The wildlife orphanage was established in 1973 by ex-game ranger Vivian Wilson and his wife Paddy and is now managed by the next two generations of the family.
Chipangali is set on over 150 acres (61 hectares) on the outskirts of Bulawayo. A wide range of wildlife are permanently or temporarily resident here; from lion, leopard and hyena to crocodile, snake and chameleon, various species of bok, gazelle and antelope and plenty of birds. And a number of domestic animals too ! The animals are cared for in enclosures and kept for educational purposes and zoological study. In the case of endangered species, captive breeding programs may be undertaken.
It is important to note that this is a non-planned veterinary experience, but given that veterinary aspects of wildlife conservation work happen day in day out here at the wildlife orphanage, participants can expect to be involved in some or all of the following areas during their stay:
We assist local communities with relocating problem animals and in these cases we set humane traps to capture these animals. Once the animals are captured we immobilise them for transportation, but not before undertaking a general health check and inserting a micro chip for future identification . As a vet student or professional you would be able to observe the immobilisation and assist with the movement, chipping, vaccinating and taking vitals for these animals.
In some cases animals that are at the orphanage will have to be immobilised and you will be able to observe and assist with these occurrences too.
Vaccinations and micro chipping
During your stay you may have the opportunity to assist in the vaccination of animals against diseases such as Rabies, Cat flu, Feline TB as well as micro chipping.
In-house veterinary care
The team performs a lot of the minor veterinary care procedures for the animals on site, including wound treatment, putting in drips, anesthetising animals, treating breaks and in some cases minor amputations.
Observation of veterinary procedures
We work hand in hand with a local vet who helps us with any major veterinary procedures required. He allows us to come in and observe procedures on our animals such as dental work, spaying, amputations, setting of breaks and any other surgical procedures that may be needed. In the event that a necropsy is required, then vet students and workers may observe or be involved.
You’ll learn what the different animals eat and the nutritional values of the various foods. You’ll also become adept at identifying different foliage that is consumed by our antelopes and our primates. You will prepare food for the animals, a big and important task, and you’ll help with feeding.
Removal of parasites
You may assist in the removal of parasites from animals in different ways:
General animal care
You will be assisting in the care of animals at the orphanage with important tasks such as cleaning and maintaining enclosures, helping create enrichment for the animals, hand rearing any orphans that come in and other tasks as required. The volunteer team is also on call during ﬁre season and when we have babies in, the peak being between October and December. At this time of year your days off may also be filled caring for wildlife in need !
Additional related activities
The orphanage is open to the public for the purposes of education - school groups and individual visitors are particularly valuable towards the goal of educating local people on the value of wildlife conservation and the need to live in harmony. You may be involved with these orphanage tours and in educating the public.
The orphanage also operates a valuable environmental outreach program, EPIC Kids, which conducts wildlife education in over 250 schools in and around Bulawayo. We take along animals for engagement purposes and you may join for the day in order to help with the animals. Since its inception, over 500,000 Zimbabwean students have attended an EPIC Kids lecture !
Excursions (payable locally)
Whilst at the orphanage, you will almost certainly have the opportunity to visit the spectacular Matopos National Park and to undertake a once-in-a-lifetime walk with white rhinos, an experience not to be missed.
It’s also possible, especially for those staying 3 or more weeks, that a 3 day trip to Victoria Falls may be scheduled. Here there are a host of activities available, from wildlife safaris to white water rafting, a sunset cruise on the Zambezi or a dip in the Devils Pools at the very edge of the mighty falls.
Last day – On your last day with us at the sanctuary, having said goodbye and packed your bags, we’ll whisk you off to the airport in plenty of time for your flight onwards, or home.
Accommodation and meals : Comfortable cabin accommodation is provided. Often you’ll share a twin or triple room with 1 or 2 others (same gender) although if space permits you may have a cabin of your own. Most cabins have ensuite bathrooms, some will be on a shared basis.
We provide 3 catered meals each day. While vegetarian diets can be catered for, we unfortunately cannot provide more restrictive dietary requirements.
For your downtime, there is a swimming pool and an entertainment lounge with a range of books and movies as well as darts and a pool table. Some free wifi is available each day to all volunteers, and those who require more may purchase additional data.