I have volunteered with Wildlife ACT twice before, and the second time was much more rewarding than the first. Like many other adventurers, my passion for going back to Africa was driven by my interest in photographing animals. I had a two-week window in which I could fit a volunteer session with Wildlife ACT and it was the best decision I made this summer. Every morning we went in search for either lion, wild dog, or the cheetahs, and every morning and afternoon there was something different to chase. The chase was difficult! Many days we rewarding as it showed us “tourists” that wildlife conservation is a tough job and that the work needs to be done in the field. Of course we were often rewarded with sightings of cheetah, lions, and a variety of animals we didn’t expect to see. We were also extremely lucky to have witnessed and participated with tagging and collaring one of the wild dogs; it was the highlight of the trip.
There isn’t enough that can be said about our conservation leaders – two women are dedicated and passionate individuals who did everything in their power to get sightings of animals. During the two weeks, we often drove late into the night, working long hours and were often rewarded with sightings. They educated us on the real struggles and rewards of conservation. They were true professionals during my time on uMkhuze. I would completely recommend anyone interested in the survival of wild animals in Africa to volunteer with Wildlife ACT. If you want a true authentic experience where you are pitching in, and getting your hands dirty, this is the trip you want to book. I think what I enjoyed the most about the trip was that I didn’t feel like I was a tourist being catered to, I felt like I had a job to do every day and that I had to pitch in. I loved being in the middle of the park, without the amenities of home; it was an excellent time to visit with other volunteers and reflect upon the morning or afternoon experiences. You will experience the ups and downs of conservation, understand the struggles against poaching and loss of habitat, work with knowledgeable and passionate people, and you’ll see and encounter wild experiences that you will take with you for a lifetime. I would not visit the continent of Africa again, without volunteering with Wildlife ACT!