2019 has been an exciting year of immersing young adventurers from UK schools and colleges into conservation projects in Africa. Students were given the opportunity to experience and be hands-on with the day to day running of much-needed sanctuaries and reserves working for the betterment our wildlife. These sanctuaries exist because of human-wildlife conflict or injury and animals at these sanctuaries are either released back into the wild once rehabilitated or permanently homed should they not be able to thrive in the wild on their own.
Worldwide Experience were delighted to welcome Malvern College back to South Africa for their Conserving Orphaned Rhino Conservation Experience in the first week of July 2019. Students from Malvern signed up for this incredible and completely hands-on experience because of their keen interest and passion for volunteering and making a real impact on this endangered species and boy do they make an impact!!! The students kick off on day one with a meet, greet and orientation before settling into their cabins for the evening. It’s an early start each day with lots of fun and life-changing activities lined up for the week ahead.
Each day at the sanctuary kicks off at 7am with the first activity for the day. This varies from guided walks with the guards and K9 unit, game drives on the reserve, enclosure cleaning and food prep for the animals. The sanctuary is not limited to the beautiful young rhinos, but also home to two hippos, lions, various small bush cats, owls and even a ground squirrel and resident goat!
Thereafter, a hearty breakfast is served at 9am when the group can relax and fuel themselves up for the following activities which include; lectures on various topics surrounding wildlife trade, rhino horn and the poaching crisis which is the reason for most of the young rhinos being at the sanctuary. After lectures on hot topics concerning wildlife conservation, the group are able to refresh, relax and enjoy a filling lunch at the volunteer house while sharing stories of their morning activities.
After lunch, all the students are refreshed and ready to take on the afternoon activities which consist of food prep for the evening and preparing bed material for the young rhinos in the bomas which ensures their bomas are clean and comfortable for the evening. Groups are also shown the importance of using camera traps on the reserve, taking the baby rhinos for little walks and being introduced to the anti-poaching unit who are the guardians of the sanctuary while everyone works hard to ensure the safety and well-being for all at the project.
Malvern College students worked exceptionally hard at the sanctuary and so we had to expose and treat the group to a real bush experience where they were able to see rhinos in the wild and famous Kruger National Park. The group spent two nights glamping it up on the mega reserve enjoying a guided walk with highly experienced game rangers, a night drive to experience and see what the animals get up to when the sun goes down and game drives in the day time to enjoy the full offering of the African bush.
We have no doubt that the trip will have a long lasting impact on our Malvern College students as they take their experiences and stories back home to share with their communities with the hopes of spreading the word of wildlife conservation for many generations to come.
Worldwide Experience are able to offer bespoke itineraries that are not limited to this project.
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By Claire Paton