Volunteer at Imire Rhino & Wildlife Conservation | Zimbabwe

Volunteer with rhinos: the most rewarding travel experience possible

Volunteer at Imire

Our volunteer programme at Imire is for people passionate about conservation, who want to contribute their efforts to save some of Africa's most iconic endangered species. We are a family-run conservancy, offering a unique way for volunteers to join in our conservation work.

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 true purpose. As an Imire volunteer, you have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work hands-on with incredible wildlife, side-by-side with conservation experts, and within local communities.  Volunteers play a key role in protecting our wildlife, and also develop deeper intercultural understanding and empathy, through working in our vibrant community, alongside friendly and like-minded people.

Volunteering at Imire makes a real difference to wildlife conservation in Zimbabwe. Imire volunteers are involved daily with the first-hand care of endangered rhinos and elephants; pioneer important research into behaviours and habits of all our wildlife; get involved in anti-poaching efforts, conservancy management and maintenance; and undertake conservation awareness and education in local communities.

As a conservation volunteer in Africa, you will gain a deeper, behind the scenes understanding of what it really takes to protect our wildlife, and gain so much more than you would as an ordinary traveller.

Read unbiased reviews from our volunteers on our TripAdvisor page, in our Facebook reviews, and also in our blog.

Volunteer on our Hands On Rhino & Elephant Conservation Programme

The Rhino & Elephant Conservation volunteer programme takes a unique approach to the protection of highly threatened rhino and elephant, and the environment they live in. In addition to getting involved with our wildlife, rhino conservation volunteers work closely alongside local employees and community members. You will play a vital role in safeguarding the future of Zimbabwe's endangered species. In February 2021 we welcomed the arrival of a pair of male cheetah born in Canada. Volunteers will be involved in the tracking and monitoring of the cheetah alongside rhino and elephant work.

Wildlife conservation volunteers at Imire are involved with a variety of tasks which include opportunities to:

  • Work closely alongside our rhinos, elephants and abundance of other wildlife
  • Carry out cheetah monitoring, data capture and record observations
  • Assist with anti-poaching efforts to ensure the continued safety of the animals
  • Educate local school-children about conservation, wildlife and the environment
  • Learn more about wildlife conservation, threats to our animals’ existence and what is involved in the management of a wildlife conservancy.

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

To find out more about our Rhino and Elephant Conservation project download the brochure here or email us on volunteering@imire.co.zw.

Love horse riding? Combine hands-on rhino and elephant conservation with daily horse safaris on our Horse Riding & Conservation Programme - download the brochure here.

***SALE*** Save 30% on projects starting between 4th January 2021 and 27th May 2021! Get outside in the open air in a Covid-safe area - what better place to spend your time?

Volunteers can join from 1-8 weeks, please email us for current project pricing.

Do you have questions about our Covid-19 health and safety? Please read our Covid-19 FAQs, which give useful advice on entry requirements, our health and safety guidelines and what happens if you fall ill.  Please also take a look at our Guide to Volunteering Post Covid-19 which includes some other frequently asked questions about travel to Zimbabwe.

Horse Riding & Rhino Conservation

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. You will be part of an integrated approach to the protection of endangered rhino and elephant and contribute to conservancy management on 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:

  • Get involved with conservancy monitoring and maintenance, as horses are ideal partners in environmental management.
  • Get up close and personal with our endangered rhino and elephant, as well as herds of zebra, wildebeest and giraffe.
  • Vital snare patrols and searching for evidence of poaching undertaken on horseback, due to elevated and unique views.
  • Rounding up cattle for weekly dipping.

“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

To find out more about our Horse Riding & Rhino Conservation project download the brochure here or email us on volunteering@imire.co.zw

****SALE**** Save 30% on projects starting between 4th January 2021 and 27th May 2021! Get outside in the open air surrounded by wildlife and wide open spaces - what better place to be?

Volunteers can join the Horse Riding Programme for 1-2 weeks, please email us for current project pricing.

If you would like to stay at Imire for longer, you may combine the Horse Riding and the Rhino Conservation Programmes together, for a maximum stay of 8 weeks.

Do you have questions about our Covid-19 health and safety? Please read our Covid-19 FAQs, which give useful advice on entry requirements, our health and safety guidelines and what happens if you fall ill.  Please also take a look at our Guide to Volunteering Post Covid-19 which includes some other frequently asked questions about travel to Zimbabwe.

Family Volunteering

Education about conservation and wildlife for future generations, both locally and internationally, is one of the pillars of our rhino protection strategy. We are proud to offer families a chance to experience volunteering together for such an important cause, from a young age.

If you and your family would like to give back and take a holiday with a difference, our Imire Family Volunteer Programme is a perfect fit for you! We offer a unique volunteer programme to families with children aged 5 and over (please enquire if any of your children fall outside this age), and invite you to 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:

  • Work closely and safely outdoors alongside our rhinos, elephants and abundance of other wildlife
  • Take part in community enrichment and look in depth at holistic conservation practices
  • Learn about amazing animals and the natural world from guides who are extremely experienced working closely with children
  • Participate in exciting team-building activities
  • Learn survival and bush craft skills and enjoy nature walks and game drives
  • Get your hands and clothes dirty doing fun and physical work around the conservancy!

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! Family volunteers with children aged 14 and over, will usually be accommodated with the main volunteer group, at one of our beautiful volunteer sites. If your children are younger than 14, you will be accommodated separately with your own personal guide, doing activities tailored to the ages and interests of you and your children.

To find out more about our Family Volunteering project download the brochure here or email us on volunteering@imire.co.zw

Family volunteers can join the programme from 1-8 weeks, please email us for current project pricing.

We currently have families booked in the following weeks during 2021, but please do enquire if you would like to join outside of those dates:

July 5th - July 12th 2021
August 9th - 31st 2021
September 6th - 20th 2021
October 21st - 28th 2021

Do you have questions about our Covid-19 health and safety? Please read our Covid-19 FAQs, which give useful advice on entry requirements, our health and safety guidelines and what happens if you or your family fall ill.  Please also take a look at our Guide to Volunteering Post Covid-19 which includes some other frequently asked questions about travel to Zimbabwe.

Imire Nature Enthusiast Course

The Imire Nature Enthusiast course is designed for wildlife lovers who are looking to take their knowledge to the next level. The course has been designed and is led by our own highly qualified volunteer co-ordinators, Sam and Vera, themselves both experienced FGASA-certified guides.

The 6-week wildlife course is an opportunity for nature-lovers to study our wildlife and ecology more intensively, and be immersed in Imire’s unique environment. You will study mammals (of course closely studying our elephants and rhinos), reptiles, insects and birds; you will learn about the night skies and ecology, and develop a deeper understanding of animal behaviour.

The course is ideal for people wanting to start a career in wildlife conservation, or who simply have a desire to learn more about a variety of wildlife subjects. 

Sam and Vera, our resident Zoologist and Biologist have ensured that the knowledge the course imparts, and the research techniques you will learn, can be used anywhere in the world, in a variety of conservation and environmental jobs and industries.

Fully accredited

The course is FGASA endorsed, and delivered through a combination of lecture-style lessons and exciting outdoor practical activities.

Course topics include:

  • Introduction to Zimbabwe and Imire
  • Astronomy
  • Geology
  • Weather and Climate
  • Ecology
  • Taxonomy
  • Botany – Wild Flowers, Trees and Grasses
  • Arthropods (Insects) and Amphibians
  • Reptiles and Fish
  • Birds and Mammals
  • Animal Behaviour
  • Conservation Management
  • Historical Human Habitation
  • Bush Survival Skills and Navigation
  • Tracking Skills
  • Basic Weapon Handling
  • Wildlife Photography

Develop practical research skills

Unique to our course, students will pioneer Imire’s scientific wildlife research. Each topic of study includes a research project, whereby participants will develop their own skills and also contribute to Imire’s long-term management plan. Current research projects include canopy surveys, telemetry tracking and mapping, camera traps, and bird, fish and amphibian population studies.

To find out more about our wildlife course, visit the Nature Enthusiast page, download the brochure here or email us on volunteering@imire.co.zw.

Course details

Who should join: passionate conservationists and wildlife enthusiasts who want to learn more about Imire and about Africa’s varied and beautiful flora and fauna.

How long is the course: 6 weeks

Course dates 2021: 
4th July - 16th August 2021

Number of people: maximum 10 students per course

Age requirements: the course is open to anyone aged 18 and over

Where will I be staying?
Participants will be accommodated at our Wilderness Camp, a beautiful camp situated in the wild side of Imire, on the Chiwawe Dam. This camp allows for intensive learning in a diverse ecosystem. The Wilderness Camp is in an idyllic spot surrounded by pristine African bush.

You will be sharing twin safari-tent style accommodation. Rooms will be same-sex sharing and each tent has its own private en-suite bathroom with hot and cold running water and flush toilet. There is a fully equipped kitchen, study area, dining room and lounge, with resident cook and housekeeping staff. The camp is run on solar power with a small generator.

Please drop us an email to ask any questions.

Volunteer accommodation

The volunteer programme at Imire is unique for its personal nature, and you will be comfortably accommodated in groups of no more than 12 volunteers. Our accommodation is beautifully situated in the heart of the conservancy.

Rooms are shared (same sex sharing) in comfortable single beds with all bedding provided (duvets, pillows and extra blankets in winter). Couples will always be accommodated together in a private room. Showers and toilet facilities are shared, and hot water is supplied for showers and washing. Power sockets for electrical items are available in communal areas.

Three home cooked meals are provided daily on a self-serve basis. Vegetarian and limited vegan options are available upon request, but should you have any dietary requirements or food allergies, it is important you let us know before you arrive. We are unable to cater for very specific dietary needs (for example gluten, dairy or wheat intolerance), so should you need them you will need to bring any specialist foods along with you. If you bring these foods, our chefs will be able to prepare these for you alongside other volunteer’s standard meals.
Drinking water is pumped from a borehole and is safe and clean for drinking.

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.

Bear in mind electricity can be intermittent in Africa, especially during our rainy season. For backup, we are prepared with basic solar powered lighting or 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.

Wi-Fi and cellphone signal:
It's time to get away from it all! We do not have Wi-Fi of any description at Imire, and cellphone signal and 3G connection is intermittently available. When we have electricity problems, the cellphone signal can be problematic, but is available to touch base with home in certain areas of the conservancy.

Safe and Valuables:
The volunteer coordinators have access to a safe for securely locking away any cash or valuables you may have brought with you.

Meet The Team

Sam and Vera People Of Imire Game Reserve

Sam Turley & Vera Castro
Programme Co-ordinators
Sam and Vera 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.

Imire julius

Bright Julius
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.

Imire reilly

Reilly Travers
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.

Morgan Taylor
Bookings Co-Ordinator
Morgan helps co-ordinate Imire volunteer programme bookings. She will make sure you have everything you need before you arrive in Zimbabwe.

Imire stocks

Stocks Siamukwari
Stocks, along with Tafadzwa, is responsible for ensuring that you have three delicious, home cooked meals every day!

Imire chipo

Chipo Maregedze
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!

Imire tafadzwa

Tafadzwa Mushambi
Tafadzwa, along with Stocks, is responsible for ensuring that you have three delicious, home cooked meals every day!

Imire neton

Neton Munyanyi
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!

Imire trymore

Trymore Williams
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!

Imire dairai

Dairai Manyati
Manyati runs all our transfers and is responsible for making sure you get to and from Imire safely.

Imire judy

Judy Travers
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.

Imire candice

Candice Travers
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.