Port Elizabeth, South Africa
My name is Gabriella and I volunteered at the Tiger, Lion, and Wildlife Park in Port Elizabeth, South Africa for 5 weeks. It has always been my dream to work with lions and tigers and I finally fulfilled it.
My jaw dropped when I was taken for a tour of the park and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw all the magnificent animals.
This was my second time in Africa, and once again I arrived to a different country alone, and was thrown into a routine with a group of international volunteers that I had to work with, and spend every minute of the day with. I feel very lucky that I got to know such incredible people, and I was able to connect to the other volunteers on very deep levels.
Having mutual goals, including sharing a love and passion for animals and wanting to conserve the African wild life, brought me and the other volunteers closer. We were a family.
By spending time with the animals, I learned the behavior of lions, tigers and the other wild animals in the park and how they differentiate themselves from one another.
I am a vegetarian, and I had to prep horse meat for the wild animals on my first day. My hands were covered in blood when I was done, but I got used to the feel of the meat and the smell after a while.
By spending a lot of time with the sanctuary animals, I developed deep bonds with them including Sahyia and Sylvester, two beautiful caracals, and Coconut, an incredible lioness cub.
I went on different activities that I never would of thought I would do. I cage dived with Great White Sharks, skydived, bungee jumped, and was even chased by a herd of buffalo on a game drive on quad bikes before galloping along the South African shore on horseback.
All these incredible memories are imprinted in my mind and my heart. I will never forget this fantastic journey. Volunteering in South Africa at the Tiger, Lion and Wildlife Park has been the best experience and birthday I have had in my life and I can’t recommend it enough.
It is a once in a life time experience and I am already planning my next trip to volunteer at the Tiger, Lion and Wildlife Park for next summer with some of the other volunteers that I met. I can’t wait to fall asleep and wake up to the roars of lions, cuddle with caracals, tiger cubs and a lioness cub.
South Africa, I’ll see you soon.
Get involved and begin the journey of your lifetime! Click here for more details about the Tiger, Lion, and Wildlife Park in South Africa!