Whether you’re an animal lover, a conservation warrior, or someone who wants to explore the real Africa, we have the perfect experience for you.
Immerse yourself in a real wildlife conservation project, working alongside professional conservationists to save Africa’s animals and their natural habitats
Create a meaningful travel experience, where you’ll learn from conservation professionals and have a positive impact on Africa’s wildlife
The ACE team and the Phinda locals have provided me with memories that will last a lifetime and an endless amount of stories that I will forever treasure.
I would highly recommend the Shimongwe Wildlife Veterinary Experience to anyone with a veterinary background, whether that be a vet/vet student or veterinary nurse/nurse student, who has an interest in wildlife and conservation and wants to test themselves and take their veterinary skills and knowledge to the next level.
I had a very enjoyable three weeks in Botswana on an African Conservation Experience volunteer holiday. We were based in a campsite about 2 hours bumpy ride from Maun on the southeast edge of the Okavango Delta area. The facilities were much better than I was expecting - I had my own tent and there was a metal bed frame so I wasn't sleeping on the ground, there was a plumbed-in toilet, sink and bucket shower.
As someone who is well-travelled and particularly well-versed in adventure/adrenaline-fuelled activities I found the whole experience truly rewarding, especially as it gave me a chance to give something useful back. My daughter, Sarah, had spent an equally rewarding 3 weeks at Phinda 9 years ago and it was on her recommendation that I ‘followed in her footsteps’ - I’m extremely glad that I did!
This project showed me how to use telemetry equipment to monitor the collared animals, setting up camera traps, dehorning and notching rhinos, recording GPS coordinates electronically and taking photos for I.D kits. This project is perfect if you wish to go into a research and monitoring career.
Would I say that the experience changed my life? Absolutely. You learn life skills and gain confidence you never thought you could in these experiences, and that is something I, personally, cannot thank the ACE team and the team I worked with in Phinda enough for.
I feel very privileged that I had the opportunity to be part of such a great project and contribute to wildlife conservation in Namibia.
It’s actually nature – everywhere. In Botswana, everything is so wild and pure, and you never know when the animals will appear from the thick bush.
For me, it was the ‘team effort’ that really cemented the experience and made it so much more than a just a safari. I felt, I was contributing in some small way, to the work that is being done at Phinda; I had a sense of ‘belonging’, even if it was for only 3 weeks.
I have travelled with ACE 4 times now and each time it just gets better and better. The hands-on experience on the Shimongwe veterinary project is unparalleled and I am already planning my next trip.
I will never EVER forget the rhinos. The sounds they make, the look in their eyes, the way their skin feels, the way the babies sleep next to each other, the way they walk over to you for their milk. I’ll never forget the people I met there either.
To truly get a feel for just how special a place Phinda is you must go and experience it for yourself - you won't regret it.
Phinda was my 3rd time with ACE and I am 77 years old !!!! If you really want to be a volunteer with wild animals in Southern Africa, please contact ACE.
I have several great memories. Too many to single out any particular one; from seeing Wild Dogs in Nthaba, feeding the baby rhinos at Care for Wild, to the day in Kruger National Park. Fantastic!
The Okavango Wilderness Experience in Botswana (Moremi Game reserve) is truly amazing! A real feeling of being out in the bush and at the same helping out for a great cause. The outcomes from this volunteering are retained for ever!
My experiences at Chipangali and Phinda were absolutely insane. It was definitely one of the best experiences of my life. The people there topped off the experience and I have so many good memories, I'd recommend it to anyone and everyone - just thinking about my trip makes me want to go back!
The vet I was working with was an incredible teacher and always explained what he was doing and why. He always encouraged us to get involved and even let me take a ride in the helicopter!
Life changing, inspirational and heart-warming are just 3 words to describe Care for Wild, but in all honesty, words cannot describe this experience, it’s phenomenal! Waking up to the sound of the resident lions and hippos helps with the early morning starts and the views from site are sensational.
As older travelers who have been to many countries around the world, we wanted to give something back while having a great experience. The intangibles, like seeing so many stars at night, and socializing with local people, made this part of our trip truly memorable.
The people and animals I met while I was there will always have a special place in my heart and I’ve done things I never thought I would like; help raise a baby squirrel, hold a baboon spider to get over my arachnophobia and see a white rhino in the wild.
At Phinda our lives were enriched by the knowledge of our team leader in the many facets of wildlife management, whilst working with the wildlife veterinarians at Shimongwe was AWESOME. We were able to be a part of a team capturing wild animals for medical treatment, ID chip placement, and relocation.
What an experience that was! Bottle-feeding baby rhinos was simply amazing. Looking into their eyes, I saw their beautiful souls each and every time I fed them. “And I get to do this every day for two weeks”, I thought to myself.
Catherine and I had the most fantastic trip to Phinda. The whole experience was more than we could ever have imagined.
Nearly every morning we would get up at around 5:30am, gulp down a quick cup of coffee, and be out of the door by 6. We would drive through the morning mist, watch it diffuse into shimmering light as the sun rose, in search of an elephant herd, a lion pride or to check on the animals in the boma enclosures.
Work hard and you maybe given more responsibility with special cases – teaching vultures to fly to the glove, looking after the baby bush pig and assisting with the cheetahs were some of the extra cases I had. I have so many amazing memories from being at Moholoholo.
Huge thanks to the vet team in Hoedspruit for welcoming me and teaching me so much valuable information that will transcend into the rest of my veterinary career. Also, thank you to African Conservation Experience for setting up this wonderful experience! Counting down the days when I can return!
Being able to work so closely with rhinos was incredible at Care For Wild Africa, whilst Phinda was one of the best experiences of my life.
I decided to get involved with a conservation organisation. ACE has given me the opportunity to be part of dedicated teams helping preserve wildlife and the habitat. It has been a wonderful experience and I will continue to volunteer my time to conservation programs.
My experience at Phinda, in three words, was wonderful, unique, and enriching. The team from the researchers, ecologists, logistic, back-office, and our dear volunteers were all great people and supportive, and helped make my journey wonderful.
Some days we would be transporting buffalo to various camps, and so the vet would go up in the helicopter and dart the buffalo from the air. We would then chase down the buffalo by truck and transport them out of that camp and into another. This was truly exhilarating.
You won’t quickly forget a bushbaby landing on your shoulder on your way back from dinner, a fearsome honey badger lying on its back without a care in the world or falling asleep at night to the sound of lions roaring and hyenas laughing outside your window.
We decided to do the veterinary experience trip and to stay for 2 weeks. Let me tell you, 2 weeks flew by! We worked with a variety of animals, and we also got to meet and work with amazing people there. Africa is an amazing place to go and I can not wait to go back!
I could talk for hours and hours about the many adventures I was lucky enough to undertake during my placements with ACE, I still haven’t finished telling my friends and family everything! The amazing sense of accomplishment and pride I feel whenever I look back at what I’ve learnt and been privileged to be a part of is unfathomable.
I spent two weeks at Mangetti and two at Phinda and it was such an amazing experience! Both taught me so much, including how to use telemetry gear to track animals such as lions and elephants.
On my first day at Moholoholo I was involved in a rhino walk, which is as incredible as it sounds. We chaperoned a young rhino on a walk through the bush, providing him with exercise, mental stimulation and a bit of fun. This is just one of many unbelievable things that I was able to take part in.
The work the vets do to spread the message about conservation and the multiple chances they gave me to interact with wildlife, is beyond incredible and just being able to watch them, let alone get involved, is an absolute privilege.
Chipangali is an amazing family run organisation, run by Kevin & Nicky and their children and I am now best friends with the family. The centre has a great family feel and you quickly bond with all of the other volunteers and I still keep in touch with many of the other volunteers.
I am a qualified veterinary nurse who decided to go to Africa to volunteer because I wanted to make a difference. I worked at Care for Wild for 2 months and Chipangali for 1 month. Whilst you are there it is important to remember to take a moment and appreciate where you are and how lucky you are to be there.
For a full month at Okavango, I had the opportunity to assist in vital research, documenting species presence on the Kwatale conservancy. We had some truly special sightings while there.
Sunset on the Okavango while watching the maribou storks and cormorants settle at the heronry for the night was awesome. We watched the sun’s rays slanting across the water colouring everything with its red glow and then fading as the sun dipped below the grasses and out of sight leaving us in gathering gloom and heading back to our island abode for dinner.
My time at Care for Wild Africa Rhino Sanctuary can best be described as life changing! It is a magical place.
I highly recommend the Shimongwe Wildlife Veterinary Experience to anyone considering applying. You will not only gain useful veterinary knowledge and skills, you will also create amazing and unique memories in an astonishingly beautiful country.
Stories, tips, recommendations - they're the glue that binds the traveller community together. So if you're planning a trip, why not hear what previous travellers have to say about their experience? And if you're just returning from Africa, we'd love it if you shared a few words for travellers who might follow in your footsteps.
At African Conservation Experience, we give people with a passion for wildlife the chance to volunteer with animals in Africa. We are driven by the desire to support and enable worthwhile wildlife conservation work and create worldwide ambassadors for conservation. To accomplish this mission, we provide each traveller with a vital role to play in the story of wildlife conservation.
As a wildlife lover, chances are you’re already aware of major conservation issues such as climate change, animal poaching and habitat loss, which threaten the survival of thousands of animals across Africa. Through wildlife volunteering and responsible travel, you can do something meaningful to stop this widespread damage and improve the lives and wellbeing of many important species.
When you compare sustainable tourism with other types of travel, it’s easy to see why wildlife volunteering and conservation travel are growing in popularity. For centuries, people from around the world have visited Africa to see the wildlife. But being a major international attraction hasn’t always been advantageous for the animals themselves. From hunting to exploitation, Africa’s wildlife have often suffered as a direct consequence of people’s fascination with them.
As a conservation volunteer in Africa, you can help to reverse this trend and combine unforgettable wildlife encounters with a truly positive impact on the animals. By engaging with Africa’s wildife through sustainable travel, you’ll provide invaluable financial and physical support to the conservation projects we work with. And by joining together with other like-minded animal lovers and conservation volunteers, you’ll continue writing a bright new chapter in the story of Africa’s wildlife.
We cater for travellers of all ages, from all walks of life and every corner of the globe. Many of the conservationists and responsible travellers we work with have held a lifelong ambition to volunteer with animals in Africa. Others see conservation volunteering and ethical wildlife travel as a natural next step towards a career in biological sciences, animal management and other similar fields of work.
People at the start of their careers, whether they’re students, taking a gap year, or embarking on an educational field trip, often choose wildlife volunteering for an immersive and meaningful way of working with Africa’s animals. Likewise, people taking work sabbaticals and career breaks, many of whom are over 50, regularly choose ethical wildlife travel and conservation volunteering as a way to fulfil their lifelong dream of working with Africa’s wildlife and making a difference.
We understand that a great many people would love to work with Africa’s wildlife in a positive way but are limited by time, work and other commitments. So we are proud to now offer ethical wildlife travel and volunteering opportunities that last just two weeks or less. This is a major step forward for wildlife conservation and sustainable travel in southern Africa, opening the door to more people than ever who want to help protect Africa’s animals.