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The life of an intern at UmPhafa

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Intern Lauren Owen summarises her diary of events at UmPhafa!

I started my journey from York to Durban, meeting fellow interns along the way.

On arrival at Durban, we then started the drive to the farm house where we would be staying for the next month! On our first morning we had an introduction to the team and a safety briefing before heading out on our first drive on the back of the cruiser to see some the animals on the reserve, including baby giraffes!

I took part in a number of game counts, looking for animals and documenting the species and number we saw. During the game counts we saw a mixture of species including a male adult white rhino, which was amazing! 

We walked across the reserve monitoring animals, counting game, surveying vegetation and setting up camera traps. The walks included an area known as ‘Leopard Gorge’ where we had to climb rocks and were able to see some different types of scenery.

Some evenings we ventured out on night drives, which were amazing! The view of the stars was out of this world (pardon the pun!). We saw red hartebeest, different species of birds, a porcupine and, on one evening, a hyena!

As well as spending time on the reserve, we also ventured to some of the neighbouring towns and reserves, including Howick to see their famous waterfall, the Nambiti Private Game Reserve to see elephants, buffalos, leopards and lions as well as the fantastic sights of the Drakensberg Mountains and reptile centre! 

I also visited the local town of Colenso, went wine tasting and even had a go at some traditional Zulu warrior dancing!

Becoming an intern:
For a full information pack on internships at Colchester Zoo’s UmPhafa Reserve click here.

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The area of UmPhafa has one of the highest ecological carrying capacities in the whole of South Africa

Number of species offically recorded on Umphafa

Mammals 48
Birds 143
Reptiles 18
Amphibians 11
Trees 54