Tourists who want to give back to a destination that has given them memorable experiences will find no shortage of opportunity to do so in Africa.
Ulusaba Private Game Reserve empowers communities
Pride ’n Purpose is the charitable arm of Ulusaba Private Game Reserve, committed to helping disadvantaged communities living adjacent to the Sabi Sand Reserve on the border of the Kruger National Park. All the charity’s running expenses are covered by Virgin Limited Edition and Virgin Unite, and 100 percent of donations go directly towards much-needed projects – it is estimated that Pride ’n Purpose benefits over 35 000 people across six communities.
The Pride ’n Purpose philosophy is that people are most effectively helped if they are empowered to help themselves, thus the emphasis is on sustainable development initiatives. For example, every September, Arbour Month is marked with a number of fun projects. Ulusaba guests are encouraged to make donations and assist in the planting of fruit trees in the local village of Dumphries as part of a community tour. The reserve keeps guests updated with the progress of the trees long after they have returned home.
Rocktail Camp’s turtle drives
Rocktail Camp offers turtle drives during October and March each year, where guests may be lucky enough to view turtle hatchlings on a night drive. Guests are led by a Wilderness Safari guide along Rocktail’s 30 kilometres of beach. Natalie Gouws, from Rocktail Camp, suggests the best time to experience the turtle drive is between December and February. Once the guide spots the turtles, they are measured for record keeping. Both the loggerhead and leatherback turtles can be found on the northern KwaZulu-Natal coastline.
Gondwana Game Reserve’s research contributes to future management
Gondwana Game Reserve, an 11 000-hectare private Big Five reserve on the Garden Route, offers a five-night conservation experience at its Tented Eco Camp for those who want more engagement on safari. Participants get involved in wildlife and veld management, learn important bush skills and interpretation, and volunteer in the local community.
The research and findings from the programme are fed back to Gondwana’s conservation department to assist in decisions made on reserve management. Some of the activities visitors might find themselves participating in are photographic surveys of the Cape leopard, animal translocation and veterinary care, and erosion control.
Mount Camdeboo volunteers exposed to new skills
Volunteers are motivated for a variety of reasons, says Saskia Brown, Sales and Marketing Manager for Mount Camdeboo Private Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape, where the Mount Camdeboo Conservation Experience is in force.
Some are researchers working on their theses, or students on a gap year. They may be looking for work experience, a career change, or just fulfilling a dream to visit Africa. “The unifying theme among them is an interest in using their time, skills and money to give back and make a positive impact,” she says.
The reserve’s volunteer programme will see the visitor engaged in animal tracking and research, reserve management, botanical rehabilitation and community outreach. Volunteers work Mondays to Fridays from 06h30 to 17h00, but there’s no such thing as a typical day and tasks are tailored to priorities on the reserve. The weekends are free to chill in camp or explore the area.
Source: Michelle Coleman and Kim Emmanuel. Image: Pixabay