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Kerry's Africa Adventure

Kerry's Africa Adventure

Author -  Kerry Crockett

I’ve always wanted to go to Africa, ever since I was a little kid, and when I saw a Facebook ad for International Working Holidays to travel to Africa and get hands on experience with wildlife I just knew I had to do it!

I knew from the get-go that travelling halfway around the world to undertake a three-month volunteer project in a country that everyone says is dangerous wasn’t going to be easy, but I knew as soon as I read those Africa brochures that there was no way I wasn’t going to be going!

I’d been looking at doing a trip like this for a few years while I was at university but I kept adding on more and more programmes to the trip and extending the length at each one so it took me a few years to finally have the money to book in – I did know that I was going to get there no matter what though! (I even moved country to help me earn money.. like, what!?)

IWH-Africa-Kerry Crockett 3.JPG

“The Devils”

IWH-Africa-Kerry Crockett 4.JPG

“My first bottle feed at Ukutula”

There was never a doubt in my mind that I’d be going to Africa but International Working Holidays helped me choose the projects that would best suit my qualification and to get some work experience at the same time. We decided on the Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic Course in Namibia, Ukutula Conservation Centre and the Big 5 Welgevonden Game Reserve. I only wish I could of stayed longer at each one!!

IWH-Africa-Kerry Crockett 5..jpg

I can’t even explain the amount of mixed feelings I had travelling to the airport and while I was at the airport.

I was beyond excited to finally get there and start the experience but I was so nervous about if I would make any friends, if my luggage would make it, would I even enjoy it, if I was going to get mugged and of course I was sad about leaving my boyfriend for 3 months too. I think I lost count the amount of times I cried while I was waiting to go through customs hahaha!

IWH-Africa-Kerry Crockett 6.JPG

“Feeding orphaned and rescued elephants on my Kruger Tour Weekend”

Arriving in Namibia was probably one of the hardest nights of my life.. I didn’t arrive out into arrivals until about 10.30pm and then we still had to drive to the Sanctuary after that. I just remember it was pitch black, I was exhausted and jet lagged, the driver was going like 100km along these sketchy dirt roads and I had no idea where I was. We arrived at the Sanctuary and he pulls up to the Lapa and asks if I know where I’m going, which of course I didn’t, so he picks up my suitcase and drags it through this dirt path in the middle of the bush for about 5 minutes and drops me off at a tent and says this is where I’ll be staying and walks off. At this point it’s about midnight, there’s no electricity in the tent or any lights around at all, my roommate is asleep, I have no reception to message my family, I’m hearing the weirdest noises from every direction and I have no idea where or what time I need to be in the morning – it was a NIGHTMARE! Safe to say I did not sleep that night! I remember sending a message to my boyfriend saying that I’ve made the worst decision of my life and that I want to come home and then crying when I realize there’s no reception or anything. Spoiler alert: was not the worst decision of my life.

IWH-Africa-Kerry Crockett 8.JPG

Hippo sighting in the torrential rain

IWH-Africa-Kerry Crockett 9.JPG

A rhino trying to find some shade

My time in Namibia was so cram-packed and I can’t pick out one favourite part of my time there.

My days included of feeding animals such as leopards, meerkats, rock-daisies and vervet monkeys, walking the house baboons, cheetahs and caracal, game drives, visiting the rhino BOMA, studying footprint identification and so much more! One experience that will forever be in my heart will be the poaching of the wild dog pack that had been released onto the reserve: On our vet clinic day, there was a call to the vet that he was needed on the reserve, the 9 other volunteers and myself who were part of the course climbed on the back of the vehicle and raced out there to see what was going on. We arrived to a crime scene, where we found out that a farmer neighbouring the Sanctuary was made aware of suspicious activity concerning the African wild dogs and he immediately alerted Naankuse staff who investigated the situation. The African wild dogs were found to have remained on the reserve side, with no evidence of them having left the property and strayed onto airport grounds. The remains of a hunt were evident, a kudu having been chased and caught on the reserve side by the wild dogs, next to the fence dividing the reserve and the airport grounds. Upon further inspection, shotgun shell casings and tracks indicating illegal trespass onto the reserve were discovered. In addition to this, the remains of two deceased wild dogs and a third severely injured dog were found, which prompted the manager of the Reserve to contact police.

IWH-Africa-Kerry Crockett 1.JPG

“Jaco being treated out in the reserve by the vet”


Members of the Namibian Police Force and the Protected Resources Unit responded and investigated the crime scene. After alerting the airport maintenance manager to the possibility of airport security personnel having illegally trespassing private property and potentially shot and killed a protected species, the maintenance manager made immediate enquiries. Three airport security and three airport maintenance personnel were identified with a kudu carcass in the back of a vehicle. The suspects were taken to the scene, where members of the police force searched the vehicle for evidence. The six suspects, believed to have trespassed and shot and killed the wild dogs in order to obtain their kudu prey, were charged and taken into police custody.

As the next few days unfolded, autopsies were performed on the two deceased dogs and unfortunately the third was left requiring x-rays to determine the extent of his wounds – unfortunately “Jaco” did not wake from his sedation, his weakened body instead choosing to remain asleep where he can walk with Nadia and Desert in a better place. To be part of that moment, seeing all the evidence and the guys responsible standing right in front of you, and to be in the field and clinic watching the vet work his magic and not knowing if the third is going to make it, was surreal, frightening and just beyond tragic.

The whole vision of this place is to rescue, rehabilitate and release wherever possible and seeing man take these innocent lives for nothing but greed was just heart-breaking.

Another memorable experience was the tracking and feeding of the three orphaned cheetah cubs at Welgevonden. I was told on arrival that they were orphaned at just 8 months old and a risky decision was made to keep them on the reserve as wild cheetah rather than take them into captivity and so one of the cubs were collared so that the research team could track them every few days, check how they’re doing and feed them if necessary (as they hadn’t learnt to hunt from their mother yet when she passed away).

IWH-Africa-Kerry Crockett 2.JPG

“First feeding I participated in with the 3 cheetah cubs”

So every few days we would gather up all our equipment and spend HOURS upon HOURS looking for these guys across the whole of the reserve and if they were looking a little skinny, a carcass was shot for them and taken to them to eat. They became so accustomed to us that as soon as they heard our vehicle and the tracker beeping they would run up the car and start chirping at us for food and when we drove off to find them a carcass they would chase after us! It was the most rewarding experience I’ve ever been apart of and to hear that they’re now almost 2 years old and finally hunting for themselves successfully..

I feel like a proud mum!!

IWH-Africa-Kerry Crockett 7.JPG

Cheetah sighting at Welgevedon


I feel like I’ve come home with a wealth of knowledge that no matter where I get hired it will be useful in some way. I now know how to bottle feed a lion, how to stimulate the shit (literally!!) out of a lion, how to track cheetah, how to identify grass, how to use footprint identification, how to sex a wildebeest, a rhino, a zebra, a giraffe and any other wildlife that’s in front of me, how to raise a baby rhino, what to provide for enrichment and most importantly how to cook a braii.

I’m naturally a very shy person and so to go to the other side of the world by myself where I don’t know a single soul was the single hardest thing I have ever had to do. I hate talking to new people and have such a fear of not being liked so it was such a conscious effort for me to put myself out there and talk to all these new people from all over the world. Not having access to Wi-Fi and not being able to readily talk to my boyfriend back home, well I hated it at first, but it became such a blessing –

it forced me to put myself out there and make new friends and I'll be forever grateful for this whole experience for introducing me to some of the best friends I'll have for the rest of my life and I’ve definitely come home a much more stronger and confident person.

IWH-Africa-Kerry Crockett 10.JPG

On top of Table Mountain in Cape Town


If anyone is looking at doing any travel by themselves and is doubting it, I can only urge you to just do it! You have no idea the opportunities that are waiting for you and the people you’ll get to meet. You’ll be challenged and probably thrown so far out of your comfort zone in the most extraordinary ways, but I can guarantee that you won’t regret it!

IWH-Africa-Kerry Crockett 11.JPG

During the Panorama Tour at the 3 Rondavels

To find out more about Kerry Crockett's projects check out

https://www.iwh.co.nz/africa-volunteer-programs-for-kiwis/africa-wildlife-volunteer-projects-



Fill out my online form.

Kerry's Africa Adventure

I feel like I’ve come home with a wealth of knowledge that no matter where I get hired it will be useful in some way.

I’ve always wanted to go to Africa, ever since I was a little kid, and when I saw a Facebook ad for International Working Holidays to travel to Africa and get hands on experience with wildlife I just knew I had to do it!

I knew from the get-go that travelling halfway around the world to undertake a three-month volunteer project in a country that everyone says is dangerous wasn’t going to be easy, but I knew as soon as I read those Africa brochures that there was no way I wasn’t going to be going!

I’d been looking at doing a trip like this for a few years while I was at university but I kept adding on more and more programmes to the trip and extending the length at each one so it took me a few years to finally have the money to book in – I did know that I was going to get there no matter what though! (I even moved country to help me earn money.. like, what!?)

IWH-Africa-Kerry Crockett 3.JPG

“The Devils”

IWH-Africa-Kerry Crockett 4.JPG

“My first bottle feed at Ukutula”

There was never a doubt in my mind that I’d be going to Africa but International Working Holidays helped me choose the projects that would best suit my qualification and to get some work experience at the same time. We decided on the Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic Course in Namibia, Ukutula Conservation Centre and the Big 5 Welgevonden Game Reserve. I only wish I could of stayed longer at each one!!

IWH-Africa-Kerry Crockett 5..jpg

I can’t even explain the amount of mixed feelings I had travelling to the airport and while I was at the airport.

I was beyond excited to finally get there and start the experience but I was so nervous about if I would make any friends, if my luggage would make it, would I even enjoy it, if I was going to get mugged and of course I was sad about leaving my boyfriend for 3 months too. I think I lost count the amount of times I cried while I was waiting to go through customs hahaha!

IWH-Africa-Kerry Crockett 6.JPG

“Feeding orphaned and rescued elephants on my Kruger Tour Weekend”

Arriving in Namibia was probably one of the hardest nights of my life.. I didn’t arrive out into arrivals until about 10.30pm and then we still had to drive to the Sanctuary after that. I just remember it was pitch black, I was exhausted and jet lagged, the driver was going like 100km along these sketchy dirt roads and I had no idea where I was. We arrived at the Sanctuary and he pulls up to the Lapa and asks if I know where I’m going, which of course I didn’t, so he picks up my suitcase and drags it through this dirt path in the middle of the bush for about 5 minutes and drops me off at a tent and says this is where I’ll be staying and walks off. At this point it’s about midnight, there’s no electricity in the tent or any lights around at all, my roommate is asleep, I have no reception to message my family, I’m hearing the weirdest noises from every direction and I have no idea where or what time I need to be in the morning – it was a NIGHTMARE! Safe to say I did not sleep that night! I remember sending a message to my boyfriend saying that I’ve made the worst decision of my life and that I want to come home and then crying when I realize there’s no reception or anything. Spoiler alert: was not the worst decision of my life.

IWH-Africa-Kerry Crockett 8.JPG

Hippo sighting in the torrential rain

IWH-Africa-Kerry Crockett 9.JPG

A rhino trying to find some shade

My time in Namibia was so cram-packed and I can’t pick out one favourite part of my time there.

My days included of feeding animals such as leopards, meerkats, rock-daisies and vervet monkeys, walking the house baboons, cheetahs and caracal, game drives, visiting the rhino BOMA, studying footprint identification and so much more! One experience that will forever be in my heart will be the poaching of the wild dog pack that had been released onto the reserve: On our vet clinic day, there was a call to the vet that he was needed on the reserve, the 9 other volunteers and myself who were part of the course climbed on the back of the vehicle and raced out there to see what was going on. We arrived to a crime scene, where we found out that a farmer neighbouring the Sanctuary was made aware of suspicious activity concerning the African wild dogs and he immediately alerted Naankuse staff who investigated the situation. The African wild dogs were found to have remained on the reserve side, with no evidence of them having left the property and strayed onto airport grounds. The remains of a hunt were evident, a kudu having been chased and caught on the reserve side by the wild dogs, next to the fence dividing the reserve and the airport grounds. Upon further inspection, shotgun shell casings and tracks indicating illegal trespass onto the reserve were discovered. In addition to this, the remains of two deceased wild dogs and a third severely injured dog were found, which prompted the manager of the Reserve to contact police.

IWH-Africa-Kerry Crockett 1.JPG

“Jaco being treated out in the reserve by the vet”


Members of the Namibian Police Force and the Protected Resources Unit responded and investigated the crime scene. After alerting the airport maintenance manager to the possibility of airport security personnel having illegally trespassing private property and potentially shot and killed a protected species, the maintenance manager made immediate enquiries. Three airport security and three airport maintenance personnel were identified with a kudu carcass in the back of a vehicle. The suspects were taken to the scene, where members of the police force searched the vehicle for evidence. The six suspects, believed to have trespassed and shot and killed the wild dogs in order to obtain their kudu prey, were charged and taken into police custody.

As the next few days unfolded, autopsies were performed on the two deceased dogs and unfortunately the third was left requiring x-rays to determine the extent of his wounds – unfortunately “Jaco” did not wake from his sedation, his weakened body instead choosing to remain asleep where he can walk with Nadia and Desert in a better place. To be part of that moment, seeing all the evidence and the guys responsible standing right in front of you, and to be in the field and clinic watching the vet work his magic and not knowing if the third is going to make it, was surreal, frightening and just beyond tragic.

The whole vision of this place is to rescue, rehabilitate and release wherever possible and seeing man take these innocent lives for nothing but greed was just heart-breaking.

Another memorable experience was the tracking and feeding of the three orphaned cheetah cubs at Welgevonden. I was told on arrival that they were orphaned at just 8 months old and a risky decision was made to keep them on the reserve as wild cheetah rather than take them into captivity and so one of the cubs were collared so that the research team could track them every few days, check how they’re doing and feed them if necessary (as they hadn’t learnt to hunt from their mother yet when she passed away).

IWH-Africa-Kerry Crockett 2.JPG

“First feeding I participated in with the 3 cheetah cubs”

So every few days we would gather up all our equipment and spend HOURS upon HOURS looking for these guys across the whole of the reserve and if they were looking a little skinny, a carcass was shot for them and taken to them to eat. They became so accustomed to us that as soon as they heard our vehicle and the tracker beeping they would run up the car and start chirping at us for food and when we drove off to find them a carcass they would chase after us! It was the most rewarding experience I’ve ever been apart of and to hear that they’re now almost 2 years old and finally hunting for themselves successfully..

I feel like a proud mum!!

IWH-Africa-Kerry Crockett 7.JPG

Cheetah sighting at Welgevedon


I feel like I’ve come home with a wealth of knowledge that no matter where I get hired it will be useful in some way. I now know how to bottle feed a lion, how to stimulate the shit (literally!!) out of a lion, how to track cheetah, how to identify grass, how to use footprint identification, how to sex a wildebeest, a rhino, a zebra, a giraffe and any other wildlife that’s in front of me, how to raise a baby rhino, what to provide for enrichment and most importantly how to cook a braii.

I’m naturally a very shy person and so to go to the other side of the world by myself where I don’t know a single soul was the single hardest thing I have ever had to do. I hate talking to new people and have such a fear of not being liked so it was such a conscious effort for me to put myself out there and talk to all these new people from all over the world. Not having access to Wi-Fi and not being able to readily talk to my boyfriend back home, well I hated it at first, but it became such a blessing –

it forced me to put myself out there and make new friends and I'll be forever grateful for this whole experience for introducing me to some of the best friends I'll have for the rest of my life and I’ve definitely come home a much more stronger and confident person.

IWH-Africa-Kerry Crockett 10.JPG

On top of Table Mountain in Cape Town


If anyone is looking at doing any travel by themselves and is doubting it, I can only urge you to just do it! You have no idea the opportunities that are waiting for you and the people you’ll get to meet. You’ll be challenged and probably thrown so far out of your comfort zone in the most extraordinary ways, but I can guarantee that you won’t regret it!

IWH-Africa-Kerry Crockett 11.JPG

During the Panorama Tour at the 3 Rondavels

To find out more about Kerry Crockett's projects check out

https://www.iwh.co.nz/africa-volunteer-programs-for-kiwis/africa-wildlife-volunteer-projects-



Fill out my online form.
Kerry's Africa Adventure

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