As part of my 21st birthday and graduation present, I spent 6 weeks at Phinda Private Game Reserve.
It was my first time travelling to another country all by myself, and I was terrified. I was greeted at the airport by Martin and Natalie, they were very kind and welcoming. They guided me through the airport process for the internal flight to Richards Bay. When I arrived at Richards Bay airport, I was greeted by a warm and welcoming driver who then took me to Phinda. He kindly took us to a supermarket so we could get some snacks such as sweets and pop.
The monitors (Rich, Winston and Charli) were amazing and hilarious! They had incredible knowledge about wildlife and they were very helpful. Also, Charli’s muffins were amazing! I had to stop myself from eating them all! They made me feel part of the team, and I definitely felt like I was. One of my favourite moments with these guys was making dinner and playing cards after a long but wonderful day. A big thank you to these guys for my marvellous experience!
Every day was different and unpredictable. I remember one morning we were supposed to be tracking elephants but we came across a cheetah with three cubs, it was an awesome experience! I loved it when we were able to watch every sunrise and sunset on the drives! Remember to wear layers and a big, fluffy jacket, it is very cold in the mornings and evenings!
It is my goal to work with and protect animals in South Africa, this trip gave me an insight into what it would be like and I have to say, I am incredibly excited about the future. This project showed me how to use telemetry equipment to monitor the collared animals, set up camera traps, dehorning and notching rhinos, record GPS coordinates electronically and take photos for I.D kits. This project is perfect if you wish to go into a research and monitoring career.
You won’t regret going to Phinda Private Game Reserve, and you won’t regret going through ACE.