Zimbabwe has a few hidden gems, not just to tourists, but to locals as well. I have often highlighted some of these on blog posts I put out every once in a while. Twala Animal Sanctuary on the other hand, is hiding in plain sight. Nestled in between the huge trees, wild bushes, flowing streams and villages - just 39 kms from Harare CBD. Twala is one of those places that you embarrassed to not have had the chance to visit earlier than when you first go there. This was the case with me on Tuesday 10 October, 2017. Because of my work in volunteer tourism as well as education of children, I have known of its existence since it started four (4) years ago - and that is the root of the embarrassment as it took me quite a while to get there! But it is better late than never right???
Tracey Huggil, with whom I have worked with since 2015 on various projects, but mostly supporting her fundraising work with AWARE Trust; a veterinary conservation organisation. She is now putting her skills and time to great use at Twala, and so she took me there, and oi! am I grateful. We were met there by Collin, the sanctuary manager and the chap who knows everything about everything. He has such intimate knowledge of the animals, the birds, the food, the plants as well as the communities surrounding Twala. Most importantly, is his energy and passion for the animal welfare. It is more than a job for him, it is his life! His mobile is always on, and he answers no matter the time of day. He is so reliable and has built such a reputation that even the villagers now do not kill snakes for example, and they call him and his team who never turn any animal away - and they travel to rescue such animals. They then treat any ailments, rehabilitate the animal and prepare it for release back into the wild. True champions of humanity and deserving of all the praises!
Collin in action with the rescued python!
If the tour I was given by Collin did not convince me of the magnificence of Twala Animal Sanctuary, Brenda's cookies and coffee certainly did the trick hahah! Sarah Carter, the founder of Twala definitely knows the African hospitality and this is what I experienced during my time there. Many great things are to come between Tiritose and Twala in 2018, running joint wildlife volunteering programmes and conservation education for communities, which will enhance the knowledge of the people about animal welfare.