Renewed Hope in Tsavo
I’ve always cared about the environment and I love animals and Africa so when I discovered Earthwatch, I knew it was only a matter of time before I would have an experience of a lifetime.
After I booked on to the Elephants of Tsavo expedition in Kenya, I spent 25 hours getting to Nairobi and then started searching for my Earthwatch buddies at the Fairview Hotel.
I had got to know other volunteers through email weeks before I arrived in Kenya, so I felt like I knew them a bit already. The next morning, I met up with research assistants, Chege and Ndamuki and Maganga who were all treasure chests of information on the local habitat and wildlife.
The six hour trip to our accommodation, Voi Wildlife Lodge, was full of laughs and colourful commentary about our surroundings.
On arrival, Principal Investigator, Barbara welcomed us with a huge smile and a project brief. While she had a great sense of humour, she was also serious and committed about the quality of data we would be collecting.
As a volunteer, I would play a vital role in data collection and make a real difference in planning and managing the environment in Tsavo East, in particular, the elephants.
Our daily routine began at 5.30am eating breakfast while looking at spectacular views and sightings of lions and elephants from the balcony. Then we were off in four-wheel-drives for a day’s work.
Field work included observing and identifying different species of wildlife and recording data relating to elephants GPS positioning, family size, structure, age and behaviour.
Most of the time we were only within 100 metres of the elephants!
I loved being able to observe this wildlife without disturbing it and felt like I was doing things, people on safari tours only ever dream of because I had time and patience.
I witnessed a menagerie of lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras, ostriches, impala, gazelle and aardwolf.
At the end of the day we all rushed for the showers and then met up at the bar to swap stories and photographs about our experiences.
Unfortunately, the last day came all too quickly and for me, it was like saying goodbye to a family.
Best of all I went home with sustained hope for the future.