Why did you pick the project?
The variety of this trip really interested me and the fact that the project was so hands on was great! You truly got to experience “reserve life” and got to know the animals, staff and children well.
How could I choose?! Seeing Tafika the black rhino on her 4 month birthday, dancing with the locals during a traditional Shona culture evening, meeting amazing people, having Tatenda the rhino living right next door... the list goes on!
You have to remember T.I.A (This is Africa) so nothing goes exactly to plan… Generally days start at 6.30am and you have 3 work slots throughout the day. Although it’s hard work it is definitely worth it and you feel like you have made a difference. We did everything from painting fence poles to stop termites and rusting to filling in dam walls as well as rhino observation and elephant bed cleaning.
What did you do/can you do in free time?
The area surrounding the volunteer house is absolutely stunning so it’s nice just to chill by the pool or go canoeing on the dam. You can also head out to some local cave paintings or do some hiking on weekends. After a hard day’s work you can’t beat going up Castle Kopi a huge natural rock formation in the centre of the reserve for some sundowners and a bit of animal spotting!
Most unexpected moment?
There were a couple of times when the rhinos managed to get into the garden surrounding the volunteer house which was a bit of a surprise! The team were really great at keeping us safe and ensuring the rhinos didn’t get in to any trouble but it was funny to see Tatenda roaming through the flower beds.
Why should people do the project?
If I haven’t persuaded you already then I guess this is my last chance…This is an amazing project! You will learn so much about rhinos, elephants and conservation; you will meet some fantastically passionate people and come back with hundreds of photos to make your friends and family jealous! Zimbabwe is a beautiful country and if you get the chance to add a trip to Victoria Falls to the end of your trip it is well worth it!
Top tip? GO GO GO! Need I say more? >>> http://www.realgap.co.uk/zimbabwe-rhino-and-elephant-conservation