South Africa

Global Vision International (GVI)

I did the GVI internship on April last year. For that I spent 3 months on a game reserve and another 3 months in a work place.
First thing you should know: game reserves are, above everything else, a business. There's no truly wild place in South Africa. Being the property of someone and a profitable business, it must be managed. I would say the reserve is like a zoo without cages.
For that, we need to give way to the tourists satying at the lodges, going on game drives. As I said, the reserve is a business, and a lot of wrong decisions can be made, not regarding the well being of the wildlife. What we in our time in GVI is locating everyday the lions and the semi-imprinted cheetah (which sometimes you will get out of the vehicle and go into the block to locate her on foot). We take basic data as behaviour, location and wheater conditions and type it at the computer back at base. Only the volunteer responsible for data on that specific drive will do it, though. Other activities during drive include operating the telemetry equipment, doing vehicle check before drive, operating the spotlight on the way back to base when it's already dark.
We collect data on other animals we might come across, like rhinos, elephants, buffalos, hyenas, etc. But these we do not track, so it's not the priority to locate first, coming across them only by chance or if we have time left after finding the "key" animals.
Sometimes volunteers will do other tasks such as reserve work by cleaning the roads, educational bush walks, base work (which is a rotation of volunteers to look after the base - cooking, cleaning - during the day).
As an intern, you will have some extra activities that the common volunteers don't. That would be basically for your education about the bush and conservation through game reserves. You will have a few lectures and will have to do some assignments. You will have a mentor to talk about your goals. And you will learn about tracks, birds and trees. But most of your knowledge, will come from your own effort. There as several books available at base and staff members willing to answer your questions. But if you don't commit yourself with your self education, you won't learn as much as you could.
There's three bathrooms, two of them with shower (not the best of showers, but at least there's hot water). Currently there are three dorms for volunteers. Most of the matress are very old and used and you will sleep on bunk beds. It's something you can get used to quickly, sleep in a room full of people and later on you can even miss it. Most of volunteers go to bed early, before 9, as we need to get up before the sun rise. The meals are prepared by the volunteers in charge, a pre made menu that can be adjusted to any diet requirements.

My second part of the program was spent in CROW (Centre for Rehabilitation of Wildlife) based on Durban. Even if I had all the help from GVI to get there, with tips of flights, places to stay and transport, I had to deal with the costs.
CROW has nothing to do with GVI except the booking, so I won't give the feedback of my time there here. But I got there thanks to GVI. When calculating the fee for volunteering at CROW, through GVI the value is around 4 to 5 times more. So if you're interested, I recommend booking directly with CROW and not any travel or volunteering agency.

The cost for internship or volunteering with GVI is very high. There are plenty of game reserves that take volunteers for much less. Of course I can only talk about my experience with GVI, and in general I'm really thankful that it started a 2 year journey through South Africa. In the end was definetely worth it. I will always remember my time at the reserve and cherish deeply as one of the greatest moments of my life.

I recommend this program for whoever wants to do a safari in South Africa and take good pictures while making friends and getting closer to the environment. Is a much better way to know the wildlife and also to keep yourself busy during a trip. You will have an amazing experience. It just wouldn't be my first option for an educational internship.

Program:
Location: South Africa
Posted: Oct 24, 2016
Overall:
8
Support:
9
Value:
1

Daktari Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage

We Went to volunteer in South Africa at DAKTARI Bush School & Animal Orphanage because we wanted to show our teenage sons (17 & 15) a "real" South African bush with its animals, people and scenery.
Our stay exceeded all expectations! Upon arrival, inclusion by the staff and other volunteers was wonderfully warm & easy. Accomodations simple yet Clean. The work with the animals and teaching Children was fun, interesting and rewarding : as active professionals my husband and I are extremely busy in our Daily lives... here, the whole family relaxed and the one week we spent, felt like one month.

it was the most wonderful experience and adventure we have had as a family! We highly recommend it!

Program:
Location: South Africa
Posted: Sep 2, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Daktari Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage

This was the perfect volunteering experience for a first time solo traveller, and I would definitely recommend it!

Program:
Location: South Africa
Posted: Aug 29, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Projects Abroad

Over summer vacation I had the chance to spend three weeks in Cape Town, South Africa. Projects Abroad provided me with the unique opportunity to volunteer in the field of Physical Therapy while being immersed in a different country and culture. I volunteered at the Friend's Day Centre on the Alexandra Hospital Grounds in Maitland. I worked with staff on improving the strength and flexibility of individuals with severe disabilities. The facility had a jacuzzi which allowed me to gain experience with hydrotherapy. The project allowed me to be very hands on which was great. The projects abroad staff was great with supporting me before and during the trip. They provide you with your own webpage on everything you will need to know for your trip and what you will need to bring. Upon arrival a Projects Abroad staff member picked me up from the airport and brought me to my host family who was incredible. Within the first few days a staff member brought me around the city to get anything I needed and show me how to use public transportation to get around. They called and met with me multiple times to make sure I was comfortable!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: South Africa
Posted: Jul 22, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Comments

Askari WCP

"To put this wonderful experience into words is nearly impossible but I will try. Firstly Ed and Katie are 2 of the nicest people you could wish to meet. Their knowledge is amazing and enthusiasm to pass it on makes you want to try and use this knowledge to better yourself. The physical activities were very enjoyable and made you feel like you were really contributing something positive to the projects. We arrived as individuals and 4 weeks later leave as a very close knit team having experienced so much together. Anybody thinking of coming here, stop thinking and book your trip. I promise you will not regret it for a second and the experience will stay with you forever. Askari is a priceless diamond in the South African crown and must stay that way. Thank you so much for everything. "

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: South Africa
Posted: Jul 14, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Askari WCP

My second visit to Askari was even more amazing than my first - and I never thought I'd be able to match the first one! Every day is a new and different experience & adventure whilst at the same time contributing to the important conservation work that the reserve is dedicated to. There is a great variety in the tasks and the animal sightings, whilst never guaranteed, are always breath taking. Katie and Ed are amazing teachers and every volunteer leaves with so much knowledge, understanding and appreciation for the South African bush - plants, insects, animals and birds. If you want to get involved, get hands on with conservation work and have the experience of a lifetime then I can't recommend Askari highly enough. I can't wait to get back for another visit :)

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: South Africa
Posted: Jun 29, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Askari WCP

I felt privileged to work as a volunteer at Askari for a month, that I could share in the vision of a wilderness reserve managed for habitat and wildlife conservation as the first and only priority. And have such fun doing it! We slept under the stars one night and watched the sunrise with lions roaring in the distance. We watched hyaenas play, elephants wander up close, and lion cubs tumbling about under their mother's watchful gaze. A cheetah brought down an impala and fed with her cubs right outside the front gate - amazing to see. We rescued trees strangled by wire and murdered more prickly pear than I can remember. Thanks so much to the Askari staff Katie & Ed, and Pidwa staff Andrew and Elricht for their incredible knowledge, good company and honesty about the management dilemmas facing wilderness reserves and national parks under pressure on a crowded planet. It was a great experience -- highly recommend it!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: South Africa
Posted: Jun 14, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Askari WCP

Askari is a unique volunteer project that has real conservation goals. Whilst volunteering I learned so much you would never learn in another safari type experience. At the same time staying in a beautiful place with wonderful people, made great friends, had lots of fun, and contributed to the real conservation of South African ecosystems. The staff are friendly and knowledgable and the accomodation is beautiful and comfortable. Overall, definitely an amazing experience!!

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

Askari WCP

Before coming to Askari I was very nervous but excited and I didn’t really know what to expect. But as soon as I arrived Ketie and Ed were so welcoming and I felt at ease straight away. Over the past month has been the most amazing experience. I’ve had opportunities to see Lions, Elephant, Honey Badgers and many more. I’ve learned so many things from all the different animal species to birds. We also had very full-on activities like darting Sable which was incredible a very special couple of days I’ve enjoyed every single moment here and it’s been a life time opportunity doing this amazing programme. I’ve met some amazing people and a big thanks to Katie and Ed for making this experience the best!!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: South Africa
Posted: Dec 4, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Daktari Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage

Ever since I first visited Daktari (over 9 years ago, not as a volunteer but as a friend) I made a promise to myself that I will come back but as a volunteer.
I finally did and it was even better than I imagined. I spent three weeks at Daktari teaching children, looking after the animals living there and mostly laughing and having fun with the other volunteers. The whole team at Daktari are great, they made me feel at home even before putting down my bags.
The work that is done at daktari is amazing, what Ian & Michele have created is really something worth taking your hat off to. Having lived and worked there for a couple of weeks, you really appreciated the amount of hard work that is put into it, they are literally changing most of these children's lives with the knowledge they give them during their week at Daktari.
It may sound exaggerated (I promis it isn’t) but the time I spent at Daktari was one of the best experiences of my life, just participating a tiny bit in what they are doing is a great honor and I was very proud to be part of it.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: South Africa
Posted: Dec 3, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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