VOLUNTEER AT CHIMFUNSHI WILDLIFE ORPHANAGE
At Chimfunshi, you can get up close with chimpanzees. They roam in large, outdoor enclosures where visitors can visit and watch at feeding times.
You can bring your own food or choose a fresh sandwich for $4 and lunch at a picnic table in the chimpanzee enclosures in the lush Miombo Woodlands. Or you can barbecue under the thatched lapa at Chimfunshi’s Education Centre; barbecue packs are available for $5 to $10 per person.
If you want to explore the natural beauty of northwestern Zambia, plan to stay overnight. Chimfunshi offers three rustic cottages – each with a twin-bedded room, a double-bedded room, and a rear dormitory. The rooms are basic, but clean and comfortable. The fee for a cottage – $35 for adults and $15 for children – includes three meals: breakfast, a packed lunch and a home-made, hot dinner.
While Chimfunshi is open year-round from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., the best times to see the chimpanzees are from 10 to 11:30 a.m., and 1:30 to 3 p.m. Check out Chimfunshi’s gift shop at the end of your visit.
Because Chimfunshi is not a tourist destination, you’ll need to call ahead to schedule your visit. And you’ll need your own transportation to reach the chimpanzee enclosures; they are several miles from the visitor center. The entry fee for Chimfunshi is $6 for adults and $3 for children.
You can find out more about Chimfunshi, and download a visitor brochure, by visiting Chimfunshi’s tourist information page.
CHIMFUNSHI WILDLIFE ORPHANAGE
It wouldn’t be possible to care for the 130 chimpanzees at Zambia’s Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage without volunteers. Volunteers provide the manpower that supports the day-to-day running of one of the largest chimpanzee sanctuaries in the world.
Chimfunshi is based next to the Kafue River in a remote area that’s about two hours drive by car to the nearest town, Chingola. Zambia is one of the last remaining, true wilderness areas in Africa with some of the finest game parks in the world, including Kafue, South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi. And it’s home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Victoria Falls.
The chimps live in groups in the forested enclosures in the 10,000-acre bush and meadow sanctuary located in northwest Zambia along the Kafue River. The name “Chimfunshi” means “place that holds water” in Bemba, one of the Zambian languages – and not without reason. The nearby Kafue floods large parts of the grasslands and bush area every year during the rainy season.
Apart from chimpanzees, other rescued animals such as parrots, antelopes, owls, buzzards, and many more live at Chimfunshi. In addition, Chimfunshi is recognized as an “Important Bird Area” and close to the Orphanage is one of the most interesting and attractive bird watching areas in the world.
At Chimfunshi, volunteers experience life in the African bush, living at The Education Centre in the beautiful Miombo forest about 65 kilometers from the nearest town. Living quarters are dormitory style or twin rooms with shared toilets and hot showers. Be prepared for roughing it; the Centre provides mosquito netting blankets and bedding.
The camp is centered around an outdoor thatched lapa where you’ll eat and meet other volunteers. Volunteers and staff chip in together to make meals. For a small fee – $15 per week – you can access WiFi when it’s available.
As a volunteer, you may interact personally with chimpanzees on “bush walks,” help with behavioral enrichment by inventing fun activities, capture data on chimpanzee interaction and behavior, or provide teaching assistance in the local community. These days, Chimfunshi is also looking for volunteers to help with social media and marketing.
In your off hours, you can enjoy sundowners, canoeing, picnics, barbecue and some amazing stargazing along the banks of the Kafue River. You can also play football and games with the locals, or visit Muchinshi Village to get a look at local village life.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
Number of Volunteers
Typical Length of Stay
2 to 12 Weeks
Previous Experience in Africa
Social Skills (Social Media, Marketing)
2 Weeks – $1,771.00
4 Weeks – $2,908.53
6 Weeks – $3,998.20
8 Weeks – $4,921.54
10 Weeks – $5,915.60
12 Weeks – $6,763.38
Visa: Single Entry – $50
Visa: Double Entry – $80
Visa: Multiple Entry – $80
More info here …