Volunteer in South Africa – African Wildlife Ranch
Western Cape, South Africa
This past June I went to Oudtshoorn, South Africa to volunteer in the African Wildlife Ranch program. It was an amazing experience filled with new adventures and activities. What I really enjoyed about my trip was the bonding time and encounters I got to have with the animals. In my stay, I got to interact with cheetahs, bat-eared foxes, servals, lemurs and snakes among other animals.
As a volunteer, I got to interact with animals that regular visitors don’t get to interact with, for example the black and white lemurs (which are EXTREMLY soft) and the bat-eared foxes. During my stay, I got to learn a lot about conservancy and animal preservation.
Most of the staff there are really well informed and can answer all the questions you can have regarding the animals. I really learned a lot in my stay, especially the first days because we had an introduction and a briefing where they told us about the ranch and its importance and showed us the species that they have.
Another thing I really enjoyed was that the people in charge of the WAVs (Wild Animal Volunteers) went out of the way to make sure we had fun on weekends and got to experience other things besides working at the ranch. During my stay I got to do many fun things like safaris, shark cage diving, elephant walks, ATV tours, Baby Giraffe feeding, ostrich riding and there was even the option to go skydiving. The activities you do on weekends really make your experience in South Africa whole.
While volunteering, I met a bunch of amazing people and made friendships that I will cherish forever. These friendships included people from all around the world, and since we all got to stay at the same house, we got to experience a little bit of each other’s culture. I remember one night we all had a movie night and after we sat and showed pictures of our home town and its tourist sights, our houses and the typical food of our country. It was really interesting to learn about all these different cultures.
It has been two weeks since I’ve been home but I still keep in touch with the girls I met and we have even made plans to visit each other. It was really nice to meet people from around the world thanks to this awesome experience and love for wildlife that tied us all. – Montserrat