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Kariega Volunteer Testimonials - August

Jone Haesslich
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Kariega Game Reserve offers a great opportunity for people to get hands-on involved with conservation and wildlife management with the Kariega Conservation Volunteer Programme. Here are some of the most recent testimonials from volunteers who were part of the Programme in July and August this year. If you would like more information please feel free to email Helena at or visit the Kariega Game Reserve Conservation Volunteer Programme page

“Well I had an amazing two weeks at Kariega Game Reserve and met some amazing people. Two weeks is definitely not long enough, I really wish I could stay for longer! I have had so many highs I don’t know where to start. One high was the canoeing down the river and the elephants were definitely another high. I can’t thank Justine enough – she has been so helpful and nice and I wish her all the best. I hope everyone enjoys their time at Kariega as much as I did.” - Jessica Kershaw, 23/07/2012 – 06/08/2012

“Words are not able to describe just how incredible Kariega Game Reserve is! Since I was tiny I have wanted to go to Africa and work with animals and now that I’ve been here I want to live here! These past 3 weeks on Kariega have been beyond amazing and have confirmed that I want to work with animals and be involved in conservation for the rest of my life. Everything about this place makes you want to smile, the wildlife and the people. I have not met a single person on the reserve or in the local town who has not smiled and waved at me – there is a huge community and family spirit that I have not seen in any other country I have visited. No two days are the same here. The elephants are brilliant and I feel like I’ve got to know them and their personalities in my time here. Love the little one who came up and kicked the front of our vehicle! Seeing the rhinos just takes your breath away and the close encounter with the black rhino was amazing. I owe a big thank you to Justine who found so many giraffe for me, you have fulfilled my childhood dream of seeing them in the wild. Justine is the greatest volunteer leader and will make even the rainiest day a memorable one. Thank you to everyone here in South African and on Kariega Game Reserve – you have given me memories I will cherish forever. I will definitely be back … very very soon.” - Sally Milner, 22/07/2012 – 13/08/2012

“Where do I start … I can definitely say I have had the best four weeks ever! I wish I could stay for longer. Kariega Game Reserve is a beautiful place and I am so glad I chose this for my first voluntary programme. I have met some amazing people and hopefully I’ll be friends with them for a long time. I came to Kariega shy and unconfident but by the second week my shyness had gone away and my confidence was growing. I never thought I could do half the things I could before coming here. So thank you to everyone who has had part in that. My visits to the local school, Farmerfield, were definitely an experience! The children there made me smile because you can see how much they enjoy meeting you, taking part in your lessons, but also they were just happy to be there even though they don’t actually have a lot. I want to say a HUGE thank you to the Kariega volunteer coordinator, Justine. She has been brilliant! Thank you again for the best experience yet!” - Lindsay Bainbridge, 16/07/2012 – 13/08/2012

“I really don’t know where to begin to explain how utterly amazing this experience has been. It has been a real eye opener and has helped me grow as a person. It is true that the volunteer house becomes home and the people you share it with become your family, regardless of their country of origin. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the best 3 weeks of my life.” - Imogen Tingay, 29/07/2012 – 20/08/2012

“I’m so sad my month at Kariega Game Reserve is up! It’s been wonderful. Full of highs, so many I don’t know where to start. It’s felt like home whilst I’ve been here, something I didn’t expect at all. I’ve loved the isolation, the views from the house, the quiet, and the sounds of the African bush and the total lack of TV! There are so many moments on Kariega that I will treasure – here are a few I’d like to share:

• Watching a black rhino from a foot away
• Seeing an aardwolf (his ears a mass with bulging ticks!)
• Tracking the lions and finding them fast asleep
• The night drive where we rounded a corner to see the lions walking towards us up the track – a unique and special sensation
• Walks along Kenton coast in glorious weather and being mesmerized by the power and sound of the waves – I had to drag myself away every time
• Canoeing in zig zags along the shimmering river, relaxing with friends
• Hiking through the thorns and fynbos with the cackling wood hoopoes overhead, followed by a well-earned litchi juice
• The pleasure gained from hacking at pine trees with machetes, clearing roads and pulling out wattles – how will I replicate that kind of joyous destruction at home?
• The day at Harvestvale with the gang – mountain climbing, red cliff views and picnic on the plain
• Sky diving!
• So many more …. Chasing spring hares, collecting bones, sharpening machetes, shooting stars ….

Above all else, I have achieved what I came here to do, which was to be able to go home not wanting to! To prove to myself that I can follow my dreams and should continue to do so without fear. To future Kariega volunteers … make memories to last forever! - Becca Harker, 30/07/2012 – 27/08/2012