South Africa Study Tour 2019
From Sarah Asbury –
In the first week we were out in the bush staying in tents with no electricity which was a fantastic experience and heard so many animals at night including hyenas and lions which was the highlight of the week. We went on walking safaris mainly to identify different plants and understand the ecosystem of Kruger National Park and how it survives. We had some great guides who took us out on driving safaris too, to look for animals following their tracks. At night we put out a camera trap in various places to see what was close by.
Mid way through we stayed in Greater Kruger for 2 nights where there was more chance to see more animals. It’s not always definite you’ll see anything as it is the wild but we were lucky enough to see a few leopards, lions, buffalo, elephants and many more animals.
In the second week we stayed at a place called Care for Wild that looks after orphaned rhinos along with a few other animals that needed a home. All the rhinos and some of the other animals if possible they rehabilitate and release them back into the wild. We got to feed and make the milk for the orphans and the highlight of the week was watching an operation on one that had just come into the centre.
From Leah Cox –
To condense my two weeks in South Africa into a short blog entry is challenging, as I took part in some life changing and vitally important conservation work, reaffirming my passion for wildlife conservation. Working with both black and white rhino at Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary, was a privilege and one which enabled us VIP access to rhino rehabilitation, conservation and release. We gained vital knowledge on the rhino poaching war, and how the work we took part in at Care for Wild, makes a difference in something much larger than ourselves. Cleaning enclosures called ‘bomas’, hand feeding rhino calf’s and going on game drives around the reserve were just some of the great activities we played a role in. After our time at Care for Wild we travelled to Kruger National Park, home to South Africa’s ‘big 5’ and a variety of other native flora and fauna. Whilst there, we went on several game drives, being lucky enough to see African Leopard, Spotted Hyena, Elephant, Buffalo, Lion, Giraffe and more. Moving on after our 2 days spent in Kruger we headed to Tsakane bush camp. At Tsakane we took part in a community outreach programme, alien plant control project, vegetation transects, native bird surveys, animal tracking, night drives and snare sweeps around the perimeter. During our stay we heard lectures on Kruger National Park ecology, vegetation and mineral diversity, plant defence, African mega-herbivores and carnivores and waterhole ecology and drought. The skills, experience and knowledge I gained during the study tour are crucial; being invaluable for potential future job applications or roles in the ecological/conservation sector. I’m very grateful to have been given the opportunity, as I gained new friends and made fond memories. I would highly recommend this study tour to anyone thinking of going, you won’t regret it!