About Rhino and Elephant 2018-07-06T12:22:52+00:00

What exactly is the Rhino and Elephant Project?

The History

An intense period of rhino poaching in the 1980s saw Zimbabwe’s rhino population plummet from 10 000 rhinos to less than 1000 rhinos in just a few short years. A decision was made by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife to move Zimbabwe’s few remaining rhinos into Intensive Protection Zones (IPZ) with this Rhino and Elephant Project being one such zone.

Seven orphaned baby black rhinos were placed in the care of the Rhino and Elephant Project in 1985 (Noddy, Sprinter, Fumbi, Cuckoo, DJ, Amber, and Mvu) after their mothers were killed by poachers in Northern Zimbabwe. These seven rhinos thrived at the sanctuary and bred successfully with a record-breaking fifteen babies born in less than twenty years. Eleven of these rhinos were subsequently reintroduced into the Matusadona National Park however, the Matusadona release programme has since been discontinued due to a lack of funding.

The sanctuary is home to four majestic elephants (Mac, Toto, Mandevbu, and Mzou) that were all orphaned at very young ages. The elephants were subsequently rescued and the sanctuary has provided them with a haven that closely resembles their natural habitat. However, for the continued safety of the elephants and rhinos at the sanctuary, the animals are brought into secure bomas during the nighttime to ensure that they are properly protected from poaching threats.

Elephants are highly intelligent and complex animals that require constant stimulation. Out in the wild, elephants acquire this stimulation through interacting with their large hierarchical herd, from the daily struggle of finding adequate food and water, and by avoiding predators. As life at a sanctuary does not pose these same basic survival challenges, rescued elephants tend to express their boredom in more destructive ways! To prevent this from happening, the sanctuary has worked with elephant behavior experts to create a unique set of challenges for Mac, Toto, Mandevbu, and Mzou that help to keep them adequately stimulated. It is important to note that the sanctuary does not approve any form of cruelty and/or physical punishment of animals and as a result, all training is performed on a reward basis only.

Support and Follow the Rhino and Elephant Project – Our Story

Space is limited to a maximum of 12 volunteers! This ensures that you can get the most intimate experience possible at the sanctuary. From working with the animals and performing the necessary maintenance at the sanctuary to helping with community projects at the local schools, you can be sure that you will create unforgettable emories and form close bonds with your fellow volunteers.


Volunteers are housed in a beautiful two-story house situated on the bank of the reserve’s largest dam. The house has three twin bedrooms and a dormitory. Additionally, there are three bathrooms inside the house, and a further three solar powered showers outside the house overlooking the dam. There is hot water for showering and fresh natural spring water is available to drink. Three home cooked meals are served daily.

(Except on Sundays – Volunteers are expected for themselves *food is provided).


This Project runs on a Monday – Monday cycle.

Transfers from the Rhino and Elephant Project and Harare International Airport are included (specific times).

Volunteers are collected from Harare International Airport at 3pm on Mondays upon arriving, and are dropped off at 8am on Monday mornings when departing. Any transfer outside of these specified times are charged at $100 each way.


The Rhino and Elephant Project is currently home to one lion and two hyenas that were lucky enough to have been rescued from former abandonment and abuse. It is important to note that these animals are neither handled nor bred at the sanctuary!

The sanctuary is simply intent on providing these animals with secure, comfortable and spacious enclosures to allow them to enjoy the highest quality life possible. 

Rhino and Elephant – Daily Activities


– Learn more about rhinos and elephants from experienced handlers

– Feed rhinos and elephants and get to experience walking with them

– Observe and record rhino and elephant behavior and socializations for research purposes

– Perform anti-poaching snare patrols (collect and remove snares)

– Anti-poaching drills and training using paintball guns

– Clean out the rhino and elephant night pens and help to repair their enclosures

– Monitor rhino feeding patterns to prevent over-grazing of the reserve

– Walk with white rhino scouts on morning patrols

– Learn to use telemetry sets, read spoor, and identify signs of movement to track white rhino

– Patrol boundaries on horseback and foot

– Help to maintain fences and roads in the reserve

– Experience a night camping under the stars

– Feed the antelope, plain’s game, and the lion

– Plant trees and help to remove alien invasive species

– Help with cattle dipping

– Game counts on horseback, foot, and by vehicle

– Help with English lessons at the local schools (please remember school holidays)

– Educate children on the importance of animals and maintaining game reserves

– Play sports and enjoy cultural evenings with the local community

– Enjoy fishing, canoeing, and relaxing by the pool during your time off

Experience the amazing adventure with our Volunteer packages. Rhino and Elephant caters to your every need, even your need for breathtaking views