Walking with African Wildlife

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Trek through the wilderness of Africa to track rhinos, elephants, and other animals. Accompanied by an expert wildlife guide, you will observe and note the location of every animal you see. You may also have an opportunity to go on a night drive with research staff during the two weeks, which offers a great chance to see nocturnal animals out and about. On your recreational day, you could take a trip to Simangaliso Wetland Park, possibly join a boat tour to look for hippos, crocodiles, and birds and experience the St. Lucia Estuary, snorkel and swim at the beach and lunch at a local restaurant, or stay in camp and relax.

You also may visit a school on one afternoon, in a poor, rural area that has struggled over the years to receive support. Many of the children attending the school have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS. If you would like to visit the school and see what a community effort can achieve, the staff will gladly arrange a visit.

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Mary
10/10

Loved it so much, I did it twice.

I joined the Walking with African Wildlife project twice: in 2004, at 43 and in 2014, at 53.
I've traveled often to east and southern Africa, and can't get enough of its scenery and wildlife.
You and your fellow volunteers will be met at the airport, driven to spectacular Hluhluwe–iMfolozi Park, and divided among two camps. The North Camp, is more secluded, built along a river and surrounded by trees in the hillier region of the park. Here were kept close company with elephants, vervet monkeys, nyala, zebra and buffalo. The South Camp is atop a hill, surrounded by rolling savannah and somewhat easier hikes. I once saw a cheetah perched on a hillside, scoping out the prey species below. Both camps have spectacular birdlife.

Each morning you will wake early, have a bit to eat and some coffee, and bundle up for the chilly ride to your trail in an open vehicle. You and your ranger will be deposited at a trailhead just as the sun is rising behind you, and will walk west, with increasing light, looking for herbivores.
Your ranger (invariably a Zulu man) will advise you to walk directly behind him, and within 6 feet.
And so, the world of the African savannah will be opened up to you. You will be keenly attuned to sounds around you: birds, a monkey's call, the alarm snort of an ungulate, the crackle in the brush of....? Depending on your Zulu and/or your guide's English, you may converse a bit, or you may just be relishing this singular experience too much for talk.

Your hike may be 2 miles or 6, easy or difficult, but at the end, tired and happy, you will be retrieved by the staff and brought back to the camp for lunch. Afternoon is for naps, birdwatching, data input, or socializing, which continues along with sunset watching and stargazing till everyone tucks themselves in at night.

Have I persuaded you yet? I hope so. If you have questions for me, I would be happy to answer them. I can be contacted through Earthwatch.

How can this program be improved?
Can't think of a thing.
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Earthwatch is a worldwide non-profit organization unlocking the potential in people and the environment. Since 1971, Earthwatch has connected volunteers and partners with scientists undertaking vital field research around the globe. Everybody who...