Desert Elephants

There are probably those who think that visiting Belgium, the UK, Canada, the USA, Morocco, Norway and Germany (albeit, for work) should be enough to satisfy a person for one year. I don’t seem to fall into that category, however, so I’ve just booked myself a holiday in November to Namibia.

To be fair, the trip is more than just a holiday – it satisfies the itch I have to contribute a little to the world at large, as I’m planning to spend my time working as a volunteer for the Elephant-Human Relationship Aid (EHRA) project. The first week will involve working at the project’s base camp, building walls to protect water supplies from elephants, allowing the farmers and elephants to live together in the harsh desert environment. In the second week, I’ll be heading out into the desert on patrol, camping under the stars, tracking the elephants on foot as part of elephant herd identification and data collection projects. You can see a video about the project here.

In contrast to the basic life we’ll be living on the project, I’ve decided to treat myself, and blown all my lovingly collected airmiles to travel over to Africa in 1st class. According to the Air France website, it promises to be quite an experience, including transfer to the airplane in a special vehicle (I kid you not), massages, “comfortable lounge wear” (not really sure what that is supposed to be), all the lotions and potions you could ever ask for, and a bed on the plane. Um well, not quite that all of this is necessary, but after sleeping on the ground for two weeks with no toilets or showers, it sounds like an enjoyable prospect!

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