Elephant keepers and elephant orphans in Zambia

Your trip at a glance


  • Support the work of an Elephant Nursery in Lusaka
  • Dedicate yourself to the protec­tion of orphaned elephants
  • Help conduct biodi­ver­sity surveys at Lusaka National Park
  • Experi­ence Zambia's culture and biodi­ver­sity from up close
  • Hands-off Policy: for ethical reasons, only veteri­nar­ians and elephant keepers are allowed direct contact with the elephants


Landscape during sunset in Zambia
Young elephant in the elephant nursery in Zambia, drinking
Volunteer tents in the elephant project near Zambia's capital of Lusaka
Keepers feed young elephants in the elephant nursery near Lusaka
Elephant conservation in Zambia: Lounge in the elephant nursery
Inside of volunteer tents in the elephant project near Lusaka
Young elephants in the elephant nursery in Zambia
Elephant keepers and young elephants in Zambia
Monkeys sitting on the grounds of the elephant nursery in Zambia

Elephant conservation in Zambia

As a volunteer in this species conservation project you will get the chance to make a valuable contribution to the protection of orphaned elephants and, at the same time, to discover Zambia’s fascinating culture and biodiversity up close.

Monkeys sitting on the grounds of the elephant nursery in Zambia

Arrival and orien­ta­tion in Lusaka

You will arrive at Lusaka International Airport on the day the project starts and will be picked up by our partner’s transfer service that will take you to your project location, the Elephant Nursery near Lusaka. Here you can settle in, get to know your team and receive an overview of the programme’s goals, your upcoming tasks as a volunteer and important camp and safety rules.

Volunteer in the elephant project near Zambia's capital of Lusaka

Volunteer work in Zambia

As a volunteer in the Elephant Nursery you will be involved in a number of different tasks.

Working with the young elephants themselves will be a large part of your work. This means that you will help the professional keepers and assist in general elephant husbandry including milk preparation, browse collection, and boma upkeep.

Two volunteers at a school in Lusaka, informing about biodiversity and conservation

Working together with local communities is another area of responsibility. You will occasionally visit local schools and work with the children on the topic of nature and species conservation and its enormous necessity. Moreover, you may assist in conducting/accompanying excursions and events such as litter picking, nature walks or field trips to the nursery.

Volunteers also assist in conducting the Behavioral Observations Study examining the behaviours, social interactions, and herd dynamics of the orphaned elephants on an individual level.

Volunteer and keeper on the grounds of the elephant nursery near Lusaka

Furthermore, you have the opportunity to get to know nearby Lusaka National Park and its wildlife by carrying out various small research projects. You will be able to learn and practice valuable in-field research skill, which may include transect surveys, vegetation surveys, and identifying and tracking wildlife through spoor and scat observations. Last but not least, you will be able to partake in public educational lectures in the Elephant Nursery which discuss our partner’s project work, species conservation in the country and the overall situation of elephants in Africa.

Young elephants in the elephant nursery in Zambia

Please be aware that your work schedule is subject to fluctuations and can never be 100% predicted. Incoming "elephant emergencies" always have priority and dominate all other activities. A typical day as a volunteer usually starts at about 07:00 AM and ends at about 06:00 PM.

Important note: Great importance is attached to ethical working methods. To minimize habituation and ensure the animals’ successful release to the wild, only veterinarians and professional keepers are allowed to have direct contact to the elephants – not the volunteers.

Volunteer tent in the elephant project in Zambia

Accom­mo­da­tion in the Elephant Nursery

During the project you will live on the grounds of the Elephant Nursery. You will stay in your own safari tent, equipped with a single bed, and use shared sanitary facilities. There is also a kitchen and lounge area available. You receive three meals a day which are prepared together as a team. Small electronic devices such as laptops, mobile phones etc. can be charged in the kitchen area. After purchasing a Zambian SIM card, you can contact family and friends at home from camp during the day.

Elephant conservation in Zambia: team of volunteers and elephant keepers

Free time as a volunteer in Zambia

Once a week you will have a day off which you can use to explore the surrounding region. Alternatively, you can accompany the responsible employees on the weekly grocery shopping trip. In the evening hours of each working day there is also time for your own activities such as playing card/board games, doing handicrafts or reading.

FAQ – Learn more about this trip

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  • Landscape during sunset in Zambia
    1. Lusaka

    Lusaka is the capital of Zambia and located in the southern to southeastern part of the country. More than 2 million people live here on an area of about 70 km². The city often serves as a stopover or starting point for further journeys through the Southern African country.

    A melting pot of cultures and a place of hustle and bustle – a characterisation that couldn’t be truer for Lusaka. However, the parks and green areas just outside of the city, like Lusaka National Park or Munda Wanga Environmental Park, offer peaceful retreats for travellers and residents. The colourful street markets and (art) museums are further stops worth exploring on an excursion through Lusaka.

    Learn more

Background of the species conser­va­tion project in Zambia

Young elephants continuously become tragic victims of poaching and human wildlife conflicts. Our partner organisation’s conservation programme takes in orphaned or abandoned elephants in its Elephant Nursery, and ensures round-the-clock care of the animals.

While they are young and milk dependent, elephants are extremely fragile and completely dependent on their mothers. Regular feeding with special milk in a 3-hour rhythm as well as extensive, dedicated care are indispensable for the survival of the calves. In order to be able to maintain the facility near Zambia's capital Lusaka, and thus to ensure continuous protection of the young elephants, the helping hands of dedicated volunteers are of immense value.

Around the age of three years, the elephants are translocated to the affiliated release facility in southern Kafue National Park, where they are weaned off of their milk formula and gradually develop their independence from humans. The Kafue release station also welcomes dedicated volunteers who want to support the work on site.


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