It is very important to plan well in advance before you travel to any foreign country. We advise you to check up with your dentist and your doctor. It is advisable to organize spare
contact lenses, glasses (bring a spare pair or bring your prescription with you), get a first aid and medical kit together and arrange all vaccinations.
It is recommended to bring basic items such as plasters, bandages, pain killers etc. Plus malaria tablets MUST be taken while here. If you need any other personal
medicine bring enough supplies along. Thuma is approx 1 hour from the nearest hospital. Medical insurance is required (proof to be shown before bookings can be taken).
Ensure your insurance plan covers you for your trip and the plan will make payments directly to providers or will reimburse you later for overseas expenditure. Also make sure you are
covered for emergency medical transport if required by air and with medical attendance.
Vaccinations recommended: (this is standard recommendations for Africa)
Diphtheria, Tetanus, Measles, Mumps, Polio, Hepatitis A-B, Yellow fever, Rabies, Typhoid (Check this with your local Travel Medical Centre.)
Medical Check List:
- Antibiotics - ie ciprofloxacin
- Antidiarrhoeal drugs
- Acetaminophen (paracetamol)
- Anti-inflammatory drugs - ibuprofen
- Antihistamines tablets and cream
- Antibacterial ointment
- Anti malarial pills
- Bandages, gauze
- Stomach upset tablets
- Scissors, safety pins, tweezers, pocket knife
- DEET - Insect repellent
- Sun block
- Oral rehydration salts
- Iodine tablets for water purification
- Sterile needles, syringes
A trip to Malawi is different than a trip to, for example, the South of Europe.
Due to living in the bush it is best to bring clothes with natural colours such as green, brown, grey (any camouflage clothing also works well). Remember that everything you will wear
out in the bush on the patrols such as a backpack and the raincoat should possibly also be in the same colours as mentioned above.
Even if the temperature during daytime can be very high, it is recommended to bring long-sleeved shirts and long loose fitting trousers to protect you from mosquito and tsetse fly bites
in the evening.
Depending on how long you stay we suggest you bring:
- 2 long sleeve t-shirts
- 3 short sleeve t-shirts
- 2 long trousers
- 1 shorts
- Swimming suit
- Sleeping bag or silk sleeping bag
- Good strong hiking boots
- Water proof jacket (in rainy season)
Other things to bring: head torch, batteries, books to read, board games, flip flops.
Donations always gratefully received:
Information books about animals, trees, insects, flowers in Malawi or southern Africa, tracking techniques, bush craft, conservation (we are always looking for new books to help us with
education here with photos in them not drawings), torches, rechargeable batteries, old t-shirts, old mobile phones, tents, sleeping bags, socks, laces, trousers clothes and hats for as
donations for staff.
We play an important role in the local school who are always looking for different coloured large marker pens, colouring pencils, crayons, paint, copy books, paper, rubbers, rulers, net
ball, footballs, pencils, any educational material, but this is not mandatory, it is only if you want to.
Specific Tasks And Work
Specific tasks and work may depend on seasonal or other circumstances, but include:
- Construction of accommodation
- General camp maintenance
- Car maintenance
- Surveys - animals - trees - birds - reptiles - insects
- Inventory of crop damage caused by elephants in the communities
- Road construction and maintenance
- Daily Patrols - anti poaching - removal of snares - deforestation - charcoal burning
- Assisting the field manager with some administration work
- Community interaction - Human-elephant conflict etc.
- Household work such as preparing the meals or baking bread
- Training scouts - educational activities - entertainment
- Teaching some lessons in the local school
For people with specific skills and/or knowledge (i.e. (conservation) education, botany, reptiles, amphibians, insects etc.), we can put together a special assignment
Note: we hardly do any hands-on work with animals (i.e.: animal health care, catch, release etc). However we do have a number of wild animals around camp such as baboons, hyrax,
porcupine, and vervet monkeys
The Wildlife Action Group will try to meet the interest of the volunteer as much as possible and suggestions from your side are most welcome.
And, of course, there is plenty of time available to do relaxing daytrip to Lake Malawi and/or into Lilongwe town (transport is provided for free; any additional costs (i.e. food and/or
accommodation) are not included in the volunteer fee).
The preferred minimum duration of your stay in Thuma should be 3 weeks; the maximum duration we can offer is 2 months.
The reservation for your stay as a volunteer is confirmed when you e-mail the Wildlife Action Group a scan of your flight ticket/documents and medical insurance.
The volunteers are welcomed in Lilongwe (International Airport) and transferred to Thuma F.R. Piick up in Salima is also possible.
You will stay in the base camp (grass-huts, bush-toilet, bush-shower, fire place for cooking, solar power, water from a natural spring) in the Thuma
Forest Reserve so at night you will enjoy the call of the bush baby, the hyena and the night birds and hear the breaking of trees when the elephants are passing the camp..., in other words:
the real bush experience!
Life in camp starts pretty early approx 7am in the morning. There are a lot of activities that you can involve yourself in and around the camp, but you will also have some spare time to
relax and learn the Malawi traditional board games and enjoy the fantastic views from the top rock. There is a natural rock pool that we use as our swimming pool within 7 minutes walking
from camp and is a welcome cooling down place to visit especially in the dry season. Visitors and volunteers are not permitted to wander outside of the camp area alone at any time due to
the chance of encounters with our larger animals.