“This has given him confidence in dealing with new situations and people. To see him joining in with others, laughing and joking and enjoying the company of fellow-animal-lovers has been the most wonderful aspect of this brilliant experience.”
Helen and her son Adam who has autism, have just returned from 2 weeks volunteering in Africa, with wildlife at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary. This is what Helen, aged 57, had to say about their journey –
“Just returned from working in a wildlife sanctuary in Namibia for 2 weeks with my son, arranged by Amanzi Travel. The first thing that struck me was the friendliness of the staff. In my experience many people who love animals are less comfortable with the two-legged kind, but this was not the case here.
In spite of the considerable amount of work and the many demands placed upon them, they showed every concern for our needs and welfare. This was especially important to me as my son (age 18) is autistic and some adjustments to the tasks and activities were necessary. We are also vegetarians. We were never made to feel that these things were any sort of problem or imposition – quite the opposite.
As a result he (and I) had the most wonderful time.The staff kept all of us (between 30 -40 volunteers) fully informed about every aspect of the project and the background of each of the animals. We were allowed to do a very wide variety of tasks – from preparing the animals’ food to helping with research programmes such as tracking radio-collared cheetahs and puff adders with one of the resident scientists. Of course we fed the animals – some by bottle and others by throwing hunks of meat over the electrified fence!
Autism means my son is a shy and anxious person who finds new situations very challenging. In spite of this he is studying Animal Care at college. This programme has not only given him lots of unique work experience, but most importantly it has given him confidence in dealing with new situations and people. To see him joining in with others, laughing and joking and enjoying the company of fellow-animal-lovers has been the most wonderful aspect of this brilliant experience.
“In my experience many people who love animals are less comfortable with the two-legged kind, but this was not the case here.”
I would recommend this project to anyone with a sense of adventure and who is not too attached to their creature comforts! The facilities are basic but perfectly acceptable, so long as you do not forget that you are in Africa – miles from anywhere – if you like camping, then you should not find it a hardship. Though sometimes wet (very very wet) it is soon dry again, and never cold. To lie in your tent at night and hear lions roaring in the distance is just one example of the special features of the accommodation.
Amanzi Travel have been so kind, helpful and efficient and have done all they can to make the booking process as painless as possible.” Helen, UK, aged 57
I love this review of volunteering in Namibia, as it shows the variety of benefits and experiences that each traveller finds on their own journey. A massive credit to Helen and Adam, and all the staff at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary, who work tirelessly to support the local wildlife, environment and community.
I’d love to hear what your experience of volunteering meant to you, and if it changed your direction at all?