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Protection of Wildlife in Malawi: Sanctuary, internships, and field research


This project is dedicated to the wildlife of Malawi. In this southern African country, the disappearance of wild habitats and human / animal conflicts are the major threats to wildlife. This project works in several ways: a wildlife sanctuary, which houses injured or traumatized animals, a veterinary intervention program for animals requiring appropriate care, and an elephant or primate research program to better understand and protect these endangered species.

Ecovolunteers can intervene in the sanctuary, to help the project to provide daily care to the animals housed, and also participate in the research program or help the project to carry out its communication campaigns. This mission is also open to veterinary students for trainees in the field of conservation biology or justice.

DUREE : 2 minimum weeks

DATES : all year

ACTIVITY : Sanctuary and Full Nature

SPECIES : all wild species

WORK LANGUAGE : English (minimum level B1)


INVOLVEMENT : 6 days a week, 8 to 10 hours per day

PUBLIC : Any public over 18 years, individuals, eco-solidarity holidays, students



Malawi is a country particularly rich in plant and animal biodiversity, home to 9 national parks or reserves, and home to many iconic and highly endangered species. The main threats to wildlife today are commercial poaching and deforestation.
The mission of this project is to protect the wildlife of Malawi, it acts concretely in many ways by offering:
- Temporary or permanent shelter for animals in distress, thanks to wildlife sanctuary. 200 animals are housed in the best possible conditions (largest and "natural" enclosures possible ...). Particular attention is given to rehabilitation in the natural environment, where feasible. Ecovolunteers are fully involved and remain the key to the success of this program.
- Des adapted veterinary care, in the veterinary clinic located in the heart of the sanctuary. The latter is held mainly by the veterinary ecovolunteers and veterinarians of the project.
- A veterinary emergency field service for emergencies that can not be treated in the clinic.
- Concrete support for the establishment of regulations and legislation for endangered species and wildlife in general in Malawi
- A comprehensive environmental education program to the community (schools), led by project members and ecovolunteers.
- A permanent research program on elephants, primates, epidemiology, illegal trafficking ... to intensify its conservation of Malawi's wildlife. The project welcomes trainee students as well as ecovolunteers.

To help it carry out these actions, the project welcomes ecovolunteers all year round, as well as veterinary students or students / trainees in conservation biology. Each will be able to take part concretely in the actions carried out, in an exceptional framework and within a team of experienced professionals.

Ecovolunteers may, after spending two weeks at the sanctuary, participate in research conducted in conservation biology (optional). They can also, if they wish, benefit from courses on the rehabilitation of wildlife, participate in the organization of environmental education activities in schools, or help to set up communication campaigns.

Location / Habitat

Volunteers intervene in different places, depending on whether they are ecovolunteers, veterinarians or trainees ...

The wildlife sanctuary is located in a reserve of 180 hectares, close to the city. The monitoring carried out within the reserve revealed a great animal biodiversity: birds, crocodiles, bush pigs, antelopes, hyenas .... For ecovolunteers, veterinary students, and trainees in conservation biology.

The Kuti Reserve, in the center of Malawi, is a space of 2000 hectares of breathtaking fauna and flora richness: forests and meadows shelter 200 species of birds, giraffes, wildebeests, zebras, primates .... For students Veterinarians or volunteers participating in the Large Mammal Research Program.

Vwasa Marsh Wildlife ReserveNorthern Malawi is a national 1000 km² reserve bordering Zambia. Forests and meadows are home to an exceptional bird fauna (almost 300 species of birds have been recorded there), but also large mammals such as elephants, hippos, buffalo .... For trainees in biology of conservation and ecovolunteers working on elephants.


At the Sanctuary, the wet season runs from November to March, with rather moderate rains; and the dry season is between April and October. October and November are the hottest months (average 32 ° C) and July the warmest (average 25 ° C).
The Vwasa Marsh Reserve is a little warmer than the Sanctuary.

To learn more about local weather conditions.


The Wildlife Sanctuary is located in a reserve of 200 hectares, close to the city. The monitoring carried out within the reserve revealed a great richness in biodiversity: birds, crocodiles, bush pigs, antelopes, hyenas ....
On average, more than 200 animals are housed in the sanctuary: crocodiles, antelopes, hyenas, baboons, owls, vervet monkeys, pythons, servals ...

The Vwasa Marsh Reserve is home to many species such as buffalo, elephant, many species of antelope, hippopotamus and more than 300 bird species.

Involvement ecovolunteer

The project welcomes ecovolunteers, but also veterinary or conservation biology trainees. The sanctuary houses the veterinary clinic.


Duration : 2 to 12 weeks - Qualification required : any

The Wildlife Sanctuary follows a program of rehabilitation of animals welcomed, which enjoys a worldwide reputation today. Activities there include:

  • The care provided to orphaned babies, following a specific procedure to give them the chance to be released into the wild. It is most often owls, jackals, vervets, baboons, servals and antelopes.
  • Daily care given to animals that live there all year long: cleaning, preparation of food, care .... The main species concerned are vervet monkeys, baboons, and antelopes.
  • Enrichment of enclosures, necessary to prevent animal stress: design and production of objects, behavioral observations ...
  • The rehabilitation of wildlife in its natural environment. The program followed by the project enjoys a worldwide reputation for its high success rate. The animals are released in several natural sites in Malawi, volunteers can occasionally be associated. Most of the released Vervets and Baboons are being monitored and researched over the long term as part of the conservation biology research program.

The working time of ecovolunteers at the sanctuary depends on the needs of the moment and varies between 8 and 10 hours per day. It often happens that they have to intervene later or earlier in the day, or during the night (to feed orphans for example).

Orphans are more numerous at the sanctuary between October and March.

Ecovolunteers have one day of rest a week, and a long weekend a month. The work program is developed weekly, depending on the time and the specific skills of the local ecovolunteers.


Duration : 2 to 12 weeks - Qualification required : any

The research program takes place in the “bush” in the Vwasa Marsh reserve mainly, but may also take place in another reserve depending on the current programs. The research programs in which you can be involved will depend on your interests or know-how, the time of year or the specific needs of the project at the time of your assignment. To give you an idea, here are the past or current research themes: monitoring elephant populations, monitoring primates that have been released into the wild, photo-identification of zebras, study of the risk of disease transmission among wild pigs ... 

The work is seasonal and therefore variable. No experience or qualification is required. You will learn how to use a GPS, video trackers, collect data in the field ... The current research topics are: the study of large mammals, biodiversity, and the state of population health ...

Eco-volunteers can also help the project in its environmental education actions, within the sanctuary and in the surrounding schools. Depending on the specific needs at the time of your participation, you may also be involved in the implementation of educational tools or help during exceptional events.


Duration : 4 weeks minimum - Qualification required : any

Volunteers can combine the two experiences by spending a minimum of 2 weeks at the Wildlife Sanctuary and 2 weeks in a research program.


Duration : 7 days - Qualification required : Ideal for veterinary students.

Under the guidance of one of Malawi's most recognized wildlife veterinarians, you will follow a course that is both theoretical and practical. See detailed program in the documentation to download.


Each internship request must be accompanied by a motivation letter written in English. It will also be possible to schedule a telephone meeting with one of the project members who, depending on your needs and the programs in progress at the time of your mission, will be able to best adapt your internship. For more information see the documentation to download.

Applications must be made at least 6 months in advance and will be accepted on a case by case, depending on availability and the candidate's profile. Internship applications must be made to Cybelle PlanèteWe will help you in your efforts.


Duration : 2 to 12 weeks - Qualification required : veterinary or veterinary student or veterinary assistant ..

This part of the project is reserved for veterinary students, or veterinarians or veterinary assistants, who wish to take part in the conservation of wildlife in Malawi. The work takes place in the veterinary clinic, within the Sanctuary, and essentially consists of the rehabilitation program, aid to orphans, and the daily actions carried out in the clinic (regular health monitoring and medical emergencies), under the direction of project veterinarians.

Veterinary students can also participate in the clinical research program conducted in the Kuti reserve on the health of wild populations and the transmission of diseases. This participation depends on the time of year and the number of places available.


Duration: 4 to 24 weeks - Qualification required : any

These internships are particularly intended for students who wish to acquire skills complementary to their academic training. 

* Rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife

This internship within the Sanctuary will allow you to acquire skills in the breeding of wild animals, the care of orphans, help in the veterinary clinic, the integration and the reintroduction of animals in the wild.

* Wildlife research

This internship will allow you to be trained in field research techniques: behavioral observations, population monitoring, photo-identification, habitat assessment, data collection and GIS mapping.

* Communication and environmental education

For communication students who wish to acquire concrete field experience, this internship will allow them to intervene in the environmental education projects led by the project as well as in interventions with school audiences. 

* Legal training "wildlife"

This internship is intended for law students who wish to acquire experience relating to the defense of wildlife. 


Duration 1 to 12 months - Qualification required: For students of a higher level of study (minimum Master)

Several research projects are carried out by the project, students will be able to integrate them.

Requirements and constraints

You do not need special qualifications to be ecovoluntary to this mission. Once on site you will receive the necessary support.

  • You must be at least 18 years old,
  • You must have a real interest in conservation biology and environmental issues,
  • You must be able to work in a team,
  • You must be able to walk 5 km per day on average,
  • You must have made all necessary health checks before your arrival,
  • You must have anti-malaria treatment, be up to date with your rabies vaccination, and have proof of a TB negative test.
  • You must know how to speak English,
  • You must have full travel insurance (including emergency medical assistance and repatriation).

Before you register:

  • It is important to read the detailed documentation to download.
  • You will need to return the medical fitness form (attached to the detailed documentation) completed and signed by you and your attending physician.
  • For volunteers participating in the research program or trainees, you must provide us with a motivation letter in English when registering for the project.

Language (s) used (s)

English - The minimum level of English required is B1: view details you self-assess

Conditions for minors

Minors are not accepted.


Example of a mission of 15 days at the shrine:

  • 1 Day: Meeting at the airport, transfer to the sanctuary. Rest
  • 2 Day: welcome and orientation with the volunteer coordinator, visit and explanations
  • 3 day: explanation and training by the coordinators
  • 4 Days to 13: Shrine Work - A Day of Rest
  • 14 Day: transfer to the airport



You are hosted in the heart of the sanctuary, live well surrounded by wild animals. The house of ecovolunteers is composed of a dormitory that can accommodate up to 10 people. A common area, a kitchen, showers and toilets are also available in the main house, as well as a garden with picnic tables.

A cook is in charge of preparing meals, which are vegetarian. On Sundays, the volunteers take care of the preparation of the meals.

Optional : if you wish to have more "comfort", you can opt for the 4 people chalet or the second 2 people chalet. Each chalet has a bathroom with shower and toilet. The cottages are next to the house of ecovolunteers.


You have a "basic" accommodation. Electricity and hot water are produced by solar energy and are available in the mornings and evenings only. You sleep in a big tent in the research camp. One space is dedicated to the toilet, another for cooking and for meals. meals are prepared by a project member.


The research camp has large tents shared by project members and volunteers. One space is dedicated to the toilet, another for the kitchen, another for the meals, the office, and the courses. Solar electricity is available. Meals are prepared jointly by the entire team.

Whatever your place of participation : All meals are vegetarian. It is possible to accommodate dishes for people with a particular diet: vegans, allergies ....


The project can accommodate up to 12 ecovolunteers at a time.



Registration for this mission is suspended until further notice.


The project is open all year. The arrival and departure of the ecovolunteers must take place on a Tuesday.

The minimum and maximum participation periods vary depending on the participants:

  • Ecovolunteers, veterinary trainees: minimum 2 weeks, maximum 12 weeks
  • Trainees: minimum 4 weeks, maximum 24 weeks.
  • Search: minimum 1 months, maximum 12 months.

Wildlife veterinary course : The 2021 course dates have not yet been scheduled.

Travel Information

The Sanctuary is located near the city of Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi, at 30 min. by car from the airport.

On the first day a member of the project will pick you up at the airport and accompany you to the shrine. You must arrive on a Tuesday.

Transportation to the Vwasa Marsh Reserve will be organized by the project from the Sanctuary.


Your eco-volunteering mission involves your voluntary participation in the project as well as your biodiversity donation. For each mission, the amount of the Biodiversity Donation is calculated according to the needs of the project and the time you will spend there. 70% of your donation is donated to the hosting project, it will largely be used to cover its material and personnel needs for its sustainability, and also to cover the hosting costs of eco-volunteers. learn more about Don Biodiversity

The costs of the ecovolunteers' missions consist of : your biodiversity donation and your membership in the mission, and non-tax deductible costs (ex: insurance, additional heating costs, over-classification of your accommodation - if offered)

Compensation for the impact of your trip

Cybelle planet pledges to reduceimpact of long-haul flights on the environment. In order to offset greenhouse gas emissions and the impact of your trip, Cybelle Planète has set up specific measures :

  • We no longer accept entries of less than two weeks involving long-haul travel.
  • Flat-rate contribution of 200 € to a territorial and carbon compensation fund for missions of less than 3 weeks.

We consider that a stay of at least 3 weeks, during which you have a positive action for local biodiversity (ex: eco-volunteering mission), and where you adopt a responsible mode of travel, partially offsets your emissions at the regional level. 

Amount of Don Biodiversity

Volunteers and veterinary internships

  • 2 weeks: 2020 €
  • 3 weeks: 2351 €
  • 4 weeks: 2954 €
  • 5 weeks: 3399 €
  • 6 weeks: 3806 €
  • 7 weeks: 4192 €
  • 8 weeks: 4546 €
  • 9 weeks: 4880 €
  • 10 weeks: 5175 €
  • 11 weeks: 5463 €
  • 12 weeks: 5725 €

Internships other than veterinary

  • 4 weeks: 3085 €
  • 5 weeks: 3530 €
  • 6 weeks: 3937 €
  • 7 weeks: 4323 €
  • 8 weeks: 4677 €
  • 9 weeks: 5011 €
  • 10 weeks: 5306 €
  • 11 weeks: 5594 €
  • 12 weeks: 5856 €

Research students

  • 1 months: 1807 € 
  • 2 months: 2425 € 
  • 3 months: 3144 € 
  • 4 months: 3812 €
  • 5 months: 4480 €
  • 6 months: 5149 €
  • 7 months: 5817 €
  • 8 months: 6511 € 
  • 9 months: 7154 €

Wildlife Veterinary Course

7 days: 1048 €


tax deduction : For individuals, participation entitles you to a tax deduction of 66%. So a donation of 2020 € will only cost you 687 €.

For companies, the participation of your employees entitles you to a tax deduction of 60%. So a donation of 2020 € will only cost you 808 €.

Annual fee

Cybelle Planète is a French law association 1901, ecovolunteer stays are reserved for members who are members of their annual subscription of 50 €. This membership automatically gives you access to insurance (including liability, repatriation, medical expenses). Membership in Cybelle Planète is subject to a tax receipt. Learn more about memberships

Your budget

The hosting project supports:

  • accommodation and food,
  • supervision by members of the project,
  • your transfer to and from the airport to the project,
  • WIFI access, 1 T-shirt, SIM card

You remain at your expense:

  • your trip to Lilongwe,
  • expenses incurred (drinks, restaurant, ....) that remain at your expense,
  • your complementary travel insurance (mandatory), including a Cancellation, Air / Train Delay, Baggage, Interruption of Stay.
  • your VISA

"Private" accommodation

Volunteers have the possibility of "upgrading" their accommodation at their own expense, in chalets with 2 or 4 places.

  • 2 sleeps in double cabin: 26 € per night
  • 2 places in a cottage of 4: 34 € per night

This accommodation is not subject to a tax deduction.

Travel arrangements

You must organize your own trip to the project: transport, visa, vaccinations if necessary, ....

You will find on our website information concerning visas.

Cybelle Planet can arrange for you to book your airline ticketsThis service is optional.

Conditions of participation

The general conditions of participation in eco-volunteering mission from Cybelle Planet are available online.

Commitment ecovolunteer

Before committing yourself as a Volunteer, you must have read and accepted the charter of ecovolunteers.


In addition to the insurance included in your membership, you must take out cancellation insurance, loss or damage to luggage, and flight delay. Cybelle Planète will offer you insurance during your pre-registration or you can subscribe one by yourself. A certificate of insurance will be required before departure. To learn more about insurance

ethical commitments Cybelle Planète

The Cybelle Planet associationcommitted to the ecovolunteering charter. We have always chosen sharing, equity and solidarity for all our actions.

Tax deduction

Participation in our eco-volunteering mission is reserved for our "support" members.

Ecovolunteers pay Cybelle Planète a Biodiversity Donation in addition to their commitment in the field. 

Only the Biodiversity Gift and membership entitles you to a tax deduction (For companies or persons subject to corporation tax or income tax in France).

Medical fitness form

Your registration can not be validated unless we have received your medical fitness form completed and signed by you and your attending physician.

In order to avoid possible difficulties, we ask you to describe to us, as honestly as possible, your physical and emotional state.
Regardless of the medical situation, all projects are designed to accept as many participants as possible. For this reason, they remain attentive and are very understanding of the various health problems a candidate may have. All solutions are considered to enable the candidate to participate in the project, regardless of his or her state of health, and to the extent possible.
The consequences of misleading and / or omitted medical declarations can be very restrictive for the entire team involved in the mission, and in some cases dangerous (missions on the high seas, in very isolated sites, etc.). So, Any false declaration, omission or false information may be sanctioned by the immediate and definitive exclusion of the participant At its own expense and upon the exclusive and unilateral decision of the project. 

Download the form for a francophone mission

Download the form for an English speaking mission


An ECOVOLONTAIRE T-shirt is offered for any registration to an ecovolunteer mission.

Note that no resumption or exchange is possible, we invite you to consult the description and the size guide .

Testimonials for this mission ecovolunteers