Volunteering at the Big Five Monitoring and Conservation Programme

April 2018… This month I spent some time at our Big Five Monitoring and Conservation Programme and what an amazing place it is. Having relocated in 2016,the programme monitors an abundance of wildlife free roaming over 67,000 hectares as well as carrying out vital conservation work in the bush.
I can honestly say this was an experience of a lifetime; having the privilege of observing these amazing creatures in their natural surroundings.

Twice a day we would head off with our ranger, tracking the wildlife, recording data, taking photographs for identification kits, and when necessary jumping out of our vehicle to remove alien plant life.
A lioness has recently given birth to cubs and whilst we were hoping to get a glimpse, she’s clearly not ready to reveal them yet! On another occasion we were lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to witness a herd of around 40 elephants arriving at a waterhole. Close enough to witness this amazing sight, but keeping a safe and respectful distance.

When not ‘out in the field’ I spent time in the office transferring the data collected onto the computer, compiling records and reports for the reserve management.

Without exception everyone involved in the programme is so passionate and enthusiastic about the work they’re doing, and it’s infectious.

The days were long, but rewarding, and of course there was time to relax too. On Friday’s we were taken into town in the afternoon to shop etc., and then on to a restaurant for an evening meal. One evening we went to the Lodge nearby for a meal. We enjoyed an early morning river cruise with a guide, and I even managed a microlight flight – what an amazing way to view the bushveld!

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