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"I think that the entire trip itself was the most memorable experience I’ve ever had in my life so far, I’m already planning to go back again this year! But Victoria falls was by far my favorite place that I got to visit in Zimbabwe while I was there. This was the best trip of my life - I’d recommend it to anybody!"
African Wildlife Orphanage gave me everything I wanted out of this experience. It’s a haven for all animals and it truly deserves to be applauded. The amount of work they do to help animals in need is extraordinary. No animal was ever turned down, no appointments had to be made, it was as simple as just dropping them off. I’ve seen anywhere from a plover to a steenbok to an owl to a snake come through the doors of Chipangali.
If this is not the most rewarding feeling in your life and also the reason to pack your backpack now and move into the Amazon to have the TIME OF YOUR LIFE, I don’t know what is. Okay okay…being able to take care of a baby sloth and other incredibly cute animals you could die for is a great bonus and definitely worth visiting the center too...
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.
I’ve never been a morning person, so rising at 3am didn’t seem appealing at first, but the morning patrol was always my favorite. At least during my time on the project, the morning patrols were much more active. Baby turtles were hatching from their nests, and we helped them down to the ocean so they could avoid beach predators. Only 1 in every 1000 turtles lives to adulthood, so saving those that actually hatched, from a beach massacre was important!
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.
The first day of the plain count I remember looking over the list of the 30 or so wild animals. I thought, “Yea right, like we are really going to see all these? I doubt it!” Then I thought, “How am I supposed to count something I have never heard of before in my entire life?” Each creature was pointed out and explained in vivid detail to us. I had seen more beautiful creatures on that day than I had ever seen in any zoo anywhere. And I have been to quite a lot of zoos in my life. I was shocked, excited and ready for more.
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