Volunteer with Rhinos

Rhino conservation volunteer:
The most rewarding travel experience possible

Volunteer at Imire

Our wildlife volunteer programme at Imire is for people who are passionate about rhino and elephant conservation. It is also perfect for those 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 to volunteer with rhinos and 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 endangered animals, to ensure viable wildlife populations and varied genetics continue to exist.

Why volunteer with rhinos at Imire

Responsible volunteering in Africa is a chance to travel with a true purpose. As an Imire rhino conservation volunteer, you have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn from conservation experts and get hands-on with rhinos and elephants. You will also work within local communities. Rhino conservation volunteers play a key role in protecting Africa’s wildlife. Additionally, wildlife volunteers also develop deep inter-cultural understanding and empathy, working in our vibrant community alongside friendly and like-minded people.

Volunteering with rhinos 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 the 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 endangered 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.

star rating  A good escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. This trip was a good one went as a family and upon arrival we were treated to some tea... read more

263graciem
January 12, 2023

star rating  When I arrived at Imire, for my first solo trip, I was worried about not liking it, and not getting on with the other volunteers. But after a week at... read more

T7806GAlauras
March 3, 2020

star rating  Imire is a magical place where you straight away have a sense of belonging. You feel part of a community that is trying to do good for this world. You... read more

Obon01
July 14, 2022

star rating  What incredible, incredible people and the sanctuary was so great. Food and refreshments were lovely. The team took the time to explain the history of each of the... read more

lorrainehJ2251WW
February 2, 2023

Volunteer on our unique rhino & elephant conservation programme

Our Rhino & Elephant Conservation volunteer programme takes a unique approach to the protection of our endangered black and white rhinos and elephants, and the environment in which they live.

In addition to working with iconic wildlife, rhino conservation volunteers work closely on other projects alongside our local employees and community members. You will play a vital role in safeguarding the future of Zimbabwe's endangered species and in supporting our rural communities.

Wildlife conservation volunteers at Imire are involved in a variety of conservation tasks

  • Work closely alongside our rhinos, elephants, and abundance of other wildlife.
  • Carry out wildlife monitoring, data capture and record behaviour observations.
  • Assist with anti-poaching efforts to ensure the continued safety of the animals.
  • Educate local schoolchildren 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 with rhinos 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 that when you work with rhinos and elephants, your experiences will be life-changing!

“When I arrived at Imire for my first solo trip, I was worried about not liking it and not getting on with the other volunteers. But after a week at this amazing place I began to enjoy it more and more each day. All of the activities felt as though I was properly helping (even if just in a tiny way), and I have learnt so much more than I could have ever imagined. Every single person I have met while on my incredible trip has been some of the most welcoming, friendly and amazing people. I couldn’t have wished for a better experience, it has been the most amazing of my life so far! I will treasure every single little moment of my time here at Imire, thank you everyone for an incredible 5 weeks!” Laura, UK

To find out more about our Rhino and Elephant Conservation project download the brochure below or email us on [email protected].

Dates and costs

You can volunteer at Imire for a minimum of one and maximum of 12 weeks, with arrivals and departures every Monday between mid-January and mid-December. The project is closed from 16th December 2024 - 6th January 2025.

Included: return transfers from Harare International Airport (on a Monday), accommodation, food, housekeeping, activities, and equipment.
Excluded: flights, travel insurance, visa fees and drinks from the bar.

Fees are critical to fund the daily operations of the conservancy as well as covering the costs of the volunteer programme.

Please email us for current project pricing.

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, you will experience the best of our amazing rhino and elephant conservation programme, plus go on amazing horseback safaris. Horse riding volunteers form a part of our integrated approach to the protection of endangered rhino and elephant and contribute to conservancy management on horseback. All this, riding in small group of no more than four, alongside the “matriarch” of Imire, Judy Travers or our experienced equine guide, Paddy, whose knowledge and passion of the African bush and wildlife will have you mesmerized.

As well as participating in the same activities as rhino conservation volunteers, you will also ride five times a week for around 3 hours at a time. During those rides, you will go off the beaten track and your activities could include:

  •  Locating missing animals.
  • Performing game counts.
  • Monitor new mothers.
  • Fence and boundary patrols.
  • Snare patrols. Remote snare sweeps minimise small animal poaching and support our Anti-Poaching Unit in their daily work to ensure that the large animals are protected.

Horse riding and rhino conservation volunteers at Imire are involved in a variety of specific conservation tasks

  • Get involved with conservancy monitoring and maintenance. 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.
  • Check for new babies and check the health of the herd animals.
  • Undertake vital snare patrols and search for evidence of poaching - more easily undertaken on horseback due to your elevated and unique views.
  • Round up cattle for dipping and locate missing animals. This activity depends on the cattle management plan in place when you volunteer and is not a guaranteed activity.
  • Fence and boundary monitoring on horseback.
  • Go on game counts to locate and monitor specific animals or herds.

“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

Love horse riding? Combine hands-on rhino and elephant conservation with daily horse safaris on our Horse Riding & Conservation Programme - download the brochure below or email us on [email protected]

Dates and Costs

You can join our horse riding volunteer programme for either one or two weeks, on specific dates throughout the year. Arrivals and departures are on set Mondays between mid-January and mid-December. The project will be closed from 16th December 2024 - 20th January 2025.

Included: return transfers from Harare International Airport (on a Monday), accommodation, food, housekeeping, activities, and equipment.

Excluded: flights, travel insurance, visa fees and drinks from the bar.

Fees are critical to funding the daily operations of the conservancy as well as covering the costs of the volunteer programme.

2024 Equine Programme - available dates:
September 2nd-9th (1 space available)
November 4th-11th (3 spaces available)
December 2nd-16th (2 spaces available
2025 Equine Programme - available dates:
January 20th–3rd February: 3 spaces available
February 17th – 3rd March: 4 spaces available
March 17th – 31st: 4 spaces available
April 14th – 28th: 4 spaces available
May 12th – 26th : 4 spaces available
June 9th – 23rd: 4 spaces available
July 7th – 21st: 4 spaces available
August 4th – 18th: 4 spaces available
September 1st – 15th: 4 spaces available
October 6th – 20th: 4 spaces available
November 3rd – 17th: 4 spaces available
December 1st – 15th: 4 spaces available

 

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 12 weeks.

Please email us for current project pricing.

Family volunteering with rhinos and elephants

Our rhino and elephant family volunteer programme is a unique opportunity to bring your family on the adventure of a lifetime! Education about conservation and wildlife is part of our mission, and we are delighted to be able to offer our family wildlife volunteer programme which is a child-friendly variation of our popular Rhino & Elephant Volunteer Project and includes age-appropriate activities.

Family volunteering is a wonderful way for those with children to experience Africa in a safe, natural environment, get close to iconic wildlife, work hard, and become part of a very special family. We offer a unique rhino volunteer project for 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, help to protect endangered wildlife for future generations and empower local communities with knowledge and education.

The family programme is incredibly diverse, where you will work with animals, help with community projects, visit local villages, work in the conservancy, and learn new skills. Every activity you get involved with, no matter how small, makes a real difference and your work will always be meaningful and rewarding.

Families who volunteer with rhinos here at Imire will be involved in a variety of tasks

  • Work closely and safely outdoors, immersed in nature alongside our rhinos, elephants, and abundance of other wildlife.
  • Track black and white rhinos using telemetry and learn about these amazing animals from our guides, who are so experienced at engaging with children.
  • Visit a local Shona family at their home and learn about their culture and everyday lives.
  • Learn to cook Zimbabwean meals, sing songs, and move your feet in traditional dances!
  • Participate in exciting team-building activities and learn survival skills and bushcraft.
  • Get your hands and clothes dirty doing fun and physical work around the conservancy!
  • Walk with elephants and enjoy the peace of being at one with nature.

You and your family will live closely and safely in the heart of the African bush and experience day to day life on a privately-owned rhino conservancy. 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, we will endeavour to accommodate you separately or with other families, with your own guide, doing activities tailored to the ages and interests of you and your children. This is not always possible and is dependent other bookings.

However your stay is organised, you are guaranteed a magical time!

To find out more about our Family Volunteering project download the brochure below or email us on [email protected]

Dates and Costs

You can join our family wildlife volunteer programme for up to two weeks. Arrivals and departures are on Mondays between mid-January and mid-December. The project is closed from 16th December 2024 - 6th January 2025.

Included: return transfers from Harare International Airport (on a Monday), accommodation, food, housekeeping, activities, and equipment.
Excluded: flights, travel insurance, visa fees and drinks from the bar.

Fees are critical to fund the daily operations of the conservancy as well as covering the costs of the volunteer programme.

Minimum recommended age: 5 years and over (please do enquire if any of your children are younger)

Family volunteers can join the programme from 1-2 weeks, please email us for current project pricing.

Volunteer accommodation

The volunteer with rhinos 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.

Meals:
Three home cooked meals are provided daily on a self-serve basis. Vegetarian and vegan options are available upon request, and 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.

Housekeeping:
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:
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.

WiFi and cellphone signal:
WiFi is available at both sites on a pay-as-you-go basis. At Numwa House there is 3G as well as WiFi, and cellphone signal and 3G are intermittently available in certain areas of the conservancy. We recommend purchasing an Econet SIM card on arrival in Zimbabwe.

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.

Ready to Volunteer with Us?

If you’d like to volunteer with us, or you have any questions at all about our volunteer programme, please email Jane or fill in the volunteer enquiry form below.

Request Our Brochures


Imire Rhino Conservation Brochure 2023

Request the Rhino Conservation Brochure

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Imire Horse Riding and Wildlife Conservation Brochure 2023

Request the Horse Riding and Wildlife Conservation Brochure

Email the download link to:

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Imire Family Volunteering 2023

Request the Family Volunteering Brochure

Email the download link to:

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Imire Rhino & Wildlife Conservation FAQs

No prior experience of conservation is needed to join the rhino volunteer programme, just a passion for wildlife, an open mind, and a willingness to get involved. Our conservation programme is about teamwork and tolerance - we live in close proximity with other people from different backgrounds and of different ages. We will make sure that you are comfortable and well fed and have plenty to do every day!

You will need to have a moderate degree of fitness and be fairly mobile - able to climb off and on our safari vehicle and walk over uneven ground. Although these is some physical labour (fixing fences and roads, removing invasive species), there are no very long hikes through the bush during very hot temperatures.

Our maximum group size is 12 and is normally made up of people from all walks of life and nationalities, who share similar passions and interest in wildlife. The minimum age for solo travellers is 17 years old and there is no upper age limit.

Working with endangered animals and volunteering in Africa is never dull, and no two days are ever the same! The day for Imire volunteers is split into three parts.

After an early coffee and rusk, you may head out into the conservancy to locate one of the focus species (either black or white rhinos or elephants). Spend time observing these amazing animals and learn how to track from our experienced rangers. Head back to the volunteer house at around 0900 where you will sit down to a hearty breakfast cooked by one of our resident chefs.

It’s out again at 1000 to complete another assignment - this could be a game count, working in the community or a K9 unit demonstration with the Anti-Poaching Unit. As the day heats up its time for a well-deserved lunch back at your volunteer accommodation, and you’ll head out again around 1430.

Your afternoon activity could be fixing fences, rhino observations, a snare patrol, or a building project in the conservancy. You could have a sunset climb up Castle Kopje, or walk with the elephants as they return to their overnight boma.

After a home-cooked dinner, the evenings are spent playing games, talking around the fire, or having an early night!

Rhino volunteers will get to experience first-hand two of Africa’s most endangered species - black and white rhinos and elephants. You will record essential data on their health and behaviour to inform long-term conservation decisions; you will learn from experienced guides and rangers about anti-poaching issues, and you will meet and work alongside inspirational community members. Click on the Rhino & Elephant Volunteer Programme tab to find out more

Imire is a 4,500-hectare wildlife conservancy with free-roaming rhinos, elephants, buffalos and plains game. We are not a rhino orphanage and at the moment we do not take on injured and abandoned rhinos - there is no dedicated rhino orphanage facility in Zimbabwe at the moment. Our rhinos can live a natural life within our secure boundaries.

Imire is a unique place to volunteer with rhinos and see first-hand the work that is being done to support the future of rhino conservation in Zimbabwe. You have a once-in-a-time opportunity to contribute to the work that is being done by local conservationists to halt the dramatic decline in rhino populations across Africa.

Every volunteer activity you are involved with at Imire, no matter how small it seems, is meaningful and important and no time is ever wasted. This could be planting trees, tracking our white rhinos, working alongside community members, repairing roads or fences, or doing game counts. Conservation volunteers and their contributions of time, energy and passion are critical to the survival of small conservancies like Imire, who receive no government investment or support, and rely on the support of private individuals and organisations to continue to do their vital conservation work day-to-day.

Volunteering with elephants and rhinos in Africa offers a chance to directly contribute to their conservation by participating in hands-on care, monitoring, and community education programs. Through your efforts, you help combat threats like poaching and habitat loss while gaining valuable experience working closely with these iconic species. Additionally, your involvement raises awareness about the importance of protecting elephants and rhinos and fosters sustainable tourism practices. This immersive experience provides personal growth opportunities as you learn new skills and gain a deeper appreciation for wildlife conservation. Ultimately, volunteering in Africa allows you to make a meaningful impact while creating lasting memories and connections with both wildlife and local communities.

No experience is required, just a passion for wildlife, an interest in conservation and an open mind - this is Africa after all!

Our horse riding volunteer programme is for experienced riders only and there are no riding lessons. You should be able to saddle your own horse, undertake a rising trot and canter, and be confident in riding over uneven terrain. There is a weight limit of 80kg for equine volunteers.

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