Your trip at a glance


  • Work at three different project sites in Zambia
  • Gain insight into real species conser­va­tion
  • Gather valuable research skills
  • Get to know the work of an Elephant Nursery near Lusaka
  • Get involved in elephant and nature conser­va­tion in Kafue National Park
  • Support local commu­ni­ties
  • Experi­ence Zambia's incred­ible biodi­ver­sity
  • Visit a primate conser­va­tion project for a day
  • Hands-off Policy: for ethical reasons, only profes­sional employees are allowed direct contact with the elephants


Landscape during sunset in Zambia
Kafue National Park

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  • Included in the programme fee
    • Placement in the programme
    • Assistance with travel arrangements
    • Assistance with selecting travel insurance
    • Assistance with booking flights
    • Risk coverage certificate

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Conservation volunteering in Zambia

As a volunteer in this project you will get to know three different project sites in Zambia, gain valuable research skills, support local communities and experience the fascinating wilderness of Southern Africa.


Arrival and orien­ta­tion in Zambia

On the official start day of the project, you need to arrive at Lusaka International Airport. Here, a staff member will pick you up and take you to the programme’s Elephant Nursery near the capital where your volunteer adventure starts. After you got settled in, you will get to know the facility and the team, learn more about the project, have a cultural and safety briefing and may start working on some initial tasks.


Your tasks as a conser­va­tion volunteer

During your time as a volunteer in the project, you will be working at three different project sites: Lilayi Elephant Nursery near Lusaka, Musa Camp in Kafue National Park and Kafue Release Facility, also located in Kafue National Park. No matter which site you are at: a typical volunteer day starts at around 06:00 AM and ends around 06:00 PM.

You will start your three-week adventure at Lilayi Elephant Orphanage near Lusaka where you will spend your first seven days.


Here, you and your team members will help complete biodiversity surveys in Lusaka National Park to gain a better understanding of the species presence and abundance within the area. Moreover, you will acquire and practice valuable in-field research skill which may include vegetation and transect surveys as well as identifying and tracking wildlife through spoor and scat observations.

Volunteers will also be involved in different community outreach projects, including supporting teachers in the delivery of conservation education in local schools, empowering women’s groups or working with expectant mothers.


Day trip to the primate conservation project: On your way from Lusaka to Musa Camp, you and your group will make a stop at the well-known Primate Transit Project to learn more about the coexistence and rehabilitation of primates. This project aims to promote the coexistence of all wildlife and the communities living with them, ideally benefiting from each other. The primates will be released into the Kafue National Park after successful recovery. After the visit, you will continue to Musa Camp, where you can enjoy the beautiful Kafue landscape during the drive.


Your second week takes place in Musa Camp, where our partner’s Field Headquarters are based. Here, in awe-inspiring Kafue National Park, volunteers will meet the rangers that are supported by our partner’s programme and discover how the anti-poaching units operate. Utilising the skills learnt during the week before, you will also complete biodiversity surveys within Kafue National Park. Moreover, helping in a number of community outreach projects will be another tasks when staying in Musa.


The third week is spent at the programme’s Release Facility which is also located in Kafue National Park. Tasks that volunteers are already familiar with include biodiversity surveys as well as community outreach projects. Furthermore, volunteers will learn about our partner’s elephant rehabilitation and release programme and are given training and insight into the elephant behavioural observation studies that are conducted at the release facility and elephant orphanage. Last but not least, volunteers may also be involved with staff capacity building.


Please note that your work plan is subject to change depending on the work that needs to be done. Sudden “elephant emergencies” always come first and stand above all other activities.

Moreover, an ethical way of working has the highest priority. Therefore, a “hands-off” policy is implemented by the project. As a research and elephant orphanage volunteer, you will be joining the elephants in the bush to assist in research – however, only veterinarians and professional keepers are allowed to have direct contact with the elephants.


Accom­mo­da­tion in Zambia

In Lusaka, you will be accommodated in your own spacious tent including bedding and make use of shared sanitary facilities. Tents are set up around a grassy area with a fireplace and Braai area. Hot water is available whereas electricity is limited as only solar power is used.


In Kafue National Park, one of your two stations will be Musa Camp where you can also find the Field Headquarters. The unfenced camp is located on the edge of Lake Itezhi Tezhi and frequently visited by wild animals. Here, you will also stay in your own tent with bedding being provided. Volunteers share sanitary facilities (incl. hot water), a recreational area and cooking facilities.


Your third camp is the Kafue Release Facility, about a 45-minute drive from Musa Camp. The camp is located remotely on the banks of the Nkala River, right next to the project's release centre. Just like in the other two camps, you will be accommodated in your own tent, equipped with a mattress and bedding. There are common washrooms and toilets as well as a lounge area and kitchen.


As a volunteer you will receive three meals per day which are prepared together as a team. Cooking takes place with the help of a gas cooker or over a campfire. Refrigeration possibilities are limited so camp diet is predominantly vegetarian. It is likely that you will accompany your volunteer coordinator to the supermarket so you may also get some additional snacks for yourself – these are not included in the programme fee, though. Small electronic devices such as laptops, mobile phones etc. can be charged to a limited extent using solar energy. After purchasing a Zambian SIM card, you may contact family and friends at home from camp during the day.


Free time as a volunteer in Zambia

You will have one off-day per week which you can use to explore the surrounding region. During the second and third week, when staying in Kafue National Park, you and your team will spend your free day in a nearby lodge where you can go swimming in the pool or simply relax on the lodge grounds. 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 board/card games or reading a book.

FAQ – Learn more about this trip

Learn what others say about their Natucate adventure.

Ein Gewässer, in dem sich umliegende Pflangen spiegeln und ein blauer Himmel
Ein Überblick über verschiedene Elefanten in und um eine Wasserstelle
Review Volunteering Zambia – Nellie

“It was a great three weeks that will stay in my heart forever.”

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Review Sabbatical Africa – Julian

“This year I booked a 9-month trip to Africa, consisting of several Natucate projects, and I am simply thrilled. [...] Each project had its own special something and could not be compared to the other. [...] All in all, the time in the projects and the service of Natucate were simply stunning.”

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Review Freiwilligenarbeit Sambia – Klara

“I would 1000% choose it again and am incredibly grateful for the memories.”

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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.

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  • reiseorte-sambia-kafue-nationalpark-elefanten-natucate
    2. Kafue National Park

    The Kafue National Park covers an area of about 22.400 km² and is Zambia's largest national park. The oldest protected area in the country is characterized by secluded, untouched and diverse expanses of land, which are home to an abundance of wild animals. With elephants, buffalos, leopards and lions, four of the Big Five can be found here, as well as wild dogs, hippos, cheetahs, more than 20 different antelope species and nearly 500 bird species.

    The landscape is characterized by the numerous arms of the Kafue River, wetland biotopes, Miombo forests, vast savannahs, thickets and floodplains – including the spectacular Busanga floodplains. Game drives, bush walks and boat trips allow you to explore this special place up close.

Background of the volunteer project in Zambia

Young elephants often become victims of poaching and human wildlife conflicts. Our partner’s fascinating programme takes in orphaned or abandoned young elephants in its Elephant Nursery near Lusaka and ensures 24/7 care of the vulnerable animals. As soon as they are no longer dependent on the milk, the young elephants are resettled in the project’s release station in Kafue National Park. Here, they gradually develop independence from humans and spend a large part of their time roaming the depths of the national park, slowly connecting with the area’s wild herds.

As long-term conservation can only be achieved if communities living around Protected Areas trust that sustainable protection of biodiversity is in their interest, working with local groups and institutions forms another integral part of the programme's mission. Our partner's Community Outreach Projects serve to fully educate and fully engage local communities in order to fully convey the benefits of healthy and viable ecosystems.

National and international volunteers form an invaluable part of our partner’s mission: they assist professional staff in day-to-day operations and help conduct crucial biodiversity surveys, observe elephant behaviour and deliver conservation education to local communities. The programme familiarises volunteers with each of our partner’s project sites, providing them with a particularly deep and enriching insight into holistic conservation work.


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