Flights & Visas


Coming from the UK?

You can book your placement with or without flights. If you are based in the UK, we can include return flights from London Heathrow to Johannesburg with your placement. That way you are guaranteed to arrive in time for the transfers in South Africa, and if there are any other volunteers on the same flight we will send you each other’s contact details beforehand (with your permission) so that you can already hook up at Heathrow. If you are based outside of the UK, but would like to take our flight from London Heathrow to Johannesburg we can arrange this for you. 

You do not need to take these flights though. Maybe you have other travel plans or want to use a Round-the-World-Ticket or air miles? That’s fine as well - you can always arrange your own flights.

Coming from somewhere else?

We have volunteers from all over the world join our projects. African Conservation Experience are not a travel agent though, so unfortunately we can only arrange flights departing from London at present. We are currently working on setting up flights from other destinations as well, so watch this space. In the meantime, if you start your journey from anywhere other than the UK, you have two options:

  • Join in London: You can opt to take our flights from London Heathrow as part of your placement and organise the connecting flights from your point of departure to London yourself. This tends to work well for European volunteers, as the flights depart for South Africa in the evening, giving you all day to make your way on a low cost flight from your country of origin to London. A useful website for finding regional flights is It is also worth checking out this option if you are coming from the US or Canada, as you can sometimes pick up good deals on flights to London, making this the cheaper option overall.
  • Arrange your own flights: You can arrange your own flights directly to the starting point of your project. Most of our projects start at Johannesburg Airport (ORTI - O. R. Tambo International Airport). You need to look for flights that tie in with the group meeting and transfer time, as our South African operations manager meets all volunteers in the arrivals hall at the airport on Tuesday morning. From there, the transfer to your project is taken care of and included in your placement. Please liaise with us about suitable flight times if you are arranging your own flights. The only current exception to these arrangements is the Mauritius Dolphin Conservation Project. If this is the only project you are taking part in, you need to fly to Mauritius instead of Johannesburg and you will be met by a local transfer on arrival there.


As you will not be paid while volunteering at a project, but will finance your stay yourself, a visitor permit is sufficient. To the best of our knowledge, holders of UK passports from most EU countries, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand can obtain a 90 day visitor permit for free on arrival at the airport. It is your responsibility to check whether you need a visa before departure, so please check with the nearest South African embassy or the South African Department of Home Affairs. They have information about visa on their website on

Please note you will not be able to apply for an extension to your permit while in country. Permit holders must depart South Africa and apply for an extension appointment should they wish to.

New Visa Requirements for Republic of South Africa

From the 1st June 2015 the rules regarding the travel of children traveling in and out of the Republic of South Africa have changed. This is in collaboration with many other countries’ initiatives, working towards the eradication of child trafficking.

As a consequence, any traveller under the age of 18 years will have to provide the following documentation when checking in to their flights both in and out of South Africa:

  • Unabridged* Certified Copy of Birth Certificate
  • Certified Affidavit from each parent named on the birth certificate (full address and contact details) - giving permission for student to travel to South Africa, including full details of where the student will be staying, and the address of the receiving person and dates of travel.
  • Letter of authority & certified ID of the person receiving the student which will be provided by ACE.
  • Copy of flight itinerary including return flight to the country of origin - if flights booked with ACE, this will be provided.

An Affidavit can be drawn up and certified by a Commissioner of Oaths. A Commissioner for Oaths can include:

  • Public Notary
  • Solicitor
  • Barrister
  • Legal Executive
  • Licensed Conveyancer

Any documentation needs to be within 3 months of the date of departure, anything dated earlier will not be acceptable and you will not be able to travel. ACE will require our volunteers 18 years and younger to send us photocopies/scan of their affidavits within 8 weeks before travel for our records.

Whilst we aim to support our volunteers with their documentation it is your responsibility to ensure you have met the requirements of your visa for entry into South Africa.

For further information please see

*An unabridged birth certificate is a birth certificate which names and personal information of the child's biological parents.