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September 8, 2017

Volunteering at Buffelsdrift – Cesario Bergamin

My name is Cesario Bergamin, I’m 19 years old, live in Switzerland and spend 2 weeks as a Volunteer at Buffelsdrift Game Lodge.After 1 week of exploring Cape Town my journey to Buffelsdrift Game Lodge started.I was welcomed by the lovely Volunteer Project Manager Mariné with whom I spent every day with. She had an awesome personality and always gives 100% to make sure everything works out and you enjoy the Volunteering as much as possible! She made the stay so fun and always considered my requests.On the first day the other Volunteer, Monique, and me were straight taken to the Lions to feed them. This was an awesome first activity to start off the Volunteer Program. Since then we fed the Lions twice a day and I never lost the excitement about it. This was for sure one of the highlights during my stay at the Game Lodge, which I could relive again every single day.Another highlight was the Elephant Experience which I could join several times. The Elephant guys are super cool and make the feeding, hugging and walking with the Ellies even better.Besides that, I could get a fascinating insight to the Rangers life and everything else that it needs to make the Lodge working as it should. Furthermore I learned alot about all the animals that live here which made every day even more interesting. What I liked alot was the variety during my stay. Not a single day was the same.Some of the things I got to do were for example: Building a toy to challange the Lions to get to their meat instead of just handing it out to them, preparing Elephant food, setting up bushcameras to see what happens at a certain spot during the night, doing Game Counts to see how many animals of each species are currently in the enclosure, plant seeds to grow new trees for the Elephants, check the electricity around the Lion’s enclosure, prepare the Lion’s meat by cutting a Donkey in pieces, pick up a Nyala that died from the drought on the field and a lot more. For all the activities Mariné or other rangers instructed me very well what made me learn everything quickly.Besides the Pro’s were of course also some Contras during my stay. I had to sleep in an open tent, in which it got pretty cold during the nights in the winter time. After some nights the Lodge provided more blankets so it was not that much of a business anymore. Also the evenings and weekends got pretty boring since we were just two Volunteers and there is no Wi-Fi connection at the Campside. This was, apart from not meeting any Volunteers other than Monique, a reason why I decided to change the Program after two weeks instead of staying here for a month. Besides the Wi-Fi, which they will set up soon, this was also my fault because I decided to go there during low-season.To sum up I had an awesome time here, learned a lot about the wildlife in South Africa and the Rangers work. I also met alot of cool and friendly people working here. Thank you for everything!

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