Saturday, 17 March 2012

Volunteer Reports

Jana Fode
The first thing I heard about Solitaire was that the landscape is so beautiful, and that is absolutely true as it looks just how you would picture Africa to be. I wanted to see and experience as much as I could during my stay in Namibia so I decided to volunteer at the NCCC. It was a good decision!

I would be joined by two other volunteers Jess and Paul. Shortly after we arrived we were taken by Matt and Kate to track the cheetahs in the 500ha soft release camp. Before entering I felt very relaxed because I had met several cheetahs before at N/a'an ku se's Wildlife Sanctuary. But the moment we met Spartacus he gave me a very different experience! For the first time I saw a cat that could live and act just like a wild one. However, Spartacus was not my favourite cheetah, Pepper is the cat I fell in love with. Her glance is very intense even though she was hand raised from a young age. 

But back to the research work which includes hiking to the camera traps which are spread over the area, I like this part a lot and I was happy I got the exercise because Matt and Kate are fast walkers and climbers, they will make you fit! :) 

After returning and having cooled of your feet in the pool you then get the chance to have a look through the pictures and if  you are lucky you may find leopards, cheetah or hyena, but you will definitely see a lot of springbok, oryx and zebra.

One of the most enjoyable parts of the trip were the sundowners, whether you see them with the tour guests in the cheetah camp or up on sunset hill close to the Guest Farm, they are amazing!
I also really enjoyed the trip to the dunes at Soussusvlei, you shouldn't miss the chance to go there!! All in all I enjoyed the trip and would recommend it to anyone who loves nature, animals and research work.

Paul Jennings
I came here to the NCCC as I wanted to experience cheetahs in their natural habitat and see for myself what is being done to protect them. I have done various activities including cheetah tracking, cheetah husbandry, game drives and camp maintenance. My favourite activity was feeding the cheetahs because they are at their most active and you can see their natural instincts and strength. Spartacus is the most active cheetah in the enclosure and the adrenaline starts running if he mock charges you!
The Guest Farm and surrounding landscape is amazing and its such a relaxing place to be. On a quiet day its nice to hike through the mountains and take in the beautiful views. I would recommend the experience to anyone interested in Wildlife Conservation.

Jess Labow
Before my arrival at the NCCC I had no idea what to expect. I asked around at N/a'an ku se and was told by other volunteers who had been there that the scenery was beautiful, the atmosphere relaxing and the co-ordinators lovely. My expectations were high after hearing all of this info, however I was not let down.

The first few days were exciting; learning about tracking cheetahs, having hungry cheetahs circling you waiting for food, and learning their history and where they came from. Just with any other conservation project there are always the non-exciting tasks to be done, but Matt and Kate always make sure there is some cheetah tracking/husbandry mixed with some relaxation.

My favourite cheetah would have to be Spartacus. Although he hisses and spits he is usually just protecting his girlfriend Pepper. Although the days can be extremely hot and the nights very cool, it has to be one of the most calming and beautiful landscapes I have and will ever see.

1 comment:

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