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Siyafunda Bush Experience

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Amazing experience and a lot of fun

We spent one week in the bush camp and one week in Goronga.

It was really an amazing experience: we saw the big five but also many other animals. We learnt a lot about birds and it developed my interest for them. What I liked most was that we could observe a pride of lions or a foraging elephant for hours!

The staff was very enthusiastic, spontaneous and professional. I remember that we jumped in the car at 11pm because we heard a roaring lion and we wanted to observe him !! That means that they are very flexible and spontaneous !

The best place for me was the bush camp. The tents are confortable, there are open showers and toilets and you really feel the wild around you. We did two bush walks with a ranger and encountered a pride of lions during one walk ! We also slept in the bush one night, which was fantastic because hyenas came very close to our camp, so close that we had to chase them away !!!

This is an opportunity to see a lot of animals in the wild and an alternative to all these unethical projects where you can pet lion cubs which will end on canned hunting farms !!! In Makalali you can see them in the wild where they are meant to be and it is much more rewarding !

I highly recommend this place.

Valérie from Switzerland

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • The Adventure

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

An incredible life changing experience

Where to begin... I spent 3 weeks at Siyafunda 2 summers ago and the experience feels as fresh as ever. It was amazing! The knowledge, patience and friendliness of everyone in Mike's team was second to none. I learned a lot, more than I expected to in such a short time. I'm sure people will go into far more detail than me; but if you want to learn, are prepared to work hard and embrace every experience then Siyafunda is the place for you. I cried my eyes out at the airport when I had to leave; if it wasn't for the cost of flights to SA I'd go back in a heartbeat! One day, I definitely will.
Visited August 13

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

10/10

Everything about the place is phenomenal, from the incredibly close encounters with wild animals to the amazing atmosphere created by the staff. During my two week stay, there wasn't a day where I didn't have a breathtaking story to report back to my family. This is the perfect place for first hand experience and to develop your knowledge of the African bush. I have made friends from all over the world. The staff are welcoming, friendly and super helpful with the thousands of questions I ask them daily. I believe volunteering here is a lot more beneficial and truly changes you as a person as you gain a deeper insight into the issues surrounding African Wildlife. I loved it so much at Siyafunda so I decided to stay and intern for 3 months as I couldn't imagine leaving yet.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

HELP Endangered Species!

I was at the Siyafunda Bushcamp for 1 week and 2 weeks at the Makalali Camp in January 2015
and was overwhelmed with all the new experiences I made! Staying at the bushcamp was truly a Dream come true as you stay in tents and without any electricity or any other conveniences. It definitely makes you feel you are in the bush...with all the roamnig of the wild animals outside at night.

The rangers are wonderful - you feel safe and taken care of all the time. Before my departure I had a great help with the Enkosini staff who with excellent guidance introduced me into what I could expect.

I can highly recommend Enkosini for their arrangements as well as Makalali and Siyafunda for their rangers and skills. It was more than I could ever expect! So - GO LIVE YOUR DREAM, I DID IT!!!

Pernilla Sandström
Sweden

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Completely life changing!!!

GO TO SIYAFUNDA!!!
This where adventure happens, and this is where you can take part in experiences that will not only make an impact on wildlife research and conservation, but in your life as well!
I've have been to Siyafunda 3 times now, in the last 3 years, and because of the unforgettable experiences I've had on the reserve, with fantastic rangers and staff, and of course with the AMAZING wildlife, my life is changed forever, and the Bush has absolutely stolen away my heart! Go to South Africa!!! And go to Siyafunda Conservation!!! You will never regret it, truly amazing people, amazing wildlife, and an amazing experience!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

BEST DECISION I EVER MADE!!!!

I volunteered at Siyafunda back in May-June of 2013. I found this program through Enkosini EcoExperience - they are hand's down the best company to help you find the perfect volunteer abroad program ever! My dad and I went together on this trip, and Enkosini made the arrangements so easily!

When my dad and I arrived to Siyafunda, we were given a tour of everything at the base camp, and then we went off to where we were staying out in bush camp. The living conditions are very different than main camp (they call main camp "Twines") because you are in a tent sleeping in a small bed with sheets (However, I would definitely recommend a sleeping bag and lots of layers because the nights get very cold!!) There is running water, but only cold water. For warm, you need to boil water over the fire or mini stove. There is a toilet and a shower, but the shower is a large bag with a dispenser that you fill up with water then open the nozzle for the shower. There is a kitchen as well, but when it gets dark the only lights you have are the campfire, lanterns and your own flashlights or headlights, so expect to cook dinner in the dark. At research camp, you have a room and a bathroom with a shower that will have warm water, but it's solar powered. If you have a cloudy day (which really doesn't happen too much during their winter) then warm water is scarce. Think of it as camping - your in AFRICA! The fact that you are roughing it makes the experience all that much better! All the food is provided for you, and every night cooking duties switch off amongst volunteers. For those that aren't cooking, they help clean up afterwards. For the actual activities you are doing, you will go on bush walks where you will walk with a ranger, who is always armed with a rifle, and they will teach you tons! Within the first few seconds of the bush walk, your already learning a lot!! You will identify tracks, poop, bird calls, plants, etc. They will go through all the survival and safety procedures first and foremost, so I felt 100% safe the whole time I was there. On game drives you will answer to radio calls and track where the animals are. When you see them you record your coordinates, how many animals there are and their sexes, their behavior, etc. And of course take millions of pictures! There are other things you will do, such as maintenance for camp (we expanded the volleyball court and gathered sand to add to it) and then bush clearing along the roads. After a long day of adventures you typically will end it by the fire hanging with all the volunteers, learning about all the different people and where they are from, then fall asleep to the sounds of the bush. Every night I fell asleep to the sound of hyenas and lions off in the distance. When we were sleeping in the tents at bush camp, we even had hyenas come through camp and rummage through the remnants of our chicken scraps in the fire - VERY COOL EXPERIENCE.

I had always wanted to go to Africa ever since I was a little girl - the fact that I finally took the initiative as an adult to go, and then share the experience with my dad was the best decision I had ever made in my life. Doing a volunteer abroad program while being in Africa allows you to really see Africa for what it truly is - a wild, thriving world! You get the privilege to be just feet away from lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards, buffalo, and so much more. You could wake up one morning, and you will have impala or kudu or even an elephant or leopard literally walking through main camp - because YOU ARE LIVING IN THE BUSH! This is the true was to experience Africa, and I would recommend this company to anyone and everyone. I can't wait to get enough money saved up again and do even more projects in SA!

Don't wait any longer - GO TO AFRICA!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Impact

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    8

“An unforgettable experience !”

I spent 4 weeks at Siyafunda in January 2014 which were some of the best of my life, it went beyond my expectations. I have been particularly impressed by the rangers' knowledge and patience with us volunteers. Whenever you have a question they would take the time for you or stop the vehicle in order for you to take a great picture, available in case of emergency also. I have felt safe at all time thanks to them (although some experiences with the elephants have been pretty impressive).

You learn, discover and experience something amazing almost every day ! Spending 2 hours observing and monitoring a female leopard with 2 cubs, tracking the elephants which then come so close you could touch them, walking in the bush tracking rhinos and learning how to behave in case of danger, having elephants so close to your room you can hear them breathing and eating trees, observe lion families during hours, fall asleep with lions roaring a few kilometres away, eat by the fire with the whole team at night, etc...

Great great fun, but also tough work such as cleaning and maintaining the reserve (clearing trees from roads, etc..), building hides, help with maintenance of cars and camp, cooking and washing up. As a volunteer you are expected to take notes on animal behavior, population, health, numbers and to register them in a computer, take pictures for ID Kits. All this information is then compiled by us in a weekly report. Also, be ready to wake up very early (4:30 - 5:30 a.m 6 days / week), sometimes to have a cold shower, to get dirty and very sweaty (depending on season).

In the end the investment is well worth it, just make the most of it, learn as much as you can and enjoy every moment.

I can only thank Mike, Andrew, Emma, Jamie and every one I met for making this experience unforgettable. They couldn't take care any better of their volunteers. I truly recommend it, it is life-changing !

Michel
Visited January 2014