A travel and lifestyle blog

Friday, 31 August 2018

Expat life: Working on Safari, South Africa

I've been meaning to write about my time in South Africa for ages so since I've a few weeks til my next trip, it seems like the perfect time. My favourite wildlife experiences have come from working there on Safari; I spent months getting to drive around and it was the best job ever because I got to see animals in the wild every single day, but more importantly it made me fall back in love with travelling after a scary trip had put me off for years.

Initially I moved for a fixed-term placement but then I had it extended when I got home so I got to go back several times. It was one of the best things I ever did and it made me love travelling but initially I was so terrified that I almost didn't go. That probably sounds really over-dramatic so let me explain.

When I was younger I travelled there for a summer and had such a bad travel experience that it put me off long-distance trips for years. It's a long story, but in a nutshell, anything that could've gone wrong did; A group of people surrounded me and tried to steal my bag literally as soon as I landed, I had problems with my transfer who arrived hours later than scheduled and when I was supposed to board a coach at the end of the journey, my ticket had an error and no one would help me - I was stuck. It doesn't sound as bad written down now but it was scary at the time because I was young and it was my first solo trip so I was really shaken.

So when I got placed there I was less than thrilled. I didn't have any other options though, so I reluctantly packed my bags and off I went. I thought it would just be an experience I'd have to endure and I was so nervous before that I couldn't sleep properly...but I ended up absolutely loving it. Not going to lie, it was difficult at the start and I found the initial trip over a bit stressful but once I had gotten over the residual fear, I had such a good time that I stayed as long as I could and then tagged on a coast to coast road trip at the end.

The best thing for me was driving down the road to 'work' and bumping into the big 5. It was equal parts amazing and terrifying to have this as the office....

I genuinely got stuck behind a traffic jam of lions once when I was en-route to collect my friend from the airport and I'm not even joking! 

I also remember doing some work outside the vehicle with my team and seeing giraffes just bouncing about in the distance.

The best bit by far though was seeing the elephants playing; Especially the babies because they don't understand how to use their trunk initially so are just flailing them around a little haha.

The experience single-handedly gave me my sense of adventure back after that scary first solo-trip and since then I've travelled alone long-distance quite a few times. I'm actually leaving on a gap year in a month's time and there is no way I would have even considered it if it hadn't been for that South African placement so I'm really grateful for it.

Let me know if you're interested in more expat type posts.


p.s. This is an entry to the Trips 100/Audley Travel blogger competition.

Win an African safari with Audley Travel by sharing your best wildlife photograph or video on your social media channels. To enter write #AudleySafari and @AudleyTravel on your Instagram or Twitter post or share directly on the Audley Travel Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/audleytravel/. To find out more or enter via the website, visit www.audleytravel.com/social.  Entries must be posted between 20th August – 23rd September.

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