Arrived 18-04-2017 at Buffelsdrift as the first volunteer to participate in the new project. My main interest were the meerkats. After arrival I was accomodated at the volunteer campsite which consists of 5 tents with a maximum of 4 volunteers per tent. A general part named the Lions quarter was in front of the tents and contained benches, tables and a kitchen. Each tent had an open air bathroom and toilet, strange in the beginning, but kind of funny. Watch out for your toiletpaper! It will be blown away if you keep it hanging in the toilet. At the first working day we had to bring the meat to the three young lions: Shumba, Tonga and Safia. This was a routine task for the each morning and afternoon and was a lot of fun. After returning the buckets needed to be cleaned. Another routine task was to prepare the elephant food. Six big buckets filled with lucerne, molasse, semel and several kind of fruits. Add a lot of water and dig in with your hands and arms to make a kind op porridge. All other tasks were done as it came. This was mainly due to the startup of the program and my disability to perform heavy duties. Also the volunteer host still had to perform her guiding and other tasks where necessary. At least I got to see and observe meerkats almost everyday. In the weekend you are free to do some sightseeings in the area, but because I was in Oudshoorn 1.5 years ago I mainly stayed at the camp site and joined the meerkat and bush safari. While driving through the area each day a lot of wildlife is visible: meerkats, giraffe, buffalo, a lot of springbok, zebra, wildebeest, nyala, eland, grey reebok, rhino’s, hippo’s (in the pond at the lodge), etc. It was also fun to walk with the elephants when they had to be picked up. Even at the volunteer camp the springbok and grey reebok are close by. If you are interested in birds, you can see a big variety of them.
In the future a vegetable garden will be constructed. This will be done near the camp site. Also several other tasks are scheduled, like erosion treatment, checking fences, etc.
I stayed for two weeks, but the time passed by very quickly and I enjoyed it very much and I can advice to participate in the project. If I could I would have stayed longer. People are very friendly and help you wherever they can. The only thing I missed was Wifi at the campsite, but each day at the lodge I was able to receive my emails.