Here at Natural Selection, we’re about much more than incredible safari experiences in Southern Africa’s very best wildlife areas – community outreach and conservation are as big a part of our DNA as luxurious camps, so it’s been with open arms that we’ve welcomed the Wildshots Outreach initiative.
This utterly brilliant programme takes youngsters fresh out of school and immerses them in the wonders of the natural world, teaching them how to capture the experience on camera as well as imparting the significance of conservation and explaining the positive impact that international tourism has on wildlife areas.
The teenagers come from communities alongside the areas in which we operate, however most have never been on a safari and have little knowledge of the animals they live so close to. Most of the participants are also at a bit of a loss as to what they’d like to do with themselves, but many have had their lives and ambitions transformed by the programme.
The course is run over four nights and five days, during which time the youngsters are equipped with a camera and necessary kit. The eight students then learn all about photography as well as the conservation of the species they’re photographing, and they also pick up some vital life skills in the process.
Many participants have gone on to become committed and passionate conservationists, and have embarked on careers such as journalism, photography and guiding.
We’re immensely proud to have the outreach work taking place at our camps in Botswana, where the teenagers have been capturing some very impressive photos!
Proud Ndlovu, a previous student had this to say about the course: “Going on a game drive is a dream come true. It doesn’t happen to kids like us. I never liked conservation before. It was just a theory and we never had a chance to experience it. Now I am starting to understand conservation. I feel good about our wild places and our wild places and our wild animals. I wish they were better protected so future generations will also know the wild animals and their roots. I want to use my photos for other learners so they can turn theory into reality.”
If you’d like to learn more about Wild Shots Outreach and the work they do, please visit www.wildshotsoutreach.org
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