Elephant Conservation Volunteer Programs
The whole experience was humbling, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to get up close and personal with all sorts of animals but more importantly to me it helped me learn and understand the troubles that animals are faced with and what this particular organisation is doing to protect endangered species such as the cheetah. I have a lot of fond memories of the people who I worked with and the animals I was fortunate enough to get to know and those memories will never fade.
Typical days at the African Wildlife Ranch aren’t typical at all. Each day provided for a new opportunity to help improve the lives of the animals at the ranch. Whether it was assisting with cleaning enclosures each morning, preparing food for various animals, providing enrichment to one of the many wonderful animals, building and preparing enrichment opportunities or assisting with project work, there was always something new to keep you focused on.
I spent two weeks at the Wild Elephant Conservation and Research program. I met some lovely people and had lots of fun. I enjoyed the dorms, and although there are walls, they aren’t joined to the roof, so it’s rather lovely having that gap and falling asleep and waking to the sounds of nature...
Our purpose there was to assist in the data collection of a variety of species, including elephants, rhino, lions, leopards, birds of prey, and many others, to give to conservation organizations that protect these animals and their environments. Without the help of volunteers, the staff wouldn’t be able to collect and maintain all of the information that they need.
Then I discovered the one-month Greater Kruger Area Wildlife Photography and Conservation project. Living at Dumela Lodge in the Greater Kruger Area surrounded by game reserves I returned to the wonderful world of the South African bush. We walked, drove, and camped as we improved our photography skills and captured birds, mammals, reptiles, insects, flora, landscapes, lightening, sunrises and sunsets.
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.
We started each day with our morning chores, followed by an amazing South African breakfast. We would have a mix of work to do in the field and cleaning of enclosures during the day before and after lunch. Following dinner, we had the rest of the day to ourselves to socialize with the other volunteers. The staff were always planning events and activities for us to participate in during the downtime, such as Africa Night and play movies filmed right there on the sanctuary.
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