Fulfilling dreams and creating memories at Amakhala

“My name is Megan Lauder, I’m an 18 year old student, and I have recently been to South Africa for the first time on the Amakhala game reserve volunteer project (near Port Elizabeth).

I have fulfilled my dream of visiting Africa and for such a great cause too.

These are a few of my photographs from my trip, and all of my pictures have so many great memories to go alongside.

My adventure took me to places I have never thought I could go, especially on my own, at 18 years old.

I have seen, done and achieved so much just in the short 2 weeks I was there. I met some amazing people and hopefully made lifelong friendships.

It was a magical experience and I wouldn’t hesitate to return or even volunteer again. I will never forget this.

First sighting of wild elephants – beautiful moment, so peaceful and such agile creatures.

elephant herdThis is the herd we watched slowly plodding away with their red based feet. I could have watched them for hours.

They are such  fascinating, magical animals with very individual personalities. I never thought I would see this with my own eyes. I was smiling throughout the whole sighting and I still do at the thought of seeing them.

Annik
Annik

This is Annik, the beautiful little girl at the Esipo centre in Patterson, who would run up to me when she saw me and jump up and hug me. She was very shy but loving towards me all the time. She was just happy to be sat on my shoulders all day. She put a big smile on my face. I know its not a great photograph but the emotional memories which go alongside it are so touching and I couldn’t leave her out.

On our second, and last visit to the centre I saw Annik again and she recognised me and we were playing on the swings together. When we had to leave I shed a few tears, not just for Annik but for all of the kids at the centre. They are all so happy and seem very grateful towards visitors.

I was at the centre for Nelson Mandelas’ birthday and they had a massive celebration day. Me and the other volunteers made the children fresh lemonade and gave them biscuits. They also had a live DJ that we were all dancing to.

One particular memory I have is of me and 4 other little girls dancing around together and singing “Baby” by Justin Bieber. One of the most surreal but amazing moments I had out there.

rhino conservation volunteer
Rhino and son

This was my first view of the very mystical secret Grey Rhino. I was so lucky to also capture the 5 month old calf being correctly protected by its mother as we were spotted by her in the distance.

rhino conservation volunteer
Young male rhinos

These are two young male Rhino only a couple of years apart. They look so calm and posing for me to capture their picture.

I love this picture, they were so quiet and content with us being so close. The two birds on the younger rhino to the left, just makes the picture. Magical, memorable moment captured in one shot.

zebrasOne of my last images I took of the amazing wildlife in Africa. This herd of seven zebra is perfect and you can see how their contrasting stripes work even though they stand out. It is like a natural optical illusion. Their predators such as a lion will see the herd, however will be confused as all of the stripes blend in and create a detailed illusion.

“A perfect end to a perfect trip.”

If you fancy following Megan in her footsteps and want to volunteer at Amakhala, Amanzi Travel will be able to arrange the whole trip for you (prices from £725 for 2 weeks near Port Elizabeth, in South Africa).

Do Something Amazing!

Gemma

A truly life changing experience, working on wildlife and community volunteering projects in Africa over 15 years ago, convinced Gemma Whitehouse to give up her job as a Marketing Manager for an international organisation and use her skills and expertise to set up a company that would offer others the same amazing opportunities with a service second to none - thus Amanzi Travel was born.

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