The Manasa family talk about their Imire family volunteer experience

Family volunteers, the Manasa's, arrived at Imire in May 2019, after a long three day journey from their home in Texas, USA. The family had chosen Imire for their volunteer experience because of the focus on rhino conservation, and the fact that their nine-year old twins could interact with the rhinos and elephants in a natural but safe, family-friendly environment.

Our unique family volunteer experience

Over the last few months, we have welcomed several families onto our growing family volunteer programme - one of only a few in Africa that happily accepts children under 10. Our guides have had incredible feedback from family volunteers, not only on their knowledge, but also their ability to involve, educate and inspire children and parents alike

“There are two kinds of animal encounters: when you encounter the animal, and when the animal encounters you.

One is memorable. The other changes your life.

This is the story of our trip to Imire, a rhino conservancy in Zimbabwe, a place where we found ourselves nearly nose to horn with a rare, temperamental, and majestic creature that has not left our minds or hearts since.”

Ted, Poonam and their two children volunteered with us for a week in May, and have written a blog about their experiences in Zimbabwe which we would like to share with you, hopefully to inspire more families to consider conservation volunteering for their next family holiday.

Read Part I of the Manasa's volunteering journal

Please take a look at their heart-warming blog “The Manasas in Africa”, and have a read below of an excerpt from ‘Part I - Closer than we ever dared’.

“On our first morning there, Morris, our guide, arranged for us to meet the mother-daughter pair of African rhinos, Shanu and Tafika, face to face. I want to tell you how different touching a rhino is from seeing a smear of one a mile away through a zoom lens, but I can't. The comparison would be wholly dishonest because it would make you think that the experiences are worth comparing. They aren't. Instead, let me tell you what it's like as the singular, incomparable experience that it is.

No amount of National Geographic-documentary watching helps you understand how massive a beast a rhino is until you stand in front of it and it swings its enormous head to look at you. We have fed horses in Montana. We have fed kudus and giraffes on drive-through safaris and at Busch Gardens theme parks, just like any tourist.

But feeding rhinos is different.

Sure they are physically different from essentially any other mammal on earth, but the real difference is that when you are feeding a rhino, you know that you are touching an extremely rare creature that some people are trying to bring to extinction. You know that you are touching something that may not exist in a generation or two."

"Black rhinos are browsers, not grazers, which means they eat grass and tree branches. We assumed we would follow them in a jeep since the rhinos, and all of the other game at Imire, roam freely. But, no. We followed them on foot. And that made all the difference. We followed the guards for a while as they tracked the rhinos. Africa is a place where your footsteps are very loud because everything else is very quiet. All you hear are the birds singing and the impalas calling in the distance. Only when the cars, the planes, and the people are silenced do you realize that the earth is supposed to sound like this."

Click to read the full story.

Family volunteering - a transformative travel experience

We honestly believe that a family volunteering adventure at Imire can be life-changing. We are proud that every family group has rated it as one of their top life experiences - interacting with the natural world, learning about a simpler life, and experiencing our wonderful communities.

“What makes Imire different is that we felt treated like family, not tourists. The staff, and our incredible guide made us feel at home in a country so far away from home. That made our kids want to stay for another week, work with the elephants and rhinos, enjoy the delicious meals and desserts and learn about surviving in the bush. We thought Zimbabwe was our destination, but instead, Imire was, and is, from all our travels, the first place we are sure we will return to.” 

To volunteer at Imire with your family, please get in touch!

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