I volunteered in South Africa in college and it was the first place I thought of when considering a conservation internship. As an aspiring conservationist, Cape Town is a great place to intern due to the uniqueness of the area. As the smallest floral kingdom with the highest rate of plant endemism in the world, you experience what its like to be on the front lines of an ecosystem in crisis. Your contribution will be meaningful as well as educational. I learned field methods such as camera and small mammal trapping, vegetation surveys, and data collection.
I interned with the city’s leaders in conservation and gained first-hand knowledge of what it takes to manage a large project consisting of dozens of nature reserves. The highlight of my stay was attending a 3-day African wildlife management conference where I heard speeches from and met experts from all over the continent. Though Cape Town isn’t home to the mega-fauna Africa is known for there is still a lot here if you look. Whether you’re sorting through camera trap photos and come across a caracal and her cubs or you take a weekend to learn how to handle venomous snakes, there is a lot for aspiring conservationists, biologists, ecologists, and environmental educators to experience. And depending on the season you may even get to help fight (or start) a few fires. After a 5-month say I am grateful that VAC and my placement staff were so helpful and went above and beyond to help me get the most out of my experience. I am excited about a future in conservation and the kick-start I got in my career through this unique internship.