Volunteer in South Africa – Diverse Wildlife Sanctuaries
Hartebeespoort, South Africa
This experience has been truly life changing. Diverse Wildlife Sanctuaries started with an orientation program in Johannesburg and it was very fun. It is not just like sitting in a tourist bus and taking photos while driving without understanding. You get to see the artists of Johannesburg, live in the city like a usual citizen and learn about the local artists, people of Africa, history and politics. You get to meet new people who are really helpful. Orientation is important to understand what South Africa is and what is going on in there.
After the orientation, you go to this beautiful house in Hartebeespoort, which is in a complex. In the middle of the complex, there is a huge beautiful lake where you can boat ride even if you just make friends with a local. There are kudus running freely in the complex, bush babies and vervet monkeys hiding in the trees. You wake up early in the morning and someone drives you with all the other volunteers to the sanctuary where you are working that day.
We helped Monkey Sanctuary, Elephant Sanctuary, Ann van Dyke Cheetah Center, and Ostrich Manor in schedule. On our free and half days, we went to a dog and cat shelter, or to the mountain areas looking for snares.
We also visited children twice a week. On the weekends we had many options like a safari, cable way, traditional village etc. My favorite was the monkey and elephant sanctuary since it included more interaction with animals. We got to feed the monkeys, bush babies and meerkats at least once a day.
It was the best experience in the world. They needed our help since they didn’t have resources as we do in our own countries. Even the simplest thing for us could’ve been the hardest for them. You don’t need to be a vet or a zookeeper to be in this program.
I study politics, I am a vegetarian and I simply went there to learn about Africa and animals. I got to meet the most amazing people from all over the world including the best Africans. I don’t regret a single day, I have never had this good of a holiday and I learned how important volunteering is for Africa and for ourselves to get to know Africa truly. – Ezgi