If you are passionate about conservation and are looking for a way to contribute to efforts to save our world’s most iconic endangered species, then volunteering at Imire is for you! Wildlife in Africa is under threat from illegal poaching, over-population and habitat loss. Conservancies like Imire play a vital role in both protecting and propagating these endangered species to ensure viable wildlife populations and genetics continue to exist.
Responsible volunteering in Africa is a chance to travel with a purpose. As an Imire volunteer, you will have a once in a lifetime opportunity to work hands-on with incredible wildlife, and side by side with conservation experts and local communities. You can play a role in protecting threatened wildlife and develop deeper intercultural understanding by working with our vibrant community, all alongside friendly and likeminded people.
Volunteering at Imire makes a real difference to conservation efforts in Zimbabwe. Volunteers at Imire are involved daily with the first-hand care of endangered elephant, and rhino, important research into behaviours and habits of all our wildlife, anti-poaching efforts, conservancy management and maintenance, as well as conservation awareness and education in local communities.
Volunteering helps you to gain a deeper, behind the scenes understanding of what it really takes to protect wildlife in Africa and gain so much more than you would as an ordinary traveller.
Our Hands-on Rhino and Elephant Conservation Programme focuses on a holistic approach to the ongoing protection of highly threatened rhino and elephant and the environment they live in. Volunteers work closely alongside local employees and community members, and play a vital role in safeguarding endangered species.
Wildlife conservation volunteers at Imire are involved with a variety of tasks which include opportunities to:
Volunteering is a unique opportunity to completely immerse yourself in a new country and culture, experiencing day-to-day life in Africa first hand – all while giving back to an important conservation cause. We guarantee your experiences on the programme will be life-changing!
“This was my first time volunteering and Imire was definitely the best place I could have chosen to do this. The close contact with particularly the elephant and rhino was totally a unique experience – memorable in itself, but made more so by the personalities and interactions with the handlers who spend so much them looking after, tracking and watching over these fantastic and amazing animals. I feel so privileged to have shared in what Imire is working hard to achieve” Ann, UK
Love horse riding? Combine hands-on rhino and elephant conservation with daily horse safaris on our Equine Programme. To find out more about our Hands-on Rhino and Elephant Conservation project download the brochure here or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
A horse riding safari in Africa, hands-on rhino conservation and elephant interaction - what more could you ask for from your volunteer programme?
During this two week equine volunteer project opportunity, you will experience the best of our amazing rhino and elephant conservation programme which focuses on a holistic approach to the ongoing protection of highly threatened rhino and elephant, as well as contributing to conservancy management from horse back. All this, riding in small group of no more than four, alongside the “matriarch” of Imire, Judy Travers, whose knowledge and passion of the African bush and wildlife will have you mesmerized for every exciting moment.
Horse Riding and Rhino conservation volunteers at Imire are involved with a variety of tasks which include opportunities to:
“The rides out over the Imire property were just breath-taking, and we got to see many areas and sights that you just would not see by vehicle. We could get right up close to the wildebeest herds, and walk quietly past as the sable grazed in the distance. I remember cantering through a beautiful patch of land after a long ride with the others, zebras in the foreground and impala watching on from afar and just thinking 'this is exactly what I had hoped for when I had signed up to Imire.'” Rachel Miller – Australia
If you and your family would like to give back and take a holiday with a difference, the Imire Family Volunteer Programme is a perfect fit for you! We are very excited to offer a unique volunteer programme to families with children aged 9 to 17 (please enquire further if your children fall outside these ages). Take this opportunity to volunteer in Africa with your family, helping to protect and secure endangered wildlife for future generations and empower local communities with knowledge and education.
Families taking part in this volunteer programme will be involved with a variety of tasks which include opportunities to:
You and your family will live closely and safely amidst wildlife in the heart of the African bush and experience day to day life on a privately-owned conservancy. Your family’s dynamics and individual needs will be assessed and personally catered to as far as possible to ensure that all family members have the time of their lives!
This programme is a unique opportunity to get up close and photograph iconic African animals. Imire is the perfect location for developing your wildlife photography and film-making skills. Walk with rhinos and elephants, taking your time to capture the perfect shot. You will photograph incredible landscapes and work on your portrait skills with children and adults in the local community.
Wildlife Photography Volunteers will be involved with a variety of tasks which include opportunities to:
In 2006 a family of ex-Zimbabweans moved more than 100 horses from Zimbabwe to Mozambique, as detailed in Mandy Retzlaff’s book “104 Horses” With this partner programme you can experience caring for the rescued horses in Mozambique, one of Africa’s finest beach riding destinations.
First spend two or more weeks at Imire, helping with anti-poaching and conservation programmes and interacting with rhino and elephant. Then take a short flight to Mozambique, where the programme involves daily care of the project's horses and magnificent beach riding opportunities.
Volunteers in Mozambique will be involved with a variety of tasks which include opportunities to:
NB: Volunteers will be given a short riding assessment upon arrival. Experienced riders will be asked to help with riding lessons, or to accompany guides and clients on beach and coastal trail rides. If you need to refresh your riding, you can join lessons in the riding school and improve your skills!
Imire & Care for Wild: a unique rhino experience
Petronel Nieuwoudt, the founder of Care for Wild Africa, has more than 20 years’ experience in the care and conservation of wild animals. She has built a centre in South Africa which is totally devoted to the care and rehabilitation of African wild animals; focusing on the black and white rhino.
Join the Care for Wild team at their orphaned rhino sanctuary in South Africa, and then journey to Imire in Zimbabwe, where you will work alongside our game park and anti-poaching teams, getting hands-on to secure the safety and security of our rhinos, elephants and other animals.
This unique partner programme volunteer experience can only be booked through Imire! We recommend a minimum of a four-week stay on this combination project.
Volunteers in on this partner project will be involved with a variety of tasks which include opportunities to:
The volunteer programme at Imire is unique for its small and personal size. We take a maximum of only twelve volunteers. You will be accommodated in a comfortable farm style thatched house in the heart of the conservancy. Situated on the peaceful shores of a large dam – the views from the house, and the African sights and sounds that surround you are second to none.
The house consists of five large and welcoming bedrooms with a variety of different bedding arrangements to suit your individual requirements.
Room 1: Twin Room (downstairs) two single beds
Room 2: Double Room (downstairs) double bed (usually reserved for couples but interchangeable with two single beds should need arise)
Room 3: Double Room (upstairs) double bed (usually reserved for couples but interchangeable with two single beds should need arise)
Room 4: Twin Room (upstairs) two single beds
Room 5: Dormitory (upstairs) five single beds (ensuite toilet, basin, shower)
Although we always try our best to ensure every volunteer is accommodated in their preferred sleeping arrangement, this is subject to availability, and peak times may not allow choice of bedroom.
Upstairs: Dorm has ensuite shower, flush toilet and basin.
Upstairs: Rooms 3 and 4 share a flush toilet and basin adjacent to rooms
Downstairs: Rooms 1 and 2 share a bath, basin and flush toilet.
Outside Showers: (The best view in the house!) 3 private solar powered outside showers set adjacent to the dam. Have a hot shower whilst admiring the setting evening sun!
Three basic home-style meals will be prepared for you each day and our well equipped kitchen is available should you wish to prepare something extra, or assist with meal preparation.
Your rooms and the house will be cleaned every day and the housekeeping staff will also do your laundry when required. An outhouse laundry is available for washing smalls or should you wish to do an extra load of your own.
Electricity is usually available at Numwa House. Bear in mind electricity can be intermittent in Africa, especially during our rainy season. For backup, we are prepared with basic solar powered lighting a generator which will run for a short time in the morning and evening – so this is the best time to ensure all your charging is complete!
Safe and Valuables:
There is a large safe in the coordinators cottage for securely locking away any cash or valuables you may have brought with you.
Rob van der Horst & Morgan Taylor
Rob and Morgan oversee all volunteer activities and logistics as well as the upkeep of Numwa House. Living onsite they are around to help you out with any queries, making your stay as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.
Project Task Co-ordinator
Bright accompanies all volunteers on their daily tasks. He is responsible for transporting you to your daily assignment, explaining what is required of you and assisting you with any queries or difficulties you may have.
Game Park Manager
Born and bred on Imire, Reilly oversees the management of the conservancy. He is in charge of anti-poaching, game park management and overseeing the rhino breeding programme.
Marketing and Bookings Co-Ordinator
Zuz co-ordinates the bookings and marketing for Imire. She will make sure you have everything you need before you arrive in Zimbabwe.
Stocks, along with Tafadzwa, is responsible for ensuring that you have three delicious, home cooked meals every day!
Tafadzwa, along with Stocks, is responsible for ensuring that you have three delicious, home cooked meals every day!
Housekeeping and Laundry
Chipo is responsible for ensuring Numwa house is clean as well as making sure the volunteers have clean clothes after a long day working in the park!
Caretaker and Gardener
Neton maintains the Numwa House and garden. He is the caretaker of the borehole, the generator and carries out of most of the behind the scenes jobs!
Assistant Task Manager
Trymore lends us a hand with accompanying and guiding volunteers whenever necessary. Trymore is currently studying to be a qualified guide and is a wealth of information and enthusiasm in the bush!
Manyati runs all our transfers and is responsible for making sure you get to and from Imire safely.
Equine Programme Manager
Judy is the matriarch of Imire! As well as working closely with communities surrounding Imire on various projects, Judy guides volunteers on horse rides and game patrols.
Donations and Community
Candice is responsible for facilitating donations to Imire. Please let her know if you would like to know more about donating to one of the projects that Imire is supporting.
Although Africa is not short of labour, the continent has some of the poorest countries
in the world and money is an issue. Wildlife conservation projects are often the last thing to be considered important by governments so the contribution that volunteers make and the time they donate is critical.
Zimbabwe has been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons over the last decade and the country has seen its tourism industry, once the envy of Africa, fade away alarmingly. The country is now in a process of redevelopment and needs tourism, in any capacity, to help its economic growth. With some of the finest wildlife viewing in Southern Africa and some of the friendliest, most hospitable and resourceful people in the world, curious visitors to Zimbabwe can expect to receive royal treatment. Volunteer programmes and volun-tourism is returning to Zimbabwe and volunteers who do visit the country leave with magical memories and warm hearts.
Imire is security conscious. Situated in the heart of the conservancy and protected on all sides by a game fence and locked gates at night, Numwa house is very secure. There is a large safe in the coordinators cottage for securely locking away any cash or valuables you may have brought with you. The volunteer co-ordinators live on site and are on hand 24 hours a day for questions, information and rescuing you from spiders!
Many people believe that volunteer programmes should be free and we would love that to be the case. However, Imire is not a government organisation and relies on funding and financial contributions from donors, sponsors and volunteers.
Your contribution really does help - paying to volunteer allows us to cover our basic costs and develop the long-term conservation and community projects which continue after your volunteer programme has ended. Volunteer programmes costs significantly less than visiting the country as a tourist and you will also experience the hospitality and friendliness of the Zimbabwean people first hand as you live and work amongst them. Plus, you are leaving a tangible contribution behind as well as developing your own personal skills. Our goal is to provide an amazing experience for you, letting you see life on a game park and experiencing other cultures and communities.
Included in your fee are things like:
We estimate that 70% of your volunteer fee goes to covering the day to day running costs of the volunteer programme, with the remaining 30% being spent on game park and conservation projects, improved equipment for reserve staff (e.g. night vision binoculars, camera’s, increased security and more anti-poaching patrols) as well developing projects in the local community (classrooms, school renovations, books etc.).
Your accommodation at Imire is in a two-story thatched house in a beautiful location by the shores of our largest lake - ideal for fishing! You will have a comfortable room, sharing with 1-5 other volunteers. There are two shared bathrooms plus two outdoor showers for those hot African days, a swimming pool and outdoor braai (that’s an African BBQ!) area. Inside the house is a kitchen, dining room, lounge and bar area. Your rooms and the house will be cleaned every day and the housekeeping staff will also do your laundry when required. The volunteer co-ordinators live on site and are on hand 24 hours a day for questions, information and rescuing you from spiders!
You will receive three home-cooked meals per day cooked by our resident cook, Stocks, except on a Sunday when you will cook for yourselves - all food is provided for you to cook with. We can cater for all sorts of dietary requirements, please just let us know before you arrive. If there are snacks which you know you will need (chocolates, crisps etc.), Please feel free to bring out of the ordinary supplies with you as town trips are only once a week! Breakfast is usually around 9.00 am, lunch around 1.00 pm and dinner around 6.30 pm.
A member of Imire staff or a driver will be at the airport to collect you and will also take you back in good time for your return flight. If you are coming overland, please make this known when you book and we can arrange to collect you from an alternative place in Harare. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer a transfer service from other Zimbabwe locations.
The maximum stay at Imire is usually eight weeks. The programme starts on a Monday so please ensure that you are in Harare before 5:00 pm on the Monday of your programme start date. Should your preferred flight arrive after 5:00 pm, please ensure that you arrive the day before and we can help you organise accommodation overnight in Harare.
We take a maximum of 12 people at Imire (a maximum of 4 on the Horse Riding programme). This is to ensure that everyone gets the chance to form relationships with the animals without it being too crowded for animals or people.
We would recommend that you bring around US$100 per week. This will cover any souvenirs you may wish to buy, drinks from the bar and tips.
The minimum age for our programme is 17 years. Families with children aged over 16 who wish to volunteer, please enquire and we will consider your application. For those with younger children (aged 8 and over), you are welcome to join the Family Volunteer projects. We do not have an age limit but we ask that all volunteers are physically fit and active - there is often manual work and heavy lifting involved and a lot of getting in and out of high vehicles.
Most volunteers do require a visa to enter Zimbabwe but it can usually be bought at the airport upon arrival. Please do check BEFORE you travel what the visa situation is for your country and allow some time in case your visa takes a few weeks to process. Ensure you have adequate US$ with you in cash when you get to the airport.
Our volunteer programme is hands on, so the majority of volunteers will have the amazing experience of touching elephants and black rhino.