Jan H

Australia | May 2017

I spent 2 weeks at this amazing place and could move there permanently.  Working so closely with the elephants and the rhino was a dream.  The awe inspiring community and the projects and long term goals took me by surprise, and as such has left a space in my heart. The people are wonderful and very passionate.

I loved the days walking with the elephants and joining them for breakfast in the bush.  I was lucky to be at the project at a time when the new baby rhino, Tafara, was in the bush with her mum.  The mornings I spent just watching them in their natural surroundings was such a special time.

The volunteer house in itself was like a 4 star lodge, set on the lake with beautiful gardens plus a swimming pool.  The outside solar showers were hot and Morgan and Rob, the volunteer co-ordinators, were just amazing.

The physical work consisted of road repairs, strengthening fences, digging holes, shoveling elephant poo, moving hay bales but in general was not hard.

I have done quite a lot of volunteering and this is, without doubt, the best I have done.  I think of my time there every day and keep in touch with what’s happening


What made you choose this project over other volunteer programmes?
I am passionate about animals and volunteering with them, in particular with elephants.
This project sounded amazing and very hands on and communication with Conservation Travel Africa prior to my booking was excellent.  The black rhino breeding program sounded wonderful as these beautiful creatures will disappear if something is not done to protect them.

Please give any general comments or feedback on the accommodation and food:
The staff at the volunteer house were amazing. Such friendly people who provided excellent meals three times each day, and it was lovely to talk with them about their community.

Please give us your feedback on activities:
The daily activities were varied and they incorporated much more than I was expecting.  The elephant and rhino involvement was very hands on and this was my favourite part. I learnt much from the handlers and I was lucky enough to spend time with Tafara and her mum Kamachacha out in the bush.  This was a surreal time. 

The community programs were inspiring and the passion of everyone involved was contagious. We repaired roads, strengthened fences, dug holes, learnt to track white rhino, walked with the elephants and so it went on. Amazing program.

I have volunteered many times, always with elephants but this program needs no change.  The volunteers are asked if there is anything special they want to do and if possible,  it will be done.  Such a wonderful community.

What were your most positive experiences and what did you enjoy most about your time on the project?
I loved the experience with the elephants, Mac, Toto and Mandebvu, and the time spent with the rhino.  In particular the time spent out in the bush with Tafara. Imire is such an inspirational community and the work being carried out and the projects within the community took me by surprise.  From the new library, to the converted shipping containers, which are being utilised to teach locals new skills, is fantastic. 

Find out more about the Rhino & Elephant Conservation project...

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