Group of ACE volunteers relaxing around the campfire
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Sam Thain: bottle feeding a rhino

Sam Thain

🇬🇧 United Kingdom

Length of Trip
28 Nights

Project Year

My trip with ACE was an awesome, once in a lifetime opportunity! I have always dreamed of coming to Africa and I have been able to achieve this dream through ACE. By travelling to South Africa I got an idea of what it takes to be a professional conservationist. I loved every minute of my stay!

The consultation and booking process was really personal and efficient and ACE made it easy for me to select the right projects. They asked me questions about what I wanted to do and what I wanted to take away from this experience.

They are caring experts and knew exactly which projects would be best suited for me based on my answers. They give you the opportunity to work with professionals who have been in their jobs for years which you wouldn’t easily get anywhere else.

I went to the Phinda Wildlife Research Project and the Golola Rhino Orphanage and Rehabilitation Centre. It was important to me that I could see how each project was benefiting conservation. At Phinda they are translocating rhinos to other areas of Africa to repopulate them. They are also releasing pangolins that have been rescued from poachers and giving them a second chance of life. Being able to hold one of these pangolins was one of the most memorable experiences I had!

This is not something you get to do every day, and I feel that not many people have had such an experience.

The Golola Rhino Orphanage was also an amazing place to volunteer. Rhinos are brought to the centre if their mothers have been poached and you get to see them from infants all the way through the rehabilitation process to when they are released back into the wild. One of my other most memorable experiences was hand feeding baby rhino bottles of milk. It’s just an incredible way to see African conservation at work.

This experience has really helped me grow and become a better person. I have so much more confidence now, after travelling by myself. I’ve met some amazing new people and interacted with conservation professionals that you wouldn’t get anywhere else! Seeing how much passion these people have for African wildlife and their hope for the future has shown me what my true passion is, and that everything can be achieved with the right goals.

If you are thinking about travelling to Africa I would recommend going through ACE, they work with some of the best projects in Africa and will help you organise your whole trip to make sure it matches what you are looking for.