We’re working to create a brighter future for Africa’s wildlife. We think the best way to do this is by empowering people to gain first-hand experience of wildlife conservation. Because the better we understand Africa’s wildlife, communities and landscapes, the better equipped we are to help them thrive.
When it comes to fulfilling the aspirations of both ethical travellers and the conservation community in southern Africa, no other company is more experienced or better connected than we are.
Wildlife conservation in this corner of Africa is a close-knit community of parks boards, researchers and conservationists. We have been working among these stakeholders since 1999 and have played a vital role in many of the community’s landmark achievements. In fact, thanks to the pioneering work of our staff and customers, ethical travel is now seen as a cornerstone of the region’s entire wildlife conservation strategy.
As a result, today we are proud to offer many conservation experiences that are exclusive to our travellers. Meanwhile, on a personal level you’ll notice that many people welcome our travellers like part of the family. Because that’s exactly what they are.
Our team are not only experienced in travel management but also carry zoological and conservation-related qualifications. We remain at the forefront of developments in the field of conservation and stay up to date with developments in research, political policy and ecological issues. We have even become a leading voice in the fight against lion farming and cub cuddling in southern Africa.
This deep understanding of wildlife conservation enables us to select projects to work with that have focused conservation goals and therefore a genuine role for our travellers and volunteers. We carry out peer reviews with recognised professionals before starting to work with a new project and visit regularly to ensure our standards and expectations are continuously being met.
All of which means that none of our partner projects exist to profit financially from the growing ecotourism industry – they are all genuine, hard-working conservation projects that share our core values and ambitions.
We do everything we can to ensure your experience with Africa’s wildlife is inspirational, enlightening, even life-changing. And this journey starts long before you set foot on African soil.
As part of our service, we take the time to talk to you before you book your experience – usually over the phone – to find out about your personal goals and what you want from your time in Africa. During this conversation, we’ll also discuss a variety of options with you and answer any questions you may have.
Not only does this service help you to select the right experience for you, it helps us tailor your itinerary to your needs. Which means when you finally arrive in Africa, everything is in place for you to have the wildlife conservation experience you’ve always dreamed of.
By travelling with us, you’ll team up with genuine wildlife conservation projects and initiatives. Nothing is for show – from the moment you arrive, you’ll be making a real difference, helping to support the communities and ecosystems of southern Africa.
Depending on your choice of experience, you’ll probably join the project’s team of full-time conservationists by living onsite as well. Living and working shoulder to shoulder with some of Africa’s leading conservation professionals is an amazing way to learn about the wildlife and the challenges they face.
What’s more, you’ll be a valuable member of the team. Most of the projects we partner with are fairly small, which means your passion and endeavour will have an immediate and visible impact on their day-to-day running.
We want you to have an amazing experience in Africa, without worrying about how you’ll get from A to B, how to pronounce “zewu” (that’s “wow” in Zulu) or a thousand other questions that might get in your way.
That’s why we have a support team on the ground in Africa. We’ll meet you at Johannesburg airport, answer all your questions and make sure you have everything you need for your stay. Then we’ll see you safely to your transfer to your destination.
Throughout your stay, we’re available 24/7 if you need assistance or just want a chat. Then, as your experience comes to an end, we’ll meet you back in Johannesburg to hear all about your adventure and see you safely onto your flight home.
As a conservation traveller, it isn’t just your time and energy you’ll contribute to your host project(s). Part of your booking fee goes directly into helping build a sustainable financial future for wildlife conservation in southern Africa, empowering these initiatives to carry out their work.
From hydrophones to helicopters, money from our travellers has helped projects invest in all kinds of vital new facilities. We’ve also sponsored much-needed equipment and provided interest-free loans to help initiatives broaden their impact. What’s more, we’ve been a key partner in setting up many projects that you can visit today.
In fact, much of the marvellous wildlife conservation work that happens in southern Africa today simply wouldn’t be possible without travellers like you.
From helping us work out which volunteering experience would suit best, to making sure we knew exactly when and where to be in country, we found the level of service from ACE to be exceptional. So much so that we want to continue helping them with their great work supporting meaningful conservation projects in Africa, with the right type of volunteer.
It was without doubt the best trip of my life so far. Not only was it the perfect opportunity to help me stand out in my Veterinary Medicine University application but it has given me unforgettable memories and I met many inspiring people.
I would highly recommend the Shimongwe Wildlife Veterinary Experience to anyone with a veterinary background, whether that be a vet/vet student or veterinary nurse/nurse student, who has an interest in wildlife and conservation and wants to test themselves and take their veterinary skills and knowledge to the next level.
I had a very enjoyable three weeks in Botswana on an African Conservation Experience volunteer holiday. We were based in a campsite about 2 hours bumpy ride from Maun on the southeast edge of the Okavango Delta area. The facilities were much better than I was expecting - I had my own tent and there was a metal bed frame so I wasn't sleeping on the ground, there was a plumbed-in toilet, sink and bucket shower.
As someone who is well-travelled and particularly well-versed in adventure/adrenaline-fuelled activities I found the whole experience truly rewarding, especially as it gave me a chance to give something useful back. My daughter, Sarah, had spent an equally rewarding 3 weeks at Phinda 9 years ago and it was on her recommendation that I ‘followed in her footsteps’ - I’m extremely glad that I did!
This project showed me how to use telemetry equipment to monitor the collared animals, setting up camera traps, dehorning and notching rhinos, recording GPS coordinates electronically and taking photos for I.D kits. This project is perfect if you wish to go into a research and monitoring career.
Would I say that the experience changed my life? Absolutely. You learn life skills and gain confidence you never thought you could in these experiences, and that is something I, personally, cannot thank the ACE team and the team I worked with in Phinda enough for.
I feel very privileged that I had the opportunity to be part of such a great project and contribute to wildlife conservation in Namibia.
It’s actually nature – everywhere. In Botswana, everything is so wild and pure, and you never know when the animals will appear from the thick bush.