Askari WCP

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10 / 10 after 91 Reviews Based on overall, support & value average ratings
Program website: http://www.askariwcp.com

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Breathtaking scenery, stunning wildlife sightings and some amazing hands on activities are just a few things that make Askari so special. The staff are incredibly knowledgeable and so welcoming you immediately feel part of a team that is truly making a difference for conservation in Africa. Although the days are well planned with a mix of activities, sometimes you never know what the day will bring. We had some days where plans changed due to new animal arrivals or unexpected maintenance or just such an amazing animal sighting that you lose track of time. I have been lucky enough to go to Askari twice for a total of 7 months and would go back again. I have 1000’s of photos of the amazing experiences I have had there-staring into a lion’s eyes, tracking and walking in on a cheetah coalition, being surrounded by elephants and seeing brown hyena. At the end of each day you head back to the fantastic house you stay in and share a home cooked meal with new friends. I can not recommend Askari enough. The experience will change your life and leave you wanting to return again and again.

Program:
Location:
Posted: December 2, 2010
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:
New User

My time at Askari has been nothing short of magical. I have seen and done things I could never have dreamed of and all under the supervision of friendly, helpful and knowledgeable staff. The program is perfect for anyone with a conservation background and anyone with just a keen interest in the area. No prior knowledge is assumed so everyone starts in the same boat.

It is an incredible place to come to and the perfect opportunity to volunteer. It’s the first program I’ve done that I can wholeheartedly endorse to the extent that I have now visited twice. In total, I have spent 4.5 months there, and running the risk of sounding too cliché, they were the best months of my life. Bar none.

The setting is beautiful and peaceful, the accommodation immense, the food fantastic and the leaders superb. I’m not given to hyperbole, but no words can do this experience justice.

I won’t be able to list all of the activities here, but I will share a few of my favorites.

Cheetah tracking: A couple of the cheetahs have radio collars that can be picked up using telemetry equipment that each volunteer is taught to use. They live in a separate section of the reserve without lions, so once we got as far as we could in the vehicle, we were able to go in and track them on foot and get extraordinarily close to such incredible creatures.

Camp out: I was nervous at first, but this turned into one of my favorites the second time around. Once a month, you take a sleeping bag and various other supplies, set up camp somewhere in the bush and light a fire for warmth and light during the night. Volunteers take shifts through the night to watch out for any nearby game. It was an incredible experience to just be there with no electric fence between you and whatever happened to be walking by.

Research drives: About twice a week we would drive one of four set routes to count and determine the age and sex of all the herbivores we could see. We collected data on it all, which was then inputted and relayed to the reserve manager.

Alien plant eradication: Plants that were not native to the area were the target of poisoning and physical removal. We injected the succulents with a poison and sprayed another alien plant – lantana. We also tried a biological measure in the form of a microscopic beetle (it looks like a white paste).

Road clearing: We took pangas (a little like machetes) and hacked away at the vegetation that was overgrowing the roads. We had saws and clippers, too, but I found they were not nearly as satisfying!

Random sightings: We would never pass by a lion or a rhino just because we were on the way somewhere. We would stop and record data as well as sit and admire the beauty, grace and power before us. Most of the larger animals have identification kits, so we would know exactly who we were looking at. There were also plenty of opportunities for pictures – I came home with well over 1000! Because we were out an about so much, these sightings were quite frequent and sometimes we got some relatively rare sightings. We saw lions, rhinos, cheetahs and more rarely, leopards, servals and other small cats.

There are many other things that I have neglected to
mention, but just listing the activities does very little justice to
the overall experience of volunteering at Askari. I loved being an
hour away from a major town and living in a house that was surrounded
by a game reserve so we could hear the lions roaring and the elephants
cracking trees at night. The light pollution was so low that the stars
were the most incredible I’ve ever seen. I learned to find true south
from the Southern Cross, and we were also able to see the Milky Way
due to clearness of the sky.



The whole place was so well organized – the days were planned out with
everyone having different duties each day (nothing too demanding) and
usually three major activities per day. All the people were great and
I never felt looked down upon for being a volunteer. From Katie and
Joe who ran Askari to Pierre and Sue who ran Pidwa to the students, we
were made to feel welcome and valued by everyone. I would recommend
going for at least two months because the one month goes by before you
even realized you started.


It isn’t one of those volunteer programs where the project is running and the volunteers are extras. Here the volunteers are vital for the functioning of the program. We were always doing something important and were always aware of the rationale behind every activity. I felt like I was somewhere I was needed;
I was making a noticeable contribution and was respected at the same
time. I have participated in other volunteer opportunities in the past and
only realized when I got there that they were more interested in the
money than the cause or the experience. Askari is vastly different
from that. They have an entire orientation series to make sure that
you know why you are doing each and every activity you do. No two days
are the same, so no matter how long you choose to stay, there’s no
risk of getting bored or feeling undervalued.


Everyone there believes in the cause and is dedicated to imparting
that belief upon each volunteer. The volunteers are embraced as an essential asset to the ongoing work at Pidwa and to keeping the dream
alive.
There’s no need to exaggerate what Askari has to offer, because I’m
not sure there’s anything else they could do. If you want to make a
valuable contribution to South Africa’s wildlife preservation, Pidwa 
is the perfect opportunity.

Program:
Location:
Posted: December 1, 2010
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:
New User

Unforgettable experience! You would definitely come out with knowledge that you can share with others. Every day here is exciting because you would never know what might be around every corner. Volunteers would get themselves involved with all sorts of wilderness conservation; road clearing, injecting alien plant life, data capture around the reserve etc. Everyday is guaranteed to bring plenty of laughs and you will learn new and exciting experiences while working with professionals.
Unforgettable! Unmissable! Sensational!

Program:
Location:
Posted: December 1, 2010
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: ab2410
Age:
New User

Hands on Safari. Nothing beats Askari!!!!
Katie and Joe tell you all they know.
You wil...
Hang with cheetah Boys and live out all your joys.
Great food,saftey and fun. You even shoot a gun.
If I can return, I will try to avoid the sun burn... Ahhhhhh.....

Program:
Location:
Posted: April 20, 2010
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
9
By: Anonymous
Age:

We had a really great time in Askari Wilderness lodge. We learned heaps about the animals and environment and got to see lots of it too! It was amazing to be part of a project that you know is def helping the environment and having fun in the sun at the same time! The guides there are superb, they work and play hard and are always up for a laugh. They know they're stuff too and will always tell you interesting things and give you stuff to think about. Askari was one fo my favourite holidays ever.

Program:
Location:
Posted: March 26, 2010
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: Anonymous
Age:

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