It’s the time to be Merry

December. The Silly Season. The time where people go crazy at the stores buying more stuff to clutter their lives. More stuff they don’t actually need.  And those that need, go about this month oblivious to the amount of money spent at this time of the year on unnecessary material things.

TLC Christmas 2015 CollageOne organisation that ensures the communities they care for are blessed and for one day could experience the joy of receiving something just for them.  Here is a collage of a TLC Christmas Party – one of many they have for the community.

It is a wonderful feeling to give and exciting to receive but in my humble opinion, I think that the time has come to give meaningful gifts.  Adopt a Penguin for your parents or a friend, or adopt an Elephant or a Rhino and the donation will go a long way in helping to save our Endangered Species.  Pledge to raise funds for a Wildlife Conservation Project or an Orphanage. Send school supplies or clothing or books to Schools who badly need these items especially in South America, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Africa, South Africa. These are the gifts that could have a snowball effect on someone’s life or to the safety of Wildlife.

Pledge that a group of you will volunteer in 2016 and ask family and friends for money towards your trip. Volunteering will make such an enormous impact on your life and the communities and wildlife projects you are coming out to support.

So why not make a commitment in 2016 to volunteer with AVIVA Volunteers?  Visit our website and complete a non-obligatory booking form for an opportunity of a lifetime.


Bring on the Cuteness Overload

elephant-800Baby Elephant Playing with Birds is the cutest video I have seen in recent weeks especially with the outcry of the killing the Cecil the lion and more Rhino’s being poached and killed.  So when a video comes along like this, it is always good to share. It was taken at the Kruger National Park.  So click on the link and be transported to cuteness overload.

When Love Comes Knocking

In Africa, we do wild and we do life so it is no surprise I have made a new friend in surburbia. She visits almost every day and is not afraid to come up to me for food and will even wait patiently whilst I go inside to retrieve her food. Here she is …. a Cape Spur Fowl. She is adorable, I think I should name her.

Francolin criard. Famille des Phasianidés. Ordre : Galliformes

I would like to mention to the volunteers who stay at our Volunteer House in Table View.  There is a lovely walk on the vlei and even a bird-watching hut.  On a lovely sunny day, pack a lunch, flash of coffee, pick up your journal and camera and take a walk for a moment of tranquility with exceptional views of Table Mountain.

This is what volunteering at AVIVA Volunteers is all about … discovering new things to explore.



The AVIVA Experience

On Wednesday, I noticed a Zebra on the back of a Tall Horse Giraffe and I heard him sadly comment on the proverbial hump in the week. That damn Camel always gets in the way and sometimes it can prove to be a rather large hurdle to get over.zebra giraffe

But here it is … Friday in all her glory and I am sure everyone is looking forward to two days of pleasure. Not that work is not a pleasure …. it just means there will be 2 days of no admin. Today my brain feels as if it has been fried after an admin-intensive week.

Now let’s get some blogging done!

I have noticed the trend for taking a gap year or taking time off from Uni to enjoy the experience of volunteering is on the increase, with many a new Volunteering Organisation/Agency opening. That is why AVIVA has begun to make many new changes to enhance our volunteer experience. If you visit our website regularly, you will notice some obvious changes and some subtle changes. We also believe that no one can recommend a South African project more than a South African based volunteering organisation. We have the experience, the knowledge and know the lay of the land.

So why choose AVIVA Volunteers over other volunteering organisations in South Africa? Well, why not? Firstly, we are based in Cape Town which is the hippest, coolest, artsy, vibey City in the entire South Africa, and have projects all over South Africa which gives you the opportunity to enjoy the best volunteering experience. And secondly we are the longest running volunteering organisation. And for good measure, let me throw in a 3rd great reason …. we are based in South Africa and have a strong relationship with all our projects.

Cape Town does certainly buzz with energy, has incredible activities for you to enjoy when you are not working on your project and within easy reach of the city, you are able to go on a Safari. Hence we recommend you include a Cape Town week if you are volunteering on projects out of the Cape Town area. We highly recommend you do not come to South Africa for less than 2 weeks as you will be so disappointed at the opportunities you would miss by leaving too early. We do however understand that sometimes 2 weeks is all you have and rather 2 weeks than nothing at all, right?

In Cape Town you will live like a local, travel like a local and become accustomed to the local ways by staying at our AVIVA Volunteer House. Everyone in the house is like-minded – wanting to do something good, wanting to make a difference, ready to have a great time – see and do as much as they can and meet new friends from all over the world. It is not like a backpacker where your roomies will be there for different reasons and each day when you arrive back “home”, someone new has moved in and you have to make friends all over again! Our Volunteer House is a home. It is your home away from home where you can kick off your shoes and relax, or nag your fellow volunteers until they give in to your request for them to join you for dinner on the beach front. And we have a dog.

Now view the largest picture ever taken (over 200,000 pixels) – click here.


I rest my case!  So what are you waiting for? giraffe

Have an awesome weekend everyone …..


Where has time gone?

I cannot believe it has been a month since my last post.  To say work has been hectic, would be an understatement and a violation of my human rights to any form of slavery.  So I would have to say that I took a mental health month due to my sense of humour having gone AWOL and my computer catching a horrid bug which kept on popping up Ad’s all over the place. The rotten miscreants who have nothing better to do than violating my peace of mind.

Autumn has snuck in quietly in Cape Town with the most gorgeous hot, balmy, windless days.  So far we have had better weather at the start of autumn than we had during the entire summer months.  Even Ace, the Volunteer Dog, has agreed with my sentiments.

IMG_20150330_182750 And there is nothing he likes best than his romp on the beach followed by a small tub of ice cream.  Oh it is sure a dog’s life.

What has been keeping me a lot busier than usual is the mere fact I am updating and adding to our new Fundraising Document including the DVD which will go a long way in assisting you to raise funds for your trip and your project.  It should be finished shortly. Go me!  Included will be worth-your-while tours and trips you should consider doing especially seeing as you are coming all the way out to the southern tip of the African continent.  It will give you an added incentive to fundraise more and/or wake up the travel senses of your school or uni friends to join you.  I will also be giving you great Combo-Deals to experience the most of your adventure as possible.

Weekend is about to start and since starting this post, a thick mist has rolled in off the sea. If this is indicative of the weather for the weekend, I will be chillaxing on my bed in case you want to find me.

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 – 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.

noordhoek fire 2015

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.

It’s Weekend Baby!


Indulge me for a moment as in all honesty, it is Friday and my brain is shouting “It is Weekend Baby” and here I am trying to put together a post.  Tempting this stringing-of-words-to-form-sentences stuff on a Friday morning is something which needs major mojo. Clearly I do not have it.

Imagine what creative posts I would write if I was sitting on the beachfront, Marguerita in front of me, stunning view of Table Bay with the mountain photo-bombing every photograph I take?  My grey matter seems to turn to sludge at about 3.30pm and though I have missive after missive of rough drafts, they were good at the time of writing and now appear to be somewhat “eh”.  That, and the timing is not yet right.


Anyhoo, here are 10 fun facts you may or may not know about Cape Town:

  1. Named after the classic comedy about a Jamaican bobsled team, Cool Runnings ( just 20 minutes from the city centre is the only place on the African continent where you can find a tobogganing track.
  2. You can get married on Table Mountain and, in fact, on average two couples get married on top of the mountain every month! And, you can spend the night on Table Mountain in a lovely cozy cottage.
  3. “The Cape of Good Hope” was originally called the “Cape of Storms” by Bartholomeu Dias after he had to endure terrible storms on his way to the East coast of the Cape. He only changed it to the name we are familiar with now to appease the then king of Portugal.
  4. Although the youngest language in the world, Afrikaans is the most widely spoken home language in the Western Cape – about 40% of the population speaks it. Rest of the population’s home language is either English or Xhosa.
  5. Cape Town has the highest number of homes valued at more than R20 million in South Africa! The most sought after property is in Camps Bay, where there are 155 homes valued at over R20 million.
  6. Adderley Street’s road was originally made out of wooden tiles before being tarred over, in fact, you can see the wooden blocks for yourself at the Cultural History Museum in Cape Town.
  7. There’s a river that flows through Cape Town. It’s called the Fresh River and it comes off the slopes of Table Mountain, through the Company Gardens, and then travels underneath Adderley Street to the Waagenaar reservoir underneath Golden Acre.
  8. The oldest living tradition is Cape Town, the Noon Day Gun is fired at exactly 12 pm every day (except on Sundays) at Lion Battery on Signal Hill. The two Noon Guns are also the oldest cannons still in daily use.
  9. On 11 February 1990 on the balcony of Cape Town’s City Hall, Nelson Mandela made his first public speech since being released from prison.
  10. Cape Town celebrates Tweede Nuwe Jaar (Second New Year) with a parade and dancing Kaapse Klopse minstrels. This tradition originates almost 200 years ago when Cape Malay slaves celebrated the New Year on the only leave day they were allowed, 02 January.

Clearly, Cape Town has many surprises for the traveller, the adverturer, the explorer.  Are you one of those who would love to explore every nook and cranny of this beautiful City?

Till next time, peeps, have a wonderfully awesome weekend.