My experience at NVT
September 15, 2023

by Giulia Baldini

This is the first time taking part in conservation and I realised how much I like it and most probably would see a future. These three months were amazing, I learned a lot and I had so many new experiences that I would have never done home. NVT gave me the opportunity to do my Master’s thesis and made me also take part in a lot of activities. I learned a lot about the bird species surrounding the Valley and bird ringing was one of my favourite activities!

Every single fun day was really a fun day. I would have never thought that one day I would have the possibility to swim with the seals, more importantly, I discovered how smelly they are and they bite! Even though I am not a very fit person, every single hike we did, was an adventure that I really enjoyed. I saw amazing landscapes and views that I will forever cherish.

In my three months in NVT, I focused on my thesis that involves the human impact on bushbuck behaviour, with the usage of camera traps. Sky was really helpful with collecting the data and I analysed the images. I can tell so far I have some great results that I cannot wait to share with everyone.

I helped NVT with all the different activities such as marine debris, microplastics and the least favourite for everyone: the fishing line bins. It was such a fulfilling, achieving and rewarding experience that made me love conservation and animal species even more. This is what I want for my future!

I had the best three months of my life, I had the opportunity to go around the country and visit markets with which I became obsessed. I had the possibility to make really great friends with whom I shared these adventures and I cannot wait to meet again somewhere around the world or why not again in South Africa where we first met.

Shark cage diving, horse riding in Jeffrey’s Bay, seals, bungee jumping and much more will be forever memories that I cannot forget and cherish.

Nothing can compare to waking up every day and having the ocean at 3 minute’s distance, amazing mountains that you could admire for hours and sunsets that will be forever imprinted in my brain.

Overall I had an amazing experience that I would repeat again and I recommend to everyone to do it at least once in their lives. I want to conclude by saying that in Italy there is a saying called “Mal d’Africa”, this means in a sense homesick but for Africa, that is how I feel right now because I miss it so much already.

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