GoEco

GoEco

About

GoEco is a leading eco-tourism company with a varied selection of affordable volunteer projects abroad. We act as a gateway to over 150 extraordinary community, wildlife and environmental initiatives all over the world thanks to our great partnerships. Join one of our rewarding projects and become a part of the global volunteer movement!

Website
www.goeco.org

Reviews

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Brigitte
4/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I chose Madagascar after hearing many great things about the place and how beautiful it was. I wanted to see with my own eyes. I then chose the Lemur project because this animal intrigued me and I have to be honest I loved the movie Madagascar.
When I first arrived I thought the landscapes were beautiful.
If I’m honest when I fist arrived at the house as my accommodation I was not impressed and felt uncomfortable. The place was dirty, colorless and very basic. We never saw any pictures of the house but I had assumed it would be more than basic for the amount of money I paid.
The rooms were spacious enough for all of us staying together and it felt cozy. The bathroom was okay but seeing cockroaches everyday was not pleasant. I even saw a rat in the kitchen one night.
Some of the bathroom accessories were broken but were mostly fixed during the weeks I stayed there.
One of the issues I have to comment about the house is the heat, being sweaty all the time. On a daily basis the electricity was out of power therefore no fans and water.
I had a hard time sleeping at night because of the heat so after 2 weeks I decided to sleep on the floor under the fan to be more comfortable.
The food was amazing since the cooks were great. I wished they prepared more in order to get seconds sometimes since the guys eat more than us. Breakfast needs to change!! Eating baguettes and an egg everyday is not appealing after 2 weeks.
The Coordinator was a bit too micro-managing the house if you ask me. He made the ladies feel uncomfortable and with a sense of eavesdropping on us. He was not keen with making changes in the house and taking feedback during my stay.

I would recommend this place only if changes are made.

What would you improve about this program?
The project information should be updated with current information about the accommodation, add some pictures about the house and the surroundings, working programs are not up to date since the workload and agenda presented lacks what we do. Should change the front picture of the beach since it is not the one close to the project but one you need to pay to visit. It is misinformed because I thought that amazing beach was close to our accommodation and that was one of the reasons I came to Madagascar to see that FREE beach.
Now talking about the project, I loved the environment. The Lemurs are amazing animals to see from close and how they behave. I was happy to work with them and the friendly staff. I have nothing negative to say about the project but simply because it is a good place to be they should provide more workload to do instead of sitting in a restaurant for 2 hours. I wished I could have done more. It would have been nice to learn more about the culture by helping the community and the kids in our spare time instead of sitting in a restaurant.
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Heidi
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

From the amazing hostel in Jo-burg to immersing ourselves in the history & culture of Soweto to Glen Afric Sanctuary, this was undoubtedly the experience of a lifetime. I truly felt I got a 360 degree experience through my partnership with GoEco. Everyday at the sanctuary was an adventure. I walked to breakfast next to grazing zebras, watched giraffes at dinner, & laughed at monkeys stealing food from the wart hogs. The people were warm, fun, and now lifetime friends. Sign up now! You won't be sorry!

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
When we visited Soweto, we had the pleasure of dining at a local restaurant with traditional food. It was buffet style so I went around and added whatever I wanted to my plate, some of which is still a mystery. I got to salad bar and saw, what I thought, was a cold, couscous salad. I got back to my table and took a big bite of this couscous dish and immediately realized something was not right. It was not pleasant! I soon figured out that I had taken a nice, big bite of minced garlic! I didn't want to be the rude American so I chewed and swallowed it and apologized to my friends for the garlic magic they would smell the rest of the day. Needless to say, the rest of the meal was delicious!
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Elli
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

As someone who has been to many volunteer programs in Israel, I can honestly say they are all worth attending. From the Wildlife Center in the south to the Vegan Bakery in Tel Aviv, each program offers unique and immeasurable traveling experiences.

It's not often one has the opportunity to sink their teeth into Israeli culture using a completely different lens than that of a usual tourist. The work I accomplished, the people I met, and the places I visited made this experience hard to forget. If you're looking for a meaningful volunteer experience, GoEco will help you find the most suitable one for you as they did for me.

Happy traveling!

Default avatar
guy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Going to Sri Lanka and volunteering in the babies orphanage on Kandy was the best decision I have ever made. Being there and feeling the positivity of the work youre doing and the impact you have of other people's life is undescribable. That feeling you get when you pick a baby up from his crib and he is wrapping he's arms around your neck and not letting go is the best and worse feeling ever. You can actually feel how desperate those kids are for love and you can't even start to imagine going back home and leaving them there.
I had a lot of fun but I would really recommend trying to go for a longer period of time, since you also have introduction week at the start of the program, which leaves you with a shorter time for volunteer work.
Introduction week was truly amazing, befriending your roomates and volunteer colleagues while getting to know the sri lankan culture through trips to temples, cultural dance show, batik house, cooking lesson and more.
The food was very good though really spicy and very repetitive.
The accomodation was very clean, comfortable and safe.
I would advise on bringing your own medication as the hospital neraby is not very hygienic and it is worth to avoid the visit.
Registering through GoEco was amazing, you really feel like everything is being taken care of and the treatment was very personal.
Picturs unfortunately only available from intoduction week since you cant take pictures of the orhanage or the babies.

Silvia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering with this programme was the best decision I could have possibly taken. It was such an amazing experience getting to wake up everyday to the lions roaring. The staff there was super nice and the volunteers were the most funny people I have ever met!
We got to prepare the food and feed all the animals everyday, water them ad help with the cleaning of the house. On weekends we helped with the tours that came to see the animals and we also had a lot of free time to spend time with some of the animals. Also, we did some trips to the city to have dinner out, go to the mall and buy the groceries.

Programs

Displaying 1 - 4 of 4

Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Lara Schroeder

Lara is from Luxembourg, but currently studies English Literature and Italian in Wales. She loves reading, gymnastics, animals, and traveling. While volunteering in South Africa for a month, she was able to combine two of her passions.

Why did you choose this program?

From the beginning, I knew that I wanted to go to Africa, because of the great variety of animals and because I was interested in the different cultures.

I looked through a few programs, most of them in South Africa, and finally found the perfect one -- Wildlife Sanctuary takes care of ALL kinds of animals, big and small, and the reviews previous volunteers had written gave me the impression that this would be the perfect place to go.

Another advantage is that you can go anytime during the year for as long as you want to. My parents were not too keen on me traveling by myself to Africa, but they were glad that I chose South Africa as it is clearly a more developed country.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

GoEco was very helpful and told me exactly what to organize, when and how. They booked the program after I had filled in some basic information and send me the documents I needed to fill out for travel insurance. I booked my own flights and send the details to them so that they could organize my transport from and to the airport and everything worked out perfectly.

They were always really quick to reply to my e-mails and even called after I had signed up for the program to shortly discuss it with me.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Be open-minded and talk to everyone, especially the locals, who are just lovely.

Do as many excursions as you can (especially skydiving), as they enable you to see a bit more of the stunning landscape and if you can, go to another program afterward, or travel a bit by yourself as you only see a tiny part of this huge country when volunteering at Glen Afric.

Bring gloves and gumboots and be prepared to do some hard work. It is so rewarding to see the results of your effort in the end.

Finally, don't be scared and enjoy every second. You will make great friends and have the time of your life!

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

The day starts at 8 am when you clean the elephant house and horse stables. After this is done, usually at 9, you go for breakfast (the food is always great), and after that, you will be split into groups.

One group does work that often consists of preparing new enclosures, while the other group has animal interaction: you can pet the cheetah, learn about the behavior of leopards, or maybe even train some animals. The next day, it will be the other way around.

An exception is Shitmonday! Sounds horrible, but is actually quite fun. You take all the shit and bones out of the enclosures and layer it on the shit trailer (yes, that is an entire trailer full of shit).

Two times a week you assist in the animal feeding, a great occasion to get a closer look at the lions, tigers, and hyena, and to take some stunning pictures. On Thursday afternoons and on Sunday you are off and can choose to go on an excursion. You also have the possibility to go horse-riding or to do elephant walks once a week.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

I was probably most worried when arriving in Johannesburg. The driver was already there waiting for me, but I had no idea what to expect and was nervous to meet the other volunteers.

As soon as I got to know them, I realized that I had no reason to worry. They were all lovely people and as we all had similar interests, we instantly connected. The flight is the only time you are actually by yourself, but as soon as you arrive, all of your worries just disappear as you become a part of the team.

Another thing I was worried about was the fact that I stayed for 4 weeks and I thought that the work might get monotonous, but now I know that 3 or 4 weeks is the perfect duration! Loads of volunteers return every year and often stay for 2 months or even longer and none of them have ever had any regrets.

If you should encounter any problems while you are there, I assure you that the staff there will do their best to help you! They are amazing people and do not just care about the animals (they absolutely love them!), but they also care about the volunteers and they will make sure that you get the most out of your time in South Africa!

What was your biggest question prior to going on this trip?

One thing that I really wanted to know when choosing a program was what animals were there!

At the moment, there are 3 elephants, about 10 lions, 3 lion cubs, a hyena, 4 tigers, a leopard, a cheetah, 4 giraffes (1 of them a baby), 1 hippo and the multiple zebras, warthogs, antelopes, horses donkeys, wildebeest and ostriches that just freely roam around the farm.

After I left, they started collaborating with another sanctuary that takes up smaller, injured animals, so there will probably be even more animals when you go!

What were the highlights of your time abroad?

We learned how to inject goats, which was an amazing and also really fun experience. Another time, we made a mud-bath for the elephants, which obviously ended in all of us volunteers having a mud-fight. And finally the animal interaction: you can get up close with tigers and lions, you can give Roxy (the super cute hyena) a scratch and we had the possibility to play with the lion cubs and train them on a little jumping parkour.

Those are just a few of the amazing things I have experienced this summer and I find myself thinking about Glen Afric every day!

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Cassandra Federbusz

Job Title
PR Manager
woman smiling

What is your favorite travel memory?

In October 2013, I spontaneously decided to join my friend in Nepal to do the Annapurna Circuit Trek after a three-month backpacking adventure in Europe. It was the most awe-inspiring journey I have ever taken. When I finally reached Thorong-La Pass (5416 m. high) I was extremely proud of myself (and stuffed from all the Dal Bhat I ate to get there)!

Which destination is most underrated? Conversely, which is most overrated?

I think any destination that isn't filled with tourists is definitely worth exploring.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Since working at GoEco, my knowledge of the world has expanded, from discovering new destinations to learning about issues I never knew existed. I've come to truly appreciate international volunteers' contributions around the globe and the role GoEco plays in the industry.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

We hear some incredible stories from returning volunteers each year, but I think the one that stuck with me the most so far is from Lucas after his participation in the Medical and Health Care project in India. In his blog he wrote:

"The small hospital waiting room was crowded -- full of patients from the surrounding villages seeking medical treatment. The doctor and medical staff hurried to and fro, despite the stifling heat, to treat the overload of patients. This was the scene in Karan Hospital every day. The doctors are heroes there, working endlessly to observe, diagnose and treat the plenitude of patients––a job of at least five doctors in a Western medicine facility. This is what medicine, the pursuit of helping people, is all about."

Describe a time when you felt especially proud to be part of your current team.

GoEco was recently named "Top Volunteer Abroad Organization" of 2015. It was an extremely proud moment for all of us.