Brown hyaena local to Askari

Since its start in 2011, ‘Project Impisi’ has been an amazing success. Following translocation from farm land, 4 of our 5 brown hyaenas were recorded to survive, establish and reproduce here on Pidwa. 3 years further on and we have confirmed 3 sets of cubs. As their population grows, the hyaenas are starting to spread further afield and cover new areas of the reserve in order to meet their needs.

This is why we were so excited by our most recent findings on a bush walk close to the house, here at Askari this week. We have been seeing hyaenaSlide3 tracks fairly regularly – yet even the trained eye will struggle to tell the difference between those belonging to a brown and those from a spotted hyaena. Hopeful that they belonged to one of our browns, further confirmation came with the discovery of not 1, not 2 but 3 fresh anal pastings!
Slide1The anal paste smells about as bad as you might imagine a substance would when secreted from the anal gland of a hyaena! It is a form of scent-marking that can be found on grass stalks around two thirds of the way up (perfect nose height for a hyaena!). Not only does it communicate information to fellow clan members but also to those of rival clans. The bottom mark is initially white which turns caramel and then brown over time. It is long lasting and presumed to be territorial warning intruders (hyaneas from other clans) that they are trespassing. The top mark is a message to fellow clan members to say that the area has been foraged recently and to move on somewhere else; it is brown in colour and lasts only a few days.

A little further on in our walk and we came across a hyaena scat, right next to an old wildebeest carcass which has been completely cleared. The Slide2scat is easily characterised by the shape, content, and size. The green-creamy colour seen here indicates the freshness of the scat.
It’s exciting to think that a brown hyaena may be establishing its home range right here around the Askari house.

In the coming weeks we will place camera traps to try and catch a glimpse of the hyaena and work out if it is one of our original adults or a young one moving into the area. We will keep you posted but in the meantime these photos come from a camera trap set at the den of our second pair of adults who are busy rearing 2 cubs.
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Kensi van Rijswijk – The Netherlands……click here

Askari is so much more than just a volunteer project or a holiday. It is an eye opener, a once in a lifetime opportunity. The whole experience of working in the bush and helping out is amazing! And the people who really make it special are Katie, Joe and Ed, without them Askari wouldn’t be the same. Thank you.

Annie Fletcher – Australia….click here

annieI had the experience of a lifetime during my month as Askari. We were lucky enough to participate in a range of exciting and worthwhile activities during our stay including a Sable darting and receiving a delivery of zebra and buffalo! The volunteer house and food were amazing, as were Katie and Joe who were the most knowledgeable, fun and patient guides ever! I highly recommend this programme to anyone who wants to learn about and contribute to wilderness conservation in South Africa.

Jake Grifith – England (2nd stay)…..click here

Slide1Things change every day in the bush, and certainly there are some big changes underway at Askari right now, but the constant is an outstanding passion for wildlife and conservation shown by Joe and Katie. Perhaps more importantly their personal excitement is accompanied by an ability to instill a certain degree of passion into every one of the volunteers here and this I think is what makes Askari truly special. There is not a single thing that I would change about the activities or the lifestyle, no day here us the same and that is the magic of the place. Last time I came ot Askari I felt 2 weeks wasn’t enough, well now I fell like a month isn’t enough. IT is only now that I am coming to the end of my time here that I can begin to understand how much I am going to miss this place. In part this is down to the ever-changing nature of the bush and a personal love of wildlife, but mostly it is testament to the ability of Joe and Katie and all of the staff here to make you feel at home. There is nothing else to say but thank you for an amazing month and I hope I can make it back here as soon as possible.

Greg Sollis – Australia….click here

Slide3Askari is in the enviable position of being a large scale conservation reserve with a secure, foreseeably long-term backing. As such, throughout the entire volunteer experience all efforts were able to be focused on important conservation work without any distractions or conditions. It is clear that the Askari programme has been running for a long enough time that it has managed to evolve through several iterations into the well-structured, highly organised experience it is today. All activities have a specific purpose, they are each an authentic insight into the workings of a reserve, giving the volunteers a feeling of belonging and contribution, and everything is cleverly tied back to the obvious goal of the reserve: conserving South Africa’s native wildlife. The passion of the Askari and Pidwa staff is obvious and infectious. There is a constant warm, welcoming felling in the house, and every effort by the staff has been made to ensure the comfort and enjoyment for each volunteer. It will certainly be difficult to say goodbye.

Claire Godfrey – Scotland……click here

Slide2This was my first time at Askari and before I arrived I wondered if my 4 week stay would be a bit too long. We are now in the last morning waiting to leave to the airport and honestly I feel like I could stay here forever. I came to Askari with little to no knowledge about the bush and I am leaving with a wealth of knowledge and a passion to spread it. In my 4 weeks here I feel like we have all become a family and I will never forget each and every person at Askari. I will most definitely be back – but next time for a lot longer – prepare yourselves!

Neil Cowper – Scotland…..click here

Slide2Never want to leave

Merric Fletcher – Australia…..click here

Slide1Staying 4 weeks at Askari was the best experience I’ve had on holidays. The program was amazing and I had so much fun while learning so much. The staff are fantastic and so welcoming. I would definitely come back, 4 weeks was barely enough.

Rosalie Hayes – England (2nd stay)…..click here

Lots of people questioned me when I said I was not only going back to SA, but returning to the same project. I’d left a few months earlier. But for me it was an easy decision to make, and I’m so glad I could spend another month here. Askari is a very special programme and stands head and shoulders above its competitors. It manages to strike the perfect balance between truly looking after its volunteers and helping them to understand the bush and experience magical sightings, and entrusting the volunteers with genuine responsibilities that actually do make a difference to the conservation of the reserve. As a volunteer, you see first hand how the actions of humans can help to return land back to its natural wilderness, and you learn so much about the animals, birds and plants of the South African bushveld along the way. On top of that, Katie and Joe are simply brilliant at what they do, and make every day at Askari one to remember. thank you for everything.

Victoria Hartley-Cox – Canada…..click here

As a first time traveller I was nervous at first, being so far from home and not knowing anyone. But from the moment I stepped off the plane I was welcomed. Askari felt like a little bit of home in the middle of the African bush.

Bradley Reynolds – Australia…..click here

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Askari for many different reasons. The managers Katie & Joe are very down to earth and keep everything you do light hearted and fun. the activities you do are hands on and you do feel like you are making a contribution to the reserve. Lastly, you can’t beat life out in the African bush where anything from elephants browsing outside the house to a pack of lions disrupting your activities can happen. It’s well worth the trip.

Elizabeth Lee – South Korea…..click here

There is no place I would have rather gone for my gap semester. Every aspect of the program was very systematic and well-planned. It was very apparent that all experience and feedback from past volunteers were seriously considered and incorporated into the program. The conservation activities were very fulfilling. The detailed processes and objectives of all activities were thoroughly explained to volunteers beforehand by managers who are more than over qualified. The Askari Wilderness Conservation programme will surely fulfil (and most likely exceed) anyone’s expectations of conservation projects.

Natalie Durant – England…..click here

Slide6I feel so lucky to have found and spent a month at Askari.  Having never volunteered (or even been to Africa!) I was nervous but Katie, Joe and previous volunteers immediately made me feel comfortable.  Learning about the reserve conservation projects and general safety in our orientation week really helped me to see how our efforts as volunteers were valuable and made a difference for the vegetation and wildlife on the reserve.  There was a fantastic mix of volunteers from many different backgrounds, countries and all at different stages in their lives.  I learnt a lot from all of them, made some great friends and had so much fun along the way.  The house was really comfortable with nice bedrooms, bathrooms, (with hot water horray), a good kitchen (always lots of food and snacks) and there were always things to do at the weekends or in our breaks such as hanging out in the pool, the volleyball court, darts, and I loved being able to go for runs too.

The work involved a diverse set of activities from tree protection, herbivore drives and sable monitoring to helping with the vet visit.  Each day brought new exciting sightings and we weren’t hidden from what was really happening on the reserve.  The organisation of the programme was fantastic and made sure it ran smoothly each day.  I learnt so much in just a month and didn’t expect to fall in love with Africa quite so quickly but I am now counting down the days until I can go back again!  I cannot thank all the staff at Askari and Pidwa enough for sharing all their knowledge, their dedication and all of the fantastic braai’s, sleep outs and leaving parties.

Cassandra Macmillan – Canada….click here

Slide3This place makes you feel like you’re living in a documentary. The work really feeds your soul, an empowering experience that makes you never want to leave.

Autumn Barrett-Morgan – Canada……click here

Slide5My time at Askari was a life-changing experience in the most positive way possible. Every day I felt so alive and a part of something so much bigger than me or anything else I’d ever been part of before. Peace, joy, teamwork, safety and hope were everyday emotions/feelings. It’s a soul nourishing experience that you will feel you have to be a part of again. Everyone here makes you feel at home. Every day is a new, unpredictable adventure.

Jeffery McFarlane – Canada….click here

Slide2Askari was a wonderful, one of a kind experience. Volunteering here at Pidwa was so incredibly humbling. It was so refreshing to experience the wilderness here as nature intended and 100% uncensored. Askari is a phenomenal experience because you get the chance to help something that is so much bigger than any one person. Askari and Pidwa is as real as real can be. Anyone who reads this testimonial should seriously consider this life-changing experience and so some research of their own. Seize the moment and come enjoy the coolest place on the planet. We all still have so much that we can learn and appreciate.

Keri-Ann Ward – Canada….click here

blogThe amount of knowledge and experience that I have gained at Askari in 2 weeks, I could not gain from 2 years of college or university. Askari is hands-on and practical. Everything is done for a reason and that reason is conservation. Truly a benchmark reserve of not only South Africa, but the world.

Deanna Hergert – Canada…..click here

Slide1We truly did feel like we were living in a documentary the entire time. It is a rare thing in this world to get to work towards conservation of such world-renowned wildlife and be so intimately involved in their world every day. Being part of Askari has been like a dream which will be re-lived in grand memory for the rest of my life.  This experience will charge me with the fuel sometimes needed to continue on my dedicated life path towards conservation of wild spaces, Askari being a true benchmark to which other efforts should be compared. Thank you from the depths of my soul Katie and Joe for such an amazing experience and for encompassing application of the Ecosystem Management Program into 2 perfect weeks on Pidwa reserve!

Joseph Broughton – Canada…..click here

Slide4My time at Askari has been one of, if not the greatest, experiences of my life. That may seem like a bold claim but everything from the relationships with the team members I’ve made here, the amazing animal sightings and working with Katie and Joe are all things I will treasure for the rest of my life. It may have only been 2 weeks – which absolutely flew by – but every single one of those days was a new and incredible experience. In one of our lectures we learned about wilderness and how it’s fulfilling to our lives. This is something that you cannot truly understand until you have spent time here. It really does make you feel alive.

Mike Oldridge – England…..click here

Slide1An incredible experience that will live with me forever. Every day varied and interesting new challenges met, new knowledge acquired. Hard work at times but always fun and you feel like you’re genuinely making a difference. Accommodation excellent. Food great, the program itself is superb but made doubly so by the fact that it is run and organised by Joe and Katie, both incredibly hard working who have strived to make our time here as fulfilling as possible. They have an infectious passion for their work and have also gone out of their way to accommodate individuals requests and needs – LEGENDS! I truly hope to return one day.

Joanne Auberson – Australia…..clcik here

Slide4Askari is not just a conservation program, it gets under your skin and makes you feel alive. It challenges you but also rewards at the same time. It is an experience that you will not find anywhere else. I can safely say I recommend Askari to anyone wishing to be truly involved in wildlife and wilderness conservation and to have a great time whilst doing it.

Lieke van Moorsel – The Netherlands…..click here

Everyday was a different day, and that’s what I like. The drives were perfect, not too short aSlide2nd not too long. Also walking with the caracal was very interesting, you can learn so much about the bush and the behaviours of the animals. Also after this you know names about animals that you didn’t know and other information about the animal and that’s very helpful and interesting.

Cindy Prevost – France…..click here

Thank you so much for all, it was amazing, I will not forget this experience. It was a dream for me to come hereSlide3 and now I am really sure that I want to do this job during my life.

A busy day

Slide1Busy day today! Started with trying to seek out the lions (no luck unfortunately, yet!) followed by a research drive in Langa Langa. We saw so many animals we nearly filled a whole page! Over 70 individual animals were seen! Also enjoyed watching a dung beetle roll his perfect little ball of dung, and also watched a very short lived fight between two male dung beetles for a dung ball, which ended very quickly when one of the poor little guys ended up on his back for ages! By the time he was back on his feet, the other one had rolled the dung ball far away and was nowhere in sight!

 

We started driving back to Askari when we bumped into the same mother and son cheetahs that we met last week – they were in the middle of the road and completely not bothered by us so they lay down and had a rest. The mother got up at one point to smell a Mopani tree at the side of the road, where cheetah, lions and leopards mark their scent. The son soon followed in her steps – teaching at its best!

We drove on and the rain started to fall and by the time we arrived back it was a massive storm. We all had a little rest and waited out the storm by playing cards and reading. We then heard over the radio that two elephants were in the river and soon enough Joe was shouting “You have 60 seconds to get into the vehicle!” – so we all raced off and found the two gorgeous males by the river. The biggest male came very close to us and I think we were all holding our breaths at a few points, but he was just being inquisitive. We stayed with them both for quite a while and all of us were over the moon that we had finally seen an elephant in Pidwa. We had lunch.

 

After lunch we headed out around 3 to the boma in Langa Langa as it needed a bit of attention. The plants around Slide2the electric fence had been poisoned some time ago but they needed clearing so we did the remaining half of the outside perimeter with spades. Joe was impressed with our speed and we got more done that he had anticipated! We then also painted a number of the poles with a special antirust coating. We were lucky that most of the work was in the shade but we all still got very sticky, and some of us seemed to have landed up with more paint on ourselves than the posts! We all enjoyed a bit of physical work after sitting in the game vehicle for over 4 hours this morning, and felt a great deal of satisfaction! A long but good day.

 

Michael Leuchtenberg – Germany…..click here

mikeAskari is like a dream come true that I didn’t even know I had.

Alexander Bowscher – England….click here

alexMy month at Askari was a memorable one, and was made by the Askari team – Katie and Joe. The programme they developed and delivered was exceptional, to food varied and plentiful and their knowledge of the bush inspiring. Not to mention the accommodation, an old farmhouse surrounded by antelope and roaring lions. Thank you guys, you surpassed my high expectations.

Samantha Williams – England….click here

Slide1If you want to truly contribute to conservation, animals and the environment Askari is the place to go! You gain hands on experience as well as learning from experts in the field. It is the experience of a lifetime…you will never look at animals in captivity the same!

Merel Schrama – The Netherlands….click here

Slide2Askari is a wonderful initiative on a beautiful reserve. Askari offers you an amazing opportunity to see and learn everything about conservation. Every day brings something new, exciting – you’ll never know what you’re going to get. The respect for mother nature – the wilderness, bush and animals is the most important thing on the project and if you didn’t feel like that before – you will certainly feel like that after leaving Askari. The Askari staff is lovely and provide a “home in South Africa”. They include you in everything that happens on the reserve, making you feel very welcome and like your presence is really appreciated, and like your work at the reserve really matters. You’ll have the best animal sightings and will leave with a content, satisfied and enriched feeling.

Jaye Sawdon – England….click here

Slide3Askari was everything I wanted it to be and more. For a short stay (2 weeks) I really felt like we were thrown into work and hit the ground running. It was physically challenging but always to your own limit, and in a way that left you feeling satisfied that you had actively contributed to the upkeep of the reserve and to wildlife conservation. We had sighting after sighting which transformed any drive to a far away part fo the reserve into a constant look out for elephants to leopard tortoises. The house is the perfect place to relax and socialise after a hard days work, I’ve never been so well looked after! Askari stands for something very real and it plays a vital role in bringing together humans and wildlife in a way that benefits both of us.

William Rice – England….click here

Slide4During my time at Askari I really felt I was contributing to the conservation of the reserve. The staff made an excellent job of informing us as to whatever task we were performing and how it benefitted conservation. It has really encouranged me to do more of this work and I can only hope that whatever conservation programme I do next, the staff are a fraction of what I have receievd here at Askari. I take away some fantastic memories of the people and animals and I would do it all again in an instant. If they handed out medals for dedication, hardwork and perseverance for conservation, Joe and Katie should be first in line to receive them. I wish everyone here at Askari the very best of luck and hope to return soon.

Katie Stoker – England….click here

Slide1Askari was my first time travelling and my first time volunteering and I can honestly say that it exceeded my expectations. The animal sightings were everything I hoped they would be and the staff were extremely friendly and welcoming. Katie and Joe are positively educational throughout the entire stay. Their passion for the conservation and willing-ness to teach you is greatly overwhelming. I felt safe and happy to approcah them about anything; genuinely lovely people. I would recommend Askari to anyone who wants to make a difference to conservation and wildlife. I am leaving knowing that I made a huge contribution and feel educated enough to pass on my knowledge. Askari is something I will keep with me forever and will always have a special place in my heart.

Natasha King – England….click here

Slide2Askari is a great project for anyone interested in conservation as it gives you the feeling that you actually made a difference. As well as the conservation, the Askari project is a lot of fun and the multiple animal sightings really make the trip. The chance to watch elephants, cheetah and giraffe without any fences between you and them is an amazing experience, and the hard work each day just makes you feel like you earned that rest and that dinner. The staff are great and very welcoming. You leave Askari feeling as if you learnt a lot.

Jasper Barbash-Taylor – USA…..click here

“Askari”, they tell us, is a term for young male elephants who, upon reaching 12 years of age, venture out alone for their maternal herd to join up with old experienced bulls in order to learn bush techniques these wise older bulls have spent their entire lives perfecting. As a one month Askarian, the parallel now seems almost uncanny. Here on Pidwa, people from all walks of life come together in a truly special way to form a herd led by the inspiringly knowledgeable reserve managers Katie and Joe to learn about conservation and reserve management and be amazed by breathtakingly close encounters with the wild animals found around almost evey bend in the road. Whether it’s having one’s blood freeze at the sound of a lion roar or working out in the bush to reverse the effects of erosion on the land, there are many wonderful experiences to be had here with the caring and supportive Askari family.

Kevin the baby warthog – 2 years on………

It’s that time of year again when babies litter the bushveld, including the always awesome sight of tiny warthogSlide1 piglets dashing off behind their mum. Since finding ‘Kevin’ 2 years ago and writing out first blog post, we have received numerous emails and messages from others who have found themselves as surrogate piggy parents. We therefore thought it was about time for a follow-up report on Kevin and the 40kg young man that he is today!

In our last blog post, we left you after having had Kevin for 2 months. It wasn’t long after, that Kevin started to grow his teeth making his presence around the house very destructive. We carried on for a little while, he would spend his days with us, following us wherever we went and his nights sleeping in the outside boma. Around March, after a couple of big holes were chewed in the sofas……we decided it was time to move Kevin out full-time! Now at this stage we were very lucky, we have some antelope breeding camps right next to the house which provided the ideal ‘middle’ home for Kevin before returning him to the bush. It may be at this stage that you need to make a decision with Slide2your warthog; they become too destructive to remain at the house and can become aggressive. We didn’t have that problem with Kevin but I have heard in some cases of them becoming protective of their ‘parents’ and attacking other people. If you do not have a ‘half-way home’, it may be at this stage that your warthog must brave the bush alone.

In the breeding camps, the first job was to build Kevin a burrow. We wanted to teach him about where he must sleep when he eventually lives in the wild. For this we just dug a hole and then covered it with a sheet of corrugated iron , soil and rocks. We brought Kevin over and stuck our arm in to show him it was safe. With a little nudge he soon went inside and within a minute or two was already excavating. He wiggled around at the bottom and brought out any soil he didn’t need with his snout. He moulded it all to fit him and even took some dry grass to the bottom to build himself a bed. Again, instinct just seemed to kick in here and after the intial building, he sorted it out for himself. Click on this link for the video footage of Kev excavating his first burrow http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1CxJVtWPZQ

From then on, there was very little care involved; we did still take Kevin milk and bread, even up until a year old Slide3but he was already feeding himself in the bush and would spend his days off foraging. I saw him eat scented thorn seed pods in abundance and LOVED marula fruits! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THDB6BGFqhM It would appear that he did make the odd bad decision when I’d see him salivating heavily and foaming at the mouth, perhaps a lesson in learning which bugs not to eat!

The next thing to come is the tusks! Really at this stage, our physical contact with Kevin started to reduce. As the tusks grow, the bottom pair sharpen, turning into mini razor blades. Although not meaning to be aggressive, they could easily slice a leg in Kevin’s excitement to greet you! Like I say, we were very lucky to have the antelope camps as a suitable place for him to stay. The electric fence stopped him returning to the house and humans and causing any injuries.

Slide4Today, Kevin is around 2 years old and more than 40kg. When we next have a vet on the reserve we will be darting him to move him to the northern section of the reserve for release. It has been a wonderful experience, to see him grow from just 1kg to the man he is today. While there is a risk that Kevin may not survive, we feel it is important that he gets his chance in the wild, to meet other warthogs, to mate and pass on his genes - otherwise really, what was the point? His instincts have got him through on many occasions so far and we hope they will continue for when he meets his first leopard out in the bush!

 

For a compilation of Kevin highlights, click on this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhnLHYw-dm0 and if you missed the initial post of how Kevin came to be with us, and his first few months of life you can read about that here http://www.askarivolunteers.com/recent-events-flash-news/hand-rearing-a-baby-warthog-%e2%80%93-kevin-the-piglet-at-askari/

 

 

Troy Chase – Barbados…..click here

troyThis has been such a great experience at such an ideal time of my life. This surpassed all of my expectations in a very positive way. I wanted to connect with nature, to meet people and to learn more about animals and conservation. I achieved all of this and much more. I connected with people and activities in a much deeper way that I would even had hoped. All the activities were  a chance for me to learn and to get out of my comfort zone. I needed this. I learnt to embrace not knowing what was around the corner. To open my eyes and my heart to whatever comes and to just take it all in! Great life experiences learnt here and at the age of 35! Thanks for making this all possible!

Laura Edwards – England….click here

lauraThis is the best experience I’ve ever had in the bush – it’s a perfect balance of work and fun, the staff are great, and you genuinely feel like you’re contributing to conservation in this beautiful habitat.

Alexandra Mandl – Austria…..click here

AlexHaving spent 4 weeks at Askari, I decided to visit the Kruger National PArk on my last weekend. It was on that day when I realised how much I was able to learn during that volunteering time. Knowing all the animals we could see there and even being able to sex them was not only surprising to my Kruger tour guide but also to me. 1 month before that I would have been just a random tourist. But Askari changed that. It turned me from a tourist with its camera to a person being passionate about the wilderness and its wildlife. It was an amazing time with a lot of new experiences and new friends. Go for it!

Prescribed management burns at Askari – 2013

Slide1Fires are an essential part of the South African ecosystem and carry out important functions such as the clearing of moribund, control of bush encroachment and enrichment of soils. Naturally, fires are caused by lightening strikes but wild fires can be devastating and burn out of control. Therefore each year, we take on the role of lightening and set our own fires to burn certain areas of the reserve. Our main goal this year was to control bush encroachment, which is where certain species take over areas and eliminate others due to an imbalance between grass and wooded species. Encroachment is often a result of past farming pracSlide2tices where poor soil conditions have caused problems. For bush encroachment control you ideally need a very hot fire; we therefore planned our burns a little earlier in the season than normal before any summer rains. Each year we call in a professional fire crew ‘working on fire’ who have plenty of staff and equipment to burn accurately and safely. We work on a rotational cycle for which areas of the reserve we will burn and this year we started on Jackal plains. We met up with the fire crew and the Askari team split into 2. Each Askarian was paired up with a member of ‘working on fire’ and we set off armed with drip torches, backpack sprayers and fire beaters. We work in blocks for burning and then patrol the edges to check the fire doesn’t jump across to an un-planned block. Seeing the bush on fire is quite a sight but there is also plenty of walking involved and smoky eyes! Once the burn was under control, we continued on the southern side of the river. There was time for a short break before then moving into buffalo camp and burning through the night. There was just the one jump which we got under control nice and Slide3quickly; the burn went well and the team returned around 10pm after a long days work. The following day it was down to Pidwa south where another block was burnt. Unfortunately our last day of burning was hampered by the weather with high winds making it unsuitable to burn. For more photos of the burning action check out this years ‘Fire’ album on our facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.604556786254754.1073741826.220393761337727&type=3

Bram Sterckx – Belgium….click here

aPerfect combination of conservation work, wildlife and fun! The staff are very helpful and always prepared to answer any questions. I would recommend this to anyone! Experience of a lifetime!

Ailea Farooq – USA…..click here

Slide4My time at Askari was AMAZING! I had such a great time and experienced so much in my 4 short weeks. Katie & Joe were both very knowledgeable and I was impressed with their level of expertise. I always felt well taken care if and safe, which was a concern of mine when travelling to South Africa. I was impressed with the work that Askari does and loved being part of it! I am happy to have gotten the chance to see some of the most amazing sights while at Askari. We had our game viewer surrounded by a herd of elephants, watched 4 lions feeding on a giraffe carcass within feet from us and slept out under the beautiful African night sky….AMAZING sight! Words cannot express how great this experience was for me and if I had the chance, I’d do it all over again in a heart beat.