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You are going to love it! We know it can be daunting arriving in a new country on your own. Hopefully we can reduce your worries with this step-by-step information so you know what to expect!
If your arrival date is coming up, and you would have so far been in touch with our Volunteer Bookings Manager Vanessa. Vanessa would have prepared you well and if you had any additional questions she is quick and happy to help. We plan for your arrival about a week before, and you will have a 1-week pre-arrival email to double check you are still on schedule. One week before you will be put in touch with one of our Directors, Samantha on the ground and she will be organising your pickup from either the Hoedspruit Airport or the Grietjie Nature Reserve gate (if via shuttle)
You will be picked up by one of our team members wearing a C.A.R.E. logo, usually one of our staff members Ross or Wisani or one of our Directors, will be waiting to welcome you.
If you are arriving at Hoedspruit airport we will have already been in touch and arranged everything with you, it's a beautiful airport and completely safe.
If you are arriving via shuttle at Grietjie Nature Reserve gate we only have a short drive to get to you. Someone will either be already there waiting, or there are seats besides the Security Staff that you can wait on.
Upon arrival, you will be taken to your room and given an orientation of our Phase 1 facilities; the Nursery, Veterinary Clinic, Food prep areas and more. Dinner will be prepared for you along with the other volunteers, and you will be able to eat together.
Your first day at C.A.R.E.
On your first morning you will be enjoying guided tours, where you will learn about baboon behaviour and important safety rules. You'll hand in your paperwork, enjoy presentations, and have a Phase 2 Rehabilitation area tour (the main baboon enclosures where you will also be working) and you may watch 'Lady Baboon' or other documentaries.
After lunch, you will begin your official work-training on the main work shifts such as bottle making or food preparations. Don't worry if it's an information overload; you will receive 3 training shifts before every having to do anything on your own, but we recommend writing it all in a note-pad.
We offer many different activities and excursions to volunteers. Including safari's to the Kruger National Park, Panorama tour of the Blyde Canyon and part of the Drakensburg, Nourish Community Project, and outreach opportunities where we assist other organisations like HALO to provide veterinary care to animals in rural areas. You will be sent the up-to-date Excursion Brochures when you book with Vanessa.
We provide basic food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and urge volunteers to buy their own 'extras' and luxuries since our main budget priority is to provide high quality care and welfare to the animals in our care.
Breakfast: Volunteers prepare their own breakfast with items C.A.R.E. provides (cereal, toast and condiments are provided, including a soya milk option)
Lunch and Dinner: are cooked by volunteers who put themselves forward to cook; usually our long-terms but also many short-terms like to try. The ingredients are provided by C.A.R.E.; usually a mix of lentils, beans, herbs / spices / curry, rice, potatoes, pasta and either coconut milk or diced tomato sauce bases. Nutritious meals are often things which are easy (and affordable) to cook in bulk for a large group like; curry and rice, spaghetti and sauce, pasta bake, baked potatoes and sides, pie and veggies, mac and 'cheese', potato wedges with beans and veggies, salad side. You are very welcome to buy your own food during shopping days at your own expense and keep it in the Volunteer Village kitchen if you prefer luxury / special food items and some volunteers like to buy extra groceries to treat the team to something extra special. We urge volunteers to team together and help each other with cooking. A menu / meal plan is provided, but many volunteers like to try their own dishes too.
Vegan / Vegetarian: The diet at C.A.R.E. is Vegetarian/Vegan, however, and we are able to cater for gluten-free, and many other dietary requirements. Please let us know if you have any restrictions.
Our budget does not cover fruit, you can purchase this at the local store for yourself and "luxury" food items such as crisps, chocolate, soda, etc., are not provided. There is a weekly shopping trip to town where volunteers can purchase other luxury items.
Usually we have an on-site tuck-shop too so you can buy soda and chocolate.