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Phinda Wildlife Research Project: 28 November - 12 December 2023*
As a kid, I grew up with the ambition of one day working as a wildlife vet out in the African bush, and the Shimongwe Wildlife Veterinary Experience with ACE offered a chance to do just this.
Before the trip even began, communication with the ACE team in the UK made my preparations extremely easy. Every question I had, short or complex, was answered quickly, helping me to know what to expect when I arrived, as well as sorting out any slight confusion or problems with transport. This gave me confidence that the entire operation was well-run, and everything did indeed go to plan throughout my stay.
Having already been in South Africa prior to my course, I drove myself to the Bush Retreat, although I could have joined the rest of the group at the airport had I wanted to. Here, I spent both weeks as a guest of a host family, who made me feel so welcome in their home – we (myself and two other students) were looked after extraordinarily well and always had an awesome meal to look forward to when we got back from the vets every evening.
My days with the vet were always full and exciting, with a new unexpected challenge each day; this could be a day trip to de-horn rhinos, capturing giraffe or staying back at the clinic looking after some cheetah cubs.
My days with the vet were always full and exciting, with a new unexpected challenge each day; this could be a day trip to de-horn rhinos, capturing giraffe or staying back at the clinic looking after some cheetah cubs. Although I was sadly only there for a couple of weeks, I managed to see and take part in a huge variety of different tasks and procedures – and even if no field trips had been scheduled for the day, there was always something to do back in the clinic. This trip was an unforgettable experience, with some incredible work being done by the vets and conservationists in the area.
I was really sad to have to leave at the end of the two weeks but am extremely grateful to have been given the chance to go out and do it in the first place.