Alice Garside - Conservation & Environment, African Bushveld Conservation in South Africa
I was so excited to start my experience in Botswana. I chose the Conservation project because I am very interested and passionate about wildlife and conserving what is left in the environment. Every day I looked forward to starting my first activity. The staff in Botswana were very knowledgeable about the animals and the habitats. I learnt so much and loved bird watching, which I never thought I would say!
I arrived early evening, just in time for super. All the volunteers and the staff sat together. The people in the camp were very welcoming. I met people from all over the world - France, Germany, England many more. I felt comfortable asking them questions about how the camp worked and what the project involved.
My Conservation project
Each evening on a white board our activities would be written out for all the camp to see and we would have time to prepare for the following days’ work. I had two activities each day which varied. My tasks included identifying animal spoor, animal census, rubbish removal and many more. The first activity would be in the morning, then the other activity later in the afternoon after lunch time.
One of the days I had the opportunity to visit the local village (2.5 hours a way) to make bracelets with other volunteers. On the way we stopped off at a massive kjope (mountain of rocks). From here we sat and observed the most breath taking, beautiful view in front of us and enjoyed a picnic. The Tsatsileeta Basket Group kindly helped us create incredible patterned bracelets. They were so welcoming and the children were so happy to see us dancing and smiling for the camera.
My accommodation in Botswana
I soon got comfortable with my accommodation which was a six-person tent. In the camp there were six tents with bunk beds. It was a great way to feel part of nature; you hear all variety of noises. In my experience Hyenas came through our camp at night which was exciting!
Projects Abroad staff
The staff were absolutely amazing! They were so friendly and I could talk to them at any point and ask them anything. They were very knowledgeable, and enthusiastic. The cooks are fantastic; they filled me up every day without fail. They made me feel very comfortable while I was in Botswana; I wish I could have stayed longer! I loved every minute of my project; Botswana is definitely a place I will visit again in the future.
Final thoughts on my experience
I really enjoyed meeting everyone on the trip; I will never forget them. Every evening after dinner we would all gather around the fire to keep ourselves warm, grab sticks from trees to put our marshmallows on the end and melt over the fire. Card games were very popular, and we spent so much time in the evenings getting to know one another, laughing and chatting until we were too tired.
My best moment was the first sighting of an elephant! It was only metres away and so incredible to see. That was definitely something I will never forget. Also, just outside the ladies toilets at the camp, there was an elephant so close, I was so excited and blown away! Another amazing moment was when I saw a leopard! It was laying peacefully until we were too loud and full of excitement… It noticed us and strolled away. I thought I would never see one, and seeing one made my trip!