ALL OUT AFRICA
It started with one book and a bad day. Sitting in my office cubical, staring at a blindingly white computer screen with a half finished real-estate newspaper ad glaring back at me, screaming at me with star-bursts in spanish. I felt a little lost, uninspired, and extremely bored. I had been reading “what is the what” by David Edgar, one of my favorite, Chicago native, authors, and it occurred to me that there was indeed more to this life then the robot motions of my day to day life. Wake up, pull on uncomfortable clothes, go to work in a 2×2 foot cubical, go home, microwave dinner, watch the news, got to bed… rinse, repeat.
It was one of those days you feel a little crazy. Like maybe your going to change up your normal lunch of Cobb salad for a Big Mac- but it was even better. I had heard of Africa before I’m sure of it, but it seemed like a fairy tale land. Something that popped on the news every once in a while to fill time. While reading “What is the What”, this fictional land, became real to me, and I had to go. Within minutes I searching the internet, googling ways I could see Africa on my own. About a billion results surfaced on my first request. Work! Volunteer! Safari! It was mind numbing to sort though everything and find a legitimate option. I eventually found a program and spent 5 weeks in Kenya. To this day, it was the most amazing experience I have ever had, and I fell deep in love with Africa.
Now that I live in Swaziland I am always meeting volunteers from all over the world, but we all have one thing in common- we unexplainably, wholeheartedly LOVE Africa. Its often explained as a magnetic connection, and 8 out of 10 volunteers I met have returned the continent to volunteer again, just like me.
I am so grateful for all the traveling I have been so fortunate to experience in my life and I strongly encourage everyone I meet to jump at the opportunity. It will change your life. Because of my love of exploration and well… Africa in general… I was so excited when I received an email last month to start working with ALL OUT AFRICA, a volunteer program based in Swaziland. This is an AWESOME program that offers a huge selection of volunteer projects, from teaching, sports, construction, to diving with whale sharks, research in Kruger National Game Reserve (the largest Game park in Africa) and other more specialized areas. There is literally something to do for everyone.
I’m pretty excited to be working for them now, and getting other people interested in volunteering. Volunteering is an amazing way to see Africa- I call it vacationing with a purpose. But you don’t have to be the mother Theresa type to be a volunteer- yes you may be helping the less fortunate and all that, but really… its the most cost efficient way to travel. You cover more ground (literally), its paid for up front instead of shelling out of pocket along the way, you have somewhere to stay and a staff of people there to help you out of any binds you may encounter, and the trip is planned for you- you save some money on buying a lonely planet guide.
I know this blog is starting to sound like a sales pitch, but I have over 400 people now subscribed to this blog, and people send me comments or emails all the time saying how jealous they are, or how proud I am “living the life” in Africa. I’m here to tell you, it doesn’t matter how old you are, how broke your piggy bank is, how many kids you have or when your pension check comes… you can create your own opportunity to experience this place. You won’t regret it- I promise you that.
To conclude my sales pitch, I included a few of the volunteer programs and adventure tours that ALL OUT AFRICA offers. I selected just a few, there’s more on the website, so take a look (the ones below should be linkable but just in case go to http://www.alloutafrica.com). Don’t hesitate to email me, or comment any questions you have to this blog. What are you waiting for?
South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique
Join as a student on the Kruger to Coast Wildlife Studies Project to explore Kruger Park, assist with current research on threatened birds, mammals and reptiles in Swaziland and snorkel with whale sharks in Mozambique.
South Africa, Swaziland & Mozambique
Explore Kruger Park, volunteer on a community sports project in Swaziland and get your scuba certification in Mozambique. This volunteer travel combination experience offers the best of southern Africa in a neat 4 week package.
Swaziland, South Africa
Start your 2 week experience with a 5 day camping safari into the heart of Africa’s premier wildlife destination – the Kruger National Park before helping to build homes and structures to aid orphaned and vulnerable children in Swaziland.
Botswana and Zambia
Explore the Okavango delta, volunteer on a child care project in Maun, safari through Chobe National Park and experience the splendour of Victoria Falls. This volunteer travel experience offers the best of Botswana and Zambia in a neat 6 week package.
This expedition will take you from Hout Bay, where you will volunteer to help care for underprivileged children in Cape Town, to the stunning Garden Route, where you will have the opportunity to see Africa’s amazing wildlife.
Kruger National Park, South Africa
An adventurous 5 day camping Safari into the heart of the world famous Kruger National Park in search of the elusive Big 5 that roam the expansive african Savanna. Explore this incredible park on daily game drives, bush walks and night drives.
Join this half day walking tour through Swaziland’s oldest & most famous village. Start with some Swazi history at the National Museum then pass the King’s royal residence, explore the village, local craft, traditional brewing and end with a braai.
Tofo Beach, Mozambique
Learn to scuba dive in Tofo, Mozambique, a marine life paradise with huge concentrations of fish, coral reefs and the the now famous ‘Tofo Big 5’ – whale sharks, manta rays, humpback whales, dolphins and turtles.
Swaziland and South africa
Travel the length of South Africa’s beautiful eastern coastline from the rural mountains of friendly Swaziland to the magnificence of the most scenic city in the world – Cape Town! Fill your days with activities like bungee jumping, surfing and hiking.
Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana
The Okavango is one of the most unique ecosystems in the world and is one of Africa’s top wildlife destinations. Moremi provides the ultimate back to nature African wildlife experience so if you’re looking for the original African Safari this is it!
Tofo Beach, Mozambique
A 7 day beach adventure to the tropical paradise of Tofo Bay, Mozambique’s most famous beach destination. Relax on golden sand beaches, soak up the sunshine, snorkel with whale sharks and paddle to palm finged islands of the Inhambane Bay.
The Bazaruto Archipelago is as close as you’ll come to island paradise anywhere in the world. Explore white sand beaches & snorkel calm turquoise waters before settling down to a fresh seafood barbeque on the beach. This truly is paradise.