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“Amazing” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Askari Wilderness Conservation Programme

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Askari Wilderness Conservation Programme
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Pidwa Wilderness Reserve, Gravelotte 0895, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Sao Paulo, SP
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Amazing”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2011

Hi all, my name is Roberta and recently I had the opportunity to enjoyed with Askari. The programme is really amazing, not just because you get so close with the biggest animals like lions, elephants, Rhino, Hyenas, Leopards, Cheetahs (amazing!)...but because I learnt a lot about them and I had the opportunity to make a difference to help in their conservation. More and more I respect them and the other kind of life. Africa is really cool and Askari gave the opportunity to enjoy my time there the best way as possible. I would like to say many thanks for all the staff that helped me a lot and shared their knowledge and made my trip a special time in my life.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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68 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Nice
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 4, 2011

Not only was this an incredible place to stay, it was also a perfect place to learn about conservation.

The Askari programme was very well structured. Everyday, one learnt something new and saw something amazing.

Every person I met went out of their way to make sure I was getting the most out of my time in South Africa. The people running this programme are great.

The lodgings are superb and perfectly set in the wilderness. The food was delicious and varied.

It was a very difficult place to leave, but I hope I will get a chance to go back someday. I strongly recommend Askari to everyone I meet.

This programme offers a very different experience to other volunteer programmes that I have heard about. It was set up for the purpose of teaching people about the complexities of conservation and to offer people a chance to see animals in the wild as they should be. It is a not run as a business for the purpose of making money. A price cannot be set on time spent at Askari.

If you are thinking about volunteering on a reservation to work with animals, you could not possibly find a better place to volunteer than at Askari.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2011

Well where to start . . . every aspect of my two week trip on the Askari Wilderness Conservation project was amazing. If you’re looking for a volunteer project with a huge variety of activities, wildlife everywhere, great food, fantastic homely accommodation, no two days the same, great value, friendly and knowledgeable staff, then Askari is for you.

Before I left for the trip, I wasn’t sure whether two weeks would be enough time to get involved in a large range of activities but I couldn’t have been more wrong! In two weeks I took part in herbivore research drives, bush walks, checking perimeter fences, tracking cheetahs (five times), alien plant spraying, drives to look for rhino, installing a ground hornbill box 5 metres up in a tree, protecting an umbrella thorn from elephants by putting rocks around its base, drives to do game counts, a sleep out, monitoring sable, nyala and reedbuck projects and night drives. Even managed to fit in a day to Kruger National Park on our day off!

The reserve team are fantastic and their knowledge of wildlife, the bush and its management are first class and really make the trip. You’re made to feel part of the team very quickly and it’s great to know that your contribution is making a positive difference to the reserve. The rota of duties ensures everything gets done and runs smoothly. Food is great; each meal prepared fresh and vegetarians well catered for. The accommodation is fantastic; a large converted farmhouse in the middle of the reserve; a beautiful setting and so peaceful – well apart from lions roaring, birds squarking and impalas rutting – just a gentle reminder that you’re actually in the middle of the bush!

There is a plan for each day’s activities for the week ahead so you know what’s happening in advance. However the schedule can change at the last minute as we found out when an elephant decided to knock down a few trees the previous night and block the main access route that needed clearing asap! One thing that really makes this project special is that you’re the only ones on the reserve so when you see rhinos at the side of the track grazing away or cheetahs lounging in the sun, there are no hoards of people with cameras; it literally is just you witnessing it. Every day was a new adventure, never knowing what wildlife you will see on the way.

So whether your trip is two weeks or 12 weeks, the experience you will have and the memories you take away will last a lifetime. I’ve done and learnt so much about the bush, its wildlife and the essential conservation work the team does out here. Thank you for a truly awesome experience and keep up the good work as it really does make a difference to conserving this beautiful area and its wildlife for the future in an amazing country.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Copenhagen, Denmark
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2011

I volunteered on the Askari Wilderness Conservation Programme for 2 months in 2009, and the only thing I regret, in regards to my time there, is not signing up for another couple of months!

By volunteering on this programme you will get a once in a life time experience working and spending time with people who are dedicated to their common goal- to create a bench mark reserve. And after a good long day of work in the spectacular South African nature, you get to come home to a very comfortable house and relax in the big couches or sit outside enjoying a sundowner listening to the lions roar.

I enjoyed every part of my stay there- monitoring herbivores, building bomas for endagered species, evening talks on the porchs with the very nice and friendly programme managers, participating in their cheetah-conservation programme, visiting a local bush school and plenty plenty more!

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Jose, Costa Rica
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 12, 2010

Just in a couple of words…. There is not place or program due to the people who run it, their program, it’s aims scenery and wildlife I would have chosen. Aksari Has it all! Especially Joe and Katie who made me feel at home, they are truly wonderful people who pu their heart out in the wilderness program. I cant seem to find a work that would describe experience other that it will have a warm and very special meaning for me for ever. It is so great I cant stop thinking when I’m going to come back. 10 out of 10 rating – THANK YOU!"

Stayed January 2010, traveled solo
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nelson, New Zealand
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 7, 2010

No, really. I actually slept through them the first few nights, and everyone made fun of me. But what a sound. Certainly not something you will hear in most bedrooms in the world. Although all the big name animals are there, my favorites were the spectacular animals that I didn't know would be there. They were complete surprises and gave me the experience of seeing something I had never heard of before, compared to seeing animals you have seen pictures and videos of since being a kid. This ranged from stick insects to bee eaters to genets to Gymnogenes brown hyenas to "how many kinds of antelopes are there?". And to see them in their own habitat, with on their terms, and to see how they interacted with their environment, and other animals was precious. There is also some structured learning so you get the big picture on what the reserve is trying to accomplish, and the people runing it and guiding you are top notch. Very passionate, and as excited about what each new day will bring as you are. And to contribute in my small way to the conservation efforts there creates a connection with that place that I would never have with a place I simply drove through on a safari. If you want to experience a place, spend some time, experience the environment, meet the people, work together, laugh, contribute to it and it will become a part of you.
My only problem now is figuring out how to get back there!

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Waterloo, Canada
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 3, 2010

The Askari Wilderness Conservation Program is fantastic and I can’t recommend it enough. It honestly was the best travel experience I have had. The first time I went to Askari, I was new to volunteer projects, but right from the start you are made to feel welcome and a member of a team that is truly making a difference for conservation in Africa. The staff are incredible and they run the program smoothly and professionally and with complete dedication to what they are doing. The days are well planned with a mix of activities that range from physical work that needs to be done on the reserve to research work that monitors the wildlife for management purposes. Sometimes the days just don’t go according to plan; no one complains though because the new plan could involve new animal arrivals, unexpected maintenance or an amazing animal sighting that you completely lose track of time. At the end of the day, you get back to your cozy house with everything you need including hot water, electricity and comfortable beds. You share a great home cooked meal with some amazing new friends laughing about the days adventures. I went back to Askari for a longer second stay gaining so much knowledge about the plants and animals in the area, conservation methods and how a reserve is run as well as 1000’s of photos of all my wonderful experiences. It was so extraordinary to stare into a lion’s eyes, track and walk into a cheetah coalition and be surrounded by a herd of elephants, not to mention all the other animals you see. All to soon it is time to go but you leave knowing that you did make a difference on this benchmark reserve. The experience will change your life and leave you wanting to return again and again.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Askari Wilderness Conservation Programme

Address: Pidwa Wilderness Reserve, Gravelotte 0895, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Limpopo Province > Gravelotte
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free Parking Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Specialty Lodging in Gravelotte
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Askari is set within the 25000 ha of Pidwa Wilderness reserve in the heart of South Africa. Volunteers live in a fantastic house accommodating up to 10 volunteers. There are two spacious rooms with shared, dormitory-style sleeping arrangements and a double room available for couples. Rooms have their own bathrooms and the house has a lounge, dining room, office, kitchen and outside area with barbeque facilities. All linen and a laundry service is provided. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Askari Wilderness Conservation Programme South Africa/Gravelotte

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