Requirements: BSc, MSc, MRes or PhD students/graduates. Those who have spent 2+ weeks at the Wildlife Centre.
Duration: Research volunteers can join the team for between 2-12 weeks. Placement and research project students can stay for up to 12 months. Start dates every two weeks throughout the year.
Location: Lilongwe Wildlife Centre, Vwaza Marsh WR, Nyika NP
Activities: Elephant/primate/conservation medicine/other research projects.
At LWT, we firmly believe that a science-based approach is critical to effective conservation management. That’s why research stands as one of our four key areas of work.
We welcome both volunteers and students to join our existing research programmes and we are also open to facilitate projects outside of these areas. As Malawi’s leading wildlife conservation charity, those joining the programme will work with our expert team to learn new skills as well as contribute to a body of research that is of critical importance for Malawi’s conservation management plans.
Click on the project titles below to find out more, including the types of work you will be doing:
> Elephant research project
> Primate Conservation Research Project
> Samango Monkey Research Project
> Conservation Medicine
> Other projects
Note that BSc, MSc, MRes or PhD students/graduates and placement/project students are eligible to apply for all of the above projects. Other applicants can join the elephant and primate conservation research teams after spending 2+ weeks at the Wildlife Centre .
The research team is headed up by Dr Emma Stone, with scientific advisors including Dr Kate Evans and Ian Redmond OBE.
PROJECT SITES & ACCOMMODATION
LILONGWE WILDLIFE RESERVE, CENTRAL REGION
The Wildlife Centre, Malawi’s only wildlife sanctuary, is set in a stunning 180 hectare reserve. The sanctuary is currently home to close to 200 rescued animals, and the reserve itself is teaming with wildlife, including over 200 species of bird, and large animals such as crocodile, bushpigs, antelopes and hyenas. It is Lilongwe’s only protected wilderness and is cited as a critical area of biodiversity. Day visitors can take guided tours around the sanctuary, walk the wilderness trails or relax at the cafe and bar.
Accommodation: The volunteer house is right in the heart of the sanctuary. This allows you to experience the wild side of Africa and yet you are still close enough to the city to enjoy some of the benefits of civilisation. The house has basic mixed co-ed ten bed dorm-style accommodation with electricity, kitchen, lounge area, garden, bathroom and hot showers. There is a cleaner and a cook, and you can also upgrade to one of our two chalets which can sleep up to two or four people and has an en-suite bathroom and a small balcony. It is next to the volunteer house so you will still have the chance to eat and socialise with the other volunteers. See photos here.
NYIKA NATIONAL PARK, NORTHERN REGION
Nyika, Malawi’s first established national park and its largest, covers 3,000km2 in the Northern Region, bordering Zambia. Nyika NP is made up of six vegetation habitats, Brachystegia woodland, pine plantation, montane grassland, dambo, and evergreen forest, which provide rich habitats for a variety of wildlife, including 100 mammal species and 430 species of bird. There are a number of flora and fauna species endemic to Nyika. Nyika NP also includes an extensive high altitude plateau which is over 2100 m high.
Accommodation: A log cabin on the Nyika Plateau. It is self-sufficient with its own kitchen, shared bedrooms and one bathroom. It has running water and electricity for four hours in the evening. There is limited phone and internet signal.
VWAZA MARSH WILDLIFE RESERVE, N. REGION
VMWR is a national game reserve located in the Northern District of Malawi, covering an area of 1,000km2 dominated by miombo woodland, mopane woodland and wetland marshes. It is home to many species of ungulates, carnivores, primates, reptiles (including crocodiles), hippos, elephants and birds. VMWR also shares its western border with Zambia.
Accommodation: A long-term research camp is located on the edge of Lake Kazuni, close to the main gate of the park. Volunteers and students will stay in large shared tents in the research camp. There is an ablutions block, kitchen and dining area (both permanent structures) in the camp. There is also storage space, lab, office, and teaching space. VMWR has safari tents as accommodation, a large built kitchen, dining, and lounge area, no running water (water is provided daily from a borehole tap across the road and stored in camp), a long-drop toilet, bucket showers, and electricity only in our office.
TRAVEL & FREE TIME
Malawi is known as the Warm Heart of Africa for its friendly people and stunning landscapes, and it’s generally viewed as the ‘safest’ country to travel in Africa. Volunteers take one day off a week and a long weekend off every month. It is possible to take off more or less time, dependent on emergencies and what projects you are working on. We highly recommend that you spend weekends off at the lake or on safari. We can help you with your booking and show you the best deals. Here are a few ideas:
- Zambia: Safari to South Luangwa valley
- The lake: Boat trip, snorkelling, swimming.
- Liwonde National park: Game drives and boat trips
- Cape Maclear: Boat trips, paddle-boarding, canoes, booze cruise, hiking
- Kande: Horse riding
- Dezda: Pottery, paper workshop, hiking, cave paintings
- Kuti Wildlife Reserve: Wildlife viewing, cycling
Please contact us for student rates and project/student placement costs per month.
What is included in the cost? Airport transfers upon arrival and departure, all meals in camp (3 per day), all accommodation, transfers from Lilongwe to camp return, project-related travel, local SIM card, induction and research training pack, comprehensive safety training upon arrival, and a donation to the project.
And what’s not? Travel and medical insurance, flights, internet and airtime, excursions and personal expenditure (soft drinks, snacks, beer, eating out), visas (entry visa $75 (30 days) then $10 for each 30-day extension up to 3 months, then 3-9 months $100), vaccinations, personal equipment, batteries, meals, accommodation or travel beyond placement.