Our volunteer Leo tells us his best moments during his 8 weeks with us!
Hello, my name is Leo, I come from France and I have been at LEO Africa for 8 weeks. I am studying Management and Protection of Nature and I chose LEO Africa for my internship placement. I have experienced so many great things but here are my highlights:
In my first and second week we took part in game capture activities. This involves moving animals into a boma so they can be put into a lorry and taken to other reserves. We caught all of the following animals: impala, zebra, wildebeest and eland. It was really exciting. When we closed the curtains of the boma the animals ran past really fast!
I was really lucky to see a caracal twice! The first time was on an afternoon drive. We were driving around in the dark, when one of the volunteers, who was using the spotlight, suddenly saw something. It was the first time I had ever seen a caracal and we spent one minute and a half watching it just sitting behind a stump.
I never thought I would see a pangolin in my life, so it was a big surprise when we saw one on an afternoon drive. At first I thought it was a big lizard but our guide said “no, wait, it’s a pangolin!”, and everybody said “wow!’”. It was one of the best things I have seen in my life! It was very special because I will probably never see one again.
Lions are one of my favourite animals. In the park I saw a lot of lions but a big male called Caesar was my favourite. What I liked the most was his beautiful dark mane.
My other favourite lion sighting was seeing 4 small lion cubs with their mothers. They were playing and running around.
Another highlight was when I went up in the microlight. It was cold on the ground but up in the air it was warm. I saw lots of animals including elephants, a bush pig and a red hartebeest. It was fun when we swooped down very close to a watering hole. The feeling is incredible; it is very hard to explain. All volunteers should do this!
Seeing the stars on sleep out was amazing. It was nice to spend the night in the bush with the other volunteers, waking up to see different animals and seeing the sunrise in the morning.
At LEO I also saw hyenas for the first time, both spotted and brown! One time we had two young spotted hyenas playing in front of our car. Everybody has a bad perception of hyenas but when you see them in real life and look into their eyes you can see they are very sociable and beautiful animals.
I have seen so many other amazing things including all of the big 5, a honey badger, an aardwolf and an African wild cat. One of the leopards we saw, we coul
dn’t find in the ID kits – no one had seen it before!
I feel very sad to be leaving LEO; the stars in the night sky, the amazing animals and the LEO staff and volunteers. It was my first time travelling alone and my longest trip. I have grown as a person, improved my English and met lots of amazing people I hope to see again one day. I will definitely come back to LEO again. My time here was full of surprises, I have learnt a lot and it has been very special