The best places to volunteer in Africa
Examples of ‘voluntourism’ (or responsible tourism) that really do have a positive impact on wildlife conservation.
Lilongwe Wildlife Trust (LWT) was founded in 2007 and projects span a wide breadth of work, including wildlife rescue and rehabilitation, law enforcement, advocacy, research and conservation education.
Located in a 200 hectare wilderness reserve, it is the only wildlife sanctuary in Malawi and the country’s leading wildlife welfare conservation charity.
LWT has won various awards for its work including accreditation from the world’s top welfare organisations including PASA (Pan African Sanctuary Alliance), GFAS (Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries) and Born Free Foundation.
In 2014 the sanctuary cared for 254 individuals including 77 rescues and 57 releases. Volunteers work alongside the animal care team, cleaning, feeding and caring for all the animals such as vervet monkeys, baboons, cervals, lions and duikers to name but a few.
Volunteers play an integral part of the sanctuary’s operations and whilst the sanctuary operates a strict hands-off policy, orphans in particular need special attention and may need round-the-clock care to ensure they have the best possible chance of rehabilitation. It is likely volunteers will help out with surrogacy work and all aspects of care until they reach the next phase of rehabilitation.
Animal releases are highly acclaimed and the sanctuary boasts some of the world’s best success rates. This is largely due to the expertise and effort that goes into the releases and the volunteers are crucial to the process. Our overall goal is always to release the animals back into the wild.
LWT also runs the country’s only all-female Wildlife Emergency Response Unit (WERU) headed up by veterinarian Dr Amanda Salb. Unfortunately, due to the nature of work volunteers are rarely able to get involved in these call outs however the volunteers can spend time with the WERU team discussing call-outs and sharing animal stories.