Legodimo Wilderness

About

Legodimo Wilderness is an independent eco volunteering project focused on conserving as much natural habitat as possible. Volunteers work on biodiversity studies, wildlife observation and hands-on manual projects to preserve the integrity of our wilderness. Our volunteer camp is situated in Botswana on the banks of the mighty Limpopo river, sharing a view with elephants, hippos, crocs and much more of the surrounding Botswana wildlife.

Founded
2012

Reviews

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

He there,

I am David and i went to Legodimo in 2009 and came back in 2011.

When i arrived at Legodimo the first time i fell in love straight away. The most beautifull place i have ever been. The people are warm en i felt home straight away.

I met a lot of amazing people, the volunteers but especially the staff. Legodimo is worth every penny, every breath and every minute. That because of all the animals, all the fun work you do en because of G and Mieke. They do not only run the project, they make the project.

When i left the first time i new i had to come back once, i left friends, i left home and at that stage i left family. It is unbelievable that in 4 months you can love a place like this. I never thought that was possible.

You learn such a lot about the bush, the animals and you learn a lot about yourself as well.

I can try to describe the feeling but when i am honest.. it is undescribable!

When people ask me how was Africa.. I always end with the words: Just go there ones in your life. And when you go, go to Legodimo.

Greets,

David Rademaker

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

Going to the Legodimo project was the best thing I ever did. G and Mieke are such wonderful people who really put their heart into reserving wildlife. They thought me so much.

My favorite thing was being in 'the middle of nowhere' with no internet or electricity. It takes some getting used to, but you turn to realize you don't need that 'luxury'.
You live in the wild, with wild animals. We woke up everyday when the sun came up in our dorms and often when I walked outside, a massive elephant came to greet me. We all had breakfast together, slowly waking up and enjoying the fresh air and nature sounds. Then we went to work and I loved checking on the elephant water hole where we couldn't be more close to these great creatures. We have lunch at camp and then work some more. In the evening we sometimes watched sunsets from a cliff or stayed in camp, eating together, cleaning up, play some games, read, have a laugh.
Every day we did some different work, and every day was fun. But the most fun I had, was when we held the first Legodimo Olympics. And also, in the evening, showering under the stars, I will never forget.

I loved being here so much and I'm dying to go back someday. Everyone should stay and help in Legodimo, it is a good cause and it enriches your life. Plus: I made friends for life, in a place that must be heaven on earth.

What would you improve about this program?
Hard to find something that bothered me, except that my camera broke down for a few days.
Would've loved to have stayed longer and make more trips.
And after my return, I still woke up at sunset :)
Default avatar
James
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

From days surveying wildlife to nights watching elephants by starlight there is no experience of Legodimo that was not unique and magical.

The staff and volunteers are the most friendly, accommodating, motivated and fun group of people I have ever had the pleasure to have known.

The days work was varied and interesting ranging from biodiversity surveys to physical work removing fences, wrapping trees (to prevent damage by elephants) and general reserve maintenance. There was never anything that you could not be involved in, whether it was helping with the cooking, lighting the boilers, a game of darts or cards or just a good conversation, there was never any excuse to be bored.

On drives and hill walks the incredible beauty of the reserve and the rugged bushveldt environment was truly stunning, with dramatic bare-rock koppies and majestic ancient baobab trees it was imposible not to fall in love with such an extraordinary wild landscape.

I always felt really involved with the work, the staff made it's purpose clear and welcomed any fresh ideas from volunteers.

My time in Legodimo was the utterly fantastic. It is not melodramatic to say that had I not volunteered there my life today would be radically different, and I would be far less happy.

What would you improve about this program?
Living in the wild has its challenges, with scorpions and thieving monkeys, it is hard to stay mad at a baboon for stealing your lunch though ...

Other than that the project is limited only by money and volunteers, the staff need your help to make their work a success and to realise their wonderful vision for their little patch of paradise!
Default avatar
Jessica
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I only have positive things to say about Legodimo Wildnerness. The staff are incredibily knowledgable, supportive, and accommodating. They make any visit incredible and will quickly become a life-long friends.

I was shocked by the program site when we arrived. We truly expected to rough it in the bush, but the camp is one of Botswana's hidden gems. The location is superb and allows for a truly unique African/Botswana experience.

Note that the program site is removed from villages and large cities for a reason. Don't expect to be able to explore the local night life in Botswana after a long day. But why would you want that? Instead you can enjoy listening to the sounds of the wildlife around a campfire and hearing the astonishing stories of the Legodimo Staff.

What would you improve about this program?
I have no suggestions.
Default avatar
KellyM
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I only did a one month stay at Legodimo, but I wish I had done much longer. Every day was an adventure, and I learned something new every day. The owners of the program are awesome. They know pretty much everything there is to know about the bush, and the social events they organized were always a blast. The main camp is in a great area, right on the river so you see lots of animals that come to drink. Definitely one of the best places I have ever been.

Alumni Interviews

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

Michele Charles

Michele is 27 and from Toronto, Canada. She completed an undergraduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania and a Law degree at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She is currently completing a clerkship at the British Columbia Court of Appeal. As a lawyer Michele will be pursuing a career in international environmental law and hopes to work with the United Nations Environment Programme. Before volunteering at Legodimo, Michele spent a year travelling around the world. She volunteered at Legodimo in August 2011.

Why did you decide to volunteer with Legodimo Wilderness in Botswana?

 elephant photo taken by Michele during her time as a volunteer in Botswana

Michele: I decided to volunteer with Legodimo Wilderness because I am interested in environmental issues and conservation. Until my time in Botswana, most of my environmental volunteer work had been done in Canada in the form of policy development and pro bono legal work. This was the first time (other than some tree planting) that I was able to engage in hands-on conservation work, which was a great treat. Further, I wanted to be able to spend time in Africa, engaging with wildlife and seeing how conservation is run abroad, without simply booking a safari. When I looked into Legodimo, it was clear that I would be able to get this kind of experience

Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

Michele: We joked, when I was at Legodimo, that if you want to do environmental conservation, you have to like digging. There is no getting around the physical labour that is required to do conservation work in the field and spending time at Legodimo is not for people who want to sit by the pool.

That being said, the day to day life at Legodimo is very balanced. Generally, there are 2 activities per day and in the morning you are put in a group that would either do data collection, or work. Data collection involved bird and animal watching, either done from a vehicle or by foot on a walk, and work would involve maintenance of the reserve. During my time there, this maintenance could include digging water holes, wrapping trees (to prevent elephants from scraping off the bark), trail clearing etc.

While the data collection is more scenic and relaxing, the work was more labour-intensive, which means that by doing one and then the other, the day was pretty balanced. When I was at Legodimo, it was winter time for them, but I was told that the pool gets used quite often during the summer and there are beautiful areas to sit and read, or have a nap during breaks. At night, after dinner we would often see herds of animals trotting by on the river bank and enjoy a cup of tea by the fire.

cheetah photo taken by Michele during her time as a volunteer in Botswana

What made this experience unique and special?

Michele: The thing that made this experience special was the staff. The owners of Legodimo are passionate about their work and the volunteers. They work very hard to make the experience memorable for the volunteers and to make sure that everyone experiences various kinds of conservation work. This included, among other things, trips into South Africa to track cheetahs and overnights at the remote northern camp. The camp staff were also great and did an excellent job of making everyone feel included and their work appreciated.

What's something interesting about Botswana that the average person doesn't know?

Michele: I don't really have an answer to this question because the time spent is out in the bush and I didn't really learn a lot about Botswana as a nation. However, an interesting thing about baobab trees ( you get to see a famous in the bush) is that when they die, the inside rots and the heat from the rot can occasionally be so great that the tree explodes. One day it is standing, the next day, gone.

Baobab tree

How has this experience impacted your future?

Michele: The experience in Botswana has impacted my future in two ways. First, I have a much deeper appreciation for the quality and intensity of work that is needed to maintain and grow a conservation site. As in many areas of the world, poachers continue to be a problem and good organizations are constantly fighting with other organizations to ensure that land is acquired for sustainable purposes, often with very little funding. Second, I have a much better appreciation for the way in which responsible organizations are run. Today we are often bombarded with calls to support myriad organizations that are all embarking on what seems to be noble causes. Often we have no idea where our money goes and whether these are causes worth supporting. At Legodimo, the owners have always been very open about their organization, how they use every dollar and how they can best use volunteers to accomplish their goals. They stay in contact with their former volunteers and update them with news of new developments.