Group of ACE volunteers relaxing around the campfire

I’d never volunteered abroad before, so taking a sabbatical to volunteer in Africa was quite an exciting prospect. African Conservation Experience (ACE) were friendly and extremely helpful - no question was too small or off-limits.

During my time in Africa, I joined several projects ACE had to offer and saw for myself the genuine responsibility and involvement ACE volunteers have in wildlife conservation. 

Each project was different and was pivotal in making this trip an adventure of a lifetime. There are too many standout moments and extraordinary wildlife encounters for me to list. But, having the opportunity to work alongside such incredible creatures, track wild animals on foot, and participate in many off-road adventures was something I will never forget. It was even more special to be a part of many teams dedicated to conserving the wildlife of Africa.

Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre was a standout project. During my time there, I worked with a diverse range of iconic African animals, including lions, leopards, wild dogs, honey badgers, and many more. Though the work was challenging at times, it was a privilege to work alongside the dedicated project staff who were committed to ensuring the well-being of the animals under their care.

The Vikela Kruger Conservation Experience was the second project I visited. This placement was a once-in-a-lifetime educational experience, a real masterclass in understanding life out in the bush.

It was an opportunity to be part of a team that works tirelessly to protect the rhinos and other wildlife in the Kruger National Park. It was a chance to understand not only the behaviour of bush giants like rhinos but also the smaller species such as pangolins.

For me, Golola Rhino Orphanage and Rehabilitation Centre was a very special placement. It’s where volunteers are hands-on in caring for orphaned baby rhinos, who are victims of the rhino poaching crisis.

Here I gained an understanding of the work that goes on behind the scenes to rehabilitate these orphans to get them back out into the wild. The commitment of the rhino orphanage staff and all the other staff members I met during my time in Africa was truly exceptional.

It was an adventure that taught me so much, not just about the African wildlife but also about myself. This is an experience that will stay with me forever.

I am proud to have been a part of this world as a volunteer for however long. Will I go back? – I already have my next trip planned! Did I use ACE again? – Of course!