It's been such an authentic experience to see and learn things first-hand while volunteering with African Conservation Experience (ACE). Being out in the bush is unlike anything I've experienced before. Even travelling during winter, the landscapes, sunsets, sunrises, and wildlife are breathtaking.
Many of my colleagues had travelled with ACE before and had always had a fantastic time.
I was impressed when I did some research, and my friend who organised this trip reached out to the ACE team. We learned so much more about what we would be doing and the conservation efforts in South Africa. As conservation has always been a passion of mine, it's been an incredible experience to directly work with conservation efforts out in the field.
One of the highlights of The Game Ranger Experience was seeing lions up close in Kruger National Park, just a metre away from the vehicle! We even spotted hyenas with their cubs one day.
We also had the privilege of seeing a wild dog in the Balule reserve, which was a rare sighting making it such a special moment.
I also learned about the impact of poisoning, snaring, and poaching and got to visit a local rehabilitation centre called Moholoholo. Understanding the limits of wildlife rehabilitation and the exceptional work done by ACE volunteers and the staff at this centre was a really important experience for me.
I highly recommend ACE to other volunteers. The education that comes with volunteering is invaluable and can even help put you on a new path.
This trip has confirmed my desire to pursue conservation as a career and has shown me that I want to support real wildlife projects and learn directly from those who work in conservation.
I worked on a conservation farm in England before, but experiencing it in South Africa has broadened my understanding and made me want to have more experience in different areas. Knowing how things work in different countries is crucial and will undoubtedly help me grow as a conservationist.