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Conservation Internship

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    7

Niabonga Somkhanda

Hello travellers!
I am Manuel from Germany and Intern at African Insight to the middle of December. Many students in my country go directly from school to university, to enter the business as fast as possible. For me this was no option, because I wanted to help people do practical work with amazing animals in an other country. That’s why I decided to start an internship at African Insight.
When I arrived here in the middle of September, I expected nothing but a tent. These expectations have been exceeded, due my accommodation is a beautiful rondavel with warm water, a shower, a fridge and every other luxury I haven’t been thinking of. On top of that every morning starts with giraffes, wildebeests and other animals directly in front of my house. I think this beautiful and peaceful view during every breakfast is every day a highlight again and the thing I will miss the most when I head home.
After this amazing start of the day I was involved in many amazing working experiences in the last two weeks for example we sprayed the cattle of the nearby community with an anti-tick-spray, game-captured Njalas for sale, fed the wilddogs, set up a solar panel and much more. We were also lucky enough to be able to join a rhino dart, where we darted and collared a white rhino for security and tracking purposes. This was very special as it was not something that I ever thought that I would be able to take part in, and it is very rare to be able to be involved in something like this so hands-on and as part of a team. It was the highlight of my trip, and something that I will treasure for the rest of my life!
The current two projects we implement right now are:
1. We monitor the leopards with camera traps set up all over the reserve and always position them in pairs, so that we take pictures of both sides of the animal which allows us to determine clearly every leopard. Besides the leopards we catch a lot of other animals’ pictures, so you never know what you actually going to see.
2. My main objective in the last week was the creation of a detailed road map of the reserve, because we need to know all about our street network for security, management and tourism reasons. The practical work was very nice, due I had to drive through the whole reserve with a quad and a GPS Tracker. That’s why I saw so many hidden places and tracks tourists never see. After this very pleasant practical part, I have to sit down in front of the computer to classify and categorize the routes, because the aim is to create different detailed maps for the tourists to make traveling in Somkhanda easier.
On top of that African Insight gave me the opportunity to travel in Kwa Zulu Natal, because i finished the work with the map in Howick. During this visit I met lots of new friends, had the most amazing mountainbike and hiking trips and was able to visit the Drakensberg. This organized traveling was another highlight during my three months with African Insight.
This big diversity of new experiences is the reason, why I want to encourage everyone thinking about an internship to do this either here in Somkhanda with African Insight or somewhere else, because the experiences you gain are amazing and the insights are more detailed than every tourist can think of.
My personal travel tip:
Leave your camera at home and experience this amazing area and its beautiful animals with your own five senses.