Group of ACE volunteers relaxing around the campfire
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Natasha Hart: working in the field on a nyala

Natasha Hart

🇬🇧 United Kingdom

Length of Trip
21 Nights

Project Year

There were so many things that made the Shimongwe Wildlife Veterinary Experience absolutely amazing. Not only did I see many different species, some of which I had never even heard of before, but I also learnt about and experienced South African culture, all while making amazing friends. Every single person that worked on the project was incredible. They made me feel so welcome as soon as I arrived and they were constantly there if I needed any help. They honestly took me in like family and I would love to go back again in the future. The vet that I worked with was brilliant. He included me in any work he was doing, explaining all the medicine used and why he was using them and how he did a diagnosis. He also gave me valuable tips for my future career!

I had so many amazing experiences but if I had to choose one it would be when working on a nyala antelope that the vet had tranquilised. The vet had been teaching me about the drugs that are used and on this occasion he allowed, and trusted me, to do the necessary injections myself. The vet talked me through the process step by step and I was able to find a vein with my first attempt.

The experience really boosted my self confidenceand gave me an amazing insight into veterinary medicine. 

This project gave me a very wide insight into everything to do with veterinary medicine, especially on the species that I got to work with. This included nyala, wildebeest, and buffalo. I not only worked with and learnt how to care for individual animals from the vet but also all about the mass capture of animals, which is much more complex than I realised. It really opened my eyes to something I knew very little about. The experience I had has really helped prepare me for applying to a vet school and I am able to take this experience and the skills I have learnt back home to further my dream of becoming a wildlife vet!

The accommodation I stayed in was absolutely amazing. Although we were in the middle of nowhere I felt safe and secure as my accommodation was amongst the staff’s accommodation. I never felt isolated or lonely. If I had spare time in the evening I could go and see anyone. There was reliable free Wifi access anywhere in the camp, which also had a beautiful swimming pool and even a gym that I could use when time allowed. The food was also amazing, we had different meals every day and the staff were very accommodating when it came to catering for any dietary requirements. The best part about it was having animals walking around where you lived which was amazing to see!

My friend did this project a couple of years back and she said it was one of the best things she has ever done so I went on to the website and found it extremely helpful. ACE were super helpful when it came to organising my trip. Every step of the way ACE was there for me, from the first phone call to arriving back in the UK after I finished my experience. They talked me through each project, which one they thought would be better suited for me and my goals, how long I could stay for, and the support I would get in South Africa. When I needed any additional information I was able to get hold of them straight away. The booking process was super easy and put me at ease because I knew I would be taken care of.