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I left my heart in Africa!

I left my heart in Africa!

Author -  Kayla McFarlane

I left my heart in Africa!

Two years ago I was scrolling through Facebook in the beginning of my last year of high school. I came across an ad advertising an O.E. to Africa working with exotic animals. 

I was immediately intrigued as I have always loved animals and Africa has been on my bucket list since before I can remember.

Kayla McFarlane Africa Blog 4.jpeg

At the time I was stuck between a rock and a hard place on what i wanted to study after school, and all a sudden it all came together- a gap year to travel was the perfect answer.

After a lot of convincing parents and myself!- I took the plunge and applied for the highly sought after vet clinic in Namibia and a hands on lion experience at a Big Cat Project in South Africa. 

The hands on experiences with African wildlife that both advertised were what made me apply for those particular projects. After a long year of finishing high school and then half a year of full time work to save for my trip and the time to go to Africa had come!

Kayla McFarlane Africa Blog 2.jpeg

The 2 weeks leading up to my trip were the most anxious, exciting, nerve wracking weeks of my life. International Working Holidays had to put up with my stressed emails double checking details but Vicki, Dale and the team took care of all my issues and worries. Thanks guys for being so understanding and helpful! 

As I went through Auckland airport I was a mess of emotions- excited and scared all at once. This was my first time traveling alone!

Kayla McFarlane Africa Blog 6.jpg

The most memorable moment happened as I arrived in Johannesburg and one of the great guys from Awesome (International Working Holidays partners) drove us out of the airport. 

I looked out the window at the spectacular lights and hustle of Joburg, and could not wipe the massive grin of my face. I cannot even try to explain the euphoric feeling of finally getting to Africa after all those months of planning and weeks stressing. 

In that moment I knew it was all worth it. It was the best feeling in the world. 

Kayla McFarlane Africa Blog 3.jpeg

Whilst traveling through Africa, I made some of the best friends I have ever had and will continue to cherish in the future. I met like-minded people from all over the world that made my trip so much more meaningful and full of great memories. We experienced breathtaking scenery, once in a lifetime experiences and days where we felt on top of the world.

A highlight was meeting a beautiful white rhino whilst in Namibia. She was pregnant and stuck in some wire. Our great vets took us along to dart her, rescue her from the wire and then watch as she was released back into the wild. 

Getting to meet a rhino was a bucket list moment for me and made me appreciate how amazing our animals are and how important it is to protect them from the likes of poaching. 

Kayla McFarlane Africa Blog 1.jpg

The lion sanctuary also has such a special place in my heart. The staff and other volunteers I met were the most amazing people and the owner has such an inspiring passion for her animals. 

Getting to spend most mornings hanging out with lion cubs was beyond my wildest dreams and I can’t wait to go back. I cried and felt more homesick when I left, than I did when I actually left home!

 

I would highly recommend traveling alone or doing your first O.E through International Working Holidays. Going alone was the scariest but most rewarding thing I could have done. It pushed me out of my comfort zone in almost every way but in return i have gained so much independence and confidence that I now feel like the world is at my fingertips!

To anyone considering traveling alone - go with your gut and just do it! Don’t listen to anyone who says it’s too hard or out of your reach. It was the best thing I’ve ever decided to do and I was so proud of myself the whole way through.

I fell in love with the idea of Africa and traveling, and International Working Holidays made it all a reality for me. For that I can’t thank them enough. “I left my heart in Africa!”.

If you are interested in finding more about Africa Volunteer Program , check on the pages or our Camp America website.

Fill out my online form.

I left my heart in Africa!

Two years ago I was scrolling through Facebook in the beginning of my last year of high school. I came across an ad advertising an O.E. to Africa working with exotic animals.

I left my heart in Africa!

Two years ago I was scrolling through Facebook in the beginning of my last year of high school. I came across an ad advertising an O.E. to Africa working with exotic animals. 

I was immediately intrigued as I have always loved animals and Africa has been on my bucket list since before I can remember.

Kayla McFarlane Africa Blog 4.jpeg

At the time I was stuck between a rock and a hard place on what i wanted to study after school, and all a sudden it all came together- a gap year to travel was the perfect answer.

After a lot of convincing parents and myself!- I took the plunge and applied for the highly sought after vet clinic in Namibia and a hands on lion experience at a Big Cat Project in South Africa. 

The hands on experiences with African wildlife that both advertised were what made me apply for those particular projects. After a long year of finishing high school and then half a year of full time work to save for my trip and the time to go to Africa had come!

Kayla McFarlane Africa Blog 2.jpeg

The 2 weeks leading up to my trip were the most anxious, exciting, nerve wracking weeks of my life. International Working Holidays had to put up with my stressed emails double checking details but Vicki, Dale and the team took care of all my issues and worries. Thanks guys for being so understanding and helpful! 

As I went through Auckland airport I was a mess of emotions- excited and scared all at once. This was my first time traveling alone!

Kayla McFarlane Africa Blog 6.jpg

The most memorable moment happened as I arrived in Johannesburg and one of the great guys from Awesome (International Working Holidays partners) drove us out of the airport. 

I looked out the window at the spectacular lights and hustle of Joburg, and could not wipe the massive grin of my face. I cannot even try to explain the euphoric feeling of finally getting to Africa after all those months of planning and weeks stressing. 

In that moment I knew it was all worth it. It was the best feeling in the world. 

Kayla McFarlane Africa Blog 3.jpeg

Whilst traveling through Africa, I made some of the best friends I have ever had and will continue to cherish in the future. I met like-minded people from all over the world that made my trip so much more meaningful and full of great memories. We experienced breathtaking scenery, once in a lifetime experiences and days where we felt on top of the world.

A highlight was meeting a beautiful white rhino whilst in Namibia. She was pregnant and stuck in some wire. Our great vets took us along to dart her, rescue her from the wire and then watch as she was released back into the wild. 

Getting to meet a rhino was a bucket list moment for me and made me appreciate how amazing our animals are and how important it is to protect them from the likes of poaching. 

Kayla McFarlane Africa Blog 1.jpg

The lion sanctuary also has such a special place in my heart. The staff and other volunteers I met were the most amazing people and the owner has such an inspiring passion for her animals. 

Getting to spend most mornings hanging out with lion cubs was beyond my wildest dreams and I can’t wait to go back. I cried and felt more homesick when I left, than I did when I actually left home!

 

I would highly recommend traveling alone or doing your first O.E through International Working Holidays. Going alone was the scariest but most rewarding thing I could have done. It pushed me out of my comfort zone in almost every way but in return i have gained so much independence and confidence that I now feel like the world is at my fingertips!

To anyone considering traveling alone - go with your gut and just do it! Don’t listen to anyone who says it’s too hard or out of your reach. It was the best thing I’ve ever decided to do and I was so proud of myself the whole way through.

I fell in love with the idea of Africa and traveling, and International Working Holidays made it all a reality for me. For that I can’t thank them enough. “I left my heart in Africa!”.

If you are interested in finding more about Africa Volunteer Program , check on the pages or our Camp America website.

Fill out my online form.
I left my heart in Africa!

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