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Volunteering in South Africa – Three Week Adventure

Returning to the Wildlife Sanctuary project was great! I was there for two weeks exactly one year ago. I’d met all the animals and staff, I had built enclosures for servals and made loads of friends. So now it was time to return and renew the experience (the second time is never identical to the first). I’m still happy that I got to experience something new in a familiar setting.

It’s off to a strong start, only there for 20 minutes when I’m told to “put some clothes on you don’t mind dirtying” and we headed out to a mud pool, which of course meant a mud fight! After that I got to meet the people.

Volunteer in South Africa - On A Lion Walk

Second day was New Year’s Eve, which meant a party at the lodge, beautiful evening, lights, music, atmosphere and excitement. Some of us did not sleep at all that night, while others only surfaced in the middle of the following afternoon. I think they call that a successful party.
Tuesday morning was a real treat, in the space of 2 hours, we spent time with cheetahs, lions and tigers, interacting with all of them and doing some physical conditioning work for them.

The tigers are a new experience for me, they weren’t there last year. It was amazing to get to work with them, never thought I’d do that! The three lionesses are now 18 months old and substantially bigger than when I last saw them. My biggest surprise came when we fed the animals and got to see Sheba’s cubs again. They were a month old when I left them last year; I’d actually sat with them and looked after them for some time. Now, they look like full grown lions! What a difference a year makes in the life of a lion.

Volunteer in South Africa - Siberian Tiger

Spending a longer time volunteering in South Africa enables you to see more about how the place operates, and how quickly everything changes! After two weeks, only one volunteer remained from the original group. It’s a whole new team and a whole new dynamic. The place never grows old though. You can always take a moment to listen to the animals in the distance, the weather’s gorgeous, the views are incredible and there is always something dramatic going somewhere. Once again, no desire to leave, but that time has come. And so it is time to plan the next trip, or possibly the next return to the sanctuary!