Group of ACE volunteers relaxing around the campfire

Hi, I’m Fran and I recently returned from a 7 week volunteering experience with ACE in South Africa. As a more “senior” individual traveling alone during covid times in November/December 2021, I did have some reservations although I am originally from Zimbabwe. I spent a week at Moholoholo with a diverse group of 9 other volunteers where we cared for many species of animals and bird life that had been rescued or taken in and were unreleasable for various reasons. We had informative talks on conservation by the team, lots of good food and we all worked so well together and had fun.

I then spent 3 weeks at Phinda where we spent many hours traveling the bush by Jeep and where most of the focus was on animal conservation and reintroduction studies. I was allowed very hands on with rhino dehorning and also the huge relocation of the 30 that were transported to Rwanda – that was an amazing experience. I was also really hoping to see a Pangolin while I was there and instead I was actually able to have one on my lap for about 10 minutes for relocation – so exciting.

My next 2 weeks were spent at The Rhino Orphanage – an unexpected visit as South Africa closed it’s doors due to covid and ACE very kindly rescued me with another assignment thanks to my great friend Martin who takes care of everyone.

My time here was spent with amazing, hard working staff and another volunteer. We worked hard feeding and caring for adult rhinos and bottle feeding baby orphans – what a privilege.

I just found my whole trip to be an amazing lifetime experience. Everyone was so kind and dedicated to the cause of saving, caring and conservation of our wildlife. Everything at ACE was very well organised and they took care of all the travel arrangements within the areas to the smallest details. Everyone needs to do this!