We asked our most recent Volunteer Coordinator, Phoebe M. To write about her experience working with us:
I came to work at Edge of Africa with a wealth of volunteering experience. It was my job to ensure the smooth running of projects but primarily I was tasked with making sure our volunteers were having the most amazing experience in South Africa. With so much previous experience in this field I had an idea of what I was going to find when I arrived in Knysna, but what I did find blew my mind. I found an incredible organisation, committed to empowering communities, restoring environments and providing life-changing experiences. I found some of the most hard working people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, the same people who will drop everything and be there for you any time of day when you need them. I found a family.
The projects Edge of Africa runs are wide-ranging and meaningful and I had the pleasure of working on almost all of them. From pre school mornings and school enrichment tasks, through to TB screening and food security developments I found them all to be incredibly uplifting and worthwhile; providing experiences to volunteers that run-of-the-mill tourist in South Africa would never get the chance to have. What made these projects stand out to me is the continuous theme of tangible contribution; Edge volunteers leave Knysna knowing that they have had a lasting and positive impact on the communities they work in and with.
And it didn’t stop at the weekends. I had the great pleasure of taking volunteers on weekend excursions. From great white shark cage diving in Mossel Bay and humpback whale watching in Knysna through to zip lining through the forests of Tsitsikamma and bungee jumping off Bloukraans Bridge, all these excursions significantly enriched our volunteers’ time here. One of the best excursions though was our 3-day trip to Addo National Park, prized for its elephants. This excursion gave our volunteers a true experience of the African bush. In addition to lions, cheetah, warthog and eland we saw massive herds of elephants congregating at water holes, including babies of only a few months old.
Edge of Africa is a remarkable organisation. You will contribute to unique projects that really make a difference, get to live in one of the most beautiful parts of South Africa, get to do things you never thought you would be able to do and leave with a group of friends who you can call upon at any time. It is with a heavy heart that I am leaving Edge of Africa. I’m moving on to complete field guiding qualifications and pursue my conservation passions by commencing an MSc at the University of Cape Town. However, I will never forget the family that I found here.