solar-operated pumps at waterholes
- Vegetable garden upkeep – sustains lodge, students programme, and staff community
- Indigenous tree nursery
Future Tusk Conservation Volunteer Programs
In 2014, we have plans to open a conservation program in South Africa with our partners on the ground, Mantis. Mantis have been operating programs throughout the continent for 2 decades now. Details of this exciting new conservation program will follow shortly. Please follow us on Facebook to be kept up to speed with these and future Tusk Conservation Volunteer Programs.