Some of you may remember that back in May (See posts HERE and HERE) I spent a couple of weeks in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe educating myself on the finer points of the ever-growing “voluntourism” market by joining the Nakavango Conservation Program. Located on the Victoria Falls Private Game Reserve, the program offers volunteers the opportunity to encounter the iconic Big 5 while actively participating in the Reserve’s conservation.
Putting my laptop to one side, and engaging in some manual labor for which my body is poorly accustomed (that’s what a desk job does for you), I had the chance to support the reserve’s conservation efforts by:
- Studying the dynamic of wildlife within the Reserve by conducting game transects that record valuable and necessary research data about wildlife populations and movements.
- Undertaking vital reserve road maintenance activities that offer valuable support in the Reserve’s efforts to protect Black Rhino from poaching, preserve ecosystems, and prevent brush fire damage from spreading.
- Building check dams that assist in the management of soil erosion during the rainy season.
- Removing alien vegetation that’s recognized as a national threat due to its prevention of native plants from thriving.
- Participating in conservation and environment education sessions and game drives with the Program’s expert guides, Dean McGregor and Hope Kowo and the the Reserve’s Manager, Ian Du Preez.
Well, after all that hard work earlier in the year I was excited to be invited back to Zimbabwe on a sponsored trip to the reserve for 3 weeks in October. This time my role extended beyond that of active program participant to program photographer. I also had the opportunity to support the Nakavango’s Operations Manager, Justine McGregor to develop written resources for future program participants. While I’m sure that I’ll have more to say on yet another life-affirming trip over the coming weeks, for now I thought I’d share a photographic taster of what the last month had to offer:
The Take Photos Leave Footprints Visit to Victoria Falls Private Game Reserve was a sponsored visit paid for, in part, by the Nakavango Conservation program. All views are those of the author.