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  • Writer's pictureAbby

Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage, Copperbelt, Zambia

Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage

Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage is primarily a chimpanzee sanctuary located in the Copperbelt Province, 65km from Chingola, off the Solwezi road. Chimfunshi was founded in 1983 by David and Sheila Siddle in Northern Zambia when a game ranger brought a badly wounded infant chimpanzee to the Siddle’s cattle farm. After bringing the chimp named Pal back to health, word of his recovery spread and soon they were inundated with orphan chimpanzees. The majority of the chimpanzees were confiscated from poachers who attempted to smuggle the infants to be sold as pets for bush meat and pet trade, while others were rescued from zoos and circuses from all over the world. Today, 144 chimpanzees live in 8 separate forested enclosures, and it is now one of the largest and oldest chimpanzee sanctuaries in the world.

Recommended time visit

The orphanage is open all year round, every day of the week, and any season is a great time to visit. The best viewing times for chimpanzees is between 10:00 to 11:00 and 13:00 to 15:00. The 8 forested chimpanzee enclosures are far apart so visitors can take as much time as they want to see all the enclosures within the daily operating hours of 8:00 to 16:00. 


A day trip is enough time to experience the orphanage and sanctuary. However, if one wishes to stay overnight, there is a camp site as well as chalet accommodation. There are also various short term and long term volunteer and research programs available.


Apart from viewing the chimps near the feeding space as well as across expansive land, there are other activities such as canoeing, bird watching, braai and nature trail walking. They have a nice shelter with tables for bringing your own food or meal options available only if arranged in advance.

Local Community Outreach

Chimfunshi values their community and takes steps to ensure that they are supporting and enriching the livelihood locally. Fruits and vegetables are purchased from nearby local farmers as food for the chimpanzees. Additionally, Chimfunshi provide education through the construction and running of a community school for children locally and from nearby farms. The Chimfunshi school runs from grades 1 through 9. Lastly, Chimfunshi has a health post providing medical care for many people in the nearby communities.


Chimpanzees are listed as critically endangered on the Red List of Threatened Species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). Chimfunshi’s mission, purpose and focus is to provide refuge and exemplary care to chimpanzees in need and to offer life-long care for rescued chimpanzees. Not only does Chimfunshi rescue chimpanzees but it also rescues local wildlife such as baboons, vervet monkeys and parrots among others. Local wildlife is released back into the wild after rehabilitation whereas the chimpanzees stay in the forested areas because they are not local to the Zambian environment and would face many risks. At the orphanage, they live on a vegetarian diet which lengthens their life span. They have caretakers and live in the forested enclosures with no predators. Chimfunshi also provides conservation education to visiting school groups and the community. Every one of the 144 chimpanzees has its own unique story which the guides know and explain extensively. 

Get involved

If you are interested in contributing to the conservation effort, you can donate to make a difference and support the protection of the chimpanzees and other wildlife, which in turn supports the community. Chimfunshi is currently running a campaign on mighty cause for Ape giving day. You can donate and view our page via this link

You may also contact the orphanage on +260975519881 and email at Visit to learn more!

Written by Abby Temfwe from in association with Zambia Tourism Agency!


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