Tiger Experience Week - a week I will never forget.
To start off with, I'd never done anything like this before and didn't really know what I'd got myself in to. I'm 19 so was one of the youngest in the group. My friend and I spent our first few nights in KL, and then met the rest of the group at a bus station to head off on our journey to Merapoh. This took about 5/6 hours, the buses were comfy so it wasn't so bad.
We arrived in Merapoh with all our bags and got picked up by the owners of the chalet. They took us back and we were given a quick tour. It was extremely basic, which at first I thought I was going to absolutely hate. As soon as I got over this, it turned out to be absolutely fine and just what we needed. I was made to feel at home, everyone was so nice and the accommodation did exactly what it needed too.
This is all that was needed, we were living out our backpacks and by the end of all that trekking it was like heaven getting in to bed!
There was a lounge and kitchen area as well where we all could sit in after the treks and chill out for a few hours. We all felt very safe staying there and by the end of the week we didn't want to leave!
We had some lunch and a run through of the week, it was all quite overwhelming at the start because it sounded like a lot to cram in.
We had about 7 volunteers altogether, at the start it was a bit awkward and everyone was quiet but by the end of the week we were such good friends and we were all just having a laugh together. Helping each other out and working together on the treks created a bond almost straight away and I met some of the most amazing people.
Let's move on to the actual trekking itself - we started in the mornings at about 8, and drove to different corridors of the Taman Negara. The treks would include going down poacher trails and looking for any animal evidence (prints etc.). This lasted about 7 hours for 4 of the days of the week, and is definitely not for anyone with a poor fitness level. We had regular breaks and stopped off for lunch. If anyone was finding it difficult the team were there to support them and the MyCat guides were excellent in making sure everyone was alright. I didn't know what to expect and the first trek really brought home to me what the week was going to be like. The terrain was tough and it included things such as walking over logs that had fallen between two banks over a river.
Just a word of warning: Proper walking shoes and at least 2 pairs of trousers are required! I only bought one pair of trousers which were wrecked in the first day, I then had to go out and buy another pair!
Don't let the long days or tough terrain put you off though, the experience wasn't one to be missed and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was completely different to anything I'd done before and didn't really know what to expect, but it was so much fun.
We spent one night sleeping in the jungle, which was an experience I will never forget. Some of the members of the Batek tribe came and cooked us chicken and rice in bamboo, which was absolutely incredible. We arrived at camp and they had already made themselves a shelter out of leaves and sticks. I felt like I was cheating putting up our tents and hammocks! The nights sleep wasn't one of the best but staying right near a river surrounded by wildlife was an incredible experience and will never be forgotten.
Another day was spent caving. This really helped to break up the week of trekking as it wasn't so physically demanding. We arrived at the site of the cave and were immediately thrown in to the deep end as we had to rock climb up a verge with only a rope behind us. This was completely safe and the leaders of the caving helped us to get up. We then started walking through the cave, which was amazing. We saw all sorts of wildlife, including snakes and scorpions.
We spent another day going to visit the local Batek tribe. This included another trek, where we went with the women to collect leaves in order to weave baskets. It was amazing watching them work, they were about 70+ and much fitter than us! We then went back to their village and taught them an English lesson in their school. They knew very basic English, but responded to the lesson very well and it was such a rewarding experience.
The food throughout the week could not be faulted. It was mainly Malay style curries. We were given a packed lunch every day, which was rice with a sauce and meat/fish. It was quite mild but so tasty. In the evenings we would go to a local restaurant and eat something of our choice off the menu. Every night I ate well and their portions were definitely generous! Couldn't say a bad word about it.
Some evenings we spent down at a lake, which was really refreshing and fun. We also went out for a Chinese and some beers one night to celebrate, which was amazing.
The trek guides were also brilliant and we had good fun with them. Everyone looked out for each other and we formed a sort of family.
Overall, although daunting at the start the whole experience was incredible. I overcame things I didn't think I would be able to do and a massive thank you to everyone that made it happen. I never expected to meet such great people, we got on so well and by the end of the week we all clicked. It was almost a shame it was over in such a short space of time!
Harriet, UK (Malaysia Tiger and Turtle Experience)
I'm Insa from Germany and I was a volunteer at the Lion and Cheetah Conservation Project, situated on the beautiful Sable Ranch, for three weeks in March 2015. The experience there was great. On the one hand it was lovely to explore such a beautiful country and culture and on the other hand it was pretty awesome to be so close to a lot of animals and support the team in any way possible. The staff was great, I always felt like part of a big family. All my help was always appreciated - you have to know I`m not a tall or strong person ;-) Usually the whole team sat together and we learnt a lot about the African way of life, especially about the wildlife. I'm convinced this project does great things - they are against poaching and the wrong treatment of animals and I m very thankful and proud to be able to say that I have been a small part of this. The world would be a much better place if everyone would think like them. I want to say thank you again for the lovely hospitality. I definitely will support the project and tell everyone about the many experiences I gained there.
Insa, Germany (Lion and Cheetah Conservation at Sable Ranch)
The Tembe researchers and preserve managers are aware of contemporary approaches to and the challenges of monitoring and conserving wild animal life. They are both professional and good-hearted, with difficult conservation decisions made in relation to the size of the preserve and the limits of wild animal breeding. They have healthy, disease free lions, much in demand by other preserves, and are passionate about their work with all wildlife there. The researchers and their approach to conservation were stellar.
Mary, UK (Zululand Wildlife Conservation Volunteer)
It has been a wonderful experience for me because in Singaport we don't have beautiful beaches that are home to such exotic and interesting marine wildlife. Also being in the Perhentian has taught me so much about the turtles, has let me actually experience something out of my comfort zone, doing turtle watches, watching the hatching process, learing about corals and marine ecosytem at Perhentian. These are things that we do not learn in school so it was very refreshing for me. I made many new friends and it has given me an experience that I will not forget.
Alison, Singapore (Malaysia Tiger and Turtle Experience)
At the time of writing this, I have now spent nearly 4 weeks at Sable Ranch and have had a truly memorable and wonderful experience. As well as being with the lions, I have been on daily game drives, worked on my tracking skills, built fences from raw materials, made nesting boxes for owls, helped feed the many species of antelope and other animals on the farm, cared for a 2 week old nyala with a broken leg, made beautiful bird feeders from natural materials and so many other things too numerous to mention.
I’m sad that my time here is almost over and that I have to reluctantly return to the UK but I’m already making plans for my next visit to Sable Ranch at the beginning of next year where I hope to play a further part in building this very special project and taking it from strength to strength. I can’t wait!
Deborah, London (Lion and Cheetah Conservation at Sable Ranch)
Volunteering is one of the most amazing things I have ever done in my life! I worked teaching in a school to kids between the ages of 6-12 and they were a joy to teach. It meant that I could have complete independence teaching classes how I wanted and got to play games with the kids.
The kids are very loveable, always hugging you, and they love high fives! For anyone who wants a completely life changing experience, I would recommend this project.
Anita, UK (Chiang Mai Rural Schools Volunteer )
“We’ve just finished 2 weeks in the bush. It’s difficult to capture in words the experience of landing in Namibia and starting the Desert Elephant Volunteer and build Project within 24 hours or so. All I can say is, it’s been one of the best and most satisfying experiences of my life. I live the Desert Elephant Project model: simple and strategic intention that is at once tangible and effective. Big ups to our leader Chris, who is a great blend of knowledge, authority and fun. Not an easy balance to strike with a bunch of vookie wall builders in this environment. The land is absolutely stunning as well as harsh, filled with beauty and just a little bit of danger. I felt completely safe under Chris’ guidance and leadership. I’m in for another two weeks and one am looking forward to it – we will finish our wall, and that will be a great feeling”
Rebecca USA (Desert Elephant Volunteer)
I was not expecting much besides enjoying my stay in Thailand and planning some lessons for primary English classes, but my experience as a 1st grade English teacher proved to be a very fulfilling one. Although my stay of three weeks passed by very quickly, I was welcomed by the students and faculty and was appreciated as a teacher. I developed a fondness for the children of the primary School, whose abundant smiles, love for Gangnam Style, and enthusiasm in the classroom cultivated my love for teaching. Additionally, the friendly and helpful staff made the lovely place of Chiang Mai feel like home. My contribution to the children’s English education may have been minute, but I hope that the content they learned will have a lasting impression.
Clarissa, USA (Chiang Mai English Teaching Volunteer)
The only regret I have about my experience is that I waited so long to do it! Afraid to follow your heart and do volunteer work? Don’t be. At the age of 54, this rural Minnesota “girl” was experiencing a bit of empty-nest syndrome/middle-age crisis and got the bright idea to head around the world to Thailand – by herself – with no previous international travel experience – to volunteer with the children at this Orphanage. This is the same person who has social anxiety. Had never even gone to a movie by myself. Long story short, I did it, I survived it, and most importantly, I LOVED IT!!!! It was above and beyond my expectations in all aspects. There aren’t enough nice things to say about the staff and the Orphanage. They will take care of you and make you feel safe. Thailand is an amazing country. The scenery is gorgeous, and the people are amazingly warm and friendly. Be prepared to smile until your face hurts. For me, however, the children at the Orphanage were the reason I was there, and I got more back from those precious people than I could give them in a million years. You will leave there a better person than you were when you arrived, I guarantee it. The only regret I have about my experience is that I waited so long to do it.
Sharon, USA (Chiang Mai Orphanage Volunteer)
It warmed my heart… I had a great time at the Orphanage. It warmed my heart to see that an orphanage can be a nice place to grow up, where the children are loved. Everybody there is very welcoming and the kids are amazing. I hope I could give them as much as they gave me!
Anne, Switzerland (Chiang Mai Orphanage Volunteer)
Our experience at the school went amazingly! The children at the center are fantastic and all the staff went out of their ways to make us feel at home.
Jennifer and Edward, Canada (West Coast Thailand Special Care Centre)
This project is perfect for volunteers who not only want to teach English but that also want to collaborate with your teacher counterpart to come up with new interactive teaching techniques! I would highly recommend this project to anyone thinking about joining. I had a great time without a doubt!
Charlotte, Dutch (West Coast Thai Junior School )
The project is awesome! Everything and everytime I was at the school, I really enjoyed it. The children are cute and it feels so rewarding to teach here. The other teachers help you and support you. I hope that there will be more volunteers at the Burmese Learning Center because this school really needs it.
Kimberly, Dutch (West Coast Burmese Learning Centre)
Our placement with this school was an unforgettable and rewarding experience. The staff and students made us feel very welcome. They have been open in sharing their culture and teaching us Thai. The students are a pleasure to teach and it is rewarding to watch them grow and show their enthusiasm. The volunteer project co-ordinators has also been amazing…flexible of our needs and always there to support us with anything we need (whether lesson materials, booking weekend getaways and recommending restaurants).
Elaine, Canada (West Coast Rural Thai School)
I had a fabulous time at the Big Cat Release and Tracking Project in Namibia. Having the opportunity to work hands-on with the animals at the Wildlife Sanctuary and doing some conservation work at Neuras, it was the perfect fit for me. Everyone including staff and volunteers were a joy to work with. The weather was hot and the work was hard. But being one of the more "mature" volunteers I pushed myself to keep up, which made me feel good about what I had accomplished. Helping the animals! It was an amazing experience. Never a dull moment!
Susan, aged 59. USA (Big Cat Release and Tracking Volunteer, Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
Thanks for all your patience and help with my memorable trip to the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary. It was a great experience and I would recommend you to others.
Constance, UK, aged 73 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
My time volunteering at the Living with Big Cats project was inspiring and motivating. Contributing to the welfare, conservation and safety of the animals in such an enjoyable way was made even more memorable by the enthusiasm and passion shared by the staff. Their knowledge and love for the animals in their care is plain to see and they were always on hand to share their skills with the volunteers and ensure that we got the most out of every activity and task throughout the day. The interaction sessions with the lion cubs and cheetahs were a highlight of the trip, as was participating in the training of the lion cubs, taking them for walks as well as walking with the elephants and even sharing a splash in the mud pool with them! There was a good mix of daily tasks and excursions to enable volunteers to take in other sights of South Africa such as quadbiking, zip lining, scad falling (for the brave), visiting the Monkey Sanctuary, the Croc and Reptile Park, and taking in some culture and history at the Sterkfontein Caves. There is something to suit everyone on this volunteer project and it is definitely one not to be missed.
Sarah, UK, aged 37 (Volunteer Living with Big Cats )
When I booked "Volunteer Living with Big Cats" I wanted to leave within a month, so there was a little pressure to make sure everything was ready. But Gemma and the rest of Amanzi Travel were extremely prompt and with a lot of patience when I had questions and incredibly friendly. The moment that i arrived until the moment i left, i loved every second of the project. The other volunteers were amazing, the staff was incredibly kind. Everyone made me feel like I was home. The jobs we had to do include cleaning stables, the elephant house, feeding mongooses, pigs, ostriches, building enclosures, weeding poisonous plants (the plants are only poisonous for animals), road construction, feeding the predators, cleaning the enclosures of the predators, we started walking the lion cubs. But that is not an activity that is ensured, because they don't always have lion cubs. If you are thinking of booking this project, realise you'll have to work and you'll probably get dirty. For me it was all worth it. The days are like this: 7:30-9:00 Morning jobs (this tasks are the same every day) 09:00-10:00 Breakfast. 10:00-12:00 Work 12:00-14:00 lunchbreak. 14:00-17:00 Work. At 18:00 dinner will be ready. On thursdays and sundays volunteers have the day off. Hopefully you'll love it as much as I have. I'm home now and i feel homesick to this project. Thank you Amanzi Travel for helping me with the pre-departure process!
Isabella, Netherlands, aged 22 (Volunteer Living with Big Cats )
Dolphins, bumpheads, leaf scorpions, stonefish, frogfish, octopodes and more turtles than you can point a stick at !!! love it !!
Jonny (Borneo Marine Conservation)
I wasn't sure what to expect when I booked my months stay at Pom Pom island, but doing so was one of the smartest decisions I've ever made. This trip was incredible. In the four weeks I was there, I learned a ton about marine life and constructing reefs, became a certified Advanced Diver, and made over 45 dives. The conservation work is fascinating -- Steve has some brilliant ideas and it's incredible to see them materialize. And regardless of whether you want to dive or not, there's something for everyone to do. I feel as though I actually did something to make a difference, and I have a completely new outlook on marine life and conservation work in general.
The food was top notch-- definitely no complaints there (I even learned to cook!). The tents were comfortable and considerably spacious. And most importantly, it's such a wonderful, fun, welcoming environment at Pom Pom; within a few hours, I already felt like part of the family. My only regret is not staying longer. It was without a doubt one of the best experiences of my life. If you have the chance, get involved with this project - it is a gem.
Katie, USA (Borneo Marine Conservation)
Came as a snorkeller and then stayed. The three weeks I spent on Pom Pom were a high point of my travels, a great team of fellow volunteers, wonderful diving experience, and at the end some hope for the areas coral reef and inhabitants . I look forward to coming back in the future and hope to contribute further, especially interested in how the the seaweed farm goes,that sounds like a great project to be involved in. Hopefully our efforts will reinstate the area around Pom Pom to what these reefs should be like. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to be part of this project.
Kuno (Borneo Marine Conservation)
I have spent 7 of the most amazing weeks of my life at the Tip of Borneo's Coconut Cove Camp. The diving on the west coast of the Kudat Peninsula is absolutely staggering, with heaps and heaps of colourful corals and a huge diversity of fish and other marine life as well.
Bec (Borneo Marine Conservation)
Pom Pom island Camp and the Coconut Cove Camp say it is dedictd to conservation and that is so much of an under statement. The staff at the coconut cove camp near Kudat where i stayed were sooo knowledgeable and keen. I learnt a ton. I learnt to dive and that is such a great thing to do. I planted corals, surveyed for cuttlefish, sharks and turtles and I can even identify quite a lot of marine life now, The food was great to. Plenty for vegetarians.
Need to stay for as long as possible - I was there for 2 weeks and wished that i had booked for 6 or 8 weeks.
Caitlyn, UK (Borneo Marine Conservation)
My time on Pom Pom Island could not have been any more perfect. Arriving at the island I couldn't believe my eyes; the island was spotless and clean and simply stunning.
I worked as a turtle volunteer for two weeks and that amount of time was no way long enough as I fell in love with island life. Surveying the turtles was amazing, getting to see and be so close to such incredible animals. I felt like the work I did was useful and was documented to then be continued by more turtlers that join the project and I really felt a part of the team.
I made some very good friends and everyone was so welcoming and friendly from the moment I arrived. I am jealous of everyone who is staying there for a longer time than I did as they really are living the dream!
Olivia, UK (Borneo Marine Conservation)
Then overall standard of service provided by Amanzi Travel was excellent.
The volunteer project was valuable, as it helps the animals and the people. It is also good for the economy in the way that people earn money and do not have to poach.
Katie, aged 47, Belgium (Namibia and Botswana Adventure - 14 Days (Southbound), Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary Luxury Lodge)
I volunteered at the Cheetah and Wildlife Rehabilitation Project for one month and would recommend it to anyone who loves a good cuddle with cheetahs and seeing the great work they do looking after all the animals in their care. There's nothing quite like a nice stroll in the South African bush watching a cheetah stalking down its unsuspecting prey.
Zoe, aged 22, Australia (Cheetah and Wildlife Experience)
My first visit to Africa was three years ago, to Tanzania on safari. I fell in love with Africa on that trip and promised myself that I would go back again one day. So when I decided that 2014 would be that year and I would be travelling on my own, I looked into volunteer opportunities, specifically working with lions. The Amanzi Travel Company was recommended by National Geographic as one of the best volunteer travel companies and I soon learned why. From my first email interaction inquiring about their programs to the in depth conversation that I had with Gemma regarding the project, I found everyone to be very helpful and knowledgeable. The Pre-Departure Package that I received at the time of making my reservation was complete and was full of vital information regarding my trip. The Lion Rehabilitation Project is a wonderful place to visit and volunteer. I was a little nervous about arriving at Harare Airport on my own, but their representative was there to meet me and other volunteers that arrived within an hour or so. The park itself is in a beautiful setting and all the staff are extremely friendly and helpful. The volunteer accommodation is basic, but clean. The rooms generally have 2 bunk beds and a dresser or two. The bathrooms and showers are shared and are external to the rooms, so you have to walk outside to get to them. As a more mature traveler (53), I chose to upgrade to a River Lodge so that I would have an en-suite bathroom. I highly recommend this option if you are able to afford it. I would also recommend staying at least three weeks. I was only there for two weeks, and was not ready to leave when the time came. The first week includes inductions to the various activities and you are getting used to the surroundings and getting to know other volunteers. The second week, you are immersed in all the activities and the days fly by. A third week would give you more time to spend with the lions and absorb the experience and spend time with new good friends. Of course the highlight of the trip was the ‘hands-on’ activities with the lions. My first lion walk occurred on my first day. I was not expecting to be walking with lions so soon! I had the opportunity to walk with a pair of lion cubs (16-18 months old), at least once a day, sometimes twice. I also participated in ‘cub sitting’ for the 3 month old cubs at the Park. I never imagined that I would be playing with lion cubs and taking them for short walks. I really enjoyed the other activities such as cleaning the enclosures, providing the lions with water, behavior enrichment and research on the Phase 2 lions that are living as a wild pride in large enclosure. I met people from all over the world, and made some new friends that I know I will keep in touch with. The project is a commercial venture and as such, there are guests at the park that pay for the lion activities such as a ‘Lion Walk’. This is not an issue, but something to be aware of. I highly recommend this trip and Amanzi Travel for your next volunteer vacation in Africa.
Kerren, UK, aged 53 (Lion Rehabilitation Volunteer)
Having such direct contact with lions, lion cubs, elephants, horses and the other wildlife at the Lion Rehabilitation project was an incredibly special and unique experience. I was made to feel very welcome by everyone who worked there, and have made new friends with some of the volunteers. All of the memories of my time spent there will have a special place in my heart and the words 'Africa' and 'lions' now evoke feelings that can't be put into words. Thank you x
Lauren, UK, aged 50 (Lion Rehabilitation Volunteer)
Both parts of the overall experience were great, and gave me the chance to enjoy the spectacular landscapes, wildlife and also human life of the places I've been, while learning a lot about life in Namibia and South Africa straightaway.
This way of travelling is probably not recommended for those who look for luxury or steady communication with their usual environment, although basic needs and safety are more than well provided. Actually, I would emphasise that fact as a highlight of the overall experience: it makes you realise what is important and what is dispensable, and allows you to focus all your attention and create a deep bond with the environment you're in and the people you're surrounded with.
The experience matched pretty good my previous expectations about the trip. The help and previous organization provided by Amanzi Travel before my departure, was really convenient in order to avoid unforeseen complications and/or difficulties during my stay in Africa, since facilities, network communications and life rhythm in general are much less easy in the area than in western countries, which gives less place for improvisation, especially if you don't know the ground.
Besides that, it helped me to make possible, in a smooth and time-effective way, to realise two different experiences that I wanted to carry out in Africa, namely an Overland trip and a volunteer experience related to wildlife and big cats in particular.
The NWS is of a great value for the local community and conservation of wildlife (particularly carnivores), since it encourages finding individuals of these species and their identification and new release in order to avoid conflict between these animals and farmers and human activity in general, which protects both from fatal encounters. At the same time, provides aid and good care of those individuals of many different species which, for different reasons, cannot be released into wildlife again - all of it enhancing and improving the life conditions of the local bushmen's community, with which mutual beneficial synergies are set up.
Albert, 27, Spain (Big Cat Release and Tracking Volunteer, Namibia South - 7 Days (Northbound))
The fortnight I spent on the Desert Elephant Volunteer project was the highlight of the full two months I spent in Africa. I have always wanted to visit Namibia and love elephants so this trip was perfect!
Amanzi provided plenty of information on what the volunteering would entail, including visa requirements and a useful packing checklist. Gemma and the team stayed in close contact and were super helpful at answering all my queries. The pre-departure pack was spot on in terms of how much 'roughing it' would be involved and, as a result, I was well prepared for camping in the desert.
As for the volunteering itself, where to start.... Sleeping under a canopy of stars, driving through beautiful Damaraland, watching elephants splash round a watering hole, hiking up 'kopjes' to watch sunsets, hauling rocks and mixing cement under a hot sun, cool evenings huddled round the campfire eating great food and making new friends.... It was all fantastic! The build week was tough, but lots of fun and so rewarding. Seeing the wild desert elephants on the patrol week was just wonderful. It was humbling to be so close to such huge, intelligent animals.
The project is excellently run in Namibia and we were in safe hands for the two weeks. I learnt so much about the challenges of wildlife conservation as well as picking up useful bush skills. It was true bush living and I loved every minute of it!
Thank you Amanzi for helping to make it possible! I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Cat, aged 32, UK (Desert Elephant Volunteer)
I had an amazing, once in a lifetime experience while at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary. I feel the volunteer project I participated in was highly valuable to both the local community and its wildlife.
I had an incredibly positive experience booking my African adventure through Amanzi Travel. This was my first time traveling abroad, and Amanzi Travel and Gemma made the process incredibly easy and painless. My expectations were always met, and even in most cases exceeded, both in using Amanzi Travel to book my journey, as well as throughout my stay at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary. I will absolutely use Amanzi Travel to book my next African adventure!
Lindsay, aged 24, USA (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
I spent 3 weeks volunteering at the Namibian Wildlife Sanctuary and it was by far the best experience of my life! I have made friends for life from all over the globe who I still keep in touch with. The project was very valuable to conservation efforts to protect big cat populations in the wild, including Cheetahs and Leopards. I loved helping with the rehabilitation of all the animals at the sanctuary, especially babysitting the orphaned baby baboons overnight! Not only does the Sanctuary support the animals in need, they also give back to the community by letting the volunteers help out at the school, built for the worker’s children, which was a very rewarding and unforgettable experience.
The Co-ordinators and other volunteers were all very welcoming when I arrived and I felt at home immediately. The accommodation was great and the food was amazing.
The Amanzi Travel Team are extremely helpful and I felt at ease throughout the booking process, having spoken to Gemma who was very informative from her own personal experiences in Namibia, and was able to answer any of my queries as well as give me many useful tips! Gemma was also very helpful when booking my airport transfers and accommodation at Chameleon Backpackers! The My Journey page on the Amanzi Travel website is a very useful tool ensuring that all the important details about the project, as well as personal details including insurance, visa forms and flight details are in one place, making the whole process simple and easy to follow!
In addition, I went on the Namibia Dunes and Wildlife Experience Overland Trip which I would highly recommend to anyone who loves an adventure! On this trip I had a true African Experience and the flood lit waterhole in Etosha was definitely a highlight, as well as sand boarding in the Namib desert. The tour guide was fantastic and all accommodation and food was excellent.
Becky, 18, Wales (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary, Namibia Dunes and Wildlife Experience - 6 Days)
I cannot even begin to start with how incredible this experience was for me. From the people and coordinators, to the animals and the geography around me, everything made this trip one to remember. I would highly recommend anyone who is up for a new adventure or change of scenery to join in on the amazing memories and fun. I can say with full confidence it is a place I would love to go back to again, hopefully someday soon.
I could not have been more pleased with the help and information that I was given while preparing for this trip.
I believe the work that has been put in by every individual has made a great contribution to the project and the lives of the animals. It's clear to say without the volunteers it would be a lot harder for the animals to survive on such a strong basis and get such amazing food and care!!! I would say this project is extremely valuable.
Claya, aged 18, Canada (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
This journey was my greatest experience so far. I met some amazing people, and I learned a lot about monkeys, how they live and how they think. I felt good, because I felt like I was actually able to make a difference. When I was at the project, I helped releasing 32 vervet monkeys into the wild again.
Christina, aged 25, Norway (Primate Rehabilitation Volunteer)
Shamwari was amazing, absolutely loved every moment of it! Seeing all those amazing animals in their natural environment was truly memorable and I loved knowing I was helping towards conservation in South Africa. Thank you so much to you all at Amanzi Travel for enabling this experience.
Sarah, UK, aged 20 (Shamwari Conservation Volunteer)
Volunteering has been an amazing experience for me, having never been abroad alone before, and never visited Africa, and I was somewhat apprehensive about what I might encounter on my travels.
I needn't have worried. As soon as I arrived at the Sanctuary, I felt instantly welcome. The picturesque dam and friendly staff greet you with a cup of tea and help you settle in.
During my 4 weeks there I met many interesting people and felt like I really contributed to the conservation of some magnificent creature and the local community, not to mention learning much about the animals and culture myself.
I felt the volunteer project was valuable as the work we did directly contributed to the wellbeing of the animals and maintenance of the game reserve. Some activities were more for the enjoyment of the volunteers such as playing sport with the local school kids, but it still helped impart informal information about the importance of conservation and the wider world. Plus short excursions to the historic caves or to the schools helped teach us as volunteers about the local culture and give us a greater appreciation and context for the area we were helping. It was good that the activities changed dependant on what was actually required on the reserve at that specific time and we weren't just kept busy with menial tasks.
The time flies by as you are doing something different every day dependant on what is needed around the reserve, plus the routine duties of feeding and caring for the magnificent animals. It was very surreal to ride through the bush on an elephant and see zebra in the distance and warthog trotting along as the sun cascades over the bush. Some hard graft is required, such as helping to cut down invasive Jacaranda trees which was very tiring, yet felt very rewarding afterwards, particularly as you knew you were protecting the native tree species that would otherwise be suffocated.
In addition you are looked after well so after a particularly busy day, it is always nice to come back to the house to a big bowl of popcorn and a freshly boiled kettle. Naturally there can be some times when you feel like missing home but the staff are always on hand to talk things through and I was surprised by how easy it was to forget all about home when you are spoilt with such amazing scenery everywhere you go.
My time in Africa was a perfect escape from everyday toil and I have such brilliant pictures now to show all my friends. It was a time I am sure I won't forget.
Hayley, UK, aged 18 (Rhino and Elephant Sanctuary)
The best experience of my life. It's amazing to be so close to wildlife that you wouldn't usually be able to interact with, and each day is so varied - 2 weeks wasn't long enough!
All of the coordinators are lovely, and the volunteers are very like-minded people, which makes them very easy to get along with! The only thing is that if you wanted to work at the school everyday, you do have to miss out on your group's activities, and sometimes it's not possible to avoid the group activity, but I personally found that I needed the two weeks to experience all of the activities, and only did one morning and one afternoon at the school because the activities were so good! I'd recommend it to anyone who loves animals!
This project is very important - we experienced it first-hand when we had to rush out to Windhoek one morning to respond to an emergency call about a baby cheetah in someone's back garden! The Sanctuary is doing a great job of establishing itself as a friend to the farmers and communities, as well as to the wildlife.
Katy, Wales, aged 18 (Teaching and Wildlife Volunteer Namibia)
The volunteer project was extremely valuable to the community and wildlife. The rangers believed volunteers made a great difference and contributed massively in the general maintenance of the reserve.
Jake, UK, aged 17 (Big 5 Reserve with Lion and Tiger Conservation )
I had an amazing trip, so many thanks for all the excellent organisation.
Naj, UK, aged 32 (Rhino and Elephant Sanctuary)
Your day usually starts early. You get to work with one elephant and its mahout (keeper) during your time and it is really incredible as you get to build a bond with both. Although biased, I think I lucked out with my pair and I absolutely adore both Madhu my adolescent elephant and the cheeky mahout Sanjeeva. You start off by cleaning the elephant’s bed – yes this does mean picking up elephant poo I’m afraid. It is not as bad as you think and it is almost like an exercise routine as you energetically hurl these ginormous elephant poos as if they were shot puts.
Next is washing the elephant in the river using coconut husks. There is a science to this as some of the mahouts tried to explain to me, although I’m not sure I quite grasped it. After a vigorous scrubbing you’ve now achieved the toning part of your workout – goodbye bingo wings!! The final part of the morning is preparing the elephant’s vitamins and hiding them in a doughy treat. You then get to feed it to your elephant and brush their feet.
There are very few people in this world who can claim such a wonderful start to their day.
Afternoons are much less structured which allows volunteers to participate in a range of tasks and even get involved in areas that particularly interest them. During my time I helped paint a temple, look for stray dogs and teach local children. The only activity that was timetabled in the afternoon was gardening. This was hard work in the midday sun but I have fond memories of Bandera (the assistant gardener) who seemed to relish handing me (and noone else) a massive shovel every day and smiled cheekily at me as I tried in my girl-like fashion to hack and plough the soil.
Deeba (Sri Lanka Elephant Care Programme)
I decided to celebrate my approaching 60th birthday by doing something completely different so I signed up as a volunteer at the Sri Lanka Elephant Care Programme for 8 weeks. I had no idea what to expect and so came with few expectations.
It has been a fantastic experience, working at close quarters with such large, wonderful animals definitely counts up there in my top ten but don’t come expecting any home comforts.
Three days a week, the volunteers go to a local school where there is an after-school club of around 14 children who want to improve their English. They ranged in age from 7 to 16 years old and I cannot tell you how much I LOVED this!!! The children are so appreciative, so keen to learn and were always happy and smiling. I don’t have a teaching background and, as any of my friends will tell you, have little patience with small children so I surprised even myself by the level of commitment I felt for this class and I shall miss them dreadfully when I return to the UK.
There is so much that I shall be sorry to leave when I go home – the amazing openness and friendliness of the Sri Lankans, the call of the mahouts as they talk to their elephants, the bread van’s early morning arrival playing Fur Elise just like an ice cream van, the other volunteers, some of whom have become good friends, crowded buses where children smile at you when you catch their eye, the sunshine (!) and last but certainly not least, the children at the school!
Finally, my personal top ten tips to make your stay here comfortable
1 - Bring your own pillow
2 - Crocs – they are comfortable and protect your feet from the mucky bed area
3 - Hardly any clothes – you live in the same stuff and everything is so cheap to buy here
4 - The best torch you can find
5 - Lots of good insect repellent
6 - Tea Tree Oil- for when insect repellent just isn’t good enough
7 - A nail brush- hard to find here but needed to keep those nails poo free!
8 - A secret stash of goodies- chocolate isn’t great as it melts
9 - An ipod/ laptop etc as its fun to have some entertainment in the evenings.
10 - Last of all a good sense of humour and an open attitude to new adventures!
Frances, aged 60 (Sri Lanka Elephant Care Programme)
All in all my experience at Sri Lanka Elephant Care Programme was phenomenal, because I got hands on experience in a number of areas, but even more so because of the warmth, generosity and humour of ALL the people I met there from Mo and Sam, to the mahouts, to my fellow volunteers and the wonderful staff at the restaurant. No day passed without laughter and I shall treasure my memories forever.
Rikke (Sri Lanka Elephant Care Programme)
I had a fantastic two weeks in Namibia as a teaching and wildlife volunteer, as I felt as if I had the opportunity to participate in all of the wildlife activities, whilst interacting with the children and teacher in the stimulating and energetic classroom too. I particularly enjoyed the "ancient skills" workshop where we met the San Bushmen and learned about their culture.
I felt as if the project is very valuable for the San Bushmen, as it provides them with jobs, food, education and shelter. Also, it is very useful for preserving and protecting local wildlife such as cheetahs and leopards.
Alice, aged 18, Wales (Teaching and Wildlife Volunteer Namibia)
I chose to volunteer at this project, because I wanted to give my time and attention to children and enjoy a cultural experience. I really love children and I believe they are our future.
Throughout my two weeks on the project, I learnt patience and observed the way children naturally are drawn to you, to play and receive affection. It was such a cultural experience, I learnt a lot from the house mother Yupee. I enjoyed watching and learning how she cooked and took care of the children. I enjoyed seeing how respectful and responsible the kids were throughout meal times. I loved playing with the children and teaching them new games, such as hopscotch.
It was great working alongside volunteers and discussing with volunteers on this and other projects, how their day was and the experiences they had, had. Listening and sharing stories was inspiring and I made great friendships.
The staff were so helpful and always there to help and care for us. Thank you very much! You made my experience a smooth and enjoyable one.
In conclusion I discovered a new passion or vocation for my future. I hope to continue to volunteer and possibly work for a volunteer organisation. I really loved Thailand, I enjoyed discovering the landscape, people and food. I hope to come back many times.
Carine, France (Chiang Mai Children's Home)
I found that volunteering at the Children’s Home project challenged me (in an emotional sense) but it was also hugely gratifying. I learned a lot about the children and about myself, for example, I learned that despite coming from a very different background from the children, I could teach them about my culture, and through that connection we shared fun and laughter every day. I felt a genuine friendship with them (as a group and on an individual basis) for the time that I was volunteering. My time at the Children’s Home gave me a unique experience whereby I could show love, friendship and companionship. In this way, my role in Thailand was markedly different than my previous work experience with children from the USA and UK.
Jacqueline, Scotland (Chiang Mai Children's Home)
I developed a fondness for the children of the primary School, whose abundant smiles, love for “Gangnam Style,” and enthusiasm in the classroom cultivated my love for teaching.
Clarissa, USA (Chiang Mai English Teaching Volunteer)
This was one of the best summers I could’ve hoped for. I already knew this would be a one-of-a-kind opportunity to work alongside doctors and expand my medical knowledge, but I never thought I would also have the chance to build such strong relationships/friendships with everyone here during my 5-week stay. I truly enjoyed my time at both McCormick and Maharaj, and loved meeting all the friendly doctors.
I got to see surgeries that I had never even heard of before, such as an abdominoperineal resection of the rectum. Although it was slightly overwhelming at times to have to take the public transportation to and from our workplace, I look back at it now and feel that it only enriched my experience here in Thailand. I had a great time with everyone at the volunteer accommodation, and it made it even more interesting that most people had different projects so we were all able to share stories from our own workplace at the end of the day.
It was also great to see mountains everywhere I go in Chiang Mai, and I loved exploring outside the city on weekends. The experience overall was humbling and unforgettable, and I don’t regret a second of the 30 hours I flew to get here! (Medical Internship in Chiang Mai)
Brenda, Canada (Medical Internship in Chiang Mai)
I can still vividly remember seeing my first surgery ever - a hysterectomy. Standing only 2-3 feet away from where the operation was being performed was a dream that I had longed to come true for many years.
Connor, USA (Medical Internship in Chiang Mai)
There are many different volunteer opportunities throughout Northern Thailand and Chiang Mai. But volunteering at the International University for Monks creates a healthy mix that allows you to create your own individual experience and journey, while still having the support needed to further delve and explore the rich and unique experience of Northern Thailand.
Martin, USA (Chiang Mai University for Monks)
It is the most fulfilling work I have ever done, and believe I will ever find. The novices, the teachers, and the people of Thailand made this experience the best of my life thus far.
Dylan, USA (Teaching Novice Buddhist Monks)
Teaching Monks has definitely made my trip marvellous and unforgettable. Living in Chiang Mai for two weeks as a volunteer, I had the precious opportunity to experience Thai life almost as a local. People here always wear a big warm smile, and the city would just melt everyone’s heart. I would highly recommend volunteers to come teaching English to Monks. The satisfactory feeling that comes afterwards is truly rewarding!
Helen, HongKong (Teaching Novice Buddhist Monks)
Teaching Monks for my short time was a good opportunity to look into the lifestyle of teaching, as it is something I plan on doing after I graduate from college. If teaching is not your profession, this is still a positive experience to do something out of the norm and something you can look back on later in life and appreciate the small difference you might have made in someone’s life.
Ben, USA (Teaching Novice Buddhist Monks)
As soon as I was in contact with Amanzi Travel, they were extremely helpful and gave me all the information to prepare me for my trip. They are friendly and professional, and really care about people having a great experience.
My experience in Malawi is unforgettable and difficult to summarise. I learnt a lot about Malawian culture and a different way of living, and was able to help out in the community in which I was living for 12 weeks. This gave me the chance to build relationships with local people, volunteer staff and other volunteers, all of whom made this a truly unforgettable life experience and something I will always look back to.
Being with the same few groups every week for 12 weeks gave me the chance to see improvements and progression, for example, doing wound dressings and returning over the next few weeks to check on that person, or people from the group sending a relative to get treatment because they recognised the symptoms of a condition you taught them about. I thoroughly enjoyed my work on the project and feel I have learnt a great deal from it.
My mornings spent in Monkey Bay Hospital were incredible, sometimes difficult due to how limited they are, but I saw some incredible things- seeing a baby being born is just one amazing example! During my afternoon work in the community you really get to know the groups in each village, you get to know individuals and their background's and learn a great deal about their community.
Amy, Wales, aged 18 (Malawi Teaching Medical and Sports Volunteer)
The Borneo Sun Bear Sanctuary needs advertising in countries like the UK to continue their excellent and much-needed work. The staff I worked with during my time there are why this project survives and are assets to the project. Some of the horrors these bears have endured and the emotional scars are shown through repetitive, abnormal behaviours. However, with some of the TLC that the Sanctuary has to offer, I have no doubt that these bears will become fully rehabilitated, make a full recovery, and be released back into the wild.
Jenny, UK (Borneo Sun Bear and Rainforest Experience)
You don’t need a conservation degree, you don’t need husbandry experience, as long as you absolutely want to help and think you can dedicate yourself to caring for bears!
I decided that as my studies in Animal Conservation were coming to an end it was time to spice up my CV with some more relevant volunteering experience. I’d done plenty of research projects and even helped to coordinate at a conservation biology conference, but I’d never taken part in any extensive animal husbandry.
Straight away you notice the beautiful trees and all the different sounds of the forest… I can’t emphasize enough just how friendly everybody is. That night we fell asleep to the incredibly LOUD rainfall outside! You get used to this, I promise.
The next day we got to work! Now, the work itself is not particularly difficult BUT add the heat and jet lag and you have a tiring combination! Don’t worry though, the staff take good care of you and as long as you drink PLENTY of water you’ll be fine! Some of the tasks include preparing the fruit and veg (a lot of it!), preparing the ‘bear porridge’ (rice), carrying and scattering the fruit and veg outside for the bears, cleaning the indoor cages and preparing fun enrichment for the bears to keep them entertained! If you can think of a few different things that will help to stimulate the bears and get them active then don’t hesitate to tell a member of staff, they love new ideas!
All the bears have their own personality and preferences. Some are sweet and quiet, like Mary, and some love to Splash and mess around, like Bermuda! During your time there you’ll definitely get to know your own favourites.
The work is important and it is essentially why you’re there, but the staff understands that you would also like to explore the local area, particularly if you’re from another country like me! There’s plenty of other things to see, like the canopy walks at the Rainforest Discovery Centre just down the road or busy markets in Sandakan. If you love your food Wong knows all the best places to eat so just ask! If it has his recommendation then you’re definitely up for an excellent meal. If you have a sweet tooth I can personally recommend the cake from the ‘Fat Cat Cake House’ in Sandakan!
Georgie, UK (Borneo Sun Bear and Rainforest Experience)
For me, the choice of becoming a Volunteer 'with endangered animals and somewhere in a forest ' was very clear to me since a long time. I wanted to help out where help was needed, and at the same time gaining experience working with animals.
At this sanctuary there’s a group of very dedicated people who not only take care of previously captured sun bears, but also make sure they acquire enough skills to be released into the wild again and 'dehumanise' them. And if that is not enough, they also actively teach local communities about the importance of preserving the natural habitat of sun bears and all the other species that live in primary and secondary forest…
By working 'backstage' and staying in the resort, you definitely have the chance of seeing a lot of Sabah's wildlife. Orang utans, macaques, squirrels, hornbills and kingfishers, beautiful butterflies, cobras and vipers, water monitor lizards an small lizards, weird looking insects and colourful birds, and I was lucky to see and be sniffed at by two baby-pygmies elephants who were in quarantine at the next door centre.
Jaike, Netherlands (Borneo Sun Bear and Rainforest Experience)
Have just returned from a wonderful two weeks in Zimbabwe.
If you are looking for a trip in which you will live amongst the most beautiful African scenery, work with lovely children, see amazing wildlife and be exceptionally well looked after then I would definitely recommend this project. From the moment I arrived at Masvingo all the staff and in particular the project manager Mike could not do enough for me.
The accomdation and food were excellent and the surroundings are just so beautiful. I was kept busy each day at the local primary school, the orphanage and working on the farm.
However, my highlights were the trips to the blind school, the teachers there are inspiring and what they do with the children is incredible. Free time was spent with trips to town, visiting the national park and just exploring the area. Saw lots of wildlife too, hippos just down by the lake and large numbers of rhino in the National park which was only 10 minutes away. It is very quiet in the evenings but I was so exhuasted by the end of each day the amazing starry skies and sounds of the African bush were all I needed.
As it is a new project you really do feel as though you are doing something worthwhile and I would go back tomorrow if I could!
Katie, UK, aged 36 (Masvingo Vulnerable Children Teaching Project)
I volunteered at the Elephant Sanctuary for a week and loved it! It's such a unique experience. The physical work could be hard for some but it's so worth it because you see how happy and content the animals are. Just wanted to say a big thank you to Lek and the staff for all you have done ♥
Here, the elephants are given a chance to roam, play, enjoy long baths in the river and bum-scratches up against trees, eat fruit, and generally be adored by the many volunteers and visitors who come to see them.
The Park is also home to many other rescued animals, including a full-fledged dog shelter. Many of these animals have been through horrors beyond imagination, and Lek is truly a hero for creating this place for them. This trip re-affirmed my already passionate commitment to wildlife protection and animal welfare.
Nikita, Australia (Chiang Mai Elephant Sanctuary)
Thank you so much for an awesome week! I had the time of my life! Lek you are one of the most beautiful persons I ever met. And guides Johnny, Jane & Stan you guys are great - thank you so much too, I had so much fun and you were taking so much care of everybody! The elephants are lovely! I'm so happy for them they got a new chance for a way better life.
Lis, Holland (Chiang Mai Elephant Sanctuary)
I arrived home last night after spending a total of 7 wonderful days at The Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai. I cried when I was leaving because my time there was so memorable and heart warming, I am going back there next year! Lek and her staff are amazingly dedicated people! …. The food was restaurant quality and the sanctuary itself is a true haven for abused elephants!
Do yourself a favour and take a week or two to treat yourself to a life changing experience. Some of the friends I made were visitors to the sanctuary for their 7th time. Thanks to all the wonderful staff and especially to Lek who without this, the life of those beautiful elephants would not be as happy as it is now!
Vicki (Chiang Mai Elephant Sanctuary)
Caring for the animals and observing the research studies conducted by the sanctuary staff were the highlights of my trip.
At night, the number of stars was amazing and then hearing the vocalizations of jackals and lions in the distance gave me goosebumps, I was really in Africa! I highly recommend hi-top trail boots, the soil is very rocky, sometimes like sand and at other spots hard as cement. Everything you do involves walking, and I wished I had brought hi-top trail boots.
I think the work that the wildlife sanctuary does is very valuable to the community and wildlife.
Carin, aged 51, USA (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
When you think of the Maldives, it's all about luxury vacation and high starred hotels. But thats just the tourist part of it. When you become a volunteer here, you will get the privilege to live and work with the locals on a little island far, far away from everything. Islandtime is the codeword and if you like snorkelling, fishing, crystal blue water, lots of sunny hours and very hospitable and kind local people and guides... DON'T MISS IT. This is really a once in a life time.
Jacob, Denmark (Maldives Medical Volunteer)
I am actually half-collapsed on my bed after five hours' work in a local preschool, with breeze coming through the windows and a dragonfly struggling to find its way out.
Only one week left in Naifaru, I am already regretting leaving this tiny paradise three months later. Well-prepared accommodation, hospitable neighbourhood, pleasant working hours, exciting weekend activities...this place will fulfill all your fantasies about a never-shall-I-forget-it volunteer experience.
Oh, free advice! Bring a huge hat and long-sleeves if you don't enjoy sunburns - only three hours in the sun, and people can tell where my watch was for the rest of my life.
Chichi (Maldives Pre-School Teaching Volunteer)
I can’t believe my two months as Sports Volunteer have come to an end. The time has flown by and I’ve had such an amazing experience.
During this time I established football coaching sessions for children aged 6-12yrs, started swimming lessons for women three times a week, assisted with PE teaching in the local school, continued running aerobics classes for women, organised a football coaching awards ceremony and helped paint the new youth centre. I ran football coaching camps four times a week where I was greeted with boys and girls eager to develop their skills and always looked forward to a match at the end of each session.
Every Saturday I looked forward to a trip out with the other volunteers to a local uninhabited island. They had the most beautiful beaches in the world and the snorkelling is amazing! I’ve been lucky enough to be invited to local homes for meals and have made some little friends who always enjoy a visit to the park.
At times the language barrier can be difficult and the culture is very different to at home but seeing the children and women enjoying the opportunities to participate in sport that I’ve created for them makes me realise the positive contribution I have made to their quality of life.
Madeline, Australia (Maldives Sports Coaching Volunteer)
Naifaru will forever have a special place in my heart; the life here is full of such rich culture and has left me with an experience I will never forget.
I spent 4 weeks in Naifaru developing my skills and love for music by teaching the community in various music teaching avenues, from teaching theory to the school band, private piano/keyboard lessons and teaching music to a small group of youths at the community centre. My favourite part about my project was that I decided to put on a community concert with the group of youths, and seeing them after only 3 weeks of learning how to play, get up on stage and dazzle the island with their own songs and new skills
The scenes are fantastic, beautiful blue seas, white sands and the sunsets are just out of this world. The weekly excursions added a whole new level of excitement to my trip where we snorkelled at a shipwreck, and visited uninhabited islands an experience you will never find anywhere else.
The locals are so friendly and cannot do enough to help you, such a relaxed and peaceful environment full of colour and laughter – I would recommend this volunteer experience to everyone it really is one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Natalie, UK (Maldives Teaching Assistant)
During my 4 week stay as a teaching assistant, I primarily lead and assisted Physics classes in Higher Secondary (Grades 11 & 12) as well as leading the odd secondary class and taking the occasional substitution. The school staff were extremely helpful and flexible allowing me to choose the workload I wished to undertake. The school is very professional and is instituting a high standard of education.
The friendships you will make with the students are priceless. Being such a small community, I would see many of the students I taught and their friends in the street, so before long you become familiar with quite a few of the locals. It was fascinating to interact to with the students, learning of their remarkable and intriguing culture.
The small moments with the students were by far the highlight of the trip, taking into account the natural and exotic beauty of the Maldives that we experienced through excursions on the project. The people of Naifaru are warm and hospitable; experiencing their culture and way of life is an incredibly enriching experience.
Sven, Australia (Maldives Pre-School Teaching Volunteer, Maldives Teaching Assistant)
Expect the unexpected they said and that's what I did. But what I got was way more than I'd have ever expected. Straight from my pre-departure guidance till reaching the gorgeous island of Naifaru.
I've learnt so much on this trip. Stuff about the sea life that I never knew before. Why and how we care for the beautiful Green Sea turtles. Getting up every day to feed those babies and watching them playing with water and creating bubbles through their noses and catching them, it was just adorable.
Going on excursion trips to uninhabited Islands and snorkelling with these amazing bunch of people. Snorkelling is something I had never done before but it was like a dream. The sea life is full of pleasant surprises and it's very picturesque.
Our team of marine biologists were some of the most talented people I've ever met. The tireless efforts Bryony and Alice put in to make you feel at home, whilst at the same time educating you, is commendable.
Overall it was an experience of a lifetime. I’ll miss the happy faces,the jokes, breakfast at lushia’s, the marine centre, playing heads up and cheers to the governor… and listening to blues while night fishing, even though I didn't catch a single fish.
Sikander, India (Maldives Marine and Turtle Conservation)
Where do I even start?! The past two weeks have been absolutely incredible. I can safely say I have had the best experience in my life, and I am privileged to have had the opportunity to be one of the volunteers in the marine conservation project.
The Maldives is a magical place, these beautiful and spectacular islands have welcomed me with open arms, strongly enough. I never felt homesick, rather I felt like I was at home for the entire duration of my project. Here in Naifaru, I’ve had so many adventures and made so many friends and most importantly, met a very unique group of individuals, with whom I have shared most of my amazing experiences and made many unforgettable memories which I will forever cherish.
It really amazes me how we all come from different parts of the world, with different backgrounds, religions and mentalities. Yet, we got on so well as a team, serving a very noble cause. We were an awesome gang and everyone has been like a brother and sister to me. I enjoyed every activity, we did together: Breakfast at Luisha’s, snorkelling, night-fishing and just chilling together, getting to know each other.
As a Muslim, I felt a special connection with the Maldives and its people. It really amazes me how I share so much with them even though they are thousands of miles from home, right in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
Taha, Libyan (& a wee bit Scottish) (Maldives Marine and Turtle Conservation)
I am truly grateful for having met so many amazing people and making some unforgettable memories. It is experiences like this that impart such profound impacts on your life. Take in the small moments. Appreciate the sunsets and the vastness of the night sky filled with stars. Take pride in the fact that you are contributing to the preservation of the natural world. Inspire one another. Gain perspective and grow.
I am leaving this island full of ambition. My drive and compassion to preserve the integrity of the earth has only been amplified through this experience. Whatever aspirations you may have in life, I only hope that your time here ignites some sort of inspiration, as it did for me.
Stephanie, Canada (Maldives Teaching Assistant, Maldives Marine and Turtle Conservation)
Crazy to think that my time here in Naifaru has come to an end. My time here has definitely been an experience I will never forget. This truly is a once in a lifetime experience, one that I am so grateful to have taken.
Throughout my three months here I have met some amazing people. I’ve seen and done and experienced some amazing things. To sum up everything I’ve done and will remember for ever: …..camping on Dhidoo, night fishing, breakfast at Luisha’s, Chillipot, Monopoly Deal, the sunsets (something I will miss so so much), the turtles, watching the world cup on a giant screen outside, under the moonlight, whilst listening to the waves crash… I could go on forever.
You’re in an amazing country surrounded by amazing people, snorkel, explore, see the ‘real’ Maldives. Not many people will have this opportunity. Totally make the most of it. I really will miss this place.
Mary Ann, USA (Maldives Marine and Turtle Conservation)
I spent two weeks volunteering in Namibia and wish I could have stayed longer. My friend and I decided to volunteer at the Namibia wildlife sanctuary.
The Amanzi team is extremely helpful and always answered my questions. I was nervous about traveling because I am a very inexperienced traveler. With Amanzi Travel’s help, my trip ran very smoothly. I arrived two days before the start of the project and stayed in Chameleon Backpackers which was also great. Chameleon Backpackers picked us up from the airport, then the NWS staff picked us up from Chameleon Backpackers which made transportation very easy.
Once at the project the staff and fellow volunteers were very welcoming. We stayed in the tents which were comfortable.(I would recommend bringing a sleeping bag if you are staying in the winter months, we used ours every night) There is a shower and bathroom about 15 feet from the tent that are usually shared with another tent, but we lucked out and did not have to share bathrooms with anyone. Our days consisted of breakfast, then a morning meeting, our activity, lunch, afternoon meeting, then our last activity. Every single day is different and plans our subject to change for working at a wildlife sanctuary is very unpredictable. No matter what your doing there, if you have a positive attitude you will have a great time. I never once felt like I was working, and enjoyed everything I got to do. After being there a week, we had the opportunity to go to Neuras, which is part of the Naankuse foundation.
We weren’t sure if we were going to like it as much as the sanctuary because we wanted to do as much hands on with animals as possible, but we loved it here! Neuras is almost like the behinds the scenes of conservation, and even though your not hands on with animals, it is just as rewarding. We were able to track footprints, check trapped cages, and review camera traps. It was so exciting to see wild leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, baboons, and various antelope species on the camera trap. The staff at neuras, especially Matt and Kate are so friendly and inviting, and since there isn’t as many volunteers as the sanctuary, you feel like a little family.
If you are considering going to the Namibia wildlife sanctuary, I strongly recommend spending at least a week at Neuras, I promise you will love it!
Here are the top three highlights of my trip:
1. The cheetah walk. -- You have to pay extra for this $50 U.S dollars but is INCREDIBLE, I would have payed $500 because you get to walk with, pet, and sit with a tame cheetah. I will never forget that.
2. Solitaire--While at Neuras you will come here for a day. It is home to 6 cheetahs and we come here to feed them. You get to get off the truck and be 5 feet from these beautiful animals while you give them meat. It is so much fun and you get incredible pictures.
3. The wild dog Feed.- At Naankuse they have a pack of wild dogs and you get to join the staff and watch them feed. This was incredible to watch. I loved seeing the hierarchy in the pack and the group dynamics as they fed. This was so much fun to watch, just make sure you bring a fully charged camera and videocamera, you will need it.
All in all, this was for sure the best time of my life. I can't wait to go back.
Julia, aged 22, USA (Big Cat Release and Tracking Volunteer, Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
Get qualified on an island in the sun!
Does it get better than Koh Samui to learn to be a great teacher?! Thanks guys!
Great experience and great fun!
Kelvin (Koh Samui Beach Build)
Still thinking about the amazing time I had whilst on the Beach Build project on Koh Samui. It was a wonderful experience, led by really great people - especially Lucy and May who made us feel really welcome and at home - thank you!
You could see that the work carried out by the volunteers really made a difference to the school and is a well organised project. Would highly recommend if you want to do volunteering and experience some life changing things! After working at the school in the day there's still plenty of time to go to the beach and relax. What I loved about this project is their emphasis on creating a family - from the moment you arrive you're welcomed into the family. Group sizes are small, which is so much better because you get to know each other and really make a difference!
Fleur, UK (Koh Samui Beach Build)
2 weeks in the Koh Samui Island Teaching project have been an incredible and life changing experience. I want to thank May and Lucy for all their lessons in Thai culture and their support. The staff are very friendly and made me feel welcome from the moment I started.
Project work can be challenging, but the experience of teaching the children is heart-warming and I guarantee by the end of your trip you'll grow to love even the naughtiest kids in the class!
I would recommend this trip to anyone who enjoys new experiences, helping others and forming new friendships. Thank you :)
Alex, Wales (Koh Samui Island Teaching )
My experience on the Koh Samui Island Teaching was awesome. Here is why:
1. Dedicated and knowledge staff… Once I got to Thailand, the team really knows the ins and out of Bangkok and Koh Samui, and also has a huge network of people that made the trip better.
2. Hands on volunteering and teaching. Prior to this trip, I only taught pre-k kids English. While I was at the school, I got to teach all sorts of things. From English with sixth graders, to PE/art with 8 year olds. I got to interact and teach a variety of things. In addition I also did some community work where I got to do hands on work.
3. It's Thailand. Where else will you find an exotic culture like this? :)
Lily Jin (Koh Samui Island Teaching )
My trip was absolutely amazing and I cannot wait until I can return again! Thank you so much for what Amanzi Travel has done to help make my trip as smooth and special as possible - I truly appreciate it!
The Farm (at Volunteer Living with Big Cats) was absolutely beautiful and everyone I worked with made the experience so special, I couldn't have asked for a better group of volunteers and leaders to work with. I had fun every single day, no matter what we were doing. The extra trips and activities on the days off were also excellent, and gave me the chance to experience other aspects of the local area.
Although the volunteer work wasn't directly related to conservation, it was valuable in that we still worked to help provide a good life for the animals on the farm.
Eva, aged 20, USA (Volunteer Living with Big Cats )
What an amazing month! Teaching was one of the most challenging but rewarding things …the kids are some of the happiest, loving, brightest.
Katie, USA (West Coast Burmese Learning Centre)
Thank you so much for offering me a month of a lifetime. I learned so much about team work appreciations and happiness and I am so grateful I got to do this at 16 years of age.
Radu, Romania (West Coast Burmese Learning Centre)
We had the most fantastic time at Kuraburi Junior School. It was a challenging experience, but incredibly rewarding and we would recommend it highly to those who want to really help with a genuine company that is doing some fantastic work within development in Thailand.
Beth & Jessica, UK (West Coast Thai Junior School )
The time as an English Teacher in the Rural Thai School was great. I gained so much experience and it was always fun teaching the kids. The teachers were amazing even though there was a language barrier. They always tried to help me and I loved spending time with them. I really got to know the country, people, culture and a bit of the language!
Xenia (West Coast Rural Thai School)
I loved the experience. I loved when the children responded to my teaching. The housing was great and the people in the village were very friendly. I was touched by the benevolence and unselfishness of the staff and strangers I met exploring the village.
Kerri (West Coast Rural Thai School)
My seven weeks volunteering at the Kuraburi Junior School have been some of the most challenging weeks of my life, but also some of the best ones I’ve had. The children I have been working with will always be in my heart and I can defiantly say that they have changed my life!
Helena (West Coast Thai Junior School )
I had a blast! Once I finally picked my volunteer vacation, all fell perfectly into place. Amanzi Travel answered all my questions and got me all needed info very prompty. Their My Journey info pack truly had all the needed info.
The staff at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary were just plain wonderful - they made sure we were happy and safe, and that we all had an amazing time. They know how to handle lots of volunteeers and all personalities. I could have done more work there but I do realize they had lots of volunteers to keep busy.
This was one my the best adventures I have had and would do it again ! Many thanks to all who got me over to Africa!
Katie, aged 51, USA (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
This course was truly amazing and I loved every minute of it. The instructors were very friendly, knowledgeable and extremely helpful. The course is well structured and I learnt and saw so much over the 60 days. Its an experience I'll never forget.
I managed to get my FGASA level one :) I particularly enjoyed my vehicle getting chased by lions on my assessment drive.
Jennifer, aged 26, Scotland (Shamwari Game Ranger FGASA Level 1 Course - 60 Days)
I can honestly say that I had one of the greatest experiences of my life! The staff at the farm were amazing, especially our volunteer leaders who made each day even better!
Everyday was different, and everyday was fun! The Farm is a wonderful home for its animals! The people who work with them, genuinely care about each and every one of them, and they are all well looked after! It was incredible getting to walk with the elephants and spend time with the two lion cubs.
Meeting the people that I did was most definitely one of the highlights! There were volunteers from all over the world including Italy, Germany, Spain, Brazil, the USA, and more! I'm glad I can call them all my friends now. My only complaint was that 2 weeks was not long enough. If I go back, it will be for at least a month!
Wesley, aged 21, Canada (Volunteer Living with Big Cats )
The project was amazing. Words can't describe it. I extended another week so in the end I stayed 4 weeks instead of 3.
I would come back to Africa, to the Lion Breeding & Release project, in a heartbeat, and hopefully intend to do so next year.
I can't thank you you enough for putting me on to this project - no where else like it in the world! I am continuing my travels to Thailand now……..
Ruth, aged 38, UK (Lion Rehabilitation Volunteer)
For anyone thinking of the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary, do it! Amazing place full of wonderful people 😀
I'd stay forever if I could!
Clare, UK, aged 36 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
I first was a little scared to travel to Africa alone, but with Gemma from Amanzi Travel supporting me and providing me with all the specific details months before the trip, I felt completely ready to take on the challenge.
The tour was fantastic; I travelled through Kenya and Uganda, I even got a day in Rwanda! Our team leader Moses was great, he answered any questions we had, whether it was regarding the wildlife, culture or the tour in general. He really went the extra mile to make the trip that much more special.
The highlight of the trip was the Gorilla trekking, being so close to the Gorillas in their nature habitat was absolutely incredible!
The people were amazing, everywhere we went, we met even more amazing people and made even more friends. White water rafting, cycling in Hell's Gate National Park, jumping with the local Masai; all these things are just some highlights of the fantastic trip I encountered.
Spectacular experience and would recommend it to anyone who likes adventure and perhaps getting a little bit dirty! Now onto planning the next Africa adventure!
Michael, UK, aged 22 (Gorillas and Game Parks 14 Day)
An amazing opportunity to get involved and see wildlife up close. During my 3 week stay the volunteers got involved in a wide range of activities, from physical tasks such as chopping down alien tree species & removing old wire fences to the darting of Buffalo & Lions for relocation / veterinary purposes. We also saw an amazing amount of wildlife including Leopards, Cheetahs and extremely close encounters with Elephants. All the staff and the other volunteers were great, making the experience a truly memorable one.
Sharon, UK, aged 40 (Shamwari Conservation Volunteer)
I booked my two week Zambia Lion Encounter volunteer vacation through Amanzi Travel and I would book another vacation through them in a heart beat! Throughout the entire process the staff at Amanzi, especially Gemma and Ingrid, who were both amazingly helpful. I am afraid because of my circumstances I was the "problem traveler" but you never would have know it because of their patience, and even working on weekends to make sure I got to my vacation!
I have wanted to go to Africa and work with lions since I read Living Free by Joy Adamson when I was eight years old and Amanzi Travel helped make that dream come true. For two weeks I got to work with lions every day. I was also able to enjoy white water rafting on the Zambezi River, Zip lining at Victoria Falls and a day safari at Chobe National Park in Botswana! The whole trip was a dream come true and the next time I need help fulfilling a dream I will call Amanzi Travel first thing!
Thank you for a wonderful vacation!
Jennifer, USA (Zambia Lion Project Volunteer)
I chose to do a Overland Tour (southern Escape 22 days). If you want to see a large part of Africa in a short space of time and don't mind 'roughing it' then Overlanding is a great way of doing it. I was a little apprehensive to start with, being female and a single person traveling on my own, but this is great as you get to meet loads of new people and make great friends.
The highlights of the trip were many, but I guess the main ones were, Kruger Park, if you go any where in Africa you have to go to Kruger. I also did an extra activity researching Lions, Just me and a guide in a 4x4 out in the bush looking for a pride of lions then sitting and observing them for around 3 hours, I was a little nervous as a couple of the lions wandered off behind the vehicle and I did have to keep checking to see where they were (just in case!)
Victoria Falls is amazing, the television doesn’t do it justice whatso ever, just make sure you have a waterproof camera luckily I did. The Potholes and Blyde River Canyon give you some fantastic views. A few of us also did a boat trip at the Okavengo Delta, our guide was great and really informative, and how he can spot things I will never know? The locals in all the places we visited where very friendly,
I had a great time, Saw some wonderfull things and made some great friends along the way.
Amanzi Travel in short - Excellent Customer Service, Excellent Communication, Excellent Company, I will use them again in the future for any future Volunteering Projects I choose to do in Africa.
Southern Escape 22 days (Johannesburg to Johannesburg)
Angela Greig, aged 51 (Southern Escape 22 Day)
We are back now from a very special experience, although the Etosha overland trip was a bit of an anti climax …… after being so 'hands on' - just could not get excited about taking more photos of animals after being up close and personal (at the NWS). Also unfortunately we had a massive thunder storm of the first night in the park which meant flooded park roads and not many animals on the Game Drives the next day…….. we had an excellent Safari Driver who reminded me of a young Eddie Murphy with a humour to match.
I have no problem providing excellent references for any clients looking to embark on a trip.
Mike Chance, aged 66, UK (Etosha and Swakopmund Adventure - 4 Days, Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
All in all we had a great and rewarding volunteer experience and as we have told our stories, have mentioned Amanzi Travel numerous times.
We had no trouble with entry into the country, and thanks go to both Gemma and Emce, for their assistance with Visas. The website information was helpful…… Volunteers should know that laundry is done almost every day of week and or you can do your own…. The tents for couples are very spacious and clean. The food is basic…. The staff were helpful….
Again a big thank-you for all of your assistance in helping us plan this experience.
Winnie, aged 66 & John, aged 68 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
We enjoyed the journey from Cape Town to Vic Falls, loved the diverse landscapes and all the wildlife around us.
Thanks again for organizing this trip for us, and of course a big thank you goes to the Overland team as well!
Gabor, aged 33, Hungary (Southern Sun 21 Day (Northbound))
Just returned from working in a wildlife sanctuary in Namibia for 2 weeks with my son, arranged by Amanzi Travel. The first thing that struck me was the friendliness of the staff. In my experience many people who love animals are less comfortable with the 2 legged kind, but this was not the case here.
In spite of the considerable amount of work and the many demands placed upon them, they showed every concern for our needs and welfare. This was especially important to me as my son (age 18) is autistic and some adjustments to the tasks and activities were necessary. We are also vegetarians. We were never made to feel that these things were any sort of problem or imposition - quite the opposite.
As a result he (and I) had the most wonderful time.The staff kept all of us (between 30 -40 volunteers) fully informed about every aspect of the project and the background of each of the animals. We were allowed to do a very wide variety of tasks - from preparing the animals' food to helping with research programmes such as tracking radio-collared cheetahs and puff adders with one of the resident scientists. Of course we fed the animals - some by bottle and others by throwing hunks of meat over the electrified fence!
Autism means my son is a shy and anxious person who finds new situations very challenging. In spite of this he is studying Animal Care at college. This programme has not only given him lots of unique work experience, but most importantly it has given him confidence in dealing with new situations and people. To see him joining in with others, laughing and joking and enjoying the company of fellow-animal-lovers has been the most wonderful aspect of this brilliant experience.
I would recommend this project to anyone with a sense of adventure and who is not too attached to their creature comforts! The facilities are basic but perfectly acceptable, so long as you do not forget that you are in Africa - miles from anywhere - if you like camping, then you should not find it a hardship. Though sometimes wet (very very wet) it is soon dry again, and never cold. To lie in your tent at night and hear lions roaring in the distance is just one example of the special features of the accommodation.
Amanzi Travel have been so kind, helpful and efficient and have done all they can to make the booking process as painless as possible.
Helen, UK, aged 57 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
For those with medical background, the time spent at the hospitals was very rewarding and interesting…. We did spend one day as the only doctors in the hospital doing the medical ward round which was beneficial to the hospital. The wound clinics (which often turned into medical clinics) and talks to the villages I feel are very valuable to the community.
The Malawi volunteer project also uses the volunteer money to help fund orphanages, breakfast for the children there and other projects under the teaching and sports projects that are very beneficial to the community.
Women are expected to wear mid shin length skirts/dresses (as opposed to pants) and there is limited internet available at the house if you have a laptop/USB compatible device (no wifi).
The daily volunteer activities were varied. Meals were good given the available foodstuffs. Accommodation was satisfactory and the supportive staff were very helpful….. There are lots of opportunities to go away in the weekends to nearby Cape Maclear or the local lodges.
Karen, aged 25, Dutch (Malawi Teaching Medical and Sports Volunteer)
It was my ultimate bucket list to volunteer with wildlife in South Africa. I came back from the volunteering at the Big 5 Reserve with Lion and Tiger Conservation at xmas. It was awesome!!!! On my first game drive, I got to see a lioness with a prey in its mouth and she was dragging it behind the bushes. As days go by, I got learn facts about the different animals in the game reserve such as how to identify animal tracks. I also did work like weeding and fence patrolling. I actually mended a fence for the first time ever! Cub sitting is always awesome... I missed Survivor, the brown lion cub!!
Loved the game drives. Loved cub sitting! Loved the scenery at the reserve. I got to watch feeding at the predator center. I went to the elephant sanctuary. Thanks for organizing! I might want to do another volunteering project but maybe other parts of Africa.
Asmawati, Singapore aged 32 (Big 5 Reserve with Lion and Tiger Conservation )
My experience at Noah's Ark Wildlife Sanctuary was absolutely incredible, and I am already planning a visit back there at the end of the year. It was hard work at times but it was all worth it when you were cuddling the animals and you saw how happy they were. Amanzi Travel were great in the pre-departure stage of my trip, Gemma always answered my questions promptly and booked all my pre and post project accomodation for me wherever I needed it.
Clare, aged 20, Australia (Namibia and Botswana Adventure - 14 days (Northbound), Noahs Ark Wildlife Sanctuary)
I had a fantastic time in Namibia and my experience there fulfilled all my expectations. It was just amazing helping with the animals and thoroughly enjoyed mucking in and getting dirty at the sanctuary. I thought Neuras was a fantastic place and very beautiful with amazing landscapes. It was great to be able to go to Sossusvlei, Solitaire and climb the Namib Naukluft Mountains. I found the staff very dedicated and were all great fun to work with.
Peter, aged 49, UK (Big Cat Release and Tracking Volunteer)
The best was walking with Sheba and the cubs and feeding the animals. All the staff at the project are so friendly, happy and very knowledgeable. They are responsible and care so much about the animals and about each other. They have a great sense of humour and are so much fun to work with. The receptionists are so nice and helpful. I am so thankful for this programme and all the things I’ve been able to do…I’ve been able to interact with all the animals and so glad that there are great parks like this that care about the animals and take care of them… Very happy and hope to come back.
Lindsey, from USA (Volunteer Living with Big Cats )
t's an amazing experience that I would like to recommend. The rangers are really friendly and try everything to give you the best experience even if you are volunteering only 2 weeks like I did. I wish I could have stayed longer.
Tanja, Germany, aged 34 (Big 5 Reserve with Lion and Tiger Conservation )
Thank you for sure an amazing trip!
I booked the trip through Amanzi Travel with the very helpful lady Gemma who made my booking easy and also helped look at flights. The whole trip from start to finish was by far more then I could have ever asked for, everything about the set up to the guides to the people and places we went was amazing and so much fun. The tour guide was Cornelius, the cook was Benson and the driver was Russel.
Cornelius met us in Cape Town and explained the whole trip from start to finish at the pre meeting and made everything easy to understand and answered all the questions we asked. Meeting the group for the first time was good as well because we all then were able to go and have dinner and the trip started before we even left. Out of around 20 people who were on the trip we had 14 different nationalities who all got along so well for the whole trip… Once the trip was on the way everything ran perfectly and Corny did an amazing job at keeping us all informed on everything… he was able to answer all our questions and made all the border crossings less painful… All the places we camped were fantastic with pools, bars and such amazing views. I have never done so much in 3 weeks before... we also had many a night out and more fun then I have ever had in my life!
Cornelius (Tour guide) As a guide we really couldn't of asked for a better person, not only did he help with everything we needed he became a friend. Within the first week we as a group stopped seeing him as a tour guide and had accepted him as one of the group, he was on tour with us. We had two Australian members in our group who had got engaged 3 days before the trip. Half way through we took it upon ourselves to have a mock wedding after the Delta trip. Everything was so brilliant and fun and Cornelius managed to get the right music for the occasion, managed to get the bar staff to make a wedding cake and even took us into town to buy dresses, clothes and everything we needed. He went the extra mile several thousand times just to make everything that bit better for us. He joined in on all of the extra trips that us as a group did like skydiving, quad biking, white water rapids and the gouge swing. Even after the trip had ended he still joined us during the day when we went to see Vic Falls and out for dinner. Even when the new group had joined Corny still managed to set them up with everything they needed while also helping us out still with matters of our own. He knew everyone in all the places we stopped which made a good connection between us and the people we met along the way.
Benson, the Cook, I cant give him enough credit for the food he cooked. Everything he made tasted amazing and nothing was unhealthy. If anyone had a dislike to anything he would make a separate batch just for that person and never left anyone out. Not once did we go hungry as he always made sure we had enough.
This trip has been a great way to end 2013 for me and I'm sure many other people in my group and other groups for that matter. I am already looking at coming back in the new year as Africa has had such an impact on me I just want to spend so much more time seeing the amazing and beautiful continent.
What a trip, so much wildlife everywhere! camping under the stars, beautiful kids and stunning countries - what more can you want!
Daniel, UK aged 26 (Southern Sun 21 Day Trip)
Activities included walking with Sheba, elephant walking, feeding all the animals, different trips, digging the tiger pool and game drives. The best things were walking with Sheba… feeding cubs, helping with the tiger pool and painting the elephant house.
There was nothing that I did not like. Best people I’ve ever met and because of that I want to come back. Food was great.
Best thing in my life, I’ve had so much fun in these two weeks…Wonderful and caring staff – very welcoming!
Maia Henriksson, Felicia Nilsson, Diella Hisenai, Sweden (Volunteer Living with Big Cats )
Thank you for a great experience... we fed the lions, tigers, horses, zebra and donkeys, we cleaned the elephant house, walked with elephantsa and with Sheba (lion cub). We also got involved with making a pool for the tigers. I really liked all the activities and the staff were fantastic! Les, Bainet and Cosmos - I loved them. The people in the kitchen and the bar are wonderful! I want to come back – this place and the people are amazing! Food was great. Fantastic!
Lillian Guardian, Brazil (Volunteer Living with Big Cats )
Going to Africa has been a dream of mine for many years, especially to be around lions. I thought it would always remain a dream until I was diagnosed with brain cancer before I even turned 30 which changed my entire perception of life. With that, I began to do my research and landed on Amanzi Travel's website that brought me in. When I asked which of the lion programs would have the closest interaction with the lions, I was told the Lion Breeding and Release Program. They were not joking. The program overall was everything I could imagine and more. I got to walk right alongside majestic lions that see you as one of their own pride and sometimes even rub their gorgeous faces right up against you. Not only do they have the lions (cubs and adults) to interact with between walks, enrichment, cleaning, and feeding, but also 4 elephants that have been rescued and horses that you get to be involved with. The entire trip was simply amazing. Great people working there, beautiful animals that you get to help hands on and new forever friends from all over the world. I have officially checked a major one off my bucket list and would do it again in a heartbeat.
Kari, USA aged 30 (Lion Rehabilitation Volunteer)
It was two fantastic months which I will never forget. We saw something amazing every single day.
Jonas, Denmark aged 20 (Shamwari Game Ranger FGASA Level 1 Course - 60 Days)
Thank you for the warm return greeting :) It's tough to be back home since the trip was absolutely amazing. Shamwari is definitely a special place.
I really enjoyed my time at Shamwari. It was my first trip to Africa and I felt like they had many projects to manage the reserve's eco-system, community outreach and conservation education. I was living a dream for two weeks at Shamwari and was fortunate to do so many projects and meet amazing people. I was gutted to leave, but I'll be back :)
Jillian, USA, aged 35 (Shamwari Conservation Volunteer)
I found it highly enjoyable, the wildlife was amazing, the environment was excellent, but really it was Brenda and Peter who made it so fantastic. The staff were superb, I was looked after astoundingly well and if I ever had an issue everybody would do everything and anything to rectify it.
William, UK (Vic Falls Big 5 Game Reserve Conservation Volunteer)
The nicest people you will ever meet - kind/generous/hilarious. Peter and Brenda are the people who make Nakavango what it is and I honestly believe they deserve more for what they do. Best place ever - thanks to everyone.
Flora, from UK (Vic Falls Big 5 Game Reserve Conservation Volunteer)
Writing this made me feel so nostalgic - was such a great experience, I cannot thank you girls enough for all your help.
I developed a great relationship with Pat prior to departure as she was incredibly helpful helping me decide on the project I wanted to go on. She also went above and beyond to ensure that I was comfortable with the departure information and answered all my questions
Well, I can honestly say that I had the best experience of my life at the Vic Falls Lion project. It was my 30th birthday and I wanted to do something completely different - think I achieved that!! Pat & Gemma made the booking and everything up to departure such a smooth and easy process. I was never worried about travelling alone as I knew I would meet people there and I have made some great friends (volunteers as well as staff).
You immediately feel welcomed and if you have any issues, there is always someone willing to help.
My time at the project and Vic Falls was amazing, I went in with an open mind and joined in as many of the additional tours and excursions that I could, which was great! The lions were a joy to work with and be around, so much so that I miss them so much - it is amazing how close you get to these animals after just a few weeks. I feel that I contributed to getting the lions to stage 1B of the programme. The guys made my actual birthday day memorable by going to Sunset Lodge and Boma restaurant and I would like to say thanks to all who were involved I really appreciate it.
Vic Falls is an amazing location as well, from the actual Falls to the bungee jump brige - in your spare time you will have plenty to see and do!!
What I would like to say to end this with, is if you go to these projects, go with an open mind, it will not be five star accomodation or food, but it will be the best experience that you ever invest in! Book today, you will not regret it
Chanelle, UK aged 30 (Victoria Falls Lion Project Volunteer)
This was the best experience of my entire life and i did not want to leave! 3 weeks was not long enough. I interacted and helped so many different animals and people as well as experiencing a completely different culture and way of life. I would recommend this project to anyone who loves animals and who wants to make a real difference to their lives as well of the lives of the bushmen and people that live there. You will make tonnes of new friends, and keep them for life. I cannot recommend this project or Amanzi Travel more highly.
Laurel, UK aged 21 (Noahs Ark Wildlife Sanctuary)
I spent two years working to get the money to spend two months in South Africa. It was more than worth it. This was my second trip to the reserve, having spent two weeks there in 2011. I booked through Amanzi travel both times as I found all the information they gave me before the trip to be so helpful and their friendly emails made me feel very comfortable about going off on my own. I was this time doing the FGASA level 1 course. When I first arrived I was quite overwhelmed by the amount of information the course covered. Gerry, the course instructor, seemed to know everything about everything and the other students who were already there seemed to know so much as well. As the weeks passed I was still nervous about the exam but was not so intimidated by the course as it was just so interesting. It covered so many different topics most of which excited me, and with the guidance of Gerry and the other rangers I couldn’t help but strive to do well. In the end I passed my exam and sobbed when Gerry told me as I had never wanted anything more than I wanted to pass that exam. I got that news from Gerry on my last day there which proved to be a day of lots of crying as I had to say goodbye to so many inspirational people. We had a few classes a week and other than that we were working with the volunteers. I met so many lovely people among the volunteers who I am still in contact with. There is a lot of the work where we were doing physical labour (digging holes, fence clearing, road maintenance etc.) but I was quite pleased with that. I spent the entire 8 weeks exhausted but hugely motivated. I’m studying Zoology at University so am happy to be able to see wildlife in the ‘wild’ rather than having it tame so that I can play with it. For my two months there, there were no cubs being hand raised so the only interaction was with the elephants at the elephant sanctuary and with the animals in the touch farm. That suited me quite well as I think its better for the animals that way. The rangers made the trip amazing. Gerry inspired me to do the best I could and the opportunity to work with him was one I’ll never forget. Polite, one of the other rangers who I worked with a lot, was also amazing to work with. He could make any task worth doing. A few of us also felt like we should start documenting all of his philosophical statements. All the rangers were so good at imparting information and allowing us to gain confidence in our knowledge and ability.
Olivia, (Eastern Cape Field Guide FGASA Level 1 - 8 Weeks)
The medical volunteering project in Malawi was an amazing and unforgettable experience. The Amanzi Travel staff were very friendly, easy to approach with any queries I had about the trip before departure, and extremely helpful and detailed in their responses. As a result I felt very prepared for what to expect on the trip. The staff located in Malawi were also very friendly, welcoming, and informative, helping people to settle in quickly. The project work itself was great fun, fascinating, and very fulfilling - the locals are really appreciative of your knowledge and help, being very uneducated in this field and often having little money to care properly for themselves and/or their families. The work was also very rewarding for myself and I feel I gained a lot of valuable experience in a completely different culture. The location of the project is perfect - targetted to the communities around Monkey Bay that are in desperate need of our help, on the shores of the picturesque Lake Malawi with its stunning sandy beaches and mountainous backdrop. During the project I met a lot of very nice people from around the globe in a similar life situation to myself who had similar values, and I developed many longterm frienships from my time there. The optional excursions at the weekends were also thoroughly enjoyable, a great way to socialise with the other volunteers and make good friends, and an excellent way to see more of the wonderful country of Malawi. All in all it was a fantastic and valuable experience, one that I would definitely do again.
Gordon, UK, aged 21 (Malawi Teaching Medical and Sports Volunteer)
The overall experience was outstanding. The booking experince was hassle free and all questions were answered quickly, thank you Gemma! The staff at the reserve itself were so easy to get a long with and went out of their way to make your trip a wonderful one, they were also very knowledgeable and I learnt some very odd and interesting facts. The work was very conservation based and tough sometimes but you felt like you were really making a difference which made getting up in the morning easy! The accomodation was fantastic and the house keepers were super friendly and went out of their way to make everything clean and comfortable for you. I had a lot of fun, but by far the best was game capturing Blesbok and babysitting the baby white lion cub, she was the most adorable thing in the world. 3 weeks I thought would be enough, but I could have stayed out there longer. The weekend excursions were always fun, and your in house coordinator at the reserve will help you too do anything you wish to do. For instance I did the world highest bridge bungee jump :O went horse riding and great white shark diving. I would recommend trying to experience as much as you can whilst your over there, because South Africa is a beautiful place. It was an amzing experience that has made me eager to volunteer again, I met some amazing people and did some amazing things whilst in South Africa and I will be visiting again.
Emma, UK aged 22 (Big 5 Reserve with Lion and Tiger Conservation )
I had the most amazing time, and none of that would have been possible without all of your hard work organising everything. So I just want to say a big thank you! I greatly appreciate it, and it was nice not having to worry about anything while I was away - a number of people did have issues with transfers. So thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I will definitely be back to organise another volunteer project soon!
Everything was great. Whenever I had any questions they would be answered very promptly. Gemma was very friendly and professional. I've really had a great experience with Amanzi Travel and would recommend them to anyone.
My time at Neuras was wonderful. The accommodation was fantastic! - a nice little luxury from the wildlife sanctuary. It's a beautiful place. It was a lot of fun going on the game counts, making the enrichment for the cheetahs at Solitaire and climbing the dunes. There's so much natural beauty in Namibia :)
I really enjoyed my time at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary. The baboons are beautiful! Sleeping with a baby baboon was an awesome 'once in a lifetime' experience, which I will treasure forever.
Organising my trip through Amanzi Travel was one of the best decisions of my travelling life. I was (and still am) very impressed and happy with all of the work Gemma did with organising not only my time at the volunteer projects, but also transfers to and from the airport and accommodation after leaving the project. There were no issues at all which was fantastic! I've got nothing but praise for all of the hard work Gemma, and the rest of the Amanzi Travel team do :)
Fiona, Australia, aged 23 (Big Cat Release and Tracking Volunteer, Namibia Dunes and Wildlife Experience - 6 Days)
The trip was absolutely incredible and Africa has most definitely made it's mark on my heart. All I have left to say is thank you very much for all your work in making our trip one of our best ever holidays.
I cannot fault the project and the people who are a part of it. It was a special experience and will be remembered for many years to come. My time was spent in such close proximity with lions that it felt almost surreal. They are animals of such beauty and grace, yet they progress towards such a bleak and uncertain future. The project offers a hands on experience, and one is an active part of lion conservation in Zimbabwe. Seeing the development of the lions and the subsequent positive impact of my involvement was a heartwarming feeling. Nowhere else in the world will anyone find such a real and unique experience working with one of the most admired and feared animals in the world; my time at the project was phenomenal.
George, UK, aged 17 (Victoria Falls Lion Project Volunteer)
I had an amazing time in Africa and i already miss it. I will try to go back next year.
Before going to Africa, the promptness and response after a question was very quick, sometimes within 60 min and that is excellent. You helped me a lot, even with adresses from hostels in Hoedspruit. Your responses was always very friendly, clear and explicit. The pre- departure information was good and it was nice to receive an email before departure confirming all the details of my trip.
It was interesting to start the project with a power point presentation because it makes clear what you have to do and what the purpose and mission is. The daily volunteer activities were amazing. It was nice to drive around and look for animals during the day. Data collecting was interesting and necessary, so nice to do. Bush clearing and erosion control was hard work, but you make a different and it's nice to do something good for the enviroment. The accomodation was very good.
The guidance and support by staff was EXCELLENT. The rangers are very professional, well educated, driven, motivated, willing to help and friendly!
Makalali is a beautiful reserve in the middle of the African bush, were you get a real wildlife experience. It's beautiful to watch the sunset from one of the hills. It's amazing to see Rhino's and lion's on foot. The data collection is interesting and important to do. Bush clearing and erosion control is hard work but very nice to do and good to see the difference and a good result. The staff is very professional, well educated, motivated, willing to help and friendly! Volunteering at Makalali is just fantastic.
Charlene, Netherlands aged 21 (Wildlife Volunteer Makalali Game Reserve)
The trip was... mind-blowing. It would not be excessive to describe it as life-changing. It's been a few weeks since I got back, and I am still reeling. It seems unreal. Thanks for enabling me to make this incredible experience.
Hendrick, Germany aged 21 (FGASA Level 1 Field Guide Course - 55 Days)
There is nothing worse than volunteering your time and then find it is not utilised. This project and its staff ensure that it is run in a highly efficient way. We always knew at the beginning of the week what and where our projects were for the whole week. Every project we were accompanied by a project leader and in the villages an interpreter. Each week we had team meetings with the leaders to discus issues which meant projects were the best they could be for everyone. By combining a specific project with a variety community work we all got to experience all aspects of life in Livingstone. There was plenty of time in the evenings and weekends to socialise with the other volunteers. We enjoyed all the tourist activities Livingstone and Chobe had to offer. I can sum it up as being “Lots of Fun”.
Leslie, UK aged 59 (Zambia Healthcare and Community Development)
This was a great trip - and an altogether awesome experience! Amanzi Travel played a huge part in making it so good, advising and answering any questions promptly and professionally. Everything went smoothly and to plan, including all the travel/transfer arrangements - and the website description of the trip and the project was very accurate. The whole experience was just incredible - so much so that a return trip is definitely a big possibility! The animal experience is extraordinary and the staff are wonderful - they always have time for you, even when in tense situations. This just has to go on everyone's bucket list!! Amanzi Travel staff are also very friendly, which - believe me - helps a lot in easing any concerns or fears about the unknown! In fact, we are already discussing another trip - just 1 week after returning home!
Kevin, UK aged 59 (Lion Rehabilitation Volunteer)
We had an AMAZING time! Thank you so much for all your help and support, as ever Amanzi Travel were brilliant!
The help and advice Amanzi gave before we travelled was excellent. We were not straight forward-we tried to coordinate 3 of us getting time off work and volunteering together. Pat was a tremendous help, nothing seemed too much trouble for her. She was patient with all our enquiries, spoke to the Livingstone project leaders to adapt the pick up times to fit in with our days of leave. She was always on hand-even at weekends. I cannot thank her enough, she was an absolute star! We owe the success and enjoyment of our trip to her support and hardwork, so thank you. The pre-departure information was also excellent, I felt very prepared, especially with the visas and packing information.
The whole set-up was incredibly well organised, the project staff were friendly and helpful and the projects were well run. It was great to have the mix of doing the medical volunteering in the morning and then the varied activities in the afternoon (either reading clubs, art clubs, activities at the old people's home, etc).
The medical project was valuable because we were able to take vitals/do baby weighing, etc that enabled the nurses to be free to see patients. As a qualified doctor I did not practice medicine out there because I had not applied to the Zambian government to do so. However, I still found the medical project incredibly useful and interesting. I think practicing medicine may have made me more of a hinderence initially because I did not know how the system worked and what drugs, etc are available. By being a medical volunteer I was able to help with some of the nurses tasks that then freed them up to do the assessments. On the home-based care visits I think bringing analgesics to those who are isolated from clinics meant that they had at least some limited access to medications. We were also able to initially assess them and suggest whether we felt they should go to a clinic.
I absolutely loved my time in Livingstone! Unfortunately I was only able to go for 2 weeks and I was afraid that the time would be too short for me to fully feel a part of it. I couldn't have been more wrong! The project leaders and other volunteers immediately made me feel at home; I came away having made friends for life. The projects were so well organised and everyone was so enthusiastic. I wanted to volunteer so that I could try and make a small difference. The set-up there really makes you feel you have helped. But more importantly, I think the local Zambians helped me. Their spirit and cheerfulness, despite having relatively little, really taught me what to appreciate in life. It was a really refreshing break from the hecticness of life in England. My best part was visiting the old people's home and bringing some fun and laughter into their otherwise quiet lives. We made musical instruments with them and then proceeded to play them along to some music, as well as dancing and singing. I am ashamed to say they had far better rhythm than me!
Livingstone is ideally located next to Victoria Falls so there is so much to see and do in your free time. I celebrated my 30th birthday whilst out there and I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate. A helicopter ride over the Falls was amazing-as was walking alongside it-we got absolutely drenched! I would highly recommend this volunteer placement, and hope to be able to go back some day.
Katheryn Evans, UK aged (Zambia Healthcare and Community Development)
I feel so lucky that I had the chance to volunteer at their beautiful centre.
All of the work you do on this project is all for the animals, they are the number one priority. I got to work with cheetahs, tiger and the lion cub as well as bigger lions, who kept me awake at night with their beautiful loud roaring. It was an experience out of thousands..
Sharan, Netherlands, aged 22 (Volunteer Living with Big Cats )
Thanks again for all your help, we had a fantastic time!
Based on the feedback from the local people whilst on the project we were helping, they were hugely appreciative of the work that was going in and what the project was trying to achieve. From the short time we were there, you could see the impact it was having.
Zambia is a beautiful country full on great things to do, and the staff are hugely helpful and enthusiastic. Sure to have a great time with this wonderfully rewarding experience and come back with many awesome memories. Go for as long as you can!
Satheesh, UK aged 30 (Zambia Sports Coaching Volunteer)
Gemma was fantastic when it came to organising my trip to Africa. I am in Australia but the time difference and distance was no problem for Amanzi Travel who are based in the UK. I had a few issues however Gemma was very helpful, professional and understanding. I did the Noah's Ark project and thought it was wonderful. It's very hands on - so expect to get very dirty! You get to meet exotic animals up close and personal. It was definitely an experience of a lifetime and I would recommend Noah's Ark to everybody!
Karyn, Australia aged 26 (Noahs Ark Wildlife Sanctuary)
I loved every minute!! It has been the best month of my life, it has felt like home here and am very sad to be leaving. Would love to return.
Laura, Canada aged 20 (Big 5 Reserve with Lion and Tiger Conservation )
I was a volunteer for 11 weeks from February to May, and absolutely fell in love with the project, the location and the animals. It is a truly down-to-earth experience where you live in the bush on a beautiful reserve and get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and focus on the animals and what it's like to live an environmentally friendly way of life. The lions are amazing; you really get to know them and their personalities and the best part is that you get to spend a lot of time with them alone (i.e. there aren't other vehicles that are also trying to get good visuals). While you get to monitor the lions and elephants, my favorite part was the rhinos - there are no words for what it's like to be so close to these creatures. Finding the black rhinos was definitely a highlight! During down-time, there were also FGASA lectures which helped me to understand the complexities of nature in the African bush more and I felt I knew a lot more about what I was seeing while on the game drives. Also, I was amazed that I actually got to know some of the constellations in the African sky - the stars and galaxies that you see while there are crystal clear thanks to the remote location of the reserve. Being a volunteer on this project was one of the best experiences of my life - there is nothing else like it! It is one of the most amazing places to visit and experience life in the African bush.
Lydia, Canada (SA Lion and Rhino Tracking Volunteer)
The volunteer project was the without doubt the best thing I have ever done. The wildlife, the people and the place were incredible. I cannot fault the experience at the project or the booking process with Amanzi Travel. It's hard work but you get so much out of it and it is truly needed and massively helpful for the game reserve. I learned a huge amount about the wildlife and the experiences with the animals on the reserve and in the enclosures are unparalleled. I am already planning to go back and cannot wait for it. Thank you!
George, UK, aged18 (Big 5 Reserve with Lion and Tiger Conservation )
Words cannot express how much I loved my 2 weeks in Zambia! Walking with lions each day, brilliant deep blue skies, smiles and laughter and a fantastic group of volunteers and staff. I didn't want to come home!
Julie, UK aged 53 (Zambia Lion Project Volunteer)
Had a fantastic time in Africa. Thank you for all your hard work in organising my adventure. It has certainly been a trip of a lifetime and a life changing experience. Will look through my many photos and send some in the near future.
Limpopo Wildlife Conservation Volunteer Project
Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary Teaching Project
Zambia Lion Rehabilitation Project
Zambia Teaching Project
A trip to volunteer in Africa should be on everones to do list. It is an extremely rewarding and fullfilling experience. Amanzi Travel took the time to ensure that I was placed in the right projects to suit my needs and requirements. You need to approach volunteering with an open mind but the more you put into a project the more you get out off it. i was well looked after on all my projects from the pick up at the airports right through to the end. Everyone was extremely friendly. The only down side was having to leave Africa. i certainly did not want to come home. Volunteering in Africa has certainly been a life changing experince and one I would recommend to anyone.
Alexandra, UK, aged 36 (Zambia Lion Project Volunteer, Teaching and Wildlife Volunteer Namibia, Zambia Teaching Volunteer, Askari Wildlife Conservation Volunteer)
My African adventure was the experience of a lifetime and the memories I made are unforgettable...I had an absolutely amazing time, thanks! Thank you so much for everything and for making my trip possible! You have no idea how grateful I am.
Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary (link to project)
I had a completely amazing time volunteering at the sanctuary. Everything was perfect to me and I definitely plan on going back... Being able to work with such amazing animals as well as learn so much about them is something I will never stop appreciating. You really do feel like you're helping and contributing to the project and the staff seem make sure you know it... I feel that the sanctuary is doing an amazing job at helping out the wildlife. The effort and dedication to their wellbeing is fantastic and that is definitely one of the main reasons I plan on going back...It really is an amazing place and you really do start to feel at home there. It’s incredibly hard to leave!
Namibia and Botswana Adventure - 14 Days - Southbound (link to project) / Northbound (link to project)
My overland tour from Victoria Falls to Swakopmund was also completely amazing. Everything was beautiful and I definitely plan on doing it again! The amount of incredible things I saw and did! From seeing all the wildlife in the national parks to my bush camp in the Okavango Delta, it was all indescribably beautiful. I absolutely plan on doing another overland tour! It's an incredible experience!
All in all, Africa gets in your blood and it's as though nothing is going to stop you from returning. All of the surreal things you see and do, as well as all of the incredible people you meet and friends you make, are irreplacebale. I would advise anyone to set aside the time to book your trip of a lifetime!
Alicia, Canada, aged 19 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
Zanzibar Rural Teaching Volunteer (link to project)
My 4 weeks volunteering in Zanzibar gave me the insight I wanted into another culture and I feel immensely satisfied at having achieved this at my age! The people of Jambiani were warm and welcoming, as were all students and I met such interesting people along the way.
African Encounter 36 day (Southbound (link to project) / Northbound (link to project)
During the 5 week overland trip from Zanzibar to Cape Town I saw so much of Africa that I'd always wanted to see, from the countryside and scenery, to the animals and people, who were always keen to wave as the truck passed through. Such a land of contrasts from east to west, green and lush in the east to the dry deserts of the west. Vic Falls was fantastic, as were animals in the Chobe and Etosha Pan and so many other things too numerous to mention.
Having thought about doing this trip for so long, I can't believe I've done it but I did and have experienced a trip of a lifetime - thank you Amanzi Travel. Also just to add, Pat was great, helpful and encouraging, she really helped me decide to 'go for it'.
Judith, UK, aged 62 (Zanzibar Rural Teaching Volunteer, African Encounter 36 Day (Northbound), African Encounter 36 Day (Southbound))
When I first landed in Namibia in early 2012, I had a great sense of homecoming though it was the first time I'd been.... When I got to Namibia this time that sense of homecoming was even greater... Being here my heart and soul feel calm and at peace, full of passion and drive... Meeting, getting to know and settling in with a new group of volunteers has been like making an all new family, all so very different but all with a fierce love and devotion to a common cause that brings us together and binds us. And what better way to get to know people than to work together, to live togther, to push your limits, support and encourage eachother. Everyone did their best the first week, coped with extreme heat, the tough physical work... To see your hard work, sweat and sore muscles... come together to create something tangible, something solid, something helpful is so rewarding that you forget about almost everything else... And after all our hard work, a weekend of rest before the amazing chance to track the elephants through this beautiful land.
Courtney, Canada (Desert Elephant Volunteer)
I had an amazing time at The Primate Sanctuary in South Africa, so thank you so so so much for reccommending it and for helping me so much before I went. I didn't leave early in the end, I stayed longer and wish I was still there! I will definitely return, so you're an angel for the recommendation in the first place. It was like a little bubble, a total haven for volunteers as well as the monkeys and baboons.
I hope Namibia will be equally as amazing, but there'll be less monkey cuddles, so it has a lot to live up to! I haven't really unpacked from SA, let alone thought about Namibia, but I best get cracking as I leave on Sunday!
Thank you so very much again. They also ran the Kruger trip when I was there, so was lucky enough to go and it was stunning!
Rachael, UK, aged 36 (Primate Rehabilitation Volunteer)
I'm so thrilled that I was able to be a part of what Lynn has done at the Primate Rehabilitation Centre. I can hardly believe it's over, but having the opportunity to work hands-on every day with loads of baby vervet monkeys and baboons was absolutely incredible. I'm going to stop short of calling it "once in a lifetime", because I hope I'll be back again soon! Be warned that it's addictive; others who were there with me were repeat visitors (in one case, for the 11th time!). It's not easy work and you will get dirty, but you can easily see the value you're adding as new orphan monkeys come in every couple of days. Take my word for it and go to this project to find your adoptive primate baby--I'm still missing mine as I type this.
Ashley and Rohan, USA, aged (Primate Rehabilitation Volunteer)
This project was excellent for conservation and preserving the environment - from animal rehabilitation to tree preservation/alien plant eradication!!- it did exactly what it said on the tin - fab project, hard work but definitely worth the effort and you feel like you are making a difference.The reserve staff were excellent and constantly trying to keep us busy with plenty of game drives as well as manual labour, there was always something to do....The house was kept immaculate...
Gemma was really helpful and supportive when deciding which project to choose and I found myself well-prepared for departure. MANY THANKS. Excellent customer service, I was guided through the process from start to finish with lots of support if needed!
The staff at the project were really friendly and I feel that the work that we did really made a difference to both the environment and the local community and I would recommend it to anyone who has the time and energy to give - you will know that you have done something worthwhile.
Joanne, UK, aged 35 (Big 5 Reserve with Lion and Tiger Conservation )
I really enjoyed my time in South Africa. The program was great. We did a lot of conservation work which was some tough manual labor at times but it was great knowing what you were doing was helping the environment. All of the game drives were great! We got to see a lot of animals! The dawn drive was the best since we got to see the lions pretty close on the reserve! All of the rangers on the reserve were very knowledgeable and it was great talking to them and learning about the reserve and wildlife. The weekends in Port Elizabeth were fun and enjoyable. It was awesome meeting all of the other volunteers from different countries and they all made the experience more enjoyable!
Ali, USA, Aged 24 (Big 5 Reserve with Lion and Tiger Conservation )
Right from day one from being picked up, i was made to feel welcome and an important part of the small team. Kate and Matt are the perfect hosts, knowledgeable and enthusiastic. The surroundings are perfect. The food is just the best and i was so pleased that i had split the weighting of the projects in this manner. the research side of the project really appealed and i loved all of the exposure to the naukluft mountains and namib desert. Gaining knowledge in the field of tracking released leopards and cheetahs, game counting etc was excellent. by staying longer i was lucky enough to experience a wide array of the project actvity and its value to the conservation of these magnificent creatures.
Surrounded by stunning landscapes, working with lively, enthusastic, fun guides who are just the perfect hosts, i have had the pleasure of enjoying a totally amazing 3 weeks at the Neuras research/release project. I would highly recommend people to stay for as long as possible for the experence of a lifetime in conserving these magnificent animals.
Andrew, UK, aged 39 (Big Cat Release and Tracking Volunteer)
Had a great time at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary and will hopefully go back one day!
What an experience! When I first met Samira the tame 10 year old cheetah, and then got to step into her enclosure and stroke her while she purred loudly, I was quite overcome with awe. And that was just the beginning….. Walking with the baby and junior baboons - and having the privilege of being groomed by the dominant junior female, was something I'll never forget. I loved babysitting Sheila the baby overnight - although putting on two nappies onto something with a tail, and that is clinging fiercely to your side, is quite a challenge! Watching her sleep with her bottle in her mouth, and cuddling up to me for comfort and warmth, was sheer delight. I never expected to fall in love with the baboons! I handled so many different creatures on this trip - Sylvie the tame duiker, Mollie the meerkat, Duckie the blind duck, Mo the baby sheep, Medusa and Cleo the caracals, Samira the cheetah and of course Sheila the baby baboon (amongst a crowd of other baboons!)….. it's an animal-lover's paradise. The work is constant and sometimes challenging, but you know you're doing it to help the animals. I would absolutely love to go back again and spend longer there - I'm missing Sheila and she'll be so much bigger by the time I next see her!
Jo, UK, aged 38 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
I had a great trip... Everything Amanzi promised they delivered, from scheduling & pickups to outlining the project. I felt as prepared as one can be going from a cushy 9-5 life to a wildlife sanctuary halfway across the globe :) Thank you.
Laurie, USA aged 47 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
Imirie is lovely, just stunning. And well-run. As a volunteer, I felt my time and skills were useful, and I learned more than I could have hoped about rhinos, antelopes, elephants, lions, hyenas...and people, and how we're not always the best stewards of land and animals. Imirie seems a place dedicated to fixing the broken relations between people, land and animals.
Anna-Marie, Canada, aged 50 (Rhino and Elephant Sanctuary)
Both Bruce and Albie are incredible instructors. I loved just going for the afternoon drives to relax and just see what we can find. I can’t believe my time here is over. Time flies when you are having fun. I leant so much from the instructors and also my fellow students. This camp is well organised as people work together to keep it going. I will miss this place dearly and hope now is not the last time I will be here. Thank you for everything.
Melissa, USA (Safari Guide Course - 28 Day)
I volunteered for four weeks this summer at the Children's Home. It was by far the most exciting, eye-opening, enjoyable, and emotional month of my life! While I was there, we didn't have much of a set routine to what we were doing. The Thai people were so laid back, and so lovely, that they didn't mind when we did jobs - as long as they got done! My usual jobs while I was there included laundry, ironing, building walls/structures, cleaning, gardening and playing/teaching the kids. Some of these jobs don't sound too hard, but you've got to remember that in sweltering, humid heat, or even a monsoon - these jobs can be challenging! Once completed though, these jobs are very rewarding.
While I was in Thailand, I absolutely fell in love with the country, people, language and sights. I'm already looking at going back soon! The Thai way of life at the Children's home was incredibly laid back, it was a great atmosphere for the kids to be growing up in. All of the children are so grateful, happy and kind, it will really take your breath away. While I was there I really felt like I was part of the family. They are all so welcoming to everyone and want to make you feel at home. I cannot wait to be back with my Thai family as soon as I possibly can be – I miss them so much!
Rhona, UK (West Coast Thai Orphange)
It’s really hard to summarize the great 2 weeks I had with on the Desert Elephant Project. It was such an amazing, incredible and breathtaking experience! It was so far the best time I had, it’s a great project and absolutely useful. That was very important for me when I was looking for another volunteer project. This time exceeded definitely all my expectations! On the whole, 2 weeks are too short!Eating and cooking around the campfire, sleeping under the stars and watching them (I’ve never seen so many shooting stars before), having a great and funny time with super-duper people/new friends, building a huge wall and of course looking for the elephants and watching them for hours - every second will be kept in my mind for the rest of my life!Thanks to the wonderful group I had around me! We had a great time in the beautiful Damaraland and we saw the Cheetahs!
Caroline, aged 24 (Desert Elephant Volunteer)
I had a brilliant time at the Children’s Home, the staff and children are the friendliest, most welcoming people you'll meet. Make the most of every opportunity and jump in at the deep end, the children and staff will love you for it and you'll have a much better experience! And take games, colouring books, toys with you as the children appreciate everything! Most of all enjoy it!
A typical day consisted of having breakfast at 8am most days, we would then do work around the orphanage such as painting, building, washing etc until around 11am, a few hours off for lunch and then the same again in the afternoon. The children got home around 4pm, we generally helped them with chores & homework and did some English lessons in the evening or played games with them. We also had a few days where we went out to other projects such as mangrove replanting centre, a Burmese school and the beach, these were great!
Helping the kids learn English & forming a close bond with them where they are happy to tell you about their lives was one of the most rewarding things about the project.
Jocelyn, USA (West Coast Thai Orphange)
I have made it home after an amazing 3 months. All the pre-departure information was accurate and when I arrived I was welcomed to Africa by Katie before being thrown straight into the reserve work as they were darting and moving animals- what an amazing welcome to Africa. Katie and Joe are wonderful hosts, great guides and teachers and quickly became friends. Nothing is too much trouble and they are always willing to share their vast knowledge, expertise and experience with you. The work was varied and interesting, from road clearing and removal of alien plants to herbivore counts and brown hyaena research. Every day was different and never boring. The accommodation and food were great. All in all a fantastic project that I would recommend to anyone. Looking forward to my next adventure now. They have a tough act to follow!
Alexandra, UK, aged 37 (Askari Wildlife Conservation Volunteer)
Just go for it! When I did this placement I had never flown by myself, never flown long haul and never been out of Europe. It was a huge experience for me but one I will treasure for the rest of my life.
Hayley, UK (West Coast Thai Orphange)
Thank you for all the amazing experiences that we have had. African wildlife really has grabbed us and we will most definitely do a volunteer project again. We were very pleased with the way Gemma kept us informed and especially about the fact that a tailor-made programm was made for us.
Botswana Wilderness Conservation Volunteer (link to project)
This project truly offered a rustic African experience that went far beyond just observing animals. We really "lived the bush-life" realized by the fact that we were intensively trained in tracking, identifying all the animals and trees and animal behaviour.
In Tuli you really experience the Wildlife-life in Africa. The camp is unfenced, so every morning you can walk around the camp searching for tracks of the animals that visited the camp during the night. This was not frightening at all, but very exciting! We saw a lot of animals during our stay and the staff taught us a lot about tracks, tracking and animal behavior. The staff was also very knowledgeable about all the animals, so they knew when to proceed and when to back-off. Due to the staff we never had a dull moment, but everything was done in the animals interest; so if an animal showed it did not like our presence, we backed off.
The daily schedule consisted of 2 activities, 1 in the morning and 1 in the afternoon. The activities consisted of game counts, night drives, bush walks or just a drive through the Reserve, where all Elephant, predator and raptor activity was recorded. This data is open source information used for research purposes. Every month a report is written with a summary of all the activity in the Reserve. The accommodation is primitive, but more than satisfactory; a normal toilet and an open-air shower are available and you sleep in either tents or huts. ....it is unfenced but that appealed to us big time!...
We loved our stay in Tuli. We saw beautiful animals every day, logged a lot of information and learned a lot! I can recommend this project to anyone who loves animals and wants to live the African bush-life for real.
Limpopo Wildlife Conservation Volunteer (link to project)
During this project we directly helped the wildlife in the area by the activities we did in Reserve Management (erosion control and removing alien vegetation). It is only a small area that you can cover during a morning or an afternoon, so you will have to keep looking at the big picture; all the volunteers together make a difference, not you alone.
We had a wonderfull stay in the reserve.... During this project you live in an volunteer house in a fenced area. The volunteer house is very comfortable and luxurious...and everything for a pleasant stay is available. Town trips are made once a week so you can buy some drinks etc. Every day there is a schedule with the general tasks the volunteers have to perform, like feeding Kevin the Warthog, logging the weather conditions, cooking lunch or diner or washing the dishes. We very much appreciated the fact that we were trained in practical four-wheel-driving and shooting a rifle amongst the other very interesting activities.
The reserve itself is very large and a lot of animals are present. We had some great sightings of all kind of animals. The day consisted usually of two activities; one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The activities we performed were; game counts, removal of alien vegetation, erosion control, drives through the area, feeding of animals which were kept in separate areas for different kind of reasons, brown hyena research and sleep outs. Each time we saw something special, like a lion or an elephant, we took our time to admire and photograph the animal. The staff was very experienced in "reading" the animals, so when an animal was agitated, we backed off and left it alone, but when it was relaxed, they took us really close! The staff was very supporting and helped us to plan a weekend trip to Kruger Park, since you have free time on Saturday afternoon and Sunday.
Roman and Petra, The Netherlands, Aged 42 and 33. (Botswana Wilderness Conservation Volunteer, Askari Wildlife Conservation Volunteer)
The time I spent at Namibia wildlife sanctuary was the best time of my life. I really felt that I made a contribution to the project. The tasks were fun to do and eventhough some were the same you got to do it with different people and therefor it never got boring. I loved everything about this place and the staff were brilliant. But the thing I loved the most was of course the animals and my favourites were the baboons since they got such personality. I would recommend anyone to join this project you won't regret it.
Sanne, Sweden, aged 18 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
Thanks for such an amazing trip! I was assisted by Pat Hinton. She is so friendly and helpful and made me really enjoy the contact I had with Amanzi Travel.
The staff on the project are great, they really get to know the volunteers and make them feel very welcome. The rooms are great too, though you never know what different bugs and spiders will be waiting in there for you! The activities were so enjoyable, some of the jobs made us feel that we worked really hard which is rewarding because it was all for the lions.
This project has excellent aims. It may take a while to release lions but they are well on their way, lions they release will be completely wild and will have had no contact with humans. They have a good chance of saving lion populations. The volunteers are there to feed the lions and walk them. When the lions are walking in the bush they are feeling what it's like to be wild. I feel that this is just as important as releasing wild lions as it nourishes the captive bred and gives them a great life as well as giving the volunteers an unforgettable experience.
I had an absolutely brilliant experience. Every day brought a new surprise but that's part of the fun! The lions are amazing creatures, stroking and being licked by a lion is something i will never forget. Within a few days we all knew their personalities and which one was better to stroke. It was surreal, but one of the best experiences I've ever had. They are such relaxed and lovable animals, I would definitely go back to this project.
Leela, Ireland, aged 20 (Zambia Lion Project Volunteer)
It was the most fabulous holiday we have been on. Stroking cheetahs, walking through the bush with a baboon on each shoulder, walking with a caracal, feeding the animals, having a baby baboon in your bed all night, meerkats, a baboon and a warthog sharing your lunch - the list just goes on. Working with the most professional team on projects, whether being in an enclosure with cheetahs and distracting one with meat scraps whilst Stu persuaded the other to make footprints in sand for measuring or being with Rudi and Flo whilst they darted and collared a very wild leopard….Unbelievable . It will be in the forefront of our memories for ever. If anyone really wants to get close up to wild animals and doesn't mind getting their hands dirty, then this will be the experience of their life. An unbelievable experience that should be taken by everyone who really loves wildlife
Brian, UK, aged 65 (Big Cat Release and Tracking Volunteer, Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
I had the most amazing time at the Namibian Wildlife Center! I was amazed at all the animals and thought it was AMAZING! I had the best 2 weeks of my life! It was very hard work though, however it made me feel very fit and energized at the end of it.
Alicia, Australia, aged 21 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
I had a wonderful time on the Shamwari project, it was exciting not knowing which animals we would see each day and being able to inject a rhino with antibiotics and seeing the first known plaster cast on a rhino's leg was incredible, moving and something that will always stay with me. As well as helping x-ray and plaster cast the rhino leg we also got to name the 2 month old baby elephant, Timothy, as he belongs to the T group, so cute! It was such a wonderful 2 weeks, I feel so lucky to have experienced it!
Thanks so much for all your help and guidance, you made it easy to organise and I felt very relaxed that I was in safe hands. I will be looking on your website again for something else, I hope my friends contact you also.
Lindsay, UK, aged 31 (Shamwari Conservation Volunteer)
Here is the feedback form as requested. And I have lots of photos I'd love to enter into your competition! On a personal note I'd like to say how fantastic you and your team were through the booking process. I had a lot of doubts and worries as it was my first time travelling alone but you put my mind at rest. Also the information you gave me about the project was so in depth (which I can confirm with hindsight!) as many people there had been told something completely different whereas I was very prepared. I would definitely book with you again and have already made recommendations. Cannot wait for my next venture, Africa really does get under your skin. As for the trip, I had the most incredible time and it has changed my whole outlook on life. I have the travel bug now and felt incredibly lucky to see what I did. I hope the feedback comments on the form are ok. Again, thank you Gemma and Pat for your support and helping me have the time of my life! I hope I will be in contact with you again next year.
Project Feedback: South Africa is a special place and you are really at the heart of this on this project. It was a privelege to observe animals in their environment and learn so much about the ecosystem and animal behaviour. It is a life changing experience and the rangers / staff are great and so knowledgable. Volunteers are a vital part of the project's running and not only will you have the time of your life, your money goes to a fantastic cause. I've never been happier then going out on a drive watching elephants drink in the sunset, lions playing in the grass, rhinos blocking the road home and many more experiences. If you're in doubt about whether to go, don't. Just do it! It will be one of the best things you ever do!!
Lisa, UK, aged 22 (Wildlife Volunteer Makalali Game Reserve)
I had an incredible 3 weeks thank you.
I had 3 of the best weeks of my life on this project and I find it difficult to see how anyone could not enjoy it. If you its 'once in a lifetime experiences' you are after then Africa and Tuli are for you.
Peter, UK, aged 21 (Botswana Wilderness Conservation Volunteer)
I had a magical time- absolutely amazing. Thank you!!
I learned a ton about conservation that I didn’t know even though Ive been active in it for years. I thought that was immensely valuable.
I didn’t really know what to expect on my trip, even though I read and re-read all the details (although it's impossible to truly describe what your trip will be like). I spent two weeks camping in the bush in Botswana and I loved it. I'm a city gal and I found the daily activities a bit challenging sometimes but totally do-able and I enjoyed them. There is no way to describe how wonderful it is to actually be amongst wildlife, and learn about it in such a multi-sensory way. I truly didn’t want to leave. My instructors were absolutely fantastic and I totally trusted them 100% when out among wild animals.
Kirsten, USA, aged 42 (Field Guide Experience (EcoQuest) - 1, 2 or 3 Weeks)
Although it was hard work it was the best time of my life. Seeing so many animals benefiting and in their natural habitat was truly amazing. Everyone was so friendly and passionate about what they were doing. Working so hard was worth it to see how much you were helping. I would have never come home if I didn't have to.
Rebekah, UK, aged 18 (Big 5 Reserve with Lion and Tiger Conservation )
Just to let you know, James & Charlotte have returned safely from their 2 week trip to the Livingstone and they have had an absolutely amazing time. They have both fully enjoyed the experience and it was far more hands-on with the lions than they could have imagined. At no point did they feel un-safe. They fully immersed themselves in as many of the tasks and activities that they could do including a full day white water rafting down the Zambezi and jumping into Devil’s Pool at the edge of the Victoria Falls. James would like to return next year but Charlotte is already committed to go to Malawi for 3 weeks with her school. They have made some great friends and are keeping in touch the staff in Livingstone.
Best wishes and I hope to organise future experiences through Amanzi.
Jackie, mother of James and Charlotte, UK, aged 17 and 21 (Zambia Lion Project Volunteer)
If one word can summarise Amanzi Travel, would be Amazing, Gemma is angel, so pleased to chosen Amanzi will be booking again soon! Thank You!
For my first time every going to a different country by myself, quite nervous, anxious and quite overwhelmed by all the choices involved. Amanzi was my choice because all the amazing reviews and projects offered. Been exclusive to African regions and projects, felt this the right company for my requirements, and I happy to announce without a shadow of a doubt, Amanzi and Gemma in particular are wonderful.
Their to help, through the smallest detail to the largest, through suggestions of projects, to information about Africa and what to expect, Highly recommend Amanzi Travel if you’re looking for a well organised, personal, friendly and informative company to live your dream, and hopefully help people/animals in the process or just have an amazing experience!
Moving on the Africa and the actual project itself, Africa has always been my dream destination, the culture, music, people, wildlife, vast open spaces in the middle of the most beautiful scenery, always been my Achilles heel. Truly say, Africa has intoxicated me, so much so I cannot wait until I book my next visit, for a few months instead of a few weeks! Africa is like no other place I have visited in my life, imagine vast open spaces, with idyllic, open spaces, lush with array of dazzling and unusual exotic animals, to the beautiful majestic and mesmerising scenery, which will leave you spell bound
The Project itself, was and still is like an dream, a wonderful magical and inspiring dream, without my photographs I wouldn’t think it was real. Going into this project I expected Cheetahs to wow an amaze me through the walks, which are a magical as sounds and a perfect photo opportunity. Unexpected was the variety of animals, from African wildcats which behave like domesticated cats (apart from when it comes to feeding time :)), to young Servals which greet you with so much affection in, to the naughtiest warthog ever.
My Top three highlights:The game drives, are like a welcome to the magically Africa, through the sheer tenacious beauty of the landscape, viewing the most amazing wild animals, for example Kudu, Waterbuck, Springbok, Steenbok, Duiker, Baboons to Giraffe, wild hyenas, wildebeest to a variety of owls. Just a glimpse of what South Africa has to offer in wildlife, but so beautiful in person.
To the people, you will encounter, from Carmen the project manager is the most gracious, hopefully, kind, and ballsy person, to manage this project with such ease! To Eric who is the most wonderful nature with the Cheetahs, is memorising to watch, and especially needed whilst on a Cheetah walk. Outside the wildlife and nature watching into the wild, through a intense and magically African thunder storm, with other volunteers I have no words for apart from sheer bliss!
Visits to local restaurant gaining small insight into real African, food, People and culture, is heart-warming and absolute must. The journey into town is worth the cold harsh wind at night, from the back of the 4 *4, from the magically and bewitching stars which are so clear it’s unreal.
Overall Africa, has won my heart thanks to the people, wildlife, culture and secrecy. Inspired me to spend as much time as possible in Africa, and if the god’s allow it hopefully move as soon as possible. Gemma Thank you so much for making a dream come possible.
Fallen in love with Africa, more than previously thought, felt more home in Africa than i do in the Uk! Thank you!
Islay, UK, Aged 24 (Cheetah and Wildlife Experience)
We had a wonderful trip to Africa and want to thank you for all your help getting us there. John loved the sanctuary and I felt very privileged to be part of the Lifeline Medical Clinic staff.
I want to pat Amanzi on the back. When I was at the Clinic there were 5 other volunteers there. All of the other volunteer stays had been organized by different travel companies. I was the only one from Amanzi. While there we compared notes about each travel company and Amanzi far out shone the other organizations. The information I was given in preparation for my trip was outstanding. The others were very lost. They hadn't packed properly, didn't know about currencies, electricity, climate, housing or what to do in an emergency. Thank you!!
Lynda and John, Canada, aged 34 (Medical Volunteer at Namibia Rural Clinic, Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
Thanks so much for all your help over the past few months. Gemma was amazing when it came to providing pre-departure information! She always replied to e-mails within a few hours and made planning my trip so hassle free. The standard of service was fantastic and I would have no hessitation in booking with Amanzi Travel again.
I loved every minute of my time at the Sanctuary. I found the induction slightly irrelevant to the day-to-day activities that I part-took in but in saying that it was interesting to find out the background to the project. The accomodation and meals were of an excellent standard. Overall, the placement was brilliant, the staff were so friendly and approachable and just so enthusiastic about the project, it was a pleasure to work with them.
I think the project was highly valuable to the wildlife it aimed to help. Without it, there would be many animals who would have to be put down or would be shot by farmers for no good reason.
My time at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary was unforgetable and one which I would recommend to any animal lover. All of the activities I got to take part in really made me feel as though I was making a difference and so my voluntary work was not only hugely enjoyable but highly rewarding. This experience was only made better by the fantastic service that Gemma & Amanzi Travel provided in making my booking of the project so easy and worry free.
Ciara, UK, aged 20 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
We had a lot of fun, thank you for everything, really enjoyable 2 weeks : )My overall experience was brilliant, got to see and work with a lot of amazing animals. Thank you very much
Laura and Lucy, UK, aged 18 (Big 5 Reserve with Lion and Tiger Conservation )
I am really happy to have my travel bag filled with memories from Livingstone! It's been the best time of my life!
Unfortunately, I won't be able to return before finishing my nursing studies, but I will most certainly visit Zambia again afterwards.
Thank you again for your perfect help and advise during my preparations as well as your friendliness!
I am a nursing student from Germany, so I wanted to see how it is to provide medical care to people in Zambia and I Have to admit, I was surprised: My four weeks in Livingstone were a really life-changing experience! To see how easy it can be to help others in need and to learn from them as well, has made me rethink my life and my plans for the future. It was an overwhelmingly rewarding experience to actually help people to carry on with their lifes, not only to stretch their life span. When I arrived at Livingstone, I immediately felt like home. The projects were well organized and the project staff was always friendly and happy to be able to work with us. I made lots of new friends during those four weeks, friends who share my opinions and thoughts. We had a lot of fun together on the projects and during our weekend activities as well. I am sure that I will visit Zambia again or even stay there; going there was the best decision of my life!
Jan, Germany, aged 23 (Zambia Healthcare and Community Development)
Elephants, giraffe, impala all came up close to observe us in the volunteer camp. A hippo would sometimes keep us from moving around easily in our jeep. Mostly I worked on behalf of cheetahs, but also wild dogs, ground horn bills and blue herons, other smaller wild cats, all critically endangered. Some mornings I prepared meat for the cheetahs to eat and then spent most of the day feeding them in their enclosures as well as feeding the other species.. Thirteen cheetah babies were born, a lot, and the enterprise is to shore up their gene pool, at this point highly corrupted via so much of killing them in the wild and reduced numbers.
In camp we lived with a young monkey, a young warthog, an African Wild Cat (a species) and a miniature dog, all rescued. They made for much entertainment and lots of chaos. A few times the cat (three-legged owing to a black mamba snake bite) slept with me in my thatched hut. It was challenging work particularly preparing the meat for feeding but the feeding was good, and the perks were amazing. I went into Kruger National Park twice, once with with the group and once before I began volunteering. It's a reserve about the size of England and full of amazing wildlife. A great adventure all around.
Mary, UK, aged 67 (Big Cat and Endangered Wildlife Centre)
Our trip to Africa was amazing and we hope to get back there in the not too distant future. Thank you.
Helen, Australia, aged 54 (Cheetah and Wildlife Experience)
I had an amazing time in Africa and would love to go back and explore more in the future.
I felt this project was very valuable, not only do you become a part of the projects, you can actually see the day to day changes and how much the volunteers contribute to the running of these amazing projects.
My two weeks in Zimbabwe were absolutely amazing! Being a part of such an inspiring project and seeing what goes into its success day to day is probably the best thing I have ever done. Naming one highlight of my trip would be impossible as they were so many, not only working with the lions everyday, but the people I met along the way. The staff were so welcoming and the other volunteers became friends I will long keep in touch with! I would go back to this project in an instant, a truly incredible place.
Gillian, UK, aged 20 (Lion Rehabilitation Volunteer)
I was extremly impressed with how helpful and quickly all of my questions were answered and also the quailty of information i was given before my trip. Also, i loved the website and how easy it was to navigate yourself around, but also with the wide range of projects it was also able to offer me, allowing me to make sure i definitely picked the trip that suited me most.
The project was better then i ever expected it to be and when i arrived in Victoria Falls everyone was so friendly and welcoming so i settled in immeditatley.
I think that it was extremly valuable because i definatley feel like i had an big impact on the lions and getting them to stage 2 of the lion encounter project. I also like i was able to help the community by visitng the orpganage and also by seeing their smiles when we came to visit them.
Going on this volunteer project was the best decision of my life. I had the most amazing time and I came away from the project feeling like I have really made a difference to the people and lions I was working with. The whole experience seemed surreal to be able to be so close to lions and interacting with them, but this is certaintly something that I will never forget. Everyone is so friendly and welcoming and make you feel right at home. I have been able to take away so much from my trip and learnt my valuable life lessons, and I certaintly plan on booking some more in the future.
Lydia, UK, aged 18 (Victoria Falls Lion Project Volunteer)
Thank you for all the help and support, the trip was amazing!
Noahs Ark Wildlife Sanctuary is amazing. It was really nice to get away from your normal life and just be with the animals, and meet a lot of great people.
Christina, Norway, aged 32 (Noahs Ark Wildlife Sanctuary)
We had the best experience ever! As I wrote on the feedback, I will recommend Amanzi Travel and I hope to take part in another volunteer project in the future!
I think we made a very valuable work!!! 2 weeks have gone so fast…I will never forget this experience (the landscape, all the great people I met, all the animals,..)! I would recommend this project and your company.
Thanks so much!!!
Caterina, Italy, aged 17 (Cheetah and Wildlife Experience)
Thanks. I had an amazing time in Africa! I hope to return back again sometime in the future.
I highly recommend booking this trip if you love nature and animals and like making a difference. The staff was really nice, accommodation and meals were great and the trip was extremely easy to book. Everything ran very smoothly! I hope to return eventually some time in the near future. What a great experience!
I feel like my time in Zululand made a big contribution to conservation efforts.
Kayla, USA, aged 23 (Zululand Wildlife Conservation Volunteer)
Thank you Gemma! I had a truly amazing time, one that I will never forget! I was really happy with both of the places I was at and will recommend them through Amanzi Travel to my friends if they ever want to do a similar kind of trip. Thank you so much again for all your support and guidance that helped make my trip fantastic and unforgettable!
I had a fantastic time at Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary and experienced the 'real' Africa. If you are like me and want hands on experience with wildlife conservation then this Sanctuary is for you - they truly enforce the conservation and rehabilitation of these endangered animals and I never for a moment felt that the animals weren't benefitting from our help.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Noah's Ark Wildlife Sanctuary and met some wonderful people along the way. The animal interaction that one was able to have with such amazing creatures is out of this world and something I will never forget.
The animals and activities are fantastic and I feel my hands on experience with animals has grown enormously. I highly recommend both of these projects to anyone whose best interest is in the animal's welfare and doesn't mind getting their hands dirty and live away from the 'luxury lifestyle'. You will have the time of your life!
The service provided by Amanzi Travel was excellent and I always felt my trip was in good hands. If I ever had any concerns, I knew I could ask in confidence and always have a constructive and prompt response.
Grace, aged 19, UK (Big Cat Release and Tracking Volunteer, Noahs Ark Wildlife Sanctuary, Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary: My five weeks in Namibia wildlife sanctuary took place too quickly! It was like a dream. So many animals to take care. I loved taking care of the two babies zebras. We had to give them their bottles every two hours during the day. Having spent so much time with them, it is rewarding to see them grow up healthy. There were also the baboons to take for a walk. What a pleasure to receive a grooming of the dominant female ! There was also a baby baboon who had to sleep every night with one of the volunteers! Feeding carvivores (lions, cheetahs, leopards, wild dogs and caracals) is very rewarding. Knowing that Namibia wildlife sanctuary tries to release the animals is more significant. I advise all animal lovers to participate in a project like this!
Overland Tour: I discovered a new way of travel and I loved it. The other travelers and the staff were friendly. Sleeping in a tent is a great experience that I recommend. The food was very good and varied.
Safari Guide Course: this course allowed me to better know the flora and fauna of the region (I was at around 1 hour of Kruger park, in Karongwe). The feeling of being lost in the middle of nowhere is amazing. Sleeping in a tent and waking up to the sounds of lions or jackals is fabulous, and then in the morning to discover the footprints left during the night by the animals is unbelievable. In the morning we did a walk through the reserve and the afternoon we did a game drive, so we could learn a maximum.
Thank you for a great trip
Harmony, Switzerland, aged 23 (Safari Guide Course - 28 Day, Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
After 2 weeks having a wonderful time at The Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary I was very excited about joining a group to travel to Namibrand and the Neuras Vineyard for the cheetah and leopard reseach project. This involved tracking released collared leopard and cheetah and also exploring the new Neuras farm for ideal spots to set camera traps to get an idea of the wildlife currently on the huge area of Neuras land.
The accommodation at Neuras was outstanding lodge quality and the hospitality of the managers Davy and Christa superb with home baked bread everyday and delicious meals. We had numerous braii and sampled the unique Neuras Namib red wine which was exquisite.
The scenery was absolutely spectacular in the Namibrand and we enjoyed hiking up many hills to find VHF signals on the released leopard and cheetah which gave us an even better view. This is virgin untouched country that everybody should experience!We lots lots of different game on both Neuras and Namibrand. I also definitely came back fitter than when left. Stu our research co-ordinator was great fun to be with and was very knowledgeable about all the wildlife there. Our group of Auvre, Lucy and Anouk were the best company ever and I have now made some new friends for life….thankyou for such a rewarding great experience!
Tracy, Australia, aged 54 (Big Cat Release and Tracking Volunteer)
Initially booked for 3 weeks at The Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary, I decided spontaneously to join a spot which had become available at the Namibrand Research Project taking place both in Neuras and NamibRand Reserve. The best decision ever…! From the moment we arrived in Neuras, I knew this would be the best part of my stay. The welcoming art of Davy and Christa, the very nice accommodation, the Braai evenings (and the best freshly baked bread I ate in my life) and the excellent Neuras Wine made me feel at home. All of this set in a wonderful area… I knew then why I had come back to Namibia. And I learned a lot, as every day was full with activities; tracking Cheetahs and Leopards, setting camera traps, being able to identify tracks, and transforming into a real hiker. Hiking in a riverbed, hiking to the top of a mountain, hiking through the desert… in 10 days I hiked more then ever before in my life, but I also saw one of the most beautiful landscapes, completely untouched. I feel very privileged I had the chance to experience this project … thank you Stu, and thanks to the best group ever: Lucy, Tracy and Auvrie. I will not forget you!!
Anouk, Luxemborg, aged 33 (Big Cat Release and Tracking Volunteer)
I really had a fantastic time with both volunteering & overland tours. I have so many stories to share with everybody that sometimes I sit down & wonder if I am making them up....I can't believe all of what I did and saw! I left home feeling both excited and so nervous about spending 9 weeks in Kenya alone on the Teaching & Community Volunteer project, but on arrival I was met by one of the members of staff and felt welcome and safe immediately. After that I was never 'alone' and was welcomed by all age groups and nationalities on the volunteer programme and overland trip. The cottage we stayed in in Limuru was brill and it had everything there to make you feel right at home. The variety of food was great and the staff were wonderful. Working with the kids was amazing and I felt as though as I had a good amount of time to spend in both the orphanage and the primary school. My six weeks was split half and half and by the time I left I felt as though I had seen real changes in the kids I gave extra help too who were usually left behind in the back of the class.
The overland trip was an awesome end to my time in Kenya. The truck was surprisingly comfortable and the staff brilliant. Be prepared to do your duties, cleaning, cooking etc but it's all part of the fun. Most places we stayed in were lovely and had bars for a fun evening. The drive through all the different places was lovely and seeing all the wildlife was amazing. From lions walking in front of you in the Masai Mara, to leopards crossing the road in Lake Nakuru and the magniciant gorillas in Bwindi are only a patch of what I saw. Memories I will have forever and the most fantastic 9 weeks of my life. Thanks for guiding me the right direction Amanzi!
Michelle, Ireland, aged 30 (Kenya Teaching and Community Volunteer)
Thank you very much Amanzi Travel. I had an amazing time in Zimbabwe! It was great to meet all the different people and interact with such amazing animals (lions, elephants, horses, monkey and cats). It was also fascinating to join the local community and I got to know such great friends through visiting the orphange, pre school and home visits. The Lion Breeding and Release Centre is a beautiful place to stay and I miss everything and everyone really bad. I have just booked on to do another volunteer project with Amanzi Travel, this time in St Lucia on the Orphan Care and Teaching programme, and I can't wait to go.
Betty, Germany, aged 20 (Lion Rehabilitation Volunteer)
My stay on Kenya Medical Project was absolutely wonderful. The staff were excellent, wise and great and the other volunteers became like family that we made tours with during the weekends. It is unique to get a chance to see how the healthcare system in Kenya works and to get as much hands on as time and experience allows. It was really great!
Nadja, Denmark, aged 24 (Kenya Healthcare and Community Project)
I had an awesome time in Zimbabwe on both the Amanzi Travel volunteer projects. Both experiences gave me some time to reflect and to savour doing something completely new and exciting. The two projects were very different but both were enormously valuable. I loved working with the lions, it was particularly rewarding to take cubs for walks and watch them discover the bush. It was also extrememly encouraging to see captive bred lions living successfully. Not all the volunteer duties are glamourous so be prepared to get your hands dirty, but if you have ever considered volunteering then my advice would be 'Go for it'!
Liz, UK, aged 56 (Victoria Falls Lion Project Volunteer, Lion Rehabilitation Volunteer)
Thank you Amanzi Travel, I had an unforgettable trip to Namibia and I wish I could stay down there forever! I just love the life you live there with animals around you all the time and the landscape is so beautiful. It's a fantastic experience and definitely something everyone should do, at least, once in their life. I've met friends the world over and have some great experiences with me that I'll never forget. Now, it's back to reality but I'm already planning next years travelling so I'll be in touch soon.
Andrea, Sweden, aged 22 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
We have just returned from a wonderful trip to Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary. I was terrified that my partner would not enjoy the experience as I practically forced him to become a volunteer for two weeks. However, I needn't have worried, as on the second day he announced what a fantastic experience it was, so much better being hands on and not merely being on Safari and watching the animals from a landrover. He now wants to do it again in Botswana next time. The trip itself was inspiring. The work with the animals was interesting, exciting, and fun , made even more so by the knowledge and expertise of the staff working there ( I never thought for one moment that I would take a Cheetah's temperature, or check it's heart rate after being darted!) We both thought that the balance between work and "animal time" was just right. Great people, great place and great diversity of wildlife. We will never do safari holidays again! Thank you Amanzi Travel, we'll be in touch about Botswana!
Carole, aged 57 & Stephen, aged 58, UK (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
Thank you for your help throughout my booking. It was an incredible experience, made up of moments which I will remember for a very long time. The project was not only an integral part of the community in Jambiani but also incredibly valuable. It made me wonder why I hadn't done anything like it before!
Amy Rosier, England, aged 18 (Zanzibar Rural Teaching Volunteer)
Thank you for organising such an incredible trip for me.
Namibia Wildlife Sanctary is now a very special place for me. I over came massive hurdles in my life to get there. I was very nervous about coping with a new place, country and people! It went better than I could have ever dreamt of! I shocked myself and family. My Dad was expecting a phone call a few days in with me asking to go home! No chance! I had settled within the first few days and was made welcome by everyone. Towards the end of my stay people commented on how much I had opened out and relaxed around people.
The experience was incredible. I now crave it. The work we did was hard and rewarding. I fell in love with the Baboons instantly! I wish I could be back there each day! For me it was a dream come true that also helped me grow as a person. I can't wait for the day that I can go back! Mean while I'm going to start volunteering at some local animal rescue centres, I loved every second we spent helping the animals.
I thank you again for your amazing help, with out you and your colleges I would have never had such a life changing experience.
Thank you all, your company changes lives for people like me and gives us experiences of a lifetime.
I thank you a million times over!
Jasmine, UK, aged 19 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
Gemma at Amanzi Travel was extremely helpful, professional and promt in her replies ...
To sum up, voluneering with children in Africa, some of which diagnosed with aids or orphaned, was the most rewarding, life changing thing I have ever done. Seeing the childrens faces light up when I brought in a picture story book was so moving, I don’t think they had had a book read to them before, which was heartbreaking to think. Seeing their pure happiness in the small things in life like a new soccer ball, a new pencil or a piece of fresh bread was made me appreciate my own life so much more and realise all that I take for granted. When faced with a difficulty in my life now, I look to the big picture and shake myself out of it when I realise how pathetic and trivial it may be after spending time with children who may very well not live until their 21st birthday. I think everyone should volunteer at sometime in their life, preferably when they are young, to see how lucky we really are and how easy it is to put a smile on someone elses face. I learnt that the more we get, the more we want and the less happy we are. These children taught me to be happy with life itself, not with how much cash I have in the bank.
Overall I loved the experience and would go back to see the children in a heart beat. I found it so rewarding and put my life in perspective.
Our 5 week overland tour was absolutely amazing I loved every second of it. The food was delicious and our guides/driver were lovely. The truck and tents were fine, that's all part of the experience!
Jess, Australia, aged 21 (Kenya Teaching and Community Volunteer)
This has been my dream since I was young, and it's fulfiled all my hopes. As soon as I have the money/the time I will do something similar to this again - and will most probably book via Amanzi Travel. Thanks for this time!
Camilla, Sweden, aged 20 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
I appreciated very much the time I spent with the lions, but I also loved the other animals like the horses and elephants. I enjoyed the big difference to my normal job in an office.
Alexandra, Austria, aged 41 (Lion Rehabilitation Volunteer)
I was lucky enough to have a tent to myself for two weeks - it seems that they put the 'older' volunteers in tents, which are a short distance away from the main area. You do need to be reasonably fit and used to walking for this project but all in all I enjoyed the trip. The staff were very supportive and friendly and the food was plentiful and tasty. Bottle feeding a baby zebra and taking a baby baboon to bed for the night are experiences that very few people get to have, and to stroke a purring cheetah is amazing!
Julie, UK, aged 52 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
I had a fabulous time - it was a real taste of Africa - I would recommend it to anyone and I want to come back!
Kate, UK (Rhino and Elephant Sanctuary)
Really enjoyed all the activities, especially the close contact with the ele’s and rhino’s. A real privilege...Fantastic hospitality all round! Thank you all.
Hayley, UK, aged 20 (Rhino and Elephant Sanctuary)
Thank you Amanzi Travel for organising the overland trip from Cape Town to Vic Falls for us, I did enjoy it immensely. Was lucky that the group were of varied ages and we had a ball. My daughter is undertaking volunteer work in Africa also with Amanzi Travel and I joined her for this overland trip. I visited her at the Victoria Falls Lion Project in Zimbabwe and was very impressed by the organisation. She is having a wonderful time there and will be staying on for a few more months. I spoke to a few other volunteers whilst I was there and they were all happy with their experiences.
Thank you again Amanzi Travel, I know you are helping alot of people in Africa with your projects and I have certainly told a lot of people who are interested in our experiences about you.
Suzanne, Australia, aged 62 (Southern Sun 21 Day (Northbound))
For me, this was an eye opening experience. I came to Africa with certain preconceived notions of saving animals. My takeaways, it is about land conservation and population control and running a private reserve is so much more complex than just buying some land and putting animals on that land.
I was looking for a rewarding, educational and enriching experience. Over my two weeks I saw so many beautiful sunrises and sunsets, was able to get amazingly close to animals, had the opportunity to have real conversations with people who live in the place I was visiting, tracked rhinos on foot and learned the names of all the thorn bushes that hit me in the face when I wasn’t paying attention. I was sad to leave (especially since I had not seen my leopard.)
Tammy, UK (Shamwari Conservation Volunteer)
I still can't believe how great it was, definitely the best thing I've ever done. Also will end up being a pretty big influence on how my life goes I think, it helped convince me I want to do conservation stuff in the future and I am now doing Zoology with Conservation at uni because of that.
Tom, UK (Botswana Wilderness Conservation Volunteer)
Truly Amazing trip and a life changing experience! Feel so lucky to be given the opportunity to get so up close to the animals. Hugging cheetahs and having leopards snuggle with you when you sleep is something beyond and the sound of lions roaring every sun rise will stay with me forever! only wished I'd stayed longer!!! I also met some amazing people who I hope to keep in contact with!
Unforgettable experience and Amanzi were so helpful and friendly, and Gemma always provided help with any queries I had.
Hazel, UK, 18 (Noahs Ark Wildlife Sanctuary)
Once again, thanks for arranging a wonderful summer for the girls and for being such a reliable contact throughout their journey. You have indeed been a "gem"...
I will be singing the praises of Amanzi Travel to all who ask.
Megan & Allison, Canada, aged 20 & 23 (Kenya Teaching and Community Volunteer)
I had a great time at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary; interacted with some amazing wildlife and met some great people. Anyone looking for a hands on experience with animals would not be dissapointed! Amanzi made the experience even better by providing fantastic support and information.
Sarah, UK, aged 23 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
I've been meaning to email you to say thank you for all your help organising my trip, I had the most amazing time at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary, its such a wonderful programme - only wish I could have stayed longer!...
I'd highly recommend this programme to anyone looking to experience the 'real' Africa!
Aimee, UK, aged 21 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
Being in Africa has showed me how extravagantly the people of the western world live compared to people here. A small help from others can make a huge difference to people there.
Reece,NZ, aged 43 (Lion Rehabilitation Volunteer)
A totally amazing experience. From start to finish I was supported but challenged within my placement, the only thing I would change is to stay for longer!
Claire, UK, aged 33 (Zambia Sports Coaching Volunteer)
The staff are very knowledgeable at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary, the work can be hard but the overall experience is excellent. I will miss the lions and jackals at night the most.
Kirstie, Scotland, aged 37 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
'This was the most amazing experience ever! I walked lions in Zambia and I cannot wait to go back an do it all again. I cant even describe how totally awe inspiring it was. Even enclosure cleaning and meat prep could not put me off - in fact you even get to enjoy it! It is a humbling experience especially after talking with the project manager as you realise the extent of what the project is trying to achieve. It really gives you a new perspective and I have come back wondering what I can do now to help.
From the start of the process at initial enquiry right through to the last minute vaccination updates Amanzi were totally awesome. They answered all questions quickly and were so friendly and helpful.
I will definately be using them again and would tell everyone to give them a go - even if lions aren't your thing they have loads of other volunteer programmes you can choose from.'
Lesley, UK, aged 34 (Zambia Lion Project Volunteer)
It was FANTASTIC!!!!!!! We loved it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you soooooooooooooooooooo much for your help in making this come true....It was truly great. Jacky (58) and I (56) did our best to "give", but it was nothing in comparison to what we recieved! As my husband summarized, " If we had known the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary when we were 20, our lives would have been very different"....In a nutshell, GO! GO! GO!
Patricia, France, aged 56 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
The tour was amazing and the staff went out of their way to make our time in Africa as fun and memorable as possible for us. Our tour leader told us the history and other interestings facts about each area we visited. The food was really good. I wasn't expecting cooked breakfasts every morning. There was loads of food, no one ever went hungry and the variety was excellent.There was a rota up so everyone had a task to do each day eg. food chopping, washing up, truck cleaning and truck packing, but this only took about 5 minutes every day.
The optional excursions were good, but there was no pressure to do any of them and there were plenty of activities already included. We felt very safe and were generally very well looked after.
Mary & Eleanor, UK, aged 50 & 15
I had an amazing time at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary Teaching Project. The Clever Cubs School with only two classrooms is one of the smallest schools i've ever seen. The school's budget is tiny compared to that of developed normal schools - but the Namibian teacher Hilma was so creative in teaching the Bushman kids. I assisted her in teaching the children English, first steps in Mathematics, reading and much more.
But I also got the whole experience of African Wildlife. Half of the day I worked in the Wildlife Volunteer programme. First time in my life I got that close to all these beautiful animals like cheetahs, baboons, wild dogs and leopards. The Teaching and Wildlife programme was a perfect mixture and I will definitely come back some day.
Amy,UK (Teaching and Wildlife Volunteer Namibia)
We had a brilliant time thanks … The tour was amazing and the staff went out of their way to make our time in Africa as fun and memorable as possible for us. Our tour leader told us the history and other interesting facts about each area that we visited. The food was really good. I wasn't expecting cooked breakfasts every morning. There was loads of food, no one ever went hungry and the variety was excellent. There was a rota up so eveyone had a task to do each day eg. food chopping, washing up, truck cleaning and truck packing, but this only took about 5 minutes every day. The optional excursions were good, but there was no pressure to do any of them and there were plenty of activities already included. We felt very safe and were generally very well looked after.
Mary, UK, aged 50 (Southern Escape 22 Day)
Its our second visit to the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary and we loved it as much as the first. Be prepared for the unexpected! Anything from helping with a critically ill waterbuck, meeting a porcupine in the lapa, or a sudden 250km dash to retrieve a brown hyena who would otherwise have been shot. Amazing experiences we'll never forget.
Amanda and Stephen, UK (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
I wanted to say thank you as I had the most amazing experience and will be definately be returning to the project as soon as I can. On that note - how far in advance can you book?
This was so much more than a holiday. It was the most fantastic time of my life and something which deeply affected me. This is certainly not the end of my association with the project as I am already planning to return and share my experiences with as many of my family and friends as I can...
The people and staff have been so welcoming and I will really miss the cubs.
Lesley,UK, aged 37 (Zambia Lion Project Volunteer)
The tour was overall very enjoyable. Specifically, the tour guide provided a lot of interesting information during the trip (and very amazingly, he seldom said, 'I don't know' to our many questions!). The view at Namib Desert (especially that of sand dunes) was an once-in-a-life-time experience.
Toshi, USA aged 39
This place was really nice and everyone there helped make it incredible. The co-ordinators went out of there way to let you see the Big 5 and make some of the activities more enjoyable. The elephant and cub intereaction was fantastic, working with the elephants was just amazing! And playing with the cubs was fun, you just had to watch out for the claws. The whole trip was definitely worthwhile and I would recommend it to anyone.
Kelly, UK, aged 18 (Big 5 Reserve with Lion and Tiger Conservation )
Just letting you know we had the best time here! We happened to be here for the first lion release! Today five lions will be released into Stage 2 and there will be dignitaries, kings and many others for the celebration. We have been working hard and becoming lion walkers! Love it!
Debbie, USA, aged 58 (Zambia Lion Project Volunteer)
We have had lots of new volunteers come recently and they all have been really nice and i have got along well with all of them. We went back to PE last night until wednesday because of the first aid course. Not sure if i told you but I got to do some off road drivng a few weeks ago which was fun. Robbie who is doing the course with me said that last time he was here he got to do a night game drive, which I hope i can do! The female tiger called 'Putri' here maybe pregnant so I think we maybe expecting some tiger cubs soon. Also on the topic of cubs the female lion on the reserve 'chiedza' has got 3 cubs ... I will bring the level 1 ranger manual back with me, we cover everything from weather and climate to astronomy to animal behaviour. Simon is a really good teacher but he does expect you to do a lot of the work away from the lectures as well which is good.
Edward, UK, aged 18 (Eastern Cape Field Guide FGASA Level 1 - 8 Weeks)
We very much enjoyed the project and felt it was very worthwhile.
Christina, NZ (Desert Elephant Volunteer)
I had a fantastic time in south africa, i got to stroke tiger cubs, ride elephants and go on lots of safari rides. the accomodation both at the reserve and in port elizabeth was fantastic, and at the weekends we organised our own trips to the worlds largest bungy jump bridge and to a horse riding stables, both of which were fantastic. i had an amazing time and met some amazing people, and will never forget my time spent in south africa.
Emily, UK, aged 20 (Big 5 Reserve with Lion and Tiger Conservation )
I had a great time! With the animals and with the people. I would definitely recommend it, because it's such an experience to be 4 weeks in a complete different world. It's also nice that you know you can help the programme as much as you can.
Lars, Germany, aged 36 (Zambia Lion Project Volunteer)
We would really recommend NamibRand to anyone with an interest in wildlife research. It allows you to see another aspect of wildlife conservation with the added bonus of stunning views. Learning to track big cats is an experience you'll never forget, as well as seeing so many animals in their natural habitats. We had an amazing time and would really encourage others to go to NamibRand too.
Sophie and Izzy, UK, aged (Big Cat Release and Tracking Volunteer)
My experience at the Bushman Rural Medical Clinic was one of a life time. Both the Bushman Clinic and the wildlife experience is something I will talk about forever. I think it is important for volunteers to share with the rest of the world, to raise awareness of our beautiful planet and the beautiful people who devote their lives to humanity and ecology.
Lucy, Canada, aged (Medical Volunteer at Namibia Rural Clinic)
I want to thank you and your staff once more for your kindness and wish everybody a Great, wonderful and exceptional 2013!
I went to South Africa eighteen years ago and when I left I promised myself I would have come back one day because I fell for this beautiful, incredible, immense country. Amanzi Travel gave me the opportunity to appreciate once more the beauty of its breathtaking landscapes and the friendliness and warmth of its people, not like a mere tourist but in a deeper way.
Manuela, Switzerland, aged 54 (Wildlife Photography Project)
Makalali is a beautiful and relaxed reserve. The people are friendly and the Project is run sensibly and makes for a fantastic volunteer experience.
Jim, UK, aged 50 (Wildlife Volunteer Makalali Game Reserve)
I can't even begin to find the words to tell you what a surreal time I had on this trip. All possible thanks to you. You have no idea what an amazing time I had, and that's definitely an understatement. It was like a dream!
Leslie, USA (South African Horseback Experience)
Hopefully the word about your amazing place will spread (although not too much as would love to keep it special!)
I really enjoyed my volunteering experience in South Africa, the support from the project staff was excellent and I am still in touch with several people I met. I would like to travel on a similar project again, and hope to go back with Amanzi Travel in the future.
George, UK, aged 19 (Cape Town Sports Coaching Volunteer)
My trip was amazing and something I will remember for the rest of my life :)
I truly feel this project is invaluable to the local community, especially considering it has provided land for an orphanage which it does support and contribute. The lion breeding programme is a great success, both at educating the locals and bringing in tourism.
The pre-departure pack was excellent on the Amanzi Travel website. I didn't have too many queries outside of this but Hannah, Pat & Gemma were all helpful and responded to my general queries. They also helped arranging my flight... which did mean that I was covered for everything if there were any problems (which, fortunately, there wasn’t). The fact that I didn't have to contact Amanzi Travel too often showed how well my adventure was organised. I was provided with all required information upfront and my volunteering experience went without any hitches.
Tracy, UK, aged 40 (Lion Rehabilitation Volunteer)
We volunteered on the Perhentian Islands for 2 weeks. We had a fantastic time and learnt so a lot about the turtles and threats they face. Our day would consist of working in the hatchery and we would work rotating night shift to patrol the beaches. We also assisted with some high school groups from the UK to teach them and involve them in activities. We got to experience turtles laying eggs, watching for poachers and assisting with tourists who were also on the island who wished to see the turtles. Releasing the baby turtles was a real highlight. The team on the island are very passionate about their work and what they are trying to achieve. The accommodation was good and we were comfortable. There were opportunities to go snorkeling and diving as work permitted and we felt part of the team on the island. Would recommend it to anyone interested in turtle conservation.
Marie, Australia (Malaysia Tiger and Turtle Experience)
The main focus of the volunteer project is based around the pride of lions, and the days are spent tracking them using telemetry. Two long drives a day gives you plenty of time in the African bush, and there are lots of other exciting species that are often found when searching for the lions such as rhino, leopard, elephant, giraffe! Every day is an adventure and you never know what the day is going to bring! Be warned however, YOU WILL FALL IN LOVE WITH THIS PLACE!I have been twice now and I will be going back as soon as time and budget allows - this project is amazing!
Katie, United Kingdom (SA Lion and Rhino Tracking Volunteer)
While I was away I took my entire class on an excursion to the Victoria Falls! Although the kids live literally only kilometres away from one of the world's wonders, many of them had never seen it and it was a wonderful experience for all to be able to show them the magnificent "Mosi-O-Tunya". (Smoke that Thunders)
Amanda/UK (Zambia Teaching Volunteer)
Not knowing what to expect, I'd run through many scenarios in my head about what the Volunteer Programme would be like, but you guys have surpassed them all. The combination of personal attention and hands-on experience is a winner, and I'm sure all the volunteers who attend this programme will be personally enriched, and will gain an enormous amount of knowledge about the environment (and respect for the land) … I was amazed by the resources that were made available to us. We gained knowledge and insight from a number of highly educated and trained experts which made every moment of the programme worthwhile. Putting into practice what we'd learned just reinforced the learning and made it more evident how valuable that knowledge really is. Absolutely brilliant all round. I will recommend this programme to everyone who has an interest in or passion for the environment. Being "the old lady" was never an issue and I was welcomed so warmly and made to feel part of the team from the start. Thank you so much for everything
Andy, UK, aged 40 (Karoo Cheetah and Wildlife Research Volunteer)
I really miss Tuli it was the most amazing place ever! I can't stop thinking about it the memories are great and I can't wait to return!
Maggie, UK (Botswana Wilderness Conservation Volunteer)
I attended the course held at Karongwe in early August which was taken by Ryan Clark... an amazing and informative course. Ryan was a brilliant guide and we learn a lot from him during the short course we had. Ryan was able to answer all of our questions and focus the course and lessons on the elements we were most interested in, namely tracking and bush knowledge (which was very much appreciated).
Graham, UK (Field Guide Experience (EcoQuest) - 1, 2 or 3 Weeks)
Extremely Valuable, without the volunteers the project would most certainly fail and the wildlife would cease to exist in that country. The Lion Breedingand Release Project is the sort of project where you really feel you have done some good and possibly made a difference for the future of the African Lion.
Marilyn, UK, aged 53 (Lion Rehabilitation Volunteer)
I am eternally grateful to all the instructors for the amount and quality of knowledge they shared with me. They truly inspired me with their genuine passion and love for the environment. Brilliant!! I still cannot believe how much I have learnt in such a short period of time. The interactive manner in which we were taught was incredibly beneficial
Tamlyn, UK (FGASA Level 1 Field Guide Course - 55 Days)
This program exceeded all my expectations. It is so well run, the staff are absolutely amazing (THANK YOU everyone!!), and put so simply, the Zambia Medical project is really doing some incredible things for some incredible people. Two weeks is not enough and my time here flew by. But at the same time, I felt like I’ve been here for so long because I felt so comfortable right from my arrival. I’ve gained so much from this, and I’ll really never forget my time here. As a volunteer on the medical project, I really enjoyed Home Based Care, especially my first day of volunteering at Natebe. I also derived so much joy from my interactions with all the children at various afternoon projects, especially at Afterschool.
I came here wanting to provide help in any way I can to a place that I thought so desperately needed it. And in many ways, Africa does need assistance, and that’s why these projects are so incredible. But I also learned that I can take away SO much from Africa to help myself, and hopefully others, back at home. The people here are amazing, so genuinely happy. I was looking to experience the health care system in this setting before starting my clinical training in medicine back at home. I hope to take all that I have witnessed and experienced here on the medical project and use it to help me be a better physician, and even a better person (corny I know, but true!), in the future.
Allison, Canada, aged 23 (Zambia Healthcare and Community Development, African Dream 26 Day)
Had a wonderful time!! Wish I had stayed longer.
Judith, UK, aged 55 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
Working on this project was one of the best experiences of my life; there wasn’t one part of the project that I did not enjoy. I met some wonderful people, and made some life long friends, we all had great fun doing the work not matter how dirty the job was everyone always had a smile on their face.
The staff are so welcoming and for the time you are there make you feel like you are part of one big family.
And walking with the Lions is something I will never forget, truly an amazing experience, to have a Lion acknowledge you and greet you with affection there is no feeling quite like it. I cannot wait to go back and be part of such an important project.
Marilyn, UK, aged 52 (Lion Rehabilitation Volunteer)
Up very early, but that dosen't matter as you know that your off to walk the lions, then back for a wonderful breakfast. Then off clean out the lion pens (awesome) or maybe off to food prep to chop up some meat. Lunch time, more lovely food then back out again, maybe painting signs or even going on the research program. More Lion walks then back for the volunteer next day daily duties. This was my second visit to the park, it's such a wonderful place what with the Lions and the people, you can't any better. Thank you everyone at Amanzi for making this a wonderful trip.
David, UK, aged 50 (Lion Rehabilitation Volunteer)
I had and amanzing experience with Amanzi Travel. Everything was so simple, they found flights for me at a good price, they picked me up and dropped me off on time. Any questions I had they were very helpful in every way they could be!. I would so recommend this company, it's very safe as safety always comes first with volunteers, pick them if you want to get the best out of your money for a life-changing experience .
My project in Zambia (Lion Rehabilitation ) was brilliant and the project co-ordinators went out of their way to ensure we had a brilliant time. It was an absolutely amazing experience and I would love to return in the future! All the staff involved were brilliant at organising activities and had a wealth of knowledge which they were all happy to share. I would truly recommend this experience to everyone . I really would have liked to stay more than 2 weeks!!
Sandra, Spain, aged 36 (Zambia Lion Project Volunteer, Chimpanzee and Wildlife Orphanage)
In short, it was a wonderful and powerful experience --- and a big part of me is still there two weeks after arriving home! Thank you, again, for all your pre-departure help and, of course, my feedback form will include rave reviews of Amanzi!
Marty, US, aged 33 (Noahs Ark Wildlife Sanctuary, Noahs Ark Wildlife Sanctuary - Luxury Project )
The whole trip was the most amazing experience I have ever had in my life. The amount of time you spend with the Lions and Elephants is unreal. The Project Managers organize bush drives, trips into the bush on horseback, carriage and trucks. We got very up close and personal with a number of giraffes while on horseback. Its surreal. Even mucking out the Lions and the Elephants is fun although trying to carry elephant poo on a spade is like taking part in a giant egg and spoon race!!My advise, either use your gloves or a fork, its much quicker !! If you were to add up the individual cost of all the activities it would come to far more than we paid to go and bieng volunteers you get to do many things that clients cant do like cub sitting, bottle feeding the little ones and research in the Ngamo release site which wasone of my favourites. The adrenalin rush when you see Milo is worth every penny!!!
Coming back on the plane I asked my friend how we would describe it to everyone and we agreed. You cant. You have to be there and do it for yourself. My friend and I went together but most people went alone. I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to go on my own if I needed to. You very quickly become part of the group and everyone warmly welcomes you. The African people are a big part of what makes this place as I told Andrew Connelly the owner. The water is drinkable as they have their own bore hole, there is no malaria and the food is fantastic. All in all, the trip far exceeded our expectations or what we could have hoped for and we will definitely be returning. Having a 4 month old Lion Cub sat on your knee is an unforgettable experience and seeing the looks on guests faces as you walk and play with Lewa, the 4 month old was hilarious.They don’t get to do that. I have made friends for life and cant wait to go back. We left loads of stuff there too as the African people have so little yet are so happy. There are some guides and lion handlers walking about in really good NIKE trainers now!!A big thank you to Evans, Sam and Dan, our Project Managers who helped to make our trip so memorable. We love you guys and will be back soon.
Karen, UK, aged 45 (Lion Rehabilitation Volunteer)
Best vacation that I have ever been on. I loved Namibia, the people I volunteered with, the staff, and of course all of the animals. I was able to have such an up-close personal experience with all of the wildlife that you just cant get on a safari. The days were long, but rewarding. I went to bed every night with a smile on my face. This is the trip of a lifetime
Alexandra, USA, aged 24 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
The overland trip was excellent - really well run. The guides were fantastic, the campsites great, and the food excellent. This has got to be the best way to see Africa in a short period of time ...
Amanzi Travel are excellent - professional, informative but with a real personal service ... The cheetah volunteer project was an absolutely fantastic experience, and the Overland trip was brilliant.
Jennie and Stuart, Sweden, 32 and 34
This was a truly amazing experience, one that i will not forget in a hurry. The park was fabulous, the staff brilliant and the overall experience was outstanding - hopefully will be back again next year.
Gillian, UK, aged 50 (Lion Rehabilitation Volunteer)
I had such an incredible time in Kenya - thank you for making it possible!
The whole process of booking was extremely simple and Amanzi Travel were able to answer every question that I put to them. Once I was in Kenya I honestly had the time of my life. The project coordinators were all so friendly and helpful and the house we stayed in was beautiful. It was really nice to meet such a range of people from different countries and different backgrounds who are all there to volunteer with you. My project (Mukeu special school) was incredible - the staff were so friendly and the children just want to play and hug you constantly! They are so sweet and always smiling when they have so little in terms of materialistic items. I miss everybody there so much - it really was the an experience of a lifetime.
Nicola, UK, aged 19 (Kenya Teaching and Community Volunteer, Kenya Healthcare and Community Project)
Everything on the project was like a dream. The staff was really friendly, helpful and a real inspiration! The activities we did during the days was very educational and I've learnt a lot thanks to the experienced staff. It never felt as I was working because I had fun doing anything! I've grown as a person and I have a new perspective in life thanks to everything I got to see and experience. In overall; I had a great time, probably the best time of my life. Will return there soon!
Tilder, Sweden, aged 19 (Big 5 Reserve with Lion and Tiger Conservation )
Thanks, Gemma! Your information is very helpful. Many, many thanks for ALL you invaluable help throughout my planning. I have enjoyed working with you and will recommend Amanzi to my Africa-loving friends!
Marty, USA, aged 68 (Noahs Ark Wildlife Sanctuary - Luxury Project )
We are just back from our trip and wanted to let you know we had a FANTASTIC time both on the cheetah project and the overland tour ...
Amanzi Travel are excellent - professional, informative but with a real personal service. The cheetah volunteer project was an absolutely fantastic experience, and the Overland trip was brilliant.
Jennie and Stuart, Sweden, aged 32 and 34 (Cheetah Rehabilitation Project)
We had an amazing time in Namibia! It was great to hear from the staff how important our work as volunteers really was.
Lovisa, Sweden, aged 19 (Teaching and Wildlife Volunteer Namibia)
It was a very interesting experience. The work on the farm makes sense, because the project also involves the locals, they have work. I think therefore they get more respect to their nature and to the animals living there, because they benefit from the farm.
Cornelia, Germany, aged 52 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary, Desert Elephant Volunteer)
It was really all about getting back to basics and for me as well as indulging my passion to live, eat (not literally!), sleep and dream animals for 2 weeks, forgetting all about the 'push, shove and complain' mentality of Western European culture; to see life and her bones in the scorching setting of Namibia and to bring home a new perspective and some re-vamped values whilst having had the chance to contribute to the conservation and welfare of its native animals and peoples.
Caroline, Netherlands, aged 42 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
It was an amazing experience - including a baboon attack and a beetle in my ear - and I would do it all over again (except I shall sleep with ear plugs anywhere from home for the rest of my life:)
Edina, Netherlands, aged 44 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
I had a wonderful time and I was really happy to be in the farm with all that beautiful animals and also the nice people I met.
Reingard, Germany, aged 68 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
Being a volunteer on the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary will stay with me forever. This work is very hard and the facilities very rustic, but knowing that the animals benefit from all your efforts will touch your heart like nothing ever has or ever will. If you volunteer on this project, it will not change the world, but it will change you. Thanks again for all your help Gemma! It was fantastic....
Cathy, USA, aged 62 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
Congratulations on 4 years of a fantastic company!!! We only ever hear fantastic things from our volunteers through Amanzi Travel!! A massive well done.
Nicola, Project Manager (Zambia Lion Project Volunteer)
We believe that the project could succeed in releasing lions into the wild. Management and staff are very committed to their work and have a real passion for lions.
Marie-Helene & Guillaume, UK, aged 33 (Zambia Lion Project Volunteer)
The Project has made me realise what is really important in life. I would also like to say that the people involved in running the project who I have met on a day to day basis are a real credit to the organization generally.
Robert, UK, aged 27 (Cape Town Sports Coaching Volunteer)
It was an amazing experience!!! Spending my days with all these beautiful animals, taking care of them, feeding, cleaning and so on. I have no words to describe my first encounter with Semira the tame cheetah, looking at you with her beautiful eyes and purring. My stay here touched my heart deeply and the worst of it all was the day I had to leave this little heaven and leave all my beautiful friends behind.... I miss them so much!! I have great hopes that this volunteer project will open peoples eyes (locals and farmers) to the beauty of their nature. And that the only way to keep it, is to live and share the land with all its wild animals, respect their environment and space and to save this beautiful nature!
Patricia, Switzerland, aged 47 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
I can honestly say volunteering in Africa, and for me personally medical volunteering, were the most rewarding experiences I have had in my life, and reinforced my desire to become a doctor. Providing local people with some respite and relief from their physical and social difficulties was a feeling I don't believe I could have achieved in the UK. The responsibility placed on you as a medical volunteer is much greater than if you were to do work experience in a western country so I think this project gave me a much better idea of what life as a doctor is like than I could have got anywhere else. As for the community projects, such as farming, building and teaching, it was a great feeling to be working alongside and talking to the local people and just helping them out with a couple of ideas and sustainable solutions, demonstrating to me just how difficult life and work is for some people in these countries. The smiles on the kids' faces is worth every penny.
David, UK, aged 18 (Zambia Healthcare and Community Development)
Working so closely with the lions and the Zambian people on a daily basis was a fantastic experience and can only be described as life enriching. I would recommend volunteering with these lions to anyone with a passion for animals, it's an experience I'll talk about for years to come. Amanzi Travel made the process simple, and in my view, could not have been more helpful.
Adelle, New Zealand, aged 38 (Zambia Lion Project Volunteer)
I immensely enjoyed my time at the project - the staff were excellent and the experiences great fun and unforgettable. The projects regularly address their aims and the feedback from locals was tremendous. I fully recommend the experience! I felt everything was organised and under control prior to departure. When I did have questions they were answered fully and promptly. I was impressed with the staff at Amanzi Travel - so much so that I recommend Amanzi Travel to everyone who has asked me how to get involved in volunteering in Africa.
Mike, New Zealand, aged 38 (Zambia Sports Coaching Volunteer)
30 strangers from all over the world (placed in what can only be described as something like the big brother house), meshed immediately and we all had an incredible time helping out on various local projects. My skills as a photographer have increased enormously and I leave South Africa with huge respect for those involved in the Conservation and preservance of its natural beauty. I very much look forward to returning as soon as possible.
William, UK, aged 47 (Wildlife Photography Project)
I had an incredible time, all the staff were excellent, the lions are amazing, the programme itself is remarkable and everything surrounding the last few weeks was fantastic. I just wish I could have stayed a lot longer! I also wanted to say a big thank you for helping me book the trip in the first place. Your knowledge and enthusiasm about the project really came across when we initially spoke. I'll be in touch when I am planning my next trip.
Michael, UK, aged 28 (Zambia Lion Project Volunteer)
I had so much fun and learnt a lot! Thank you for making me feel at home and feeling so comfortable. I think its so great that you guys do this and I hope to come back again!
Megan, USA, aged 21 (Karoo Cheetah and Wildlife Research Volunteer)
We have created a blog about this fantastic trip www.kenyawow.wordpress.com.... Everything is so lush and beautiful here. The staff are very well educated and friendly and I am excited that we will learn a lot from them. We can truly say that our hearts grew today – they ached in the process seeing little ones so young and with so little – but the growth is inspirational. Today, our students worked like crazy to finish everything – we really saw them come together as a team to complete their goal! It is not easy to maintain 75 – 6 and under – kids who speak Swahili, but with patience and care our students managed to have a fantastic time. The day ended with heart-felt goodbyes. We have had an amazing experience learning and laughing alongside these wonderful young men and women.
Courtney, Saudi Arabia, school trip (Kenya Teaching and Community Volunteer, Kenya Healthcare and Community Project)
The best time of my life. Thank you for everything and keep up the good work that you do!!!!
Elina, Sweden, aged 19 (Big 5 Reserve with Lion and Tiger Conservation )
I enjoyed every minute of my time in Zimbabwe, despite my initial reservations about the safety of travelling here. Never have I met such friendly, welcoming people and never have I felt so at home in a foreign country as I did at the beautiful project. The facilities were lovely, the activities were enjoyable (and not just when they involved cuddling up to the lions or elephants), the staff and other volunteers on the project fast became like a family to me, I was always very well taken care of, and more importantly I genuinely felt like I was making a difference to the fate of dwindling African Lion population. Without a doubt the best thing I've ever done. Sign me up for next year!
Lauren, Australia, aged 23 (Lion Rehabilitation Volunteer)
Great memories, it all worked out really well. The volunteer house is lovely, and all volunteers get on very well together. The work is very well organised. We spend every morning in a pre school (plus a visit to a medical center) and get to know the routines and teachers very well. In the afternoons we do different community projects depending on what needs doing, such as making curtains. At the Teaching Project I sensed a real care for the volunteers and a desire to make sure that the volunteers had a good experience as well as the benefits to the projects.
Mourjin, Holland, aged 51 (Cape Town Sports Coaching Volunteer, Cape Town Over 30's Pre-School Teaching Project, Cape Town School Feeding Programme)
When we first decided to go for 3 weeks we thought it would be enough. That we wanted to go home after, but we were wrong. We didn't want to leave at all! During these 3 weeks I've learned so much, not just about the animals but also about the people and the culture. I feel that I've grown as a person and I feel so much stronger now. I didn't see it as work because it was fun, I liked everything we did. The staff was amazing, and the food was really good. Everybody, both all the volunteers and the staff/coordinators became friends, and it felt like we were a big family! I am definitely coming back!
Elina,Sweden, aged 18 (Big 5 Reserve with Lion and Tiger Conservation )
This was the first time I was abroad so all this was very new and confusing for me. But I really got amazing help from Amanzi Travel with all this. You didn't feel stupid for asking questions and they were both kind and helpful. The trip to Namibia was wonderful. I love animals more than anything so this was like a dream come true. An experience of a lifetime!
Amanda, Sweden, aged 19 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
It was my first time in Africa and what an experience. A normal day consisted of getting up at 6.00, breakfast at 6.30 and out on the trucks at 7.15 to be taken to the location for the mornings work, which was varied - removing old cattle fences so that Kudu and co wouldn't get tangled up in them was most rewarding, even though it was hard work. Back to camp at 12 for lunch and a well earned break until 3 and then it ws pure safari, tracking hyena, leopard and cheetah and seein various other animals in between. Back to camp again for dinner at 7, which was cooked on an open fire by us volunteers. In the evenings it was amazing how many stars could be seen, it felt as if you could reach out and touch them. Would I recommend the Namibia Conservation and Big Cat Program - absolutely!
David, Germany, aged 43 (Big Cat and Namibia Conservation Volunteer)
What a fantastic experience! This program was wonderful, I was within 2 feet of a white shark within an hour of arriving in the harbour! The work was consistent and very "do-able", there were not too many jobs on the boat I did not do. In addition to the sharks, they run a recycling program for local children. Volunteers spend one afternoon a week sorting recycling and helping the kids exchange their recycling for small toys, pens and candy..... it was great!
Stephanie, USA, aged 41 (Great White Shark Conservation Volunteer)
My time on this project easily went down as the most incredible experience of my life. Nowhere else in the world are you able to get as up close to lions as you do by volunteering here. Everyday was exhilerating. I just can't wait to go back!
Luke and Abby, Australia, aged 27 and 28 (Lion Rehabilitation Volunteer)
The staff there were awesome, there was not a single member of staff that I did not get on with. Everyone was so nice! I was staying in one of the new tents, and to be honest, I think it was better than the rooms! I've not got a bad word to say about any of it! What I loved about the place was the fact that it only exists for the benefit of the animals…
Alun, UK, aged 24 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
I don’t think this project could exist without its volunteers. I felt like what we were doing and what we were part of… actually made a difference. We were very happy with the services Amanzi Travel provided for us. From competitive and better prices than other providers to great and friendly staff. They helped us to take our dream trip.
Jen, aged 32, USA (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
An amazing life changing experience mainly due to the dedicated and friendly staff. The other volunteers really made me welcome and from day one welcomed me into their team, even though I was 40 years older – interacting with the lions, walking with them in the bush and learning about their behaviour and feeding them was unforgettable. All activities were varied and interesting as well as being well organised. Accommodation was good. Food very average but considering the economic situation in Zimbabwe it was varied and substantial. Staff were friendly as well as knowledgeable and dedicated to the project. All pre-departure information was handled professionally and promptly.
Maureen, UK, aged 64 (Victoria Falls Lion Project Volunteer)
I feel much more content with my life and can't help smiling whenever I think of the many memories I have taken away. I enjoyed the experience so much that I'm trying to work out a way to come back as soon as possible ... I can’t put into words everything that I have gained from this experience but it has affected every aspect of my life.
Teja, Croatia, aged 31 (Mozambique Coastal Teaching)
As this was our first time doing Wildlife Volunteering, the time taken by Amanzi to answer our questions about the project, wildlife volunteering and Namibia was very much appreciated. Speaking to people who have actually been to these projects and hearing about their experiences (what they did and did not like etc) is very valuable and certainly helped us make a choice for a certain project a lot easier.
We had an excellent time... One of the things we really appreciated was all the time the project leaders took to explain to us about the wildlife, the project and Namibia. This way we came back feeling that we had actually learnt something. It was really good being out in the Namibian nature and feeling that what we were doing added value to the project. Raising awareness, protecting the animals is such good work.
What a beautiful country, with such abundant wildlife! We did not have a single boring day: going out into the savannah, doing game counts, searching for animal tracks, looking for “marking” threes, setting the traps etc. And whilst being on these trips, the staff educates you about all the animals, the project and Namibia. Even when you are at base camp there is so much fun stuff to do, such as going on baboon walks, playing with the tame cheetahs and the caracals and feeding the lions, leopards and cheetahs! It was amazing being part of a project which aims to preserve this paradise for future generations!
Maarten & Mica, UK, aged 27 (Big Cat and Namibia Conservation Volunteer)
My experience in South Africa was simply amazing. I arrived with another volunteer, and after a few hours spent recovering from our flight at the house (which is much more luxurious than you'd expect!) we were thrown straight into the project; given a quick tour of Khula Village and shown each of the projects that we would be working on over the next few weeks, and the next day we started teaching the kids at the daycare - like nothing I have ever experienced before! The kids are all just excited to be learning and playing with volunteers from all over the world, and the Zulu teachers and staff at the house were all friendly and welcoming. There is nothing I can say to describe the kids that would be adequate – they’re so outgoing and just happy that you're there - within my first few minutes on my first day I had at least 4 around me wanting to be held or highfived!
An element of the project which I found I enjoyed beyond my expectations was the HIV education - we taught a small group of adults a set course about HIV, which was run every Tuesday - Friday, and then repeated with different people weekly. The way that the schedule was worked out meant that I took part on this afternoon project the majority of the time, and in this way I really got to know much more about the situation (especially in this specific part of South Africa), and felt that this project made a huge impact on the community. Me and one other volunteer also took time out of daycare in the morning to go and teach a similar syllabus to teenagers in the local primary school - set up in a similar way, but much more fun and interactive! And just the test results at the end of the courses were simple proof of the positive impact that this project has on the area.
The other afternoon projects were equally as rewarding - whether we spent our time helping to build the new daycare centre for the children (which is looking brilliant now!!), painting the mural in the village's church, farming in either the HIV Support Garden or plot or working on the lesson plans for the next week of daycare. Whilst working on these projects we were often joined by people from the village who came to help; we met some great people from the area this way!
There was also a huge range of things to do in our freetime, which helped to contribute to an all-around African experience - whether it was just going into St Lucia for a night in a bar (which we did frequently), or in the daytime to do some haggling at the local craft market, or bigger things like all-day safaris (me and a few of the other volunteers did this as well as an overnight stay in a safari-park, which was absolutely stunning!). We also did whale-watching trips, tours of the estuary by boat in search for hippos and crocs (although a couple of the other volunteers saw hippos around the roads of St Lucia!), and even just walking around St Lucia, down to the beach and estuary, was well worth doing - we found an amazing art market, and by that I mean one man with his amazing paintings hanging on a washing line! I only went for a few weeks, but by the time I left I felt that I had found a second home in St Lucia - the place itself, and especially the people in Khula village, are just so friendly, and you get to know it all so quickly.
Jenny, UK aged 17 (St Lucia Orphan Care and Teaching Volunteer)
The project far exceeded my expectations, it's really hard to know what to expect when you're coming to Africa, it is so different and the project actually gave me more than I thought I was coming for. Working with the kids is like the biggest blessing on earth. They are so incredibly beautiful and they are so loving and appreciative, and they give you more than you could ever give them. This has been an incredible experience for me, I would just say do it, do it, do it!
The teachers and staff are amazing and have really accepted the program and given me opportunities to do things I would never get an opportunity to do. I have been involved with cooking and preparing food, teaching kids and reading in the library. It's taken me to a whole new world and it's all thanks to them, they have been very, very open to us doing stuff above and beyond cooking.
My advice to you if you are thinking of joining is stop thinking about it, and just do it. I thought about it for a year, and an opportunity came for me to go. It will change your life, it changes your perspective of how we live and how fortunate we are. When you interact with these kids, the smallest bit of love you show them just lights up their day and I can't tell you what it does to you when they respond to that.
I've done it only for a week, but it's one of the best experiences of my life. I have kids, and I've done motherhood, marriage and all that stuff - this is up there with the best experiences. Don't think about it anymore, do it!
The project is amazing and when you go to the volunteer house, you are mixing with the most incredible like-minded people and it makes the whole experience just 100% fantastic and worth it. Any doubts you have, any concerns you have, put them away because it's so worth doing. You will meet incredible people, and you will experience the love of kids like you've never had in your life. The people at the house are fantastic, the girls are amazing, I've just had a great, great, great time.
The good thing with the project is it gives people that have a busy life an opportunity to get a taste for volunteering, so if you’re faced with lying on a beach and pampering yourself, or doing this, you're going to be so much better for doing this and will probably go home looking so much better than if you'd just pampered yourself, because you get this energy from the kids and they bring you to a new level of life, I'm so glad I've done this.
There is just something about Africa, there isn't a word to describe it, you have to come and experience it. There is something unique about Africa that you will not get anywhere else, and that's the people, the culture and the places. A word of warning, once you've been in Africa it gets in your blood, and you will keep coming back. I love it.
Teresa, Australia, aged 50 (Cape Town School Feeding Programme)
I had a great time at Masi and want to thank you for all the help you gave me on the way. The staff made us very welcome and the children are lovely – lots of little hands all wanting to hold mine! The home is well run and the children get lots of love and attention. They all have their own little bed with their own teddy sitting on the pillow. Lovely! The hope is always that the children can return to their own families in time; everyone is so positive about this and this rubs off on the volunteers too. Thanks again for all your help.
Patricia, UK aged 59 (Cape Town Children's Home Volunteer)
I have always been interested in doing a volunteer program and after extensive research on the internet I came across this and it sounded ideal, I wasn't disappointed when I got there. We were fortunate enough to have two baby baboons to look after, sleeping with a four week old baboon for the first time is an experience I won't forget and for the next eleven weeks I was a baboon mother and it was brilliant. Every day is different, there are the same jobs to complete but there's always something new going on so you never know what is going to happen, for example getting a cheetah with her four cubs come in or finding a cheetah in a box trap. I had originally only booked for eight weeks but extended my trip whilst I was there, a decision which I certainly didn't regret. The farm has a brilliant family atmosphere and the staff are all willing to help you if ever you need them, you immediately feel at home and it's like you've been there for weeks when it's only been a couple of days.
I'd recommend this project if you have a keen interest in animals and you're not afraid of doing some hard work, digging trenches in the middle of the day is tough but it's rewarding to know you're helping build a new home for the animals. There are so many rewarding features of the trip, stroking a cheetah is an unforgettable experience and one people back home will be jealous of.
Caroline, UK, aged 22 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
My friend and I were the only ‘mature’ (post retirement) volunteers in the house, but we really enjoyed working alongside enthusiastic youngster from all over the world (from Alaska, Tasmania, Canada, Germany, Holland and UK). We both felt rejuvenated by the experience! The Zambians helping us were all extremely friendly and we learnt to live by African time, never rushing, always having time for a laugh and a joke! The children we met on our projects were delightful, even if some of the babies were frightened of our alien white faces. I feel I’ve had a glimpse of the real Africa – full of colour, music and happiness, in spite of some extreme poverty.
Our routine work at the medical clinics saved time for the professionals, so I feel it was useful. The home care visits certainly spotted people who needed further help eg transport to the clinic. The old people enjoyed our company, and we enjoyed theirs. We provided manpower on the farm (watering crops and weeding). Overall I think we did provide valuable help where it was needed.
Jane, UK, aged 62 (Zambia Healthcare and Community Development)
Going to Africa and working with the wildlife there had long been a dream of mine, but it wasn’t till I retired from teaching that I was able to go. My three weeks spent in Zambia working with the lions was the best experience of my life so far. Being with the lions on a daily basis and getting so close to them was wonderful. All the people I met on the project, both staff, volunteers and locals were friendly and helpful and the fact that I was by far the oldest volunteer really didn’t matter. I was also able to visit Victoria Falls and Chobe National Part in Botswana, both places not to be missed. I just wished that I could have stayed longer, but I shall certainly return to Africa next year.
Gill, UK, aged 59 (Zambia Lion Project Volunteer)
Amanzi travel organised a fantastic honeymoon for us. We were able to see the real Africa and ended our honeymoon in luxurious style . Gemma was incredibly helpful and patient as we changed our itinerary many times. It was worth it in the end as we had the perfect time in Africa, thank you!
Kate and Nav, UK, aged 32 (Kirkman's Kamp, Breezes Beach Club and Spa, Baraza Resort and Spa)
I had an amazing time on the project, and thank you for all your help!
A truly amazing experience, from putting a smile on the faces of the children in the orphanage to engaging in practical conservation work and seeing the wildlife in their natural habitat, my 2 weeks on the project was unforgettable. Excellent customer service, I had a lot of questions and all were answered promptly. The volunteer coordinator, Steve, was brilliant and made sure everyone had a great experience. (The project was) very valuable as we worked on maintenance in the reserve and helped identify new animals and family relations between animals. In the orphanage we were working on growing a vegetable patch and some fruit trees which will be very beneficial in the future for the children.
Our volunteer experience started with an overnight stay at the 5 Star Luxury Lodge where we enjoyed a three course dinner and breakfast – surrounded by nature in all its beauty. Fantastic! Our daily activities started at sunrise when, using telemetry, the lions were located and their behaviour observed and recorded. Data on elephants was collected as well as taking photographs to add to each individual elephant’s file. There were two opportunities to assist with game capture – the first to work with the vet to locate, dart and capture two buffalo that had escaped from a nearby farm – which was exciting and interesting to learn how animals react to the darting process and the stress involved and how this can be overcome. The second opportunity was to help capture four golden wildebeest – and working with the vet and nurse we were allowed to perform the injection under their supervision. There is also land maintenance to be carried out on a daily basis – mending fences etc and we also had a lecture on the use of firearms and were taught how to shoot using a pallet gun. One afternoon was spent at the Orphanage helping to build a new gate for the vegetable patch which supplies food for the children. It is hoped to plant fruit trees such as peach, plum, orange and lemon which will be a lovely addition and a great treat for the children. One night we had a sleep-out on the reserve and did a night drive to spot some of the nocturnal animals in their activities. We cooked on an open fire and then took turns in keeping watch throughout the night. We also helped out at an education day for the local schools – each taking a group of children to teach them about biodiversity – as well as entertaining them and interacting with them during breaks and at lunch. This was a great day.
Leah, Ireland, aged 21 (Amakhala Wildlife Conservation Volunteer)
My trip was amazing! I had an absolutely wonderful time. Thank you so much for all of your help prior to the trip. I really felt that I was looked after and was as prepared as I could be. The experience itself was unforgettable. I met some wonderful friends and really enjoyed the challenges and rewards of volunteering. All of the locals were so friendly, especially the masai people. We arranged through the clinic to go and do our own clinic in the masai village with an interpreter – it was in the middle of nowhere and we held it under a tree! It was something I will never forget and one of the most fun and rewarding things I have done.
It was also great in my spare time climbing Mt Kili and going on safari. It really has been fantastic.
Volunteering takes you out of your comfort zone but it was rewarding to meet the challenges head-on. Meeting the locals and helping them is an experience I will never forget. You can learn so much from how happy they are despite having so little. Their positive outlook on life is a refreshing break from western culture. Sharing the experience with other volunteers has definitely set the foundations for lifelong friendships. Tanzania itself has so many tourist things to offer. From just walking into town and experiencing the culture, to going on safari and climbing Mr Kilimanjaro. I would thoroughly recommend this project and volunteering in general and would not hesitate at the chance to go back myself!
Katie, UK, aged 25 (Tanzania Street Children's Orphanage)
Luxury in the bush? Was it possible? Yes it was, luxury and a whole lot more. The moment of the weekend, however, came on one night drive, when we approached what appeared to be a bunch of fireflies (as per the ranger) ... however, as we got closer we discovered that the fireflies were, in fact, fairy lights and the staff had set up an outdoor dinner in the middle of the bush. It was an experience never to forget and I am sure to be told at many dinner tables around France by our relatives!
Grant Gavin, France (Phinda Mountain Lodge)
I had a great time in Africa, I loved all the activities there. I also loved all the people that I met out there which made it that extra bit special. Food is good and varied with plenty to feed young men! I am now thinking of doing the level 1 ranger course next summer… as 2 of the volunteers did it this trip which encouraged me to do it. Thank you again for all your help.
I finished my volunteer work and travelled around for one more week along the Garden Route. I really enjoyed my stay in South Africa especially my time on this project. I liked the work we had to do and got a good impression of how to manage a game reserve. The weekends were always interesting and relaxing. Thank you that we got the possibility to experience so many different situations in your country.
Edward, UK, aged 17 (Big 5 Reserve with Lion and Tiger Conservation )
I loved this placement and wish I had been able to stay longer. The volunteer leader, Carol, was extremely supportive and we were all able to learn a lot from her. The animals were amazing and the other volunteers were great company. Gemma was very helpful and friendly and always offered good advice and support.
Anna, UK, aged 47 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
Life changing. I felt very confident being in the hands of Amanzi Travel and found them very professional. I loved working in the Home of Hope. It was very well run. I also thought standard of accommodation was very good.
I left Ireland to work in a children's orphanage in Cape Town South Africa for six weeks. I had never been away from home for this length of time and it was my first volunteer project overseas. To say it changed my life is putting it mildly!!
The home is quite unique in that it looks after babies up to one year old who are HIV positive and who have been abandoned or taken from their parents (usually due to drugs or prostitution). Usually there were between eight and eleven babies in the Home at any one time. I had never looked after babies for any long period of time but I learned quickly in the Home, with the help of the other volunteers, how to make bottles, change nappies and bathe the babies. Our days were spent looking after them and playing with them. Some days we even got to take them out for walks in their prams or across to the beach. The orphanage is located in an affluent suburb of Cape Town called Table View, so called because of the magnificent views of Table Mountain from the beach opposite the house. On average I worked 40 hours a week in 1/2/3 day shifts. On my days off I tried to see as much of Cape Town as I could. This is hard as there are so many things to do like sailing, wine tours, museums, gardens etc. I managed to fit in a short safari overnight and also a 3 day trip up the coast. The scenery in South Africa is magnificent as is the weather and the food. I can't imagine anyone not adoring this country having spent time there. Sometimes if other volunteers had the same days off we did things together like watching the sunset from Table Mountain. All the volunteers lived together in a modern type house 10 minutes drive from the Home and we even had a pool around which we could have BBQs in the evenings. The project was a great way of meeting like minded people from all over the world who all came to Cape Town to look after its babies.
My six week stint in Cape Town has been the best experience ever. I fell in love with the country and the babies and although it was my first time there, it won't be my last. Working on a volunteer project is totally rewarding and magical and I'm already making plans for my next one !!!
Aisling, Ireland, aged 39 (Home of Hope Childrens' Orphanage)
My experience with Amanzi Travel was excellent throughout the entire process. The website was informative and easy to navigate. Gemma was very helpful and prompt in answering my questions while I was deciding which project was right for me. Upon arrival at my volunteer project, I realised how accurate the website was in describing my particular project. I will certainly recommend Amanzi Travel in the future as well as explore future travel with Amanzi myself.
Aaron, USA, aged 30 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
Taking care of monkeys and baboons was really amazing. They are great animals. It was a wonderful time with many new experiences and emotions. Special thanks to all who made this stay unforgettable for me.
Sissy, Germany, aged 32 (Primate Rehabilitation Volunteer)
A truly magnificent experience. Accommodation and meals - better than I expected. Nothing seemed too much trouble. Our instructor shared his incredible knowledge of wildlife, the bush and photography in a manner which left me quite humbled. The level of the course suited me well. The value was excellent – in fact I felt it was too good in favour of the client. I would be keen to attend other such courses or safaris. I will certainly be happy to recommend this to others.
Pete, UK (Wildlife Photography Course - 5 Days)
My trip was amazing! I had a wonderful experience and would love to go back in the future.
I spent 2 weeks in a small town working at the Lifeline Clinic for the very poor and neglected Bushman people. During my time there, I helped provide basic treatment for patients that came to the clinic as well as spent a lot of time with the Bushman people in the community. I especially enjoyed playing with the Bushman kids. Hopefully I brightened their lives as much as they did for me. Spending time with them and seeing their smiling faces despite the conditions they live in made me greatly appreciate the life I have.
I spent the rest of my time working in a clinic in the city of Windhoek with Dr Rudie van Vuuren. During this time I learned a lot about basic medicine. As a future medical student, I was glad to get a chance to take patient histories as well as administer injections and draw blood. I was also lucky enough to observe one of Dr V’s surgeries and I spent a night at one of the local hospitals in the maternity ward watching deliveries. Dr V was an excellent teacher and an amazing person in general. I learned a lot and it was very satisfying to help the people in any way I could.
During my time at Namibia Sanctuary I met a lot of interesting people from all over the world. There were many other volunteers that I worked with and I made many new friends. When I first arrived I thought 4 weeks would be a long time but it went by way too fast. I wish I could have stayed longer! All in all this was probably the best trip I have ever been on.
I recommend this trip to anybody who loves animals or would like to get involved in medical volunteering and learn from a great doctor.
Mark, USA, aged 21 (Medical Volunteer at Namibia Rural Clinic, Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
I spent two wonderful weeks volunteering on this project. I was given the opportunity to take part in a huge variety of activities, from bush chopping which was incredibly hard work to enclosure maintenance and cleaning and even the rescue and release of wild cheetahs. This in particular was a rare and unique privilege which I will remember always – especially the four hour drive with a wild cheetah on my knee! I had an amazing time on the project. The hard work was more than worth it and it was fantastic to stay in such a beautiful and natural camp in the heart of the African bush. Clive and Roma, who manage the project, are very welcoming and knowledgeable. Throughout my stay they ensured I got the best possible experience with numerous chances to view and track game. The project is excellent value and I am very grateful for the unique experiences and the extraordinary memories which will always be with me.
Jo, UK, aged 18 (Big Cat and Namibia Conservation Volunteer)
My dream was always to go to Africa since I was little and get up close to wildlife there (especially cheetah) and could not believe my dream was about to come true when I found the Amanzi website. My 40th birthday was coming up and thought its now or never to do what I have always wanted to do. I phoned and spoke to Gemma Whitehouse, who I can honestly say is the most helpful travel agent I have come across. I had never done anything like this before (travelled to a foreign country on my own) so was pretty nervous, but Gemma helped me with all my travel arrangements, flights, travel insurance, and anything I was not sure about, all I had to do was email her and she helped me get things on track whatever the question, from money, to what I should take out with me, to what injections I would need etc etc.... and when I book another trip which I am hoping to do next year I will definitely be contacting Gemma again.
It still feels like I was dreaming sometimes and cannot quite believe I did it. I met some fantastic people… and have made some great friends for life and we all had the best laugh. I loved the animals too… Nobody can quite believe me when I tell them I had a baboon sleeping in my bed but it was a great experience. Thank you for all you did for me Gemma, I really appreciated it.
Julie, UK, aged 40 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
I had such a great trip! Everyone’s been asking about it and I hope they go someday. Thanks for all the help in organising for me to be on the trip, made everything run smoothly.
Communication with Gemma was great! She was such good help and responded to my emails almost instantly. Definitely made me feel more comfortable and prepared about the trip.
I didn’t know I could become such close friends with people in just a week. The trip attracts a great group of people who are so easy to get along with. My group ranged from 20 to 70 and we all sat down with a drink and played cards together, or gathered around the campfire and someone would bring out their ukulele.
The wildlife was thrilling. I was 2 feet away from a lion with blood on his head from breakfast that morning! Seeing the Masai Mara was amazing. Great fun!
The people in Tanzania and Kenya are so friendly. All I could think of when I left was....’so next time I’m going to go to Uganda, and Malawi, and South Africa, and Namibia, and...’ I can’t wait to experience more of Africa and hopefully have time for volunteer opportunities. Thanks SOO much Amanzi Travel for setting me up on my travels, it was an experience of a lifetime and I will definitely recommend this to my friends and family.
Sara, Canada/Malaysia, aged 20 (Tanzanian Game Parks and Zanzibar - 10 Days, Masai Mara Safari - 3 Days, Tanzanian Game Parks and Zanzibar - 10 days)
Could not have asked for more from Gemma. We had asked several organisations about voluntary projects, but Gemma’s first reply sold it to us. Professional, friendly, quick, always responding to any little silly question – and I had lots of them. All great and will be checking out website for future holidays!
The project was very valuable. Majority of staff were from the local village and a school had been set up for the local children. The project seems to be doing a tremendous amount for the local wildlife by research and rehabilitation and by working with local farmers to inform and educate.
Sonja, UK, aged 32 (Namibia South - 7 days (Southbound), Namibia South - 7 Days (Northbound), Big Cat and Namibia Conservation Volunteer)
Everyone that has the chance to do something like this should definitely take the opportunity. It was the best part of my year out, and wish I could have done it for longer.
Alice, Scotland, aged 19 (East African Discoverer - 15 Days, Zanzibar Rural Teaching Volunteer, Zambia Teaching Volunteer, East African Discoverer - 15 days)
We had soo much fun in Namibia and we really had “the time of our lives”. It has been an amazing trip that we will never forget.
Sophie, Mikaela, Jennika, Camilla, Ida, Sweden, aged 19 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
The Vic Falls project was an incredible experience. The time I spent in Zimbabwe was like nothing I have ever faced before. I will never forget the experience and will always appreciate everything I learned. The country is beautiful, the people are caring and giving, the staff were knowledgeable and informed, and the program was the experience of a lifetime. The hard part was leaving!
Brenna, Canada, aged 24 (Victoria Falls Lion Project Volunteer)
I felt that my contribution to the farm via the different activities I did. For example the enclosure, helped re-release an African Wild Cat, and help rescue a horse, all of which I feel had an impact on the farm.
Auguste, USA, aged 19 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
Everything was fab it has been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had, everyone involved in the project are brilliant and I miss them all loads. I was made to feel that our involvement is invaluable… I just hope that people are not put off by the political situation at present.
Caroline, UK, aged 40 (Lion Rehabilitation Volunteer)
Lion numbers are going down so this project and others like it are needed. Really good experience with the best thing being the people I met. Seeing the lions every day was incredible.
Erin, Scotland, aged 24 (Lion Rehabilitation Volunteer)
You will have the time of your life. To really explain to someone how living in this place in Africa for the last 6 weeks has influenced my outlook on life would take me forever, all I can say is that I am a different person than the girl that arrived. The things that this place has given me, the things that these people have given me, are so much more than I could have ever imagined.
Walking with the lions everyday and getting to see the progress that is being made, watching the lions feed, watching the cubs experience things for the first time, horse rides in the bush, visiting the beautiful children at the orphanage, riding on the back of an elephant, BPG and getting to see the lions go back into a clean enclosure with fresh water to drink, a fun Shona language lesson, beautiful boat cruises, getting to go into town and mingle with the local people and experience some of Zimbabwe outside the park, and that is just to name a few!
To me, there is no argument that this program will prosper. The knowledge, experience, hard work, determination and eagerness of the people that play the roles of keeping this place moving along everyday makes it inevitable that A Park will be successful in releasing these lions back into their natural wild world. This program is built well, and couldn’t be more perfect for those people searching for adventure and enlightenment.
Haley, USA, aged 20 (Lion Rehabilitation Volunteer)
Going on this project is the best thing I have done in my life, it has opened my eyes in so many ways and feel I have come back with a much more positive attitude. AT were excellent agents to go through they answered all my questions and were very friendly and helpful. Zimbabwe is such an axazing country and my 4 weeks were well spent although I wish they could have lasted a little longer. All of the people at the lodge I was staying and all the guides at the lion rehabilitation centre were fabulous. I could not have asked for better people to have guided me on my journey. They were all incredible! I am so glad I took the courage to go on this trip and I hope I return.
Kerry, UK, aged 18 (Victoria Falls Lion Project Volunteer)
It was an amazing experience. The highlight for me was the close contacts with the big cats, which exceeded my expectations. I also thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent with the baboons.
Many thanks for all your help in answering my many questions over a long period. I must admit I did become very anxious before leaving, mainly because of my age, but I did feel quite pleased that I was able to achieve most things.
Marion, New Zealand, aged 67 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
The course is really good. I would recommend it to anyone! Not easy, but fun. I’ll be back! Thanks so much for everything. Really loved it out here. You are lucky to be in a special place like this. Thanks a million!
Karin, UK, aged 34 (Trails Guide - 28 Day)
This was quite a life changing adventure, one that I was not expecting to impact on me as much as it did. What made it even more special was seeing Sarah’s face when up close to the animals – priceless.
Steve and Sarah, UK, aged 52 and 24 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
This project was all I expected and more. I only stayed for 3 weeks but it felt like home by the time I left – the people there were so incredibly helpful and friendly, they really made my stay. The Park’s moto is “Where else in the world?” and I have to agree. Walking with the cubs, riding the horses and elephants, meat preparation, cub feedings, behaviour research and a million other things became part of day to day life and I have made friends and memories that will stay with me for life. I did not want to leave – on the bus on the way to the airport on my last day I was already doing the maths on a piece of paper to figure out how much I would need to save each month to go back the same time next year!
I must make mention of the food at the park – it was incredible! And the kitchen staff were amazing. Gemma was extremely helpful. Whenever I asked a question I would have an email or call back sometimes even in the same day and if not, the next day at the latest. It was my first time travelling alone and she really helped me feel at ease, providing all the info and advice I needed and more. Thank you Gemma:)
Amy, Wales, aged 23 (Lion Rehabilitation Volunteer)
I had a great time. The Namibia project was just an amazing experience, and although I turned 66 there and the average age was 22, the people were great. It's the best run volunteer programme I’ve experienced, including university-based archaeology and biology ones.
Robin, Australia, aged 66 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
My time volunteering in Tanzania was my first trip to Africa and was certainly an eye-opening experience. I had previously only been to Western countries and the contrast was incredible. The local people were so welcoming and friendly and despite having so little they were always so generous with what they did have. The fact that they can be so cheerful when they often live in conditions of considerable hardship was incredibly inspiring. My time in Tanzania has reminded me how we take so many things for granted in the West. Following on from this experience I hope to volunteer again in the future and whilst in this country to raise funds for the many worthwhile projects that I saw.
Sarah, UK, aged 25 (Tanzania Street Children's Orphanage)
I suspect that many lion breeding projects are, in fact, commercial enterprises, to the detriment of lions. Yet the Antelope project, under the tutelage of Pieter Kat, seems genuine in its efforts to regulate breeding to ensure healthy genetic strains, to collect accurate behavioural and physical data about the lions bred, and to structure its project to the advantage of the lions themselves over time and over lion generations.
Mary, USA, aged 65 (Lion Rehabilitation Volunteer)
I’ve had the most wonderful time at the Lion Breeding and Release Project – it’s a beautiful place, with great people, and working with the lions was just fantastic!
Mary-Anne, UK, aged 25 (Lion Rehabilitation Volunteer)
"This project is an amazing experience which you will never forget; and I guarantee you will fall in love with all of the boys! I really enjoyed teaching the boys, it was a daunting feeling at first but I soon got into it and loved it. It was so rewarding when they learnt what you had spent time teaching them, especially when they were so happy with themselves too and they were making good progress in school.
Outside of lessons there is so much to do. At the weekends we tried to give them the experiences of other children; such as taking them to the zoo (not much of a zoo but a beautiful island with a nice walks and a fun boat ride over!), taking them to the beach, sports days and talent shows; there is so much fun to be had! You can also have fun times playing games (which I’m sure they are always changing the rules so they win!), and attempting to play football; they are so good at it; and very competitive! All the boys are so friendly, fun and talented; you will have an amazing time getting to know them; they will soon become your friends
I really liked where the volunteer house was situated; right in the heart of the community; it was great getting to know some of the people that lived around us; especially the man at the shop where we regularly got our supply of chocolate from! It was a comfortable house; where we were taken care of well; with lovely traditional food.
All the staff on the project are all so lovely; all so welcoming from day one. I made so many great friends during my time on the project; we experienced so much together; I have and I’m sure you will; make friends for life.
I would definitely advise going there for over a month; time will fly by with the amount of fun you will be having. I was there for 12 weeks; and I wasn’t ready to leave! This is an amazing experience; you will come away with so many great memories; and you will always want to return".
Rosie, UK, aged 19 (Tanzania Street Children's Orphanage)
Thanks for an amazing trip and all your help. I will definitely book another trip asap. This has been a once in a lifetime experience and the friends I have made will be friends for life. No matter how long each volunteer is staying for we are all treated equally and you feel part of the group immediately. The animals and the coordinators make the stay even more amazing and I would recommend it to anyone.
Paul, UK, aged 27 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
Extremely valuable – every small activity done really felt like it was useful and important to the project and to the wildlife the project was supporting.
Within a day of arriving at the Wildlife Sanctuary I felt completely at home, the volunteers are all incredibly friendly and the staff really make you feel at ease and are always around to help.
Getting to know all the animals was the best part of the project, the Sanctuary currently has 5 lions, 2 leopards, 3 tame cheetahs, 2 wild dogs, 4 horses, 15 baby baboons, 3 meercats and a lot of dogs and tortoises! The baboons seem really scary at first because they can be rather boisterous but they are all so adorable and you definitely form a close bond with them, and spending time petting the tame cheetahs is as incredible as it sounds!
The volunteers at the Sanctuary are divided into three categories; wildlife, research and medical. Wildlife volunteers spend their time feeding the animals, carrying out any manual work that needs to be done around the farm, and spending time with the animals. Research volunteers leave the farm every morning to carry out research tasks including checking the box traps in the neighbouring farm, doing game counts of the animals in the area, and spoor (animal track) counts. These are all to keep a check on and find out more about the local leopard and cheetah population, with the cooperation of the neighbouring farmers. I spent a week on research and it was fascinating, the highlight probably being tracking a collared leopard using a VHF radio.
There is also the chance to go to the NamibRand private nature reserve for a week (about a 6 hour drive south from the farm), where the project released 3 cheetahs in May 2008. You sleep in a small farm house with no electricity, and head out early every morning to track the cheetahs with a VHF radio and try to catch a sighting. We spent quite a few hours sitting on rocks holding the radio aerial and looking through our binoculars, and our group was lucky enough to have caught two sightings of them. It’s a fantastic experience, and is also a good week to catch up on your tan!
Overall my time at the Sanctuary was the best four weeks of my life; you make such strong friendships, not only with the volunteers but with the animals too, and for everyone the worst part of the experience is having to say goodbye to people as they leave. Four weeks there certainly wasn't enough, but even though for me it felt like such a short time I know it's an experience that will affect me for life.
Holly, UK, aged 19 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
As a veterinary nurse I felt my experience treating many kinds of animals could be helpful to the project as well as giving me some valuable experience in other areas of animal welfare. Interning has given me a greater understanding of what is involved on a day-to-day basis in running the project. So much work goes on behind the scenes, and it’s been an eye-opener to work with Cara [the project’s lions manager] and see what happens “backstage”. Cara’s been fantastic in showing me the ropes and she does a brilliant job. I’ve really enjoyed the responsibility I’ve been given; whether that’s been monitoring meat stocks, daily health checks on the lions or helping out with the research and looking for changes in behaviour. For anyone considering an internship with ALERT, my advice would be DO IT! For me, it has been an incredible experience, but for anyone thinking of an animal management placement make sure you have a strong stomach; getting so hands-on with the lion’s food can be a little nauseating. The staff here are great and have made me feel so welcome – as an intern you really are part of the team.
Emma, Portugal - animal management (Wildlife and Community Internship Opportunity)
Our trip was SO wonderful. We definitely enjoyed every minute of it! Have no expectations for the projects, because they will all be a million times better! While you’re there, a dream will come true!
Saskia, Holland, aged 26 (Medical Volunteer at Namibia Rural Clinic, Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
You arrive and straight away feel like part of the team and that everything you do is contributing to the management and maintenance of the reserve
Sarah, UK (Askari Wildlife Conservation Volunteer)
I had the most amazing time thanks (as I’m sure you hear from all of your returning volunteers).
Helen, UK, aged 38 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
The project was absolutely amazing, to work that closely with the lions was unbelievable. It was the most amazing thing I could have done with my life. The meals were excellent seen as we were in Africa… The accommodation was comfy, even though not all of the beds were!
Where Else in the World? The park has touched the lives of all the volunteers who have ever had the opportunity to work there and have been lucky enough to spend quality time with the lions. Not only did I have the pleasure of walking the different sets of cubs twice a day, I also bottle fed 4 weeks old cubs and took data capture on the 2-3 year old lions whilst they stalked their prey on a night encounter. I was also lucky enough to be taken out on a night encounter where three of the lions killed a wildebeest! Let me tell you, this was not one for the faint hearted.
You were always kept busy (the way they saw it was getting your moneys worth, it couldn't have been better any other way) -activities varied daily, from enclosure cleaning, meat preparation, snare sweeps, boundary patrols, cub sitting, cub feeds and walking the lions (in which you had to record data). Data collection usually consisted of prey response and feeding data, for example, which cub showed the most aggression during the feed. There was also horse riding through the park where I was able to get 5/10 metres away from giraffe, zebra, impala, kudu, wildebeest, warthogs etc, it was just absolutely amazing, beyond what words can describe.
One of my many favourite experiences was during one of my last lion walks. We were walking the 2L's (Ltalo and Landela) on their evening walk. Ltalo spotted 2 giraffes and chased after them…in the mean time, Landela had spotted four red hartebeest and a waterbuck (huge antelope) in the distance. As Landela chased after the antelope, Abby (another volunteer) and I ran as fast as our legs could carry us, to keep track of what was happening. We were running level with the lion when an antelope crossed the path 10 metres in front of us - it was the most exhilarating experience in the world. This is really the aim of the project, to get the lions out in the park as much as possible to practise their hunting skills for the release. A pre-chosen pack of 8 lions are due to be released in a miniature version of the wild this August. Their cubs will be born into this wild environment, without having any contact from humans, and it is the projects aim, to eventually release these lions into the wild with the hope of re-populating the ever-decreasing species of the African Lion.
You become attached to the individual lions over time as each lion has their own personality. Some lions like to have their bellies scratched, others enjoy playing with sticks, and some even enjoy a splash in the water. Once we gave an elephant poo cake to Ltalo and Landela for their first birthday! They also received a card from the volunteers. Lions love poo! They roll around in it and eat it to disguise their smell to prey.
I booked my African adventure through Amanzi Travel. I believe the name Amanzi also belongs to one of the lions on the project, anyway, they were really helpful, and the whole trip was organised brilliantly, I felt safe travelling alone through Zimbabwe and I actually extended my trip from one month to two months during my stay, which was sorted out in a matter of moments through Amanzi.
I will never forget the feeling of interaction and bonding with these remarkable mammals. I had the most amazing time of my life.
Emma, UK, aged 19 (Lion Rehabilitation Volunteer)
My visit to Namibia was everything I’d hoped for and more. A fantastic experience. I felt very valued. Staff very approachable and knowledgeable.
Jackie, UK, aged 48 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
Every day I head out into our release site; never knowing quite what to expect. But despite the early mornings, late nights, rain or burning sun I am thrilled to be able to research animal behaviour in a unique way
Rae, UK - research (Wildlife and Community Internship Opportunity)
Great to deal with professional people who treated us sensitively when we had a couple of problems regarding our trip. Thank you!
Very valuable project – it is an ethical project with the interest of lions its sole aim.
The whole walking with lions experience was truly amazing, and unforgettable. It is great how confident you can feel after only 2 weeks with the lions - we only wish we'd had more time. The days are varied including working in local schools, elephant research and the numerous lion walks (both with and without clients), where you begin to feel like a member of the pride more and more each day. It is the best thing we've ever done, and we are still talking about it now to friends and families. We fell in love with one lion in particular each and have chosen to sponsor them! We look forward to receiving the newsletter to see how they're getting on. It's surprising how you can bond with them so quickly! We're considering going back to volunteer at the next stage already and we're not even home from our round the world trip! The project and experience was amazing.
Russell and Helen, UK, aged 30 (Zambia Lion Project Volunteer)
Without the money and work from the volunteers this place would not exist.
Kerstin, Sweden, aged 66 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
I was rewarded with a grand adventure that changed my life. I don’t want to leave this place. I like hearing the lions growling at night, the umbrella thorn pods raining down like snow flakes as the wind blows. I don’t want to go home
Ami, USA (Trails Guide - 28 Day)
...was very glad I went because I ended up teaching the children for 2 weeks which was a wonderful experience and definitely of value as it prompted the Bushmen to set up their own kindergarten after I left. The farm was wonderful and there was always something that needed doing.
Amanzi is obviously a well run company and has a brilliant choice of projects...
Bryony, UK, aged 20 (Medical Volunteer at Namibia Rural Clinic, Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
I feel I must add that I have done a good deal of travelling over the years, albeit never in Africa. So this Continent is a first for me, but I have been very impressed by the professional way that Amanzi Travel have dealt with all my arrangements and enquiries. I do recognise how busy you must be, however, you have always been accessible and have answered any queries I may have had, which is much appreciated. I would highly recommend your company. It's been an excellent trip.
Terry, UK, aged 54 (Tanzanian Game Parks and Zanzibar - 10 Days, Big Cat Release and Tracking Volunteer, Namibia South - 7 days (Southbound), Tanzanian Game Parks and Zanzibar - 10 days, Namibia South - 7 Days (Northbound), Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
I loved every minute of my 3 week stay. It was hard physical work but at the same time it doesn’t feel like work because you’re learning so much about the animals there. The experience really opened my eyes to how easy it would be for any of these animals to become extinct due to hunters and poaching and the work the sanctuary does with the surrounding farms to educate people is truly inspiring. So much so I hope to return to the sanctuary next year and stay for 3 months!
Very valuable (the volunteer project to the community/wildlife). There was no way they would be able to continue with the work they do without the volunteers, they would have to pay staff and as the sanctuary does not receive any funding it would not be possible.
Amanda, UK, aged 29 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
Spending time at the Namibian Wildlife Sanctuary was the experience of a lifetime. Within minutes of arriving, a meerkat was sitting on my head and later that same day I spent time in the baboon cage playing with the five youngest baboons.
I was there for two months and it was probably the best thing I have ever done. My main reason for going was the tame cheetahs as my dream has always been to see them close up. So to be able to go inside their enclosure and groom and pet them was a dream come true. Other volunteer jobs were to cut up meat that was later fed to the cheetahs, wild dogs, leopards, and lions. On a rotating basis all the volunteers were able to participate in feeding these animals. There are also the meerkats, baboons, and assorted farm animals that are fed daily and cared for by the groups of volunteers. One day we were shown how to de-tick and vaccinate the flock of sheep and the farm workers were fairly amused by the sight of the volunteers trying to catch all 36 sheep.
The main interaction volunteers had was with the young baboons. They ranged in age from several weeks to almost one year old. We got to play with them, took them into the bush for walks, and then at night they slept with you in your room if you wished. That is a great experience as they get attached to you and respond to you.
I was lucky enough to be at the farm when one of the meerkats gave birth. Once the four babies were about ten days old they started to venture out of the burrow with the adults and soon enough they were also taking small pieces of meat and apple from us at the daily feedings.
When we were not caring for the animals, there were waterholes to dig, or we prepared the ground and dug holes for enclosures and lookouts and helped maintain the existing fences and enclosures. We also took turns doing enclosure patrol where the lions, leopards, wild dogs, and cheetahs are kept to make sure there are no holes in the fences or that no animal has dug in or out.
We went on a couple of nature walks exploring the countryside on foot for three or four hours and ending the day with a brai.(barbeque) Volunteers also took turns playing with the local children. There is "playschool” three mornings a week and they love colouring, playing in the yard, or visiting with the small animals. But the favourite is getting a "piggyback” ride home to their village at the end of the morning. All in all it was a great experience and I can't wait to go back
Julie, Canada, aged 52 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
My time at the sanctuary was fantastic. After losing my job as a Firefighter due to injury, I have struggled to find a new career that was as fulfilling and exciting. I have always loved animals and decided to do some volunteer work to see if I could find the inspiration for a new career in working with animals. My time in the Sanctuary was unforgettable – you just can’t describe it to others when you get home. I met lots of great people who have become new friends and we worked great as a team. I definitely gained the inspiration I was looking for that new career. I’m hoping to embark on my next Africa volunteer project very soon – it’s just such a life changing experience – it makes you appreciate how amazing, beautiful yet powerful the animals are and also how resourceful and happy the local community is. My experience has made me very much appreciate what we have back home but also makes me want to change my life in order to embark on something more fulfilling. I would recommend the experience to anyone!
Alison, UK, aged 37 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
I wanted to write and let you know just how wonderful the course is. Jason and I had a really amazing month and believe that the course is extremely valuable for our future in the industry. We had no idea when applying for the course just how intensive it is, but the knowledge that we gained was not only interesting but will be applicable in our everyday life... The instructors were fantastic and amazed me everyday with his enthusiasm and knowledge of the bush. It takes special people to do the same thing over and over but with such passion. We really cannot thank them enough. I now look at the bush with a new perspective!!! We made some wonderful friends, who I know we will keep in touch with, and we had an amazing month
Michaela and Jason, aged 20 and 21 (Safari Guide Course - 28 Day, FGASA Level 1 Field Guide Course - 55 Days)
Thank you very much for everything! We never expected to get sooo close to all the animals in the centre, it was a really hands on and close up experience. Also the excursions were great! We saw a lot of the regions amazing landscape and an awesome sunset yesterday.
Annete and David, USA (Big Cat and Endangered Wildlife Centre)
We did everything we’d hoped for and more. The staff were amazing and made us feel like this was our home, they taught us so much and made sure we had a great time
Rachel, UK (Askari Wildlife Conservation Volunteer)
Fantastic experience. Thanks for all you did. Having an 8 month old leopard rubbing his head against your face while you are loading him into a land rover, an orphaned baboon snuggling up to you for warmth at night and walking young lions along the edge of the Zambezi river are just a few of many highlights of my 3 months in Africa. Earning and obtaining the trust of these magnificent animals is a very special experience which for certain will live with me for the rest of my life. Africa is magnificent, as is the work and dedication of the people who run these projects. I would get on a plane back there tomorrow if I could.
Paul, UK, aged 48 (Zambia Lion Project Volunteer, Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
I had the best time! I didn’t really know what to expect – but it was better than I could have dreamed. How can you possibly think of “spending time with animals” as work!! I had 2 weeks off work to do this trip and thought I would be surrounded by students, but the range of nationalities and ages was absolutely perfect, certainly a well-rounded bunch. My love of animals has increased so much from this holiday – if only I could have a pet Caracal…
Nicola, UK, aged 36 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
Undertaking this project was undoubtedly the best experience of my life. Not only did I get to work with these incredible lions but I got to explore this beautiful region of Africa and met some amazing people who will remain life long friends. I would recommend it to anyone. I can't wait to go back!
Judi, UK, aged 33 (Victoria Falls Lion Project Volunteer)
We were very excited, but also very nervous, about doing our first voluntary work abroad. We were not really sure what would be expected of us. I spoke to Gemma who answered my initial questions, like what facilities there were and whether I would be able to do it being nearer 50 than I would like!! She totally put my mind at ease and made me feel so excited about going. She helped me with the same enthusiasm throughout the whole process and never did I feel that I was asking too many questions. She also helped with our trip at the end of the project...
Clive and Roma, the project managers were so warm and welcoming and gave us so much in return for the work that we did for them. Clive with his love of Africa and his passion for the project and Roma who was there to look after us for everything else we might need. They educated us on the project and the area and what they are hoping to achieve. We were totally informed on the daily work that we had to do and why we were doing it.
A typical day would be to start work in the mornings at about 7am and returned for lunch by 12 noon. We then rested for a few hours and in the afternoon Clive took us on a variety of "treats" as a thankyou. Treats would include leopard and hyena tracking, night safari, sleepout, bush walk and following the cats feed run. We were lucky enough to watch the vet operate on the cheetahs' teeth. We would then return to camp by about 6pm and would have the evening meal together.
Our work included clearing fence wire so that animals would not get caught up in it and then die. After a morning of doing this work we saw a kudu walk passed and to think that it would now be safe to walk that way was very rewarding. We did bush clearing in order to clear an area that the reserve was going to build a primary school on. This was a good morning to take it out on the sickle bushes for all the scraches they had previously inflicted on us! We also cleared up the poo and old food bones from the cheetah enclosures to prevent the spread of disease. This was an awesome experience as you are clearing up their mess to walk straight into a wild cheetah. We did this one morning and a cheetah that was sitting under the tree just got up and walked passed us about 3m away. We stood silently and just watched as it passed us by. How many times in your lifetime can you say you experienced such a wonderful thing. We also took it in turns to be on duty to prepare the meals. This did seem a bit dauting at first but Clive was always there to support you, after all he wanted to eat too. It all added to being part of a team. A team of like minded people who loved Africa and wanted to give something back.
For us this was an awesome experience and one that we can not really put into words but one that we are sure to repeat.
Chris & Siobhan, UK, aged 49 and 19 (Big Cat and Namibia Conservation Volunteer)
The month I spent in Namibia was the single most rewarding activity that I have ever had the pleasure to be a part of. This project combines the wonders of African wildlife with the experiences of both ends of the Namibian medical situation. I worked closely with Dr Rudie van Vuuren in his Windhoek clinic, driving every morning through the gorgeous rolling scrub of the Khomas region into the capitol. My time in this clinic gave me an insight into how medicine is practised in the richer more privileged areas of Namibia. It also gave me the opportunity to develop clinical skills that proved vital in the Bushman clinic. On several occasions I was able to observe minor surgeries, one of these held in the Windhoek state hospital that showed me how basic facilities can be and how ungrateful and lucky we are in this country.
After learning enough to be able to help the staff of the bushman lifeline clinic I was driven north to Gobabis, which has the closest hospital to the clinic, and then on to Post 3 or Epikuru. The lifeline clinic lies within a chain link compound along with the accommodation for the sister and volunteers. Whilst in the bush I was lucky enough to be there with a Namibian medical student, Steven, this made translation easier but still tricky at times. Most Herero can speak English but a lot speak Afrikaans and the bushman tend only to speak their native language, luckily a local girl, Natalia, translates. Most cases in the clinic are infections (urinary/respiratory) for which there are antibiotics to treat them. There is a large problem with alcohol in the underprivileged peoples in Namibia, which can be so bad that patients will sell their medication to get a drink. An effect of this aside from the obvious is that it is not uncommon for Bushmen to brew their own alcohol, which is so strong and drunk so regularly that it inflames the optic nerves and causes blindness. Treatments for liver conditions and sight impairments caused by alcohol are not available in the bush however educating the locals could prevent the damage in the first place.
We also got involved in some outreach work in going around the Bushman dwellings, hammered flat tins and corrugated iron if they weren't just a tarpaulin over some branches. Whilst giving out de-worming medication with the help of Simone (bushman handy-man for the clinic) we were lucky enough to come across a homeless mother and her very sick child. After much convincing she agreed to bring the child to the clinic. As soon as they arrived it was clear that the child has severe pneumonia and he quickly lost consciousness, as no IV antibiotics were available he had to be fed and treated via a nasogastric tube for several hours before we could arrange transport to Gobabis and a Hospital.
On one occasion, a Sunday when the clinic is usually closed, as Steven and I were returning form the local shop there was a Herero woman sitting by the gate of the compound. As we approached she started speaking Afrikaans and begging. Steven quickly told me that she wanted us to go and see her uncle who was in agonising pain in his back, knees, feet and hands, he could not move because of it. Five minutes later we were driving though Epikuru with some hastily gathered supplies, all the basics and a shot of diclofenac thanks to Steven’s foresight, the Herero woman directing. We arrived at the stone cube that was their home and went inside. Between two blankets on a cold stone floor was a frail old man curled into a ball. After some very slow and painful movements he produced a key from under a blanket and opened a small chest, inside was his previous medical information on a small battered card. After an examination diclofenac was given and we asked him please come to the clinic tomorrow. Honestly I thought that the next day we would be driving back to the house and examining the same immobile ball of pain and misery that we had tried to help that day. But the next day, after walking across the sandy compound to the clinic in the blazing morning sun coffee in hand, there he was walking through the door a different man. One injection had turned a shadow of a human into the person he had been and with a few pills he could continue to live normally.
When it was time to leave Epikuru I was of course sad, however I knew I would be coming back…
I spent the last days in Namibia at the Wildlife Sanctuary fully involved in the wildlife project that is being undertaken there. This was the perfect way to end the adventure, bottle feeding baboons, grooming cheetahs, feeding lions and leopards and sitting round a fire pit with some of most interesting people I have ever met.
Andrew, UK, aged 19 (Medical Volunteer at Namibia Rural Clinic)
"The first day I arrived at the orphanage I was so overwhelmed at how welcoming and friendly all of the boys were. They were all so eager to learn and just generally happy that I had come to help. I taught a small group of boys. This was the most rewarding thing I have ever done, seeing how much each boy progressed throughout my stay. If I was ever unsure of what to teach, or a query about one of the boys, the project manager always gave me great guidance and advice. The boys loved teaching me swahili, to cook Tanzanian food, and different games and dances. This meant that my experience wasn't just teaching but also a great learning experience. I found the project to be structured, but it also gave me the oppurtunity to use my own inititative, meaning that I left the project really feeling like I had helped and made a difference. The boys were an inspiration to me, many coming from such tough circumstances, yet always being full of laughter and kindness. Each day of my stay here I was very happy, feeling very secure and safe in the environment I was living in, and with the boys never failing to make me smile and laugh".
Naomi, UK, aged 19 (Tanzania Street Children's Orphanage)
From the moment I arrived the staff were most welcoming. From them on, each day just got better the time spent with the animals large and small was so rewarding. At all times any questions always answered. The relaxed, but organised manner of the place only added to my enjoyment. Looking after leopard cubs one day, walking the baboons the next was magic. I would like to thank all concerned for a fantastic time.
Steve, UK, aged 51 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
I had the most amazing trip ever thank you. It is such an incredible place and I fell in love with the baboons. I’m really gonna try and go back but for a longer period of time.
Going to the NWS was truly life changing! I’ve always wanted to work with wild animals in Africa and finally I took the time and money to go as a volunteer… At night all volunteers take turns sleeping together with the baby baboons and it’s the best. Baboons hugging and sleeping on you all night is a very special and unforgettable feeling! Another unforgettable feeling is of course that you get to cuddle with cheetahs. It feels so unreal… Some work is hard and tough at the farm and some less fun but you don’t think like that when being there because at the end of the day it’s all for a good cause. You feel great having done it and it’s a very rewarding feeling to see the animals happy and you feel great of what you have accomplished… The staff are lovely! They are very friendly and make you feel welcome right at the start… The trip was incredible and I’ve never felt better that when being there. The place, the people, the atmosphere and surrounding is just so nice and relaxing. It was great to be away from civilisation, the city pulse and all its noise and instead going to sleep and waking up with the sound of roaring lions… I know I’ll go back soon again and I really can’t wait. I really do recommend and advice you to do the same! Don’t think, just go! It will be a life changing and rewarding trip I assure you. Have fun!
Caroline, Sweden, aged 29 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
I feel impressed with the guides and lion handlers and how dedicated everyone is with the work and the research, makes me proud to have been part of a worthwhile project. It’s good to look at life with a different perspective.
Mark, Wales, aged 32 (Zambia Lion Project Volunteer)
The volunteer projects were amazing and I learned so much both at the clinic and the wildlife sanctuary. I believe what is being done through this volunteer programme is very valuable to both the volunteers and for the surrounding community (both wildlife and people).
Michelle, USA, aged 20 (Medical Volunteer at Namibia Rural Clinic)
Half awake, I opened one eye to reveal a pitchdark tent …what was that? I lay breathless straining to hear it again …there! There it is …what is that?? One more time the sound pierces the dead of night.
Oh, that’s just Thunder.
Thunder, of course, is a lion. And I should probably add that he is safely tucked in for the night behind lock and key! So goes every evening at the Lion Park …my lions roar me a lullaby across the South African night as I fall gently to sleep after a long, exhilarating day of work. Soon I am dreaming of napping with Duke in the sunshine, assimilating Polo into his new home, and attempting to train Miche from getting so jealous …a job at which I failed, miserably!
Of course those were not just dreams, but part of my daily life as a volunteer at the Lion Park.
Spending time with my beloved Duke by far was the highlight of everyday, but volunteering was so much more than that ….it was preparing food for the adorable Meerkats, it was collecting tickets from the wide-eyed international children as they could barely catch their breath on the way to the touch-a cub, it was the friendly banter you have with cars entering the drive-safari (keep those windows rolled up!), it was the squeal of delight as the giraffe food that you packed and sold brought Gambit over to lick a precious little one’s hand (or a timid adult’s!), it was hearing stories from the staff and getting to know a new culture …. I’m just scratching the surface. All in all, your volunteer experience is 100% based on your attitude to serve and commitment to be all in. I was all in. I was rewarded by a lifechanging experience.
Doreen, UK (Lion Park South Africa)
I am amazed at how quickly I fell in love with the Park and the individual lions that I worked with. I will definitely have loads of wonderful memories and look forward to a return trip.
Gemma was so great! She was patient with me and my thousand questions about the program. She always got back to me very quickly and I appreciated it very much.
Jennifer, USA, aged 37 (Lion Rehabilitation Volunteer)
Had a fantastic time… everyone so friendly, and it was amazing to get close to the animals, cheetahs in particular.
Ann, UK, aged 63 (Teaching and Wildlife Volunteer Namibia)
This camp is located smack in the heart of Okonjima. It’s a 55,000 acre area of bush – and only bush. When I arrived at my bush camp I did get quite a shock but, and big but, was that I was there for a month and had the time of my life. I met some super people who I will keep in touch with as it was the “experience of a lifetime”. I am 63 years of age (knocking on 64), registered disabled and would recommend anyone to go out there. The work is hard and accommodation very basic but what fun when you are in the bush and helping nature not to get trapped and die a very sad death. Clive and Roma are two of the most dedicated people I have ever met and very, very passionate about what they do. The game drives you go out on with Clive who is so knowledgeable and finds all the animals there are to see. There is a terrific supply of many different animals and fantastic to see. There are two super lads out there who work for Clive and Roma and they are very, very hard working, very polite and helpful. I could write pages but got to keep it short. Anyone who is bored, go out to Africa and help keep the wild animals running free and keep a lot of them from becoming extinct. Join this wonderful project – it’s worth every single penny. Also enjoy all the fun – its superb.
Anne, UK, aged 63 (Big Cat and Namibia Conservation Volunteer)
I feel this is an excellent program, both in helping with the lion re-population issue and the help given to the local community. I have gained a feeling of true self satisfaction in helping with the lion project and great esteem for the work in the local villages. It was awesome to see the smiles on the faces of the children at the schools.
The elephant mitigation bough me great pleasure, due to helping the local community. I loved the lion walks and meeting new friends, I found it a pleasure working with all the staff both at management level, the handlers and staff at the white house.
I felt totally safe during my stay both in the accommodation and on lion walks, visits to the villages etc. The staff were very re-assuring and well trained. I felt at total ease, thank you all!
It has made me feel more appreciative of what I have at home and given me a first hand experience of the needs of people in other countries such as Zambia and Zimbabwe etc.
Pietro, UK, aged 50 (Zambia Lion Project Volunteer)
After everyone arrived in the project, we went on a game drive to see how the reserve looks like and how incredible large it is! We learned immediately about the problems of overgrazing in the past and the thorny bushes making it impossible for cheetahs to hunt and so threatening the continued existence of cheetahs in the reserve. The next day we learned how “thorny” these bushes really are… we started chopping these bushes and in a few days time we cleared a large area. After these days we got more involved with the Big Cat Foundation and went with them to fetch cheetahs trapped on a farm near Hochfeld (3,5 hours by car). It was a great experience to work with these animals, assist with the health checks and release the healthy ones the next day! Unfortunately, two cheetahs could not be released into the wild again due to health problems, so we made a new enclosure for these animals to live in until the veterinarian will arrive. I had a great time in this project: working with the cheetahs was great to do, we saw a lot wild life during game-drives in the afternoon and I think this camp (and even better sleeping out in the river bed) is the best way to experience the reserve. And... of course, we had a lot of fun together!
Hjalmar, Holland, aged 22 (Big Cat and Namibia Conservation Volunteer)
Wildlife and research in Gorisas NamibRand was awesome. Cila was a very enthusiastic and infectious coordinator who is obviously passionate about her work. The wildlife staff were also incredibly helpful and are what makes the programs successful.
I was very impressed with the projects and the information provided by Amanzi. There were no surprises and I know exactly what to expect. The projects are well structured and I had an amazing experience. Amanzi was also very helpful with booking post project travel for me which made my whole holiday stress free and very enjoyable. I would definitely book another project with Amanzi.
Kathryn, Canada, aged 47 (Medical Volunteer at Namibia Rural Clinic, Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
Above all expectations. It was really one of the best and most memorable experiences in my life.
Alejandra, USA, aged 34 (Field Guide Experience (EcoQuest) - 1, 2 or 3 Weeks)
I have learnt so much and have done things I never thought I could or would do. I would recommend this programme to anyone
Best experience of my life. Has confirmed to me that I want to work in conservation/research. I am sad to leave and wish to return
Kay and Chris, Scotland, aged 18 (Karoo Cheetah and Wildlife Research Volunteer)
So friendly makes you feel part of the place immediately. The most amazing setting with the mountains as a backdrop. It was really nice to get hands-on experience.
Claire, UK, aged 20 (Horse Rehabilitation Volunteer)
We didn't really know what to expect when we signed up for ten days of carnivore research in the private nature reserve of NamibRand, in the South of Namibia. After nearly six hours in a car, packed full of supplies, four volunteers plus our driver, we finally reached our destination and suddenly realised what it was all about.
Stunned by the fantastic landscape - wide yellow plains, dry riverines and red mountains - we got to know our coordinators, German biologists and researchers, Christine and Lars. Since August they have been operating the carnivore programme and introduce volunteers to the activities of carnivore researchers. They are keeping an eye on the collared cheetahs and leopards that have been released in NamibRand so far, tracking them to find out about their home ranges and behaviour. They are hoping to prove that the animals will stay in the private nature reserve and don't go on to farmland to kill livestock.
We soon found out that a researcher's day usually starts very early - even the sun was still asleep! Every day we travelled in the car to try and find signals from the radio collars of the various cheetah and leopard which have been released over the last 18 months. This meant climbing up steep mountains, amazing dunes or exhilarating walks over gravel, stones, bush grass and sand. But each time, a fantastic view and the feeling of being part of something so worthwhile made us forget about the hard work. We were lucky enough to find the five male cheetahs which the Cheetah Conservation Fund had released some six months earlier; twice we saw them devouring their breakfast! Being able to observe their behaviour and eating habits in their new environment made sure that most days were once-in-a-lifetime experiences that none of us will forget.
During our days out we also got to see: oryx, springbok, vultures, kudu, zebra, bat-eared foxes, cape foxes, jackals, porcupines, pole cats, a spotted hyena and - very importantly - NO snakes.
We also learnt about entering research data, processing it to form maps showing the animals' home ranges, doing night observations and cooking meals out of very few ingredients - something Lars is an expert at! He and Christine never lost their patience explaining the animals to us and introducing us to every aspect of a researcher's life. We really enjoyed our stay with the people, the animals and the landscape. We will never forget it and hopefully we will all come back one day. The animals and the semi-desert are definitely worth it!
Pila, Barbara, Georgie, Steff, Germany, aged 20 (Big Cat Release and Tracking Volunteer)
I didn't think that the whole experience would have such an influence on me. I know that the program goals are to help people who need it and to try to make a difference, but at the end, it has changed me completely. Now I appreciate life in a different way and I know that having a lot of money and things that you can buy mean nothing compared to the emotions and sense of achievement that you get by helping others.
Claire, UK, aged 29 (Mozambique Coastal Teaching)
It was very humbling.
I went out to Ukhanya Primary school and worked with 180 grade 5 students teaching English, Sport and some Art during my day projects. It was a privilege to be welcomed into a school and allowed to work alongside some great teachers and independently creating schemes of work and teaching lessons. This was incredibly rewarding and I miss all of the students that I got to know so well over the course of the month. Was a pleasure teaching young people with a real desire to learn, such a shame that the schools don’t have the necessary resources. In the afternoons I helped with building projects in the townships to construct an adult literacy building and jungle gym. It was great to have a permanent impact on the landscape of South Africa that will hopefully improve the lives of different generations. I also organised and helped out with work for preschools and the local library – arts and crafts was always a particular favourite with kids!
In terms of the accommodation and other volunteers this project was amazing – I feel like I have made some friends for life and the sense of camaraderie and unity within the houses was superb. It made the weekend and downtime just as much fun as the project work. I was fortunate enough to go shark diving, sky diving, watch a rugby match, go on a wine tour, climb up and down Table Mountain, go on a one day safari, visit Boulders Beach, Cape Point, the Cape of Good Hope, Robben Island, Simmons Town and countless other places. I can honestly say that I made the most of every second of my stay and had such a great time. Amanzi was so organised and instantly put me at ease.
I would highly recommend that anyone considering working in Africa should check out the available projects. It was honestly the best month of my life!
Tom, UK, aged 21 (Cape Town Sports Coaching Volunteer)
We would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts ... your attention to detail from the moment we arrived, to sadly leaving, was awesome. You had an amazing way of making us feel totally at ease and the touches you provided will never leave us. Tammy, your unbridled passion and knowledge you passed onto us left us breathless. To have so much information on animals, plants, trees and the incredible environment on our unforgettable safaris, we are blessed. Daniela, let there be no mistake, your unbelievable dishes you prepared, in not the easiest of conditions at times, left us gasping as they arrived at the table. Our photos and videos take us back in an instant to the beauty, in every sense, that surrounded us on an unbelievable week.
James, Dutch (South African Horseback Experience)
Excellent overall standard of service provided by Amanzi Travel
Christine, UK, aged 60 (Amakhala Wildlife Conservation Volunteer)
Kate really made me feel at home as soon as I arrived. All the horses were happy and healthy but in need of back treatments, so I got stuck in straight away. Kate was over the moon with the results, all the horses improved dramatically and were much happier in their work. It was very rewarding and at the same time it was a true holiday, very relaxing. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Kate’s aim was simply to give the horses that she has long and happy lives rather than to try to ‘save’ every horse in South Africa, and in this, she has really succeeded.
Chloe, UK, aged 30 (Horse Rehabilitation Volunteer)
I loved my time here in Zanzibar and would love to stay longer to work with the new volunteers and see the project progress. I haven’t done a volunteer project before, but am very happy that my first one was here.
Sue, UK, aged 25 (Zanzibar Rural Teaching Volunteer)
It was my first time traveling to Africa so I had no idea what to expect. The thought that I could stand face to face with lions and other African animals in the reserve gave me goosebumps. My whole experience with the lion and rhino project exceeded my expectations. Life in the bush is different every day. You never know what's going to happen or what you are going to see. Going on game drives every day on the reserve is a very unique experience. This is a chance to encounter the realSouth-African wildlife. Volunteers have the privilege to be the only visitors allowed in the reserve, so the animals keep their natural behaviour!
What I enjoyed the most was going on the quad for the black rhino monitoring with one of the guides for all the day. In addition, the guides are amazing and very knowledgeable. They are always willing to give answers to any questions you have. I can sum up my whole experience in three words: T.I.A. - This isAfrica! I would suggest this programme to everybody because it is amazing, you learn a lot, you have fun, and, most of all, it is a truly African experience!
Gert-Jan, Belgium (SA Lion and Rhino Tracking Volunteer)
Friendly people with good knowledge of the physical and mental health of their horses. Very nice accommodation! The programme was better than I expected. I was expecting a lot of cleaning up after the horses etc... but as that was not the case and we spent a lot of time with the horses I felt I learnt a lot and became more confident around horses and understood their behaviour more. To future Volunteers: If you like horses and want to increase your knowledge, confidence and riding skills in beautiful surroundings - then come to this project!
Katy, UK, aged 20 (Horse Rehabilitation Volunteer)
I wanted to personally thank you for helping to organise my experience at Noah’s Ark for me... Thank you so much for providing me one of the best months of my short life... Off to my next adventure!
Jordan, USA, aged 22 (Noahs Ark Wildlife Sanctuary)
I wanted to work closely with cheetahs; the plans for reintroduction are also very exciting and it feels good to be a (small!) part of that. (I particularly enjoyed) working with and making friends with the other volunteers. Spending time with the cheetahs every day is an amazing experience. The food is excellent and the housekeepers have been very friendly and helpful.
Karen, UK, aged 29 (Cheetah Rehabilitation Project)
At the orphanage...lived children from 10 to 14 years old who took care of themselves. They had no guardian or teacher to watch out for them. There were also younger children, from newborns to 9 year olds, that were cared for by substitute families that lived in poverty. Their homes had neither water nor electricity. They had to carry water from outside wells and water tanks every day so they could hydrate themselves, take showers, brush their teeth and clean their clothes. Most of them slept on the floor with a blanket; they ate with their hands. I was shocked because I took so many things in my life for granted and these children had literally nothing and still you could see so much happiness in their faces. They had nothing, but somehow had everything and enjoyed every minute, they saw their world with very different eyes than how we, the volunteers, saw it.
In the morning I taught at the preschool. Our afternoons were spent doing community service work. We painted school walls, we built a new school made of wood, we also planted a garden that would provide food for sick people that had HIV and were not in a condition to work or to buy food.
Once, we took boxes filled with donations to another school. They only had paper and pens. When we took out our things the teacher was so happy that tears came out of her eyes and the whole class started celebrating and couldn’t stop thanking us. We had brought books, colour markers and notebooks. I just wanted to cry, I couldn’t feel any happier for what I was doing.
How can something that is insignificant to many people, can be gold to others? This taught me the value of things. I learned that with small actions we can truly change someone’s world for the better. I also have learned that our world and our surroundings can be as beautiful and special, or as ugly as we choose to see them. It is just the colour of the glasses that we wear that will give us the colour of the world we see.
Finally, there is responsibility. Those kids taught me that being responsible is all about trust; it’s about caring so much about something you can’t leave it incomplete because you know someone is counting on you.
Adriana and Stephanie, Venezuela, aged 21 and 18 (St Lucia Orphan Care and Teaching Volunteer)
Accommodation and food were above expectations.
Theresa, UK, aged 50 (Zambia Healthcare and Community Development)
I was a guest at the luxury lodge and I cannot rate this place highly enough. I absolutely loved it and if I ever go back to Africa, I will definitely be going back to this lodge
Karyn, Australia aged 26 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary Luxury Lodge)
I had the most fantastic experience and one that I will never forget! It’s so incredible to be able to get so close and bond with all the amazing animals there and I am definitely wanting to go back!
It was great to be able to help out as a volunteer, but then get to spend so much free time with the animals. Very valuable (project) every activity we did was for the benefit of the animals.
Thank you very much I had a fantastic time. I just got back yesterday as we went to Cape Town for just over a week afterwards.
Laura, UK, aged 19 (Noahs Ark Wildlife Sanctuary, Noahs Ark Wildlife Sanctuary - Luxury Project )
Amanzi Travel kept close contact with me before my departure, and answered all of my mum’s questions, as she became more nervous about my expedition.
Despite being told not to have favourites at the daycare centre, everyone does, and this really does help the child develop more. I became close to one boy who was considered a nuisance and always ran away during class, and didn’t seem to like talking to people, but by giving attention and help to him, I really felt an impact on how much he wanted to be with the group and listening in class. The afternoon projects were more obvious to see the impact, as people passed their HIV education tests, fences were built...
Thomas, UK, aged 17 (St Lucia Orphan Care and Teaching Volunteer)
It would be a good project to do if you do not have much previous experience of travelling as it is very well organised with lots of people to contact if there’s a problem and the farm you stay on is secure. If I do decide to do another project I will definitely look at booking with Amanzi Travel again. You were very helpful and organised a lot for me, saving me so much time.
Romily, UK, aged 22 (Noahs Ark Wildlife Sanctuary)
The highlight was the general interaction with the children and the contribution that I made to their learning in what was a relatively short time. The people I have met even though they have limited material possessions are very positive and happy and it has been a real and genuine pleasure to meet them. I can honestly say that there is nothing that sticks out that has been a major issue in terms of something that I have not enjoyed. I have only been on the project for 3 weeks but I have got more than I imagined out of my participation. I have met some genuinely nice people and I think my whole experience will prompt a career change into a more social orientated role. The project as a whole is well run and structured. I would have no hesitation in recommending it to others. The Project has made me realise what is really important in life. I would also like to say that the people involved in running the project who I have met on a day to day basis are a real credit to the organization generally.
Robert, UK, aged 33 (Cape Town Sports Coaching Volunteer, Cape Town Over 30's Pre-School Teaching Project)
A fantastic Experience beyond my expectations. I had an amazing time! I learned so much and everyone was very friendly and positive. I loved it.
Hufsah, Canada aged 22 (Big 5 Reserve with Lion and Tiger Conservation )
My time in Livingstone was amazing, so much more than I could have ever experienced. I was 100% happy, in fact 110% happy with my whole experience.
Mandy, Australia, aged 19 (Zambia Sports Coaching Volunteer)
Excellent service by Amanzi Travel. Excellent volunteer placement. Work very valuable on this volunteer placement.
Emma, Australia, aged 28 (Home of Hope Childrens' Orphanage)
We arrived at the reserve four weeks ago not knowing what to expect. Some of us had travelled alone and were quite nervous about meeting the rest of the group.
After meeting for 5 minutes we set off to track the lions and were all blown away by seeing Mufasa, Scar and the three 5 month old cubs. We noticed our facilitator was using what looked like a television ariel to find the lions but we soon learned that this was called telemetry.
Every day we used the telemetry kit to track down and monitor the lions. By the end of the four weeks we were experts in using telemetry and competed every day to get the quickest time. The record currently stands at 9 min 30 sec- beat that! Monitoring the lions was a key activity which we did every day. Doing this is critical for the future success of the game reserve and its sustainability.
Other animal activities which we were involved in included elephant monitoring, jackal count, game counts, crocodile capture and animal relocation.
One of the main highlights was coming eye to eye with Norman, the 36 year old elephant bull. He was so close that if we reached out of the land rover we could have touched him. It was a breath taking experience!
We were also involved in community based projects which included giving a life science lecture to the children at the local school and undertaking some maintenance on the school building.
Twice a week we visited the local orphanage. This was one of the most rewarding experiences during our time here as we got the opportunity to bond with the underprivileged children there. Every time we went we played different games with them and also did some arts and crafts which they really enjoyed.
Other activities we took part in included camping under the stars in the Reserve; a survival challenge where we had to construct our own shelters and had minimal provisions; canoeing on the bushman’s river; rifle handling; alien tree removal; fence and road maintenance. Another opportunity we were lucky to have was a behind the scenes tour of the Born Free Foundation.
During our time off we socialised with the locals and the rangers at the nearby pub or at the volunteer house. The house we lived in is situated in the small town of Paterson, a short drive from the Reserve and has a resident dog called Odie who likes to join in the fun. At the weekend there was lots to do in the surrounding area - from sky diving to horse riding in Addo National Park. We even took on the worlds highest bungee jumping at Storms River. Last but not least we had Ettiene, our facilitator, to thank for all the amazing experiences we had and the knowledge he gave to us. His enthusiasm made our stay interesting, fun and memorable and we all left with fond and happy memories of our time spent at the Game Reserve.
It has been an experience of a lifetime and we all plan to return in the near future.
Vicki, UK, aged 27 (Amakhala Wildlife Conservation Volunteer)
I have really enjoyed my time at this project, I have had the most amazing time. Thank you so much for help with organising it for me. I do feel that I have made a positive impact on the under-privileged communities that I have worked with through this project and I thoroughly enjoyed teaching at Red Hill and the Children of Hope pre-schools. It was lovely to work with and get to know the young children who have so little but are always so enthusiastic to learn. I particularly enjoyed spending time helping the young children with their reading one to one in the library. I've also gained valuable skills that will be beneficial in other volunteer programs that I am undertaking over the next four months. These will also be beneficial in my future career, I would recommend doing a volunteer project like this to anyone. Our home in Fishhoek was lovely and I met some amazing people who I hope will be friends for life. Cape Town is an amazing city with so much to do, it was great being able to unwind at the local beach after a day’s work. I have left this project with some fantastic memories that I will never forget!
Tracey, UK, aged 28 (Cape Town Sports Coaching Volunteer)
Many thanks for your assistance with booking my trip and for your patience.
Joanne, South Africa/UK, aged 42 (Amakhala Wildlife Conservation Volunteer)
The group I was in was filled with such great people! I feel we made lifelong friends and being right on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world was really incredible. Meeting and working with Mr Okala was definitely a highlight , we learned so much about his native home and way of life from him.
Veronica, USA, aged 24 (Zanzibar Rural Teaching Volunteer)
Working with the Zambian people and children was an incredible and life changing experience. The people are utterly appreciative of all that you do. However, as much as I was able to teach them during my short time there I learned even more from them. This program is great because you get to see Zambia through the eyes of a resident rather than through the eyes of a tourist. You get the real Zambian experience.
The staff at Amanzi Travel were excellent. We had many questions that Gemma always responded to in a very timely manner and gave the information we needed. She was great! In addition to the volunteer project, she also set us up to go to Matetsi Water Lodge in Zimbabwe for a safari. It was a highlight of the trip and one of the most luxurious places I have ever visited with the kindest most knowledgeable staff. We saw great game, incredible views, and had amazing hospitality.
Jennifer, USA, aged 26 (Zambia Teaching Volunteer)
My daily wake up call…the roaring of lions. Part of everyday life in the beautiful country that is Africa. During my time in Zimbabwe and Zambia I experienced many breathtaking moments. It would be impossible to pick out my favourite part but here are a few memories that I treasure from my time away. Tracking rhino on foot through the African bush. Herding giraffe on horseback. Walking the lion cubs. Seeing all the stars in the Milky Way in the vast African night sky. Tasting the local delicacies (mapani worms!!) Dancing the night away with the local tribal dancers. The emotion I felt whilst helping to deliver a baby in one of the clinics. Enjoying a relaxing massage on the banks of the Zambezi River.
When I look back on all of these experiences they seem surreal, but when in Africa you truly feel that it is normal to be walking besides an 18month lion cub, or eating the local foods. I believe that it is down to the fact that the locals that I met were so welcoming and made you feel totally at ease in their home country.
I spent 2 months in Zambia, Livingstone working on a medical project. Whilst this was a tough experience for me, I feel that it was the most rewarding part of my trip. I spent my time either working in the local clinics weighing babies or working in the out patients department taking patients blood pressure, temperature etc. I also spent a bit of my time in the labs testing for malaria (blood samples) and TB (sputum samples). The lab technicians in the clinics are overwhelmed by the workload and volunteer help is gladly welcomed.
I got a true insight into the way of life in Zambia when I chose to do home based care. This project is run by 30 local women, all volunteers. We spent each morning going into the local community visiting patients. The patients generally have the late stages of HIV, TB or malaria. Often they cannot afford to go to a clinic or hospital. As well as bringing medical supplies we also gave them advice on nutrition and the correct way to take their medication. I created a strong bond with the ladies that I worked alongside, admiring their strength and commitment, as most of them were looking after 5 or more children of their own at home, whilst giving their time to the project voluntarily.
I felt that I gained the most out of my time away, and this was due to the organisation and planning of Amanzi Travel, prior to and during my visit. I was fully prepared to all that I faced, down to the right equipment and what to expect. This was all included in an excellent pre-departure pack (it was my bible!).
Heather and Laura, UK, aged 18 (Zambia Healthcare and Community Development, Lion Rehabilitation Volunteer)
As a more mature volunteer with no previous experience of volunteering I was somewhat apprehensive when embarking upon my recent adventure. I had been wanting to work with the poor children in Africa for some time but had no real idea of where to go or what to expect. Amanzi Travel changed all that! From my very first telephone conversation with them I found their expertise and knowledge to be first class. Their suggestion that I spend two months at the Baphumelele Children’s Home ticked all the boxes. This is a very special place, right in the middle of Khayelitsha – a huge township on the edge of Cape Town. All the children live in groups – about eight children - “brothers and sisters” – each with a housemother. And these are the lucky children – there are hundreds more on the streets outside looking through the railings! Luckily Baphumelele has attracted donations from the likes of Sir Elton John, Beyonce Knowles and Bono and more homes are being built all the time. All volunteers are welcome here but they are especially pleased to see mature volunteers who can commit between six and twelve weeks – this gives plenty of time to really get to know the children and you feel that you are making a real difference. All volunteers work in teams on a shift basis – three days on and three days off. The working days are long and hard but then there are three days to get out and about in Cape Town (the most beautiful city I have ever seen) and see some of the sights.
Amanzi Travel offered help and support all the way through. They were able to book my flights – direct from London to Cape Town – and advise on appropriate insurance. I knew that I would be picked up at the airport when I arrived which was very important to me as I was travelling alone. I cannot rate them highly enough and I am looking forward to another “adventure” with them next year.
Liz, UK, aged 56 (Baphumelele Childrens Oprhanage)
The Instructors were brilliant and very passionate and really good at transferring knowledge. I had an amazing time here, wonderful area and learnt so much. Thank you for this time. Everything has been amazing. I am so glad I decided to take a year and do this course.
Kimberly, UK (Professional Field Guide - 1 Year)
A lot of energy, goodwill, companionship, idealism, lovely atmosphere. I thoroughly enjoyed spending a whole month in the company of so many wonderful young people. The age thing mattered less and less as time went on.
Gemma was very helpful and extremely enthusiastic. The induction sessions were helpful, especially the parts about the differences between English and Zambian cultures and the things one should and shouldn’t do. The teaching at Malota Community School was, as they say, awesome. I learnt such a lot and was very privileged to be given free rein to teach Grade 3 as I liked. It was a really wonderful experience.
The adult literacy was fascinating and very worthwhile. There was a valiant attempt to make some sort of continuity by keeping a planning book that was passed on from one volunteer to the next.
Alison, UK, aged 58 (Zambia Teaching Volunteer)
I really had two fantastic weeks here! I’ve learnt so much about monkeys and it was so nice to look after them. From the beginning I felt at ease here. I will never forget this place.
Charlotte, Netherland, aged 18 (Primate Rehabilitation Volunteer)
This great project is based in Jambiani Village which stretches along the coastline in the south east of the Island. Volunteers fly into Dar-es-Salaam and then either have a 20 minute flight or take the ferry to Stone Town, the capital of the Island, where they are met and taken to the volunteer house which is about one hour’s drive. Volunteers all live together in this house – in the centre of the village and just 20 yards from the beach – great for a cooling swim at the end of a busy day. All volunteers set off for work together – on bicycles – and although there is not a lot of motor traffic to worry about, the cattle that wander through the village during the day and settle for the night in the middle of the road must be avoided at all costs! But this is real Africa and it doesn’t get much more rural than this. Volunteers spend their days helping in one of the local schools – pre-schools, primary schools or secondary schools where they help to teach the children, sing with them, play games and generally help with their development. They may also help out in the tourism training school – a great venture set up to improve the chances of the local population in getting employment in the fast-growing tourist trade on Zanzibar Island. They help the students with basic computing and admin skills, perhaps help them write a cv as well as with customer care and, of course, helping them improve their English.
The “working day” normally ends around 5.00 pm and then everyone returns to the house – perhaps making a detour for stamps or a cold drink on the way. The evenings are usually spent having a meal together, chatting over the events of the day or perhaps going along the beach to one of the local hotels for a cold beer – which is enjoyed sitting on the veranda listening to the waves gently lapping on the white sands.
There are lots of exciting things to do at the weekends. Stone Town itself is a fascinating town with a strong Muslim influence and lots of interesting buildings to visit. The Africa House Hotel – situated on the seafront – is a very famous hotel that was originally the British Club and all visitors to the Island should come to this hotel at least once to view the fantastic sunset from the hotel balcony. One exciting outing is to go and swim with the dolphins and there are other fabulous beaches on the Island that are well worth visiting.
The food is very good and everything is “home made”. Fish is caught on the beach and is very fresh but the cook – who prepares lunch and the evening meal - also makes great pancakes, samosas and even chips.
Zanzibar is one of the most beautiful places in Africa to visit and the chance to take part in such a worthwhile project puts it high on the list for anyone wanting a great experience this summer.
Patricia, UK, aged 62 (Zanzibar Rural Teaching Volunteer)
(I particularly enjoyed) cheetah time, meeting people involved with the Cheetah Centre and day off where we saw lion/rhino & Elephant Sanctuary. I think you can advertise the time spent with cheetahs on a personal level more. It’s excellent.
Thomas, UK, aged 29 (Cheetah Rehabilitation Project)
I volunteered in Livingstone, and it was the most amazing experience of my life and I only wish I was out there for longer!
Stephanie, UK, aged 20 (Zambia Sports Coaching Volunteer)
I've come away from this project with a greater understanding for the care and maintenance required when looking after horses and also the passion and love involved with running a rehabilitation centre. I got the opportunity to work with horses, each with their own personality and with people who have a lot of experience. A big plus is that there is no mucking out! The knowledge and experiences that I have gained are priceless and more than anything I met some really lovely people. The riding lessons are just an added bonus. This project is definitely something I won't be forgetting for a long time. This project offers any volunteer the chance to enjoy the beauty of South Africa in a breath-taking location along with its amazing wildlife, so for anyone who has a true love for animals this is a definite must. Just remember the more you put in, the more you'll get out of the experience.
Shweta, USA, aged 19 (Horse Rehabilitation Volunteer)
I loved this project. I had an amazing time and look forward to my next visit. All of the projects you do here are great. There are so many great people that I have met. I have gained some friends that I will never forget.
Lauren, USA, aged 19 (Cape Town Sports Coaching Volunteer)
I had an amazing time.
Robyn, Australia, aged 26 (St LUCIA CONSERVATION PHOTOGRAPHY PROJECT)
Knowledge regarding the wildlife gained was good, studying whilst living out in the bush in the midst of nature was also an unbelievable experience and opportunity.
Gemma Whitehouse is an excellent and personable representative and agent who was always happy to help.
Tim, UK, aged 28 (Professional Field Guide - 1 Year)
A profound experience that taught me to see nature instead of only looking at it. I now have a better understanding of all interacting parts that form an ecosystem and how they are connected. An exciting new world has opened up!
Jaap 2008 (Safari Guide Course - 28 Day, FGASA Level 1 Field Guide Course - 55 Days)
I don’t want to leave…. I love coming back, but I hate saying goodbye to the animals and people. I’m so pleased I could be part of the release. Until next time I send my love, hugs & best wishes to you…. I will miss this place like crazy!
Rebecca, UK, aged 25 (Primate Rehabilitation Volunteer)
I really hope you know how much of a wonderful time I had. This trip was more than I could ever ask for and everything that you did truly made it perfect. I miss the kids SO MUCH.
Annie, USA, aged 20 (Zanzibar Rural Teaching Volunteer)
These three weeks were really special to me! I had the best time ever. I already told everyone hope I’m coming back. Thank you so much!
Julia, The Netherlands (Cheetah and Wildlife Experience)
Aside from the academic challenge and general knowledge gained the snake handling, rifle training, 4x4 course and tracking were great!
Brett, USA (Shamwari Game Ranger FGASA Level 1 Course - 60 Days)
One of my best African experiences
Ian, UK (Safari Guide Course - 28 Day)
On our vacation in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana we stayed at Kirkmans Kamp for 2 days. The warm welcome of the staff made us feel at home right away. What an amazing, beautifull and relaxing place! We saw a lot of animals on our game drives thanks to our excellent ranger and tracker. This combined with the beautifull views from the lodge, great food and the great cocktails that Moses made on our return from the different game drives made Kirkmans Kamp a place to remember and return to!
Wilbert Ten Kate (Kirkman's Kamp)
This is great project. The idea behind the whole reserve is fantastic and supporting the management as a volunteer is very fulfilling
Kristina, Bulgaria (Askari Wildlife Conservation Volunteer)
I gained so much more from my experience than I ever expected. Not only did I learn about seamanship skills, biology and behaviour of sharks, and even a little bit of the Afrikaans language, I learned how to step way outside my element into a completely unknown and risky realm. The hardest thing to get used to for me was definitely dealing with seasickness and working in difficult weather conditions. The most amazing aspect was the friendship and support offered by everyone at the project who allowed us this incredible opportunity to share in their passion for Great Whites. Their hospitality and camaraderie is unmatched anywhere else in the world! I can't really say that I felt sadness in leaving Gansbaai and concluding my summer project simply because I knew that I would be back there with the sharks before too long.
Parker, USA, aged 22 (Great White Shark Conservation Volunteer)
A month I shall always remember - it enhanced my love of the bush and stoked an interest in it.
Ben, UK, aged 27 (Safari Guide Course - 28 Day, FGASA Level 1 Field Guide Course - 55 Days)
Well structured course – thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it - the trainers were excellent.
Brian, UK (Shamwari Game Ranger FGASA Level 1 Course - 60 Days)
Thank you so much to all the team for making this such a fantastic 4 week stay - a totally unforgettable experience. Hopefully I shall be back again : )
Kate, UK (Shamwari Conservation Volunteer)
We were treated like royalty and I especially loved the decked out, beautiful rooms, with your own private splash pool outside. I would have loved a warm jacuzi too. The food was very South African, and the vast variety of food and interesting tastes kept us totally indulged! The game was fantastic and the rangers had a great knowledge of the birds and plants. I also really appreciated the small touches, like a massage, the candles and braai set up in the middle of one of our trips.
Lara-Lee Price (Madikwe Safari Lodge)
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the game reserve. The work was a good combination of manual labour and animal monitoring, with plenty of fun activities thrown in, such as 4x4 driving, game drives, nature walks and target shooting. The manual labour was never for very long and it was clear how it was necessary for maintaining the reserve. The reserve is beautiful and it was fascinating to observe the animals in their natural habitat. We had very early starts to see the lions but we soon got used to them and they are worth it! Visiting the Born Free centre was another highlight for me. The accommodation was basic but clean and comfortable, with internet access, satellite TV and laundry service. The local pub was very handy for socialising and we frequented it nearly every night! I also really enjoyed our visits to the orphanage, and thinking up creative ways to teach them numbers and letters. Due to the language barrier it was often tricky to communicate with them but the children seemed to benefit most from our attentions and cuddles. There were plenty of activities to do at the weekend in the surrounding area, including bungee jumping, skydiving, horse riding and the essential trip to Addo Elephant National Park.
It was a very rewarding trip and I would recommend it. I met some great people there and had a lot of fun, while feeling like I made a difference and learnt a lot about conservation.
Alice, UK, aged 25 (Amakhala Wildlife Conservation Volunteer)
The project and the staff working there was very profesional. I had the real feeling of actually helping the animals at the sanctuary.
Sarah, UK, aged 19 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
Thank you all for a truly fantastic experience. I must say that this was one of the most fantastic, wonderful, interesting and life changing experiences I’ve had. It has made me want to learn more and I would love to return one day – soon!! Makuleke is such a beautiful place! I hope that it stays this way for a long time to come. Thank you for making our stay so wonderful.
Sarah, USA (FGASA Level 1 Field Guide Course - 55 Days)
We had a wonderful stay at Chobe; it was the closest we ever came to real wilderness. At night the animals were all around us. We could hear them snorting and passing gas. The trees around us would be shaken and uprooted sometimes by the elephants. We saw so many hippo and buffalo. It was very exciting.
Letizia Ray, USA (Chobe Under Canvas)
There are no words to describe our journey at Kichwa Tembo Masai Mara! Everything about it was perfect ... romantic, adventurous, exciting, peaceful ... absolutely incredible!
Lisa Young, UK (Kichwa Tembo Masai Mara Tented Camp)
I enjoyed it so much and the actual activities were excellent.
It was a wonderful time which challenged me and gave me a real sense of achievement. It was very humbling to meet so many cheerful people coping with so many difficulties and it reinforces the feeling that we are very lucky even in times of credit crunch. It also saddened me to see the problems that many had, in particular the effect of HIV/AIDS. The project was great with different age groups and nationalities amongst the volunteers but a real community feel as we all had the same objectives and everyone looked after each other.
The activities were varied and I liked the way we concentrated on teaching/medicine in the mornings and then community projects in the afternoon. These gave me the chance to try out new skills such as plastering and also meet the children in the schools, plus the lovely people in the adult literacy classes.
Ruth, UK, aged 62 (Zambia Healthcare and Community Development)
The bungalows were marvellous and I really liked the heated mattress pads in the chilly mornings. I loved hearing the hippos at night and in the early morning, sitting on our deck looking out at the river while resting or having lunch; breakfast and dinners outside by the river were perfect. But, as great as the lodge was, the people I met were the best. I felt so welcomed by the staff. They were wonderful, and so warm and loving. Staying at Matetsi was a great ending to my first African safari.
Robin Myer (Matetsi Water Lodge)
Great team, great animals, great scenery! I want to return ... best project we have been on ... thank you!
Peta, Spain (Shamwari Conservation Volunteer)
Thank you so much for a splendid two weeks. Working with the cheetahs have been even better than we were hoping for. Thanks again, and sorry to be leaving.
Victoria and Danial, Australia (Cheetah and Wildlife Experience)
No doubt the most incredible way to experience Africa, its wildlife and its enviroment.
Our tented camp was beautifully set within the bush. Right in the middle of 'Nowhere'. We woke up in the morning to the sounds of the bush coming alive. The birds, the horses, the Zebra.. you name it.
And we would fall asleep to the sound of Lions roaring! we saw the BIG 5.. The horses were great! very well kept, and cared for. Service and the people was very professional!
Sophie, Austria, aged 30 (South African Horseback Experience)
I had a blast! Once I finally picked my volunteer vacation, all fell perfectly into place. Amanzi Travel answered all my questions and got me all needed info very prompty. Their My Journey info pack truly had all the needed info. This was one my the best adventures I have had and would do it again! Many thanks to all who got me over to Africa!
Katie, USA, Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary
My time in Africa was a perfect escape from everyday toil. Having never been abroad alone before, and never visited Africa, I was somewhat apprehensive about what I might encounter on my travels. I needn't have worried! Volunteering has been an amazing experience for me
Hayley, UK, Rhino and Elephant Sanctuary
I had a wonderful time here. Lovely surrounding, fantastic instructors, good accommodation. It feels a great deal like home now to me. Four weeks flew by and I wish I could stay for another 4 weeks!
Marjan, Holland (Safari Guide Course - 28 Day)
"My experience with Amanzi Travel was excellent throughout the entire process. The website was informative and easy to navigate. The staff were very helpful and prompt in answering my questions while I was deciding which project was right for me. I will certainly recommend Amanzi Travel in the future as well as explore further travel with them myself".
Aaron, USA, Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary
Gemma is an incredible asset to Amanzi Travel! Any question, any time, complete responses, empathetic consideration of concerns and issues, resourceful and professional. Even in retrospect when I noted the info I requested was available in the departure packets, she willingly and completely provided me with a thorough reply. I was completely impressed with Gemma's level of customer service ...
The tent was AWESOME. The animals were AWESOME. The food was of very good taste, and good quality, I liked the diverse jobs we managed, and felt amazed every morning when i visited the animals in the quiet… 5am was my wake up everyday. loved it!!!!
Paula, UK, aged 40 (Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary)
I have wanted to go to Africa and work with lions since I read Living Free by Joy Adamson when I was eight years old and Amanzi Travel helped make that dream come true. I would book another vacation through them in a heart beat!
Jennifer, USA, Zambia Lion Volunteer Project