My name is Jens; I am 21 years old and from Germany. I volunteered at the Wildlife Sanctuary Project near to Johannesburg, for a period two weeks. It the first big journey I had taken on my own and besides volunteering in South Africa, I had also planned a three week trip through South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana afterwards (I can only recommend this combination). I always wanted to visit the southern part of Africa and get close to animals on a deeper level than what is possible as a normal “Kruger Tourist.” I looked for an animal sanctuary near Johannesburg and found this wonderful place!
The following days where full of once in a lifetime experiences, great people and unique animals. I fed a lot of different animals and walked with elephants. All those activities and my time were spent with the other volunteers and the two most cheerful guys (and guides) I’ve ever met.
It is important to keep in mind that wherever you get the chance to spend time with such animals, a part of your daily tasks is to ensure that their living arrangements are as good as possible. That includes things like preparing horse meat (you don’t have to) and, of course, cleaning their enclosures. The thing is that you get fully used to it and it’s always followed by great other experiences.
It is a once in a lifetime experience and it’s crazy how close you get to the other volunteers by sharing these moments with them. I wouldn’t have thought that this trip would surpass my expectations but in fact that’s what happened.
In the end nearly every one of the volunteers said they wanted to come back as soon as possible, and as soon as you’re there by yourself you know why – that’s for sure!