South Africa Here You Come : Travel Tip #1

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You have chosen your project, you have been in touch with other volunteers and are now totally satisfied that we are the only volunteering organisation you want to deal with (grin), you book your airticket and have paid for your project – now what? Now you start the exciting part – getting the things you want to bring with you gathered into a spot in your bedroom so you do not leave anything behind.

When you printed out the Project Sheet, you would have noticed that we supplied you with an idea of what to pack?  But I have some more ideas for you, just.to.make.travelling.a.little.bit.easier.  That is how I roll.

Grid It

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One of the best solutions I have come across thus far to keeping all your cords, whether it be for cell phones, laptops, camera’s, organised in one place.  And the nice thing is that it can be transferred to your purse/handbag or backpack when you go sightseeing.     

Morph Juice Pack or similar

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For the most part, our volunteers tend to favour an iPhone over an Android Smartphone so a morph juice pack is a great idea for quick re-charging whilst on the go.

There are plenty other variations on the market and you are bound to find a good deal.  I personally like one that can clip onto the loop of your trousers and you can charge your cell phone whilst walking.  Another favourite of mine is the solar-powered recharger.  Cape Town has so much sunlight, you will always have the chance to recharge your cell phone or iPad or Tablet when you are not close to electricity.

Small Day Backpack

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Now listen up girls.  We know you are fashion conscious but you are on holiday, you are a traveller and when sightseeing and going out to explore places, put everything in a small lightweight backpack so you can leave your hands free without compromising the safety of your possessions.  Listen to Michelle – she know’s best.

International Plug Adaptors

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In South Africa we use two-pronged and three-pronged plugs with the prongs being cylindrical – not flat.  So don’t leave home without one.

iPad / iMac / Laptop / Tablet

Never travel anywhere without these useful items.  The only inconvenience is that your laptops have to be removed when going through security but fortunately this does not apply to iPad’s and a Tablet.

Camera / GoPro

A camera I would definitely bring with you.  Taking photos with your cell phone is all good and well but often the resolution is too small or too grainy and you only find out when you get home that you missed some wonderful photo opportunities.  Some photos can be so good you would like to enlarge it to frame only to find the resolution is so low that enlarging it cannot be done.  Listen to Michelle, she is always right.  Why?  I used to scrapbook and it became glaringly obvious when I wanted to enlarge a photo, how inadequate my photo skills were.  Lesson learnt!

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If you have a GoPro – lucky you!  If not, do everything in your power to buy one.  One of the must-do experiences in Cape Town is to go snorkeling with seals or shark cage diving or you want to take a video of you zip-lining or paragliding or sand boarding.  I better shut up as I could write all day long.  But you get the picture, right?

So peeps, that is the first in the series of Aviva Travel Tips.  Watch this space for more.

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AVIVA Volunteer House

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The greatest asset AVIVA Volunteers has is their Volunteer House situated in Table View, Cape Town.  If you have not had the opportunity of living in it whilst on a volunteering project with AVIVA, or seen it on our Facebook, then go check it out here http://aviva-sa.com/aviva-house-google-view.php – it is simply one of the best I have personally seen with all the usual home comforts one is used to.

Some of our Volunteers did stay at a Backpackers but once they moved over to the house, it was like “oh my giddy aunt, if I had known the house was so beautiful I would have stayed here from the moment I arrived in the city”. I kid you not.

When volunteers choose a project in other parts of the country, we try to encourage them to opt for the Cape Town Week, thus being able to sightsee the beautiful Mother City but also to get a taste of the full volunteer experience we offer international volunteers.

So go and check out the 360 degree video and share your comments with us.

The Heat is On

This summer has been a blustery one and as we move into Autumn the temperature has risen to a staggering 40 degrees celsius in Table View and even higher elsewhere on the Peninsula. I don’t think those working in airconditioned offices are complaining, but wait.until.you.get.home.peeps – you won’t be able to sleep a wink tonight.

I am not sure whether the fire is contributing to this unusual heatwave but I can tell you one thing for absolute certain, the volunteers in the AVIVA Volunteer House will be swimming non-stop when they get home from their projects.  Me?  I will run under the sprinkler when I get home.

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A big shout out however, must go to all our firefighters and volunteer firefighter who are risking severe dehydration and skin blisters from the heat of the fire which started on Sunday in Muizenberg and spread over the mountain towards Noordhoek and Hout Bay.  And let us not forget the lack of sleep.  I am sure they must be so exhausted that seeing a grown man cry due to tiredness, would simply melt your heart.  Mention has to go out to all the pilots both civil and military who have been collecting buckets and buckets of water to douse the flames.  All these guys are living on the edge and trying desperately to save our mountain and the poor critters who live there. I am sad for all those animals whether it be a tortoise, a porcupine, snakes, buck, baboons and baby birds in nests and squirrels and rabbits and field mouse ….. who were not able to get away from the approaching savage fire.

Say a prayer for them and that our mountain covers up her scars quickly.

Weekly Project Focus: Lucky Lucy

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This weekend, Volunteer Coordinator Megan Durant and I went out for some puppy and kitten therapy at our new Project starting 1 April.  And this is no fools joke!

The project is situated 30 km’s from Table View on a farm where you will be surrounded by dogs, dogs and more dogs and kittens and adult cats and the Golden Oldies in Shady Pines retirement camp.  This project is run by 3 full time staff on a daily basis and a handful of volunteers who are only able to volunteer their time over the weekends.  That is why we need YOU!

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The majority of the dogs are friendly with the odd one having some sort of behavourial problem which they are monitoring and training and trying to sort out.  These furkids love their humans and love their walks.  The camp is still rather basic but with the help of all the volunteers we are hoping to attract to this project, they will soon be in a financial situation where they can buy more supplies to improve their environment.  How would YOU like to be instrumental in being part of the turnabout of this Rescue, Rehabilitation, Adoption and Re-homing animal centre?

I left empty handed as I was not sure what my Alpha-Male cat at home would do if I arrived home with an armful of little balls of pawfect furkids, but I seriously could have walked out with a car load of kittens.

So if you are a human who loves to give pawfect love to animals, this is a project made in heaven.  Contact me if you are interested as the project is not yet up on our website.