WCE – What the experience entails
Standing in front of the gate of the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC), you are able to see the rustle of employees and flurry of vehicles. You are left waiting in anticipation. What will this experience entail?
The WCE is an intensive 21-day programme that will change how you think and feel forever. HESC places particular emphasis on the breeding and maintenance of the cheetah in captivity but their focus does not end there. As a participant you will be able to partake in the every day care of wild dogs, white rhino, lion, African wild cats, Ground hornbills, Sable antelope to name a few.
The experience is based on three principles: Participation, conservation and sightseeing.
Participate in the care of various animals, assisting with or observing any veterinary activities that may occur during your stay. Rescued Rhinos @HESC is a highlight for most! Although a bitter, hard fact to deal with, seeing the survivors gives you courage.
Conservation is a part of the programme that revolves around lectures of all aspects of conservation, specialist input on all animals, grasses, trees and basic biodiversity.
Lastly you will be sightseeing and putting into practice the theory learned during your stay at a local reptile park, tracking in the bush and even preparation of traditional food.
The experience aims to teach participants to conserve the wildlife of this beautiful country and more importantly, create awareness on a broader global scale.
Arriving at HESC
You will either be picked up after arriving by aeroplane or arrive on your own accord and taken through to the accommodation.
You will be shown around and given the opportunity to unpack your baggage. After settling in the boma is the place to go where you will introduce yourself and tell fellow participants something about where you are from. After a delicious dinner everyone is allowed an early night.
What is the accommodation like?
Nungu Camp is where you will be staying when attending the WCE.
Cradled in the bush dotted with succulents, comfortable accommodation awaits you. Spread alongside a boma with a welcoming place for a fire, with memories of previous visitors drawn to remind you of the cause of HESC.
Are there shops nearby?
The closest town is Hoedspruit, which is 25km from the reserve. Regular trips can be organised for supplies, banking or internet facilities.
Is there anything else to do in the area?
Adventurous activities are available in the area, such as hot-air ballooning, paint-ball, river rafting in the Blyde River Canyon, horse riding and elephant interactions.
Do I get something else, besides learning?
You will be awarded a certificate that notes you have successfully completed the WCE and describes the course curriculum.
Remember, to be a successful participant in the WCE you will need to be:
Eager to learn and participate in HESC’s conservation work
Have a desire to make a difference while gaining invaluable experience and knowledge
Be prepared to work hard and be a team player
Be willing to get dirty and work hands-on with the animals in their habitat
Have a true love for wildlife and genuine concern for conservation
Be prepared to have some fun
Here is some feedback from a previous participant:
Name and Surname: Isabelle Davidson (20), Australia, Student/hospitality
Joined program from: 01.12.2017 to: 21.12.2017 (3 weeks)
Overall impression of the student/volunteer program:
Comments: Absolutely LOVED IT!! Been such an incredible experience. I’ve gained so much knowledge and hands-on experience during my stay. The programme is run very smoothly with plenty of activities throughout.
Overall impression of the accommodation and camp:
Comments: Very comfortable, homely and welcoming
Overall impression of coordinators:
Comments: Great balance of fun and sternness. While having a laugh and fun, I was still always kept on track learning lots of new things with the coordinators.
How did you find socializing/connecting to other members of staff at HESC:
Comments: I felt very involved and welcomed with the staff. Very friendly and helpful with any questions.
What did you enjoy the most? Feeding days. I loved working with the curators and coordinators around the program, gaining hands-on experience. Learning so much about the animals
What message would you leave for the next students? Always listen to the staff/curators/coordinators. They know best and you’ll gain much more if you listen to and learn from them.
For more information and downloadable brochures on the WCE please visit:
More feedback of previous participants:
To attend the WCE please contact:
+27 15 793 1633