Volunteer reviews

Volunteers are incredibly valued at Lilongwe Wildlife Centre – we couldn’t do the work we do without you! People of all ages have walked through our door, from 17 – 70, and from varied places and backgrounds – all we ask is for an interest in our work and a can-do attitude. We try to ensure that everyone has the best possible experience while they’re with us and take away as much knowledge as possible…but don’t take our word for it! Here are some reviews from our most recent volunteers, we hope it gives you some insight into life at Lilongwe Wildlife Centre. More to come soon!

And take a look at our volunteer gallery too!


Nadia Steenhouwer, 28, Netherlands – March-April 2016

My first time in Africa, and what a wonderful experience this was! There are a lot of projects in Africa, but you must do your research to find a good one. And trust me this one is!

When I landed on the airport a taxi driver was waiting for me, it was a 30 minute drive to the wildlife centre, there I was welcomed with open arms. From the first moment I felt like home. What a nice place and lovely people! My first week started with the Wildlife Rehabilitation Course, this was their first rehab course and I am happy that I joined it! If you want to know and learn more about wildlife and rehabilitation, this course is a great opportunity. I really learned a lot in this week. A few things we did: food preparation and feeding techniques, animal behavioural observation, making enrichment for the monkeys, orphan handling and feeding, assisting with health checks (with vervet monkeys and a python), darting (with a blowpipe and dart pistol), travelling to Kasungu National Park (to see the group of released vervet monkeys) and a lot more!

After the course I had another 2 weeks left (which was too short!). But I think it doesn’t matter for how long you’ll go, you never want to leave! Haha! This place and the people really touches you. In my last 2 weeks I helped in the orphan care (preparing food, feeding monkeys and duikers, browsing, cleaning etc.) and I did lion observations on Bella and Simba. They also did a health check on Simba and as a volunteer you were allowed to have a look as well, which was another amazing experience. There were not a lot of volunteers in this period so I also had the great opportunity to hands-on fed orphaned monkey Fraggle who needed 7 feeds a day, from 7:00 till 19:00. The day after I left the centre they started to feed him through the fence, which he did great! After a few days they got him a new foster mom (another vervet monkey). Which was amazing news for me to hear!  The people that work here have a passion for wildlife and they really do everything they can to help every animal.  It was hard to leave this place after these 3 beautiful weeks. I met great people from around the world and I took back beautiful memories.

For me it was a rewarding life experience. Oh and let me not forget to mention that the (vegetarian) food at the centre is great! They have an amazing cook. Malawi, I’ll definitely be back! You have a place in my heart. So if you are considering to volunteer at a wildlife centre, this is the right place! Before I booked, I doubted, because I was going to travel alone (for the first time). But trust me, if you’re doubting too, just do it! You will not regret it! Thanks! 🙂

12932924_10208457809218653_4927048934456447053_nMarie Therese Heggen, 24, Norway – March 2016 Wildlife Rehabilitation Course

I had a great experience and a lovely time during the course. It gave me a lot of new knowledge and taught me to rethink some of my ideas and the way I think about certain things. I liked that the group was so small and that everyone could get the opportunity to try everything. I enjoyed both the theoretical and the practical work and liked the way the theoretical lectures were put into practice during the practical work. The trip to Kasungu was a great way to end the course! The sundowner at Black Rock was amazing! Thank you!

IMG_1808 - CopyElisabeth Labes, 50, Germany – March 2016 Wildlife Rehabilitation Course

From 22 to 28 March 2016 I attended the Wildlife Rehabilitation Course at the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre. The course covered all relevant steps of wild animal rehabilitation and release including animal intake, veterinary care, husbandry, nutrition, group integration, assessments of animals, enclosures and habitats, release approaches and post-release monitoring. Daily lectures on practical implementations and theoretical concepts were combined with hands-on experience in the centre. There was enough time for discussion despite the dense program, and for sharing of experience. The team at the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre was highly experienced, dedicated to its work, and engaged in providing course participants with the maximum learning experience. Everybody was very friendly, open and welcoming. I had a wonderful time at LWC and can clearly recommend the Wildlife Rehabilitation Course to anyone interested in animal rehabilitation.

safariBeckie Calder-Flynn, 22, New Zealand – February 2016

LWC has been my most amazing volunteer experience to date. Fostering orphaned monkeys, assisting with lion’s health check, travelling to Zambia on safari and exploring Malawi are only a handful of the things I’ve been involved in, and contributing to conservation and animal welfare has been extremely rewarding. Most importantly, the animals and their wellbeing and future comes first.

julieJulie Kristensen, 20, Denmark – February 2016

I was at the center for 22 weeks (5 months) and I loved every second of it! It was all that I thought it would be and so much more. From the moment I arrived, late because I missed a flight; the staff took care of me. They made sure that I got picked up at the airport and help me to settle in and get my luggage back – it of course also got lost on my way! And from the first time I sat a foot in that house I felt home. All the volunteers and staff were there because of their love for animals and wanted to help them, all with different experience. I had none at my arrival, but it did not matter for everyone wanted to teach me what to do and how to do it. Which meant that I also was able to help the animals and take new knowledge with me home. I worked with the animals everyday, and because of the amount of time I was there I was able to work with a lot of different species, and see them develop. I even got to work with some of the animals only a few volunteers had their hands on. But to be clear, all there is being done is for the animals and not the volunteers. So some of the volunteers there only were there for a few weeks did not get the opportunity to work or sit with all the animals. But without their work and help it would have been hard to do what is best for the animals. And it is hard work we did. It is not all looking at sweet animals and having fun, even thought it was a big part, but to cut veg and fruit, clean enclosures, browsing, fixing fences etc. But with the company of the people down there it’s fun and rewarding. Of course you once in a while I need some time off. I used most of mine to just relax in the center, but it was easy if you wanted to go into town or go to a pool, just jump on a tuk tuk or the buses. And once a month we had a long weekend. I used mine to go on a safari in Zambia and see some of Malawi, which is a beautiful country, worth exploring.

I would and have recommended it to anyone I see and know! Do it if you are dreaming of learning or working with animals. It made my dreams come true.

IMG_1418Sheelagh Beharry, 58, NZ – January 2016

I spent two weeks at the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre and the only thing I can say is that it just wasn’t long enough. I enjoyed my time with the animals at the centre and I loved the safari. This was my first time in Africa and my first time volunteering and I can recommend both. The centre is a great place for the animals and for the volunteers. It was all made so easy, the stay, the food, the animal care, the time with friends and booking the Safari.

DSCF4169 - CopyEd Clark, 19, UK – January 2016

Working at LWC, I really got to see all sides of rehabilitation. The animals there get the opportunity to actually be released back into the wild. While I was there I got to see lots of the relocation preparations for a troop of vervet monkeys that have now been released into a National Park. And hopefully the same will happen for Haggis and Chuck, the two orphaned baboons I got the chance to care for during my time there!

I got a lot out of my experience in Malawi, more than I can probably put into words. It’s definitely a work hard-play hard way of life but extremely rewarding once you think about what you’ve achieved and seeing the animals improve. I’d recommend Lilongwe Wildlife Centre to anyone (of any age) looking to learn more about the wildlife of Africa, and my advice to you would be to get stuck in right from the beginning and stay as long as you can!

Billie-Jo Housden, 21, England – January 2016

I found the Wildlife Centre so welcoming, the people are always kind and willing to help. I have learnt so much about the culture and way of life. I’ve had experiences I will never forget and people I will be in contact with forever. Highly recommend to anyone interested in wildlife rehabilitation and adventure!

hgimage1Holly Girard, 30, USA – December 2015

My time at LWC can only be described as the very clichéd “once in a lifetime” experience, only I hope that it does not happen only once in my lifetime, as I would love to go back sometime as soon as possible.  I got the idea to volunteer in Africa from an animal shelter where I volunteer at home; someone mentioned it in passing and the idea stuck with me.  So when I had to opportunity to take some time off from work and school to celebrate my 30th birthday, I decided to do some research, and became immediately overwhelmed with the choices.  A friend emailed me a list from a non-profit site ranking volunteer programs on volunteer experiences, treatment of animals, ties to hunting, etc., and LWC was listed as highly recommended.  After all of the research and some email exchanges, LWC seemed like the best fit for the experience I was looking for.

The volunteers and staff were immediately welcoming – right from Robert, who picked us up from the airport and endured 100 questions on the drive to the centre, to Mandy, the volunteer coordinator who was there waiting for us as we arrived (with presents!).  After settling in, we were immediately thrown into work, which was intimidating, yet exciting, because I was only there for a short time, so I wanted to be involved as much as possible.  I was responsible for feeding/sitting with a new orphaned monkey who arrived shortly before I did as well as a new baby duiker, who was possibly my favorite because I fed her almost every day that I was there five times a day, so we got to bond a little.  Another of my favorite activities was observing the vervets who would be released a few weeks after my departure – by the end of my volunteer experience, I knew all of their names and individual personalities.  Aside from getting to work with animals all day (vastly differently than the job I do at home),  I also really enjoyed getting to know the volunteers and staff, who went out of their way to ensure we had a great Christmas even though we were so far from our family and friends (and even got me a birthday cake!).  I am so lucky to have been a part of all the great things going on at LWC, if only for a short time.  I will definitely be back!

12243179_10156194505660175_3127785705548038727_nJessica Doyle, 33, UK – October 2015

Escaping the dark and damp British Autumn was a very exciting prospect last year as I jumped onto a plane off to Malawi to start a month of volunteering at the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre. After a lovely warm welcome and a tour of the centre, it was time to get stuck in… There are several orphaned animals at the centre that have all had various tricky starts to their lives. When I arrived a baby vervet monkey named ‘Sprog’ had recently been brought in, and I was able to spend some time caring for and giving him the much needed attention a baby monkey needs. As his health improved, his cheeky personality began to shine.

And being a primary school teacher, I was very excited to get involved in the education side of the centre, wherever possible and this was something which everyone at the centre was more than happy to help organise. I was able to spend time with the fabulous education team, accompanying them on their outreach into some of the local schools. The centre has an extremely well planned and inspiring education program offering several modules focussing on animal welfare and environmental conservation.

All of the staff at the centre are clearly passionate about their work and the welfare of the animals within the centre. This really rubs off on you while you are there. Everyone is more than happy to help and share their experiences ensuring that you have lots of fun along the way.

All in all, a real experience of a lifetime, made more by the stunning location, a vervet monkey called Sprog and more importantly the incredible people I met along the way. Reminiscing and looking through my hundreds of photographs, I would leap at the chance to do it all again. I would recommend anyone, given the opportunity, to grab it with both hands, or alternatively make it happen for yourself, you won’t regret it!

1412348_10156310412590125_1829734689322180912_oJodi Thomas, 21, New Zealand – September 2015

Jodi spent three months with LWT in Malawi, both at our sanctuary in Lilongwe and also joining the primate research project. When she got home she did an interview about her experiences here with a local radio station – listen to her story here!

BeccyBeccy Cadman, 20, England – September 2015

This has been such a brilliant trip! The country, people and wildlife are amazing and the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre has been such an interesting and enjoyable experience to work for. The commitment to the ethical treatment of animals both in the rehabilitation work and in their advocacy work is so impressive. You will not be disappointed by this experience!

Yfke Dulek, 23, The Netherlands – August 2015

As soon as you step into the sanctuary, you feel welcome and at home. Both the management and the local staff are super friendly and you get to work with them everyday. There are many different projects to get involved in, and the volunteer manager helps to find the ones you will enjoy the most. At LWC, you really feel useful as a volunteer, as you are doing work that they are otherwise unable to do. But beware, you will NOT want to leave!

AndreeaAndreea Tanasa, Romania – August 2015

My stay at the LWC was an absolutely amazing experience! I loved the warmth of this place and the passion of the team in working for the animals’ welfare. I will miss my dear baby monkeys and the whole team!

SianSian Haigh-Brown, England – August 2015

One of the most varied and passionate projects I have volunteered with. A thoroughly committed bunch of staff. A great volunteer atmosphere and an excellent hands-off policy with links to local communities, education and heaps of potential. I will be back for more!

Mary volMary Townsend, 21, England – July 2015

Before arriving I knew I was going to have a good time but I didn’t realise how much I would fall in love with the centre. Some days can seem quite long with early feeds before the sun rises as well as after sunset but the work is so rewarding. Watching a baby animal grow and get stronger every day makes the long days worth it. It is the best feeling going from feeding n orphan to witnessing it being integrated into an adult troop to eventually being released into the wild, you really feel like you make a difference. Not only is the work fantastic but the staff here are wonderful too, it truly has been the greatest 6 weeks for me.

Such an incredible experience, this place definitely deserves more recognition. Fantastic volunteer programme!

Storyboard making

Sophie Pettit, 25, New Zealand – July 2015

LWC is an amazing experience in so many different ways. The staff are so welcoming and knowledgeable. As a volunteer we are encouraged to get involved with a variety of jobs all important in the running of the clinic. My experiences varied from orphan care, enclosure maintenance, community outreach, education projects etc. My ideas were welcomed and all my work appreciated by staff. I strongly recommend a Volunteer Experience at LWC =)

BenniBenni Hintz, 21, Germany – July 2015

Lilongwe Wildlife Centre is one of the most ethical projects I know when it comes to handling animals. There were many different activities and projects to get involved with and throughout my 9 weeks here I never felt bored. It gives great satisfaction to be part of a team that successfully rehabilitates wildlife like LWC does. The staff were extremely friendly and soialized a lot with us volunteers which made my stay here very enjoyable.

IMG_6400George Lewis, 19, England – July 2015

Although the animals are fascinating it’s the people that I’ve worked with that have made the experience what it is. And Malawi itself is a completely different world to what I’m used to back home and full of friendly people so I’ll miss the laid back lifestyle and doing thing on ‘Malawi time’.

Read George’s full profile

DSCF5665Katherine Blakey, 21, England – July 2015

Having volunteered a few times previously before I can definitely say that LWC has been the best experience so far. The animal welfare is of top priority and that is made clear from the beginning of your stay, also the opportunities available to volunteers are much more varied than any previous projects I have been involved in and the staff are always more than happy to tell you about the centre’s work and what the plans are for each animal. This is always nice as you never feel like you don’t things about the animals and you always know what you are doing has a purpose for each of these animals’ future.

Read Katherine’s full profile


Fliss Steventon, 24, England – June 2015

They are the only wildlife centre in Lilongwe and do so such not only for the animals but for the communities. The center has a dedicated team that care for all the animals. Any animal they get in the overall goal is to try and release them back into the wild this can sometimes take several months of rehabilitation and care which the centre provides. If this is not possible the welfare of the animal is considered. I feel the hands off policy is brilliant it gives the animals the best chance of being able to be released. Young orphan monkeys that we get in do require us (volunteers) to sit with them but we are given instructions on how to handle and act around them. We do not treat them like pets, we groom them and play with them in the same way they would with others in their troop.

Read Fliss’s full profile


Debbie Tyler, 55, England – June 2015

I think that the centre is very effective in the charity work that they carry out. The animals are very well cared for, visitors to the centre are encouraged and duly educated in welfare & conservation, and outreach work is reasonably effective in the communities.

Read Debbie’s full profile


Mary Penfold, 52, England – June 2015

I really enjoyed my experiences at Lilongwe and it has made me realise how little you actually need to get by in life. Also that often giving your time can make as much of a difference as giving money. Since returning to the UK I cannot recount my experiences to friends without a big smile on my face and have encouraged many of them to give it a try! I’m even taking my own advice and returning in January for orphan season!

Read Mary’s full profile

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Clemency Magan, 21, Ireland – June 2015

This was such a great experience. It was so good to see conservation work on the ground and the hands-off policy. The work was fun and interesting – it can be pretty hard but is varied and very satisfying knowing you are helping animals that need it! I wish I was here for longer!


Heidi Steggles, 42, England – June 2015

I came here for only two weeks with no experience in this field or ever coming to Africa before and have gained such a lot out of my short stay here. The value of basic living and a laid back lifestyle can enrich people without materialistic objects, it has been a life changing experience for me!


Marie & Kevin Dixon, 42& 47, England – May 2015

It was very pleasing to see animals being released while we were at the Centre and know the good work is continuing after we leave. The Facebook updates seeing animals we’ve worked with being integrated into troops are particularly satisfying.
Working with the Centre administration clearly showed the dedication and passion the team has for campaigning both locally and internationally to raise awareness of the issues Malawi’s wildlife face and how it can be helped.

The animal sanctuaries we saw in Asia were struggling to find release areas for their wards. In Lilongwe we had the impression of the Centre working effectively with the government to protect and rehabilitate the wildlife. The education group are doing excellent work to engage local people in conservation and bring new ideas to improve peoples lives. It was a privilege to be involved with this.

Read Marie & Kevin’s full profile


Katie Burkett, 22, England  May 2015

During my time at the wildlife centre I have learnt a lot about animal rehabilitation and rescue. I was able to get involved in a whole range of things in my time there including bottle feeding and taking care of the orphans. I was also able to help with integrations, observations, health checks and office work.

I was originally supposed to be volunteering for a four week period, however, I extended three times and ended up staying at the centre for a total of five months! I extended so much longer as I was really enjoying the work involved especially orphan care, volunteers are given a clear induction into the work and feedback issues to the staff. The staff are also a great support for any work related issues, they are friendly and approachable and a big part of what makes the volunteering experience so enjoyable.

I had been looking for a placement volunteering with animals for a while and I am so happy that I chose this one. The experience and the things I have learnt are amazing and will help me with the next step in a career. I am definitely considering returning for another orphan season!


Natasha Hamilton, 25, Northern Ireland  April 2015

I was looking for a volunteer placement that would provide not only practical experience to boost my C.V. but also an all round travel experience. Malawi an LWC have met and exceeded my expectations. I have gained valuable knowledge and work experience with a wide range of species including antelope, primates and carnivores. The staff are friendly and keen to share their knowledge. The variety of work you can get involved in keeps things constantly fresh. It is very rewarding work, particularly watching the orphans grow and progress. No matter if you are wanting new challenges or new experience or if you want to boost your skill set the centre has something for everyone.


Sandra Hilder, 26, England  April 2015

Lilongwe Wildlife Centre is a very special place indeed. There was a friendly atmosphere with the other volunteers and members of staff. The work was challenging and varied, from orphan care, animal care and community outreach. I have immensely enjoyed my experience here and will go home with developed knowledge and many happy memories!


Anne-Marie Lub, 31, The Netherlands  March, 2015

BLOG: Wow I cannot believe I am in Africa! And I get to wake up baby monkeys in the morning!

For a few years I have wanted to do volunteer work with wild animals. What started out as a vague concept of a wish, ended up as a journey to the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre,  with the help of my friend you works at ‘Stichting AAP’  in the Netherlands. AAP has a partnership with the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre for a few years now and when my friend told me about them I immediately got excited. The LWC is partly a rescue centre and partly a sanctuary for animals you cannot live in the wild anymore. The goal of the LWC is to release all the animals back into the wild. Animals you are no longer capable of living in the wild stay with them permanently.

Read the rest of Anne-Marie’s blog


Dannah Al-Rashoud, 31, England  February 2015

I originally came to the wildlife centre for 4 weeks but after my time was up I didn’t feel ready to leave so I extended my trip! It has been a great experience and I would recommend it to anyone who is considering volunteering for many reasons. First of all, you get a wide variety of experience in all things animal! My stay was in the middle of orphan season, so there were a lot of baby Vervet and Blue monkeys that needed looking after and nursing back to health, which was great fun and extremely rewarding. Not only that, but I have had the opportunity to get involved in integrations, enrichment, animal care and animal observations, as well as helping the vet out in the clinic. There are also outreach opportunities, where you will be able to go into the local communities. All the staff are very welcoming and always happy to help out, and are very informative. It is so easy to quickly feel at home here. I had no problem settling in, and I would consider the centre a home from home now, having met some lifelong friends and some amazing people, who are all passionate about animals. On top of all this, Malawi is a beautiful country with friendly people and some amazing sights. If you are in any doubt as to whether you should volunteer at Lilongwe, just go for it. You won’t regret it and you’ll find that it is a life changing and unforgettable experience.


Rhianna Kay, 19, Ireland – February 2015

I came to the LWC during my gap year and to gain practical experience with animals. The main role of volunteers is to run the orphan care unit which includes bottle feeding baby duikers, baboons and monkeys in the orphan care unit. We also have to sit with the baby monkeys as a surrogate mother until they can get a real mum or are old enough to be integrated into a troop. Other day to day things in orphan care include collecting browse for enclosures, cleaning enclosures and chopping fruit and veg. I have also had the opportunity to help in animal care, distributing food for the older animals, such as hyenas, servals, monkeys and baboons. It can be tiring volunteering here but the work is very satisfying and totally worth it. The best thing about volunteering at the centre for me is that it’s actual work. It’s not just about coming to play with animals, it’s about the animals’ welfare and trying to get them to a point where they can one day be released into the wild. The centre is also a lovely place to stay. Everyone is really welcoming and is happy to help with any problems you have and the scenery is amazing. It’s been a brilliant experience and I recommend anyone to come.


Caroline, 32, Scotland – December 2014

I’ve just come to the end of my two weeks at the Centre and week at Kuti Reserve.  Both were great experiences and completely different.  At the Wildlife Centre you are part of a team of volunteers and staff who work closely together to look after the animals, many of whom have been mistreated or orphaned.  It can be hard work, but that is what you sign up for.  The reward of seeing the animals flourish and well on their way back to the wild is amazing.  Kuti was a bit more chilled but the wildlife and community projects are really interesting.  It was nice to be out in the bush, seeing all of the wildlife in their natural environment.  If you’re interested in wildlife, conservation and community development you’ll find it a rewarding and eye-opening experience.


Nicole Richter, 38, Germany – November 2014

I came to the Centre to fulfill a life-long dream, to help with animals in Africa. After a long search across Africa, I decided for the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre (the only rescue centre in Malawi) because of their strict hands-off policy, awards and 360 degree view; besides animal rescue/rehabilitation their work includes education and reforestation. My first day here was frankly daunting, it was a long way from my banking office and I had zero experience. But that’s why I decided to stay for 3 months, to do it properly, which turned out to be the best decision. I dived head first into a new world and got to love it so much. I learnt tons, met great people and happily left my comfort bubble numerous times. It’s definitely hard work but when you look into two tiny, grateful eyes during feeding it’s all worth it. I got to care for baby monkeys, serval, duikers, bushbuck, observe lions, hyenas, help in examinations and operations … hello?! All I can say, LWC was the right centre to support and I’d come back in a heartbeat.

Telsha Arora - volunteer

Telsha Arora, 26, England – November 2014

My stay at Lilongwe Wildlife Centre was 6 weeks long and during that time I experienced a variety of duties from helping keepers to feed the animals to hands-on orphan care of baby vervets which was incredible – and professionally I was able to assist the marketing team which was great charity experience for my career progression back in England. The fellow volunteers in the house were kind and welcoming and it really began to feel like home, it was very sad to leave but I’m glad I will be able to follow the progress and new arrivals of the animals on Facebook and Twitter.

Iona Cameron volunteer

Iona Cameron, 17, Scotland – October 2014

I came to the wildlife centre on my gap year after just finishing school and, although I was young, I immediately felt happy and at home. Malawi is a beautiful and friendly country, and the wildlife centre, although a world of its own, is close enough to Lilongwe that you can still have the perks of being in a capital city. I spent 3 months at the centre and loved all of it! I would definitely recommend the experience to anyone, of any age, there are things to be learned for everyone.


Ailsa Maltby, 18, Scotland – September 2014

Malawi, ‘The warm heart of Africa’, this is definitely one way to describe this fantastic country!

I volunteered at the Lilongwe Wildlife centre in my gap year between school and going to university to study Veterinary Medicine. I really wanted to get into a project that i felt was really beneficial to the animals as well as giving me an experience to remember….  The LWC definitely ticked all of these boxes.

Whilst I was out there I got involved with all aspects of work at the centre but my favourite was the orphan care for both a baby baboon and serval. In this work you felt like you were really making a difference and the dream of them one day living a natural life again was becoming more of a reality. This certainly helped to make the 6am bottle feeds bearable!

Malawi its self is an amazing place. The local craft market is a must-see experience and a day visit to Lake Malawi is really breath taking. The people there could not have been kinder either.

Although I was younger than some of the other volunteers, I really felt like part of the team. I would highly recommend spending some time volunteering at the LWC. I only spent 3 weeks out there but I would go back out in a heartbeat!

Sarah Conley

Sarah Conley, 23, England – September 2014

I’ve recently returned from a 5 week stay at the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre… what an amazing experience! I was involved with the care and husbandry of a range of species and there are also opportunities to carry out some outreach volunteer work too. I have taken away so much valued knowledge and great times from the centre. Being a Veterinary Nurse back home, I especially enjoyed working with the on-site vet in the clinic, and also assisting with the pre-release monitoring. The wildlife centre was truly welcoming from beginning to end, all the staff are so helpful and great spirits to be around!

The location of the centre is perfect for exploring the city in your free time. There are also plenty of day trips on offer to discover the rest of the country, including the stunning Lake Malawi, and the centre organised the most amazing safari trip to Zambia for me. It’s a fabulous project with a lot of hardworking and dedicated people – I would love to return at some point!


Tara Kilachand, 33, India – August 2014

Even if you read everything on the website and all the documents they email you before you reach, nothing quite prepares you for life at LWC. The gorgeous surroundings, the thrill (and grind) of the daily schedule, whether it be observing the resident lions Simba and Bella, or looking after the orphan monkeys, and just the sheer joy of being part of a process that ultimately works in service of wild animals and their well-being. And of course part of what makes the experience fantastic is the people – you will come away with lifelong friends and profound respect and admiration for the people (everyone from the vets to the animal care staff), who work gruelling hours every single day to help protect Malawi’s wildlife. And as a small and temporary cog in this process, the work can be tremendously fulfilling (even, yes, catching a daily quota of grasshoppers for a growing and hungry African pygmy hedgehog).

Steph Kurth

Stephanie Kurth, 21, USA – June 2014

When I was first looking for volunteer opportunities abroad my main goal was to find a place where I could gain more experience in the field of wildlife ecology and veterinary medicine. The LWC fulfilled this criterion but what really made it stand out from other programs was its emphasis of keeping wildlife in the wild. Unlike volunteering at a zoo I knew that my time and money would be put towards truly helping wildlife through conservation and rehabilitation. The work that I did at the Centre was evidence to this goal.

During my stay, my primary role involved caring for orphaned animals including two clutches of barn owls that were eventually released back to the wild.  I was even fortunate enough to assist the on site veterinarian in several surgical procedures such as suturing a bite wound on a hedgehog. However, my options of work weren’t limited to just animals. Thankfully the staff allowed me to explore other activities such as outreach and education work out in the Lilongwe community where I was able to delve into the local culture and learn about the problems the country faced and that the Centre was hoping to improve upon.

Volunteering at the LWC actually happened to be my first trip abroad, and to make it even more daunting I went on my own. Yet during my whole experience at the LWC I never felt alone or unsafe. Not only was I surrounded by baboons, lions, barn owls, and hedgehogs, but I was also surrounded by some amazing staff and fellow volunteers. As we went out clubbing, cheered on our countries during FIFA matches, and watched the sunsets while out on safari, we bonded and they became my family away from home.

Working at the LWC was the experience of a lifetime and I find myself wishing to go back there everyday. Not only did I gain experience in animal care and ecology, but I also met some amazing people, saw some incredible wildlife, and was introduced to the friendly Malawian culture. Malawi truly is the Warm Heart of Africa and volunteering at the LWC can help anyone with an interest in preserving wildlife, experience all that this warm-hearted country has to offer!

Sean Marriott

Sean Marriott, 18, England – June 2014

I visited Lilongwe Wildlife Centre in June 2014 for just two weeks and it was the best experience in my life. I found out about the centre through the Worldwide Veterinary Service and as soon as I arrived the staff were extremely friendly and were helpful with any task. I was kept very busy when volunteering from day to day considering I am a non vet and I was lucky enough to work with all the animals at the centre one way or another! There is a non-contact policy with the animals as the centre aims to rehabilitate the majority of the animals into the wild when possible. I found this reassuring as many other organisations are not particularly open about what happens to their animals after they are released (if ever) so I knew my hard work was going to a great cause.

We had two cooked meals a day (lunch & dinner) both of which were cooked by the on site chef Josef who is possessed with talent in the kitchen and never failed to impress me! When it came to the evening the night life of Lilongwe was a very enjoyable experience and I would recommend getting out as much as possible and experiencing everything!  I was also lucky enough to visit the South Luangwa Nature Reserve in Zambia, organised through the land and lake safaris and the centre so I only had to turn up and pay! This was absolutely spectacular and I am still mesmerised at some of the photos I took! My one regret from the entire trip is not staying for longer!