I’m volunteering in Africa to educate myself and others on rhino poaching and conservation. Because: out of sight, out of mind. I’m guilty of it too. And with everything going on in the world today it’s hard to keep up. I’m also looking forward to meeting like minded people and disconnecting from the constant business of life in London.
If you’ve never volunteered before, have a read of this blog post ‘Volunteering and my biggest travel regret‘ by Bex Band – The Ordinary Adventurer to check in with yourself about the reason you’re going and things to think about to ensure the volunteering opportunity is sustainable.
Where I’m going
To everyone who has asked me so far, I just smile and say I can’t pronounce it but I know it starts with ‘M’. It’s called Mpumalanga and it’s in South Africa, bordering Swaziland and Mozambique. I actually looked at the map today when my Travel Clinic doctor asked me where I was going specifically, so she could recommend the right vaccinations. The project is called Care for Wild Africa, previously Khulula if you’ve been following them as long as I have. The UK company that helps coordinate your travel plans is called the African Conservation Experience.
When I’m going
January 2017 for three weeks. I don’t think I’ll be complaining about no hot water with a weather forecast of around 30 degrees or more. The decision behind going in January was purely because after quitting my job to travel around Vietnam and Cambodia, it made sense to go to South Africa before looking for work again.
How did I find out about it?
When I was volunteering at the RSPCA back in Australia, a fellow volunteer told me about the Khulula project and her plans to volunteer there. The pictures she showed me have stayed with me ever since, including sleeping next to young orphaned rhinos that have just lost their mother. I’ve now known about Care for Wild Africa for six years and have followed their story since that day. Care for Wild Africa became more well known last year in 2015 when Prince Harry himself volunteered there.
Who am I going with?
I’m travelling solo from London. I’ve been told that Care for Wild Africa generally has around seven volunteers at a time depending on the time of year, and can have up to around 15 volunteers. Accommodation including bathroom and toilet is shared with three others.
What will I be doing?
Well! I’m told that if I’m not fit, I will be by the time I leave. Imagine walking up and down a hill, carrying milk to the rhinos. I’ve been told to expect night shift, emergency care situations and lots of hard but rewarding care work for the rhinos. Whilst you don’t need to be studying animal care or veterinary science, some volunteers at Care for Wild Africa are there for work experience in relation to their studies. Maybe I’ll learn once and for all if I could ever be a Vet. There’s other wildlife there too and I look forward to learning about each and every one of them.
How is it funded?
From direct donations, courses about animal care and volunteers like me. The cost to volunteer for three weeks is around £2500. This includes accommodation, meals and a donation to the project.