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Conservation Travel Africa participant surveying the field Conservation Travel Africa participant surveying the field

Teaching & Big 5 Wildlife Conservation

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

An oasis of life

My family and I volunteered here in March 2015. It was the best project we found which allowed us to volunteer together as a family with our 4 children aged 8-12.

On the old maps of Zimbabwe, the ranch is described as a "place unfit for human habitation" and it is easy, when looking at the arid environment, to see why. And yes, with determination, wit and sheer hard work, the Whittall family have carved out an oasis of life where it was not meant to be. Before they came there were no elephants meandering to the waterhole to drink, no elegant giraffes running away and no rhinos sleeping peacefully in the shade of giant baobab trees. The school did not exist before the family built it, with its beautiful garden, football pitch and netball court.

Our family of six was welcomed into their lives and they generously shared it with us for 2 short weeks. Every day we have seen our children's confidence and knowledge grow. They have taught English in the school, played football and netball and made friends with children from a very different life. They have made porridge for 330 children who would otherwise have not eaten that day, helped to plant trees in the playground and taken part in the school concert.

So many people made us feel so welcome that it is hard for us to leave. It is difficult to describe a particular highlight from our stay. Early in our trip we were hanging a bait to photograph leopards and our children saw a lion drinking at a waterhole. There was no fear, just joy and wonder at this oasis of life. Would anyone believe them back home?

Thank you!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

an amazing experience in the african bush

We were the first volunteers on this program and a family of 4 (children 13 & 14). We all had an amazing experience. Very quickly we were made to feel part of the local community and kept very busy, whether teaching in the local school or helping out on the conservancy. The children in the school are amazing, great fun and very keen to learn. Among the activities on the conservancy we were fixing water pipes, clearing tracks, finding poachers snares as well tracking rhinos. elephants & lions on foot with an amazing guide. We learnt so much and made some great friends. This is a very worthwhile cause and can only get even better as it develops. We will definitely be back.