I’ve done many volunteer projects over the years, most of the time in Southern Africa with big cats. But I must say that my experience at Panthera Africa is unforgettable. Although it’s the shortest project I’ve ever done, it left a very strong imprint in my heart, because of the people there, the animals and the passion that you can feel everywhere. Rarely have I felt such a relaxed, content behaviour in the animals. As soon as you set foot in Panthera Africa, you are overwhelmed with a sense of peace and contentment. Both the animals and the people are just happy. This is a true safe haven!
In most volunteering projects, I’ve been lucky to meet fantastic people and felt like I was part of a group with strong bonds. But here, after a week only, I felt I was part of a family. The way Liz and Cat share their passion, their dream and their true pure love for the animal is so generous and unique. They really make you feel like your presence as a person is making a true difference, and not that you’re a number on a long list of volunteers like in some other places. You feel that you will be forever welcome at the sanctuary and that they can read through your heart your love for the animals.
The entire staff contributes to making your time there special: Lynsey, Nina, Stig, Joseph… a group of pure hearted, funny, relaxed, passionate people with a fantastic dedication.
The purpose is absolutely clear, you learn so many things about canned hunting, bone trade and other background hidden practices in Southern Africa. Whenever you look at the animals, it’s no longer a tiger that you see, a lion, it’s the whole industry they are a victim of, and the hard, patient work a few passionate people dedicate their lives to try and change things.
Being offered the chance to be part of it, even only for a few days or weeks, is a blessing and I recommend it warmly to any hesitant volunteer.
You will not regret it!