Volunteer Report from a National Park in South Africa
"My Volunteer Work in a South African National Park"
My stay in the national park was just a great experience. Although I've been on some safaris before, the game drives here are very special. You get to spend time with the animals, closely observing their behaviours, documenting what you see and if you’re very lucky you might get to watch them hunt or even eat. The animals I got to see and observe were lions, elephants, rhinos, hyenas, cheetahs, leopards and water buffalos. Even the smaller animals, such as mongoose, different types of antelope, zebras, giraffes and warthogs are fascinating to watch and you just cannot stop smiling. A highlight for me was that during my stay (end of December to January) there were lots of young animals. There are also lots of beautiful exotic and colorful birds too which are brilliant to learn about and watch.
Everyday work in the national park
The day starts very early at around 5.30am, it is an exciting way to start your day though as this is an early morning game drive. The afternoon drive is late afternoon (around 3.30 pm) and you stay out after nightfall which is fun as you have the chance to observe nocturnal animals. In addition to the observation of the animals, there are lots of other tasks on the daily schedule such as wrapping marula trees with wire mesh to protect the bark from elephant feeding, digging out so-called neophytes which are plants that were introduced by farmers in the country, and now threatens the native flora by overgrowth.
During the drives, there is always a volunteer person at the camp to do house, garden or office work. The most exciting thing I found was evaluating the pictures of the photo traps, there were often funny scenes. In addition, the helper at the camp was responsible for cooking lunch or dinner with the help of the housekeeper, Caroline.
My time as a volunteer at the National Park was a wonderful experience, and it certainly won’t be the last time for me. I would recommend it to everyone. Go there and enjoy!
Volunteer Report from the National Park project in South Africa, by Susanne L. 19/03/18