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Tracey Poutu Welgevondon Adventure!

Tracey Poutu Welgevondon Adventure!

Author -  Tracey Poutu

I have always dreamed of visiting Africa and experiencing the sights and wonders of wildlife of the vast continent!

To start my journey, I found the International working Holidays site online and after speaking with Shelby and researching the packages that they offered, South Africa was the obvious goal for me.
When I found out how easy and affordable it would be, I didn’t hesitate to make a reservation with them. They helped so much with organizing my trip, everything from visa application, flights, accommodation and most importantly, where!


The option I choose to realize my dream of meeting the big five, was to spend time at Welgevondon Game reserve as a volunteer worker!!
I was very excited when my family took me to the airport in Wellington, but I was also naturally very apprehensive about traveling to the other side of the world by myself.

On arrival at Johannesburg, IWH met me where they said they would, and everything just flowed from there! The plan was to spend a few days seeing the sights and learning about the culture of Johannesburg, then off to Welgevondon.

IWH Africa Big 5 conservation (2).JPG

Mum dad and baby hippo grazing in the afternoon sun.

IWH Africa Big 5 conservation (1).JPG

Elephant blocking us/ having a rest in the middle of the road.


I had so much fun at Welgevondon and I don’t believe how much I have fallen in love with South Africa, it is so beautiful. I spent 6 weeks there and, in that time, I had close encounters with Lions, Elephants, Cheetahs as well as more wildlife than I could have ever imagined (including Giraffe, Hippopotamus and about a gazillion Antelope).
One day whilst out changing the tracking collar on an Elephant, we had a vehicle accident and I had to get transferred to the local hospital for a check-up. You could imagine my fear and apprehension but the staff at the game park handled everything very well and I was back on the job very quickly, and my photo collection had even more stories to tell!


Of all the wonderful things I experience at Welgevondon, one episode stands out more than all the others. It was the monitoring of three adolescent cheetah cubs that had been orphaned by an unknown event. At my first introduction to these beautiful creatures, I fell in love with Big Shit, Little Shit and Dip Shit (Nicknames that I had given these babies much to the annoyance of the research team.)

IWH Africa Big 5 conservation (4).JPG

Feeding time for the three orphaned cheetah cubs.

IWH Africa Big 5 conservation (3).JPG

Mum and baby rhino grazing with a few zebras watching on.

To anyone thinking about doing this project or any other project, I would tell you to just go for it. It is an amazing experience that I/you would never forget!!


To find out more about Tracey Poutu's projects check out


https://www.iwh.co.nz/africa-volunteer-programs-for-kiwis/africa-wildlife-volunteer-projects-/big-5-conservation-and-research

Tracey Poutu Welgevondon Adventure!

I have always dreamed of visiting Africa and experiencing the sights and wonders of wildlife of the vast continent!

I have always dreamed of visiting Africa and experiencing the sights and wonders of wildlife of the vast continent!

To start my journey, I found the International working Holidays site online and after speaking with Shelby and researching the packages that they offered, South Africa was the obvious goal for me.
When I found out how easy and affordable it would be, I didn’t hesitate to make a reservation with them. They helped so much with organizing my trip, everything from visa application, flights, accommodation and most importantly, where!


The option I choose to realize my dream of meeting the big five, was to spend time at Welgevondon Game reserve as a volunteer worker!!
I was very excited when my family took me to the airport in Wellington, but I was also naturally very apprehensive about traveling to the other side of the world by myself.

On arrival at Johannesburg, IWH met me where they said they would, and everything just flowed from there! The plan was to spend a few days seeing the sights and learning about the culture of Johannesburg, then off to Welgevondon.

IWH Africa Big 5 conservation (2).JPG

Mum dad and baby hippo grazing in the afternoon sun.

IWH Africa Big 5 conservation (1).JPG

Elephant blocking us/ having a rest in the middle of the road.


I had so much fun at Welgevondon and I don’t believe how much I have fallen in love with South Africa, it is so beautiful. I spent 6 weeks there and, in that time, I had close encounters with Lions, Elephants, Cheetahs as well as more wildlife than I could have ever imagined (including Giraffe, Hippopotamus and about a gazillion Antelope).
One day whilst out changing the tracking collar on an Elephant, we had a vehicle accident and I had to get transferred to the local hospital for a check-up. You could imagine my fear and apprehension but the staff at the game park handled everything very well and I was back on the job very quickly, and my photo collection had even more stories to tell!


Of all the wonderful things I experience at Welgevondon, one episode stands out more than all the others. It was the monitoring of three adolescent cheetah cubs that had been orphaned by an unknown event. At my first introduction to these beautiful creatures, I fell in love with Big Shit, Little Shit and Dip Shit (Nicknames that I had given these babies much to the annoyance of the research team.)

IWH Africa Big 5 conservation (4).JPG

Feeding time for the three orphaned cheetah cubs.

IWH Africa Big 5 conservation (3).JPG

Mum and baby rhino grazing with a few zebras watching on.

To anyone thinking about doing this project or any other project, I would tell you to just go for it. It is an amazing experience that I/you would never forget!!


To find out more about Tracey Poutu's projects check out


https://www.iwh.co.nz/africa-volunteer-programs-for-kiwis/africa-wildlife-volunteer-projects-/big-5-conservation-and-research
Tracey Poutu Welgevondon Adventure!

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