African Mini Gap Year

Gain skills while learning about marine and wildlife conservation efforts in the South Africa region.

Home Conservation African Mini Gap Year
August – October 2024
South Africa
3 Months

$ 8,697




This three-month gap program in South Africa alternates between marine conservation in False Bay and volunteering at a Big 5 animal conservation center in Kruger. This initiative provides a wonderful opportunity to help preserve two unique ecosystems and the incredible species that live in them.

You will learn crucial skills such as modern research procedures, conservation methods, and animal monitoring throughout the program. Explore two gorgeous sites, immerse yourself in local cultures, and learn about the unique challenges and accomplishments of marine and wildlife conservation. This program will help you create a strong connection to nature and inspire a lifelong commitment to conservation.

Become an advocate for the preservation of our oceans and animals. Join us on this extraordinary journey where your passion will have a direct impact on marine and animal conservation initiatives in South Africa.

Embark on an exhilarating encounter with Kruger National Park’s majestic Big 5 animals.
Marvel at the breathtaking beauty of Table Mountain in South Africa.
Enjoy a range of outdoor activities during your time off, including catching some waves and surfing, hiking, and exploring South Africa’s stunning Wild Coast.
Explore the historic Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the cultural heart of Zanzibar.
Relax and unwind on the stunning beaches of False Bay.



August 5, 2024 - August 30, 2024 | 4 Weeks

In the idyllic False Bay, immerse yourself in marine conservation efforts and work closely with the local marine center dedicated to protecting the ocean world. You should be assisting in research projects, engaging in conservation initiatives aimed at promoting responsible tourism practices and monitoring marine biodiversity. Some of your responsibilities will also include guiding, instructing, and leading participants through dives and snorkeling excursions. Additionally, you’ll gather the collected data with ongoing research endeavors exposing how humans impact the ocean environment.

Project Highlights
  • Work at the local marine center dedicated to the protection of the marine ecosystem.
  • Develop a strong understanding of marine science and ecology.
  • Engage in conservation initiatives promoting responsible tourism practices.
  • Gain knowledge with boat-based and land-based field research methods.
  • Contribute to community education programs and raise awareness about marine conservation.

Stay in nearby lodging that’s conveniently close to the research center. During off-hours, you will have the time to taste the local cuisine at charming restaurants and bars near your place. Explore the picturesque surroundings with hikes, or take a quick journey to the beautiful city of Cape Town, adding an extra layer of excitement to your experience.



September 1, 2024 - October 25, 2024 | 8 Weeks

Transitioning to the Greater Kruger Area, you’ll engage in wildlife conservation and have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work at a Big 5 wildlife conservation center. Gain practical knowledge about the conservation challenges that are threatening iconic species like lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards, and buffaloes. Through your hands-on involvement with community leaders and researchers, you will directly contribute to the protection and preservation of these majestic animals, ensuring their survival for generations to come.

Project Highlights
  • Contribute to the research and monitoring of these iconic species, collecting valuable data to aid in their protection and conservation.
  • Assist in habitat restoration and management projects to create a sustainable environment for the “Big 5” and other wildlife species.
  • Collaborate with experienced researchers and local communities to raise awareness about the importance of conserving these magnificent animals and their ecosystems.

This project provides comfortable accommodation with seven spacious dorm rooms that offer beautiful views of the Olifants River. Each room is equipped with air conditioning and a private bathroom for your comfort. Additionally, you can enjoy the relaxing swimming pool and outdoor fire pit during your time away from work.

What You Pay For:

  • Airport welcome and transfers
  • 3 meals a day
  • Accommodation
  • 24/7 emergency travel assistance
  • Safety expertise
  • Extensive pre-departure information and support
  • Pre and post arrival orientation
  • Local onsite coordinator with 24/7 availability
  • Local orientation, project training & equipment


  • Flights
  • Visa expenses
  • Vaccinations
  • Personal expenses
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Costs for additional excursions or activities
  • Police/government background check
  • Any costs for COVID-19 PCR tests (if required by the country)
  • Mandatory contribution of $25 that is donated to the African Impact Sustainability Fund
  • Optional PADI diving course upgrade

Program Reviews

What our past alumni say

I always knew I would love the wildlife but what I didn’t realise was how much I would fall in love with the whole ethos of African Impact. On my last day there I wrote this; I think it tells you a lot about my experience. When I landed here 2 weeks ago, I didn’t know what I’d find, what I found was incredible people, a new family by my side. I stand before you a changed soul. Shared loves and shared experiences have opened my eyes to life, in all my many years I have never felt so alive. Now released back into the world, to go our separate ways, but please accept my heartfelt thanks, these have been the best of days!

Christopher Tubbs CollingsAfrican Big 5 and Wildlife Conservation

Frequently asked questions

What is the requirement to be on the marine conservation project?

No professional background is required but the ideal candidate should have the dedication to marine conservation and be familiar with scientific research and data handling. Some of the tasks you will be doing include assisting biologists and research assistants on underwater research dives, processing data collected from marine surveys and assisting with community programs focusing on marine conservation.

Where is the Big 5 conservation project located?

The Greater Kruger Area consists of over 20 private wildlife reserves adjacent to the Kruger National Park in South Africa, forming one large reserve. Covering almost 5.5 million acres of unfenced land, it serves as a crucial wildlife conservation effort, protecting one of the world’s last remaining wildlife strongholds. This area is a significant hotspot for conservation, providing abundant opportunities to observe endangered or vulnerable animals like elephants, lions, rhinos, and wild dogs roaming freely in the wild savannah.

What will I be doing in a wildlife conservation project in South Africa?

Participants get to be part of valuable research on the iconic African Big 5 and other wildlife in the stunning Greater Kruger Area. Through regular game drives and research, volunteers contribute to understanding the health, behavior, and populations of these creatures, ultimately aiding in conservation strategies to protect South Africa’s wildlife effectively.

What animals are in Africa’s Big 5?

You will be working with other volunteers on the conservation of lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards, and buffalo.

We are here to help

We are here to guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have.


Need more information?

Find out all about Impact Gap Year and your gap year experiences in out information guide.



At Impact Gap Year, we are committed to creating a world where individuals are empowered to lead. where ethical practices prevail, and where young people are equipped to create positive change. Join us on this journey of growth, collaboration, and impact.

3015 E Franklin Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55406, USA

+1 970​-399​-9968  

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