Mariah’s Volunteer Experience in South Africa – Diverse Experiences

Posted by: Mariah W.

Volunteering for the Diverse Wildlife Sanctuary Project was life-changing! Learning about all the different animals and then getting to work with them was such an enriching experience. The first sanctuary we visited was the monkey sanctuary. Our duties included cleaning, preparing food for the monkeys, meerkats, bushbabies, and some gardening work around the sanctuary. By far, the best part of the day was the monkey feedings.  I loved watching the monkeys swing across the trees and make their way to the fruit we had left for them on the feeding tables.

The next sanctuary we visited was the cheetah sanctuary. We took a very informative tour on our first day and then started working around the sanctuary.  There was usually some hard work to be done at the cheetah sanctuary but it was very rewarding.There were fun jobs too (such as assisting with feeding!)

We also went to the owl sanctuary where we constructed a safe space for an injured owl. This was very hard work but it was very rewarding to see the enclosure finished and to know that we made a difference for the owl.

We usually ended a little bit early on Wednesdays and went to see children from a nearby village. The kids here were largely orphans and due to new laws many of them could not go to school so we came by once a week to play games and talk with them.

Volunteering was a lot of hard work but it wasn’t all work and no play. On our days off there was a variety of activities we could choose from including ziplining, boating, horseback safaris and a weekend trip to Mabula Game Reserve!

To sum up, there is no way to put the magnitude of this experience on paper. Volunteering on this project was exciting, eye opening, and uplifting!  It completely changed the way I view the world and for that I am forever grateful.