Volunteer Experiences - Shamwari Conservation Experience

Volunteer Experiences - Shamwari Conservation Experience

Posted by Connor Whelan on 26th Nov 2015

Todays volunteer review comes from Liz and her trip to the Shamwari Conservation Centre in South Africa. Have a read of what Liz got up to on her trip!

What would you say was the highlight of your trip?

The fulfilment of working in a great team, doing small things to help support this amazing reserve with an awe inspiring range and density of wildlife. My wildlife highlights were many and varied, but top 3 would be: monitoring herds of elephants and getting to know them by name, assisting on a surgery on a rhino savagely de-horned by poachers, and coming across beautiful and intimidating lions several times while out and about.

South Africa Elephant

Would you like to venture back to the project or even take on some new volunteering trips?

I hope to go back again next year for a longer stint. I would also like to volunteer at other centres. It’s so much more of a fulfilling break from work than just looking at things, it’s total immersion.

Do you have any expert tips for new travellers?

Be reasonably fit, as every morning is physical work, though not too hard. Pack everything on the list even the woollies, as early morning and at night it can be very cold, particularly in winter/spring.

South Africa Lion

Did the trip inspire you to help with animal conservation in any other way?

Yes, I’m now assisting on the Activate panel of Born Free, who have a big cat rescue centre at Shamwari and who campaign to keep wild animals wild and prevent abuses in captivity. The Activate panel co-ordinates particular campaigns and we write letters to politicians and leaders to request action. It’s great to have a voice not just be part of the silent majority.

Why do you think others need to experience travel?

The right kind of travel gives you a holiday from yourself – meeting a range of inspiring people, exploring different horizons, doing different things. All of these things help rewire your brain to remove previous worries and give you fresh perspective and energy. And you often surprise yourself by doing and trying things on holiday that you wouldn’t do at home, which is great for building confidence. Without all that, it’s too easy to settle into a rut of our daily concerns and not lift up our heads to look at the horizon and the possibilities, and life just trundles on by.


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