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.

Andrea Deigert – Germany….click here

Slide5My time at Askari was great. It was an amazing experience. Specially the drives were great and also the possibility to learn a lot of things about wildlife conservation. It was totally different to normal vacations and that was the thing I wanted. Thanks to Katie and Joe for a special time in my life.

 

Cristina Llorente – Spain…..click here

Slide3I really enjoyed this experience. It was a dream to come to South Africa and collaborate in wildlife conservation. I have really liked it. I have had the opportunity of learning a lot about conservation, animals, the fact that we had the chance to take care of some animals also or seeing them closely everyday gives you the chance of knowing better their behaviour. I’ve also realised all the work that you have to do in a reserve to keep it. What I have enjoyed the most is to have the opportunity of seeing on the field some wild animals in their own environment. Moreover, it is so nice to meet people from all over the world who at least have one thing in common with you, their love for the conservation of wildlife and animals in general, knowing that there is people out there who really want to help make you think that maybe there is still an opportunity to save endangered species.

Rosalie Hayes – England…..click here

Slide6I’m so glad I made the decision to pick Askari for my trip to Africa. From the moment I arrived all my nerves and concerns disappeared, and since then I’ve had such a varied and exciting experience that the four weeks have flown by. The range of activities that you’re exposed to as a volunteer is fantastic – you could be involved in anything from setting up camera traps, to monitoring the number of herbivores on the reserve, to a darting. But what’s unique about Askari is that you are truly contributing to the running of a game reserve which has wilderness preservation as its core purpose and nothing the volunteers do is just for the sake of giving them a good time. As a result, I’ve learnt so much about conservation here and developed much more of an understanding about how a reserve functions. Alongside this, I’ve seen fantastic animals every day and had many encounters with lions, elephants, honey badgers (and others too many to list) that I’ll remember forever. Katie & Joe are brilliant, and will not only look after you during your stay but also take care to teach you as much as possible about the activities you’re doing and wildlife you’re seeing. I really find it hard to fault Askari, so if you’re considering going, go….and you really won’t regret it.

Spela Golob – Slovenia….click here

Slide2Once in a lifetime opportunity! I thought safari drives at commercial lodges was cool, but my experience at Askari was way better. We saw more animals than other people would on their safari vacations. It was more than just seeing stuff but learning about everything and being helpful as a volunteer. In addition, the living arrangement was amazing. The house was super nice. There was great cultural exchange between the volunteers. Doing chores, eating meals together, spending free time together, it gave the house a very friendly and homely atmosphere. I did so many things here I would never get to do in my life if I hadn’t come here, like setting fire to the bush, petting hyaena and warthog, sleeping out in the bushland.

Sophie Pell – England….click here

sophMy stay at Askari has been an amazing experience. I’ve learned so much and enjoyed every minute of it. I’ve made some memories that will last for a lifetime, thank you very much.

Ellen Larkin – Republic of Ireland ….click here

Askari Wilderness Conservation has the perfect balance of work and play. It is the ideal way to experience the South African bush, with rewarding and fun activities during the day, and ample relaxation time in the evening. You go to bed each night feeling tired in the best way and looking forward to the next morning. Quickest and most enjoyable 4 weeks of my life!

Charlotte Fraser – England….click here

Slide3 (2)Askari is an amazing experience suitable for everyone. It has been the most amazing month and time has flown by! I’d thoroughly recommend for anyone who wants a ‘real’ experience of South Africa.

David Miko – Czech Republic….click here

Slide4 (2)This was the first time I travelled so far for so long on my own and although I felt a bit worried about it at first, everything went smoothly and as soon as I arrived, I knew I’ve chosen well. After meeting Katie and Joe, at the airport, we went for a lunch in the hat and creek, where we met our complete team for this month. And then time sped up and without even noticing the orientation week was over. You know the feeling when you’re having fun, time passes so quick, well that’s what it’s like here. We got to see so many cool animals during our daily activities that one could only dream of on normal safaris. There is nothing quite like hearing lions or a leopard under the beautiful night sky! We got to touch a brown hyaena after several nights of trying to lure her into a boma in order to take her GPS collar off. At the end of the third week we had a sleep out in the bush which was an unreal experience. On the weekend after that we organised a trip to the nearby Blyde river canyon which is a worthy place to come and visit on its own. In the last week we participated in a prescription burn of the bush which again is an experience you can’t get very easily. It’s really sad to have to leave now, I hope to come back!

 

Victor van Deilen – USA….click here

Slide3Askari! What an amazing place. I can say with confidence that this is the best way to EXPERIENCE THE BUSH of South Africa. My girlfriend and I did a two week stay and although brief, worth every penny and exceeded my expectations in every way. The accommodations were excellent. Staff is extremely knowledgeable as well as kind and welcoming. It is comforting to know a place like Askari exists on this planet and I definitely will be back someday. For anyone looking for a great experience, Askari would be at the top of my list. Big thank you to everyone who contributes to making Askari possible and to my new found friends Katie and Joe.

Andrew Schnorr – USA….click here

Slide2 (2)I had the privledge to be part of Askari for two months and while I could write volumes about my experiences there, I can sum it up in two words: Do it. If you are debating whether or not you want to join Askari, I can confirm that it is a worthwhile, and quite frankly, amazing experience. I like to describe it as a “big kid’s summer camp”. There is always something to do, and the activities, while sometimes demanding, are always fun, and you have the satisfaction of knowing you are helping an inspiring conservation effort, working to make the African bush more natural, one day at a time. But truth be told it’s the unplanned “that-wasn’t-in-the-brochure” moments which will stick with you as fantastic memories. And who can forget the animals; the ecological diversity at Pidwa is very impressive, and I saw all sorts of creatures during my time there. But more than anything, it’s the people who define the experience, and in my time at Askari I’ve had the opportunity to meet and befriend folks from literally all around the world. And of course, Katie and Joe are an amazing pair, who not only manage the program like well-designed clockwork but are also welcoming, knowledgeable about the bush and easy to relate with, and I am happy to count them amongst my friends. So, if you want to meet great people, see as many animals as you would in any safari, and work to be part of a very noble conservation cause, Askari is seriously the place to be, and I’m happy I could play a part.

Stuart Tower – England….click here

Slide1I know it’s cliché but I really have had the time of my life. The work is hard, but it is always rewarding and you are constantly learning new things, whether it is how to identify a kudu from a nyala, how to safely operate a rifle or even just how to cook a casserole! Every moment of my time here has been incredible, surrounded by amazing people, and I can’t wait to come back!

Samantha Heidtman – USA….click here

Slide4When I first arrived at Askari Katie and Joe were waiting for us at the airport and did not hesitate to answer every question I had. This comfortability thoroughly helped with my with my relationship of the other house members for my entire stay at Askari. My experience has been rewarding, enjoyable and a chance of a lifetime. Every activity we as did as a group together helped to maintain Askari and bring meaning to the work there people here do. I have to say two weeks was a great time to learn, meet new people and give back to the world, but it was not enough. I recommend a 4 weeks minimum to get a deeper affect. The burning was amazing to experience and understand why it’s done. Seeing all the beautiful animals was one of the greatest treats and hearing about the history behind each animal was even better. Askari is without a doubt the best experience I personally have had. If guidance, freedom, knowledge and hands on activities is the forsight then Askari is the place to visit Thank you for a great opportunity to be part of this.

Lydia Chu – Taiwan….click here

Slide3As many more have mentioned before, being a volunteer at Askari is an experience of a lifetime. Not only does one get to experience life in the bush, but also get to learn all about it. To truly understand the bush and be able to conserve it – is the main mission of Askari. It comes down to more than just conservation though, but experiencing and seeing for yourself the wonders of nature causes one to step back and reflect on all of life. Askari is therefore setting up a benchmark reserve as well as educating individuals the importance of nature and conservation. The volunteers are a vital part of Askari and are necessary to take part in the many tasks that take place in order to improve the reserve. Another great part of Askari is also the fact that it is a place where volunteers come from all over the world. People have a chance to learn about other cultures, make life long friends and learnt o work together as a team. The Askari staff themselves, such as Katie and Joe, are evidently passionate and knowledgeable about the bush and are fantastic mentors and friends. Overall, the Askari programme will blow you away with the experiences you’ll have in the bush (everyday is different – never know what is going to happen!). However, what makes Askari such a unique programme is the extremely personal and serene atmosphere prevalent wherever you are, whether you’re at the dinner table or out on a bush walk. It is evident people genuinely care about making the world a better place through conservation and education, and therefore genuinely care about each other.

Milou Breedveld – The Netherlands….click here

a (3)My stay at Askari was truly amazing. The surroundings were beautiful and the animal sightings awesome. Everyone on the staff was great. Everyday was different, packed with a huge variety of activities that make you also feel very useful. I am going home with loads of stories to make my friends jealous.

Laura Earl – England….click here

Slide2This place is unbelievable, I’ve seen and done things which I could only dream of before. The staff are so welcoming and passionate about what they do. The activities are varied day to day which was really cool. This experience is one which I will never forget, it truly is a trip of a lifetime :)

Jake Griffith – England….click here

a (2)My short time that I had here was one of the best experiences of my life. I had always had a passion for wildlife but these two weeks have been everything I could have possibly wanted and more. It has confirmed for me that this is what I would like to do later in life. Whether it was the satisfaction of finally finishing the sable station or sitting in the back of Jimmy’s truck trying to bait a lion, each day bought new challenges and I love the place even more for that. Finally, and perhaps most importantly I must thanks Joe and Katie, they make Askari what it is and I couldn’t think of a better pair of people to run such a programme. Their depth of knowledge and obvious passion for the wildlife was quite simply unbelievable. You could not wish for a more friendly and caring two people to be looking after you. Thank you for an amazing 2 weeks and I hope to be back as soon as possible.

Rebecca Donaldson – USA….click here

Slide1Askari was such an amazing experience. If you ever have the slightest desire to see the African bush and contribute to protecting it, this is the place to come. The two people that you work with the most (Joe and Katie) are fantastic teachers and incredibly inspirational in their love for the bush. There is nothing I would love to do more than come back as soon as possible, you’ll never want to leave!

Cally Roming – Canada….click here

I had the privelidge of spending 6 months at Askari. From thaskari wilderness conservation programmee first day I arrived it felt like home. Everyone here always has a smile on their face and are willing to answer any questions you have. I have learned so much in the time I’ve been here and have found a passion for birds which surprises me since at home I could probably only identify 1 or 2 species! Katie and Joe have been amazing teachers and friends to me and I truly couldn’t imagine Askari without them. Seeing their passion for conservation in South Africa has really shown me this is something I would like to contribute to in my life and follow in their footsteps. Thank you for everything Katie & Joe! Askari has been my home away from home. I will be back :).

The Sable Station – Construction project at Askari

This month’s team started…..and finished work on the building of a lookout blog1tower in the Askari garden. It was a big undertaking and a lot of hard work but the end result is fantastic and already going to great use. The tower was built in the far corner of the garden with a clear view down to the feeding bays in all 3 antelope breeding camps. This will assist us with our monitoring but there’s so much more to ‘The Sable Station’ than that. From the top platform (a height of just over 6 metres) you can see all the way over to the northern plains, an elephant herd crossing would be easy to blog2spot! The bird watching is great and it’s also the perfect spot to watch the sunset over another day on Pidwa. For the keen beans amongst us, the sunrise view is great as well and there has already been some amazing star photography from the top with the stunning view of the Milky Way away from the lights of the house. There was no shortage of digging and concreting to be done…..but that was just the beginning. It was a great effort by the whole team, who were able to learn new techniques and building skills as the project progressed. Currently we just have a temporary ladder in position to climb the tower, work will continue on a set of steps next month. Thank you to ‘The Sable Stationeers’ for the perfect mark you left on Askari and Pidwa!