Victoria Falls is without a doubt one of the most spectacular of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Visitors – including volunteer at Living with Elephants – can overlook the mighty Zambezi River as it flows, broad and placid, to the bring of a 1.7-kilometer-wide basalt lip before taking a headlong plunge into the frothy chasm of the gorge below. This is the world’s largest sheet of falling water, making it an incredible sight to see. Although its fame has spread far and wide, the natural surroundings of Victoria Falls and the Zambezi River have been left untouched.
This breathtaking location offers intrepid explorers so much more than other volunteer experiences; we pride ourselves on our wildlife contribution, or exceptional hospitality, and our ability to provide adventure on a daily basis in this wondrous part of the world. Victoria Falls is an epicenter, where volunteers and tourists alike are flocking to enjoy the culture, animals, people, scenery, and adventure.
With so much to do, volunteers will return home with plenty of exhilarating, unforgettable stories. We welcome you to this beautiful volunteer experience.
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE FALLS
Shearwater is the longest established and most popular Adventure Safari operator in all of southern Africa. For the past 23 years, Shearwater has pioneered innovative and exciting adventures that still continue to be the unrivaled choice of visitors. Shearwater Victoria Falls has now joined up with Volunteer Southern Africa to form the greatest volunteer project yet. The following information has been provided to give you, the volunteer, a better understanding of all the great things you can do while you are here with us.
Victoria Falls is a spectacular sight of awe-inspiring beauty and grandeur located on the Zambezi River on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. The native Kololo tribe, which lived in the area in the 1800’s, described the falls the “Mosi-oa-Tunya” – “the Smoke that Thunders.” In 1855, David Livingstone pronounced the scene as “gazed upon by angels in their flight.” In more modern terms, Victoria Falls is refered to as “the greatest known curtain of falling water.
The wide basalt cliff, over which the falls thunder, transforms the Zambezi river from a wide, placid river, to a ferocious torrent cutting through a series of dramatic gorges. Columns of spray can be seen from miles away as an astounding 546 million cubic meters of water (per minute!) rush through a two-kilometer-wide space then plummet for over 100 meters over the fall’s edge into a deep gorge.
Cecil John Rhodes commissioned the Victoria Falls Bridge in 1900, despite having never visited the falls. He unfortunately died before the construction began, but wished that the “railway should cross the Zambezi just below the Victoria Falls. I should like to have the spray of the falls over the carriages.” Rhodes got his wish and the bridge now affords visitors the most magnificent view, both down the gorge on one side, and through to the falls on the other.
To fully appreciate the incredible enormity of the Falls, one must see it from an aerial view. Helicopter rides over the Falls will take you along the wide and tranquil upper part of the Zambezi, then over the huge two kilometer rent into the earth, exhibiting all amazing sides of this world wonder. The site is a magnificent phenomenon, seen in all it’s natural glory from above.
Opposite of the falls is a cliff where adventurers can take a well-marked and paved leisurely walk through the rain forests. Every so often, the path opens into a clearing, providing an up-close view of the falls. Although less can be seen of the width during the wet season, the intense spray provides welcome relief from the African heat. Just don’t carry anything you don’t want to get wet!
Our project is on the Zimbabwe side of Victoria Falls. The local currency is the U.S. dollar. English is the official language spoken in Zimbabwe, with other languages including Tonga, Kalanga, Ndebele, and Shona – but you will be fine just knowing English!
The seasons in Zambia are as follows:
- Summer – December to March
- Autumn – April to June
- Winter – July to September
- Spring – September to November
Volunteers will be living in furnished, electrical safari tents for the duration of their stay. Comfortable single beds and linen are provided, so you must not bring your own sheets.
The project includes three meals each day. A number of meals are at the on-site restaurant, with some meals out on location to enjoy more culture and scenery.
We have laundry on site, which can be done for you for $4/kilogram.
Volunteers will arrive at the airport in either Zimbabwe or Zambia. Once we have received your arrival details, one of our dedicated staff members will be at the airport upon your arrival. Our staff is easily recognizable in their Shearwater uniforms, and will also hold a sign with your name on it to make for a smooth pick up process.
You will then be shuttled to your accommodation in the Victoria Falls Rest Camp. Please note, if you land in Livingstone, we will exit Zambia and enter Zimbabwe over the famous Victoria Falls Bridge. Therefore, you are required to buy a multi-entry and exit visa upon arrival in Livingstone, as well as when crossing over to the boarder into Zimbabwe. The total cost of combined visas is $130 (USD). The duration of the journey from the airport to your accommodation takes around 45 minutes to one hour. When you arrive at your accommodation, you will be greeted by your volunteer coordinator, who will show you to your tent and give you an informative orientation of the facilities on the camp.
During your volunteer experience, you will call the beautiful Victoria Falls Private Game Reserve your home. At this Big 5 reserve, we have lions, leopards, buffalos, rhino, and elephants. Volunteers will spend their days doing a variety of activities, ranging from general maintenance, which is crucial to the animals on our reserve, to incredible once-in-a-lifetime experiences like working with safari-backed elephants. The elephant related activities include feeding, cleaning, watering, and most importantly, totally immersing yourselves within the lives of these amazing creatures. Volunteers receive many perks, such as going on elephant backed safari, and taking “The Flight of Angels” over one of the world’s natural wonders, Victoria Falls. Both experiences are unforgettable, providing breathtaking views and eternal memories.
- Sunset cruise on the upper Zambezi River
- Game sighting including elephants, crocodiles, hippos, and various antelope species
- White water rafting in the Zambezi River – one of the greatest commercial white water rafting locations in the world
- Visit to the famous Victoria Falls
When possible, the client will be moved to another suitable date.
Cancellations made 61 or more days prior to the start date of the booking will be subjected to an administrative fee to cover the bank charges involved with refunding the client, as well as program reservation.
Cancellations made 60 days or less prior to the start date of the booking will be subjected to a 50% fee of the total booking rate (the package rate). The remaining 50% of the booking rate, with exception of an administrative fee, will be transferred back into the bank account it came out of.
Cancellations made 30 days or less prior to the start date of the booking will be subjected to a 100% fee of the total booking rate (the package rate). In other words, you will not be refunded.