South Africa

Projects Abroad

My name is Hannah Elliott-Higgins and I am currently a junior studying psychology and art/art history at the College of William and Mary in Virginia. During my senior year of high school, I spent some time debating the idea of taking a gap year and volunteering before heading off to college but eventually decided against this idea as the excitement of starting college set in. However, half way through my sophomore year of college I began to think again about how wonderful it would be to be able to take some time to simple volunteer and experience the world through my own eyes and not through a strictly scholarly lens.

I worked with a gap year/semester coordinator to decided what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to work with children and if possible work with those with developmental disabilities. I was put in contact with Projects Abroad South Africa (Cape Town) and I could not be happier with the way everything went. From my first email contact with Projects Abroad I could tell it would be a wonderful experience. They were prompt to respond, answered every question I had, and provided me with all the information regarding my placement and living situation in a very timely manner.

During my time in Cape Town, I volunteered at the Sunrise Special Care Centre 5 days a week and had the weekends to myself. I absolutely loved the work, which consisted of basic occupational therapy and physical therapy as well as care taking. There was a bit of an age range with the majority of the children being between the ages of 6 and 14 and then a few young adults (early 20s). Everyone I worked with was kind and welcoming and spoke very highly of being there past Projects Abroad volunteers. Every week, I would meet with volunteers from other projects to talk with one of the volunteer coordinators from Projects Abroad. If there were any issues, they were always available to help out.

I lived with a host family who lived one street over from the Sunrise Special Care Centre and I cannot speak highly enough of them. They were wonderful and made me feel completely at home.They gave me and the two other volunteers I lived with breakfast, lunch, and dinner and the mother was a wonderful cook. I have certain dietary restrictions and they were wonderful about making accommodations for me.

Overall, this was an incredible experience for me and I would strongly recommend Projects Abroad for anyone who is looking to take a gap year, semester, or even just a few weeks off doing service work. It is an unforgettable time and I would do it over again in a heartbeat.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: South Africa
Posted: Feb 9, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

African Impact

It is really difficult to put into words how fantastic this entire experience was. Several months returned from my three weeks at Thanda and I still can not stop smiling.

I was very very nervous, having never traveled much before, and certainly never having traveled alone. But from the minute I landed in Durban and was greeted by African Impact staff, I felt completely at ease. Everything was explained right away, I was never guessing where I needed to be or what I needed to be doing. The staff there is incredible. Everyone from the guides to the business managers to the cooks was incredibly friendly and helpful and cheerful. The happiness and joy is contagious, even when you are in a new environment and very jet-lagged!

The first day included a lot of orientation. All of the information we needed was presented to us, which was a LOT of information, but necessary to have. The project aims orientation was very intense as well; there is a lot to learn and remember! I would definitely recommend reading through the information they give you via email ahead of time!

I felt like I really knew the importance of the data we were collected, and exactly how it was being used. It was great that members of the wildlife management team, the ecologist, APU, etc, were often stopping by for dinner or joining us on projects. It allowed us to really understand everything that goes into maintaining a healthy reserve and how the work we were doing helped this.

I feel like I accomplished quite a bit in three weeks, and I left feeling like I had really done my part towards a cause I care greatly about! On top of that, I had so much fun! Great friends, great times. All together, a life changing experience.

Program:
Location: South Africa
Posted: Dec 23, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Comments

Thank you so much for this wonderful testimonial. We are thrilled that you found value in the program, that you understood and enjoyed your contribution to our conservation efforts and had such a great time. We hope to welcome you back on project soon! Best, The African Impact Team

Daktari Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage

I have spent 5 weeks in Daktari Bush School and Wildlife Orphanage, an amazing program that allows volunteers to work with local children as much as with wild animals. The perfect mix! Not only you teach the children about saving environment, animals and other matters, but you also learn about them and their way of life which is quite different from ours. It's very enriching, and I would say that you learn from them as much as they learn from you. You also work and live among the animals, and the arrival of a new one is always very exciting!
Volunteers also have the possibility to meet local people from the near village, by spending a night within a family. A unique experience I highly recommend...
Daktari is a family size program, on the day you arrive you immediately meet all the people that work here, including the foundators, and you quickly feel like at home. The relationship with other volunteers is great because everybody is very willing, and you can meet people of every ages and from every places of the world.
Finally, when volunteering at Daktari, I would say that you feel very useful and it is an experience you will never forget.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: South Africa
Posted: Nov 20, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Askari WCP

My 4 week stay at Askari was the most amazing time of my life. I wish I could have stayed longer. Learning about conservation in South Africa along with doing activities that will help towards conservation was an absolutely amazing experience. Ed and Katie are amazing leaders and teachers. Once you go you will want to keep going back!! I am looking forward to when I can go back and contribute again.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: South Africa
Posted: Oct 9, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Askari WCP

I had the experience of a lifetime during my month at Askari. We participated in a wide range of exciting and worthwhile activities on the reserve during our stay, with every day bringing something new and unexpected! Some highlights included darting a sable, receiving deliveries of zebra and buffalo, learning how to drive a 4x4 and having hyaenas visit our camp whilst sleeping out under the stars. A typical day included an animal based activity, for example a game drive to collect data on the herbivores, and a reserve management activity such as lantana spraying, fence painting or road clearing.

The volunteer house is large, clean and spacious and there is a pool and running track to exercise on. The meals are large and varied and vegetarians are extremely well catered for.

I learned so much about wildlife, conservation and reserve management from our guides, who were incredibly knowledgeable, patient and easy going. I highly recommend this programme to anyone who wants to develop of range of new skills in the African bush and make a meaningful contribution to wilderness conservation. Book the longest stay that you can - once you get there you will not want to leave!!

Program:
Location: South Africa
Posted: Sep 14, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Askari WCP

The Askari volunteer program was one of the best things I have ever done. I was there for four weeks and had the most amazing time. Apart from all the amazing animal sightings, I never would have thought I could have learned so much and get involved in so many exciting projects in the time I was there. The program is well structured, with each day full of activities. You get involved in a variety of things, from monitoring animal populations, to the maintenance of the reserve, to the special breeding and reintroduction programs for a variety of different species. The accommodation is excellent with plenty of food and space, and the staff are fantastic - extremely welcoming, enthusiastic and professional. I would recommend the program with no hesitation.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: South Africa
Posted: Sep 13, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Askari WCP

My time at Askari was by far one of the best things I've ever done. When we planned the trip I knew that it was going to be good but I had no idea it would be so amazing. The staff - Katie and Joe (and Ed!) - were so helpful and got everyone involved in the activities. The program itself was packed full of cool stuff to do and so we were busy a lot of the time. Activities included going on extensive game drives, helping to upkeep the pathways and fences, protecting vulnerable trees and doing river clean ups. As well as this we also got to do some rifle shooting, 4x4 driving, a sleepout in the reserve plus see LOADS of amazing animals on the way. Basically, if you want a holiday where you're not just sitting around the whole time, this is definitely the one for you, it's an amazing experience.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: South Africa
Posted: Sep 4, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

No Regrets

I have just got back from the Frontier South Africa Wildlife Project. Hand on heart, I had the best experience ever. Before this trip I had traveled independently in 4 countries. But now I have become to realize that these trips were just normal holidays. Nothing can prepare you for the South Africa project. From nursing cubs to cleaning out cages. The best way to get your hands dirty and making a huge difference. Oh and we got to go to the beach on the weekends, wish i could surf, best waves apparently.
For anyone thinking of going, just do it.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: South Africa
Posted: Sep 3, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Cross-Cultural Solutions

CCS's in-country staff were amazing. We have been to South Africa on similar experiences two previous times, and can say that CCS offered the most genuine cultural experience of the groups with whom we've worked.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: South Africa
Posted: Jun 6, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

I spent three weeks at a baboon orphanage in Sout Africa specialised on raising orphaned Chacma baboons aiming to release them back into the wild. The orphanage is located in a private game reserve close to Kruger Park with the beautiful Olifants river and all the wild animals just right “on your doorstep”. Not to mention all the wild baboons hanging around near the enclosures.
I liked to help raising the little baboons as well as looking after those animals who we rescued from laboratories or other horrible living conditions and have now found safe place to spend the rest of their life. We worked in one hour shifts along a well prepared schedule, so that all volunteers had to do a very diverse range of work: from nursiging the baby baboons to renovating enclosures, collecting food or organisational tasks. It was never boring. Work was always rewarding because it was obvious that help was needed and all the work was so useful. I enjoyed to learn new skills like talking “baboon” or building hammocks from fire hoses. And is was a wonderful chance to get near to our very close relatives.
I met a very committed staff and and volunteers including the long-term volunteers. Talking to these friendly people I learned a lot of interesting things about life in South Africa. That was helpful for my further travelling. I enjoyed the daily communal dinner.
To make it short: I would recommend this volunteering opportunity to all people who want to get into real contact with animals, who enjoy living in the wilderness for some time, and who want to feel useful during there volunteer work.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: South Africa
Posted: May 4, 2014
Overall:
8
Support:
8
Value:
9

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - South Africa