Me + South Africa = This




I really am terrible at writing this, this time around.

So Saturday i went into to Cape Town to see Lucy whom i have known for a very long time, she joined the Marine Conservation project on Monday in Gansbaai. Little did i know when i decided to wear flip flops for the day that i would be walking 21.5km… Who does that? It was a lovely day, we walked around the VA Waterfront and headed to the Two Ocean Aquarium. Was super nice to see her and i really hope she is having a wonderful time in Gansbaai.

Now at SANCCOB its been crazy busy, chicks chicks and more chicks. I have been lucky enough to be on the penguin pens alot of the time. This means i am now allowed to feed, tube and administer medication to the birds. It also means my finger is not happy because it is used to keep the penguins beak open whilst doing these things… It led me to be put on ICU for the day yesterday, more cleaning and moving birds around then feeding etc… Until i was pulled off to help feed in pen 2 twice. I also had a stupid bug bite that meant that i ended up in the pharmacy because i was clearly silly allergic to what ever it was. Now i have been bit by mozzies before in actual fact i had a bite on my leg last week that was like the size of a 2p coin… The bite on my arm engulfed my elbow… I am just not lucky. Oh and to top it off i was giving the pelican darrows, which literally meant sticking my arm in its mouth anddddd the little or not so little guy bit me… future reference it hurts and i bled.

Today was a well needed day off and i ended up yet again at the wetlands. It is super pretty there and so peaceful, this time around i was lucky enough to see a Black Shouldered Kite.

The last few days

Busy few days if you ask me! Sunday i finally got put on a penguin pen. The pen where all the strongest and nearest to release birds go… This can only mean one thing, super sore and super bruised hands. Don’t get me wrong SANCCOB do make sure everyone wears arm guards and gloves… but if you have ever been bit by a penguin before you know this will only stop the cuts. You have to be super quick and really sure of yourself and your own stregth because these birds are strong and will get you when you least expect it!

Yesterday i was in the ICU. This is where all the sickest birds go! Its always going to be a busy day! I was lucky though i was shown how to force feed (sounds horrible, but these birds lives literally depend on it) a Hartlaubs Gull. SANCCOB are great when it comes to training. I have had experience all be it only a little with working with penguins, yet they treat everyone the same and teach you from the beginning. When you learn something you get signed off. For instance i can handle penguins, cape cormorants, kelp gulls and hartlaubs gull, but can only currently feed a hartlaubs gull. I will eventually be shown feeding of other birds and also hopefully tubing and medication. 🙂

Today was another day off, i again ended up at Rietvlei Wetlands! I love the place! I left at around 9 as i wanted to get there super early. I was so lucky today! I managed to see so much wildlife, including a Malachite Kingfisher and a mongoose! The place is by far one of my favourite places ever! It is so peaceful and relaxing! One problem though was today it hit 31 degrees… this means bugs…. Lots and lots of bugs… NO THANK YOU!

I have returned.

So yesterday i arrived in Cape Town! Leaving my mum and twin at the airport still didn’t make it feel real, sitting on the plane for 12 hours didn’t make it feel real. But here i am! Day 2!

Yesterday i must admit i was a bit of a mess, no sleep since the night before does that to a person. So what do i do… Hike up Table Mountain! CLEVER! It was the most stupidist idea ever, but the company was fun and we made it… Me and Charlotte started hiking in glorious sunshine and walked/hiked straight to the clouds. For me this was fun (the clouds part) i have been up TM before and the views were incredible. To be up there in the clouds though was completely insane! Cold and insane.

Today was the day i was booked for my paraglide. Now for those that don’t know i have spent the last 6 months raising money for the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary in Gansbaai! The paraglide was to mark the end of the fundraising period (i did pay out of my own money) and there to be more of an incentive for people to donate… It worked i can now say that i went out hoping to raise £300 but have actually raised £940! Now when i woke up this morning i could see people up in the air over Lions Head and i received a text saying that due to wind conditions flying had been postponed! Though i must admit that i was pretty devasted that it might now happen. But have faith…  i had a call at 11 to ask if i wanted to fly at 12. YES PLEASE! It was the most incredible thing i have ever done.. Don’t get me wrong the 10 min hike to the launch site nearly killed me after yesterday. But i really can non describe how incredible it is to be able to say you flew higher than Lions Head! The conditions were perfect and when i land i find out that the rest of the flights have been cancelled due to wind! I was so lucky not only to be able to experience what i did but to be able to fly today! THANK YOU everyone that has donated or shared my fundraising page, the money will ALL go towards the penguins and a small share for the DEEP childrens club in Gansbaai!

Come around so quickly

It only seems like yesterday that i actually booked to go back to South Africa. People at work keep asking me if i am prepared and if i’m excited and what are my plans when i come back to the UK… Lets answer those…

Am i prepared? Yes probably more so then i let on. This time around was a hell of a lot more stressful to plan due to visa requirements. Yep you heard me i had to apply for a visa and goodness me it was a pain. Medical, X-ray, Police Certificate plus bank statements, a statement from Ed at Via Volunteers and a trip to London to hand it in… oh and the earliest you could apply was 9 weeks before you fly. I must say i heard some horror stories but my application process went smoothly. I had my passport back in my hands with 3 weeks to go.

Am i excited? This one is tricky. I have had a lot of rubbish go on in the last 7 months since being back in England. Of course i am excited to go back to Cape Town and Gansbaai to spend some time with the crazy wildlife there and the people of course. It is also my first Christmas ever away from my family and when you have had a year like us it was a huge decision for me to make… Ultimately made by the fact that life is to short. And of course i am excited to know that on my return i have raised a considerable amount of money for The African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary in Gansbaai. Its good to be able to give back to the people that taught me so much in a short space of time.

What are my plans when i return to England? Goodness knows! I handed in my notice for my job just under 3 months ago. I don’t want to go back there. I have spent the last 7 months volunteering as a Junior Keeper at BirdWorld in Farnham and who knows maybe there will be a seasonal vacancy to apply for when i get back in March. Honestly i really don’t know what will happen. All i know is that i would love to be able to continue to work with Birds and Penguins hopefully in a keeper/conservastionist role. I don’t have a qualification BUT i have the heart and i have some experience through my volunteering in Cape Town/Gansbaai and Birdworld… Who knows maybe i will be lucky.

PS. I also brought a new Canon 100D to help me with my love for taken pictures… Watch this space 😉


The Return

So in around 10 or so weeks i will be returning to South Africa for just over 4 months. This time around though i will be volunteering at 2 different projects.


For the first 6 weeks of my visit i will be helping out at SANCCOB. SANCCOB is an African Penguin and Seabird hospital based in Cape Town. I am super excited to be helping out here as i get more hands on experience working with the birds. SANCCOB also have a relationship with Birdworld in Farnham where i have been volunteering since my return to the UK back in March/April. Birdworld regularly hold fundraising events that benefit SANCCOB.

Marine Dynamics/APSS

For the final 12 weeks i will be returning to Gansbaai as an IMV for Marine Dynamics. Here i will again be helping out on the Shark Cage Diving boats/Eco boat trips, though i do hope to concentrate on helping out at the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary. I can’t wait to return and catch up with the friends that i have made here. It was here that i found a love for working with birds and it is here that i am also raising money.

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