Here's What Some Past Volunteers Have to Say

To add your Volunteer Testimonial, send your text and a photo (if you would like to include one) to info@primate-sa.org

Jack Sitwell and Amelia O'Duffy - U.K.

 

Jack and Amelia visited Riverside for 6 weeks in March-April, 2014. They were some of the most charasmatic and wonderful (and cheeky!) additions to the Riverside family. Amidst the prank-wars, they managed to document their stay at Riverside on video and have allowed us to share the video in place of a testimonial. 

 

I think, looking at the video, they thoroughly enjoyed themselves!

Abi Daniels - UK
Who knew that 1 month of volunteering at Riverside back in 2015 would help me with the decision of a career path I wanted to follow. I soon returned in 2017 for 6 months, and just like in 2015 every second there was magical. It’s incredibly sad seeing these animal come to riverside injured, orphaned and neglected but seeing these animals bounce back with the dedication and love Bob, Lynne and the volunteers give is an incredible feeling, I’ve never felt something so rewarding. Being so hands on with the animals is a great way to care for them but also a great way to teach yourself about them. What I love about Riverside is that you meet lots of people from around the world from different countries, which soon become friends for life. I’ve had people visit my home back in England and I’ve also traveled to see people. I definitely felt part of the ‘Riverside family’. I can’t wait to return to this family in December 2019, where I’ll be there for a whole year. A year of handwork, love and friends and of course a ton of monkey hugs.
Leigh-Anne Kolasinski - U.S.A.

 

I arrived at Riverside in October of 2013 after 5 years of working with baboons in South Africa. I had decided to go home and maybe try that for a change after so long abroad and not really feeling like I had found the place for me. It was a happy accident that I ended up at Riverside and it took me about a day to realize where I should have spent the last 5 years. It was an indescribable wave of relief to see that finally there was someone who gets it - a place where these animals live a near-to-natural life with dignity and respect, and I have no doubt in my mind they will find freedom when they are ready. I volunteered in rehab for many years before I came to SA, and it has been a hard pill to swallow knowing that people seldom if ever follow laws protecting animals in South Africa, even those who have them in their care, and simply don't follow the minimum standards. I was so elated to find that Riverside not only follows those standards, but really sets the bar, and definitely puts the animals' needs above all else. The day I stumbled out of that bakkie at Riverside was the best day of my life. I can't thank Bob and Lynne enough for giving me the opportunity to learn from the best and experience rehabilitation the Riverside way.

Tana Twickler Burns - USA
I’ve been to Riverside twice & I’ll be going back again for so many reasons! It’s a place that grabs your heart before you even know it happens! The days can be long, and the work can be hard, but it’s so, so worth it when the reward is a cuddle from a juvenile baboon who has been ignoring you, or a pile of vervet babies decide to nap on your lap! Everyone is so friendly here too. You get to hang out & work with people from all over the world who all have the same goal - to help rehabilitate these animals so that someday they will be living the life they were meant to live - in the wild. I could go on & on, but if you love animals & want a hands-on experience at a really top notch rehabilitation centre, you won’t find a better one than this!
Zara de Costa - U.K.

 

Riverside is an experience of a lifetime. Caring for animals is very rewarding and the hands on experience you get with the monkeys and baboons is unreal. From cleaning to feeding and cuddling up to the animals is all worthwhile. It is hard work but at the same time, it's the most rewarding experience knowing that you are helping in every way possible. The team at Riverside are fantastic, so welcoming and always so helpful. It's one big happy family and you’re included! It is great meeting new people and sharing the experience together.There are so many great things to experience from bottle feeding to watching/assisting in operations. I have so many fond memories and can't wait for the time to come around so I can visit Riverside again.

Matt Carpenter - UK

 

I first came to Riverside back in September 2016. This was my first time out of the U.K. I’d booked the trip last minute. Life back home felt like it was falling apart so I needed to get away and escape. Thanks to the extremely warm welcome and amazing atmosphere I managed to fit right in. Working with the baboons, vervets and other animals was hard work but extremely rewarding. The work completed while at Riverside even helped me secure a promotion back home at work. I returned to riverside early 2019. I was half way through treatment for a brain tumour which knocked me back mentally and physically. A month or so before I returned I’d had a major surgery. When I returned I was made to feel like a part of the family yet again. Having medical problems didn’t stop me from mucking in and there was always help on hand if and when I needed it. Going back to Riverside is the reason I’m here, able to write this today. I feel like Riverside saves my life and puts me back on the right track in life. If someone with a brain tumour and still recovering from two brain surgeries can handle working at Riverside and come back a better person, what’s stopping you?

Astrid Koerner - Germany

 

When our 18 year old son went to Riverside in January 2018 I never thought that I will be there only few months later. In our phone calls he told us about hands on experiences with the monkeys, the real family atmosphere and that he was absolutely happy there – and I was absolutely jealous.
After being back in Germany he told me “old people“ can also go to Riverside so I called Lynne, booked my flights and had no idea what to expect ( although Janus told me some things; but he often told me: “you will see when you´re there“)….
After a long flight and a journey in a shuttle bus nearly as long as the flight I arrived late at Riverside. Everybody was really friendly but I just wanted to go to bed being sure I made the mistake of my life. The first few days had been hard – lots of new English speaking people, high temperatures, unfamiliar work. But there were also the monkeys, lots of dogs and other animals  and especially the baboons stole my heart from the very first moment. I will never forget my first visit in Monty, a bit scared what will happen with all those baboons around me. Abigail was the first who came to me, looked at me, climbed on my lap and felt asleep – I was absolutely overwhelmed.
Day by day I got more used to everything thanks  to Bob, Lynne, Debbie, Steve, Beth, Kyler and all the others who explained everything as often as I needed it and I can say after 4-5 days I was absolutely happy being there.

I think I can say that these 4 weeks had been the time of my life. I learned so much about the animals and about myself as well. Our son told me that you belong to the Riverside family when you are there and also afterwards and I can now say that this is absolutely true. I really felt like a part of the family – and I never felt like 50 (although I could have been the mom of most of  the  other volunteers).

The highlight of my stay was visiting the release site near the border of Botswana. Walking through the bush looking for the baboons, seeing them where they belong and sleeping in a tent under millions of stars was breathtaking.

Saying goodbye to all these humans and animals, especially my adopted baboon Paul was hard and after being home for 2 weeks I decided to come back as soon as possible and so I did after 6 months.

The second time was different but also absolutely amazing. I had the opportunity to visit Kruger with Bob, Steve and a group of other volunteers. That 2-day trip was organised by Lynne and we all enjoyed it. “My“ Paul had moved to Middles but we were able to go in and I´m sure he recognised me what was an indescribable feeling. Time flew by and after 3 weeks I had to leave. But saying goodbye was not as hard as the first time because I knew that I could always come back. And I must come back because I now adopted another baboon and I would really enjoy carrying Bilbo at the baboon walk.

I hope being able to visit Riverside every year now  - it is a great place – even for “old people“. You learn more and more with every stay about rehabilitating animals and it´s fantastic being part of the big Riverside family.

A very special thing at Riverside is that it is completely unimportant where you come from, how old you are and what you do in "real life". The only thing that matters is your love for the animals and the shared goal of bringing the animals back to where they belong.

Ellie Beltran - U.S.

The one word that can even come close to describing Riverside Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre is magical. Watching orphaned, neglected and abused baby baboons and vervets grow to gain independence with each and every day, and witnessing the resilience of wounded monkeys in the clinic bouncing back to health and returning to their natural environment, is truly magical. The pure resilience of these animals not only gives hope to the future of their species, but also gives hope to volunteers on a personal level to find strength in one’s own difficulties.

Eden Nyah - Belgium

 

There is no place on earth where I felt so at one with monkeys and other creatures than when I spent my time at Riverside! Also, the family feeling is so wonderful and will stay with me forever! It's also perfect accommodation that they prepare for the volunteers. Thanks Bob and Lynne for all the effort that they do for the monkeys and volunteers!!

Liam Tunmore - U.K.

 

I have spent over five months at Riverside and have loved every second. From looking after new born baby vervet monkeys and chacma baboons, to being able to help release monkeys back into the wild. As a animal behaviourist it was amazing to be able to see what I had spent five years learning being displayed by all the animals that are at the centre. Not only the monkeys and baboons but any other animal that is brought in either due to injury or human negligence. Riverside not only teaches you about animals but can also teach you about yourself and the type of person that you are through all the hard work and effort you and everyone in the Riverside family put into caring for the animals each day.

Michelle Taylor - U.K.

 

I volunteered at the centre for a month in 2009 and it was the best experience of my life and I still think about my experiences there all the time. The amount of work and effort that is put into looking after the animals you cannot even imagine. Normally vervets and baboons are seen as pests and killed so these monkeys are being given a second chance which they would not get if it wasn't for the hard work of this centre. The majority of the monkeys that come to the centre need medical care and this does not come cheap! This centre is not a tourist trap or anything like that, it is all about the well being of the monkeys and giving them everything that they need. So please do everything you can to help them, if you volunteer at the centre it will change your life, you will make friends and learn things you never thought you would and the memories you will have you will cherish forever. You may imagine how it would feel looking after baby monkeys or releasing a monkey back into the wild, go and volunteer and you won't have to imagine doing those things you could actually DO them.

 

Liz Waldman - U.S.A.

 

I spent 3 weeks at Riverside and it was amazing! Bob and Lynne and Matt and now Sam are completely dedicated to the important work they do. They've made Riverside their life's work and I am so thankful to have experienced a bit of time myself there seeing what they do. Riverside depends almost completely on donations of time, funding and supplies; even the food the monkeys eat daily is donated. Even though I live so far away and may never see the Vervets again, I am so happy to know that someone is looking out for their best interest.

 

Catherine Renault - U.K.

 

In 2009 I visted South Africa for the first time for 8 weeks, these 8 weeks were the best of my life, learning about the routines and the rehabilitation process. Being able to be so hands on with the whole process made it even more special and the amount of time that was taken to make you feel welcome and at home was unbelievable! So much did I love it and it broke my heart to leave, I was home less than a week before deciding I had to go back. 3 weeks later I was back on plane for another 8 weeks. These 8 weeks topped off my whole experience, but once again I had to break my heart and leave again. BUT... I just couldn't stay away, so at the beginning of 2010 I visited again, this time for only 2 weeks, but the best 2 weeks of my year without any doubt. And, when 2011 came around there was just no way I could not go and see the family of monkeys again that I visited for another 2 weeks. This project truly gives an experience, it gives the experience for all the animals that go through the rehabilitation and the chance of life that they have out in the wild and true experience for anyone who wants to give their heart to the project... I know my heart is there even when I am not!!!

 

Nikki Turley - U.K.

 

Having been to Riverside no fewer than 3 times, totalling around 6 months I can honestly say it's such a worthwhile project! Every day they fight against the stereotypical view that Vervet monkeys and Baboons are pests- often actively exterminated or in the case of babies- victims of the pet trade. This is not a project for profit- it's funded solely by volunteers and donations. Its rare to find a project that allows you to be so 'hands on' with the animals. During my trips I've done everything from hand rearing orphaned babies to observing and assisting in operations in the clinic. But it's not just the animals which make this place special. Bob, Lynne, Matthew and everyone else create a unique atmosphere- I've made friends for life during my time there. My second family, and my second home.

 

Genevieve Isherwood - U.K.

 

I spent six weeks at Riverside and it was undoubtedly the best trip I have ever taken. Seeing the hard work done by the staff and volunteers is inspiring and moving. Whilst out there I learnt a lot about animals and myself. I did things I never thought I would be able to do like giving injections, stitching and helping to raise a baby baboon.

 

Volunteering at Riverside gives you the chance to get lots of hands on experience with a variety of animals. The focus at Riverside is on rehabilitating the animals that are there so they can be released. Knowing that animals you have spent time with are now back in the wild living as they should be is extremely fulfilling. I would urge anyone who has the opportunity to visit Riverside and help them to carry on with their fantastic work.

 

Sabrina Pilz - Austria

 

I was there in June 2009 and it was a great experience. For anybody with time enough I would absolutely recommend to go there and see for yourself - it will be an experience of a lifetime you wouldn't wanna miss. I was there for 2 weeks, but I would recommend to go longer if you can....2 weeks are quite short - just when you start to know the monkeys and the daily routine you have to leave again. Everybody who doesn't have the time to go there themselves but still wants to help in form of donations I can tell the money is well spent and will directly go to help the monkeys.

 

Marcel Visser - Netherlands

 

In 2010 I went to Riverside. The people here treat you like family. They live for the animals and teach you all about them. Injured and sick animals will be cared for and be given medication. Animals are moved to other places if it is necessary. All the animals will be set free, if they can. But it all costs money so if you have money to donate, please donate it to Riverside. The money will go to a really good cause. And if you want to be a volunteer it's a place to go to. I love Riverside and will be back this year to help where I can.

 

Tom van den Oever - Netherlands

 

Being at Riverside feels like being alive. There is so much to do, so much to learn and so much to experience. It is really worth it to visit this incredible place. With over 540 monkeys and baboons to feed, look after and release into the wild this project is wonderful. The project started in 1992 and hasn't once received money from any corporation or the government. Being a self-funding organisation, and with the recent recession, it's been an almost impossible mission to keep it up and running. In 2002 the organisation started to work with volunteers who contributed financially and put a lot of hard work, care and love into it, making it possible for the organisation to cut down on paid staff and save money to invest in the animals. In 2010 however the amount of volunteers coming to Riverside dropped drastically, probably due to the recession as well. Because the South-African public still see the monkeys and baboons as problem animals and pests, they do not see the need to contribute, sponsor or donate anything. Being here at the time writing this I can see and feel the love for all these animals. If there is any project that needs help in any way or form it is the Riverside Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre and its monkeys and baboons.

 

Niels de Bont - Netherlands

 

I have been volunteering at this project off and on for many years now, and I know the people and the project well. I can assure you that at this project there is no heart for tourism, or money. We do it all for the well being of the animals here, and the ultimate goal is to see the animals go back into their natural habitat, far away from people who can harm them.

Marlies Albers - Netherlands

 

I spend 24 weeks at the centre, from Feb 2009 until July 2009. It was winter when I left home, but summer in Africa. The baby season had already started and there was lots of work to do.


I met Bob and Lynne during their stay in the Netherlands, they preformed a talk at my school. The passion with which they spoke about their project affected me and I decided to email them. They replied and we started discussing dates and research possibilities. They sent out information that I needed to know about SA and a “what to pack” list. They answered all my questions and informed about all possibilities. After that I got a plane ticket and arranged for Bob/Lynne to come and pick me up at the Phalaborwa airport.


Looking back at my stay, I have very good memories and I feel respected by Bob and Lynne and love the primates they care about. I loved every second of my stay and I cannot wait to go back. I am still in contact with Bob and Lynne and other volunteers at the centre. It is true what they say about creating a family feeling and once you are part of that, it will never leave your system. I feel like I left my second home and abandoned “my babies”. So if being an advocate can help them it is the least I can do.

Matan Zilberberg - Israel

 

Hi, my name is Matan and I live in Tel Aviv, Israel. I'm 23 years old and I'm a student of Veterinary Science at the Hebrew University. I went to Riverside in May, 2012 and I stayed there for two months and can't wait to visit again. During my time there I noticed people with great passion and devotion to the animals, like Bob and Lynne, and of course I have cuddled and enjoyed being groomed by the monkeys. I must say that many of them will always remain in my memory (until I go back!) I hope for more and more people to assist this wonderful home called Riverside by volunteering or donating, because all animal lovers know that it doesn't matter if it’s a dog, a cat or a monkey, there is no greater love then an animal love.

Kirsten Gassen - Germany

 

I have spent 18 weeks in total within the past two years at Riverside. Never before have I experienced so many different people from all over the world working together with such great dedication to wildlife. Riverside is a great place for both animals and humans as well. You learn about yourself a lot and get taught a great deal of stuff- from medicating monkeys to how to actually release animals back into the wild. It is a unique place and a project that needs to be supported as it is the only chance for a lot of animals to get another shot at a life in freedom, which got taken away from them by humans.

Hannah Wood - U.K.

 

Riverside is one of the most genuine and passionately dedicated projects I have ever come across. Everyone involved gives their absolute all to help these monkeys, baboons, and all other wildlife taken in at the centre. In an ideal world there would be no need for somewhere like Riverside, but thankfully there is, because now so many innocent animals have been given a chance to live in their natural habitat again, free and wild.


However, this requires a lot of money to be able to do this, as many of the animals need medical attention and everyone knows healthcare isn't cheap!! Riverside is run solely on donations and the help of volunteers. So please please do what you can to help the monkeys and baboons! It's because of humans they're taken to Riverside in the first place! Even if you don't have a strong passion for monkeys, just spend 2 weeks at Riverside and you'll leave with a whole new love for them!! It truly is such an incredible thing everyone in the project is doing, and so rewarding!

Allison Smitten - Canada

 

After a stressful 12 months in a job I didn’t enjoy I arrived at Riverside and realized how much happier I could be! Welcomed with open arms by Lynne, Bob and all the other volunteers I had the best 2 months of my life. The work that Riverside does is phenomenal. Words cannot express the feelings of one day feeding and taking care of a 2-day old monkey and then another day being at the release site seeing the monkeys leave for the first time...... AMAZING!! I volunteered in 2006 and 8 years later not a day goes by when I don’t think about the place, one day I will return.

Helen Young - U.K.

 

The first time I went to Riverside, I was simply excited at the prospect of spending a month in South Africa working with wildlife; it was intended to be a "once in a lifetime" experience.  Little did I know how it would change my life. As I write this, six and a half years since my first trip, I have been to Riverside 13 times and am planning my next return visit to the place I now call my second home - my many plans of travelling to other places have been put aside without regret, as Riverside and most notably, the animals being cared for there, have become one of the most important things in my life.

 

From the first day I arrived, I was captivated by the Vervet monkeys and the baboons, their entirely unique personalities, the relationships you can build with them and the opportunity to be a part of something truly special; the chance to contribute to a wild animal getting a second chance to live in the wild as it should. All of the animals at Riverside are there because they have suffered in some way, often orphaned, and as a volunteer you have the chance to help care for them as they move through Riverside's rehabilitation programme and are ultimately released back into the wild.

 

For me, one of the most special parts of Riverside is the hands on contact you get with the animals. I was unprepared for, and overwhelmed by, how close you become to the monkeys and baboons. They are primates like us and return the love and care we give them in a way I can't even begin to explain. I have been lucky enough to see monkeys and baboons that I helped care for as orphaned babies be released back into the wild as part of their own troop, and even with babies of their own. Although some of the work can be quite physical, for someone like me who has an office job, the ability to spend days outside doing something so different from my life at home is wonderful and made all the better by knowing whatever you are doing, whether it is cleaning a cage, weeding a vegetable patch or helping to build an enclosure, is directly helping the animals there.

 

I have also made lifelong friends with other volunteers at Riverside and feel very privileged to feel a part of the extended "Riverside family". Bob and Lynne, who run Riverside, have dedicated their lives to helping the animals there have a better life and have created a truly unique, special environment and I will always be thankful that I found it.

Serena Crossman - U.K.

 

Riverside has become my second family. I went for 3 weeks in January, 2013 and had such an incredible time that I went back 2 weeks later! Bob and Lynne have done an amazing job and as soon as I got there I felt at home. I’ve made so many good friends, from all over the world, because of the experiences we shared together at Riverside.  I fell in love with the animals at Riverside, it’s hard not to when they bring you so much happiness. Even having sleepless nights with the new babies was fun. When you see their little faces looking at you in the morning and all they want to do is cuddle you know that it’s all worth it. Riverside has taught me so much and I feel honoured to have had this opportunity.

Joni Catherine-Marian Clarke - U.K.

 

I first found out about Riverside through a booking agent and the thought of being able to see these amazing animals close up and really interact with them amazed me. I fell in love with Riverside instantly: the people, the animals and not to mention the beautiful setting. The bond you form with certain baboons or Ververts can never be replaced, and if you're lucky to return and see them grow and become part of a strong group, it's an overall amazing feeling and there's nothing else like it. I've been to Riverside twice now, and have plans to return again soon; it's almost like an addiction! I can't thank Bob and Lynne enough for their hospitality and teaching me all about these wonderful animals, and I get giddy every time someone mentions baboons. I bonded a lot with a baby called Tom Tom (pictured) in 2012, and when I returned in 2013, he remembered me - which was absolutely incredible. You don't realise how much of an effect you have on their lives, and it's so nice to know they're in a safe, loving environment - living the way animals should.

 

Clare McIntyre - U.K.

 

They say home is where the heart is. It's true, and Riverside is my second home. I have been there 4 times; each time I learned something new and exciting, whether it's helping extending the baboon enclosure, helping monitoring at a release site or waking up for those every-two-hour feeds for a baby Vervet. Bob, Lynne and Matthew and all the volunteer leaders do an amazing job in helping rehabilitate these incredible animals back to the wild. It has made me chose my direction in life and I am now studying animal management in college to go into conservation and rehabilitation, and if you're thinking about volunteering don't hesitate, it will change your life.

 

Sarah Smith - U.K.

 

I first went to Riverside as a volunteer for 2 weeks in November 2011; I fell in love with the place, the animals and Bob and Lynne. Once home all I could think about was Riverside, so I decided to save up and go out for a year in August 2012. This was the best year of my life and it taught me so much about the animals and myself. I discovered unconditional love, I found my heart and my passion and it will be something I will return to year after year. I met some amazing people during my time there whom I will continue to be in contact with and I found a new family. My heart will forever be in Africa, at Riverside with Bob, Lynne and the animals. This is the best project to be involved with, the teaching, the passion for the animals and to go away knowing that you have been a part of something amazing.

 

Danny S.W. Rasmussen - Denmark

 

I was asked to write a few words regarding my experience at Riverside. The truth is, words cannot describe it. I've taken hundreds of photos, but they can't either. The words you read and the pictures you see might give you an indication of the experience people have had. But one cannot even come close to relate to the feelings that go through your body and your mind when you're standing with what feels like "your very own" baby baboon (or Vervet) in your hands. The tiny eyes staring into yours, the arms hugging you tighter as if it was never going to let you go, the way it kisses you, talks to you, cries for you when it's not with you, etc. You bond in a way that's almost indescribable. I am a male, and often these baby baboons have a hard time getting close to us, because they see us as the Alpha (the one in charge, the dangerous one). It took the other baboons and Vervets a few weeks to get used to me. But Eric (my boy/the one in the photo) came to me after only a few days. He adopted me as his guardian. Besides being in an extremely beautiful nature reserve, surrounded by amazing people all day long, and getting spoiled by Bob & Lynne, he was the one who ultimately made my experience memorable for life. I am a world traveller. I've been around the world, from continent to continent, exploring and experiencing very new and very different things. I normally don't like going back to the same place more than once, since I have a plan to visit every country in the world. But Eric is making me want to go back. Even if he isn't there, I would still go back. Just to experience this connection again. Bob, Lynne, Eric, and everybody else who was there with me at the time, THANK YOU for making this happen!! I hope to see you there again soon!

 

Rachael Dalton - U.K.

 

It was on the strength of a recommendation that I went to Riverside for the first time in 2012. I knew nothing of the project, of primates, of South Africa and I arranged my trip based purely on trust; based purely on the few sentences of a stranger as they spoke passionately of their volunteer experience at Riverside. Those few words have changed my life dramatically. I discovered a deep affinity for the animals, a desire to learn more about their species and their survival, a passion for their rehabilitation and their protection and a deep love for South Africa, and for Bob & Lynne too.

 

Riverside is one of the most wonderful places I have ever been, if not THE most wonderful and if it was nearer, I'd be there ALL the time. It is a pleasure to work hard with fellow volunteers to ensure there is a sanctuary for the monkeys, baboons and other creatures that have been dealt a rough hand, usually by humans, and who end up at Riverside. It is at the point they cross the Riverside gates that their rehabilitation journey begins. From that very first moment.

 

Without question, the ultimate aim is undoubtedly to rehabilitate every unlucky soul that arrives at Riverside with a view to release; this is a very measured and timely process that you are an integral part of and it’s a privilege. You do get a great deal of hands-on interaction with the youngsters as they grow and learn; this is perhaps the most rewarding element of time spent at Riverside. The bond you form with a young one when they need you is an incredible feeling, but watching them grow and form bonds with each other is overwhelming. Watching them no longer need you and becoming resilient on their own, with their troop, makes you realise you are part of something special. Something bigger.

 

I have been fortunate enough to return on a number of occasions and know I will continue to do so for the rest of my life. Riverside is never far from my thoughts, no matter where I am. Bob and Lynne are truly inspirational people and staying at Riverside is like being welcomed into their home and being part of their family; I learned so much from them. I have made friends for life at Riverside, memories too and I shall be forever grateful to the person who wrote those words encouraging me to go.                                                                                                     

Bessie Coates - U.K.

Riverside was truely one of the most incredible experiences I've ever had. I loved every second of it! The people there are so friendly and welcoming. They make you feel at home even when your 1000's of miles away. Be prepared to work hard! It is tiring but so worth it because your doing it for the monkeys, and seeing them enjoy the food you've prepared for them and giving the clinic monkeys their special bowls and seeing them enjoy it is truly the most rewarding thing you can ever experience. Being so hands on with the monkeys as well is probably one of the best things about Riverside. You really can be a monkey mum or dad and it's the best thing when you wake up in the morning and you have giggling baboons so excited to see you! I also learned so much about the monkeys from my project leaders and the people there REALLY know their stuff and care so much about the animals. You're in safe hands! I can't fathom enough how much I enjoyed and love Riverside and I will 100% be going back!

Karen Blom - Belgium

In December 2013 I went to Riverside for a few weeks. I didn't know what to expect. Thanks to Lynne, Bob, Leigh Anne, Dylan and all the other people, but especially the animals it was an unforgettable experience. You are a surrogate mom for the small vervets and baboons. The bond you get. with them is so intense and indescribable. I can tell endlessly about all of it and show hunderds of pictures, but the feeling you should be experienced yourself. In October I have the honor to return to Riverside. I count down the days. I love it!

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