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Safety In Africa
What support will I receive in-country and on-project?
You will be met at the airport and given the mobile phone number (which is 24 hours) of your main contact, Martin Bornman. He will give you an introductory talk and emphasise that he is available in the event of a problem (however big or small!). You will then have a further level of support on each of the projects in the form of at least one and normally two supervisors. The supervisors on the projects are fully qualified game rangers, marine biologists or nature conservationists, and there are staff trained in first aid on each site.
Will I be met at the airport and how will I get to my project?
All of our volunteers are met at the airport by an ACE representative, normally Martin Bornman, our southern African Operations Manager, who will give you an introductory talk covering expectations, personal safety, HIV/AIDS, cultural differences and personal feelings you may experience such as homesickness. We will make sure you aren’t hungry and have enough water before setting off with you to your project. Generally volunteers arriving on a particular day will not all be going to the same place, so normally you travel in smaller groups to the projects. You are driven either by Martin himself, or by his assistant or the trusted drivers of a small transfer company we have used for many years. Should the necessity arise, we may at times use reputable public transport such as the Citibug. Either way, you will be accompanied for the whole journey, with regular stops for refreshments. Transfers provide the perfect opportunity to take in the local scenery!
How safe are the road transfers to the projects?
All drivers have Public Driving Permits which requires police checks to ensure that the driver has no driving violations and that all vehicles have public liability insurance and are road worthy. Only new, air conditioned vehicles are used for transfers.
What back-up can be expected if things go wrong?
- What are arrangements for medical insurance and medical evacuation procedures?
- Do these arrangements extend to time "off-project" or travel after the period of the conservation project?
There is full in-country back up if there is a problem. You can first turn to your project supervisor if you have a problem, and then you can contact our head coordinator if the problem can’t be sorted out at the project site. We stress to all volunteers that we are available for ANY problem, however trivial it may seem, and they can come to us for help with things like homesickness and lost passports as well as any other problem they may have. In medical emergencies and other serious incidents, the project supervisor will provide initial support and take immediate action. We also have our own Major Incident Protocol, encompassing our UK staff as well as our in- country staff. We have good relationships with the local private hospitals, doctors and the air ambulance in case of the need for airlifting from a reserve. We ask that all volunteers have adequate medical travel insurance and will not allow anyone to participate unless they have this. These arrangements extend throughout the period that the volunteer is with us (including days-off, down-time). Once a volunteer has left the project at the end of their stay (if for instance they are travelling on independently after), we are obviously unable to provide the same level and quality of support. Volunteers travelling after the end of their placement must be responsible for themselves. However, we provide support if we can and would certainly provide any assistance we could to a past volunteer if they contacted us after their placement. We can also help them with advice on safe onward travel and backpacker accommodation as well as booking tickets and internal flights.
What about Travel Insurance?
Travel insurance is essential to travel on a placement with us. We will not allow a volunteer to travel unless we have their insurance policy details. We can assist in organising your insurance for your placement on our projects and can organise the policy for you. The policy has been created specifically for the work involved in our projects and we will discuss this with you at the time of booking.
Are you ATOL bonded and do you adhere to any other kind of industry regulation or guidelines?
African Conservation Experience have full public liability insurance and are ATOL bonded.
Your Financial Protection
All the flights and flight-inclusive placements on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it. Please see our booking conditions for further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate.
We are full members of the Year Out Group, an association of leading UK organisations promoting the concept and benefits of a well structured gap year, and adhering to specified codes of practice. We also have our own Volunteer’s Code of Conduct covering things like participation, behaviour and alcohol consumption that we expect all our volunteers to adhere to.
This is a new publication from the British Standards Institution (BSI) that pulls together expertise and good practice into a new national standard for the safe management of overseas ventures. BS8848 provides a specification for organising and managing visits, fieldwork, expeditions, and adventurous activities outside the United Kingdom. African Conservation Experience is among the first group of organisations working towards compliance to this new standard currently.
Health and Safety Policy
ACE carries out risk assessments on all its projects, which are updated regularly.
- We conduct an initial health and safety talk on arrival which covers crime, HIV/AIDS, personal hygiene and safety. All students are fully supported by highly qualified staff at all times.
- ACE keep group sizes small to ensure a high degree of personal attention is given to each volunteer, and also to ensure safety when in the bush.
- On arrival at the projects, volunteers are made aware of safety issues relating to big game areas and to the risks of snakebite.
- All project supervisors are qualified in the respective fields and assessed on a regular basis.
- Accommodation and food provided to volunteers is regularly assessed for the welfare of volunteers.
What inoculations will I need and will I need malaria tablets?
The staff at ACE are not eligible to give healthcare advice as we are not qualified to do so. You should ideally seek advice from a healthcare professional eight weeks before you travel. When you phone to make the appointment, explain that it is for travel inoculations as there may be a particular doctor or nurse that you will need to see. You can also get advice from MASTA (the Medical Advisory Service for Travelers Abroad). Malaria protection is required for some, but not all, of our projects. When you book a placement with us, we will let you know which region of southern Africa you will be working in, and you will need to pass this onto your doctor or nurse so they can advise you about malarial prophylactics. There are many different types of malaria tablet and your surgery will be able to advise you as to which one will be best for you.
Please note we consider the following projects to be located in malaria risk areas:
- Phinda Wildlife Research Project
- Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre
- Khulula Wild Care
- Game Ranger Course
- Tuli Conservation Project
- Wildlife Tracking Course
- Game Capture Team
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