Responsible tourism: Volunteer at The Shamwari Wildlife Reserve, South Africa
Shamwari Game Reserve is home to populations of the incredible 'Big 5' and stretches 25,000 hectares over a stunning landscape. This project was established to return the natural land to its former glory including the wildlife species that once roamed freely. Over the past twenty years a dedicated team of conservationist has not only been successful in reintroduction of wildlife and flora, and has taken full responsibility of caring for the area.
The award-winning conservation initiatives at Shamwari Game Reserve are always underpinned by sound and ethical wildlife and ecological principles. For this reason, the day-to-day work does not involve human intervention and interaction through touch, except when absolutely necessary. Volunteers also attend regular lectures from specialists in the field, in order to gain as much knowledge as possible about wildlife conservation.
The volunteer role also involves much interaction with the local community. This mainly involves educational knowledge exchanges, regarding the benefit of conserving biodiversity and stresses the importance of conserving natural resources.
Weekly trips are made to assist in various community projects, ranging from creating and maintaining vegetable gardens and recycling projects, to painting classrooms in local schools.
Volunteers always have the chance to assist at the Sinovuyo Day Care Centre. With the help of volunteers, this project has raised funds to buy kitchen appliances, blankets, food, nappies, toys and books for the centre, as well as to paint the classroom and build a playground. This project makes a real difference to the lives of local people, and is working towards the reparation of human-animal relations.