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Volunteers' Stories




Lion Breeding, Rehabilitation and  Release program in Zimbabwe


My flight to Jo'burg and Bulawayo were interesting as we flew lower than usual so could see the ground the whole way. There was a 'to do' at Jo'burg when my pliers/Swiss army knife showed up on the x-ray of my hand baggage! I spent a night in Bulawayo so arrived here last Wednesday after an 8-10am bus ride to Gweru where I was picked up.

After lunch I spoke to the elephants then watched them swimming with guests and finally chasing a crocodile from the lake. Amazing stuff! I have done a boundary fence check on horse back and the next day had a riding lesson. Now my nights are set on the Grand National in April!

Had a day trip to Great Zimbabwe Ruins with 3 girls and a guide driving. They are fascinating structures - a fortress on huge rocks reminiscent of Edinburgh Castle and massive stone structures. One of the girls, Suzanne, is from Edinburgh so we are becoming good friends ...

I am by far the oldest volunteer [70-something], the next one, AP (for Accident Prone), is 35. They are all good fun and we get along well. The guides, administrators and staff are all super and easy to get on with. Bobbie (male) the head guide is amazing with the lions and was teaching me today to bond with 4 lions about 1 year old - 2M, 2F & about the height of big Alsatian dogs, but with much bigger heads, legs and paws.

I am losing my apprehension as I am working with them and indeed have some confidence now.

It is amazing to cuff a lion across the nose or paw and have it lower and back off. Our hands equate to their teeth and claws. I hope always to follow the rules and avoid damage.

I spend most time with 6 week old quads who don't see properly yet nor co-ordinate too well. They are very sweet. Also Casper and Cleo, who are 3 months & also still bottle fed. These two are devoted to each other, having lost 3 siblings. This devotion is touching but is making it difficult to bond with them. I hope I am making progress, though.

So it's all go and most of the nights I am in bed early then up at 5:30 or 6am. I am beginning to adjust to the heat and altitude (3000 feet) so the daily exhaustion is easing off.

Everything is great, food, accommodation, laundry, with mostly comfortable temperatures. It is hot for a couple of hours a day but that is easy to bear. Everyone is waiting for rain so that will be interesting. I will try to get to Gweru soon to see what is on the go there.

Never has so much been crammed into 7 days. It is certainly hard to believe. I will try to report again soon. 

More Information about your Trip with Travellers

List of ALL PROJECTS in Zimbabwe

Neil Munro, Lion Rehabilitation

Neil Munro, Lion Rehabilitation