Origins of ACE
THE ORIGINS OF AFRICAN CONSERVATION EXPERIENCE
African Conservation Experience was established in 1999 by Rob and Marion Harris, when their son Mark and several of his school friends were seeking opportunities to spend their gap year helping out in a wildlife reserve in South Africa. Having been keen supporters of conservation work in South Africa for many years, it gave them the idea that there was an opportunity in generating financial and practical support for worthwhile projects while facilitating an amazing experience for wildlife enthusiasts!
17 years later, we have organised several thousand placements for conservation travellers of all ages and from all over the world. We have formed close partnerships with a range of amazing wildlife projects and conservation professionals and are currently supporting work in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia.
While the scope of ACE has grown considerably from a group of young lads heading out on an adventure to well-organised and fully supported placements for about 500 travellers each year, our focus and ethos has not changed. We are proud to be wildlife conservation specialists and we use our collective experience to facilitate authentic, rewarding and safe conservation placements that make a real difference.
SUPPORTING CONSERVATION AND GIVING BACK TO AFRICA
Supporting conservation is at our core and our commitment to the local communities and environments we work with is a vital component of what we do. As an organisation we support and sponsor various conservation and community initiatives in southern Africa, part of which, as a conservation traveller you are helping to fund. Read about our current sponsored conservation and community groups in the 'Supporting Conservation and Giving Back to Africa' tab above.
About ACE & Our Mission Statement
ABOUT AFRICAN CONSERVATION EXPERIENCE
Since ACE was established in 1999, the main objectives have always been to provide enthusiastic people with the opportunity to experience wildlife and conservation in southern Africa; and to finance conservation projects in southern Africa through self funding conservation travellers. With over 16 years in operation, ACE has established itself as a reputable organiser of conservation placements on projects in four southern African countries, with now over 5000 conservation travellers having visited more than 20 conservation projects. It is now one of the most experienced UK organisations placing volunteers on conservation projects in southern Africa.
OUR MISSION AND GOALS
to provide conservation enthusiasts worldwide the opportunity to experience and contribute to wildlife conservation, using fair trade and responsible travel principles
To maintain a sustainable organisation, which provides a fulfilling lifestyle for all stakeholders
These statements directly link to our Fair Travel, Fair Work, Fair Play idea, ensuring that our partner projects, our conservation travellers and the communities and ecosystems in which we operate benefit from the conservation placements, meanwhile maintaining a supportive, fun, close-knit culture within ACE itself! Projects are selected on the basis of real conservation value, the genuine wildlife experience they provide to volunteers and their contribution to the local environment and community.
Supporting Conservation and Giving Back to Africa
Our passion for the wildlife and communities of southern Africa drives us to support conservation and community initiatives that cannot be supported in terms of volunteering. A portion of the funds raised by your placement goes directly towards sponsoring communities and local conservation organisations in southern Africa. Here are some of the groups we support:
HARMONY FLATS NATURE RESERVE, SOUTH AFRICA
African Conservation Experience sponsor the Harmony Flats Working Group who volunteer in Harmony Flats Nature Reserve, managed by the Biodiversity Branch within the City of Cape Town. We have provided uniforms for the working group, who care for the reserve and protect and conserve its heritage.
CALLIES FOOTBALL TEAM, BOTSWANA
Sponsoring Callies football team in Mathathane, Botswana. Hoping to install a sense of pride in the local community near Tuli Conservation Project, we sponsored the team strip after several years of them having made a name for their team. Volunteers have at times enjoyed having a match against them!
LUMIKISA SCHOOL, SOUTH AFRICA
African Conservation Experience provided the funds for a local school in the Acorn-Hoek community of South Africa to install a jungle gym playground and ensure it met safety requirements. Lumikisa School was originally struggling with suitable outdoor space for the children and working alongside our Nholwasi Community Project, the school now has a vegetable garden and fun playground. Schools are often a refuge for many children with difficult home lives and we are proud to have been involved with Lumikisa.
SUPPORTED CONSERVATION PROJECTS, SOUTH AFRICA
Supporting our projects when the numbers of volunteers they receive cannot fund them, is paramount to ACE to ensure the projects we support and the families and individuals that rely on them can continue.
SPONSORING SOUTH AFRICA'S FUTURE CONSERVATION PROFESSIONALS
ACE have always believed that conservation education is key to the long-term preservation of Africa’s natural resources. Conservation will be most effective in the hands of those who live in Africa and who value Africa’s parks and wildlife as their heritage.
We decided that we would like give the opportunity of a conservation placement to a local volunteer who could not afford the funding but who would use the knowledge gained to further conservation in Africa. This year, our very first ACE sponsored volunteer was Moloko Makweya, who joined the Zingela Predator Conservation Project for 2 weeks.
Read Moloko's own account of what she learned at Zingela
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