Africa, here I come!

By Sophie Daud

Summer, particularly in the Algarve, is a time of relaxation, promising to rejuvenate any spirit, particularly that of a weary student.

However, my first year at the University of Cambridge studying Natural Sciences had revealed in me something I’d long forgotten- a passion for animals.

So while a luxurious summer seemed tempting, five weeks exploring the tropical coastline and wildlife of Kenya appeared far more enticing.

Alongside 15 other volunteers, one of whom is a good friend, I will be joining an ongoing endeavour, supported by the Kenyan government, which aims to protect and preserve the fantastic species of plants and animals in the beautiful area of Shimoni, 70 kms South of Mombasa.

I will be involved in tracking black and white Colobus monkeys and monitoring the impact the surrounding eco-tourism trade has upon them.

My work will also involve marine based surveys of dolphins, sea turtles and occasionally whales, while several evenings a week will be spent teaching English to the local fishing community.

Mid-August I shall embark upon a satellite expedition to work with various game animals with the shade of Mount Kilimanjaro on my shoulders.

While accommodation and living conditions will be basic at best, involving dormitories and squat toilets, my excitement is tangible as I prepare my heavy backpack.

Mishaps are rife- mosquito nets and water purification tablets seem non-existent in Portugal, and somewhere in transit I lost my Yellow Fever vaccination certificate- but still, the anticipation of the new adventure which will unfold in the next few weeks drives me on.

Kenya, here I come.

Sophie Daud, 19, has been a resident in Portugal since 1993. Don’t miss Sophie Daud’s first report on her African adventure in the Algarve Resident edition of August 27.