Doing More For Africa by Daniel Borley

Daniel Borley entered and won the “Do More for Africa” competition run by Avios and our partners the TUSK Trust. Worldwide Experience together with our Victoria Falls project, the Nakavango Conservation Progamme sponsored a two week conservation placement as the prize. Daniel travelled with us to Nakavango in January 2018, and was so inspired by his experience, that he is one of our Worldwide Experience ambassadors today! Keep reading to hear about Daniel’s experience in his own words… “What can I say about worldwide and Nakavango that could possibly come close to describing the incredible experience I have had. Every person I have been lucky enough to meet on this trip has been accommodating, welcoming and so helpful. Worldwide make sure any concerns, doubts or worries you have are put to rest to allow you to have the most amazing time. Their staff are brilliant and ensure you are kept up to date every step of the way. If I was looking to volunteer anywhere again (which I will) it would 100% be with worldwide. Nothing was too much trouble and everything was lined up perfectly for you to enjoy your experience. As for Nakavango itself, it is a place I will never forget and will hold dear to me forever. Ian, the reserve manager said to me the whole world is trying to achieve a ‘garden of Eden’ a ‘paradise’ and there are just various ways of getting there, Nakavango and their staff have managed to create this in one small corner of Zimbabwe. Everything here is the embodiment of the programme itself, simple but perfect. The accommodation and facilities are perfect for what you need and everything is clean. Everything has been thought of from the making of your bed with included service of checking for anything dangerous to doing your laundry once a week as well so you don’t have to pack too much stuff. The communal area helps bring everyone together and eating together really creates a family atmosphere. What adds another dimension to this picture perfect piece of Africa and the only place which can come close to competing with it for beauty is the natural wonder of the world 10 minutes down the road; Victoria Falls. The activities on offer here are never ending and Justine takes all the stress of sorting away from you. All you have to do is decide what, when and the rest is sorted. The wildlife is what people come from all around the world for and on this reserve everything is precious. There is no bias here, it is exactly as nature intended everything plays its part and this is why this reserve is so successful with all of the big 5 present and thriving. After a matter of hours, you felt a sense of responsibility and love for this reserve; it sucks you in and consumes your appetite for wildlife and
the wilderness. The work, which never feels like work, more a labour of love, is fun and varied. You honestly feel like you are making a difference rather than just a token effort. What you learn out on the reserve in incredible, with the most informative and passionate guides you could wish to meet. This is the real way to see Africa, sweat on your face, dust in your boots admiring the work you have done as nature happens all around you. I honestly cannot think of one task I would not happily do again and every day of work is spurred on by laughter. From sipping ice cold beers sat by the dam to ripping up Lantana to watching a bull rhino snooze in the shade every moment is unforgettable and an experience you don’t get anywhere else because what makes it so special is working for it. Here the lines between work and play are blurred, there are no boundaries. Work becomes fun and while you’re having fun your working, you just don’t notice it. I never thought I would get the chance to track elephants on foot, camp in the African bush, come face to face with a bull rhino but every day was full of surprises. And what makes this place work…the people. The staff are the driving force behind this reserve, from the kitchen staff and the fantastic food which you come back to every day to the guides who show you the ropes. The passion of these people is what makes Nakavango the most special place I have ever visited. The beauty of the reserve is the fruits of the labour of the team at the programme. Ian’s love of wildlife is infectious and is always accommodating to sit down and chat conservation. The man who truly made my person experience at Nakavango special though was Dean, who was in charge of the work we would do on the reserve and take us on game drives/walks. The enthusiasm and dedication Dean has to every single living thing on the reserve truly is inspiring. I have limited experience of guiding around Africa but I would challenge anyone to find a guide more passionate and informed about wildlife then Dean. If you want to see the real Africa, make a difference as well as new friends then Nakavango is the perfect programme for you and worldwide is the perfect partner to take you there. The Stanley and Livingstone game reserve is somewhere I will always hold deep in my heart and is a piece of paradise on the doorstep of one of the natural wonders of the world. I would love to return and one day I will, to see how the reserve I cared for so much the 2 weeks I was lucky enough to be there has changed as well as the people who will leave a lasting impression on me. I wouldn’t just say I could visit Nakavango again, I could have lived there. However the best compliment I could pay Nakavango and the Stanley & Livingstone game reserve… Most days we would drive past the 5 star hotel which shared the game reserve, it is a fantastic resort with every luxury you could imagine with game drives sipping gin and tonics at you’re leisure. My thoughts every time… give me Nakavango any day!”

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