Volunteering in South Africa – A Journey of a Lifetime

Posted by: Aleksandra

If I were to be honest volunteering in South Africa has long been my big dream, and a “before I die” kind of thing, when I finally purchased my trip I never regretted it, definitely one of the best decisions in my life. Being vegan for quite a long time, for me animals often come before humans, so I obviously choose a program in which I could help them, I went to Wildlife Sanctuary project just outside Johannesburg.

When we arrived what came as a nice surprise was the fact, that December/January are actually summer months in Africa (as opposed to Europe) and temperature varied from 30 up to 45 degrees one day! First two days we spent in the city, which gave us a nice opportunity to sink in with the culture and African environment, and also do some shopping. On Friday Brad ( a guy from the local organization ) drove us to the sanctuary, where we were to stay for next 14 days, it’s nice how close to animals you actually live, just outside my window was an elephant house and cow pen, on the other site lionesses’ enclosure and stables.

I expected hard work and wasn’t disappointed, there are very many things we were supposed to do, from cleaning poo every single morning to cutting branches and transporting them outside the paddocks. One day we even sort of save an ostrich – since they are running around one of them swallowed a huge plastic back, from outside it looked innocent, like a plastic strap and then we realized he had it all inside! It was scary, but we helped him.

There are many unforgettable moments and things I got to do there, also we had many opportunities to go on to different excursions especially during the weekends – we went to crock city (a reptile house), visited a proper African village, ate amazing African food and watched a dance show.

But above all it was all about the animals, when I arrived there everyone was telling me that by the time I leave I will learn to love shoveling poo, well there’s something true in it, but most importantly we helped, we gave time to animal handlers to help animals and not waste their time tasks like that. These are amazing people all passionate about their jobs and with unconditional love to all the animals.