Rhino conservation volunteering and safari in Uganda
Volunteer with Uganda’s only rhino population, located at a beautiful sanctuary deep in the African bush. Rhinos were poached into extinction in the 1980s, and you will be working with a dedicated charity committed to reintroducing them back to Uganda. Your reward after 10 amazing days at the rhino sanctuary, is to head off on a 3 day safari to search for leopards, lions and elephants, before taking a Nile cruise to the foot of the impressive Murchison Falls.
The last wild rhino was seen in Uganda in 1982, poached and hunted into extinction. In 2005, this project was established to reverse that tragic trend and bring these native species back. This is an incredibly exciting project and since its inception, the sanctuary has tripled in size, with almost 20 rhinos now calling this vast area home. Volunteers are welcomed to help these rhinos on their journey to eventual release back to their original habitat.
Become part of the team out in the field, helping to monitor the rhinos and manage their habitat so that they can prosper fully. During this project, you will have unparalleled access to this ancient creature, said to have been on the planet for several million years.
Your volunteer work with rhinos will be rounded off with an amazing safari to the Murchison Falls National Park, where you will see some of the other incredible African creatures that Uganda has to offer.
What will I be doing?
Volunteers can get involved in a wide variety of tasks that are so important for the protection of the rhinos and the running of the sanctuary. The work can be very physically demanding in the heat of the African sun, so you do need to be fit for these tasks. Examples can include, but are not limited to:
- Rhino monitoring and data collection
- Sanctuary conservation work
- Animal tracking and identification
- Bird and wildlife surveys
- Bush skills -rangers will fully train volunteers for the project, but also teach them how to survive in the wild -both on the ground and in the trees.
- Community education
- School outreach and activities
- General sanctuary maintenance
- Vegetation studies
- Fence patrol and repairs
You are expected to work hard, but you rewards are large too. You will be living in a beautiful part of Uganda, a country which few people have the pleasure to visit in their lifetimes, and will be joining a friendly and engaging team of staff and volunteers alike. Seeing rhinos every day as you work, knowing that all you are doing is to help bring this ancient species back to the wild, is a privilege.
Accommodation and food
You will be living in comfortable on-site volunteer accommodation. This is on a shared basis. The rooms are basic yet comfortable, and provide a lovely environment to relax at the end of a busy day outside. Rooms have small porches outside where you can relax with a good book or in the company of other volunteers. Bathrooms have flush toilets and hot showers.
Three meals per day are provided in the main lodge, just a short walk from your accommodation. Food is varied and hearty, and all dietary requirements can be catered for. Food includes pasta, curry, pizza, stews, rice dishes and vegetable dishes.
What about the safari?
After 10 days at the rhino sanctuary, you will be collected and driven to the plains and hills of the Murchison Falls National Park. Search for elephants, leopards, baboons, giraffes, buffalo and lions, all the while enjoying the classic African safari. You will also enjoy a boat cruise to the foot of the towering Murchison Falls, keeping an eye out for the hippos and crocodiles as you go!
Is this project right for me?
If it sounds good so far, then absolutely! It is important to be aware that Uganda is a developing country and so things might not always go as smoothly as they would do in your home country. This is all part of the adventure, but not everyone thrives in this enivronment. Independence, initiative and a sense of adventure are key. If you are happy to go with the flow, work hard and embrace Uganda’s charms (and imperfections!) you will have an amazing time.
When should I book?
Whilst late-availability is possible, we would advise booking as soon as you can to guarantee your ideal dates. Our projects are very popular and spaces can fill up several months in advance, especially for the months of June to September.
Please note, due to the nature of this project, we are unable to take volunteers with recent medical history. Please speak to your Destination Manager about this if you have any questions.
- Help to conserve the only rhino population in Uganda, ensuring this species will survive for generations to come
- Learn more about this fascinating species from the experts who work with them daily
- Enjoy life in rural Uganda, with stunning scenery and wildlife abound
- Round off your volunteering adventure in style on the Murchison Falls safari
- Work closely with staff at the sanctuary – they love to work alongside international volunteers
Whyshould I do this?
Until the early 1980s, two species of rhino were commonly found in Uganda: the eastern black rhino and the northern white rhino. Tragically, all of these rhinos have been poached to extinction, with the last wild rhino seen in 1982. This project was created to re-introduce rhinos to Uganda, and has been making great steps since its foundation in 2005. By joining this mission, you will not only open yourself up to an inspiring conservation project, but you will learn more about this fascinating species. Volunteers will enjoy living at the rhino sanctuary, socialising with the staff, guests and other volunteers. To round off your trip, you will take a safari to the stunning Murchison Falls National Park to search for lions, elephants, leopards, giraffes and chimps.
Fly into Entebbe airport (EBB) to arrive on a Monday. You will be collected from the airport and taken to a guest house in Entebbe for your first night. On Tuesday, your volunteering project starts, and you will be collected from your guest house and transported up to the sanctuary. This is about a 3 hour journey.
Steve and Rachel both arrived in Uganda in 2011 to work in the tourism industry. They are a fantastic team for Oyster to have on the ground, and are a great fount of knowledge: Steve is passionate about wildlife and conservation, and Rachel has previously undertaken her own volunteering adventures in Africa. Between them, they are in a great position to support you on your volunteer journey and to help you make the most of your time in Uganda. They also run their own safari and tours company, so they are the ideal people to talk to if you are looking to extend your time in the country.
What is provided
- Before booking: Dedicated period of time on the phone or in person to discuss the project, answer any questions that you might have and find out more about you
- Access to your personal ‘My Oyster’ account – our online portal where you can find out much more about the programme and manage your booking.
- Airport collection and transfer to a comfortable guest house for your first night
- Recommendations on things to do in your free time
- Transfer from your guest house to the sanctuary
- Shared accommodation at the project site
- Meals and water at the project site
- Full training and all project costs
- Bed linen
- Orientation and briefings
- Donation to the project
- 3-day safari including transfer from the sanctuary to Murchison Falls National Park, bed and breakfast in twin safari tents with communal toilets and showers, bottled water, permits, Nile cruise, 2 game drives, driver and guide costs and return transfer to Entebbe
- Overnight accommodation in a guest house in Entebbe, including breakfast, on your last night
- Return transfer to Entebbe airport
- Pre-departure information covering medical, safety and placement advice
- Help and advice from our UK office before departure and whilst away
- Advice on visa and health requirements for project
- Oyster will prepare you thoroughly before you leave and support you while you are out there
- Local support in Uganda from English speaking staff
- ATOL financial protection (if Oyster books your flight)
- Oyster Worldwide volunteer t-shirt
- Oyster luggage tag
On your return:
- Welcome home pack
- Certificate of Recognition (on request)
- References (on request)
What do I need
- A full passport valid for a minimum of 6 months after your return date
- Flights to Entebbe (Oyster can help you to organise these)
- Insurance covering your project time and any planned independent travel, we can introduce you to a policy
- Cost of changing your return flight date if you need to
- Independent travel costs
- Lunch and dinner costs whilst not at the rhino sanctuary (during safari, and on arrival and departure day)
- Any additional costs such as trips, snacks, entertainment (allow maybe £30 per week depending on lifestyle)
- Visa costs – approx 50USD
- Your standard travel vaccines need to be up to date, including hepatitis B
- You need to have a Yellow Fever Certificate to enter Uganda
- Uganda is a malarial country. You will need to have anti-malaria medication.
- Please note, due to the nature of this project, we are unable to take volunteers with recent mental health issues. Please speak to your Destination Manager about this if you have any questions.