The New Horizons Sabbatical

Disconnect from modern life and learn from experts in three different wildlife conservation areas in Africa

Imagine unwinding under the star-packed sky of a remote wilderness in southern Africa. Or falling into bed after a day on foot tracking lions, elephants and rhinos through the bush, alongside an expert tracker and their trained dog. What about the opportunity to protect pangolins, the most trafficked animal in the world, in a reserve where they have been successfully reintroduced.

Travelling to three projects across two countries means there is an exciting variety of conservation work and professionals to learn from. It’s a hands-on experience and a rare opportunity to challenge yourself, disconnect from the distractions of modern life and be truly present with nature. In every setting you will learn more about genuine wildlife conservation work in southern Africa and perhaps also, more about yourself.

It’s a chance to understand the unique challenges that certain species – such as elephants, lions, rhinos or wild dogs – face, and contribute to the complex work of protecting these incredible animals and the ecosystems that support them.

With an itinerary that will take you through an awe-inspiring diversity of African landscapes this is a chance to reset, expand your horizons and reconnect with yourself and the natural world.

Rhino Rating


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3 out of 5 rhino rating

Wildlife research and management


Rhino, lion, leopard, pangolin, cheetah, giraffe, hippo, wild dog, buffalo, elephant


Wildlife research and management
Reserve management


  South Africa


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Get back to basics

When did you last stop and listen to the sounds of nature? With the fast pace of modern life one of the biggest thrills can be switching off. Camping under the stars, discovering how good food tastes after a hard day’s work, connecting with people around a campfire. These are things that remind us what it is to be alive. 

Where wild means wild

In Botswana, the Okavango Delta is a vast area of true wilderness. As one of the three projects you’ll visit, being here puts new meaning in the phrase ‘getting away from it all’. 

Varied accommodation 

All three projects you’ll visit offer a different style of accommodation. One is high up on a hill, with spectacular views of the surrounding Greater Kruger National Park. Another is a comfortable farmhouse within a community-owned reserve. And the third is a remote camp in the heart of the Okavango wilderness, where an elephant might brush past your tent at night!

Hands-on wildlife conservation

Whether it’s watching as the team deal with the medical care of a cheetah or identifying a particular rhino and passing that information to the anti-poaching team, you will be able to get stuck in and learn the realities of this exciting work.

Be in the moment

When you are tracking a lion on foot through the bush, tuned to every sound and movement around you, the hot sun on your back and an expert tracker and his dog at your side, your senses are heightened and the rest of the world drops away. 

Monitor and work with Africa’s most iconic species

You’ll monitor and record information on key species such as elephants, rhinos, cheetahs, leopards, lions, pangolins and wild dogs.

Elephants with the space to thrive

Elephants need vast intact wildlife areas to be able to flourish. There are only a few places left in Africa where there is enough free-ranging space to sustain them. You’ll visit two areas where the population of African elephants, the largest land mammal on earth, is steadily increasing.

Protect the most trafficked mammals in the world

Pangolins are said to have magical medicinal properties, and despite the lack of scientific evidence to back this up, they are still the most trafficked animals in the world. You will contribute to ground-breaking research on this incredible species.

Experience two important sides to rhino conservation 

From a project where numbers are successfully increasing to an area where protection against poachers is key to maintaining rhino numbers, you will have the chance to learn from experts intent on protecting these magnificent animals.

Study a mega population of lions

This is a chance to visit two of only five places in the whole of Africa, large enough to home a mega population of over 2000 lions. Needless to say, protecting these top predators and the large wildlife areas they need to survive is extremely important.


Travelling between locations is a perfect way to contribute to a huge range of different conservation work, learning from highly experienced and skilled individuals in each site.

Wildlife research and monitoring

Research is key to conservation. Each area and ecosystem tells its own story and it’s only by consistently monitoring species and recording data that we can improve conservation efforts.

  • Record wildlife sightings and map their movements to build up a detailed database of animals’ territories
  • Monitor priority species and identify individual animals such as black and white rhino, elephants, cheetahs and lions, to help protect from poachers
  • Study the behaviour and population dynamics of animals such as elephants and predators
  • Use GPS equipment to record transects and wildlife sightings
  • Record specific animal’s age and gender as well as predatory, feeding and breeding behaviour
  • Track animals on foot through the bush
  • Set up infrared camera traps at waterholes to monitor elusive species
  • Take a riverboat trip and see animals from a unique and tranquil perspective  
  • Gain insight into the behaviour of nocturnal animals such as leopards, hyenas, porcupines and bushbabies during night drives
  • Witness natural wild behaviour in expansive settings, such as lions hunting or elephants playing in a waterhole

Wildlife management 

You will be directly involved in animal management with the opportunity to learn alongside highly-skilled professionals. Activities will vary dependent on the animals being managed:

  • Watch rhino ears being notched, enabling researchers to identify, monitor and protect individual animals
  • Assist with humane rhino de-horning, an effective anti-poaching strategy
  • Learn about contraceptive programmes to manage the populations of elephants and predators
  • Get involved with wildlife relocation programmes, helping to move species such as rhino, lion, cheetah and antelope
  • Go behind-the-scenes at an animal rehabilitation centre and work alongside the team on the ground


By visiting three projects, across two countries you will be introduced to the value of conservation in large intact wildlife areas as well as the specific impact of a smaller scale community-owned reserve.


  • The different wildlife conservation approach in different areas
  • The roles that animal rehabilitation centres play in protecting species
  • Rhino poaching, anti-poaching methods in the field, and relocation programmes
  • Breeding programmes for rare and endangered species – such a black rhino custodianship programme
  • Wildlife relocation programmes – including the WWF’s black rhino range expansion project, the rhinos without borders programme, and lion relocation to Rwanda
  • How wildlife conservation in Africa is funded


  • How large areas of protected wilderness differ from smaller reserves
  • The natural environment of the Big 5 and other African species
  • The role of different species in the ecosystem
  • The impact of population growth or decline of certain species, such as lions and elephants, on the ecosystem as a whole

Bush skills

  • Tracking animals on foot
  • The medicinal uses of various plants and trees
  • How to approach animals safely on foot
  • How to identify some of the many insects, reptiles and birds in the area


  • The hunting, breeding and social behaviour of Big 5 and other African species 
  • The relationship between predator and prey species
  • Behaviour of animal groups, such as the hierarchy systems in prides of lions, troops of primates and herds of elephants
  • Predator hunting behaviour and the differences between social predators such as lions and wild dogs, compared with solitary predators such as leopards and cheetah


  • The physiology and natural diets of the Big 5 and other African species
  • Native African plants, reptiles, amphibians and birds
  • The movement of herd species such as elephant, buffalo and antelope

Our costs include:


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Looking for something bespoke?

If you love the look of one of these projects but feel it would suit you better by combining or extending it with a different one, we can offer bespoke packages to make sure you get exactly the experience you are looking for. Just get in touch with our team and we can discuss the options.


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

What Makes Us Different?

ACE have been operating as a conservation travel company since 1999

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


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