Apply
Now

Lion Conservation Experience

Come face to face with Africa’s alpha predator.

Exclusive to African Conservation Experience, this experience places you at the forefront of the fight against canned lion hunting, cub cuddling and the farming of lions for the bone trade.

A collaboration between us and the Global White Lion Protection Trust (GWLPT), this groundbreaking experience was founded by acclaimed conservation author Linda Tucker and is lead by lion ecologist Jason Turner. Together, the GWLPT not only fight to stop inhumane treatment of lions but have also gone a step further, creating viable habitats to release newly formed prides of lion that include white lion members. This is a world first and a major conservation breakthrough.

During your time here, you’ll come face to face with prides of wild lion, often more than once in a day. And you’ll meet local people who are reviving a tribal tradition that views the white lion as sacred.

If you’ve always dreamed of seeing human injustice reversed, of witnessing a lion that was once doomed to a life of captivity walk free, then this is the experience you’ve been waiting for.

Rhino Rating

?

This tells you how physical the experience is. More >

2 out of 5 rhino rating
Category

Wildlife Adventure Courses and Experiences

Species

White lions, tawny lions

Impact

Predator conservation
Community outreach
Wildlife rehabilitation

Country

South Africa

  • Highlights
  • Do
  • Learn
  • Costs and Dates

Highlights

Exclusive to African Conservation Experience

Course leader Jason Turner created the Lion Conservation Experience Experience especially for our travellers. This conservation project isn’t open to the public and doesn’t take tours.

Support groundbreaking conservation

Canned lion hunting, cub cuddling and the farming of lions for the bone trade are major animal rights issues. Especially as lion parts and even whole carcasses are now legally exported from South Africa to Asia. The GWLPT are leading the fight against this cruelty and have taken important steps towards having these practices banned.

See lions in the bush

As a specialist lion conservation project, you’ll join the team as they research the movement and behaviour of these amazing creatures, giving you lots of sighting opportunities.

Get a unique perspective

This experience gives you the chance to learn about lions from leading ecologists and work with local people who live alongside predators.

See Kruger National Park

The project is located on the fringes of Kruger and during your trip, you’ll get the chance to explore this area which is so famous for its wildlife.

DO

During your 14-day Lion Conservation Experiences Experience, you’ll get involved in the following activities:

Lion tracking and monitoring

  • Twice a day, you’ll participate in tracking and monitoring the white and tawny lions that the project has released in three separate locations
  • Occasionally, you may have the chance to observe the darting of wild lions to fit new tracking collars or change over an old collar or battery
  • Go on organised walks in the bush to find and remove snares, which are a constant problem

Lion behaviour and carnivore care

Project leader and lion ecologist Jason Turner (MSc) is a specialist in lion behaviour and white lions in particular. Accompanied by the project team, you will have the chance to observe the behaviour of the various prides of lions in their natural habitat.

  • Get to know the behavioural patterns and personalities of individual animals
  • Help to spot any unusual wildlife behaviour or potential veterinary issues

Conservation and the community

Linda Tucker, founder of the Global White Lion Protection Trust and acclaimed author, has a strong connection with the local community. Her work reviving a tribal tradition that holds the white lion as sacred has been central to the project’s success.

  • Spend time with local people, learning about their relationship with lions and other wild animals
  • Help the project team with their community outreach programme

Observe wildlife in Kruger National Park

During your stay, you’ll spend a whole day experiencing one of Africa’s most famous National Parks.

  • As well as lions, Kruger gives you the chance to see large herds of elephants, buffalo, plus elusive and rare species such as leopards, hyenas and the endangered African wild dog
  • Kruger also has the largest population of rhino left in Africa and if you’re lucky you may even get to see both the white and black rhino

Trip to a predator care centre

You’ll also get to spend some time at a local animal care centre in Hoedspruit that specialises in predator care.

  • Go on a safari to view and learn about cheetah including the beautiful King Cheetah
  • View the endangered African wild dog, rhinos and many other species
  • Learn about husbandry of predators and other wildlife from the centre’s specialist care team

LEARN

As well as observing lions and helping the project team (which you can read about under the ‘do’ tab), Jason and his team will present informative talks on lion conservation and white lions in particular.

You’ll learn about:

  • The uniqueness of the white lions and the struggle that the project team underwent to have them recognised as more than the result of a recessive gene
  • The history of the Global White Lion Protection Trust
  • The threats to lions’ survival, including canned hunting, the cub cuddling industry, the lion bone trade as well as loss of habitat
  • The global conservation strategy to save the lion and local anti-poaching initiatives
  • The project’s innovative and successful reintroduction of captive-born lions into the wild
  • How to care for lions, both in captivity and after they’ve been released into the wild
  • The cultural connection between local tribal communities and the sacred white lion
COSTS

Please note, the cost calculator shows the cost per person for our fixed-date experiences. If you wish to book this experience as a group of four or more on your choice of dates, please contact us for a bespoke quote.

Our costs include:

Accomodation

Airport Meet & Greet

Transfers

24/7 Support

Personal Guidance

Meals

Cost Calculator

TOTAL COST: £0000

Dates

3 – 8 April 2018

12 – 23 July 2018

14 – 19 August 2018

30 October – 13 November 2018

Payment

Costs are subject to change but will be confirmed in writing at the time of booking.

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.

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 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.

What Makes Us Different?

Southern Africa's original conservation travel company

We are qualified zoologists and conservationists

Personal guidance before you book

Join real wildlife conservation projects

Enjoy total peace of mind, with 24/7 in-country support

Empower vital conservation initiatives

NEWSLETTER

From Africa to your inbox, hear all the latest news

READ OUR BROCHURE