I had an incredible experience as a wildlife conservation intern in South Africa. We were based in Karongwe Private Game Reserve, which was about 45 min outside of Kruger Park. Each day we spent around 8-10 hours in the field, tracking the local wildlife (mainly the large predators and herbivores) and taking valuable data. The scenery was incredible, and we were often treated to amazing sunrises and sunsets on our drives! It was also wonderful to live in community with other volunteers. GVI does a great job of building community and encouraging the volunteers to get to know each other. I really enjoyed that aspect, and there were certainly many fun memories from our time on the base camp! Overall, this experience made a profound impact on my life moving forward. I had always thought of wildlife conservation as just a secondary interest, but after going on this trip I've realized that I want to integrate wildlife conservation into my career moving forward, and I'm very excited about it.
How can this program be improved?
I think the internship program lacked organization and structure, which was frustrating at times. I would definitely say that being more consistent in executing the goals of the internship programs should be a priority moving forward. I also noticed while I was there that maintenance issues didn't get resolved quickly, which was disappointing. During the entire 6 weeks of my stay, there was no working spotlight, which prevented us from discovering and learning more about the nocturnal animals that inhabit the reserve.
Would you recommend this program?
Yes, I would