Friday, 12 July 2013

African Adventures

So, I've been back a couple of weeks now and have finally got my act together and decided to do a quick blog update on my month in Africa.
For so many years now I have really wanted to go and volunteer abroad somewhere, and after discovering that my housemate Shweta wanted to travel too, last year we finally went for it and booked 3 weeks at N/a'an ku se, in Namibia for this summer.

Me with Samira, a lovely old Cheetah. She's the only one you can actually touch like this without risking loss of limb.

Tipsy the baby Springbok


It's hard to know where to start! I knew I would love it, but I didn't realise quite how much. Within 5 minutes of being home, I already started planning a return trip for next summer when I finish uni. Running away to Africa seems like a great way to avoid actually deciding what I'm going to do with my life!
African Wild Dog

Me and Charlie Brown

N/a'an ku se is a reserve dealing with lots of different animals, including Leopards, Cheetahs, Lions, Warthogs, Wild Dogs, Caracals, Meerkats and lots and lots of baboons. There is also a school on the farm, where the Bushman children go, where I spent half my time.

me and baby Koos
The work on the farm works on a rotation system, with different groups doing different duties every day, which include: preparing food and feeding the animals, carnivore feeds, game counts, enclosure patrols, baboon and caracal walks, and everyone's favourite...project work; which includes cleaning  and building new enclosures.
You definitely work hard, the day starts at 8am and finishes at about 5, but it's so worth it when you see new enclosures going up, and how well cared for the animals are. Even if you're making a small contribution to the overall work at the sanctuary, it feels like everyone's hard work is really appreciated.

One of the things I actually enjoyed the most (which I didn't think I would) was looking after baby baboons for the night. There are 4 babies there at the moment, and because they're so little they have to spend the night in bed with the volunteers so they don't get cold. We ended up doing this a few times during our 3 weeks, with our two babies Max and Koos. They are very wriggly, and trying to get a nappy on a very energetic baboon was definitely an experience, but they keep you nice and warm at night! It's amazing how human their behaviours seem, and I miss little Koos so much now I'm home.

As well as working with the animals, we also decided to spend half our time at the Clever Cubs school, which is really a pre school for the Bushman children, whose parents work at N/a'an ku se. The teacher, Hilma (an amazing lady), gets the younger children ready for mainstream school in Windhoek, and then helps the older children do their homework when they come back from school in the city.
I've never met such happy children in my life! They are all so bright and really want to learn. We helped with teaching basic English and Maths, and did lots and lots of pushing on the swings and singing and dancing! The children were so much fun, and wore us out even more than the baboons did. It's so sad that they don't get the same opportunities that we all take so for granted in this country. Primary School has only just become free, and Secondary school still charges children to attend, which really restricts who can continue with education, regardless of how bright or motivated they might be.
and the older kids
Hopefully this is something that will eventually change, but education is definitely moving in the right direction, and the Clever Cubs School does such amazing work.
me and Shweta with the younger kids

It's so hard to really get across how amazing the experience was, I don't feel like I've really done it justice. I can't believe how much I learnt, and all the amazing friendships I made in just 3 weeks. The thought of being able to go back for a longer amount of time next year is definitely making it easier to keep going to work and save money! Anyone who has ever thought they might want to do some volunteering, just go for it. You will have such and amazing time and make great friends, it's so so worth it.
With Lisa and Denzil

Me and Denzil

Some of the other lovely volunteers

I'm going to be sponsoring Lisa, one of the children from the school. £225 is really nothing to us when you consider the difference it could make to someone's life. If you think you might want to sponsor a child, and feel warm and fuzzy inside for a whole year have a look at the N/a'an ku se website here:,

or if you would like to adopt an animal:,

Also, I'm going to write a children's book about the animals at N/a'an ku se as part of my major project this year. Definitely still in the early stages, but I'm hoping if I enter it into a few competitions it will at least spread the word about N/a'an ku se!
And who better to be the leading lady than the lovely Samira??

I'll be posting developments up here!

No comments:

Post a Comment