Melisse R

USA | November 2018

"I thought the program was fantastic! The days were well thought out and well organized, and each day offered a series of rich experiences! The variety of the activities was a pleasant surprise. There was a good balance between animal contact, learning about conservation practices, manual work and wonderful cultural experiences. 

There was even time in each day to relax before moving on to the next great thing. I enjoyed the obstacle course / group games but would recommend they happen earlier than on a Thursday to reap the group dynamic benefits. 

I find it impossible to say just one activity as my favorite. Being close to and observing, walking with and learning about the elephants was probably the most satisfying, although I loved the trips to Hylda’s and to the cave paintings, and hearing stories from the son of the chief. 

The guides and handlers made sure we know our presence as volunteers was very appreciated. I think the work projects we did were certainly helpful, and many hands definitely make light work. 

The guides and elephant handlers, each and every one, were the most wonderful people!! It was both a pleasure and an honor to be with them, receive their generously given information about Imire, kept safe and given clear consistent direction. Bright is amazing! Trymore, Blessing, Polite, Petros and Mr. Brown are all super beautiful, wonderful people. When Toto died, I was impressed with the respect Reilly and his family paid us volunteers taking their tender, emotional energy and time to come to the house (first Reilly’s wife and sister, then Judy, his mother, then the next morning, Reilly himself) to inform, explain and share with us what had happened and help us with our collective grief. I’ve once worked as a volunteer in a different program where the owner of the place gave no recognition or respect to the volunteers at all. That was certainly not the case here at Imire. I really appreciated that. 

Do you have any advice for future participants? 

Bring a set of clothes, including shoes, you can throw away or a set of disposable overalls and shoe covers. Be sure to bring work gloves you can throw away or leave behind. 

If you want an experience that’s way beyond the superficiality of being a tourist, volunteer at Imire . You’ll learn about and contribute to some of the “nuts and bolts” of wildlife conservation, have personal, heart-full contact with elephants (and rhinos before they move to The Wildside), meet and learn about the lives of local people, their customs, history and best of all, experience their generous, lively, warmth and beauty. I can’t wait to return!"

Find out more about our Rhino & Elephant Conservation Programme, or contact us to request further details!

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