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Daily life at LEO

Imagine waking up every day in paradise, listening to the sound of the birds and crickets, watching the colourful sunrise and the antelopes feeding close to the house while getting ready for another adventure in the bush. Welcome to LEO Base!

Every morning we get up very early, following the rhythm of nature, with a different objective: wildlife monitoring is usually combined with some conservation activities; the priorities are set based on the previous drives, animals that need to be monitored and on the tasks decided together with the park managers.

In summer we usually leave base at 5.30am, while in winter at 6.00am, coming back around lunch time. The afternoon departure can be a bit more flexible depending on the heat and the possibility to leave later for a night drive focusing on nocturnal animals. Generally, the PM drive leaves at around 3.30pm, coming back for dinner time.

The two daily activities can also be substituted by a full day out to reach the furthest areas of the park, cover less frequented areas and monitor animals more rarely seen.

The objectives of the monitoring drives are to look for the key species and collect data on their behaviour, movement, location and feeding habits. Be ready to get your hands dirty with some physical work during the conservation activities/drives i.e. alien plant removal, erosion control, road repair and bush clearing. On some special occasions, we take part in animal darting / game capture when requested by the park manager and veterinary.

The atmosphere at base is very relaxed and happy; during the meals we talk a lot about the drives and the exciting moments spent out in the bush; we share our stories getting to know each other better and we plan the activities. Friday we usually go to town to replenish the food stock for base; this is the occasion to buy some snacks for yourself as well (if you would like) and enjoy a good dinner and free wi-fi at the restaurant! Sunday is our day off whereby we take a break from the activities to get our energy levels replenish for the new week.

During the hottest part of the day, volunteers usually have time to relax between the morning and afternoon drive. The more active volunteers, can contribute anytime with odds and ends around camp i.e. insert data, maintaining the nursery garden, keep the vehicles in good conditions and so on.

The volunteers stay back at base on a rotation basis for half day where they help with house duties (i.e. cooking and washing up), assist in the camera trap photo processing, creation of ID kits and in any task that need to be accomplished. If you have a green thumb, why not get hands on in our nursery and veggie garden? Remember to bring your gardening gloves!

LEO partially runs on solar energy (aiming to become 100% green). Consequently, lights go off at 22.30 in the respect of our fellow volunteers and to avoid electrical waste. Please remember to bring a torch with you.

Accompanied by the sound of the frogs, nocturnal birds, jackals and ostriches, we say goodnight to the bush.