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I couldn’t imagine my time in Africa being what it was without ACE. I spent about a year and a half corresponding with ACE about how to piece together their projects so that I could spend 6 months on the continent. They were extremely helpful through it all. I had travelled with them for 4 weeks in 2016 so I knew how amazing they are and I trusted them to be responsible for me this time around. 

 

I began my journey at Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. A week into my project, political unrest broke out in the country and Bulawayo was directly affected. Martin was extremely proactive and contacted us immediately to make sure we were safe, aware of the circumstances, and had been able to contact our family to let them know we were safe. None of the other companies that sent volunteers there did the same. This just shows how much ACE cares about their volunteers. As far as the project, I cannot speak highly enough about it. If you want to get down and dirty in conservation and animal care, this is the place to go. It is hard work but it is the most rewarding thing I have ever done. The Wilson’s are amazing people and are doing so much for wildlife in a country that has so many other concerns. I can’t wait for the day that I get to go back and continue to help them do what they are doing. 

There is not a project with ACE that I would not recommend. There is something for everyone and they will make sure that you have the most amazing time! I will cherish my time with them for the rest of my life! 

My next project was the Naankuse Predator Research Project. While it was completely different from Chipangali, it was amazing in its own right. I got to spend time at the farm (a wildlife sanctuary) and both of the research sites. I also did some traveling outside of ACE while I was there but both ACE and Naankuse were extremely helpful in coordinating these trips. I learned so much about how to properly do conservation in a place with very limited resources. Being in the desert makes it difficult for both the animals and the people that are trying to survive there. The research that they are doing shows how much they care about all the species that are found in Namibia. They don’t focus on just the charismatic species that everyone would typically focus on because they realize that there are other species that are in the background and deserve attention just as much. 

 

I ended my time with the Shimongwe Veterinary Experience. I spent time with a vet in Hoedspruit and a vet in Louis Trichardt. I learned so much from both vets. The vet in Hoedspruit sees a wide variety of species so you will get exposure to all kinds of different things. The vet in Louis Trichardt work is majority antelope species but you get valuable hands-on experience. The accommodations at both are to die for and you will be WELL fed. I got to do and see things that I had only dreamed of. Both vets are so willing to teach the volunteers anything they want to know. You don’t have to have experience to work with either vet because they will explain everything to you. You just have to be willing to work hard and get your hands dirty. 

There is not a project with ACE that I would not recommend. There is something for everyone and they will make sure that you have the most amazing time! I will cherish my time with them for the rest of my life! 

 

If you are interested in joining the Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage, Shimongwe Wildlife Veterinary Experience or the Naankuse Predator Research Project simply fill out a quick application form and we’ll be in touch soon to get the ball rolling on your African wildlife experience!

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