Phenomenal experience tarred by financial conflicts of interest
I volunteered at the GVI Limpopo (South Africa) base at Karongwe Private Game Reserve.
I had a phenomenal wildlife experience, made lifelong friends, felt that the organisation exceeded my expectations in terms of learning opportunities and was impressed with the well-oiled machine that is GVI. The unpaid interns are your biggest source of knowledge here - they are remarkable in their knowledge and willingness to share this knowledge.
Unfortunately, two fundamental events lead me not to ultimately recommend GVI Limpopo (South Africa):
1. GVI Limpopo actively promotes trophy hunting as a revenue source for conservation. If this promotion was based on data, facts and figures I could accept this. GVI certainly tells you it is. After doing independent research (including requesting sources from GVI Limpopo for the basis for their promotion), the data, facts and figures do not support trophy hunting, quite the opposite. My research demonstrated that GVI Limpopo benefit indirectly financially from this promotion and I am severely disappointed that this organisation has put its financial interests ahead of genuine conservation. To me, this automatically loses credibility.
2. The staff struggled to adequately deal with a complaint of a sexual nature. A complaint was bought to their attention and it took 3 further people raising the issue for the Base Coordinator to implement the right procedures.
If GVI Limpopo could address these two points I would be very comfortable recommending them.