Viv's Travel Bug encourages the experience of working with animals in Africa, helping with wildlife conservation, or travelling while making a difference ...
Live life.... have an Affair with Travel!
'CARE OF THE LAND, CARE OF THE WILDLIFE, CARE OF THE PEOPLE'. This is the maxim of '& Beyond' (one of the world's leading ecotourist organisations), a company that I hold dear to my heart. From the overwhelming response to my article on Botswana I feel that there are adventurous spirits out there just waiting to embark on a "doing well by doing good" trip of a life time.
Africa awakens my soul and therefore it is to this continent that I would invite you to share your vision to make the world a better place for people in need and wildlife on the endangered list. There are many opportunities to organise purposeful adventures for travellers throughout the continent. However if Africa is not for you there are plenty of similar schemes elsewhere in the world to which I could guide your involvement in an ecotourism community project.
Combine your dream holiday - Victoria Falls, Zambesi River, Okavango Swamps, game reserves (Kruger, et al), Cape Town, Mt Kilimanjaro, Ngoro Ngoro crater, etc. - with an opportunity to volunteer your time and energies by immersing yourself in the culture of the local people and contributing to wildlife projects that give back to the local districts. Make a positive impact on your holiday by integrating within a local community and assisting with animal welfare, health care, building projects or education schemes, to name but a few.
Families can travel together and all together make a difference to a community or wildlife project. We all have the skills to
- Work with children
- Teach English or basic maths
- Help develop a community
- Work in animal conservation
There are many fascinating projects to which you could contribute some of your time - and make a difference! - and add a 'giving' component to your travel.
Drop by the office, phone (0415 250 224) or email us! (firstname.lastname@example.org). I am passionate about this type of travel and would love to share some possibilities with you!
- a recent editorial of mine
In a wildlife park near Johannesburg a man walks alone among the bushveld scenery. There was a rustle in the long grass and two large black-maned lions emerged and raced towards him. Instead of fleeing he stood his ground, bravely facing these deadly cats. The rest of the lion pride followed, eleven of them, including females and cubs. To all intents and purposes this was a situation fraught with the threat of danger and death. And yet it is something that visitors to Kevin Richardson's refuge can see each day if they visit the park. Richardson is South Africa's famed 'Lion Whisperer' (a title he does not like) and he has become world famous for working alone, face-to-face (and even swimming) with lions, hyenas wild dogs, leopards, wart hogs and others. To see him rolling on the ground playing with lions, stroking and patting and even kissing the large males, is an incredible sight. It is almost unbelievable: and yet it was his laughing call that had brought them bounding towards him.
There are lots of different ways that a traveller can view the African wild life. Tourists can visit game reserves (national or private) and view the game from minibuses, cars or possibly elephant back - or even on foot in some instances. Or they can go on hunting safaris, if that is their interest. Of particular interest to me are those travellers who want to explore their destination's famous landmarks as well work among the animals in assisting their conservation.
Africa is a vast continent of astounding beauty and great diversity. It is home to a number of traditional and colourful cultures and many exciting and fascinating species. As the world gets more crowded and our lives become fuller and faster the peace and tranquillity of the natural world becomes increasingly attractive.
It is crucial for all of us to ensure that the impact on these national environments is minimised. Since the 1980s the approach to conservation in African wildlife and support for rural people has become the forefront to many eco-tourism companies. "CARE OF THE LAND, CARE OF THE WILDLIFE, CARE OF THE PEOPLE" is very appropriate for the well-known travel conservationist company '& Beyond' .
It is with this in mind that I choose to focus much of my push to get anyone visiting Africa to consider travelling as a volunteer. By choosing to travel and work in Africa one can have a safari and also make a real contribution to the future presentation of the wildlife. Here are some wildlife projects to whet your appetite:
· The Cheetah Centre (Eastern Cape, South Africa)
A non-profit organisation, the Cheetah Centre is committed to the conservation of the African Cheetah. Your time is spent helping in every aspect - looking after cubs and their mothers, food preparation, cleaning cages, talking to visitors. Minimum time here is 8 weeks.
· Okonjima (Namibia)
You will have the opportunity to work with cheetahs, leopards and wild dogs rescued by the Africat Foundation. Most cats are rehabilitated and released back into the wild. Activities include tracking and monitoring plant and animal studies; general reserve and fence maintenance; Africat feeding of animals; and some work with the Africat Foundation.
· Elephant Conservation (Namibia)
This programme takes you to Damaraland in the Namib Desert, a tribal area also home to the desert elephant. There is competition for water and land with the resident human population. Your volunteering days would not be for the faint-hearted but they would be a wonderful experience. This is basic living, with no electricity, no toilets, and sleeping accommodation would be 2-man tents. Your time could be spent out on patrol in the desert, camping out wild under the stars, and living close to the elephants. You will also help build protective walls around the windmills and water points as well as teaching subsistence farmers to manage their conflicts with the elephants. In this desert area you will also find black rhino, ostrich, springbok, giraffe, kudu and, if you are lucky, desert lion.
If you are interested in working with animals in Africa, helping with wildlife conservation or just interested in travelling while making a difference then please contact us at Viv's Travel Bug and I will find you a wildlife project in East, Central or Southern Africa to suite your volunteering needs.