Thibaut Appel Testimonial – Volunteer, June 2014 – 2 months
Words are hardly enough to describe what has been the best experience of my life so far. Discovering South Africa and finally meeting my favourite animal was mind-blowing. It makes you feel small and humble towards those amazing creatures. I will always remember the two herds. Shungu is adorable, impatient, so cheeky and seems to love playing the fool especially when the tractor comes! That’s why he’s my favourite.
It’s impossible to pick a best moment spent here with elephants, between the ride and all the quality time spent with Shungu, Keisha standing still and peaceful letting me hug her trunk on a sunny Sunday, watching Thandi chasing zebras, observing the babies of Harry’s herd or making eye contact standing just a few centimetres next to him. After a couple of weeks seeing them in action, the ellies almost appeared as human to me. I can tell how intelligent they are now.
Beyond elephants, it’s been enjoyable to meet and spend time with other volunteers from around the world, guides and workers at KEP and AERU. At some point I needed extra adrenalin in my stay, so I skydived, bungee-jumped, surfed and walked with cheetahs! It’s impossible to forget the game reserves and Plettenberg Bay beaches as well. I have a soft spot for Mandela Day spent with orphans. Their energy and happiness were really inspiring.
Even if my attempt to replace my French accent with a perfect English accent failed, become filled with all of this was outstanding. I can’t wait to come back here in South Africa and meet the giants again.