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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REI's Outdoor School offers thousands of classes and events - some are even free  Business Insider IndiaInsider Picks writes about products and services to help you navigate when shopping online. Insider Inc. receives a commission from our affiliate partners when ...
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Where to buy outdoor furniture - Yardbird eco-friendly wicker sectionals  Business InsiderYardbird is an outdoor furniture startup with an environmental conscience, making stylish and affordably priced pieces from intercepted ocean plastic.
Outdoors in Maine: Club fighting against salmon endangered classification  Lewiston Sun JournalThere's a worthy saying that goes like this: “Bad things happen when good men do nothing.” The Veazie Salmon Club, to its credit, is not sitting on its collective ...
People across China spend leisure time outdoors - Xinhua | English.news.cn  XinhuaTourists view flowers while taking boat on the West Lake in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province, April 1, 2019. As spring comes, people in many places of ...
Outdoor Fire Pits Market Analysis and Forecast 2019-2024: Global Research Report  Global Industry JournalSweeping analysis for Global Outdoor Fire Pits Market 2019 and insights into market share, size, and growth rate. The Global Outdoor Fire Pits Market Report ...
Outdoor Sweeping Machine Market Research Report 2019 Global Latest Industry Evaluation, Supply-Demand, CAGR and Forecast 2024  Global Industry JournalSweeping analysis for Global Outdoor Sweeping Machine Market 2019 and insights into market share, size, and growth rate. The Global Outdoor Sweeping ...
Brower: The evolving outdoor vibe in Granby, Colorado  Sky Hi NewsPatrick Brower, Grand Enterprise Initiative Imagine that. Activity is brewing in Granby that promises to change the look and feel of downtown and the town in ...
Local business notes: Gander Outdoors set to re-open in June  The State Journal-RegisterAfter a nearly two-year hiatus, outdoor equipment and apparel retailer GANDER OUTDOORS will soon reopen its Springfield location. Store manager ERIC ...
Fish Tales: Weekend forecast is good for anglers  Tampa Bay NewspapersThe late season cold front that came through last weekend brought the overnight temperatures down into the 50s for a few days. The front has brought our water ...
Anderson: Some state legislators would again dip into trust fund for outdoors  Minneapolis Star TribunePublic beware: Some again want to dip into lottery-fed environmental fund.
Global Gas Grill Market Analysis 2019 – Coleman, Weber, Onward Manufacturing, Bull Outdoor, Subzero Wolf  B2B News UpdatesNew industry research report on Global Gas Grill Market 2019, describes an in-depth evaluation and professional study on the present state of the Gas Grill ...
Evanston outdoor farmers market returns Saturday, May 4  Chicago TribuneThe outdoor Downtown Evanston Farmers Market will start its 2019 season on Saturday, May 4. The market will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. starting May 4 ...
37 new patios and rooftops for your 2019 outdoor dining in Chicago  Chicago TribuneFind your new haunts for al fresco dining and day drinking in the sun.
Nominate a Scout or Venturer in the 2019 Outdoor Retailer Inspiration Awards  Scouting MagazineNominations are open now for the Youth category in the 2019 Outdoor Retailer Inspiration Awards. The deadline to nominate someone is May 3.
Outdoor space for Prince Kaybee gig  ChronicleMthabisi Tshuma. PREPARATIONS for Banomoya hit-maker Prince Kaybee's show in Bulawayo are at an advanced stage. Event organisers, Cosmopolitan ...
West church holds Easter service outdoors six years after explosion  KWTXWEST, Texas (KWTX) First Baptist Church in West held their Easter *service* outdoors Sunday, as a celebration to not only the resurrection of Jesus but the ...
Kansas couple designs covered wagons for ‘glamping’ outdoors  Wichita EagleA Kansas couple is turning the concept of covered wagons that pioneers once used to journey west into a luxury experience for campers who want to enjoy ...
Scoreboard: Trapshooting | Outdoors  Idaho County Free PressSix-Week Shoot (April 16 at Grangeville). Teams: J&E Excavation 216; Motley Crew 213; Thee Old Farts 207; Intermountain Machine 207; Baker Truck 206; Has ...
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OTHA BARHAM: New Mexico spot a utopia of wild turkeys  Meridian StarDave was a tall, yet blocky, 250-pound U.S. Customs officer with a shock of red hair that flopped down over one eye, a perpetual smile and a happy disposition.
12 Camping essentials for your next outdoor getaway  Gadget FlowIf you're planning on spending time in Mother Nature, be sure to tick the camping essentials off your list.
Aztec Adventures hosts breathtaking outdoor treks  Daily AztecThe top of the summit is 10804 feet in thin air, at a brisk 45 degrees. For psychology senior Carly Kyle, the trip offers more than that. “We're trekking up, and at ...
This Outdoor Lifestyle Brand Is Gearing Up to Launch a Performance Label for Adventurers  Yahoo LifestyleHere are Lems' plans to play in all facets of the outdoor marketplace.
Vivint's New Outdoor Camera Pro Helps Stop Thieves Before They Strike  ForbesVivint has built a brand new outdoor camera that's not just vigilant, but smart enough to tell when you need to know who's lurking around your place.

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