The kind of things you pack when you go on a trip says a lot about where you're heading and what you're going to be doing.
Taking a warm top and a ‘blanky’ is OK if you're going to stay at Granny’s house, but when you're taking a gap year in Africa, these items come highly recommended...
Work Pants with zip-off longs x 2
Great for casual wading in water and getting within meters of Southern Right Whales breaching just off your sea sprayed research boat.
This is what work at O.R.C.A Foundation in Plettenberg Bay was all about. Plettenberg Bay is a coastal town located along world famous Garden Route. It's where some of worlds most fascinating marine species can be seen, anything from Humpback Whales to Great White Sharks.
My gap year travel here gave me a once in a life time chance to work with these magnificent marine species in exciting and groundbreaking marine conservation volunteer work.
My Gap year at O.R.C.A. Marine Foundation was also spent doing:
Rescue and rehabilitation of marine species Sampling, tagging, monitoring and dissection of fish species Participating in commercial marine-eco tourism activities, that included whale and dolphin watching tours, sea kayaking, township tours, and river ferry cruises Supervised collection of touch pool and aquarium species for O.R.C.A. Education Centre O.R.C.A. patrol boat trips to collect data, monitor bay and take photos of whales, dolphins and other marine species
The Fleece Beanie
The Kapama Private Game Reserve gets cold at night; I reckon fleece beanies are essential. Long nights monitoring and tracking game is an amazing experience, chills or no chills.
I found stars in sky were a thousand times brighter than they are in city. Though stars were beautiful, most of time thrill of stalking around in bush took preference. Darting parties were conducted to inspect and tag animals for conservation purposes.
The monitoring programs enable conservationists to keep records of movements and numbers of game in area.
Working at Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre involved feeding and taking care of baby animals. Quite a few species are bred here, including cheetah, which is a most interesting cat when you get to see one close up.
Other activities we were involved in: Camping in reserve to get African feeling Target shooting Capturing of wild animals when required by reserve or sanctuary Assisting in hand raised animals Elephant back safaris
Handy Gloves for Colobus Trust
You can't even begin to imagine how a pair of gloves help while you're fixing fences and chasing baboons and monkeys all day. They're also a great help for removing vegetation from power lines to prevent these silly monkeys from being electrocuted. Another priority was removing snares in Diani Forest in an effort to protect Colobus Monkey and its habitat.