Group of ACE volunteers relaxing around the campfire
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Maartje van Vlerken: profile photo

Maartje Van Vlerken

🇳🇱 Netherlands

Length of Trip
34 Nights

Project Year

Hi! I’m Maartje and I live in the Netherlands.

Last year I came to a point in my life that I lost it all. I took a sabbatical from work and was wondering what I wanted to do with this time for myself.

I wanted to do something good! Be far away from everything I’ve known my whole life and was familiar to and step into the unknown!

One day I saw a documentary on Dutch television about baby rhino orphans and about the horrible truth about poaching in South Africa. This made a big impression on me and came back to me at that moment. I had never heard of the organisation African Conservation Experience or Care for Wild. I just started searching on the internet and this website and everything around it just gave me a good feeling.

I filled in the application form and on short notice they called me to get to know me better and inform me about the different projects they offer. I was thinking about going five weeks to Care for Wild, but because Ruth from ACE was very interested in me and my expectations, we decided together what I think was the best option and combination for me! Three weeks at Care for Wild and two weeks at Phinda!

This personal conversation just gave me the best feeling and was the push I needed to start this adventure!

Which turned out to be the best decision of my life! 😀

If you are thinking about going, go! It is life changing and it’s amazing to see how professional and dedicated everyone is on the project sites. To work with all kinds of people all around the world and to learn so much about the situation in Africa around the wildlife is fantastic.

You feel so connected with everybody and every animal. They really make you feel at home and safe! Everything is so perfectly organized and really all I have are positive words.

The first time you feed the baby rhino’s is something you will never ever forget.

It makes you so emotional and realize this is what is going on in the world and all other things seem so unimportant.

It made me a better person!