Harcourts Consultants Lend Helping Hand to Wildlife in South Africa

Harcourts Consultants Lend Helping Hand to Wildlife in South Africa

Coming face to face with Elephants, Hyenas, Lions and Cheetahs were just a few standout moments for Harcourts consultant Katie Gibbons on a recent volunteer trip to South Africa.

Katie joined Harcourts Marlborough consultant Vicki Baker at Pidwa Wilderness Reserve in the Limpopo Region, where they spent four weeks helping reserve staff with conservation efforts on the Askari volunteer programme.

Vicki has been volunteering with wildlife for 16 years, and says it’s always luck of the draw what needs to be done.

This time, Vicki, Katie and the six others who joined them from Marlborough were lucky enough to get to do some hands-on work with Buffalo, Nyala, Sable and Zebra.

“Coming face to face with an Elephant, hanging out with Cheetah brothers, seeing a Brown Hyena and finally getting to see male Lions at Pidwa was an experience that will be forever in my heart,” Katie says.

No day of the trip was the same, however, and other tasks included tree protection, injecting Prickly Pear with poison, mammal counts, cleaning out Nyala breeding camps, the capture and transfer of some animals, painting gates and fences, learning tracking, vegetation count, cleaning up an old dumping site, and clearing away old fences.

Despite so many years working as a wildlife volunteer, Vicki doesn’t tire of the feeling helping out wildlife brings, describing the trip as magical, while Katie felt lucky to have had the opportunity to join Vicki on a venture which has been so close to her heart for so long.

“Words cannot describe how amazing and unforgettable this trip was for me. It was my first time volunteering on a wildlife reserve and I was so honoured to be invited to come on this trip as I know how passionate Baxta (Vicki) is about South Africa and wildlife,” she says.

It was hard for her to pin down one highlight, but she says hearing the lions roar at night, and coming face to face with a male Elephant, Brown Hyena and Lions as being up there.

“I was so happy to sit and watch all the animals and take it all in,” Katie says.

“I was a part of helping bring the owner’s and worker’s dreams to life. We even got to meet the owners of the reserve while we were there; what amazing people, nothing was too much for them [with] protecting the animals.”

Vicki says her trips are always a learning curve, and that it’s just rewarding to know you’re helping the conservation effort, even in a small way.

She invites anyone with an interest in volunteering with Askari to contact her at Harcourts Marlborough.

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