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Our Values

Askari provides volunteers with a lifetime opportunity that will never be forgotten; to actively contribute to and participate in the daily management, wildlife research and monitoring activities taking place on a game reserve in Africa. The programme fosters the conservation of wilderness and is based on Pidwa Wilderness Reserve in 17 500 hectares of untamed beauty. In a world where habitat loss is the biggest threat to species it is essential to secure, increase and improve these wild habitats.

 

Pidwa is well on its way to becoming a benchmark wilderness reserve as it has based all its ideals on mimicking the natural system as much as possible. As the old saying goes, “why reinvent the wheel?”

 

Unfortunately humans have taken their toll on many wild areas of Africa and natural processes have been affected. The goal of Pidwa is to restore the balance that existed prior to human interference; to regain and secure a functioning ecosystem in which wildlife can thrive. Volunteers at Askari will experience life on an active game reserve, enjoy world class wildlife viewing, while making a real contribution to conservation and the establishment of a benchmark wilderness area.

Meet The Team

Katie and Robbie organise and lead the Askari activities, and guide the volunteers around the reserve to experience the amazing array of wildlife.

KATIE (Pr.Sci.Nat; MSc; BSc Hons)

Following a trip from the UK to Zimbabwe at 11 years old, Katie decided that the African bush was the only place for her. Fast forward 15 years, and following the completion of a BSc in Zoology and Marine Biology, she made the move to South Africa to live out her dream and start her bush career. At Bush Academy she qualified as a field guide with FGASA Level 1 (Field Guides Association of Southern Africa) and then went on to work at Entabeni Private Game Reserve. Here she happily took guests around and taught them about the bush. During this time she gained her Level 2 award, and theory Trails Guide qualification.

 

Moving to the Lowveld, Katie started working as a science officer with volunteers on a predator research programme. In 2008 she was offered a chance to move to Askari, and, in her own words, “I didn’t hesitate for a second!”

 

Katie has a real soft spot for hyaneas and completed her Masters in Biological Sciences incorporating brown hyaena research on Pidwa. Katie has since qualified as a Professional Natural Scientist with the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions. Her specialised field is Ecological Science. When not in the bushveld Katie loves travelling (50 countries on 6 continents so far), sport and snowboarding (although less of the latter in sunny South Africa).

ROBBIE (BSc Hons)

Robbie joined the Askari team 8 years after his first trip to South Africa. During those years it was the passion, hard work and commitment that he demonstrated which led to him being chosen for the Askari team.

 

Starting with an array of volunteer projects (including Askari), Robbie was further selected for internships which fuelled his bush passion even more. After completing his BSc in Wildlife Biology, Robbie went on to gain his FGASA Level 1 qualifications at Bushwise Field guide training school.

 

From Bushwise, Robbie became the ‘Internship Manager’ at a Wildlife Research project where he aimed to align the key academic and field skills needed to assist interns in the pursuit of a conservation career. Robbie subsequently moved onto Assistant Base Manager before then joining the Askari team.

 

Robbie is a qualified FGASA Level 1 guide with his back-up trails guide qualification. He spends the majority of his time off pursuing further experience to progress towards a lead guide trails qualification. His passion is research and science and linking those aspects with conservation efforts. He is therefore very excited to be shortly embarking on his Masters degree.

 

 

Robbie and Katie are supported by the Pidwa Reserve management team to ensure that Askari is involved in every aspect of the reserve. As part of Askari, you really do become an extension of the reserve staff team, so much more than a volunteer.

 

Robbie and Katie look forward to welcoming you and sharing some great experiences with you.

 

 

THE TEAM

Lindiwe & Thandi will be your ‘mums on the road’ as they look after the volunteers and accommodations at Askari. Wellex is responsible for the grounds and garden at Askari as well as assisting Askari with the management and feeding of the antelope breeding camps.

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A beautiful afternoon on Pidwa Wilderness with the team watching the sunset #askariwcp ... See MoreSee Less

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It is a sure sign that spring is on the way.....when the knobthorn trees explode into flower. We saw plenty of animals enjoying the fresh growth this morning including this bull elephant who pushed over the whole tree to give easy access to the catkins on top. The giraffe fed a little more gently yet equally enjoying his knobthorn breakfast #askariwcp ... See MoreSee Less

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'Tillie vs crocodile'. It has been an eventful few days for captive bred cheetah Tillie as she learnt another important lesson about living in the wild. Having killed an impala close to the water's edge, it was promptly stolen off her by a Croc! Upon arrival of our staff member Cedric, the crocodile spooked and went back into the water so Tillie was able to retrieve her prize. Today she was looking nice and full and relaxing not far from the dam #lifelessons #askariwcp ... See MoreSee Less

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