Charlotte joined our Wildlife Photography and Conservation Project in the Greater Kruger Region of South Africa back in March 2016. Here she talks about what she learned, the people she met and what makes South Africa such an incredible place to volunteer.
My desire to travel has always been there. Ever since I was little I wanted to go places, see new things and meet different people. I’ve chosen the photography project after much consideration and I’m very happy I finally came to this decision. It’s been such a pleasure to be here and be part of this project. South Africa has always been a magical place for me. And it is true –it is magical. There are times I just think to myself what a wonderful opportunity this is for me to explore a bit of the world. I am very grateful for having this incredible experience!
The people I met during my time here are amazing. They made my trip to South Africa so enjoyable. I’ve always been interested in different languages which makes it so much fun to communicate with each other. I get to laugh all day, everyday! The volunteers as well as the staff are super nice. And then you have the local people … these people are just amazing. They are always laughing and so lovable. I am incredibly happy here, mainly because of them.
The diversity of nature in South Africa’s reserves is huge. You will be spoilt on your very first drive. These beautiful animals you get to see … to me, it feels like a whole new world. Every time we leave for KlaserieI get so excited and my stomach flips! When I got here, my favourite animal was the giraffe. Now, I can’t even choose … The guides who introduced me to this wonderful place and taught me a million things about it were incredible. I have so much respect for them.
I really enjoyed the trips I did over the weekends organised by African Impact! You get to see South Africa a little bit more, in a very different but beautiful way. The first weekend I went to Kruger Park, which was unbelievable. It’s something you definitely have to experience if you come here. Later, in my second weekend, I did the boat trip and the cultural village show. It was very nice to get to know the local culture and have the beautiful sights of the African landscapes. And finally my last weekend in Dumela Lodge, I did the Panorama Route. Looking at such beautiful views makes you want to stay here forever …
Last but definitely not least, I am going to write about the photography course Tim gives us throughout our stay here. I was surprised by how much I was able to broaden my horizons in the capabilities of the photographic art. Tim, our photography guru, taught me to step out of my comfort zone and use different techniques to better express myself with my pictures. I got to know Lightroom, which is an editing software. It took me to places I had never been before. And with all these pictures I get to carry some beautiful memories with me for life.
My stay in the Dumela Lodge was extraordinary. Doing a photography project in South Africa was definitely one of the best things I have done so far. I enjoyed it so much!
(To see March and April's Top 10 Photographs from our Wildlife Photographers (including Charlotte's photograph), check out THIS blog post!)