Group of ACE volunteers relaxing around the campfire
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Felipe Soares: volunteer at the Okavango Wilderness Project

Felipe Soares

🇳🇱 Netherlands

Length of Trip
14 Nights

Project Year

The person that I was before coming here, is the same person that I’m leaving behind. Everything that came with me is going back magnified.

I always had a couple of dreams, one of them being coming to Africa, and the other being seeing the big cats. African Conservation Experience (ACE) has allowed me to fulfil those dreams.

Felipe Soares: volunteer looking through binoculars

The main motivation for my trip was definitely to give back my time and give back my efforts to conservation and wildlife.

I wanted to experience the data collection and to understand how this data collection can actually help conservation.

My expectations for this project were to get my hands dirty, do the data collection, spend my time here, and see that time coming back into tangible research.

These are fantastic projects for people looking to do their sabbaticals. I had great experiences and it is so interesting and heartwarming to see your work coming back to South Africa, Botswana, and African conservation.

The highlights of this experience were definitely living with the locals here, spending this time understanding how they live and how they coexist with this wildlife. Also spending time and getting to know other volunteers and other people who are like-minded and share the same experience.

During this trip, I have achieved a greater understanding of the situation of wildlife in Botswana, and especially a greater understanding of the need for organisations like ACE, to work cooperatively with locals, towards the conservation of this space.

ACE has different experiences that you can mix and match, like I did! I visited the Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre and the Okavango Wilderness Project, which were very different projects. Combining projects allows you to learn more and more and just enhance your experience overall.

Doing some research on ACE, the organisation just seems super trustworthy, with small-scale projects in terms of voluntary, but, with huge outcomes and traceability of those outcomes.

I have a deeper understanding of why the work is important. I have a deeper understanding of the situation and the issues around conservation and sustainability.

I’m definitely going to bring home even more questions than I had, and I think that’s now my homework to go after them and answer them by myself.