There’s more than just taking photos

UK Photography Volunteer Jim Ward writes about a community project that he was involved in whilst volunteering in Africa last month.


“Putting their camera’s down for a day, the volunteers from the Photography Project were invited to Mhlekazi school to provide the older children with a lesson on animal conservation.

community project volunteering in Africa
Mhlekazi students learning about animal conservation

Given that there were five countries represented within the Photography group and no teachers, this was going to be a lesson for the teachers as well as the children.

With just two sessions of three hours to pre- pare the lesson, time was of the essence and ideas had to be quickly formulated and equally quickly put into a lesson format.

Given that the children had already learned about the Big Five and the Little Five it was decided the next topic should be the Ugly Five – Hyena, Warthog, marabou stork, Vulture and Wildebeest.

photography course in Africa plus wildlife conservation volunteer
photography volunteer Jonas's winning shot

The lesson was finalised with minutes to spare and it was into the bus and off into the hills to the school. Because of renovation work at the school, two classes had to be merged into one, so the Photographers were met with a class of 70 excited children. Thankfully the group had the invaluable assistance of Chris our Guide who not only proved to be a great Zulu translator, he was also a great hit with the kids. After initially recapping the Big and Little Five and explaining about the ugly Five, it was the kids favourite part of the lesson with games used to further enhance the knowledge about the Ugly Five. A lot of the children remembered about the Big Five and the Little Five, which was heartening to know.

The games proved very enjoyable and noisy, with a word search, quiz, colouring and Ugly Five bingo and the lesson was brought to a conclusion with a lot of happy faces. The departure of the Photographers proved to be a lot more of an event than their arrival, with most of the kids wanting to say an individual goodbye to all the volunteers.

A good day was had by all.

Amanzi Travel photography volunteer, Jim, UK.



A truly life changing experience, working on wildlife and community volunteering projects in Africa over eight years ago, convinced Gemma Whitehouse to give up her job as a Marketing Manager for an international organisation and use her skills and expertise to set up a company that would offer others the same amazing opportunities with a service second to none - thus Amanzi Travel was born.

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