My NVT Experience
The past three and a half weeks spent in Nature’s Valley with NVT have been an experience I will never forget. Sitting at home and writing this has just made me want to go back, and one day I will make sure I do.
Being from Cape Town and studying at Stellenbosch University, I thought I had seen a lot of beautiful scenery in my life; but I hadn’t seen half of it. Nature’s Valley is in such a magical part of the country where you can go from pristine beaches to stretching mountain ranges within five minutes. After doing a number of hikes during my stay, I can still not say that I am used to the views. I have also come to love hiking.
The Nature’s Valley Trust team are a group of people I am not going to forget about soon. I was quite nervous about fitting in and worrying if we would all get along, but I had no reason to be. From day one they make you feel like you are part of the team and have always been there. They are a wonderful group of people who are true pioneers for conservation in all its aspects. I loved working with these people who are clearly making a large difference within their community and are passionate about what they do and want to achieve. So a big thank you must go to the team for teaching and inspiring me!
Throughout the weeks, Madeleine (my friend who put up with me for the trip) and I were able to participate in all the different projects the Trust is involved in. Some of my favourites included bird ringing, especially the time we caught a Malachite Kingfisher, attending a Birding Masters class and seeing all the little kiddies who know way more about birds than me, mosquito fishing, being able to go on part of the Otter Trail, spending a whole day at sea for a survey and seeing whales along the way, and all the rest as well. Getting to see actual Masters and PhD studies getting done was also very interesting. All these things were very rewarding for me and will definitely help me decide on what I want to do after I graduate.
In our spare time we were able to explore the area and got to know the Valley quite well. All the spectacular hikes in the area are definitely recommended, including Pig’s Head, Salt River mouth, and, of course, Robberg. Walking down tree-lined streets, alongside the lagoon and on the quiet beach, is something I will definitely miss. The wonderful location for this program is just the cherry on top.
I was often asked what my low points were of my trip and each time I could honestly answer: I had none. These were an amazing few weeks and if I can help anyone who is not sure about joining this program make the decision easier; just do it. I guarantee that you will not regret it.