The Let’s-Go-All-In Gap Year Experience

African gap year adventure? You’ve got this.

Four projects. One epic adventure that will change your life forever. This is your chance to gain real working experience, meet like-minded people and connect with local professionals on the front line of conservation. Ready to get started?

Every day is different and packed with genuine conservation work which has a real impact. And trust us, you won’t want to miss a thing. We have a crew of experts, waiting to show off the great places they work. And the amazing work they do.

But we can’t do it without you. Volunteers like you offer the hands, feet, ears, eyes and energy needed to support real conservation. And not only that. The pictures you take and the stories you tell. It’s all part of getting the word out. We need to protect these awe-inspiring landscapes and we need to do it now.

Rhino Rating


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4 out of 5 rhino rating

Wildlife research and management
Wildlife care and rehabilitation


Elephant, hippo, cheetah, rhino, lion, leopard, giraffe, buffalo, wild dog, honey badger, pangolin, eagle, vulture


Wildlife rehabilitation
Wildlife research and management
Reserve management
Veterinary nursing
Rhino conservation
Animal care


  South Africa

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Get on the front line of wildlife conservation

Release pangolins that have been rescued from poachers.  Track a herd of elephants across the bush. And get hands-on at an animal rehabilitation centre. We work with projects at the forefront of conservation so you’ll get to see how each project and its people are directly benefitting conservation.

Track animals on foot 

Your steps will be quiet but your heart will beat loud! Nothing gets you closer to nature. Immersed in the smells and sounds of the African bush. You’ll learn this ancient skill from a master tracker, alongside a highly trained dog. It’s a memory that’ll last a lifetime.

Learn from the locals

This is a unique opportunity. To work with locals who are passionate about protecting the places they live. You’ll hear stories of the land which no one else can tell you. And you’ll see how powerful it is when conservation projects work together with local communities.

Access all areas

Go behind the scenes of an exclusive safari reserve. See what it’s like to live, breathe and be part of meaningful African conservation. Roll your sleeves up… You’re going to be right in the action.

Genuine animal rehabilitation

You’ll work with practiced experts in animal rehabilitation. In a project that has rescued hundreds of sick, injured and abandoned animals. Nursing them back to health. Reintroducing them into the wild or providing them with a lifetime of  sanctuary.

Exciting variety

It’s not just about the lions. Or the elephants. Or even the rhinos. You’ll see a huge range of species. From big to small. Iconic to elusive. And you’ll learn how each species forms part of – and is important to – African ecosystems. 

Help save a rhino’s life 

Yes really! Get up close to these iconic creatures. Track them in the bush. Send info to specialist teams. Help rescue an orphaned calf. It’s a lot but it’s so worth it. 

Join the dream team

Dream of working with the biggest names in conservation? Like WWF, Endangered Wildlife Trust and Panthera? Well, here’s your chance. See how buddying up with these international organisations gives our projects more clout.


Get stuck in. Learn from experts. This is hands-on work and you’ll be an important part of the team in each project. Here’s a flavour of the work you’ll do:

Animal rehabilitation and care 

You’ll help nurse animals back to full health, many of which will be released back into the wild. 

  • Prepare feeds and provide hands-on help with feeding
  • Bottle-feed baby animals and keep records of feeding behaviour, weight gain and development
  • Enrich animals’ lives by creating a natural setting in captivity
  • Assist with the preparation and release of animals back into the wild
  • Assist the team in emergency medical support
  • Assist in all vital daily routines: muck-out enclosures, rake grass for bedding, clean bottles and water troughs and create clean living spaces for animals

Research, monitoring and practical conservation work

Valuable conservation is only doable when we have the facts. We need all hands on deck to help with this. Yup, that’s you!

  • Assist with humane rhino de-horning, an effective anti-poaching strategy
  • Provide a safe area for wild vultures to feed, free from the risks of poisoning
  • Monitor priority species such as black and white rhino, elephants, cheetahs and lions, to help protect them from threats such as poaching
  • Set up infrared camera traps at waterholes and other key locations and study the results
  • Record wildlife sightings and map their movements to build up a detailed database of animals’ territories


Four projects all bursting with expertise. This is real, cutting-edge conservation and your chance to learn all about it. Then spread the word.

Conservation and ecology

  • Why large continuous areas of protected wilderness are so important
  • The current threats facing African ecosystems 
  • The vital role each species plays as part of the wider ecosystem
  • The impact of animal population growth or decline of certain species, such as lions and elephants, on the ecosystem as a whole
  • Methods used by poachers such as snares – you may even see some animals rescued after a snare injury
  • The important role animal care centres play in the broader wildlife conservation movement
  • Wildlife relocation programmes – including the WWF’s black rhino range expansion project and the rhinos without borders programme,
  • The rhino poaching crisis, what drives it and how it can be stopped

Bush skills

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


  • The hunting, breeding and social behaviour of the key species you’ll monitor
  • The behaviour of animals in the wild as well as in captivity
  • 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
  • The movement of herd species such as elephant, buffalo and antelope

Our costs include:


Airport Meet & Greet


24/7 Support

Personal Guidance


Cost Calculator


Looking for something bespoke?

If you love the look of this experience but feel it would suit you better by combining or extending it with another project, we can offer bespoke packages to make sure you get exactly what you’re 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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