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Volunteer Testimonials

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Elizabeth Gerner: Antelope Park Lion Breeding & Rehabilitation Project in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe Zimbabwe  |  Nov 09, 2011
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 Don't let fear hold you back 

Why did you choose to volunteer with Kaya? - They came to the university and had a good range of options to choose from.

What were the best aspects of the project? - Well structured, they take the volunteer opinions into account.

What have been the highlights of your trip? - Lion walks, elephant rides, horse rides and the trip to the orphange.

Any other comments - Had a fantastic time and I'm already planning to save up to go back next year for even longer.

Tell us about how your two weeks in Zimbabwe made you want to go back to Africa -  Whilst I was in Zimbabwe, I got to experience things that only a handful of people get to experience. The lifestyle there was so refreshing that I was glad to get up early in the morning and clean out lion enclosures, a task that some found less than pleasant! After living this and getting home and repeatedly telling family and friends about my time there, I realised I wanted to go back to Zimbabwe, but I also realised that there is so much more of Africa to see, encouraging me to do some more research into other projects and spotting the project in South Africa with penguins, I had to snap up the opportunity!

Both of your projects have had a wildlife focus, and you stated in your application form that you love meeting new people. Tell us about the people you met at Antelope Park and why you want to work with wildlife? - In Antelope Park, I found everyone to be extremely friendly. I have never smiled at people so much in my life! Everyone I saw in the park all said hello and asked me how I was and they all seemed to be genuinely interested in my answer. I wanted to work with wildlife as I have always had an interest in animals, whether it was my own pets or animals in the zoo and when I saw the Antelope Park project I knew I had to go and have a hands onexperience with one of the world's most beautiful animals.

One piece of advice for future volunteers? - Make sure to get involved in as many things as the project offers! The last thing you want is to go home and think "I wish I'd done that whenI was there." Don't let fear hold you back. I almost let my fear stop me from riding an elephant, but as soon I was on him, I didn't want to get back down! (Though I had to because my legs were aching!)

Where next?! - I have just booked a project to go to Cape Town with penguins and I'm in the middle of working hard to save up so I can go back to Antelope Park! This all means that I have to be extremely careful and I've sacrificed many nights of partying, but I know the end result will be totally worth it!

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