Things to Make Your Gap Year in Africa Easy!

The kind of things you pack when you go on a trip says a lot about where you're heading and what you're going to be doing.

Taking a warm top and a 'blanky' is OK if you're going to stay at Granny's house, but when you're taking a gap year in Africa, these items come highly recommended...

Work Pants with zip-off longs x 2

Great for casual wading in the water and getting within meters of Southern Right Whales breaching just off your sea sprayed research boat.

This is what work at the O.R.C.A Foundation in Plettenberg Bay was all about. Plettenberg Bay is a coastal town located along the world famous Garden Route. It's where some of the worlds most fascinating marine species can be seen, anything from Humpback Whales to Great White Sharks.

My gap year travel here gave me a once in a life time chance to work with these magnificent marine species in exciting and groundbreaking marine conservation volunteer work.

My Gap year at the O.R.C.A. Marine Foundation was also spent doing:

Rescue and rehabilitation of marine species
Sampling, tagging, monitoring and dissection of fish species
Participating in commercial marine-eco tourism activities, that included whale and dolphin watching tours, sea kayaking, township tours, and river ferry cruises
Supervised collection of touch pool and aquarium species for the O.R.C.A. Education Centre
O.R.C.A. patrol boat trips to collect data, monitor the bay and take photos of whales, dolphins and other marine species

The Fleece Beanie

The Kapama Private Game Reserve gets cold at night; I reckon fleece beanies are essential. Long nights monitoring and tracking game is an amazing experience, chills or no chills.

I found the stars in the sky were a thousand times brighter than they are in the city. Though the stars were beautiful, most of the time the thrill of stalking around in the bush took preference. Darting parties were conducted to inspect and tag animals for conservation purposes.

The monitoring programs enable conservationists to keep records of the movements and numbers of the game in the area.

Working at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre involved feeding and taking care of baby animals. Quite a few species are bred here, including the cheetah, which is a most interesting cat when you get to see one close up.

Other activities we were involved in: Camping in the reserve to get the African feeling
Target shooting
Capturing of wild animals when required by the reserve or the sanctuary
Assisting in hand raised animals
Elephant back safaris

Handy Gloves for the Colobus Trust

You can't even begin to imagine how a pair of gloves help while you're fixing fences and chasing baboons and monkeys all day. They're also a great help for removing vegetation from power lines to prevent these silly monkeys from being electrocuted. Another priority was removing the snares in the Diani Forest in an effort to protect the Colobus Monkey and its habitat.

I've never done anything quite like conducting a census for monkeys. Counting hundreds of colobus, sykes, vervet monkeys and baboons is an oddly rewarding experience.

What else did I do on my gap year on the South Coast of Kenya:

Repair and installing Colobridges, monkey-crossing bridges over Diani Beach road
Remove vegetation from power lines to stop monkeys from being electrocuted
Work alongside the school children doing studies on medicinal plants used by the community

Binoculars: Eyes in the Field

For the Shamwari Game Reserve, Binoculars were undoubtedly the most useful piece of equipment I had. You'll understand why they are often called field eyes when you get to Shamwari.

They are especially useful for the mammal monitoring and tracking program that requires diligent scanning of at least 20,000 hectares of African bush. You also need them while taking game counts and conducting the anti poaching patrols. This makes you feel like you're really playing your part in things.

These missions in the name of nature are incidentally carried out from the back of land rovers; the genuine experience!

We spotted so many varieties of amazing animals; I don't even know where to begin. While stacking up thorn trees around the village, a technique used to keep predators out and livestock in, we were surprised by the sighting of a cheetah, a perfect time to zoom in with those binoculars.

My gap year voluntary work on Shamwari also covered the following: Assisting with game darting
Alien vegetation control and identification
Camp outs in the bush
Feeding of predators at The Born Free animal rescue sanctuary

A Trusty Pair of Hiking Boots

If you're walking through 54 000 hectares of mountains, plains, indigenous fauna and flora and the incredible rock formations of the Warmwaterberg Mountains, I recommend getting good boots.

Most of the animal research projects at the Sanbona Wildlife Reserve involved tracking. This meant covering a lot of rocky terrain in order to complete our objectives of game counts, monitoring and transect analysis. Camps outs in the bush and nocturnal game monitoring turned out to be extremely adventurous.

Generally, it was more of a team thing. I felt connected and part of something that, beyond just talking about it, really was doing something to help conservation efforts in the real world.

These are only a few examples of the hands-on experience we had:

Plant studies and identification
Animal habituation
Bird monitoring - bird counts on the dam including the raptor family
Medicinal use of plants and vegetation biomes

Worldwide Experience provides conservation volunteers & gap year in Africa opportunities on some of Southern Africa's premier private game reserves. This gives volunteers from around the world a chance to work closely with animals and to help forward the South African National Park's conservation objectives.

In The News:

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Plans to expand cattle feedlot near outdoor garden rejected  WGEMJEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri commission has rejected a proposal to greatly expand a cattle feedlot near a 970-acre botanical garden. The Kansas.
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Stereophonics announce Swansea one-off outdoor gig next Summer  ITV NewsRead the latest Wales stories, Stereophonics announce Swansea one-off outdoor gig next Summer on ITV News, videos, stories and all the latest Wales news.
Some people are skipping Black Friday shopping to spend time outdoors - here are 8 underrated national parks to visit over the holiday  Business Insider IndiaShutterstockLassen Volcanic National Park in northern California.The #OptOutside campaign beckons people to explore the outdoors the day after ...
Fire Marshal gives tips on safe outdoor lighting  KLTVLongview Fire Marshal gives electrical tips for outside Christmas Lights.
Mt. Baker Ski Area announced 2018-19 opening  The Bellingham HeraldMike Trowbridge, operations manager for Mt. Baker Ski Area, said the ski area will open for the 2018-19 season on Wednesday, Dec. 12. It's the ski area's latest ...
Giant panda plays outdoors after snowfall in NE China - Xinhua | English.news.cn  XinhuaGiant panda Youyou walks on snow-covered ground at Yabuli Giant Panda House in the ski resort of Yabuli in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, Nov.
10 Heavy Duty Watches For Tradies, The Outdoors & Action Men  D'MargeFancy yourself an action man or just a bloody good tradie? Dress like your most adventurous idols, these heavy duty outdoor watches are a sure-fire step in the ...
City mulls outdoor rink plan  Belleville IntelligencerCity council decided with a unanimous recorded vote Monday to direct staff to investigate the feasibility of installing a Sens Rink in the Friendly City.
Are there restrictions on outdoor Christmas decorations? | 11 Listens  THV11.com KTHVWhether it's excessive light displays or noisy Christmas decorations, each year around the holidays, neighbors often ask if there are any rules and regulations for ...
Outdoor Christmas decorations banned by North Phoenix HOA  FOX 10 News PhoenixIt's not just package thefts that can kill the holiday spirit. Residents of a condo complex in North Phoenix said their HOA has banned outdoor Christmas ...
Outdoor play area of Aberdeenshire primary school damaged by 'mindless' vandals  Press and JournalOfficers are appealing for information after toys were thrown onto a roof, a dolls house was damaged and planters were overturned at Auchenblae Primary ...
The outdoor economy is shifting the way we think about spending time outside  Marketplace APMThis sector of the U.S. economy is using its financial power to address the threat to public lands and to increase participation outdoors.
Outdoor Christmas light strands: An expert’s tangled guide  Chicago TribuneToday I'd like to offer some expert advice on handling the most basic of Christmas decorations: the simple strand of outdoor holiday lights. While modern ...
Taking Advantage Of Your Outdoor Space [INFOGRAPHIC]  ValueWalkResearch shows that 60% of British people prefer to use their own outdoor space in order to relax, which ties in perfectly with the concept.
2019 Honda Passport makes a bid for the great outdoors  New AtlasAs the newest flagship utility from Honda, the Passport is big and bold, a five-seater that fits between the smaller CR-V and the larger Pilot. With dimensions ...
RALPH BARTHOLDT: Pheasant fundraiser a big success on the Palouse  Bonner County Daily BeeWhen they wheeled in the ribs, tucked inside giant tupperware tubs lined with barbecue sauce and aroma, an air.
Outdoor winter activities | Watch News Videos Online  Globalnews.caWatch Outdoor winter activities Video Online, on GlobalNews.ca.
Five things you should know about the extravagant Country Christmas display at the Ingleside Hotel  Milwaukee Journal SentinelThe popular drive-through display returns for the 23rd year to Ingleside Hotel.
Make way for the best outdoor activity buddy, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro  Stuff MagazinesHand in hand with an increased nutrition awareness, the world is witnessing a rise of fitness culture. Fitness influencers are being followed by millions on Social ...
London councillor questions $150,000 ask for outdoor fan area during Junos  CBC.caCoun. Stephen Turner says a request for $150000 to pay for an outdoor fan area at Budweiser Gardens during the Junos should come out of Tourism London's ...
Better Black Friday for the outdoors  The ColumbianIf working off the Thanksgiving calories by jostling with other shoppers isn't your idea of a good time, how about spending your Black Friday in the outdoors ...
Preston shisha café to build new outdoor smoking shelter  Lancashire Evening PostA Preston shisha café will build a new stainless steel smoking shelter.
An essay on a bird feeder and winter strategies  Great Falls TribuneAll animals that spend at least part of their lives in Montana have three strategies for coping with winter: leave, go to sleep or tough it out.
New outdoors sports show coming to Chippewa Falls  Leader-TelegramCHIPPEWA FALLS — A new outdoor sports show promoting archery, hunting and hundreds of exhibitors will be presented in September at the Northern ...
Conquering new heights: Plus-sized women prove outdoors are for anyone while preparing for Mt. Kilimanjaro  KPTV.comPORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - It's both a climb of a lifetime and daunting challenge: To summit Mt. Kilimanjaro – but for one group of plus-sized women, making it to ...
Anderson: Dearth of outdoors reps on Walz's transition team is worrisome  Minneapolis Star TribuneHow exactly Minnesota Gov.-Elect Tim Walz could talk a good game during the recent campaign about the importance of Minnesota's fish and wildlife and their ...
SNEWS launches independent outdoor retail reporting with “The Voice”  SNEWSInaugural issue to debut at Outdoor Retailer Snow Show with focus on mission-critical stories.

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