I was looking for a journey this summer that I would remember for a lifetime, and going to the African Wildlife Ranch project provided just what I was looking for. I grew up loving animals, and as I got older, wanted to do more traveling. What a cool opportunity I found here that allowed me to do both at the same time. Traveling to Oudtshoorn, South Africa was quite the journey from Dauphin, Manitoba, Canada, but despite the lengthy flights and airport stays, this was a dream come true.
Typical days at the African Wildlife Ranch aren’t typical at all. Each day provided for a new opportunity to help improve the lives of the animals at the ranch. Whether it was assisting with cleaning enclosures each morning, preparing food for various animals, providing enrichment to one of the many wonderful animals, building and preparing enrichment opportunities or assisting with project work, there was always something new to keep you focused on.
There were many animals to interact with and gain bonding time with, but my personal favorite was the cheetahs. All of the cheetahs at the ranch were so well-cared for. It was such a neat experience to be able to get up close and personal with a cheetah and feel totally safe. That is due in large part to the amazing staff that work at the ranch. They work closely with the animals and have developed such a unique bond with each of them that there’s no worry of having an animal encounter go wrong.
Weekends provided for free time to see the rest of the area. South Africa has a lot of really great things to do and I couldn’t have been more fortunate to come across this lovely experience.
To anyone looking to have a once in a lifetime experience working with animals, look no further. The African Wildlife Ranch staff make this volunteer opportunity an absolutely amazing adventure.