Endangered Wildlife Conservation - Volunteer Reviews

SOUTH AFRICA

Read what our volunteers say about their time volunteering

Olivia - 2019

“My volunteering experience was amazing, I learned and experienced so much while I was there. I was there for the darting and recollaring of a lioness, my group was also the first ever to witness the three-one month old cheetah cubs belonging to a mother who’s GPS collar unfortunately no longer works. It was an unforgettable experience, I hope to volunteer with the organisation again in the future.

What did you find most rewarding?

Just being able to be a part of something that’s actually conserving endangered species. What’s rewarding is spending a long rainy day tracking for an animal and finally finding it and seeing that it is okay.

What did you find most challenging?

Getting up so early in the morning, but it’s worth it!

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?

Mainly pack walking trousers, a good set of waterproofs and warm layers if going in their winter.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?

Because personally to me they stood out amongst all the other volunteering organisations!

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer?

Yes”

Ailbhe – 2019

“We had an amazing time. We helped our two monitors track animals with collars to check they were fit and healthy and help keep tabs on them (making sure they weren't injured and didn't escape etc.).

The monitors are wonderful... so friendly and accommodating... And uMkhuse is just wonderful. Stunning views and great fun scooting about on dirt tracks trying to track down the animals.

I have never done safari and after this experience, I don't think I ever will. Volunteering is much more rewarding and you get a unique experience that just couldn't be possible on Safari, plus you give back to the animals with your time as well as the money. I highly recommend it to everyone.

What did you find most rewarding?

Feeling like you were making a difference when you helped track the animals successfully and were able to do other little things to help the project, e.g. cook for the monitors, donate essential items like rechargeable batteries and car sponges, and to feel like the time you gave really helped make the lives of the monitors easier.

What did you find most challenging?

The early starts as I like my sleep but if I had really wanted I could have taken a morning off and have a lie in when I wanted but I didn't choose to because I didn't want to miss anything ha ha!

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?

Bring layers and a hot water bottle as it is freezing in the mornings but get warm before you get back to camp so you will want to remove layers as it heats up. I also recommend glasses or pale sunnies to keep the wind out of your eyes when you are driving at night so you don't miss a brief sighting if you are wearing dark sunnies. Also, a heads up, the vehicle can get quite bouncy and you spend most of your time sitting so stretch when you can and be mindful that you can bounce about a good bit when tracking animals closely and on the move, just in case you have back problems or anything that doesn't cope well with vibrations and being jostled about. But this part is the most fun in my opinion!!”

Tina – 2018

"With each project you get to be part of real conservation, learning from amazingly dedicated and knowledgeable wildlife monitors, being part of a small team of international volunteers that very quickly become your bush family and hopefully lifelong friends, and of course seeing the wildlife. There is nothing like having an African elephant walk directly down the road towards you, seeing a lion napping under a tree, and spotting an African Wild Dog pack. These are experiences that most people will never have.

Though sometimes you may not find the animals you are looking for, there is no shortage of things to see. There is amazing bird life, plants and trees, as well as other animals all around the reserves. You will quickly learn the difference between a nyala and an impala! There are a lot of photo opportunities as well as time to get to know your monitor and team better, and just being in South Africa and taking in the natural surroundings is enough. While not all of the work is easy or pretty, you know that what you are doing is actually making a difference to the conservation and future of these animals and the reserves."

Chris – 2018

"I think what I enjoyed the most about the trip was that I didn’t feel like I was a tourist being catered to, I felt like I had a job to do every day and that I had to pitch in. I loved being in the middle of the park, without the amenities of home; it was an excellent time to visit with other volunteers and reflect upon the morning or afternoon experiences.

You will experience the ups and downs of conservation, understand the struggles against poaching and loss of habitat, work with knowledgeable and passionate people, and you’ll see and encounter wild experiences that you will take with you for a lifetime."

Find out more about the Endangered Wildlife Conservation project

AWARDS AND ACCREDITATIONS

  • Tourism Concern
  • Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust
  • Right Tourism
  • DOFE
  • theguardian
  • the independent
  • Sunday Times
  • Year Out Group
  • Best Volunteering Organisation
  • Wall Street Journal