Wildlife internships in Africa

Take your career to the next level with African wildlife conservation internships

There’s nothing like learning on the job. However much study a career requires, having first-hand, practical experience to back up your knowledge can give you the confidence to go further in your career.

Protecting large ecosystems is a fundamental part of maintaining critical habitats where plants and animals can survive. A conservation internship in southern Africa is a chance to be directly involved with this process. A chance to work alongside conservationists with vast knowledge and a passionate drive to safeguard the biodiversity of this impressive landscape.

Choosing to expand your skills and experience with wildlife conservation research internships will set you apart from the crowd. There’s a lot of reasons why southern Africa is a great place to take that step.

People embark on conservation internships for a number of different reasons. Perhaps you want to:

  • Gain first-hand understanding of ecosystems and the threats they face
  • Work alongside specialists with years of practical experience and wisdom
  • Gather data for an undergraduate dissertation or thesis 
  • Gain academic credit
  • Translate theory into practical experience

Conservation internships for everyone

Wildlife internships in Africa are the perfect way to gain practical experience and understanding of conservation or wildlife research. 

The threat to ecosystems in southern Africa should not be underestimated. The delicate ecological balance is determined by countless factors, all of which need to be monitored and recorded. As a wildlife research intern, you can learn about everyday African conservation issues in context and be part of mapping the future of conservation work in the project of your choice.

It may be that you have a specific career path in mind. Or perhaps you know you want to protect the animals and ecosystems of our planet, but don’t yet know where this journey will take you. Whatever your plan, the skills and knowledge you acquire through a research internship will set you up to make a meaningful difference in the work you choose to pursue.

What’s unique about an internship in southern Africa?

Have you ever bottle-fed an orphaned rhino or tracked a cheetah across the African bush? Would you love to put your learning into practice, using GPS to map herd movement patterns of African elephants? How about studying historical data to understand pack hierarchies of African wild dogs? Wildlife internships in Africa offer unique experiences, created to enrich not just your study but your whole life.

Africa’s constantly evolving conservation issues makes it a classroom like no other. As a wildlife intern, you’ll work alongside conservationists exploring the delicate equilibrium between people, animals and the landscape in which they live. 

Sharing experiences with like-minded people is an integral part of a work placement. We’ve seen lifelong friendships kindled over campfires after an exhilarating day. Working in the field with wild animals can be thrilling and sometimes challenging, so having the chance to decompress, listen and learn from each other is a valuable part of an internship.

Understanding local issues and working with communities to help preserve the rich, diverse ecosystems of southern Africa, is at the forefront of the work that we support.

Why choose African Conservation Experience?

We are recognised by many international universities, who award academic credit for conservation internships organised through us. We have substantial liability insurance and are used to working with universities to meet particular requirements, such as health and safety.

At African Conservation Experience the success of our work depends on matching individual needs with the right people and projects. With that in mind, we work carefully and collaboratively with students, schools, universities and partners to design wildlife internships which are fulfilling on every level.

Working in these environments requires determination and stamina. African wildlife conservation is a complex issue and it’s essential that anyone undertaking a work placement in Africa is well supported by real experts and backed up by a professional organisation. 

As southern Africa’s original conservation travel company, we’ve spent over 20 years building relationships with partners we trust. Our experience and skill is reflected in the service we offer. If you have an issue, one of our team will sort it for you right away. Unlike some companies, we are not just a voice on the end of a phone, we have a fantastic team working in the UK, Europe and on the ground in Africa, ready to help you navigate any unexpected twists or turns in the road.

The fact that students who take on a wildlife internship will get their hands dirty in the real world of work is regarded as invaluable – in some cases essential – experience by universities and future employees. 

We also believe you will return from any internship organised through us with an abundance of unforgettable memories and a backpack full of confidence to take forward into your next adventure.

Applying for an internship

If you’re thinking about planning an internship, then get in touch! We want you to have an unforgettable time whilst building your CV, which is why we work hard, planning every detail of your trip so you can rest assured that you get the most out of your internship.

Most travellers like to combine multiple projects to create a tailor-made trip. The combined price of projects is cheaper than the individual projects added up online. We would love to discuss your options during your consultation.

Get in touch

Our conservation projects offer a great range of wildlife internships

Each of our partner projects is run by teams with years of experience who are brilliant at what they do. Sharing their expertise with our interns and volunteers is a way of helping educate future conservation leaders and preserve the legacy of their own work.

Phinda Wildlife Research Project

With seven distinct ecosystems at Phinda Game Reserve, there is unrivalled biodiversity for budding researchers to explore. A work placement here is an opportunity to be part of an established conservation project managing thriving populations of elephant, rhino, lion cheetah and other species.

  • Species – elephant, rhino, lion, leopard, cheetah
  • Impact – wildlife research and management, reserve management

Area – Phinda reserve in South Africa

Okavango Wilderness Project

The Okavango Delta in Botswana is one of the world’s largest inland deltas. While most river deltas usually lead to an ocean, the Okavango River empties onto open land, flooding the savanna and creating a unique and ever-changing inland delta. As a wildlife research intern, working alongside expert conservationists, you will monitor priority species in this incredible landscape.

  • Species – lion, leopard, hyena, wild dog, a huge variety of antelope, buffalo, giraffe, wild dog
  • Impact – wildlife research

Area – the vast wilderness of the Okavango Delta in Botswana

Learn more about the conservation research internships we offer

Veterinary internships

If you enjoy the thrill of saving and enriching animal lives, how about saving the lives of some of the most endangered species in the world? Not everyone will have rubbed shoulders (quite literally) with lions, buffalo and cheetahs on their journey to becoming a vet. 

A veterinary placement in Africa offers you the chance to work alongside some of the country’s most experienced vets, learning a range of practical skills to suit your level of experience. 

  •       Wildlife health and conservation issues
  •       International veterinary medicine
  •       International laboratory methods
  •       Community based veterinary care

Translating learning into practice: EMS and AHEMS

Our practical veterinary placements meet the requirements for Extra Mural Studies (EMS) and Animal Husbandry Extra Mural Studies (AHEMS). You will be well supported to start using some of the skills you’ve studied to meet some of the clinical EMS or AHEMS requirements of your course. Among other things, you will have the chance to assist with: 

  •       Collecting samples from animals
  •       Animal post-mortems
  •       Animal inspections
  •       Field work with African wildlife species

Learn more about the veterinary experiences we offer


Travellers' stories


My trip was quite unique as I was already in South Africa but having ACE do my planning and itinerary to make sure everything went smoothly was the best!

Pieter'S STORY

When I found ACE they were extremely supportive. They gave me a lot of information on the projects so I could choose a project that fit my own interests.

William'S STORY

Taking one of the biggest risks in my life, became one of the best decisions I have ever made. Traveling to Phinda game reserve and the Okavango Delta through African Conservation Experience and meeting some of the most humble down to earth people was a truly fantastic experience.

Rachele'S STORY

Every day was somehow better than the day before. And it’s not just being with the rhinos but also the relationships you make with the team.

Michelle'S STORY

ACE guided me every step of the way. It’s not common for an organisation that arranges international experiences to be so involved with the person.

Natasha'S STORY

Every step of the way ACE was there for me, from the first phone call to arriving back in the UK after I finished my experience.


I spent 2.5 months across 4 different projects, each of which were so incredible and different from one another. It is insurmountable how much I had learnt about the culture, language, politics, myself and of course, wildlife.

Rebecca'S STORY

This experience has made me realise I really want to get more into conservation work... I didn’t fully understand and realise there were so many more opportunities out there.

Benedict'S STORY

My days with the vet were always full and exciting, with a new unexpected challenge each day; this could be a day trip to de-horn rhinos, capturing giraffe or staying back at the clinic looking after some cheetah cubs.

Connor'S STORY

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.

Daniel'S STORY

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.

Jean-Christophe'S STORY

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.


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.

Rebecca'S STORY

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.

Victoria'S STORY

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!

Kenzie'S STORY

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.

Miguel'S STORY

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!

Pierce'S STORY

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.

Lillie'S STORY

If you want to see extraordinary things, Care for Wild has them. Everyone has a story to tell and there are a lot of stories. You will be impacted by what you see and hear. When you arrive, they tell you that you have to be able and willing. This will be helpful while you are working there. As long as you are willing, you will do just fine.


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