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AIDS education thanda private game reserve HIV volunteering holiday volunteer trip horses how can i volunteer in africa how to be a volunteer in africa how to become a volunteer how to go to africa how to volunteer how to volunteer abroad How to Volunteer Abroad how to volunteer in Africa how to work and travel how to work in africa Humming bird impact imvelo awards imvelo awards 2012 imvelo awards finalists imvelo awards winners imvelo finalists 2011 Innovative Awards Intern Abroad intern in Africa intern with a charity international earth day international volunteer International Women's Day internship internship african impact internship cape town internships internships abroad internships in africa jambiani job opportunity jobs in africa Jobs in Cape Town Jobs in South Africa Jobs with Lions jungle expedition kenya volunteering kwazulu-natal kzn wildlife large predator last minute lion lion conservation Lion Encounter lion prides lion projects lion rehabilitation lion rehabilitation project lion rehabilitation volunteering lion volunteer africa lion volunteer south africa lion volunteering lion volunteering in Africa Lions lions in africa Live and work in Africa make an impact makeyourimpact making a difference in Africa malawi volunteering marketing Masai Mara masai mara volunteering masai mara warriors Mature Volunteer mature volunteering medical outreach project medical projects in zambia medical support medical volunteer medical volunteer projects Medical volunteer projects in Africa medical volunteering medical volunteering africa medical volunteering in africa medical volunteering zambia Naboisho Conservancy national geographic new projects ngamo pride ngo NGO Internship NGO Jobs non-profit organisations nursing Older volunteering orphan care orphan care africa orphan volunteer projects Orphan Volunteer Projects in Africa over 30's over 30's volunteering packing for the bush packing for travel to Africa Paid volunteering paid volunteering in africa photography africa photography south africa photography volunteer photography volunteering plant trees pre-school volunteering preparing to volunteer programs in Africa project rhino kzn projects africa projects for africa reasons to travel Red Hill reforestation reforestation in africa responsible tourism Responsible travel retirement volunteering rhino rhino poachers rhinos killed in south africa rural school Safari safari africa Save the African Lion save the trees saving rhinos saving the lion saving the lions saving the planet school uniforms africa seychelles Smba Giya social involvement social media Something different for retirement south afric south africa south africa internships south africa rhinos south africa volunteering special offer sponsor a child programme sports volunteer st lucia st lucia south africa St Lucia, South Africa stand out cv stand out resume steve jobs student volunteering sustainability sustainable development sustainable volunteering sustaining trees table mountain teach abroad teach English abroad teach in africa teach in tanzania teach in zanzibar teaching Teaching Africa teaching in africa teaching in zambia teaching projects in africa Teaching Volunteer Projects in Africa team house tentation THAF Thanda thanda in africa thanda private game reserve the happy africa foundation tips on what to pack tourism tourism cape town tourism south africa tourism zanzibar tourism zimbabwe travel travel africa travel and work overseas travel in Africa travel opportunities travel overseas travel to africa at christmas trees for zambia Trip Advisor trvelling Tuli Game Reserve tweeting UCAS points UCAS points volunteering UK. 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A two week adventure: What was I so afraid of?

  My travelling history is very limited. I’ve never had the travelling bug and my trips outside the country have barely gone past a two week beach holiday. My most adventurous pre-Africa holiday was a trip to visit a friend in Kuwait. But she was waiting for me the other side and looked after me while I was there.  

  I have always been interested in animals, especially big cats, so when I saw how hands on you could get with the cheetahs on this projects I was instantly excited by the opportunity, not only was it going to be amazing to be close to the animals but it was also working to do good for a charity.   I started saving, researching and planning in summer of 2013 and settled on the African Impact – Cheetah Reintroduction Project. I started a fundraising page on gofundme.com and spread the word to friends and family and I started getting donations for the trip. With that and saving I paid for everything a few months before it was time to go.   The nerves really started hitting in as 2014 started as I was headed to Africa in mid-February. I was excited and knew the fear was completely irrational! But you can’t help but feel anxious when you’re stepping so far out your comfort zone.  

  Packing and the journey felt like a dream, it felt bizarre that it was all finally happening after so much preparation and worry! I was waiting for the anxiety to leave. On arrival at Johannesburg Airport I made my way to the meeting point and waited to be collected. Here I started my two week diary so I could look back on all the details for years. I wrote:  

“Feelings of the day: anxious, tired, nervous, excited, worried, scared, hungry. Hoping by the end of the two weeks I’m the opposite and don’t wanna go home!”

  I couldn’t have been more right! The second I met Estelle, who ran the Cheetah centre, and the other volunteers I felt instantly at ease and there was nothing but excitement. When we arrived and I met the cheetahs I knew I’d made the right decision and this was going to be the best experience of my life – so far!   After settling in I felt instantly at home and ready to get stuck into some work. A typical day started early, exercising the cheetahs, collecting dirty food bowls from the cheetah enclosures, changing their water, cleaning the enclosures of any cat poo!  

  Once the dishes were washed we’d go into the volunteer house for breakfast. Three days of the week we’d have a lovely cooked breakfast and the other two we could help ourselves to cereal and toast. After breakfast we’d do the main bulk of work for the day. There was a wide range of tasks from putting up fences, preparing new enclosures, cleaning out the smaller animals, helping prepare fresh meat on slaughter day, cleaning the cheetah kitchen etc.   After Lunch we’d have some down time and then cheetah time. Once a day there’d always make sure we had some supervised time with the cheetahs to hang out, stroke them, take photos and soak in the atmosphere. It was so sweet of them to make sure this happened every day! We’d feed the cheetahs around 5pm and then spend the evenings with the other volunteers and make ourselves dinner.   Not only all this but we also went on a trip to Kruger safari park for 4 days and had a day spent at an elephant sanctuary and then a monkey sanctuary.  It was great to do so much stuff that involved animals and to see the good that was being done. While at Kruger we went to Moholoholo which is an animal rehab centre outside the park where they rescue, look after, and re introduce animals into the wild.  

    Every day in South Africa I did or saw something different. I have so many stories I couldn’t write them all in one blog. I met some amazing people and am still in touch with the other volunteers now. The country is beautiful and it felt amazing to be in a different country so far away.   The work was hard but it felt good to contribute and do some good.  I could have easily not done this project and let the worry stop me but I am so glad I did it and got over the irrational anxiety that was making me crazy before I went.   Looking back I have no idea what I was so worried about but I’m so glad I did it. And I feel if I did another, which I’d love to, it would be so much easier. I know lots of people take this sort of thing in stride and find change easy and exciting, but for those like me who worry a lot I really hope this helps you realize you CAN do these things and you’ll finish wondering what you were worrying about in the first place!   About the Author Hannah Vernon was always had an interest in big cats! When she was younger she wanted to be a vet but she wasn't so good with blood and dead animals made her cry so somehow she got swallowed up by the shallow world of media! She's a creative producer (which means she make promos, aka the adverts for the programmes) and works for History Channel, H2, CI and Lifetime. She's always been interested in charity and volunteered at her local cattery when she was a teenager. The volunteering project was the perfect opportunity for her to get back to some charity work, see some big cats, do some good and get away from hard work in London and do some travelling!   Are you an animal lover like Hannah? This project is one of the many hands-on volunteer opportunities available, including veterinary programs in South Africa and lion rehabilitation in Victoria Falls, Livingstone and Antelope Park

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adventures in Africa africa africa conservation program africa internships africa lions africa projects africa tourism Africa Travel africa volunteer africa volunteer experiences africa volunteer oportunities africa volunteer opportunities africa volunteer opportunity africa volunteer program Africa volunteer programs africa volunteer work africa volunteering african elephant African Encounter African Impact african impact internship african impact lions african impact livingstone african lion African Lion & Environmental Research Trust african lion and environmental research trust african travel africanimpact AIDS AIDS education Ajax cape town community Ajax soccer ALERT animal rights animal welfare volunteer animals in africa antelope park anti-voluntourism anti-voluntourism campaign cambodia ASDAN volunteering asli gedik Award winning Organisation Awards best volunteer company BETA BETA finalists big 5 big 5 photography big 5 volunteer big 5 volunteering bikes blogging booking flights Books For Africa Botswana volunteering Botswana's wildlife boulders beach budget travel budget volunteering burn out bush walks BYTA camera traps cameroon expedition cancer survivor Cape Town cape town Cape Town volunteering carbon emission carbon footprint career break career break career break africa career break travel career break volunteer career break volunteering Career Breaks volunteering career change career experience charity charity internship Charity jobs charity work africa Charity Work in Africa charity work in tanzania charties to go to Africa with cheap africa travel cheap flights africa cheap volunteer program cheap volunteering opportunities cheetah chimfunshi chimfunshi wildlife orphanage chimfunshi wildlife sanctuary Chimpanzee Chimpanzee and Wildlife Orphan project Chimpanzee Project chimpanzees chimps Christmas competitions christmas in africa christmas time in africa Christmas volunteering christmas vounteering climate change clinic gweru community development community outreach community projects africa community projects in Africa Community projects in South Africa community volunteer community volunteer africa community volunteer work mozambique community volunteering Community work community work africa community work in africa community work zambia conference conservation conservation africa conservation education conservation in africa Conservation Jobs conservation photography conservation program africa conservation projects conservation volunteer conservation volunteer antelope park conservation volunteer in africa conservation volunteer in south africa conservation volunteer in zimbabwe conservation volunteering conservation volunteering africa conservation volunteering in africa conservation volunteering south africa conservation volunteering Zambia Conservation work conservation work in Africa conservation work with lions Conservaton and Research Volunteering cricket africa dambwa pride deforestation Development Manager discount discounts donate electronics donate to africa donating donating old phones donations for africa eco-bricks education volunteer education volunteering educational volunteering elephant empowering communities Empowering Women Empowerment endangered species Environmental conservation environmental education environmentally friendly ethical voluntourism euthanasia of lion exhaustion expedition in africa explore africa facts south africa family volunteering fitflop forest conservation fundraising gain employment game drives game reserve game reserve volunteering gap year gap year abroad gap year africa gap year africa zimbabwe Gap Year Ideas Gap Year in Africa Gap Year in Teaching Gap Year projects in Africa gap year travel Gap Year Volunteer Projects gap year volunteering gathering Giving back go to africa GoAbroad GoAbroad Innovative Award goodsport GoPro gorilla expedition gorilla research gorilla trekking great volunteer organization great white sharks green pop green projects Green Tourism green volunteering GreenPop group volunteering guide to packing Hands on volunteering happy africa happy africa foundation HAYTAP healthcare volunteering help orphaned animals Helping in arica helping people in africa helping the environment helping the lions HIV awareness HIV education HIV education. AIDS education thanda private game reserve HIV volunteering holiday volunteer trip horses how can i volunteer in africa how to be a volunteer in africa how to become a volunteer how to go to africa how to volunteer how to volunteer abroad How to Volunteer Abroad how to volunteer in Africa how to work and travel how to work in africa Humming bird impact imvelo awards imvelo awards 2012 imvelo awards finalists imvelo awards winners imvelo finalists 2011 Innovative Awards Intern Abroad intern in Africa intern with a charity international earth day international volunteer International Women's Day internship internship african impact internship cape town internships internships abroad internships in africa jambiani job opportunity jobs in africa Jobs in Cape Town Jobs in South Africa Jobs with Lions jungle expedition kenya volunteering kwazulu-natal kzn wildlife large predator last minute lion lion conservation Lion Encounter lion prides lion projects lion rehabilitation lion rehabilitation project lion rehabilitation volunteering lion volunteer africa lion volunteer south africa lion volunteering lion volunteering in Africa Lions lions in africa Live and work in Africa make an impact makeyourimpact making a difference in Africa malawi volunteering marketing Masai Mara masai mara volunteering masai mara warriors Mature Volunteer mature volunteering medical outreach project medical projects in zambia medical support medical volunteer medical volunteer projects Medical volunteer projects in Africa medical volunteering medical volunteering africa medical volunteering in africa medical volunteering zambia Naboisho Conservancy national geographic new projects ngamo pride ngo NGO Internship NGO Jobs non-profit organisations nursing Older volunteering orphan care orphan care africa orphan volunteer projects Orphan Volunteer Projects in Africa over 30's over 30's volunteering packing for the bush packing for travel to Africa Paid volunteering paid volunteering in africa photography africa photography south africa photography volunteer photography volunteering plant trees pre-school volunteering preparing to volunteer programs in Africa project rhino kzn projects africa projects for africa reasons to travel Red Hill reforestation reforestation in africa responsible tourism Responsible travel retirement volunteering rhino rhino poachers rhinos killed in south africa rural school Safari safari africa Save the African Lion save the trees saving rhinos saving the lion saving the lions saving the planet school uniforms africa seychelles Smba Giya social involvement social media Something different for retirement south afric south africa south africa internships south africa rhinos south africa volunteering special offer sponsor a child programme sports volunteer st lucia st lucia south africa St Lucia, South Africa stand out cv stand out resume steve jobs student volunteering sustainability sustainable development sustainable volunteering sustaining trees table mountain teach abroad teach English abroad teach in africa teach in tanzania teach in zanzibar teaching Teaching Africa teaching in africa teaching in zambia teaching projects in africa Teaching Volunteer Projects in Africa team house tentation THAF Thanda thanda in africa thanda private game reserve the happy africa foundation tips on what to pack tourism tourism cape town tourism south africa tourism zanzibar tourism zimbabwe travel travel africa travel and work overseas travel in Africa travel opportunities travel overseas travel to africa at christmas trees for zambia Trip Advisor trvelling Tuli Game Reserve tweeting UCAS points UCAS points volunteering UK. Established in 2004 UNESCO up close with lions Victoria Falls victoria falls lion victoria falls lions victoria falls volunteer visit africa visit zimbabwe voluntary work africa Voluntary Work in Africa Volunteer volunteer abroad Volunteer Abroad volunteer abroad mozambique volunteer africa volunteer africa children volunteer africa opportunity volunteer africa program volunteer antelope park volunteer at Christmas Volunteer at Christmas volunteer chimfunshi volunteer coordinator volunteer forever volunteer game reserve Volunteer in Africa Volunteer in Africa volunteer in africa with children volunteer in African clinic volunteer in Cape Town Volunteer in Cape Town volunteer in Kenya volunteer in kwazulu natal volunteer in Livingstone volunteer in South Africa Volunteer in South Africa volunteer in Tanzania volunteer in the Masai Mara volunteer in township volunteer in west africa volunteer in Zambia volunteer in Zanzibar volunteer in Zimbabwe volunteer in Zimbabwe volunteer lions volunteer mozambique volunteer national park volunteer on conservation projects in Africa volunteer on game reserve volunteer on holiday volunteer on vacation volunteer opportunities volunteer opportunities africa volunteer opportunity abroad Volunteer opprotunities Africa volunteer overseas volunteer overseas work Volunteer programs in Africa volunteer project volunteer projects volunteer projects africa volunteer projects in africa volunteer south africa volunteer St Lucia volunteer stories Volunteer Travel volunteer travel conference volunteer wildlife volunteer with african children volunteer with animals volunteer with animals africa volunteer with animals in africa volunteer with charities in africa volunteer with children volunteer with children africa volunteer with children in kenya volunteer with chimpanzees volunteer with chimps volunteer with elephants volunteer with lions Volunteer with Lions volunteer with monkeys volunteer with orphans volunteer with rhinos volunteer with wildlife volunteer with wildlife in africa volunteer work africa volunteer work health benefits volunteer zambia volunteer zanzibar volunteer zimbabwe Volunteering volunteering abroad volunteering africa volunteering ethics volunteering in africa volunteering in cape town volunteering in Mozambique volunteering in South Africa volunteering in zambia volunteering opportunities volunteering programmes volunteering with animals volunteering with lions volunteering zambia Volunteerism volunteerng volunteers making an impact Voluntourism voluntourism voluntourism ethics voluteer in africa walk with lions walking with lions walking with lions africa What is it like to volunteer in Africa what to do at christmas what to do in Africa what to pack what to pack africa what to wear volunteering where can i volunteer Why pay for volunteering why volunteer Wildlife conservation wildlife conservation volunteering wildlife orphan care wildlife orphanage wildlife photography wildlife photography africa wildlife photography opportunity wildlife photography program wildlife photography project wildlife project africa wildlife rehabilitation wildlife research wildlife research project wildlife research volunteer wildlife volunteer africa Wildlife Volunteer in Africa wildlife volunteer in south africa wildlife volunteer project wildlife volunteer projects wildlife volunteer zimbabwe wildlife volunteering wildlife volunteering africa wildlife volunteering in africa wildlife volunteering in south africa Womens empowerment work abroad work abroad volunteer work and travel abroad work and travel overseas work experience abroad work for charities in africa work gap year work in Africa work in south africa work volunteers Work with animals work with children Work with Children in Africa work with children in south africa Work with Chimpanzees work with elephants Work with Lions work with lions in africa Worki in Africa working abroad working in Africa Working in Zambia Working with Chimps working with lions world aids day Worlds best holiday destination youth travel Zambia zambia africa zanzibar Zimbabwe zimbabwe volunteer projects zulu communities zulu culture zulu dambwa pride
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