Molly Shannon – Canada……click here

Slide3Askari was hands down the greatest experience of my life. The staff are amazing and friendly and the backbone of this reserve is strong. When you’re not enjoying the countless wildlife you are partaking in meaningful activities that lead to the longevity of this reserve’s ecosystem. I would suggest it for all who want to make a difference in their own and this earth’s life.

Shannon Farmer – Canada…..click here

Slide3Askari Wilderness Conservation Programme is unlike any other volunteer opportunities I have heard of or experienced. The people here are truly passionate about the conservation, preservation and restoration of South Africa’s pristine ecosystems and wildlife. It can be hard work at times, but to see the meaningful projects you are contributing to makes it all worth it. It is an unforgettable experience and I feel incredibly lucky to have been involved in this programme. A special thanks to Katie and Ed who have made my experience here infinitely better by providing the necessary support, knowledge and true passion for conservation to make this programme so fantastic.

Meidan Leiderman – Canada….click here

meidanMy stay at Askari has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. The amount of things I learned and saw was unique and soul-satisfying. Katie & Ed are amazing people in so many ways and I would love to come back for another stay at Askari

Ryan Wheatley – Canada….click here

Slide4Returning for a second stay at Askari I knew this experience would be equally incredible. This time around was completely different and allowed our team to excel and contribute to Pidwa in new and exciting experiences. Askari and Pidwa have a way of inspiring positive change in the lives of participants. You leave with a reaffirmed understanding and responsibility to conservation. The lessons I have learned will be with me always.

Tyla Reed – Canada…..click here

Slide1Coming to Askari from half a world away gave me the opportunity to work with like-minded people, towards the larger vision of Pidwa. I truly admire the support and dedication the Askari team has for their work. Such passionate and inspirational people make it easy to learn from. In the beginning it seemed as though this was a once in a lifetime opportunity, however now looking into the future I have prospects of returning. Thank you for making an impact on my life Askari.

Carly White – Canada….click here

Slide2Having returned for a second time, I was continually blown away by the knowledge and passion shown by the Askari staff. My time at Askari will push on to be the highlight of my year. This programme is highly recommended.

Alexander Brekelmans – Canada….click here

Slide2My time at Askari has been one that has forever changed me and an experience that I will never forget. Being able to help and support a reserve whose main goal is to restore the landscape to it’s original form is amazing. I can definitely say that going to Askari has helped broaden my outlook on restoration and given me a better idea on the practical side of things. I cannot wait until I can return here again

Will Richmond – Canada……click here

Slide5The Askari programme us truly a rare experience. Their focus is on education, conservation, and restoration – which sets it apart from other reserve programs. I felt like my work was making a difference and that the people at Pidwa appreciated it. The reserve staff and guides were all extremely welcoming and quickly became close friends of mine. They were also very accommodating to the volunteer team, especially when sighting the fantastic wildlife species on the reserve. The wildlife at Pidwa is spectacular and jaw-dropping to say the least. The ecosystems are beautiful and the flora species made me fall in love with this country. I made memories at Askari that will last a lifetime, and I am sad to go. I will miss every part of the experience, but I fully intend to return to Askari. The experience is too good to not come back.

Samantha Croxford – England….click here

SamA month I will never forget! I can’t recommend the Askari conservation programme highly enough! From day one I loved every moment and Ed and Katie go out of their way to ensure you have the most amazing trip! The programme is really well organised so that there is a balance between the wow of seeing an elephant pass right by the vehicle and the conservation work involved to ensure their natural habitat remains. I have learnt so much in my time at Askari and feel incredibly lucky to have been part of this world and the fantastic work the whole team carry out on a daily basis. I am so happy I was able to contribute to this unique programme. Askari is a very special place and I think it’s safe to say it’s stolen a piece of my heart forever.

Wendy Cutting – England….click here

WendyA month in a true wilderness with enthusiastic guides and everything from elephants to dung beetles to discover – what could be more amazing. I am closer to the top of the age range of volunteers and not that fit and I would say do NOT let age put you off – all the tasks and activities are manageable and give such a sense of achievement as you can see the benefits. Katie and Ed are both so enthusiastic and all the staff at Pidwa/Askari went out of their way to make the experience as great as possible for us. Book, come and enjoy – you will not regret this and you will leave a much happier person. This is true conservation, with real wild animals in the most incredible private place.

Sofie Banister – England….click here

SofieI have greatly enjoyed my 2 weeks here at Askari. The team was very welcoming and friendly and I would definitely consider returning as 2 weeks simply isn’t enough time to experience the beauty of Pidwa and all it has to offer. I have seen some amazing things which I will look back on with the fondest of memories from experiencing the elephant darting, not once but twice, to watching young hyaenas run around with flowers in their mouths and identifying some incredible wildlife. These are just a few of the things that have made the past 2 weeks truly special. Thank you.

Dario Piovesana – England….click here

As someone who has been involved in quite a few volunteer projects, I can honestly say Askari is one of the best. Fun, interesting and you leave feeling you have done good with your time. The staff are awesome and make your experience here fun and rewarding.

John Key Powell – USA….click here

KeyAskari was a more than satisfying experience for someone looking to see a great part of South Africa. I think you all do an excellent job of maintaining the reserve and properly teaching the important and current values of wildlife conservation. I will recommend Askari to anyone trying to visit South Africa for its wildlife.

Kate Hewitt – Canada….click here

KateThis experience has been extremely life-changing. The knowledge and experiences I gained here have helped me learn a lot more about myself. The small group sizes allow for a more intimate experience with the wildlife.

Richard Goetz – Canada….click here

RichardI very much enjoyed my time here in the African bush and was so happy to return as the intern. It just goes to show that hard work and commitment really pays off. It was almost 5 years ago since I was last here, so I’m really pleased this opportunity came to fruition. I enjoyed every sighting, big or small. Seeing the big 5 was just the icing on the cake.

Anna McNeillie – England….click here

Absolutely loved my time here at Askari! Complete mixture of learning about the conservation work that is done here. Physical, but rewarding tasks like fence clearing, and incredible wildlife encounters alongside sleep outs and braai’s! Ed and Katie are awesome and so much fun – would definitely recommend anyone to volunteer at Askari.

John Young, United Kingdom………….Click Here

Presentation1At 56 years old, I am the oldest person on the project, but fit in very well. A great bunch of volunteers. The project was very well planned and the day itinerary was also varied and interesting. The knowledge of the staff was excellent and the games at the house and one drive made it fun whilst learning. I would urge anyone young or old with a passion to make a difference for African wildlife to sign up!

PS. This may well be my last trip to Africa as a volunteer. I would just like to say thank you for making it the best.

Luke Harris, United Kingdom……………Click Here

Presentation1Really enjoyed my time here, the staff are great and very knowledgeable. I’ve learnt so much in the short time I was here. The drives have left me with some amazing experiences that I will remember for the rest of my life. They are very personal and exciting. One highlight for myself was the sleep out. What an experience in the open at one with the wildlife. Just a bit upset we didn’t see an animal come into camp :).

Mark Harris, United Kingdom…………Click Here

Presentation1Spent two weeks at Askari. Made you feel very welcome by the staff. I can honestly say I have enjoyed every minute of it. We learnt a lot, had some great sightings and very hot weather!! Would certainly come again and will take away good memories.

Susan van Rijn – The Netherlands….click here

susanI had a great time at Askari! I came to do conservation work but did not realise I would go home with so much knowledge of the bush and many new friends.

Rocks, aliens and wilderness

This day started at 7:15, aiming first for protecting trees. So we went to the old Mica mine, where volunteers, Katie and our brave Norman dig into the little hill, searching for the biggest rocks possible. As Katie said “the bigger the better “, especially when it comes to elephants. On our way, we were lucky to see the only ostrich of the whole reserve. Too clever and quick for leopards, this giant bird is definitely a lonely soldier, but a happy soldier. Newbies had first aid lecture with Ed, concerning all venomous and poisonous animals in Africa. Some weren’t so confident after it ! Old volunteers went for alien plant monitoring. And, at lunch, we had those amazing burgers, YUMMY !! In the afternoon, we went for this lovely wilderness lecture, consisting on watching an amazing scenery at a really good place on the reserve. We have heard lion calling tonight, was near the house, at 9.

Natasha Eastwood – England….click here

Slide3This programme far exceeded all expectations. I learnt an incredible amount about a wide range of conservation areas whilst getting up close and personal with the animals. The team are impressively knowledgeable and passionate about what they do. They warmly welcomed me into the Askari family and I can honestly say I’ve has the best time of my life. I will definitely be coming back to Askari and strongly recommend this place to anyone who loves wildlife, is prepared to get their hands dirty and has a keen interest in conservation.

Shirley Coopman – The Netherlands….click here

Slide2My time at Askari was incredible. We do so many different activities, one day seems like two days. You can’t imagine what is happening in the bush until you see it for yourself. We participate in each task and choice about the bush. You become part of an awesome team where you make new friends. People who share the passion and who want to make a difference. Do not hesitate, just do it. This is adventure!

Jordan Gledhill – England….click here

Slide1Having been at Askari 3 years ago I have been following it’s progress on facebook with Katie’s great picture. 3 years later I am back in South Africa and it would have been rude to not pop into Askari for 2 weeks. It was just as much fun as I remembered , if not even better with the additions of the pool, sable station and the bird loving South African bloke. So cheers guys.

Mike Oldridge – England….click here

This was my second stay at Askari and the only time I’ve gone back to a holiday destination which tells you all you need to know. Different people, different activities and the same result; an incredible experience full of amazing sightings, laughs and excitement and you come away feeling that you’ve actually made a difference. Would recommend to everyone.

Zachary Bogar – Canada….click here

To my dearest Katie and Ed, where to begin? My time at Askari has been much better that I ever could have imagined and that is thanks to you two. The knowledge and experience you’ve given me is incredible, and it’s inspiring to see the Pidwa family work so hard for conservation. I never thought I would have come away with all the amazing wildlife memories I have and that’s thanks to the hard work Pidwa puts into protecting their animals. I will forever remember and be thankful for my time here at Askari, and for having Katie and Ed.

Anouk van den Bosch – The Netherlands…..click here

I wish I could stay at Askari. It was truly amazing. There were only highlights, but there are some that jump out. The herds of elephants, spotting 2 male lions, seeing lots of cheetah and noticing how tall a giraffe actually is. It was an experience I will never forget. Thank you Katie & Ed and all the others that made it fantastic.

Iris Jonker – The Netherlands….click here

It has been a life changing experience to me which I will never forget. I never imagined learning so much in such a short period of time and being able to have amazing sightings and meeting people that made me feel so at home during my stay. “Nature is not a place to visit, it’s home” and Askari has definitely felt like a home to me over the past three weeks. Thank you for that!

Mathis Drapeau -France……… Click Here

mathisWhere to start, and where to end after 4 amazing weeks here?!

Maybe saying it was too short, but that I have enjoyed every minute, every activity, every sighting and moment shared with the Askari family.

I was expecting something good, but it was more than just good. The time I have spent here is one of the best times of my life. Waking up here was a pleasure, and feeling that you are doing something for the wilderness which is today struggling unbelievably.

Ed and Katie are always here to teach you new things about every type of life or vegetation you could be able to see. For that, I wanted to thank them so much.

I will always miss my time here, thank you again for everything Katie and Ed.

Janneke van Kraglingen – The Netherlands ……… Click Here

Slide2I got picked up at the airport not really knowing what to expect and immediately we were Askarians!

Within no time we new arrivals were part of the team. Everybody helped each other. I learnt so much about animals and conservation and the idea of Pidwa. I am so happy that I have been able to contribute to this idea.

The balance between work and relaxing was really great. Even though I am not that sporty, I enjoyed the Volleyball! I also loved the sleep out, the games we did together and the space we gave each other to do their own things. I never saw the animals so up close and in such a relaxed way: Amazing! I learned a lot of new birds and bird calls! Loved it!

This was an adventure, an experience I will never ever forget. I loved being here!

Olga Pozos Alexandre – Australia/Spain ……… Click Here

Slide3I really enjoyed my 2 week stay at Askari. I loved the respect and care the staff has for all animals. It was also fun participating in games and combining chores and fun. I think it is great how Askari not only cares and looks after the animals but also care and looks after the habitat. Askari also teaches the procedures and therefore allows you to feel part of the projet, even if it is checking the fences, monitoring weather, it makes you feel like your participation is also making a difference.

I highly recommend it to any animal lovers, the experience has been awesome.

Askari made me feel like I was contributing to the survival and success of the conservation programme and that surpassed all my expectations. I would repeat it again and again!

Sleeping under the stars

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This week the whole team to sleep out in the wild with only a camp fire illuminating the surrounding darkness. With the clearest blue sky and not a cloud in sight we knew we were in for a treat come nightfall.

We chose to head towards the Selati River where water has not flown all dry season, leaving only soft sand and rocky boulders.The team set up camp and built a fire for us all to sit around in the evening. We then paired up and played some ‘beach cricket’ and soon discovered the team had some spider-man like reactions when it came to catching in the field! After Ed and I claimed a convincing victory we all set up around the fire whilst we Braai’d (South African BBQ) into the night.

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Eventually the fire settled and everyone returned to their sleeping bags leaving an incredible night sky, illuminated entirely by stars, satellites and planets. I lost count as to how many shooting stars flew by whilst I laid in the sand facing into the abyss above, simply spectacular.

To ensure we didn’t have any unwanted visitors in the night, each person was randomly assigned an hours watch to walk the camp and keep the fire alight. Fortunately for the second month running I landed the final shift between 0500 and 0600 during sunrise whilst everyone usually stirs. Little did I know that just like last month we would be visited by another pair of curious Spotted Hyaenas who scampered and cackled around the perimeters of the camp site!

Miranda Coobs- The Netherlands……Click Here

Slide1It was an amazing, wonderful informative but most of all a time I will never forget!
Katie and Ed are two amazing people and do an amazing job at Askari. I am thankful to be a member of the Askari family!

Iris Wisse – The Netherlands………Click Here

Slide1Had an amazing 6 weeks at Askari, made a lot of new friends and had some awesome sightings. Don’t want to leave now!
The staff are amazing and always friendly and are always so much fun. I will miss everything about Askari.
Thank You so much for everything!

Morning Lion drive

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“Lions have been sighted, 60 seconds and we’re off”

We were fortunate enough to recieve a call to a lion sighting not to far from Askari house and we all managed to drop our morning routines at get there in time. We found 2 lionnesses sitting in beautiful sunrise lighting that illuminated their golden coated fur.

A sudden shift in wind direction and a blanket of cloud over the rising sun caused a change in the lions mood, they had a kill in sight. Just 50 metres away from where they both lay were a zeal of zebra moving towards them. Only until what seemed the dying seconds before they were going to pounce did the zebra sense danger and gallop away into the bush. The tension was absolutely incredible!

Victoria Williams – England………click here

IMG_4873My experience at Askari has been invaluable. I have learnt so much from Katie and Ed, although I didn’t realise it at the time.

The message from Askari isn’t just about conservation and respect for the wild bush of Africa, but to have a bloody fun time while doing it. We worked hard, we played hard and i cannot thank them enough for a time I will never forget.

Jake Kitchiner – England……… click here

jakeExcellent programme with the right balance of learning and work contributing to the reserve. Askari probably doesn’t give itself the credit that it deserves.

It opened my eyes to so many new things, Askari and South Africa will always have a special place in my heart.

Fabian Mausbeck – Germany………click here

DSCN3337It has been a really nice experience to live and work next to wild animals. To see them in their natural environment was one of my best experiences I have ever had.

Our group was so pleasant and it was a pleasure to meet every single one. We had a mad time and did a lot of things together like playing cards which made us grow together as a group.

I learnt a lot of interesting things on the game drives. The cheerful atmosphere between the volunteers were to savour from the whole stay at Askari. To be honest I had never thought that I could be interested in birds, but you guys made me like them so birding was a welcome change to all the mammals.

What I enjoyed the most was the unpredictable sightings of lions, elephants etc. I like the spontaneous changes of the schedule when we came along a rare animal. It was nice that we rather enjoyed the sightings than to do the scheduled activity.

All staff members were so pleasent and helpful, especially Katie and Ed. You two mdae my stay so special. It has been a pleasure to meet you and to stay at Askari and to learn so much about the South African nature.

Alastair Thornton – England………click Here

IMG_4869Askari conservation programme was awesome. The staff that work there are a credit to Pidwa. The accomodation is awesome. All I can say is that Askari is lovely and will always stay with me forever, so I thank all parties invloved. 100%.

Mckenzie Brocker – USA …………click Here

mckenzieAskari is a unique volunteer project that has real conservation goals. Whilst volunteering I learned so much you would never learn in another safari type experience. At the same time staying in a beautiful place with wonderful people, made great friends, had lots of fun, and contributed to the real conservation of South African ecosystems. The staff are friendly and knowledgable and the accomodation is beautiful and comfortable. Overall, definitely an amazing experience.

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