Explore Our 2024 Guide to Gap Year Programs!

    African Conservation Experience

    African Conservation Experience


    • Listing Type: Gap Year Programs
    • Program Delivery: Residential
    • Destinations: Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia
    • Credit Awarded: None
    • Program Length: Two Weeks, Six Weeks, Four Weeks, Two Months, Quarter, Other, Three Weeks, Five Weeks
    • Start Month: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
    • Category: Environmental Conservation
    • Selective: No
    • Gender: Coed
    • Ages: 16, 17, 18, 19+, 19
    • Housing: Cabins, Dorm, Homestay, Other, Tents
    • Financial Aid: Not Available
    • Minimum Cost: $1,000 - $2,999
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    ACE offers experiential placements on sustainable wildlife conservation projects in southern Africa. Projects vary from 2-12 weeks and student volunteers can participate in a variety of conservation tasks, from wildlife care and rehabilitation to veterinary work and wildlife research.

    Gap year projects vary from 2-12 weeks and student volunteers can participate in a variety of conservation tasks, from wildlife care and rehabilitation to veterinary work and wildlife research.

    What we do

    African Conservation Experience has been organizing volunteer opportunities in Africa for fifteen years. With projects in South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe, we are one of the most experienced wildlife volunteer organizations in Africa. We pride ourselves on providing sustainable and ethical opportunities for gap year, university students and volunteers. Through a placement with ACE you will experience the real world of wildlife conservation while making critical contributions to essential conservation work and gaining unmatched hands-on experience.

    Placement dates are flexible based on availability and program acceptance. Volunteers can participate from 2-12 weeks year round, including the option to "split" a placement between two different project sites. This means you could work hands-on rearing infant rhinos at a rehabilitation project and then continue onto another project gaining field research experience on an active African wildlife reserve! 

    Placements are fully supported - we have a full team is the US and UK as well as a ground team in South Africa who will meet you at the airport on arrival, organize all your transfers and who will always be available if you need any help while in country. 

    A typical day varies depending on the placement and project. At most projects you work alongside volunteers from all over the world and you are likely to work with a wide range of wildlife including but not limited to rhino, antelope, giraffe, lion, cerval, bush babies, common dolphin and many more! 

    What volunteers do

    There are a range of projects to choose from and we will personally assist you in selecting the best project to fit your needs and goals. Volunteers can gain hands-on experience in animal care at a wildlife rehabilitation centre, learn field research techniques while working with rangers and researchers in the African bush, join the fast paced life of a South African game capture team, assist a wildlife vet, study dolphins and whales as a marine conservation volunteer or join one of our wildlife courses.

    We currently work with three different wildlife care projects in southern Africa. At rehabilitation projects volunteers work up close and personal with a wide range of animals. Volunteers actively participate in feeding, cleaning, hand rearing and enrichment of the species on a daily basis!

    On a veterinary placement volunteers shadow an accredited South African wildlife vet. Whether at a clinic or out in the field, volunteers take part in an experience that is sure to both build their resume and contribute to the health and welfare of african wildlife!

    At a research experience volunteers assist rangers to keep records, track, monitor and protect wildlife in the region. You will learn skills such as animal identification and research methodologies; this type of information is critical for survival of these species. This is your opportunity to spend time with the big 5 in their natural habitat!

    All of our projects offer an incredible opportunity to give back during your gap year while gaining real world experience and connections in the field of wildlife conservation! Our partner projects fully depend on the support of our volunteers, this means they cannot remain active without your participation! Please don't hesitate to contact us with questions or concerns about our placements and wildlife conservation efforts throughout Africa. 


    • ACE is a very well organized, professional company that provides once in a lifetime opportunities to many people. I was impressed with the communication throughout the entire process from booking my trip till now and with how much you care about our experiences. Thank you!

      - Elizabeth Wyatt - June 21, 2012
    • This was my second trip with the company and I would happily go again. ACE are great at making people feel looked after from arrival at the airport through to departure.

      - Natalie West - March 25, 2012