Volunteering in South Africa – Capturing Every Moment

Posted by: Williams

My experience at the Greater Kruger Area Wildlife Photography and Conservation project in Hoedspruit, South Africa was absolutely incredible. Regardless of the fact that the volunteers’ ages ranged form 18-70 we truly had a family dynamic and created relationships unparalleled to anything I’ve had before.  Waking up at 6am and spending each and every day together creates these amazing friendships, making the end of your journey together that much tougher.

Through the photography aspect of the program I was given the perfect opportunity to increase my photography skills in the midst of one of the most bio diverse places I have ever been. GoEco provided us with amazing photographic opportunities through the many day trips we took. Whether it was Kruger National Park, The Blyde River Canyon, or Khami Reptile Park the photographs turned out absolutely amazing. Not to mention the fantastic daily game drives in local reserves.

The conservation component was just as rewarding as the photography. Being able to see instantly the work that you have done volunteering in South Africa makes the sweat well worthwhile. Jobs ranged from alien plant removal, to clearing vegetation around the properties border to prevent fires, to community work. We made it into a local school were we assisted in building an eco village garden to help promote sustainability as well as teach the children how to be responsible and care for their plants. I will never forget how happy those children were to see us coming in and helping them. They were mesmerized by the cameras and insisted that we “shoot them” as they posed like Naomi Campbell.

The weekend excursions that were offered were also out of this world. A trip to Swaziland, Extreme hiking in the Blyde River Canyon, and cultural shows were just some of the many activities I got to experience.  It was incredible to have the free time to further immerse myself in the South African culture and way of life. It was a life changing experience.