South Africa

Askari WCP

I had an amazing time at Askari. People are very friendly and accommodating. The activities are always fun and game drives are always exciting (especially when an elephant in musth is less than a foot away from you). I hope to come back to Askari again and am glad that I had the opportunity to help work towards their goal of becoming a benchmark reserve.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: South Africa
Posted: Jul 6, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

ELIabroad Experiential Learning International

I definitely do not recommend ELI. I was in Cape Town, South Africa earlier this summer doing an internship and I returned early because I was so disappointed with the program. The coordinator (Karin Comer) is not organized at all; I really don’t think she even knows what she is doing. Starting with day one, she left me waiting at the airport for a good 15-20 minutes. Of course I started freaking out and was convinced that ELI was a scam. She finally showed explaining that she was late because there was ”confusion” with the airlines and the arrival times. I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt, but later I found out that she will leave you waiting at the airport so she can park, pick you up, and then leave quickly so she doesn’t have to pay for parking since she was only parked for a couple of minutes (she mentioned this to another intern who happened to tell me about it). If she was planning to be late I would have liked to known ahead of time. It’s just common courtesy. Also, she wasn’t good with paying rent either. Other ELI interns (about 6 of them) had to move out of their house because Karin had not paid the owner the rent. Also, in my house my roommates were without water and electricity for a week and a half because Karin had not paid those bills. We would give Karin the money and she was supposed to pay the owner.

Karin’s “assistant” (Ramon) was a 19-year-old kid who was completely useless. I asked him for help twice and the first time he was too busy playing a racing game (he told me this) and the second time he didn’t want to give me a ride because he was too tired. The first time I had asked him to give me a quick ride to a nearby 7eleven because I had no food and there was no one else to take me (I had only been in Cape Town less than a week and didn’t know my way around yet). The second time I had asked him if he could give me a lift to my house because my friend’s house (who was also an intern with ELI) had been robbed. My friend left quickly because she was obviously very scared and upset. I didn’t have a way to get back home and I was hoping this assistant would help me out. He instead got very upset and told me he was never helping me out again (so much for an assistant). When I had arrived in Cape Town, Karin had told me that if we ever needed anything we could call him, but apparently he thinks otherwise.

The house I was living in was okay, my roommates were nice (I had 8 of them), but the area was not safe at all. I did not feel comfortable there and you could tell it was not the best area. I have lived in other countries (including Mexico City and Lima, Peru) therefore I know what a dangerous area looks like. One of the other interns who I became friends with lived nearby (maybe a 5 minute drive) and her house was broken into. Her area wasn’t the best either. Her house was behind a train track. The coordinator (Karin Comer) did not even bother to show up to my friend’s house after the robbery. We were with the owner and the police but no coordinator. I called her because my friend (other ELI intern living at the house) was really upset and wanted her to come. I called Karin and instead she started arguing with me and saying that she could not come because it was too far for her and there was nothing she could do about the robbery. Basically, you were on your own.

The internship was the only thing I liked. It was also located in an unsafe are, actually it was a horrible area. There were homeless people walking around everywhere. It was horrible. I have no idea why this internship would be placed there (it was an advertising agency). I felt so uncomfortable and so unsafe. Plus, I had to take public transportation to get there and I felt even worse. If the internship would have been paid I would have stayed, but in the end it was not worth it. I was not comfortable in my house or at my internship. I felt so unsafe and after the robbery I had it. I was out of there.

If ELI would just get a new coordinator who was organized, dependable, and empathetic I think the program would be fine. But again, the program was cheap… so I guess you get what you paid for.

If you would like to contact me for any further questions about the program feel free: whalenjillo@gmail.com

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: South Africa
Posted: Jul 3, 2013
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
1

Comments

It is a great pity i only get to see this mail now, otherwise i would have responded immediately. My first comment is that "i am yet to read more utter nonsense and deliberate lies than what i read here." Here is my response. 1. If this candidate was a local person, i would have taken her to court for spreading lies. 2. She arrived in Cape Town and either slept all day during the first few days, never leaving her home, never mixing with the people in her house or spending time with one other person in another house. The rest of the students in the house always invited her out with them as they were having a great time. She never mixed with any of them. 3. For anyone who has ever been to South Africa and Cape Town - will know, Observatory and Mowbray are two of the most popular area's for young people, young families and students from all over the world. All i can say - this is a totally ignorant person saying something she knows nothing about as she never put her head outside the door. 4. As for me personally - i am a highly organised and professional person. I have my company for 17 years and running it very successfully and secondly, was in business for many years prior to starting my own business. One thing i pride myself on is organisation. 5. When we get flight schedules from the USA - it usually excludes the local flights from either Johannesburg to Cape Town or the international links to Cape Town and we have to guess on which local flight a candidate could possibly be. It was exactly the same with her. No candidate would ever wait more than 5 - 10 min for any of us... NEVER !!! All our correspondence clearly state that the person should wait at the exit point in case they dont see us should anything happen and no one waits usually - unless there are incorrect flight schedules given to us by the airline companies, unless flights are delayed and we cannot get the information on schedules etc. We never make people wait deliberately...NEVER. There are traffic jams around town, incorrect flight information on the flight check sites, etc. It happens, but we make sure people have information about what to do and where to way... always. Luckily we also do not work with children. We work with young adults who understand and know these things. 6. Issue of paying rent elsewhere: Oh my word !!!! That is all i can say. 3 Boys moved over to a new house. (Ramon, Pau +1) not 6. They moved over because my partnership with the owner of another property ended as he wanted to run it himself. He had R30 000 deposit of mine - off-set against the last months rentals... You know nothing about business... so dont say things you were not involved with and that is untrue. The issue of any other house actually had and has no effect on you at all and it is none of your concern either. And correction - you never paid any other owner any money Miss Whalen - you paid the owner of your house, which happens to be me. There were no other owners involved at all. 7. As for the intern in my office - i want to make it clear, we do not drive students from shop to shop for any reason when the shops are literally a few minutes walk from all our houses. We do not offer a free taxi service to anyone. There was no reason why anyone should have given you a ride with their private vehicles for which they paid for for any reason either.... not a single one - other than an emergency or a problem .. not for late night shopping. The area where you were placed is safe, is a fantastic area to live in and is regarded as one of the most popular area's in Cape Town. In fact, we showed you where everything was from the beginning and even took you to the shops and all you had to do was stay with the people from your house, ask them or ask any of our staff to show you again, but as the shops are less than 5 min walk from all our houses, a simple explanation would have been enough. You were not in your own house but visiting a friend and actually had the nerve to call him to fetch you while he was already in bed sleeping. 8. And now my favorite topic - the famous robbery........ Firstly, you were sleeping in a house where you were not suppose to sleep in. If you were in your own house, you would not have had this experience to start with. Secondly, it was not a "robbery". The neighbours of over 20 years of the house concerned actually took a photograph of the security gates you people left open when going out that night. Yes, you did not lock it. As if that was not a good enough warning - it happened again afterwards and we again had the neighbours call us to tell us the same person left the gate open yet again. Someone took the chance and walked into the house and took what they could. Thirdly, you did not switch the alarm system on which was explained to the people who actually lived in the house. You left without alarming the security systems which could have prevented the theft. Fourthly, when i got a call late at night i personally arranged for the owner of the house to be there within a few minutes, for the police to be there in a few minutes and that after 11pm at night time. Staying more then 35km away from the house concerned - there was no need for me to personally be there and also risking driving woman alone at night time. I personally could do nothing that time of the night... All the issues were dealt with immediately by the owner, we put a staff member in the house immediately to stay there permanently and all locks were changed at a high cost due to your negligence of leaving security doors and gates open. The police actually accused your friend of staging the robbery as it was a walk-in. She further gave false information to the police for which she could have been in big trouble for had we not intervened. Let me make it very clear. I am a mother of a daughter as well. I know exactly what one should do in a case like that and i know what is humanly possible. We all did what we could and what we were suppose to have done. No person was "on your own".... never ever -as the owner and police was right there to sort things out. I do not read anything about me arranging all of that? 9. Ah, another interesting topic - your internship. You do not state to the public how many days you actually went to work - was it 2 or 3 days - maybe 4 days? You had a brilliant internship with a brilliant large national company and you disappeared from the company without informing them you were leaving or rather disappearing from the country. Yes, they were looking for you a few days after you left as they were worried about you. It is sad that you discriminate against poor people... frankly they are everywhere in SA... not just in the streets where you worked.... And as for safety, you are the first person ever to comment on that who worked for this firm ..... and there are at least 6 - 8 per year for the past 8 years or more. You were not there a week and you have the nerve to make such uninformed statements? Come on? It is a national advertising company who work for one of the largest companies in Africa....surely they know what they are doing. If they think it is safe to be there - it is safe for everyone else as well. As for public transport - was that the 5 or 10 min you had to use public transport in the 2 or 4 days at work ? All students do that without any complaints or problems. You also failed to mention that there were other interns in the same firm at the same time with whom you could have traveled...just by the way. You should never have come to SA if you were not prepared to accept our city, its people and the incredible beauty it has to offer a foreign students and also live here and experience something that you have clearly never experienced before. That is the exact reason why almost 60 old interns of my company now live here permanently. They loved the people, the atmosphere and the vibe of the city and they made an effort to stay here for more than a week to get to know things first.... You disappeared over-night. I conclude with this. I am over 50 years of age and i am a very responsible and decent business woman. I was one of the first to have an internship company more than 17 years ago here in SA... and we are growing still after all this time. Luckily we do not get many cases like yours as i would loose my mind in that case. People who know our country and who made an effort to walk the streets and meet the people know you have no cooking clue what you are talking about. Cape Town and South Africa, and i include my company and Eli in that as well, are the best possible internship and volunteer partners for students as we are all older, professional people working in one of the most amazing countries in the world. If you dont make an effort to put your head even outside your doors for a week - this is when you write such nonsense on websites as that is exactly what it is. Maybe read more about the experience of people who visit our country and our city and maybe then you will regret what you did and said. Yes, our country has poor people who are also allowed to be in the streets, but when you talk to them, you will learn how fantastic they actually are and how unique your experience could have been. Yes, all humans are not perfect - i gladly am neither, but dont make statements that are uninformed and blatantly untrue. That will remain with you for the rest of your life as you will carry the memories of your actions. I have no time for people who write uninformed letters and post them publicly. It serves no purpose and it merely shows how negative and bitter a person is who dare write such sad reflections. I proudly sign my name as i am proud of my business achievements, the work my interns do and have done, our city and my country !!! Karin Comer
I have never been in an internship with ELI, and I came to this website to look at reviews and see if it's something I would be interested in. I have to say, by the way you reacted to this review and how you represented the company, I will NEVER go through ELI for an abroad trip. Such a shame.
Similar to the other person who commented on this post, I have never done an internship with ELI. After reading this post, I am in total shock. I will never consider ELl and will tell all of my friends and family not to intern/volunteer with this company. What an unprofessional, useless, petty remark you made here. Too bad it is costing you potential candidates. Thank you for making my decision not to use your company that much easier. It would have been a shame to spend all that money BEFORE finding out the true character of the people working at ELI
Totally believe in and agree with people defending their cause and clarifying incorrect information; however, as a professional organization I do think the above comment is a bit out of line and as another reviewer noted quite petty. It'd be interesting to see how ELI responded to their volunteer's comments.. As this feed was posted a while ago I would not necessarily let it keep me away from ELI entirely, though I will follow up with my contact person to see her opinion on this. Is this really how ELI's coordinators treat volunteer feedback?
I don't know what to do anymore, After reading the respond and the way this was handle was just so unprofessional, I really am sad because I was looking at the Marketing internship in South Africa cape town and now i dont even know if I want to go and spend my money with this organization. can someone that took this internship let me know what their experience was this year? or recent? that would be great! but really looking at other places.

Original Volunteers

I volunteered in South Africa with Original Volunteers last year so I made a phone call and the staff members were really helpful to provide me the details and information (which also included things such as what to recommend to bring, etc).

It was my very first experience to do the volunteer abroad, Original Volunteers did a very good job to arrange things such as bookings, airport pick-ups and providing a lot of information so I could get well prepared. Not only that, their website ( http://www.originalvolunteers.co.uk ) also has a very good system that allows you to connect to the people who are/were doing the similar projects, you get to connect to them and ask them for the tips and advice - it's an open social network which has gained my trust.

So I went to the monkey sanctuary in Pretoria, South Africa - there were a lot of monkeys that needed to be taken care of. So I have learnt from the routine also gained the knowledge to customize the nutrition for different types of monkeys.

It was indeed a life changing experience - a beautiful wildlife experience. It turned out to be completely different from what I had experience before from the travels and trips - for me the most enjoyable experience was when everyone worked together and had a good and productive time during the mission. Apart from that, I also got to travel and see around South Africa during my off days.

Overall, I gained a very valuable experience and this mission had changed my mindset and the ways to look things - to be better and Original Volunteers had helped a lot from the first days I found them on Google until I got back here in UK, we still keep in touch to see the opportunities for me to join more of their voluntary projects.

I highly recommend to use Original Volunteers if you would like to involve in volunteer projects.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: South Africa
Posted: Jul 2, 2013
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
9

Global Vision International (GVI)

In February 2012 I volunteered with GVI at an orphanage near Cape Town. From start to finish the experience was unforgettable. On arrival you were instantly made to feel at home. The staff and other volunteers were happy to help you with any questions you had, and within hours I felt comfortable in my surroundings. Before starting work at the orphanage we were given a quick briefing which made me feel confident about the work we were undertaking. Within minutes of arriving at the orphanage I had fallen in love with the kind-hearted yet cheeky children there. Their enthusiasm to learn was inspiring and their English vocabulary was vast, filling me with confidence that the GVI team was doing a great job. It was amazing to watch their eyes light up when it was time for their music lesson and I enjoyed teaching them basic fine motor skills and maths.

Not only does GVI offer some great volunteering experiences, but it also gives you the option to explore some amazing countries. Whilst there I watched the sun set from Table Mountain, visited Robben Island and saw the seals at Seal Island. I honestly cannot wait for my next adventure with GVI!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: South Africa
Posted: Jun 17, 2013
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
8

Askari WCP

Being at Askari was a great, unforgettable experience. The location in the middle of the African bush makes you feel like you are in a different world. Joe and Katie make you very feel welcome and give you a good introduction in wildlife conservation. Their passion and interest in the bush is very inspiring. They both have great knowledge, skills and they know what they are doing and why they are doing it. As a volunteer you participate in everything they do, so you are really contributing to the programme. Thank you so much for the lovely time I had at Askari. I truly hope to come back one day and I will recommend it to anybody who is interested!

Program:
Location: South Africa
Posted: May 23, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Comments

Dear friend, It is good to hear being in Askari was great. Yes African lands are very bushing mostly in Kenya. Can you come again to Africa, Kenya in Maasai land? I will host you for the period of time you may need. Google our website and learn more about our Organization. I will be posting photos for you so that you may have interest of visiting my village. Maasai land is very interesting, as you will meet Moran, Lions, Maasai Manyatta's, Buy and given Maasai Jewelries and many. Thank you for your time!
By utilizing the rich cultural heritage the Organization will create events that benefit the entire community and especially the most in need. The Organization will cooperate with local and International NGOs which will supply the community with Volunteers that will motivate the community in achieving their goals as well to provide the necessary knowledge. The volunteers can teach arrange of subjects including English, Mathematics, Social Studies, Religious education, Science and more. Volunteers are to chose the subjects they teach as they can teach the subject they like but usually specialize in one or two subject. Volunteers are also free to coordinate sports and learn Maasai culture and arts at the end of the day. Many volunteers are also opt to tutor some students during the period.

International Student Volunteers (ISV)

On January 19 2013, I travelled with International Student Volunteers to South Africa for what was undoubtedly the most amazing, rewarding month of my life!

I chose to undertake a conservation project - I worked with 19 other students, 2 amazing ISV leaders and 3 incredible members of the host organisation WEI (Wildlife Ecological Investments) at Masebe Nature Reserve.

Here, we stayed at the local 'Telekishi' community in traditional huts. During the morning, we would wake up nice and early to do bird counts out in the field (by the end of the two weeks we were all expert bird spotters, and could even mimic some of the native bird calls!). After the bird counts, we conducted transects - we essentially measured the vegetation to help WEI identify if the land is suitable for use as a game park. Driving to each site we saw an array of animals including kudu, impala and giraffes! We went for hikes up the nearby cliffs for spectacular views of the area whilst learning about the history of the area by a member of the Telekishi community.

Additionally, we visited the local school – this was so much fun, and incredibly rewarding! We taught the children about the water cycle, and the importance of keeping our waterways clean and unpolluted! Also, we were involved in meetings with adult community members that taught them the importance of caring for the environment.
After two weeks of volunteering, we had to say goodbye to Teleskishi :( - and hello to the adventure tour!

We started off in Jeffrey’s Bay, Port Elizabeth - here, we stayed in awesome beachfront accommodation! This place had a really cool vibe about it; here we had surfing lessons and explored the surf shops.

Then we headed to Tsitsikamma National park, where we went ziplining, hiked along the coast to a brilliant open waterfall, and those of us who were keen bungy jumped off Bloukrans Bridge (216m high - the worlds highest bungy jump – this was amazing!). 


Then we headed along the spectacular garden route to Cape Town. Here, we spent 5 days doing activities such as going up table mountain, visiting Langa township, visiting the local markets, going to a 25m long buffet with African entertainment and face-painting, visiting seal and penguin colonies, and on our free day some of us went shark cage diving!

We then flew up to Johannesburg and drove to Blyde River Canyon; just after we unpacked, we walked outside our accommodation to find kudu walking around, and then sat and watched monkeys playing as the sun went down! Here we went canyoning in the worlds largest green canyon, went river tubing, and relaxed in the pool in our free time.

Our last stop was the amazing Kruger National Park – we went on a night drive and a full day game drive – on both occasions we saw animals such as giraffes, elephants, buffalo, jackals, lions and zebra, among others!

The worst part of the trip was coming home. Volunteering with ISV was an incredible experience - it was very organised, there was a lot of support, we felt very safe, and had the time of our lives! It was such an eye-opening experience, and really made us appreciate everything we have. We all came back with a refreshed perspective on the world, and endeavour carry on ISV's message of 'Impact Your World' back at home.

I’ll definitely be visiting South Africa again!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: South Africa
Posted: May 19, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Askari WCP

Before coming to Askari, I was a very inexperienced traveller. I had never travelled outside of North America and decided that for my first trip I was going to so to South Africa (go big or go home!). But what a trip! This program truly allows you to be part of “the environmental solution” by involving yourself with a wilderness reserve that has the ecosystem and its inhabitants in its best interest. The experiences that I have had over these past few weeks are indescribable to say the least. Let’s just say I’m already saving for my next visit.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: South Africa
Posted: May 15, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Askari WCP

" I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I signed up for the Askari programme. I never worked overseas before. I can honestly say I was a bit nervous but also excited. From the moment we met Katie and Joe, they were immediately bombarded with questions from our group, and they were friendly and knowledgeable to answer them. The types of activities were amazing and varied enough to give a good sense of the day to day activities that go on here. Overall, it was an insightful and exciting time on Pidwa. We were well fed and the facilities we stayed in were great. The staff were very knowledgeable and friendly. And my main concern coming here was safety – not once did I feel any activity done through Askari was unsafe. This has been an amazing time and will be a key moment in my life! "

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: South Africa
Posted: May 14, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Askari WCP

Askari is one of those stand out experiences you never forget. My hopes for the trip were to see the South African mammals and contribute to their management and conservation. Thanks to the Askari team, especially Joe and Katie for making this possible and for sharing a part of their knowledge and skills in such an inspiring way. The longer my stay, the more I saw how fascinating and diverse South Africa’s wild creatures are – not just the mammals! The ferocious, semi-nomadic soldier ants (matabele), the giant nest building hammerkop and the huge, fearsome martial eagle. There is a great range of activities that take place and always something new to learn. The management philosophy at Pidwa respects the resilience and complexity of the reserve ecosystem and aims to protect these values with the least amount of human intervention necessary – it is an amazing place to be.

Program:
Location: South Africa
Posted: Apr 17, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Askari WCP

"A really amazing project. A stunning reserve. Although I did my research I wasn't prepared for such a rewarding experience. I couldn't expect how much I would learn and enjoy during my stay. I regret my 6 weeks were not 6 months. The project involves us in such wonderful tasks that are at the same time important and very much needed in order to maintain such an amazing place. The tasks and routines are part of a system that seems to have been built and shaped over all the years, nearly to perfection. Every week, every month has something new and exciting to offer. It is impossible to regret coming here (except the shortness of the stay, for even 6 months may not be enough), the amazing staff and the unique wilderness make sure of it."

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: South Africa
Posted: Mar 25, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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