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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UAE weather on Friday: Cloudy skies make outdoor activities favourable  Gulf NewsThe NCM has predicted cloudy skies and moderate winds on the weekend.
Explore the outdoors: Take a gentle walk along the river Dulnain in the footsteps of General Wade  Press and JournalI paused at the apex of the steep arch of Sluggan bridge, gazing into the waters below, and taking in the tranquillity of my surroundings. I was following one of ...
Ride sheep and build sheds at Ollie & Bollie's Outdoor Estate  Rock Paper ShotgunSokpop's Humble-exclusive yardwork sim has bounced onto Itch.io and headlines the quirky collective's two-games-a-month Patreon program for July.
Looking for a new tent this festival season? Go Outdoors has a massive camping gear sale happening now...  LouderGet money off festival camping essentials including Vango tents, Outwell sleeping bags and more in this epic Go Outdoors sale.
Outdoor LED Lightings Market Opportunities, Top Players, Survey, Capital Investment Status and Trend Report By 2024  The ConnectionThe Outdoor LED Lightings Market report intends to provide cutting-edge market intelligence and help decision makers take sound investment evaluation.
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REI's Fourth of July Sale Will Help You Gear Up for Summer Outdoor Adventures  EsquireSnag Patagonia duffels, Hydro Flask water bottles, and more for a lot less money at REIs Fourth of July sale on outdoor gear, clothes, and tech.
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Global Outdoor Cooking Table Market Overview with Demographic Data and Industry Growth Trends 2019-2024  CW57.TVOutdoor Cooking Table Market 2019 report contains a focused socio-economic, political, and environmental analysis of the factors affecting the Outdoor Cooking ...
Virginia lands its own outdoor recreation office  SNEWSNow, 15 states have agencies that promote the outdoor industry.
Kandi Burruss Shows Off A Massive Cleavage While Enjoying The Outdoors  Celebrity InsiderKandi Burruss is showing off her gorgeous figure while enjoying the outdoors in a fantastic dress. The outfit is putting her best assets on display,
Trending Science: About 17 minutes a day outdoors keeps the doctor away  Cordis NewsResearch published in the journal 'Scientific Reports' suggests that at least 120 minutes a week experiencing nature improves health and well-being, both ...
What's Up Outdoors: Little lakes, big bite  Brainerd DispatchSometimes great memories of catching tons of fish -- and big ones at that -- come from the simplest trips on the smallest lakes. Last week we spent an afternoon ...
REI Will Do Business With Vista Outdoor After Sale of Savage, Stevens  GearJunkieREI will lift the 'hold' it placed on products from Vista Outdoor brands after the conglomerate announced it would sell two of its firearms brands, Savage Arms and ...
North Face Supports Girls Scouts' Outdoor Adventures  SGB MediaThe North Face and Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) introduced Girl Scouts' Outdoor High Adventure badge programming, which includes 12 new outdoor ...
How you can stay safe during holiday outdoor activities  Travel Daily News InternationalIt doesn't matter where you go, there are always some outdoor activities for you to try. Many of these can be so unique and exciting that it is hard to pass them up.
Head outdoors for the Take 'Em Fishing challenge  KETV OmahaPrizes are in store for those who fish at Nebraska lakes and rivers.
Worldwide Wall Mounted Outdoor Umbrellas Market: 2019 Worldwide Prospects, Share, Crucial Players, Size, Competitive Breakdown and Regional Forecast  The ConnectionThis Wall Mounted Outdoor Umbrellas market report presents a comprehensive overview, market shares, and growth opportunities of Wall Mounted Outdoor ...
'Empowering the learner': Outdoor learning group brings lesson inside Auburn library  Auburn CitizenAUBURN — Carrie Empie and Lori Harper, of the organization Outdoor Life Learners, prefer to hold their lessons in the type of classroom without four walls.
The Best Outdoor Toys On Amazon  ForbesSummer is in full force, and if you live on the East Coast or in the Pacific Northwest, you can expect a hotter than average season this year. (Oy.) But summer ...
Amazon’s Blink XT2 outdoor security camera survived a heat wave and a rainstorm  CNETI tried out Blink's battery-powered XT2 security cam. Here's how it went.
Outdoor Environmental Educators | United Federation of Teachers  United Federation of TeachersAre you a teacher who loves the outdoors and feels strongly about preserving our natural environment? Welcome to the UFT's Outdoor-Environmental Education ...
Check out the best new gear from the Summer Outdoor Retailer 2019 convention  Digital TrendsAt the 2019 summer Outdoor Retailer convention held annually in Denver, Colorado the top brands from the outdoor industry unveiled hundreds of new products ...
Outdoors Q&A: Did I Buy a Fake Fishing License?  NoozhawkQuestion: I've heard that there's been an issue with fraudulent websites selling California fishing licenses. I bought my license online earlier this year. I don't ...
California passes emergency rule for outdoor workers exposed to wildfire smoke  The Mercury NewsSAN DIEGO — Employers will be required to provide respirators to workers exposed to unhealthy air because of wildfire smoke under an emergency regulation ...

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