Great Lion Project Experience

Great Lion Project Experience

Posted by Sam Hopkins on 28th Nov 2014

Here at The Great Projects, we are always thrilled to hear about how a volunteer has got along at one of our wildlife conservation projects. This month, the team at 'The Great Lion Project' in South Africa have been kind enough to send a review from volunteer Diondra, who has just returned from the project. It makes for a fantastic read so have a look below!

"I had no idea what to expect when I decided to visit 'The Great Lion Project'- but nothing could have prepared me for all the amazing things I would experience in the weeks to come.

My first day started with a bang as the other volunteers and I were rushed off to assist in the transport of a Sable Antelope being purchased by another reserve. I was thrilled to see one of these beautiful antelope up close,and it took 10 staff and volunteers to carry the enormous sedated male from the Sable paddock to the transport trailer - they are pretty hefty animals!

On Selati the excitement never stops, so immediately after the Sable escapade, we were told that our help was needed on the front line of the controlled fire in the North of the reserve! Controlled burning not only reduces the chance of wildfires getting out of control by eliminating thick underbrush and grass, but it also stimulates new plant growth and enriches the soil. The other volunteers and I worked with the staff around the clock to sweep the fire away from the areas which needed to avoid burning, and spent several days after patrolling the roadways extinguishing the remaining small fires and keeping them in check.

The work was intense and days were long, but my fellow volunteers made the experience so much more fun with their positive attitudes, and in my time here I know I have made friends for life. The following week, I was surprised and thrilled to learn that the other volunteers and I would be assisting the facilitators in tracking and dehorning some of the reserves rhinos. We were part of the ground team, waiting patiently for the rhinos to be spotted and sedated from the helicopter before moving in to remove the horn, identify the rhinos with ear notching, and taking DNA samples.

Everyone had to work very quickly, but nothing can compare to being so close to these magnificent animals, and I will never forget it. As if that weren't enough, we had a chance encounter with four of the lions strolling casually down the road past our truck that very same day – it was incredible!

Even when things returned to "business as usual,'' the rest of October did not disappoint, because every game drive is unique and entertaining. The end of the month brought some fantastic sightings of the lions, including a very close visual of Mbhurri, Dela, Mfuti, Matumi and Acacia feasting on a Waterbuck kill. What an amazing ending to a very unique and exciting month for me and the rest of the volunteers - one that I will never forget.

I have had the opportunity to do and see things here that I could never experience anywhere else, and nothing could replace the memories and friendships I have made here. The staff here are a fountain of knowledge, and every game drive is a chance to see and learn something new. My advice for new volunteers? Expect the unexpected, keep a positive attitude, an open mind, and every day here will be a greater adventure than the day before - your only regret will be not staying longer!"


Wow – thanks Diondra and 'The Great Lion Project' Team – it sounds like a fantastic experience you had! If you would like to join this fantastic lion project, then please don't hesitate to get in contact with us via phone (+44(0)208 885 4987) or email ([email protected]) and one of our team will be happy to answer any questions which you may have.

Have a great weekend everyone – TGP Team.


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Contact Info
UK Office
The Great Traveller Ltd,
3 Dairy Yard
Star Street
Ware, Hertfordshire
SG12 7DX
United Kingdom

Opening hours:
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   Sat 10am-4pm

T: +44(0) 208 885 4987