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Conservation Volunteer Testimonials April - June 2013

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Kariega Game Reserve Volunteer Testimonials

Find out what the Wildlife Conservation Volunteers had to say about their stay

“Most of the messages here say the same thing … AWESOME, AMAZING, FANTASTIC, WOW! But let me start by saying, I don’t want to leave Kariega! This has been the best experience of my life ever. I have ‘slept’ with lions under the stars on a night drive, been involved in the capture of an elephant matriarch and a lioness … these are things that very few people get to do and I feel very priviledged to have been a part of it. I have seen all the animals up close and personal: lions mating, a baby rhino calling to it’s mother for milk, a bull elephant trying to protect the matriarch when she was captured, sub-adult lions ‘playing’ with a bush pig piglet carcass and soooo much more. Thank you to the whole team at Kariega for making all this possible and thank you to the team of volunteers that I have shared this with. I will definitely be back.”

- Christine Flaxman, London, UK, 27/05/2013 – 10/06/2013

“Where do I even begin. The last two weeks on Kariega Game Reserve have truly been unforgettable. The people I’ve met, the memories that were created will no doubt stay with me for a life time. You end up running out of adjectives describing this place … incredible, surreal, unbelievable are just a few of the many words that spring to mind. Each day on Kariega really is unique and you learn to constantly expect the unexpected. Personal highlights have been being involved in the release of a new male white rhino to the reserve, quite possibly turning from a boy into a man after sky-diving and my top memory would be sitting in the game drive vehicle being awed by the most incredible view of the African night sky with a pride of lions sleeping only metres away from us. As clichéd as it may be, time has really flown by being on here. I can’t thank Kariega enough for the knowledge and understanding I’ve gained whilst being out here … words can’t do enough justice to describe my entire experience.”

 - Akash Nayee, Milton Keynes, UK, 20/05/2013 – 03/06/2013

“I have had such an amazing stay at Kariega Game Reserve. I was only meant to be here for 1 week, but after 2 days I knew I had to stay for longer. 3 weeks later and I still don’t want to go home! Every day here is different and exciting. There has been so many highlights – the night drive where we got to witness a lion hunt, the adorable baby rhino who took on a herd of wildebeest, the lion capture we got to be a part of, the numerous animal releases and getting very close to the elephant herd. Even the scary mongoose who chased us around the house! Azel, the coordinator here has so much knowledge and enthusiasm and she makes everything fun. I am so sad to be leaving Kariega and wouldn’t change any of it. Thank you so much for giving me this amazing experience.”

- Megan Fowler, Oundle, UK, 15/04/2013 – 06/05/2013

“My 4 weeks here at Kariega Game Reserve has been some of the most unique weeks of my life. I have had the opportunity to experience so many things. Every minute here there is something new to see or do and having the chance to see the amazing animals in their natural environment is something I will never forget. Azel (our coordinator) always had bags of enthusiasm and a smile on her face. She shared so much with us all and gave us a chance to get hands on with the lion capture and collaring of servals – something that will always be with me. Other highlight included the night drive witnessing a lion hunt, seeing black rhino and getting to see all the new baby animals. Being involved with the local school was also great and it opened my eyes a lot – I really enjoyed being able to spend time with the kids. This trip has inspired me to definitely do some more volunteering!”

 - Danielle Bemmer, Bath, UK, 08/04/2013 – 06/05/2013

“I will never forget my two weeks on Kariega Game Reserve. This place is so peaceful. It was my dream to approach animals like lions, elephants, rhinos, hippos … and I did it all here. I will never forget the night drive where we saw lions hunting – I’m sure I will remember every moment of this night my whole life … all the animals, the fresh air and even the different smells. The sunrises here are so amazing – I woke up every morning early just to experience this. And not to forget the sunset on the beach during our ‘pizza night’! I also really appreciated the opportunity to teach at a rural school. Thank you to Azel for her knowledge and her enthusiasm.”

 - Elodie Laurencon, Paris, France, 21/04/2013 – 06/05/2013

“My three weeks here at Kariega Game Reserve were jam packed with more adventure, animals and knowledge than I could have ever anticipated when I booked my trip. The Kariega experience has been everything I wanted, and MORE. The work was enjoyable and we were given the instant satisfaction of watching the alien pine trees fall. Some of the highlights for me were riding elephants on a Saturday outing, watching a lion pride hunt and kill a blesbuck (from start to finish!) and overall the ability to see all the animals in their natural habitats. This whole experience would not have been as amazing without Azel (our coordinator). Her knowledge on natural habitats and beyond was so vast and I’m so thankful I got to learn from her. My three weeks on Kariega was a once in a lifetime experience and I will never forget it. Thank you!” 

- Dana Palma, Madison, WI, USA, 15/04/2013 – 06/05/2013

“I’ve been on Kariega Game Reserve for 3 weeks and in that time I can’t believe just how much we’ve done! We have visited some beautiful places … the waterfall, the plains of Harvesvale, the hidden jungle paradise we found accidentally whilst tracking the elephants etc. We’ve canoed, galloped on the beach on horseback, camped in style in the bush, visited an elephant sanctuary, and I’ve tried kudu meat and I’m now a fan of Amarula! (an African liquer). We saw so many amazing animal sightings – we followed a lion pride and saw them make chases, saw the tiny lion cubs, lions mating, lots of white rhino sightings (the youngest calf is adorable), the buffalo at the watering hole, a bush pig, a black rhino …. So yes, we were very lucky!  Watching blesbuck being released onto the reserve for the first time was pretty cool too. The visits to the school seemed slightly daunting beforehand but once I actually did the teaching, it felt like a huge accomplishment. Pizza nights at the beach pub were one of my highlights – what a great place. I won’t forget the lions visits to our house at night, or the comical scene of the elephants tearing down the place on the night drive, being towered over by Big Bull. We kicked some black wattle butt and had lots of laughs and learnt a lot! I’ve met a bunch of great people who I’ve had so much fun with. I feel so chilled out, it’s a shame I have to leave now … Kariega is the place to be!!!!”

- Natalie Robinson, 01/04/2013 – 20/04/2013

“I stayed at Kariega Game Reserve for 8 weeks – and that was the best decision I ever made! I had an amazing time!! Each day here was a highlight, each day an adventure. All the night drives were amazing and all the “meetings” with the lions were scary but so amazing. Especially the lions near our fence at our house! And the lion hunt we experienced: I don’t have words for that! It was very special. We saw the lion cubs quite a few times and were so extremely cute. The horse riding on the beach was a wonderful experience, as well as the elephant riding and feeding one Saturday on an outing. My time at the school was also special. Although a little bit stressful to start, I really enjoyed my time with the children and it’s such a good feeling that I’ve helped them a little bit in life. We also got to experience suppers in the lodge, which was awesome, a very interesting game sale, and every single ‘pizza night’ out in town was really good (with Springbok shooters!) We worked hard but we had lots of fun. And we also had enough time to relax – the Kariega volunteer programme is a perfect mix. Azel, thank you for every day. I’m really happy to have been part of this programme. Thank you all!”

- Svenja Ruh, Freiburg, Germany, 11/03/2013 – 03/05/2013