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Volunteer Reviews

Name: Chloé Pastore
Country: France
Date: 28/05/2016

2 months ago, I was in South Africa, with LEO Africa, a Volunteer research programme. This month at LEO was the best thing I've ever done in my life. It was an amazing experiance. No one can understand how it feels before doing it. Sometimes it can be tiring, you're not on holiday. We woke up early and spend long days in the bush but it's incredible. You see so many things in just one day ! It leaves you breathless.

Every single person I met in South Africa (the staff, the volonteers, and every member of the Marataba Reserve) were awesome. I really miss that kind of people (in France people you don't know aren't so nice with you). And obviously I miss our 3 mascots, Bessie (the boss!), Ranger and Trigger!

I recommend it to every animal/nature lover, for people who wants to learn more about it, and who wants to speak English better (I went there with 3 friends and one of us didn't speak english AT ALL, and now she can have a good conversation with someone).

You will learn a lot with the passionate members of the staff. If you go to LEO, enjoy everyday. Dreams come slow and go so fast.

I hope I'll be back at LEO soon, because everytime I look at their pictures on their site or Facebook page I feel as excited as they can be.

At LEO Base, every day is a beautiful adventure and I think this is a great motivation to live a life full of happiness!

Name: Flavia
Country: Italy
Date: July 2016

One thing is certain: when you choose to  join LEO Africa you have to be ready to sacrifice your daily habits, your home comforts and safety, but above all, be ready to sacrifice a piece of your heart which will be probably stay there forever.  

LEO Africa is not a common experience, and you do not really realize how much it can give to you until the moment you are back home. Once there, you could deal with a series of small inconveniences like a basic house, extreme temperatures, early morning wake up calls, lack of 24 hour lightning, and maybe sometimes the lack of hot water, but everybody who’s been there can promise that once you will be on a LEO car, out in the bush, the emotions will pay back everything.

In front of the breathtaking landscapes of the Marataba, in front of the greatness of an elephant, the roar of a lion, everything will feel like a dream. And the best part of it is that you are going to share one of the most amazing experience of your life with lovely people from all over the world which will made your LEO experience more than unforgettable.

The young and passionate LEO field guides do their best everyday to make the game drives as interesting, successful and fun as possible. I owe them all the things I’ve learnt about wildlife, nature, park management, and all the times filled with happiness and laughs.

Nothing is taken for granted when you wake up at 5AM in the morning to go out on a game drive, you could come back disappointed, exhausted and freezing, or  you could come back excited, and feeling on top of the world. What’s certain is that it will always feel like departure day comes too soon, and you will never had enough of that place.


Name: Fabio Malegori
Country: Italy
Date: 2015

I participated in the photographic workshop in 2015: it was a unique and wonderful experience, the opportunity to observe wildlife a few meters away is an indescribable sensation, it's like ”living” in a documentary about African nature.

The sighting opportunities are frequent, given the number of species present, the whole days dedicated to game drives, the experience and knowledge of Sabrina about the behaviour of "her" animals.

The chance to work with Marco, a professional photographer, permit to reach high level results in a short time, thanks to the continuous suggestions, opinions and feedbacks received.

I was so well impressed that I will participate also this year!

Name: Rachael Leeman
Country: UK
Date: May 2016

After volunteering with Leo for three months in 2015 I couldn't help but come and visit the LEO team when I was in South Africa in May of this year! My stay with Leo was again a surreal and unforgettable experience. With Koos and Sabrina as my guides I learnt bush and field skills (which I still use now as a researcher). With LEO I have learnt the importance of monitoring animals for reserve management and that the bushvield ecosystem is a finely tuned machine that require constant maintenance and respect. I learnt that most of the work in conservation starts from the ground up; literally! Helping removing invasive plants and clearing up after elephants is a daily job.

The experience of being able to walk with Koos in the bush watching rhinos are memories I will never forget and hearing the roar of lions in the night makes your heart feel wild! I made so many wonderful friends at Leo and learnt so many new practical and scientific skills including tracks, data entry, ID kits for animals, bird identification, monitoring techniques, ecology, botany and more! I cannot wait to return for another life changing adventure in 2017 in the new Marataba section of the Marakele National Park where the landscape is breathtaking and the animals are even more beautiful than they seem on television.

Your adventure is calling! answer the call to LEO Africa.

Name: Tangi Salaün
Country: France
Date: March 2016

I've had several volunteer experiences in South Africa over the last few years, each time in a different reserve or park, and with a different organization. There were many factors behind my choices, from the place itself to the type of work, the animals I was likely to see or track, the organization's reputation... In the end of the day, every experience was worth it. But LEO Africa had an extra something.

It was not the place (I went to a private game reserve, which was nice but very challenging in terms of sightings -- the new place on the Marataba Section of the Marakele NP looks a lot more rewarding in this perspective). Believe it or not, it was not the room I slept in or the food I ate (none of them was bad, but who cares?). It was certainly the work, and notably the fact that we could regularly walk to black rhinos, lions or cheetahs.

But it was above all the passion and dedication that LEO staff showed, despite being about to move to the new place. Spending your day tracking animals sounds like paradise for most of us -- and it is. But it can be frustrating when you spend hours looking for something you don't find, when rain starts pouring, when the sun is blazing and there are no animals in sight. That's true, it's sometimes all of that -- I mean, until you jump in LEO's car or, even better, walk in the LEO team's shoes.

There's one thing you can take for granted when you wake up early morning, even before sun rises, and this is the commitment that LEO team will put to make the most of that day. Not only on the field, where they will seize every opportunity, if not creating them, to get the job done (which is not always the case elsewhere, believe me). But also back at LEO Base where they will share with you -- if you wish -- their knowledge of the bush, of course, but also of the management of a game reserve or the big debates that stir up the conservation community, like hunting, rhino poaching... In a word, you will really go behind the scenes and that, more than anything, is an unvaluable addition to your stay in wonderland!