Frequently Asked Questions
Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age. All applicants must first and foremost have a genuine willingness to help, show drive and initiative, and bring a positive ‘can-do’ attitude. If this sounds like you, we want you on the team!
The start dates for our Zimbabwe programs are flexible, but please note that orientations are conducted on Monday mornings. Participants should therefore aim to arrive on a weekend (Saturday or Sunday), but orientation will not start until the following Monday. We ask that participants book flights arriving during the day between 5:00 AM and 11:00 PM. Airport pick-up is included in the listed program fee, and full details of how to make your way to the pick-up location are provided in our Volunteering Zimbabwe Guidebook, which every volunteer receives once their place on a project has been secured. Volunteers may participate for as little as one week (see program descriptions for details), and there is no cap on the length of stay, however this is dependent upon project availability, visa requirements and flight restrictions.
Volunteers joining our team in Victoria Falls are accommodated with one of our carefully selected local host families – which are perfectly located in the safe and convenient suburbs of Chinotimba and Mkhosana in the heart of the Victoria Falls township, within convenient access to local restaurants, cafes and shops and of course the UNESCO world heritage site of the majestic Victoria Falls! Staying with a local Zimbabwean family is a great way to be immersed in the culture. All families have been fully vetted by our local team and have plenty of experience in hosting international volunteers. Transport to and from the project site is provided daily (included in program fee). On working days, volunteers are provided two meals (breakfast and dinner) on a daily basis while at their home stay house. Breakfast would include (but not limited to): Cereals, Bread and butter, Coffee/tea, Egg/sausage. Dinners do differ depending on the host family, however they will usually prepare traditional staple food of Zimbabwe which is often composed of pup (starch), green vegetables, beef/chicken stew and sauce. However, we do seek feedback from our volunteers to ensure that, should they not fall in love with the local food, the host family adjusts to incorporate basic needs of each volunteer. A selection of starches such as rice, potatoes and pasta served with chicken/beef or pork is also very common in Zimbabwe. Occasionally juices are served to our volunteers. Water, tea and coffee are complimentary. Lunch is also provided at the office of our local team during weekdays. The rest of the meals and lunches on the weekend will be taken together with your host family. If your project dictates to spend your lunchtime in the field, you will be provided either with packed lunch or lunch will be supplied in the area.
The structure of the week varies for different projects, but we aim to be flexible and so should volunteers. Provided some notice is given we will try to accommodate your plans. That said, a typical week volunteering in Zimbabwe looks something like this: Weekdays: At about 7am you’ll have breakfast at your homestay then make your way to the project to start at about 8.30am. Here you’ll meet local staff who will start you on the tasks for the day. You’ll get breaks throughout the day and finish between 3pm and 5pm. Volunteers are free to spend their evenings as they choose, which will often include going out to a local restaurant or cafe for dinner with fellow volunteers. Weekends: These are a great time to relax at the homestay, socialize with other volunteers, take a trip to the falls, or explore other parts of Zimbabwe. Long weekends can be arranged if volunteers want to go on tours and safaris, or travel to places further afield. Any additional days off need to be arranged in advance with the local staff.
The Republic of Zimbabwe covers an area of roughly 400 square kilometres (comparable in size to Japan) in inland southern Africa. It’s neighbours are South Africa to the South, Zambia in the North and Botswana and Mozambique to the left and right. Zimbabwe’s 13 million residents speak a mix of 16 official languages including English, Shona and Nedebele. Zimbabwe’s significance as a major route for both trade and migration has seen it pass through many hands, including those of Cecil Rhodes of the British South Africa Company who first set aside the present day boundaries in 1890. Self-governance as a British colony was granted (under the name of Southern Rhodesia) in 1923 and, following many years of civil war, sovereignty was finally attained in 1980. Once an agriculturally rich and diverse nation Zimbabwe was able to export produce to neighbouring regions, however since 2000 they have struggled to feed their own people as the years of warfare, severe droughts and recent government reforms have left their toll on production. Instead of an ocean coastline Zimbabwe has the mighty Zambezi River in the North (home to the famous Victoria Falls) and the Limpopo River in the South. On the border with Zambia in the North lies the largest waterfall in the world. Victoria Falls drops an incredible 108 metres in height (twice that of Niagara Falls) and covers an astounding 1,700 metres in width across a massive chasm – the First Gorge – which narrows to just 108 metres to continue into the Second Gorge. Victoria Falls bridge spans this Second Gorge, linking Zambia and Zimbabwe and providing views unrivalled anywhere in the world. Upstream of the falls the Zambezi river divides Zimbabwe and Zambia. The rainy season is late November to early April with annual floods peaking in April but experienced anytime from February to May. During flood season the spray from the falls can be seen from up to 50 kilometres away and extinguish all sight of the base of the falls, enshrouding the vicinity in mist and causing ‘inverted rain’ close to the edge of the cliff. The dry season kicks in during April and various islands become apparent once more along the course of the river. Even at full flood both Boaruka or Cataract Island (near the western bank) and Livingstone (near the middle) rise above the curtain of water at the crest of the falls. From September to January it is possible (although not advised!) to walk across the river in certain places and to walk to the bottom of the ‘First Gorge’. Winters (August to May) are mild and dry with highs of 26°C (80°F) and lows of 7°C (45°F). In September and October temperatures reach highs of 34°C (93°F) and from November to April it’s hot and wet with average highs of 32°C (90°F) and lows of 15°C (59°F).
Upon your arrival in Zimbabwe you will collected at the airport and delivered to your accomodation. On Monday morning you will receive an orientation to help you settle in, find out about your volunteering placement, the local surroundings and meet your fellow volunteers (if you haven’t already!). A representative from our local team will fill you in on local and regional customs, traveling, rules and recommendations, and of course, what to expect from your volunteering experience. They will also help you with purchasing a local sim phone card if required. This is a great opportunity to get to know your hosts, meet your fellow volunteers, and ask any last questions you may