Experience an Animal Welfare and Veterinary Medicine like no other on the spice island of Zanzibar assisting with animal care, veterinary medicine treatment, outreach clinics and education on animal husbandry. Volunteer with veterinary doctors and animal rescuers on this east African paradise and know that you are helping hands-on with the welfare and health care of the lives of domestic animals, livestock and even the occasional monkey and bird.
|Starting days||All year around. Sunday arrival and Saturday departure|
|Minimum Requirements||1 to 4 weeks subject to visa requirements. A minimum age of 20 years old and studying or qualified in veterinary medicine or nursing|
|Cost||£550 for 1 week and £400 for each additional week|
|What is included||Accommodation, meeting you at the airport, airport collection and drop-off, pre-departure support, induction, donation towards veterinary equipment and clinic costs, travelling while on the project, in-country staff and 24- emergency help|
|What is not included||Flights, visas if applicable, travel insurance, food, spending money|
|Best for||Veterinary medicine, tech and nursing students or qualified veterinary professionals that would like to experience the challenges of animal rescue and treatment on a paradise island of Africa. Good physical health is essential as is an adaptable personality as Zanzibar can be very laidback|
This Animal Welfare and Veterinary Medicine project was started by a devoted animal lover, Anna, more than 10 years ago, after witnessing the mistreatment of working donkeys. Over time it has evolved to not only a sanctuary for donkeys and other animals, but also animal rescue and veterinary treatment too and is one of few that give medical treatment to animals in Zanzibar. Over the years the project has used its very limited resources to help all and any animals in need including the Zanzibari livestock, cows, donkeys and goats, and the occasional monkey or bird
The project is based in the countryside surrounded by spice farms just a 30 minute drive outside beautiful Stone Town, a UNESCO world heritage site, on the tropical East African island of Zanzibar. The clinic is a hub of activity for local animals requiring treatment, surgery, vaccination, and medical care. No animal is turned away and patients include dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, goats, cows, monkeys, and occasionally, birds.
The project’s aims are to:
• Establish care, support, and animal protection services to suffering animals in Zanzibar and Pemba.
• Educate the community on animal rights
• Tackle the stray animal population- sterilization is key here
• To stop animal overloading, beating, mishandling and animal cruelty especially with working animals like donkeys.
• Provide education and awareness to local communities and encouraging the active participation of the community in the process of self-empowerment with animal husbandry skills.
The clinic accepts up to 4 volunteers at a time normally and you do need specific qualifications or be studying veterinary medicine in some form and be in good physical health, have a love of animals and to be able to adapt to change as each day is never the same with the lifestyle far more laidback than in the UK, Europe and the USA. Please remember there are cultural differences too which you will need to adapt to.
Only basic medical equipment is available in Zanzibar, which means the work environment can be challenging. More gets done with less and as much as it can be difficult sometimes it is also immensely rewarding to treat an animal or save its life with almost no means.
The workload varies throughout the week and the year but generally the veterinary doctor is busy spaying, castrating, responding to emergency and house calls as well as attending to animals brought directly to the clinic. Please be aware that house calls often mean a lot of time driving around the island in the clinic’s car with the veterinary doctor, but this is the perfect time to take in the wondrous sights and sounds of Zanzibar and take in your surroundings
Vets and vet students are encouraged to take part in all aspects of diagnostics, medical care, treatment, and surgery. Nurses and nursing students can participate in all nursing duties carried out at the clinic.
On Saturday mornings there is an open community clinic where the local people bring their cows, goats, and dogs for free dip-washing and free rabies vaccinations. The vet also attends to any animal brought in for medical treatment; be it cows, goats, dogs, cats or the occasional chicken or rabbit. Often over 50 animals pass through the clinic on any given Saturday so things can get very busy.
You will be shown how to assist and participate at the clinic and during house calls. There is enough to do around and everything is as important and helpful
Your volunteer duties may include a combination of animal husbandry and veterinary work depending on your skills and studies:
Animal Husbandry Work
- Maintenance & cleaning of kennels, cattery, stables and paddocks
- Dog walking and grooming
- Donkey grooming
- Feeding the dogs, cats and donkeys in sanctuary and up for adoption
- Sterilizations, vaccinations and surgeries
- House-calls around the island
- Treatment of animals brought to the clinic
- Saturday open Clinic for the local community
- Outreach veterinary clinics sometimes take place in other areas of the island
- Health checks daily on the dogs, cats and donkeys up for adoption
- Changing bandages, bathing animals, providing medication
- Bathing animals suffering from parasite or skin problems
- Feeding cats, dogs, horses and donkeys
- Nursing sick animals with the Vet’s guidance
Those studying Veterinary Medicine or Nursing will work alongside the Veterinary doctor and learn academic and clinical skills:
- Participate in supervised surgery Help spay and castrate animals
- Develop skills in wound care and management Learn to splint/cast and manage broken legs
- Scrub in to soft tissue surgeries
- Develop clinical confidence by participating in consultations
- Learn how to diagnose diseases without laboratory test facilities
- Learn to triage emergency cases
Mondays to Fridays is the time for treatments at the clinic and house calls
Saturdays have the open Community Clinic in the morning and afternoons are free for your own enjoyment. They are also the days that some volunteers may depart.
Sundays are free days and also the day new volunteers arrive.
If you have any specific skills, studies, or qualifications that you feel could be of extra help, please let us know
The Animal Welfare and Veterinary Medicine project is situated in the spice farm rural area. You will stay onsite with the other staff members close to the clinic and the animals housing. The project can accommodate singles, (married) couples and groups of friends.
The volunteer house is shared accommodation and normally takes a maximum of 4 volunteers. It has got a terrace, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a living room with a tv and a kitchen.
Project staff wash volunteers’ clothes either by hand or by machine. We suggest you purchase a prepaid local sim card on arrival at the airport as there is no Wi-Fi but the 3G signal is good, but don’t worry as if you do not get the chance to purchase one, it can be arranged for you
Volunteers need to buy their own food and drinks for the duration of their stay. There are plenty of fresh seafood, meat, spice, fruit and vegetable markets in Stone Town, which provide cheap and delicious ingredients to cook yourself. The seafood in Zanzibar is AMAZING!
There are also plenty of restaurants and market stalls offering local food and the selection of fruit is incredible. Zanzibar pizza is a local dish which is also one of our favourites along with the fragrant curries.
When onsite it is easy to pop over to your volunteer accommodation kitchen to make yourself something to eat for lunch but remember to pack a lunch if doing a house call with the veterinary doctor.
You will need to arrive at Abeid Amani Karume International Airport in Zanzibar where you will be met and transported to your accommodation. The airport had a makeover in 2020 so it is very modern now and easy to navigate.
The Animal Welfare and Veterinary Medicine project is situated in a peaceful green rural area perfect for the animals with a few local shops and stalls selling basic food items including fresh fruit and vegetables.
Sundays are days off so plenty of time to explore the many beautiful beaches, take a trip on a dhow, go snorkelling with a blue ocean safari or hike the Jozani National Park to see if you can get some sightings of the endangered Red Colobus monkeys.
Stone Town is about ½ an hour’s drive away and there are many daladalas (local buses) that can transport you there at a very reasonable fee. Stone Town has an amazing cultural heritage so there are lots of shops, markets, and tours to experience but don’t get lost in the many winding alleyways. It is also a great place to experience sunsets from the harbour or have a meal at one of the many restaurants overlooking the city.
Stone Town is also a great place to take a tour to nearby Prison Island where you can see the endangered Aldabra Giant tortoises. Another interesting tour is to visit the turtles at Mnarani Marine Turtles Conservation Pond in Nungwi on the north-east side of the island.
If wildlife, nature, beaches, and culture interest you, Zanzibar is the ideal location to volunteer in and well known for the friendly Swahili local Zanzibarians.
If you are studying veterinary medicine or qualified, you might be interested too in this project in South Africa with veterinary medicine…. Veterinary Medicine Skills Experience