Volun­teering South Africa Zululand – Nellie

We asked Nellie to fill out our feedback questionnaire to share her experience as a volunteer in our wildlife conservation project in South Africa with us. Learn more

Nellie sitzt in Zululand am Rande einer Klippe und hat eine tolle Aussicht über die Weite Natur
Nellie steht auf einem Fahrzeug und erfasst Daten in Zululand mit Natucate

Volunteering Zululand – Nellie

I recently finished my two-week volunteer project in Zululand, South Africa, and would now like to share a bit about my experience.

My expectations were exceeded

In short: It was just amazing. The last two weeks are the most extraordinary, magical, and exciting weeks of my life. It was what my heart wished for and exceeded my expectations.

Nellie sitzt in Zululand am Rande einer Klippe und hat eine tolle Aussicht über die Weite Natur

Faszination Africa

Ever since I was a child, Africa has fascinated me, and I often watched wildlife films from the Serengeti and other African nature reserves on videotapes. I found it great to watch the zebras, wildebeests, and buffalos grazing and so exciting to watch lions and hyenas hunting.

For a long time, I had the desire to see these animals in real life.
However, since an ordinary day or multi-day safari somehow never felt right, I had no impulse to make this dream come true for a long time.

I didn't want to see the wildlife and nature of Africa from tourists' eyes, and I didn't want to get to know it for just one or a few days. Instead, I have always wanted to dive deep into Africa's colourful world and energy. I wanted to experience this continent with all my senses and intensively connect with the wildlife.

And then I came across Natucate. So, I could fulfil this dream according to my ideas or even better.

Ein kleines Wasserloch wird von vielen verschiedene Tieren besucht; unteranderen von Zebras

Tasks as a volunteer helper

Every day we spent up to 9 hours on an open off-road vehicle in nature. We also had our camp in the middle of the reserve. Due to the early start of the 1st monitoring tour (often already around 4 o'clock), we often experienced many animals sleeping and were able to observe incredible sunrises every day.
Getting up early was easy for me, and during the lunch break, there was time to rest and catch up on sleep.

The only thing to remember is that it can get fresh in the early morning hours on the open vehicle. As soon as the sun rises, however, it quickly warms up. For the time in the dark, I just put on a few layers of clothing, a hat, and a scarf – so I was well prepared.

Die Landschaft von Zululand: ein Weg der bis zum Horizont führt neben einem Berg in der Ferne
Eine Giraffe liegt in Zululand in der Sonne hinter einem Busch und ruht sich aus
Die Sonne geht auf in Zululand an einem leicht bewölkten Tag

So, we were surrounded by nature, animals, peace, quiet, and African vibes all day, and I could dive deep into the magical world of South Africa precisely as I have always wished! It was simply brilliant!

As volunteers, we learned to locate endangered species through telemetry (my project focused on wild dogs, lions, hyenas, and cheetahs), read tracks, evaluate camera trap photos, and document animal behaviour.

Ein Zebra ist von hinten zusehen, dass sich weg bewegt, umgeben von dürren Sträuchern

Each day was special, unique, and wonderful. We encountered many different animals every day, saw such beautiful nature and scenery, and experienced magical sunrises and sunsets. We learned a lot about wildlife, the project, the reserve, etc., from our monitoring guides and had a brilliant time together as a group of seven (5 volunteers and two guides).

The time in the volunteer project was magical, educational, intense, adventurous, exciting, beautiful, and the best decision ever. I am sooooooo grateful for these unforgettable two weeks and am just fulfilled and happy right now! With all my heart I can recommend this project.

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