An Injured Lion, Still wants to ROAR! Volunteer South Africa

Alexis McNeil Start Date: Dec 1, 2017 - End Date: Nov 30, 2018
  • Cultural Exchange
  • Educational/Research Trip
  • Volunteer Trip
  • Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

My Travel Story

by: Alexis McNeil Start Date: Dec 1, 2017 - End Date: Nov 30, 2018
  • Cultural Exchange
  • Educational/Research Trip
  • Volunteer Trip
As you may or may not know we had planned to take this trip this coming summer, due to a new job and family matters we will be taking it in 2019. Which also means I have a good bit of time to prepare.
I, Alexis McNeil, would absolutely love to go volunteer for a wildlife sanctuary/rehabilitation center in South Africa for a week in June 2019.
Okay before you freak out let me list my points:

1. I have done ALL my research looking for the best programs and organizations to align myself with. Making sure they have no part in "canned hunting" or the "trophy hunting" of any animals. All the animals are treated with the utmost respect, all being rescues or orphans. In no shape or form is lion breeding happening nor are they being sold to zoos for entertainment purposes.

2. Aside from an ethical standpoint not only are these animals safe. But I am safe. The organization is extremely safe with well over 9500+ volunteers. It is based in Hartbeespoort, North West, South Africa. 45 minute drive outside of Johannesburg. I've read countless reviews, blogs, and articles watched countless youtube videos and everyone can only say good things.

3. "Why this?" As someone who has personally bathed and groomed actual wolves, being around large animals with immense power does not intimidate me, I have experience in the matter, and I enjoy helping animals. Also, as an Afrikaans translator of 2 years...this part of the world just makes sense if i would volunteer anywhere in the world outside of my own country. 

4. "what are u even doing?" I will be volunteering at a wildlife sanctuary/rehabilitation center. Which basically means they rescue animals that have previously been pets, traded/sold into the hunting ring, or special needs animals that cannot survive in the wild on their own. A typical day consists of, cleaning enclosures, preparing food, collecting data and research on animal behavior, building new enclosures, and scooping poop.

I could sit here all day explaining to you how much I love animals, or how I want to make a difference in the world, and give my life meaning. Of course that's part of it or I wouldn't being going in the first place, but in the end all I can really take away is the experience.
Independence; this would be the first time I've traveled away from home on my own. Travelling to a country where I know absolutely noone but my partener, will teach me some core skills to surviviving on my own.

Connections; people for all over the world apply to be part of this program. The ability people my age that share the same passion.
Poverty; Another very important take away for me at least, is to be happy, feel happiness without materialistic values. make unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime.
I'm sure you have guessed by now that a trip such as this does not come cheap. You would be right, and that is why I'm making this page. The price for the four weeks in South Africa is $2905. This includes housing, food, excursions, airport transfers, laundry, etc. Airfare on the otherhand is not included. So on top of the initial fee, a ticket from LAX -> Johanesburg runs around $1000. Yep that's quite a large sum of money.
One more question you maybe be asking is "why does is it cost money to volunteer?" Well my main reason for that is safety. As you may know South Africa is not the safest place, with high crime rates, and infectious diseases. So I've taken it upon myself to select a program that ensures my safety as well as sanitary living enviornment.
So that's where you come in, obviously I'm not expecting to raise the full amount through this page, but really anything helps.
Even if you aren't donating I'd like to say thank you.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and listening to my story.
  • Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa