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Ask An Alumni: A Thailand Trip through the Eyes of a Discover Corps Traveler

Posted by on March 2, 2018 · 1 Comment  

“This trip and this experience ignited a passion in me to save them. I’d like to do more. The volunteering is helping out, but I want to be an elephant activist. It definitely sparked something in me to help them and save them.” – Linda S.

For Linda, the 8-day Thailand: Elephants & Islands trip ignited a passion for elephants that she plans to act on for the rest of her life. Linda has always been a believer in traveling with purpose and volunteering, specifically called to work with wildlife, and after a life-changing experience working with elephants the effects of the trip will be long lasting. Specifically, the relationship she formed with one of the elephants at the sanctuary, Nicole.

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Interview from the Ground in South Africa: Discover Corps Guide William [Video]

Posted by on February 26, 2018 · 1 Comment  

There is no better way to connect with country than through its people, and in South Africa, the locals will tell you that conservation is a part of their culture.

On our South Africa: Wildlife Volunteer Adventure trip, you volunteer at two reserves in the area that are spearheading conservation work for the rest of the world. First, Somkhanda Game Reserve was created by the local Gumbi Tribe who was dedicated the land to conservation. Due to challenging terrain and a small team, monitoring the reserve’s array of wildlife is a massive undertaking. While volunteering, travelers join these dedicated conservationists to protect critical populations of black and white rhino through radio tracking and set camera traps to record information on leopards. Second is Nambiti Game Reserve, the only reserve in the area with the Big 5 – lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino – and boasts 22,000 acres of African bush hosting over 40 species of wildlife. Travelers venture out each day to record key data on elephants, buffalo and wild dogs that helps the reserve keep track of their vulnerable wildlife population.

So what is the trip really like? Watch the video below and get to know native South African William, one of Discover Corps’ guides on the Wildlife Volunteer Adventure vacation.

Questions for William or for Discover Corps? Email us anytime at or call us at 619-758-3030 for more information. We can’t wait to travel with you!



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The Little 5: The Fascinating Animals Not to Forget in Africa

Posted by on February 21, 2018 · 1 Comment  

If you’re interested in experiencing a safari in Africa, chances are you’ve heard the term Big 5. Despite the term originating as a game hunting term, these animals – lions, elephants, Cape buffalo, rhinoceroses, and leopards – are considered some of the most incredible to see while experiencing a safari in Africa, as well as a favorite of conservationists who look to protect each species. However, the Big 5 and other “big” animals such as giraffes or wild dogs are not the only animals to keep and eye out for as you experience Africa.

According to Trip Savvy, Africa’s Little 5 was a term introduced by conservationists who wanted to draw attention to the smaller creatures of the bush who can be just as fascinating as the rest. Interestingly enough, the Little 5 actually correspond to the Big 5 (pay attention to the names!). Take a look at what makes these animals unique below:

Elephant Shrew

The aptly named elephant shrew is a favorite of adventurers searching for the Little 5. With a truck resembling an elephant’s, this small mammal is no bigger than a large mouse. You’ll be able to spot them hopping along the bush (or sometimes in the city!) in South Africa and Botswana. Keep your eyes peeled, though, because not only do they blend in with the sandy color of the ground, but they are one of the fastest small mammals on the planet with speeds of over 20 mph and are known to be tough to spot. If you see one, you’ll have good luck for the year!

Fun Fact: Elephant shrews live in monogamous pairs. However, the partners don’t necessarily care for one another and are only paired up (for life) for reproduction.

Leopard Tortoise

This tortoises has gold and black markings on their back resembling that of a leopard. Found throughout sub-Saharan Africa, but you’re most likely to spot one just on the side of the road. Living as long as 100 years, these tortoises can grow up to 39 inches in length, making them the fourth-largest of the world’s tortoises and the largest found in all of Africa.

Fun Fact: Seeds pass undigested through the gut of a leopard tortoise, so they play a significant role in seed dispersal in Africa.

Buffalo Weaver Bird

The Buffalo weaver bird is the easiest to spot of the Little 5. There are three species of the bird – the white-headed, the white-billed, and the red-billed – and all three species are found in East African countries including Kenya and Tanzania, and if you’re in South Africa you can keep your eyes open for the red-billed buffalo weaver. For this member of the Little 5, it’s more important to keep your ears open if you want to spot one – they’re vocal!

Fun Fact: Males tend to be polygamous and control anywhere from 1 to 8 nests with 3 females.

Ant Lion

Unlike the rest of the Little 5, the ant lion can be found all over the world. These winged-insects resemble dragonflies but have hairy bodies that helped give them their name. They have a famously savage temperament, just like their lion counterpart. According to Your African Safari, the ant lion digs a funnel-shaped crater so that “when potential prey approaches, the ant lion can pretend to be an ant falling down the funnel, stimulating the prey to lurch after the fallen ant, only to discover it has been trapped, and so the ant lion catches prey in its trap. They can survive for months at a time without food and live for several years.

Because of their small size, this may be one to talk with your safari guide about and something you get help with spotting in the bush, but they are nocturnal, so recommend a night bush walk.

Fun Fact: The predatory actions of the ant lion have attracted attention throughout history and have even been mentioned in literature since classical times.

Rhinoceros Beetle

Named for their body armor, hooked horn on the head of males, and impressive strength, rhino beetles are similar to ant lions in that they are nocturnal and can be found around the world. Those in Africa typically reside in South Africa, and they can live up to 2-3 years – impressive for any beetle. The size of the horn on a rhino beetle is a good indicator of nutrition and physical health.

Fun Fact: Rhinoceros beetles have become popular pets in parts of Asia due to being relatively clean, easy to maintain, and safe to handle.

Have you seen any of the Little 5 while on safari? If not, consider a Discover Corps trip to Kenya, Tanzania, or South Africa and talk with our expert conservationist guides about how to round out your list of all 10!



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Interview from the Ground in Costa Rica: Discover Corps Guide Karla [Video]

Posted by on February 9, 2018 · 1 Comment  

There is no better way to connect with country than through its people, and in Costa Rica, the locals will tell you that wildlife is a part of their culture. As one of the most biodiverse countries in Central America, Costa Rica is home to  jaguars, toucans, sloths, gibbons and howler monkeys, and so much more. Our newest Costa Rica: Wildlife Safari nature & wildlife adventure aims to offer travelers experiences with wildlife that will leave them inspired as they experience the symphony of the forest. It is our guide that brings the experience to live.

Watch the video below and get to know Karla, Discover Corps’ guide on the Wildlife Safari vacation. As a local Costa Rican, Karla is one of the most knowledgable naturalists around, and Discover Corps is incredibly lucky to have her. Learn more about the trip from the ground in Costa Rica from Karla below!

Questions for Karla or for Discover Corps? Email us anytime at or call us at 619-758-3030 for more information. We can’t wait to travel with you!




Why Eco-Lodges Are the Way to Go When Traveling (Plus: Photos!)

Posted by on February 2, 2018 · Leave a Comment  

It’s hard to plan your travel these days without hearing the term “ecotourism” – fortunately, a trend in the right direction. Choosing green hotels or eco-lodges as your travel destinations have risen in popularity in recent years, so exactly constitutes as an eco-lodge, and is there any difference between an eco-lodge and a green hotel?

In short, both terms are often taken for granted and used interchangeably. While both of these institutions rely on using materials made from naturally renewable sources and are greener, or taking initiatives to preserve the nature of our planet, in practice there are some important things that differentiate an eco-lodge from the green hotel:

  • Green Hotels. No matter how green they tend to be, hotels are demanding large infrastructure and a great amount of cash to build and maintain. It is not out of the question that a large conglomerate or multinational company is behind the entire concept of the hotel. This is not a bad thing, and in fact it’s great to see larger businesses focusing on the planet, it just means you will likely have a more traditional experience. Oftentimes green hotels are positioned inside the large urban areas and cities, which is the main differentiator between green hotels and eco-lodges.
  • Eco-Lodges. One can say that eco-lodges are a little bit less mainstream and a little bit greener than green hotels. They are often made of natural materials from the country you’re visiting, which often means you’ll see the architecture of the country and feel immersed in nature and the wildlife that surrounds you. Almost always situated in a remote area set amongst impressive terrains, eco-lodges take into consideration all that their presence touches and what it means for those native to the land.

So where do you find the coolest eco-lodges today? Below are just a few of our favorites:

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