Get involved in the day-to-day running of one of the largest sanctuaries for chimpanzees in the world, Chimfunshi, once called ‘the most wonderful place on earth’ by Jane Goodall. Care for the rescued chimpanzees while living in the true African wilderness of northern Zambia.
Winner of GoAbroad.com’s Innovative New Program Award 2013
AS A VOLUNTEER, YOU'LL GET TO:
- Slot in to the day-to-day running of one of the largest chimpanzee sanctuaries in the world
- Interact with chimpanzees on a personal level while out on ‘bush walks’
- Invent fun behavioural enrichment activities for specific chimpanzees
- Observe chimpanzees and learn about their behavior and group dynamics
- Experience life in the African bush, living in a very rustic, beautiful setting in the heart of Africa
- Work alongside local Zambians, immersing yourself in true Zambian culture
- Enjoy sundowners, canoeing, picnics, barbeques, and some amazing stargazing on the banks of the Kafue River
NOTE: This project is suitable for volunteers of 18 years and above only.
About the Destination
Zambia is one of the last true wildernesses left in Africa, teeming with incredible national parks, like Kafue and South Luangwa. Chimfunshi Chimpanzee Sanctuary is based right next to the Kafue River – a beautifully remote location that offers you a totally unfiltered, authentic African experience.
The nearest town to Chimfunshi is Chingola, where you will have the chance to do some souvenir shopping and absorb the local culture.
Your African home-away-from-home is a rustic cottage set in beautiful gardens amongst the wilderness. The cottage is very comfortable and has a tiny carbon footprint, with solar paneling and locally grown firewood. It has two twin rooms and an 8 bed dorm, with a large veranda where you can read a book, catch up with emails or friends back home, or just relax after a hard day’s work with the chimps.
The living/dining area is under a thatched lapa where we gather for meals, enjoy movie nights, play cards and hang out. There is also a fire pit where we share stories, toast marshmallows and sit under the night’s sky.
This part of Africa allows us to offer one of the best volunteer opportunities in Africa, so whether you’re on a short trip, gap year, career break or enjoying your retirement, you’ll find a true purpose working with chimpanzees in Zambia.
If you would like to travel onto Livingstone to combine our Lions, Conservation & Community Project, our Elephant Research & Conservation Project, or to see the world famous Victoria Falls (one of the 7 Natural Wonders of The World) after your placement, we can help you arrange it.
Chimfunshi gives refuge to over 120 chimps rescued from the bush meat trade, circuses, zoos and bars. In partnership with Chimfunshi, African Impact created this volunteer project to help care for and conserve these rescued chimps. This sanctuary is one of the few places on earth that rescued chimpanzees can live out their lives in safety, and there are endless things which need doing to ensure this is continued. The volunteer work you will be involved in includes:
Fun & Travel
The Flood Plain
There is a flood plain nearby where volunteers play cricket, volleyball and soccer with the local children. It’s also a great place to enjoy a sundowner, barbeque, and some top quality stargazing!
Visit Local Villages
The closest town to Chimfunshi is Chingola (approx. 2 hours away) which has a delicious Indian restaurant we visit each week and we also travel there to purchase personal items, plus any snacks or drinks. Every 3rd week, our volunteers travel with our team to the town of Kitwe, where they have the opportunity to browse and buy curios/souvenirs at the markets, and again, indulge in some yummy local cuisine. Muchinshi is the closest village, a 45 minute drive, where volunteers will have have the opportunity to mix with the locals and immerse themselves in Zambian culture.
Canoe Trips and Relaxing
During the dry season (May-November), we regularly canoe, fish and take scenic trips on the Kafue River, stopping on the banks for a picnic lunch and afternoon siesta.
Victoria Falls and Livingstone
After your placement, travel onto Livingstone to combine our Lions, Conservation and Community Project, or our Elephant Research and Conservation Project. Alternatively, experience the great waters of Victoria Falls – one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World on a Zambezi boat cruise, river safari, river fishing tour or canoe trip. For a bird’s eye view and an unforgettable experience, you can fly over the falls by helicopter or microlight.
Just speak to your Destination Manager to arrange your next ticket to adventure.
Dates & Rates
Our project fee includes:
- Accommodation throughout your entire stay in a truly authentic cottage within the Chimfunshi Chimpanzee Sanctuary, shared by our volunteers and staff
- 3 delicious meals a day cooked by chefs from the local community
- Airport pick-up and drop-off by the African Impact team
- Experienced international and local staff members who live and work alongside you every day
- A full induction, orientation and training session to ensure you can contribute sustainably
- All necessary project equipment and resources you’ll need on the ground
Our project fee excludes:
- Flights to your chosen destination, but we can guide you on this
- Medical or travel insurance
- Visa-related costs
- Weekend trips or tours, or any other non-project activity
- Snacks, soft drinks, gifts or souvenirs
- WiFi – it’s pretty slow here anyway!
Why volunteer with African Impact?
We live and breathe all things Africa
Akabangilile, kaumine ipulu. Don’t worry, you’ll get it when you get here.
We are with you all the way
Wrapping ourselves around you like a giant fluffy blanket, our awesome staff on the ground will make sure you see, do and experience as much as possible.
We are about real, measurable change
Responsibility and sustainability is the aim of the game on our very own volunteer projects, having built and developed them hand-in-hand with local communities since 2004.
We are leading the way
With some of the most progressive policies, we are helping to push the boundaries of what the responsible volunteer travel industry can achieve.
“My time at Chimfunshi has just been running away. It is sad because I love being here. I feel like I know the chimps now, their different personalities and their names. I have now been here for a month and I feel like it is my Zambian extra big family. I have really loved being here and this experience has made me grow personally and I have learned a lot that I can use in my daily life but it is difficult to explain it – you will just have to come and experience it.”
“I can’t explain the privilege, and joy, of participating as a volunteer at the Chimfunshi Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Zambia, Africa. The days were long, and the work was sometimes dirty and hard…but it was never anything that a warm shower, a great meal, and a glass (or two) of wine couldn’t take care of. Then, or course, there was the main attraction…the Chimps! What amazing creatures (actually, they are so human-like, I don’t even like to call them creatures)! You had to love their humorous, playful antics, as well as their laid-back demeanor as they sprawled out lazily like a tourist on a beach. The month ended far too quickly, and saying goodbye was difficult; but I will never forget my time with the chimps and the people at Chimfunshi.”
Melanie Burren, USA