Spotlight Project: Rhino Tracking & Conservation
Since 1970, the world rhino population has declined by 90 percent seriously endangering the remaining number of rhinos. The rare white rhino is one of two species in Africa and is the focus of our wildlife project in Uganda. Working alongside rangers, veterinarians, and local guides, we have the unique opportunity to participate first-hand in the conservation efforts protecting the white rhino. Shadowing wildlife experts on both day and night rhino patrols, we track and study the behavior and habitat of these magnificent creatures.
Journey into the heart of Africa where you are greeted by the smiling faces of your friends and partners in Uganda. Take in the lush and fertile landscape of Uganda, shattering your preconceptions of a dry and arid region, as you make your way past Lake Victoria to rural Masaka. Walk down dirt roads to meet local community leaders and families as you orient yourself to your home for the next week and join in the community empowerment efforts. Jump right into your first project providing clean water to hundreds of community members. Plant an orange tree and build a beehive, creating your legacy in this friendly and industrious farming community. Find yourself encircled by laughing schoolchildren eager to learn an English phrase or kick a soccer ball. Head North to Masindi where you come face-to-face with Africa's endangered White Rhino. Focusing in on your Spotlight Project you join the rangers in foot patrol and learn about rhino conservation efforts. Teach lessons in the local school house. Venture into Murchison Falls in the search for elephants, buffalo, hippos, bushback, and maybe even the allusive leopard. Journey back to Kampala for a final evening together as you reflect on your experiences and the impact that you have left behind.
“Africa tested me in so many different ways and I came out a better person with more confidence and knowledge of the world. This trip made me realize what I really care out. Best decision I have ever made.”
— Caroline I. Wayland, MA
Orientation and Acclimatization to Uganda
Bursting with anticipation for the weeks ahead, we make our way across the world to Kampala, Uganda, where we are welcomed by the smiling faces of our local partners. Jumping right into our orientation we take in the lush beauty of Uganda’s countryside as we make our way past Lake Victoria, to Masaka, our home for the next six days.
Community Empowerment & Water Catchment Systems
Finding ourselves immersed in the community of Masaka, we get right to work learning about the farm, the focal point of the community and the means of income for hundreds and hundreds of families. Known for its fertile soils, this part of Uganda is an agricultural haven, and it is through the community farm that families are able to successfully feed themselves and build a sustainable lifestyle. We break into groups to construct clean water catchment systems, first building the filters and then installing them into local homes. Throughout the next five days we complete our water project, plant orange trees, distribute seeds to nearby farms, assist with the piggery and lend our hands to the construction project on the bio-gas dome. Living amongst community members who were once extremely impoverished, we learn and understand each step of the process of finding economic independence.
Track Rhinos and Learn About Conservation Efforts
Due to poaching, rhino have been extinct in the state of Uganda since 1982. We have the opportunity to learn first hand about the conservation and rehabilitation efforts taking place in Uganda, as we witness these incredible animals in their natural habitat. We learn to track and monitor the animals day and night, help with animal rehabilitation efforts and take part in community outreach teaching English to local youth.
Search for Wildlife at Murchison Falls
Murchison Falls, Uganda’s largest national park where the Nile River drops 147 feet into expansive sparkling pools, is our base for the next two days. Home to elephants, giraffes, waterbuck, hippos, crocodiles and much more, we take in the natural beauty around us. Feeling the spray from the falls, if our luck is with us we might even spot the allusive leopard and spotted hyenas.