South Africa 2019
From Sarah Asbury –
In the first week we were out in the bush staying in tents with no electricity which was a fantastic experience and heard so many animals at night including hyenas and lions which was the highlight of the week. We went on walking safaris mainly to identify different plants and understand the ecosystem of Kruger National Park and how it survives. We had some great guides who took us out on driving safaris too, to look for animals following their tracks. At night we put out a camera trap in various places to see what was close by.
Mid way through we stayed in Greater Kruger for 2 nights where there was more chance to see more animals. It’s not always definite you’ll see anything as it is the wild but we were lucky enough to see a few leopards, lions, buffalo, elephants and many more animals.
In the second week we stayed at a place called Care for Wild that looks after orphaned rhinos along with a few other animals that needed a home. All the rhinos and some of the other animals if possible they rehabilitate and release them back into the wild. We got to feed and make the milk for the orphans and the highlight of the week was watching an operation on one that had just come into the centre.
From Leah Cox –
To condense my two weeks in South Africa into a short blog entry is challenging, as I took part in some life changing and vitally important conservation work, reaffirming my passion for wildlife conservation. Working with both black and white rhino at Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary, was a privilege and one which enabled us VIP access to rhino rehabilitation, conservation and release. We gained vital knowledge on the rhino poaching war, and how the work we took part in at Care for Wild, makes a difference in something much larger than ourselves. Cleaning enclosures called ‘bomas’, hand feeding rhino calf’s and going on game drives around the reserve were just some of the great activities we played a role in. After our time at Care for Wild we travelled to Kruger National Park, home to South Africa’s ‘big 5’ and a variety of other native flora and fauna. Whilst there, we went on several game drives, being lucky enough to see African Leopard, Spotted Hyena, Elephant, Buffalo, Lion, Giraffe and more. Moving on after our 2 days spent in Kruger we headed to Tsakane bush camp. At Tsakane we took part in a community outreach programme, alien plant control project, vegetation transects, native bird surveys, animal tracking, night drives and snare sweeps around the perimeter. During our stay we heard lectures on Kruger National Park ecology, vegetation and mineral diversity, plant defence, African mega-herbivores and carnivores and waterhole ecology and drought. The skills, experience and knowledge I gained during the study tour are crucial; being invaluable for potential future job applications or roles in the ecological/conservation sector. I’m very grateful to have been given the opportunity, as I gained new friends and made fond memories. I would highly recommend this study tour to anyone thinking of going, you won’t regret it!
About The Authors
My name is Leah, I’m a second-year Zoo Management student at University Centre Reaseheath. As part of my course I have had the opportunity to go on a field trip to Africa. I’m looking forward to seeing all the animals and taking lots of photos. I enjoy photography and art as well as spending time with my pets at home and in the college Zoo. Over all I’m looking forward to the opportunity to learn new things and see some animals in their natural habitat.
My name is Sarah Asbury, I am 20 years old and in my second year at University Centre Reaseheath studying FdSc Animal Management (Behaviour and Welfare). I live in Capesthorne House. Once I finish here, I want to be a conservationist overseas so going to South Africa will allow me to see the work they already do to conserve animals and rehabilitate them to the wild. We will be visiting a rhino sanctuary that looks after a number of orphaned rhinos due to poaching and they also have a few other animals that they are rehabilitating too. We will also be visiting the Balule reserve which is home to a wide range of African animals that has open fences where we will have the chance to go on game drives and bush walks hopefully.