Jackie Searle – New Zealand

Well, what can I say? Having experienced Askari vicariously through my husband’s stay four years ago (2018 – almost to the day), nothing could have prepared me for the fantastic month I have just completed. While I had some idea of what to expect, actually being here and having the opportunity to witness the beauty and brutality that life at Askari offers is hard to put into words. Honoured to see Rae, the cheetah, on our first drive around the reserve. We were brought to earth sharply within a few days later when she was laid to rest following an encounter with Zamula (lion), the circle of life I guess.

Katie is an absolute gem! Her natural and engaging manner puts everyone at ease and the way she imparts knowledge on a wide range of topics is truly a gift. Our time at Askari has been precious and thanks to Katie’s efforts, thoroughly educational and informative. It is hard to believe how much information in such a short time and we are certainly more comfortable and confident in this environment than when we started.

Being able to soak in the full experience of life on a reserve is a privilege and one I am grateful for. To wake at dawn to see the sunrise, to contribute to the conservation activities at Askari while enjoying the beauty of these surroundings, the shining colour of the African sunset as well as an overnight camp out under the stars has been life changing.

Escaping the New Zealand winter, a trip to Pidwa is an absolute must. If you are on the fence about coming to South Africa, take it from me you will LOVE it! Make yourself, and the environment a priority. Take that leap of faith and volunteer at Askari Wilderness Conservation Programme, you won’t regret it!

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