Short Internship Karongwe Limpopo

Growth: 10
Support: 10
Fun: 10
Housing: 10
Safety: 10

In 2017 I completed a 2 week Volunteer trip with GVI at the Karongwe Big 5 Game Reserve. The experience I had then blew my mind and I simple had to get myself back out to South Africa and immerse myself fully into the experience. In 2019 I found myself re-entering the gates of the reserve about to partake on a 6 week long wildlife conservation internship. It was simply amazing being back, with base feeling instantly like home to me. When you share your living and study space with others of the same mentality, drive and ambition the interactions and conversations never fail to disappoint. From testing each other on our bird knowledge, having drum lessons under the light of a full moon to sharing stories of the days drives around the heat of the brie pit...unbeatable!!
The reserve has a metapopulation of Cheetah as do most across Southern Africa, the focus was KCF the newly transferred young female. We would spend our drives tracking her movements and interactions with the male coalition KZN (Kwa, Zulu & Netal) as well as the other predators on the reserve. It was fascinating plotting GIS maps which pinpointed her home ranges as well as close encounters with the Lion pride, Sub Zero at their helm.
We would inevitably encounter all the big 5 during our general reserve drives and log additional data for Birds of Prey, Kills, Rhino IDs, hyena dens etc. Being so close to such monumental animals was within itself mind blowing although when submerged by so much beauty from the land beneath us to the ever changing sky above us I found myself being taken aback by such small seemingly overlooked things. From the first break of morning sun across the mountain tops to the scurrying sounds of dung beetles battling over the mounds of dirt covering the path in front of us. Reserve work drives were always an entertaining experience too; heading out to the bush working on tree management, invasive species control, bush clearance, tree planting and land rejuvenation. When the sun began to set behind the mountains we'd make tracks back to base with sweat soaked shirts, grubby skin and achy limbs but we'd all feel an over powering sense of accomplishment and pride that we'd actively made a positive impact to the running of the reserve and the protection of all the wonderful curiosities held within.
There is something utterly simplistic that touches my heart in a place like this, being cut off from the outside world to bask in the greatness of mother nature. Watching how everything is so expertly entwined together and being a part of protecting something so special and significant to our own existence it's something I urge all of us to do and feel at some point in life.
Life on base is enough to rave about in itself but we're surrounded by an untold amount of places to adventure and experience. I made the most of my Sunday's and mini weekends to explore places like the epic Kruger National Park, took a drive through the Panoramic Route, visited Jessica the Hippo and spent an afternoon at HESC were I saw the King Cheetah for the first time...out of this world!!
Becoming part of the GVI family has expanded my mind and heart in so many ways, I was filled with so much new knowledge during both my stays at Karongwe and I am left thirsty for this journey to continue. I have signed up to complete my full 6 month internship back on the same just goes to show how much of a lasting impression the place, people and wildlife had on my soul.
GVI has given me the confidence to push myself in ways I didn't think I ever could, I have found the courage to leave my job of 8 years in Central London to chase my dreams of working in wildlife conservation full time. My glass is already filled with so much priceless hands on experience and with my continued path into this field with GVI I believe my opportunities will be endless whether abroad or home in England. I am excited to see where this next year takes me and will forever be thankful to the GVI team in the UK and South Africa for being a part of it and turning my dreams into reality!!

Would you recommend this program?
Yes, I would
Year Completed