What a thrilling weekend Jeanette, Annelie, and I had in Dinokeng Game Reserve, an hour’s drive from Johannesburg airport when the borders were closed. We booked into a private Game Lodge in this Big Five Reserve.
Early the next day, we met a lovely new friend, Lorraine Keenan, at the Coffee and Curio Store in Dinokeng. She was very excited to introduce us to her local projects in nearby Hammanskraal. Lorraine is the founder and CEO of Hero’s Holidays, a social enterprise offering meaningful projects in and around Johannesburg, South Africa. This non-profit organization gives volunteers from around the world an authentic African experience while at the same time enhancing life for disadvantaged communities.
Lorraine drove us to a farm in the middle of the Big 5 game reserve, the headquarters of an early childhood development project called Babies in the Bush. It consists of two main parts, the Butterfly project, giving support and working with 22 day-care centers in the area, and a Baby Safe House where neglected little ones are cared for and offered a better start in life.
After a three-day training program in Johannesburg, volunteers live on the farm in simple but clean facilities with an inviting kitchen, nice bathroom facilities, shared bedroom, and communal gathering space.
They learn about child-care, help with looking after and playing with the babies. Volunteers also become involved with a sports program in the care centers.
Besides Babies in the Bush, she oversees three other projects: Maboneng Arty Kids, helping children with creative work in downtown Johannesburg,
Jozi Skill Swop, helping previously disadvantaged South Africans become creative entrepreneurs, and Mandela Soweto Kids, working and playing with kids in Mandela’s hometown.
The Oosthuysen family living on the farm is heavily invested in developing the skills of local people to better provide for themselves, e.g., creating art and woodwork projects for sale in the Game Reserve.
If anyone is interested in becoming involved in these beautiful projects, please check the website https://heroholidays.co.za/ and contact Lorraine at Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Mobile: +82 555 3939
After spending a wonderful day with the Oosthuysens on the farm, we returned to our guest lodge, spotting giraffe, kudu, wildebeest, and hartebeest on the way. We enjoyed a sundowner on the porch while a family of zebras grazed at the fence.
Ah, Africa! What a wonderful country.