Chimpanzee Sanctuary


Chimfunshi chimp sanctuary gives refuge to over 120 chimps rescued from the bush meat trade, circuses, zoos and bars. The sanctuary is one of the few places on earth that rescued chimpanzees can live out their lives in safety, and there are endless things which need doing to ensure this good work is continued.

  • Be a part of the day-to-day life of one of the largest chimpanzee sanctuaries in the world

  • Play an important role in the rehabilitation of endangered chimpanzees

  • Invent fun behavioral enrichment activities and create individual plans for specific chimpanzees

  • Capture data on chimpanzee interaction and behavior to aid our research centre

  • Experience life in the African’ bush - live in a beautiful rustic setting, in the heart of the Africa

  • Enjoy sundowners, canoeing, picnics, and some amazing stargazing on the banks of the Kafue River

  • Make friends for life with other international volunteers along the way!

Volunteering at the sanctuary really is a once in a lifetime experience to get up close and personal to these intelligent and beautiful animals, spend time in a world renowned institute, make lifelong friends from around the world and be part of history as you make a difference to their care and welfare of these great apes. Most of our volunteers have no prior experience with primate work, so as long as you have a passion for conservation and apes, spiced up with a sense of adventure, this is the project for you!

Chimfunshi started as a family-run wildlife orphanage in the north of Zambia. It was founded in 1983 when a badly wounded infant chimpanzee was brought to David and Sheila Siddle, a British couple who had lived in Zambia since the 1950s. The Siddles nursed that chimp – nicknamed "Pal" – back to health, thereby establishing a tradition of care and respect that forms the legacy of the sanctuary. 


Many of the chimpanzees at Chimfunshi have been rescued from poachers or terrible situations, where they have been kept as pets, in bars, or sold in local markets for bush meat. An equally large number are rescued from rundown zoos and circuses from all over Africa, Asia, Europe and South America. The sanctuary houses chimps personally rescued by Jane Goodall and she has visited on numerous occasions. 




Chimps need to be kept stimulated to encourage continued mental development. As a volunteer you will use your creativity in creating structures, toys and food-based challenges in the enclosures such as tire swings, shaking boxes with food inside, peanut mazes and hiding food in difficult to reach places.


In a bid to be more self-sufficient on this project and rely less on donations for food, we started a fruit tree nursery with both indigenous and exotic fruit trees which we propagate on the project. Volunteers assist with watering, weeding, pruning and fertilizing these trees and once grown you’ll assist with harvesting and feeding the chimps.


Chimpanzees need exercise outside of their enclosures and volunteers participate in  ‘bush walks’ with some of the chimps, guided by a trained Chimpanzee Handler. It is during these walks that you’ll be able to interact and connect with chimps in their natural surroundings. It is a life changing experience when a great ape reaches out to hold your hand or plonks themselves on your lap. This activity is of course a highlight for our volunteers. 


A very important park of conservation is getting the local community behind our efforts. When school groups come through you will teach them the importance of conserving the local ecosystem and being guardians for the wildlife, which is their heritage. Sessions are fun and engaging, with games and role play sessions.


You will be staying in a truly authentic African camp based in the middle of the bush!


Dormitory style or twin rooms in our private volunteer house with shared toilets and hot showers. There is even a private veranda with a hammock to wind down for sunset!


The camp is centered around an outdoor thatched gazebo where you will enjoy your meals and socialize with other volunteers. This is the real outdoors!


The Sanctuary is in north Zambia,one of the last true wildernesses left in Africa.


Teeming with incredible National Parks, like Kafue and South Luangwa. Chimfunshi is based right next to the Kafue River – a beautifully remote location!


The nearest town is Chingola where you will have the chance to do some souvenir shopping, catch up with wifi and absorb the local culture.


Want to know what’s included? Great news, it is pretty much everything! Including your:

Pre-departure assistance

Pick up and drop off to the airport

All accommodation

3 meals a day

24 hour support at the volunteer accommodation by onsite staff

Tea, coffee and filtered water


Medical and travel insurance

Flights to your chosen destination


2 weeks £ 1,329

3 weeks £ 1,687

4 weeks £ 2,045

5 weeks £ 2,403

6 weeks £ 2,761

7 weeks £ 3,119

8 weeks £ 3,477

longer stays up to 3 months: please inquire on an individual basis


Volunteers fly in and out of Ndola Airport and are able to start every Sunday or Monday of the year. Please get in touch with your prospective start date so we can confirm we have availability.

Want to hear more? Leave your info and we’ll get back to you.

Image by Maurits Bausenhart
Project Photos