Volunteer Travel in Zimbabwe

Dec 8th, 2005, 09:43 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 69
Volunteer Travel in Zimbabwe

I am hoping to travel to Zimbabwe for a period of three weeks for one of two wildlife volunteer projects (my life's dream). I am concerned about:
1. Safety: I am with a reputable organization through the trip, but is the gov't so unstable that I will still be in serious danger?
2. Timing: January is the only time I can go, but I have heard that it is not optimal for viewing wildlife. Is it still worth going?
3. Malaria: I understand that January is in the wet season. Is anyone aware of the actual chances of contracting Malaria if the proper medication is taken?

llbwolf is offline  
Dec 8th, 2005, 12:56 PM
Posts: n/a
Malaria meds are not an inoculation. Inoculations are about 99% effective.

If you are on malaria meds (it's only a preventative), you still have to remember to wear long pants, sleeves and socks from dusk to dawn - mossie biting time. In addition, you'll need repellent containing Deet, on any exposed skin (avoid the face and eyes). You can wash off before retiring, but be sure to sleep under mosquito nets.

The wet season is ripe for mosquitos of all kinds. So, it may also be a good idea to use repellent during the day.

As a volunteer, which I presume you'll come in contact with local village people - did the organization sponsoring this project, advise of other inoculations you should take or be current with? Sure hope so.

If not, check the cdc site for recommended inoculations (Tetanus, Hep A/B, Polio booster, Thyphoid) and don't take any chances.

You don't want your life's dream to become a nightmare.

You'll be as safe as safe anywhere in the world. Working for a reputable organization, you should be fine, but don't leave your awareness at home. Zimbabwe is a beautiful country - just a lousy politician ruling there.

Optimal - maybe, maybe not, but I wouldn't worry, you'll see plenty of animals over three-weeks.

Do report back here when you return.
Dec 8th, 2005, 04:48 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 230
Ilbwolf - what organization are you volunteering with? I am also interested in this type of "work". Thanks, Sharon
stamiya is offline  
Dec 8th, 2005, 08:10 PM
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llbwolf, stamiya,

there are a few organisations that offer volunteer projects in Southern Africa, not only in Zimbabwe, but also in Namibia and South Africa.
My daughter went with one of those organisations for a month to Durban (Hillcrest). She volunteered for working with children (HIV positive) instead of animals, but the objective is the same. In her group of volunteers were people from ENgland, Ireland, a girl from Oregon, a girl from LA, a girl from NY.
You pay for 4 weeks a certain amount of money, and in return you have an experience of a lifetime.
Is it safe?
Well, maybe it is because I am a mother, but I did advise my daughter not to go to Zimbabwe, the only reason being, that if something happens, and she had to be taken to hospital, knowing the situation in Zimbabwe and the shortages, would she get the same good treatment as at home?
That was my only concern about Zimbabwe.
I am pretty sure it is safe to travel in Zimbabwe, allthough I heard of some people who just got back that fuel shortages really mess up a lot .
Example :Government people drive for hours to cross the border, fill their tanks and then get back to Zim.
Even in South Africa, she could not leave the area where she was working without the guidance of a driver, who acted as bodyguard. And she tells me , that it was necessary in certain areas.

Need to know more details?
just ask or write me an e-mail

[email protected]

Dec 9th, 2005, 09:25 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 987
I disagree that you will be "as safe as anywhere in the world". You will have no civil rights, and none of the general protections against dictatorship and governmental thuggery that we take for granted in the US, such as habeas corpus and access to lawyers and courts. The government is a dictatorship. If it decides to go after the organization you're working with, or foreigners in general, you could be up the proverbial creek.

Personally, I would not go there.

If you do, take your malarone and do all the other mosquito precautions already mentioned. And make sure the US consulate knows where you are.
Celia is offline  
Dec 9th, 2005, 09:56 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 69
Thanks to all who responded so far. As for the questions, I am planning on going through African Impact (www.africanimpact.com). Their schedules just worked best for me and the projects are amazing. Other outstanding projects are offered by Volunteer Adventures and Earthwatch (www.volunteeradventures.com and www.earthwatch.org, repspectively.)
Regarding the medical issues, I am about to get all of the necessary innoculations. I have two friends who contracted malaria, because only a preventative is available (no innoc.), hence my concern. Each picked it up over several months stay (one Africa, one South America).

Any additional information on any of these topics would be wonderful, especially regarding safety.
llbwolf is offline  
Dec 10th, 2005, 07:26 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 230
thanks so much for the information. My daughter and I are very interested in some sort of volunteer experience in Africa. I have done one (a medical mission) in Ecuador, and it was indeed the experience of a lifetime. I would like for my daughter to have a similar experience, and she is interested in doing so in Africa. Regards, Sharon
stamiya is offline  

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