Field Report from the Big Five Project
"My Time in the Wildlife Reserve"
"Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer"
I can’t recommend this project in the wildlife reserve enough! The whole process from applying for the project to arriving in Africa is very well organised. Upon arrival I was picked up from the airport with some of the other volunteers and within 2 hours we arrived in Port Elizabeth. The journey was comfortable and we got to see many beautiful landscapes. From the moment I arrived I immediately felt welcomed by the other volunteers and we quickly became a small international family. We spent every day on the jeep with the volunteer coordinator Jarrett, who without, the project would be only half as much fun. The main tasks involve collecting data about the wildlife, particularly rhinos, elephants and lions. Other tasks include removing foreign plants and planting bushes that help the reserve. After just 2 weeks I could recognise individual animals and knew them by name. Even on rainy days, you never get bored because Jarrett will teach you how to track animals and what clues to look for.
The best thing about working in the wildlife reserve
My favorite moment on the jeep was when we watched around 30 elephants from big to small playing in a mud hole. You can’t help but smile to yourself, enjoy this extraordinary moment and worry about nothing else. It gets even better when you recognise certain elephants amongst a herd, my favourite was called Heavy Brow. For wildlife lovers you couldn’t ask for anything more. From watching lions sleep for over an hour, simply observing them surrounded by the sounds of nature, to watching baby Rhinos with no desire for anything but to chase after their mother.
The work in a soup kitchen
Once a week you also visit the soup kitchen in the township and play with the lovely children. When you arrive, the children are so happy and storm the car as soon as the sliding door is opened. Helping out is a great change from the animals. Unfortunately I could not attend the school in my project because of the exam time.
Leisure time in South Africa
During weekends we always had a large selection of activities to choose from. One weekend, I went with five other volunteers to Jeffrey's Bay with a local guide who took great care of us.
All I can say is that I enjoyed every single second in the project. Even after 4 weeks you learn something new every day and I have learned so much in the time I spent at the reserve and made great friends. A great project for any animal lover who wants to help protect this extraordinary wildlife.
Review from the Wildlife Reserve Project in South Africa, by Paule N. January 2019