Always wanted to go on Safari, see Africa’s big 5 and witness those stunning African sunsets? Of course you have! That’s exactly what Ria did when she went away to the Kruger National Park with BUNAC. Now she’s back we’ve caught up with her to hear all the amazing stories she has to share…
Cast yourselves back to January, it’s the start of a new year and the start of a new experience for Ria Patel. She is about to embark on her 2 week conservation programme working out of the Greater Kruger National Park in South Africa. From elephant charges to rhino sightings, this experience sounds unforgettable and we were just as excited as you to catch up with her!
What were you doing before you went away?
- I was a student at BPP University
Why did you choose a volunteer experience in the Kruger National Park?
- I've always wanted to go on a safari and I thought the best way to do this would be by actually working and volunteering on site as well. South Africa is well known for its wildlife and I knew this project with BUNAC would be perfect for what I wanted to achieve!
What were your expectations prior to the trip?
- I tried not to have many expectations on my trip, all I wanted was to experience the big 5 animals. My expectations were certainly exceeded, and overall the trip was unforgettable; I saw all of the animals I wanted to see including elephants, rhinos, lions and cheetah’s along with the friends I made this experience was amazing.
What was the base and project life like?
- The base was a lot nicer than I expected, at least it wasn't a tent! It was situated right on the banks of the Olifants River which gave us amazing views waking up to hippos, crocodiles and various antelope basking in the sun every morning!
The project was excellent - our leader gave us countless opportunities to go out into the Kruger and witness as many different types of wild animals as possible, whilst learning basic identification techniques for example identifying tracks and animal behaviour. Reserve work was also built into our stay where we helped to maintain the park, making it easier for jeeps to get past and making the roads safer.
Any pleasant surprises or unexpected experiences that you’ll never forget?
- Our jeep was charged by an elephant one afternoon! Our leader was excellent and got us away safely, we all still tried to take a picture though! Other experiences include brais by the fire, touching a cheetah in an animal sanctuary, and seeing 3 fully grown lionesses getting ready to hunt. Amazing!
What was your main highlight?
- On my last day I still hadn't seen a rhino, but on our last sunset drive we were lucky enough to catch full sight of a huge white rhino. He came right up close to the jeep which was amazing. It was a perfect ending to the programme!
Would you go back and do it all again?
- I would definitely go on the Kruger experience again! Next time I would like to head to a different region and see different animals and habitats. Thank you so much BUNAC!
Feel inspired and want to join in on the Kruger National Park experience? Give us a call to find out more on 03339997516 or request a call back!