9-Day African Volunteering Trip and Safari - Zambia and Botswana

9-Day, 8-Night All-Inclusive Volunteering Trip from Spark Ventures in Zambia and Botswana

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Grassroots Zambian Volunteering with Cultural and Nature Excursions

In 2003, Charles and Margaret Mumba opened the doors of their Zambian home to a few orphans and today they serve more than 250 orphans through Hope Ministries. When Chicago natives Rich Johnson, Dan Marcus, and Scott Barbeau flew to Zambia for a volunteer trip of their own in 2006, the three friends were set on helping out the Mumbas at the orphanage. Johnson, Marcus, and Barbeau formed such a strong bond with the kids that they wound up dedicating years to helping them. Soon, the friends founded Spark Ventures, which partnered with the Mumbas' Christian nonprofit to provide sustainable support for grassroots education programs in Zambia.

On a nine-day volunteering trip, Spark sets the stage for a transformative experience similar to the one the three friends once had. You'll read with students in a schoolhouse, dine with Zambian families, and visit historical sites for an immersive cultural experience. Meals are included in the package, and they are a combination of common American meals as well as traditional local fare such as chicken, fish and the maize-based porridge known as nshima. You’ll round off the trip with excursions to the gorgeous Victoria Falls and Chobe National Park.

To celebrate the launch of Groupon Grassroots, Groupon will provide a $1,000 kickoff grant to Spark Ventures' programs in Zambia. If you want to get involved too but can't make the trip, donate to Spark Ventures directly.

Days 1–3: From Ndola Airport (NLA), guides lead the way to Twapia township, located about five kilometers outside Ndola in the Copperbelt, a region known for its copper mines. Here, Hope Ministries oversees Hope Village, a cluster of stucco and brick buildings. Hope Community School teaches more than 250 locals, and Hope House Orphanage is home to about 15 children, many of whom lost parents to HIV/AIDS. After taking a behind-the-scenes tour of the facilities and having conversations with development workers, you'll help serve a meal to hundreds of malnourished kids.

Days 4–6: An Ndola motel serves as your home base before you head out to a few cultural sites. One of these will be the Zambian national monument known as the Mukuyu Slave Tree, which marks the spot of a 19th-century slave market. Nearby, the Masala Market sells fresh produce and chitenge, sarong-like fabrics ornamented with colorful batik patterns. Finally, you’ll take a day trip to Hope Ministries' poultry farm, where you’ll witness the program's work to achieve financial independence with the help of thousands of cheeping chicks. In between excursions, there will be plenty of time to fly kites or swap stories with the program's kids.

Days 7–9: After saying goodbye, participants will hop a plane to reach the Protea Hotel Livingstone and see Victoria Falls, originally known as Mosi-oa-Tunya, “the smoke that thunders.” The Zambezi River roars over a basalt plateau and becomes a massive sheet of falling water, and through the cloud of mist you can see the arcs of rainbows. The gorgeous scenery has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Then it's off to Chobe National Park in Botswana, where you’ll traverse rivers and plains alike in a customized safari trip. Here, elephants stomp around freely, hippos wallow in the water, and giraffes help rescue frisbees from treetops. Afterward, you'll fly homeward from Livingstone's Harry Mwanga Nkumba International Airport (LVI).

For more information, see the full itinerary for the July and January trips.

Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.

What You Get

9-day, 8-night all-inclusive volunteering trip for one, not including international airfare

Included in all options:

  • All local flights and ground transport in Zambia and Botswana
  • Shared accommodations in standard rooms
  • Three meals daily and nonalcoholic beverages
  • Cultural and historical excursion trips
  • Visit to Victoria Falls with accommodations in Protea Hotel
  • One-day river and land safari through Chobe National Park in Botswana

    Choose between two options:
  • $2,000 for summer trip, starting July 15

Book by: 6/15/12
Travel between: 7/15/12–7/23/12

  • $2,000 for winter trip, starting January 20

Book by: 8/30/12
Travel between: 1/20/13–1/28/13

Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.

23 Questions

The Fine Print

  • Book by 6/15/12 or 8/30/12, depending on option, or promo value expires
  • Travel by 7/23/12 or 1/31/13, depending on option
  • Limit 1/person, may buy 1 add'l for July or 3 add'l for Jan as gifts
  • Limit 1/visit
  • Valid only for option purchased
  • Cancellations subject to $500 fee
  • 30-day cancellation required or fee up to Groupon price applies
  • Must be 18+ to check in; 12+ to stay
  • Valid only for standard rooms
  • Must sign waiver
  • Airfare and taxes not included.
  • Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised goods and services.

Other Details

What It's Worth

9-day, 8-night all-inclusive volunteering trip for one, not including international airfare

Included in all options:

  • All local flights and ground transport in Zambia and Botswana
  • Shared accommodations in standard rooms
  • Three meals daily and nonalcoholic beverages
  • Cultural and historical excursion trips
  • Visit to Victoria Falls with accommodations in Protea Hotel
  • One-day river and land safari through Chobe National Park in Botswana

    Choose between two options:
  • $2,000 for summer trip, starting July 15 (up to a $3,500 value)
  • $2,000 for winter trip, starting January 20 (up to a $3,500 value)

Getting There

Summer trip:

  • Arrival flight: fly into Ndola Airport (NLA) in Ndola, Zambia, on 7/15/12
  • Departure flight: fly out of Harry Mwanga Nkumba International Airport (LVI) in Livingstone, Zambia, on 7/23/12

Winter trip:

  • Arrival flight: fly into Ndola Airport (NLA) in Ndola, Zambia, on 1/20/13
  • Departure flight: fly out of Harry Mwanga Nkumba International Airport (LVI) in Livingstone, Zambia, on 1/28/13

Traveler's Tips

  • Participants must complete a Zambian business visa from the Zambian consulate in Washington, DC to participate in volunteer work. This process normally takes about a month.
  • Travelers can also choose to fly into Lusaka International Airport (LUN) on 7/14/12 or 1/19/13, depending on the option they purchase, but will then have to pay for additional overnight accommodation and a domestic flight to Ndola.
  • During this tour's local transport, travelers may bring one large bag (under 50 lbs.) and two small carry-on bags.
  • Travelers should review recommended vaccines, and bring malaria medication with them.
  • After registration, staff will send a packing list with recommendations appropriate for local weather and culture.

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