In Hoedspruit, in Limpopo Province in South Africa, the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC) is a bastion of wildlife conservation. At first glance, the area is a logical choice for the location of a wildlife conservation facility as important as the HESC, and it offers a richly rewarding experience for anyone who wants to work with animals. Moreover, the Limpopo Province is known for its breathtaking natural landscape-its fog-obscured cliffs and mountains and seemingly serene bodies of water are home to a diversity of flora and fauna. So, regardless of what serious work you undertake during your stay here, you will inevitably enjoy every moment of it.More than just a tourist attractionThe Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre is, admittedly, popular among tourists. With its top-notch accommodations and facilities, and the way it allows guests to interact with the animals, it offers the average visitor an experience they will never forget. Even the restaurant (staffed by some of the most efficient and gracious people this side of the world) is outstanding in its culinary offerings. So what’s there not to like about it? Apart from this touristy side of the facility, however, is a responsibility that is greater than its weight in gold: a steady stream of volunteers who come to work with animals and ensure their continued survival in their natural habitat. Truly, a visit to this centre is an educational and enlightening experience.Be “safely intimate” with wild cats and wild dogsOne of the major conservation efforts of the HESC focuses on the cheetah, African wild dogs, and black-footed cats. By this we mean the centre not only rigorously conducts research into the lives and behaviour of the said animals, it is also actively breeding them to help keep their numbers stable. As a volunteer here to work with animals, you will have a direct hand in making this happen on a daily basis-by fulfilling tasks and assignments as efficiently as you can (a little “tender, loving care” can go a long way), you make a significant contribution to helping the centre meet its lofty goals and keep these animals alive and thriving.Global conservation awarenessThe end goal of the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (aside from having a direct hand in actually propagating and breeding critically endangered species) is to raise international awareness about the kind of conservation work being implemented in South Africa. Anyone who volunteers to work with animals in the centre inevitably plays their own role in helping achieve the said goal. Volunteers will also help enlighten guests or visitors to the centre about what it takes to keep these animals not only alive, but also safe in their natural habitat. In the end, regardless of whether you stay for two weeks or two months, your work will have positively helped push the centre closer toward accomplishing its overall mission.
The most anticipated Harambe Nights Event at WDW (Walt Disney World) resort this summer is no doubt a fans favorite, but the special celebration is also seen as something that takes our Animal Kingdom experiences beyond the animals and the rides. Truly, the high spirited night-time event adds a new element that’s been missing from the Park since inception. It is really exciting to know that the day-only park is also becoming an after hour entertainment hub like never before. And I think the time is not far when Animal Kingdom will enjoy the same popularity as the other highly visited WDW parks.Despite being the biggest of all the four parks, Animal Kingdom is mostly considered as a half-day attraction and it often tends to skip the itineraries of guests, specially on a short vacation. Also beside the amazing animals, world class rides and the impressively crafted ambience the Park is comparatively less popular. And fans often choose to spend more hours at the other WDW parks as they have more attractions and activities in store. However, with the much anticipated Harambe Nights Event and the experiences it offers, there seems to evolve a new beginning in the history of Animal Kingdom. And I think the prospect of enjoying the incredible ambiences of the Park in the darkest hours of the night without the wilds and the rides is an experience unlike any other.It is true that the nights at the Animal Kingdom Park have never been spiced up with such extravagant delight. What the special after-hours ticketed event offers is just amazing. Held in honor of the Disney blockbuster film- The Lion King, the special celebration includes an amazing reception, a lively, post-show street party with musicians and buffet of great culinary creations and an hour of unparallel theatrical extravaganza (The Lion King Concert in the Wild) packed with celebrity narrator, live orchestra, choir and much more.For guests at the special occasion it’s like enjoying a true nightlife in the middle of the world’s most incredibly crafted wildlife habitat. In fact the experience it offers is quite unlike what the place used to have prior to the launch of this unique event. For the first time guests have the chance to enjoy the amazing ambience of Animal Kingdom in such casual and uniquely entertaining way.And moreover, with events like this and the other upcoming shows and attractions such as the Rivers of Light lagoon show, and the much talked about Avatar Land, I think the Park is definitely on the verge of gaining new space in popularity among Disney World fans.