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.
I have travelled with ACE 4 times now and each time it just gets better and better. The hands-on experience on the Shimongwe veterinary project is unparalleled and I am already planning my next trip.
I will never EVER forget the rhinos. The sounds they make, the look in their eyes, the way their skin feels, the way the babies sleep next to each other, the way they walk over to you for their milk. I’ll never forget the people I met there either.
To truly get a feel for just how special a place Phinda is you must go and experience it for yourself - you won't regret it.
Phinda was my 3rd time with ACE and I am 77 years old !!!! If you really want to be a volunteer with wild animals in Southern Africa, please contact ACE.
I have several great memories. Too many to single out any particular one; from seeing Wild Dogs in Nthaba, feeding the baby rhinos at Care for Wild, to the day in Kruger National Park. Fantastic!
The Okavango Wilderness Experience in Botswana (Moremi Game reserve) is truly amazing! A real feeling of being out in the bush and at the same helping out for a great cause. The outcomes from this volunteering are retained for ever!
My experiences at Chipangali and Phinda were absolutely insane. It was definitely one of the best experiences of my life. The people there topped off the experience and I have so many good memories, I'd recommend it to anyone and everyone - just thinking about my trip makes me want to go back!
The vet I was working with was an incredible teacher and always explained what he was doing and why. He always encouraged us to get involved and even let me take a ride in the helicopter!
Life changing, inspirational and heart-warming are just 3 words to describe Care for Wild, but in all honesty, words cannot describe this experience, it’s phenomenal! Waking up to the sound of the resident lions and hippos helps with the early morning starts and the views from site are sensational.
As older travelers who have been to many countries around the world, we wanted to give something back while having a great experience. The intangibles, like seeing so many stars at night, and socializing with local people, made this part of our trip truly memorable.
The people and animals I met while I was there will always have a special place in my heart and I’ve done things I never thought I would like; help raise a baby squirrel, hold a baboon spider to get over my arachnophobia and see a white rhino in the wild.
At Phinda our lives were enriched by the knowledge of our team leader in the many facets of wildlife management, whilst working with the wildlife veterinarians at Shimongwe was AWESOME. We were able to be a part of a team capturing wild animals for medical treatment, ID chip placement, and relocation.
What an experience that was! Bottle-feeding baby rhinos was simply amazing. Looking into their eyes, I saw their beautiful souls each and every time I fed them. “And I get to do this every day for two weeks”, I thought to myself.
Catherine and I had the most fantastic trip to Phinda. The whole experience was more than we could ever have imagined.
Nearly every morning we would get up at around 5:30am, gulp down a quick cup of coffee, and be out of the door by 6. We would drive through the morning mist, watch it diffuse into shimmering light as the sun rose, in search of an elephant herd, a lion pride or to check on the animals in the boma enclosures.
Work hard and you maybe given more responsibility with special cases – teaching vultures to fly to the glove, looking after the baby bush pig and assisting with the cheetahs were some of the extra cases I had. I have so many amazing memories from being at Moholoholo.
Huge thanks to the vet team in Hoedspruit for welcoming me and teaching me so much valuable information that will transcend into the rest of my veterinary career. Also, thank you to African Conservation Experience for setting up this wonderful experience! Counting down the days when I can return!
Being able to work so closely with rhinos was incredible at Care For Wild Africa, whilst Phinda was one of the best experiences of my life.
I decided to get involved with a conservation organisation. ACE has given me the opportunity to be part of dedicated teams helping preserve wildlife and the habitat. It has been a wonderful experience and I will continue to volunteer my time to conservation programs.
My experience at Phinda, in three words, was wonderful, unique, and enriching. The team from the researchers, ecologists, logistic, back-office, and our dear volunteers were all great people and supportive, and helped make my journey wonderful.
Some days we would be transporting buffalo to various camps, and so the vet would go up in the helicopter and dart the buffalo from the air. We would then chase down the buffalo by truck and transport them out of that camp and into another. This was truly exhilarating.
You won’t quickly forget a bushbaby landing on your shoulder on your way back from dinner, a fearsome honey badger lying on its back without a care in the world or falling asleep at night to the sound of lions roaring and hyenas laughing outside your window.
We decided to do the veterinary experience trip and to stay for 2 weeks. Let me tell you, 2 weeks flew by! We worked with a variety of animals, and we also got to meet and work with amazing people there. Africa is an amazing place to go and I can not wait to go back!
I could talk for hours and hours about the many adventures I was lucky enough to undertake during my placements with ACE, I still haven’t finished telling my friends and family everything! The amazing sense of accomplishment and pride I feel whenever I look back at what I’ve learnt and been privileged to be a part of is unfathomable.
I spent two weeks at Mangetti and two at Phinda and it was such an amazing experience! Both taught me so much, including how to use telemetry gear to track animals such as lions and elephants.
On my first day at Moholoholo I was involved in a rhino walk, which is as incredible as it sounds. We chaperoned a young rhino on a walk through the bush, providing him with exercise, mental stimulation and a bit of fun. This is just one of many unbelievable things that I was able to take part in.
The work the vets do to spread the message about conservation and the multiple chances they gave me to interact with wildlife, is beyond incredible and just being able to watch them, let alone get involved, is an absolute privilege.
Chipangali is an amazing family run organisation, run by Kevin & Nicky and their children and I am now best friends with the family. The centre has a great family feel and you quickly bond with all of the other volunteers and I still keep in touch with many of the other volunteers.
I am a qualified veterinary nurse who decided to go to Africa to volunteer because I wanted to make a difference. I worked at Care for Wild for 2 months and Chipangali for 1 month. Whilst you are there it is important to remember to take a moment and appreciate where you are and how lucky you are to be there.
For a full month at Okavango, I had the opportunity to assist in vital research, documenting species presence on the Kwatale conservancy. We had some truly special sightings while there.
Sunset on the Okavango while watching the maribou storks and cormorants settle at the heronry for the night was awesome. We watched the sun’s rays slanting across the water colouring everything with its red glow and then fading as the sun dipped below the grasses and out of sight leaving us in gathering gloom and heading back to our island abode for dinner.
My time at Care for Wild Africa Rhino Sanctuary can best be described as life changing! It is a magical place.
The ACE team and the Phinda locals have provided me with memories that will last a lifetime and an endless amount of stories that I will forever treasure.
I highly recommend the Shimongwe Wildlife Veterinary Experience to anyone considering applying. You will not only gain useful veterinary knowledge and skills, you will also create amazing and unique memories in an astonishingly beautiful country.