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African Wildlife Photography and Conservation
Volunteers group photo Volunteers group photo

African Wildlife Photography and Conservation

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

Photography

One of the coolest and most interesting experiences I've had. Staff is super friendly and helpful! Activities always run smoothly, always with a routine and always on time! The cars are all good, clean and in good shape! We had to drive on the highway on an open car most days, so if you're coming during winter, bring really warm clothes! We are provided with lots of warm blankets to take on drives, but we can get a bit chilly.

The interaction between volunteers and between volunteers and staff was always very funny and fun, like during meal times or in the bonfire after diner, by the pool area, etc. The drives were also fantastic, we had some really cool sighting like seeing a huge elephant walk about two feet from our car and just stare curiously at us before moving on to eat more leaves, or the anticipation of looking for a lepard, and not only seeing her in a great lighting early in the morning but also witnessing a hyena group feed right next to her. I especially loved the night drives very much! Camping once a week was also very fun, and we had some of our best sighting there. I also really enjoyed our (almost) daily critiques, were we would go through the photos we took and edited and get really helpful and interesting insights and tips from our photography team, Sam and Miriam, regarding our technique, editing, etc.

Project is super well organized! I am ecstatic about everything I experience here. The photography experience and professional insight were abundant and that helped me to really improve my photos and editing techniques. It was also cool to learn all about the fauna and flora in the area (the guides were very knowledgeable) and to have experience working with a group.

My experience here really inspired me in many ways, like using photography in my life as a way to help good causes, and also to take photography to next level and get more serious with it. I'm set on having more experiences to this one! I was also very surprised about how little I knew about conservation aspect here in Africa until I got here, it was really meaningful to learn about really important topics like our big rhino pouching crisis. It was very interesting to also see the many ways an impact organization can organize itself and keep their work going.

If you're considering coming for this program, DO IT! Just bring warm layers and a sense of adventure, and you will absolutely love it!

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Day to Day Life

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Volunteer Placement

    7

Photography

Overall was an amazing experience. I gained a lot of practical skills and was able to build lasting friendships with the people on my program. I am really going to miss the experience I had here in South Africa.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Day to Day Life

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

Wildlife! photos!

It was great to be able to spend a month photographing wildlife with like-minded people. It was very different to a regular safari where others may not have the same interest in photography as you do.

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Day to Day Life

    7

  • Health & Safety

    N/A

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Volunteer Placement

    8

Photography volunteer

I loved being able to photography constantly for 4 weeks. `i feel as a result `i have learnt a lot and developed skills throughout my time. We also learnt a lot from each other picking up handy hints along the way.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

Unforgettable

I honestly had an amazing time here. I learn some many things that i didn't know before. I have never taken picture in manual until now, but Sam and Miriam explain me everything and they were always available for every questions. The staff is amazing, they are so friendly.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Day to Day Life

    9

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Community Engagement

    4

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Volunteer Placement

    8

Wonderful!

The experience with African impact has been amazing. We have seen incredible sightings of elephants, rhinos, leopards and so much more! The staff was great and was always ready to help you. There are many activities and everyone just wants you to have a wonderful time, which is super!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Day to Day Life

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Volunteer Placement

    8

A month in paradise

I fell in love with the people, the animals, and the landscape. We had a great mix of photographic opportunities and community engagement and came away with memories that will last forever. I would recommend South Africa and the project to anyone - whether you're an expert photographer or a total novice.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Day to Day Life

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

An amazing wildlife photography & conservation project

I enjoyed my four week stay at Dumela Lodge as a volunteer in the Photography Project. The instruction was very good and the management staff were always polite and considerate. The accommodations were nice for a volunteer lodge and the food was good and served timely. I learned a lot about the African animals and improved my photography and editing skills.
I would recommend African Impact to other volunteers who want to assist with research or improve their photography skills while learning a lot about African wild animals.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Day to Day Life

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community Engagement

    7

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

My African Impact experience

How could I describe what I have lived these past four weeks? Easy: best month of my life! The project is really cool, the lodge is literally luxury for a volunteer program (which is nice), the atmosphere is relax and hectic at the same time (I like it). Most of all, the people! I met people I know I'm going to see again very soon.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Day to Day Life

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Program Administration

    N/A

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

Getting to know yourself

"This is the experience of a lifetime" is a cliche that is heard a lot nowadays. It has maybe lost its true meaning through misuse, and therefore I would rather say that it is a time of learning and discovering your own personal attributes. Your help really does make a difference and there is nothing in this life that is more rewarding. Do you dare?

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

There is more to South Africa than the big 5

Joining the African Impact Wildlife Photography Project in Greater Kruger, South Africa, as a volunteer has opened to my eyes to a whole new world of imagery. Of course I had my bucket list of seeing the Big 5, which incidentally, I achieved, but I have also seen and photographed so much more. The extra wildlife has always been there right in front of my eyes, living in harmony with an Eco System alongside the more familiar animals, but it took a walk around African Impacts Dumela Lodge grounds for me to actually notice them. The first Bush Walk I did, didn’t take me much further than 500m from the lodge, within an hour and a half, I had spotted so many weird and wonderful creatures I had never noticed before, and my camera cards were full of hope. My eyes were opened and my expectations raised. Each game drive and bush walk became an adventure on its own. The Guides were a source of knowledge and information to be exploited. Their passion for wildlife and conservation was a source I could, and would tap into. Suddenly I was on a mission, It was all well and good spotting the critters with my eyes, but did I have the skills, and more importantly the knowledge of my camera settings? To capture a usable image in differing light conditions and in a world that was familiar to my subject, but not to me had become a personal challenge. To cut a long story short, the basic skills were there but they were rapidly improving as the hours progressed. I would find myself examining and analysing why a photograph didn’t turn out as I had imagined, then put into practice the lessons and techniques shared on the project. It wasn’t long before I could see an improvement. I actually found myself reading the camera manual and experimenting. Game Drives and Bush Walks were now focused activities, and every encounter was an opportunity to improve. The photographers world can be as sociable or as solitary as you want to make it. Being at one with nature can be therapeutic, but the end result can result in a sociable experience as you share your captured images. Life is like Photography. Focus on whats important, Capture the good times, Develop from the negatives, and if things don’t work out, take another shot. Gap Year holidays, and Voluntary-tourism are usually associated with the youthful members of society, however attracting a more mature client can also add an extra dimension to the mix. Experience, Life Skills, Knowledge and a positive "Can Do" attitude, are all things the younger members of the project can benefit from, but the elders get a more intimate and positive insight into the younger mind, and shared thoughts and experiences make for a better understanding of the community we live work and play in. It is so easy to get embroiled in domesticity at home but reaching out for the travel opportunities and following your dreams brings an inner peace and education only the adventurer within you will appreciate. Friends are made, bonds are formed and experiences shared when you explore the world around you.... who wouldn't you want to be a adventurer ?. The benefit of enrolling on established voluntary projects is that the adventure has already been started and your participation will help sustain ongoing ventures for the benefit of all. From the minute you step off the plane, you are thrust into the thick of whatever adventure you have chosen to explore. This is my second African Impact experience and I am not disappointed. I look forward to exploring my next venture when I get home. Thank you for the experience, the hard work and enthusiasm injected by the project staff, dedication and commitment of the location teams and fellow volunteers make each day on the project special.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    6

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Day to Day Life

    8

Weekend trip to Swaziland

The weekend to Swaziland was a fantastic experience, initially I thought to journey would be arduous but it passed really quickly with well planned breaks. The accommodation way surpassed expectation, the animals and various walks were terrific for photography, lots of activities to participate in.

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    N/A

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    7

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Day to Day Life

    9

First time traveller to South Africa

I would highly recommend African Impact for anyone who is considering volunteer travel. I received outstanding support from the day I decided to register for the project. That support continued throughout my stay. I couldn't recommend them more highly.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    8

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Day to Day Life

    7

Dumela lodge is not just a house, it's a home

It's unfortunate that I'm only staying for 4 weeks, because I really don't want to leave. The people are kind, the animals amazing, the vibe relaxed, the food nice and the overall experience unforgettable.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Community Engagement

    7

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

Unbelievable experience, far beyond expectations

I loved the 4 week photography project in South Africa. Not only did we get to see animals in the bush almost on a daily basis, but also were our pictures used in meaningful ways (macro ID and catalogue, ID of endangered species, document the success of the community projects...). The people I got to know here became family, the experiences we had together are just amazing. I can nothing but recommend this trip.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    N/A

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Amazing month!

I came to African Impact for a couple of reasons which are:
1. I wanted to improve my photography skills
2. I wanted to do voluntary work
3. I wanted to visit Africa
All three of these things were available in the (for me perfect package) which was the Wildlife photography program.
First of all I have learned allot about photography and really enjoyed my time out on drives and editing always thriving for the best results. Special thanks to Sam and Marvin for helping me out with everything and learning me allot of new things! (and beating me in ping-pong over and over again...)
Secondly I have attended some community projects like improving the english of local children by reading english books with them, which I found a really special experience. I also had the job documenting the things that were happening at other projects (like the farmers of the future project) this was a great combination because It was done by making (before - after) pictures! Also there was physical work which I liked allot, we went to Leadwood (a game reserve) there we had the so called "anger management" it was called this because the physical work we did consisted of chopping down River Thorn which was destroying allot of the original vegetation, personally I like this allot going at it with machetes. (secret shoutout to Gene)
Last but not least, I wanted to visit Africa, which was something I was already thinking about for quite some time and was really curious how it would be but I'm not disappointed because Africa is AMAZING!
African Impact made the combination of the three ideal and offered me everything I wanted in one great package.
I had an amazing time here which I'm really thankful for, thanks everyone!
P.S.
(THE FOOD IS AMAZING)

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    7

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    8

Photography course

The photography course is good for everybody from a beginner to an experienced photographer, the curse goes over how to use your camera and how to capture interesting images. You then get to practice all this on drives, its a really helpful course and to have the change to have a experience wildlife photographer look over you images and help you improve is a great opportunity for improvement. All the staff at the lodge are really friendly and welcoming I have never felt more at home away from home

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Day to Day Life

    8

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Volunteer Placement

    8

Photography experience in African Impact South Africa

I really enjoyed my stay here with African Impact. The staff especially is exceptional. They are attentive, they always open-minded and hard working. If you ever have a problem or want to change something they will always try to accommodate you. African Impact does a great job in trying too.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

African Impact photography

This volunteer program was amazing. I had previously done the program in the Mara in Kenya and this project was just as fun, with just as many amazing animal sightings. I really learned how to properly use n=my camera, and not on automatic. The other volunteers were great as well. I loved my time at Dumela lodge.

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    7

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Community Engagement

    7

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Day to Day Life

    8

Wildlife Photography Volunteer

A great opportunity to immerse yourself in the African bushveld and learn all the techniques specific to wildlife photography. There were enough game drives and bush walks to practise the theory learnt in the first week. More suited for the intermediate photographer.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Photographs in the bush of South Africa

I had a great time in my four weeks as a photography volunteer at the Dumela Lodge in the Kruger Park area. We had a very tight schedule and not one minute I was bored. Every day we had a highlight and even if it was watching a dung beetle making his dung ball. Because it happens not every day that a leopard jumps up a tree just in front of you. I enjoyed every second of my stay and me heart feels so heavy when thinking about to leave this place in a few days.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    10

My volunteering experiences with African Impact

I loved my stay with African Impact, the whole project was very well scheduled, the staff was friendly and always helpful, the food was excellent and always fresh, and all in all the whole organization was terrific! i can recommend this project to everyone and don't want to leave this project.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    8

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Living Situation

    5

  • Community Engagement

    N/A

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Day to Day Life

    9

Photography project

I really learned a lot about photography, and Lightroom too (even though I already used Lightroom before). It was a good mixture of practical, theoretical and creative sessions. We also got the chance to got to see different places.

  • African Impact responded to this review March 05, 2018 at 3:00 AM

    Hi Celina. Thank you for your feedback - it goes a long way to improving our projects and creating the best experience for those volunteers who visit after you. Please will you email us at marketing@africanimpact.com and give us some tips as to how we can improve the living situation. We're so glad you enjoyed your time and learnt a lot.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    10

I think the title fits and gives an idea on what to expect.

I really enjoyed the project. I learned a lot and had a great time. I would like to have spend more time with the researcher together and take the pictures they need with them guiding us. The people on the project were great and made the time even better.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    7

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    9

Corrie's review

This is the second time here and I really enjoyed my stay here. We have seen a lot, learned a lot, done a lot etc. I came here for 2 weeks as a photographer and 2 weeks as a researcher. At this moment I am reviewing the first part of my stay. The changing of teachers was a bit confusing but it works out well.

Institution Affiliates:

World Youth Student & Educational Travel Confederation