Health & Safety
An Incredible Experience
Submitted by Ben Fisher - | January 31, 2013
This is a fantastic program for those who would like to learn more about South Africa and the animals that live there. The Broadreach team is very involved and helpful and the leaders (2 of them) were really great. Parents are kept up to date on each day's activity and there are a bunch of exercises to help make the group closer (I loved everyone on the trip and we all still talk through a Facebook page we made and plan to visit each other in the future.
Most of the time in country is spent out in the country, we never were in Johannesburg except to catch flights and we made numerous trips to Lydenburg as we zigzagged across the country to get groceries. The first five days are spent at a backpackers hostel in the Drakensburg mountains were everyone gets to know each other and we did a couple great hikes. As well as studying. The only animals there are cows though.
Then there is a two day camping trip in Kruger, which is great but the real safari fun comes later. Kruger is like a little introduction to the wildlife.
Then we went to Enkosini which is an upstarting reserve trying to introduce bigger game (rhinos and eventually cheetahs) but first they have to maintain a population of herbivores and make sure all the old cattle fencing is off the property (we helped with this). We were there for less than a week but it was really fun, there were hikes, lessons, cooking adventures and more. There are also monkeys that hang around as well as horses and a pot bellied pig.
The best part of the trip and what really makes this whole program a standout is the weeklong stay in Siyafunda, which is a research center in the middle of the Makalali Game Reserve. We lived right in the middle of the bush (in houses). Elephants woke us up and warthogs grazed on the lawn.
We went out twice a day with the in house researchers, who were very knowledgable and fun, and helped record the GPS locations of all the animals we saw (and we saw everything, all the big time animals). It was an incredible week and I miss it every day.
The whole program is well done and I learned so much about the country and the animals. Everyone is so nice there and so helpful and willing to talk.
I definitely recommend Broadreach, it was my first time out of the country and I never felt unsafe or neglected in any way. I could have stayed for months.