African Impact is a multi-award winning volunteer travel organisation operating responsible and sustainable volunteer projects and internship programs throughout Southern and East Africa.
African Impact is a multi-award winning volunteer travel organisation operating responsible and sustainable volunteer projects and internship programs throughout Southern and East Africa.
Founded in 2004 in Zimbabwe, we have 10 years’ experience and have facilitated over 10,000 volunteers in 12 countries across the continent, making us the largest on-the-ground African specialists in volunteer tourism. We seek to maximise the positive impact of voluntourism in Africa, both for volunteers and for communities and conservation efforts.
We truly believe in making a difference and seek to maximise the positive impact of voluntourism in Africa, both for volunteers and for communities and conservation efforts. To us, volunteering is a two-way thing. It’s not just about the hands-on help and skills that volunteers bring; it’s also about what this amazing continent, its people and its wildlife can give those volunteers in return.
To ensure the sustainability of our projects, we thoroughly evaluate each potential project with a detailed scorecard before setting up a volunteering program. This involves analysing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of a project as well as its long-term viability and impact. Also, every single one of our projects has community stakeholders. We won’t run a project unless the community not only wants us there, but actually has ownership of the project. Community buy-in is essential.
At African Impact we take a holistic approach to the implementation and running of our projects. We always aim to integrate ourselves into every level of the community working from grass roots to local governments. We have a core emphasis on learning and empowerment for all involved – changing the lives of people in the communities we impact, our volunteers and all African Impact staff.
We offer volunteer projects and internship programs all year round. Our volunteer fee covers all food and accommodation, airport collection and transfers, transport to and from projects, 24 hour support from trained staff on the ground and comprehensive orientation sessions.
My feedback gives high and lows for the group as a whole. I was not a fan of the experience. There are certain activities I hoped to follow through on instead of supporting other conservation programs especially since I wasn’t there long, it will be good to see data being used in a journal that conservationists will be able to access. I think some of the procedures are misleading.
In 2014 I went to volunteer in South Africa and arranged the experience through The Global Work & Travel Co. When I arrived I found out I was actually volunteering with African Impact and that Global Work & Travel were just a booking agent. It worked out more expensive than applying direct with African Impact so make sure you book direct with AI if you are going to apply. If you are looking to volunteer in Africa I really recommend African Impact, I loved my experience!
For years, I wanted to go to Africa to help with wildlife conservation. One day, I decided to stop sitting around and to make this a reality. I researched which organizations to go through, and the highest rated was African impact! They were so helpful and understanding, and made the process smooth. I spent one month in South Africa and was fortunate enough to go at a time where we traveled to two different reserves, and even travel through Swaziland! The guides are so knowledgeable about the cultures and wildlife, and I learned so much about the plants and trees too! My life changed when I was able to meet a bull elephant. Thank you African Impact, I only hope I was able to make my impact too. <3
Hi, I'm Martina and I'm from Milan, Italy. I decided to go to Tanzania with African Impact to do my best to help, as much as I could, the beautiful community of the island of Zanzibar. I spent just two weeks there but I wish I could have stayed longer: I had an amazing time and the project was wonderful. We spent time helping the local teachers at the nursery schools and then, in the afternoon, every volunteer had to teach an english class to a group of young students with a great motivation.
I'd really like to return to Zanzibar for a longer period, because the experience of volunteering with African Impact was just amazing. I loved every second I spent there and I miss Africa, Zanzibar and especially its people and their smiles every single day.
My time at Antelope Park was filled with unforgettable memories I will always cherish. The time flew by and I wish I could have stayed longer than 3 weeks. This is a great program for animal lovers but be prepared to work hard so that you can give the most back. I chose to work everyday aside from my 4 day trip to Victoria Falls (a huge highlight of my entire trip and something I highly recommend!) I worked with the horses weekdays and then on other projects on weekends. I loved how flexible African Impact was at allowing you to experience so much. It was incredible to get to work with the lions and learn more about the program. Early morning walks with the elephants was one of my favorite activities and perhaps most rewarding was working on the community project. As a stables volunteer, you will no doubt lead many safaris for the guests but there was less riding time than I thought there would be coming in. I spent a lot of my time doing the daily chores around the stables, which I did enjoy. My last week we got to choose some activities to do which included: fast sunrise rides, jumping the cross country course, going on a horse swim and playing polo cross. Make sure you take advantage of all the once in a lifetime opportunities and perhaps most of all get to know those around you. The people I met are some of the most interesting, inspiring and awesome people I have ever had the chance of knowing. I am so grateful to walk away with friendships around the world and many many many priceless memories!
I spend two months in Antelope Park, Zimbabwe at their Hands On Lion project. Best two months of my life. It was such a wonderful experience to work this close with lions, and especially with lion conservation. All of the people I met there, both staff and volunteers, were all so wonderful. And Zimbabwe itself is such a beautiful place. Africa has a big place in my heart now.
I absolutely loved volunteering with African Impact. The community project in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe was fantastic, and I loved everything about it. As a volunteer, you are very well taken care of (lodging, and staff are gems), and you feel very much part of a family with other volunteers and AI staff. While out on project, you can feel the impact you are making while in the community. Everyone is so happy to meet volunteers, and are glad for any help they provide. As a volunteer, and a returning staff I have made life long friendships with people from the community, and around the world. Many of whom I still speak to two years later. As an AI ambassador, I feel like I will always be apart of a world-wide family who share the same goal of bettering African countries, one volunteer at a time. I highly recommend anyone -young, or old- to volunteer with this amazing organization, or any of its sister programs!!
Working up close and personal with these beautiful animals was a once in a life time experience. From Being able to participate in a snare sweep & preparing the vitamins the meat for the lions was incredible. Going to small rural farms (human mitigation) and collecting data on how they can eliminate more conflict with the surrounding lions was very eye opening. I was only in Victoria Falls for 3 weeks for an Independ Study for college, but during that time I fell more in love with conservation. I do believe there are certain things that the program could improve on with the lions, (Lion encounter) but I understand that funds are limited. I do recommend African Impact & support ALERT. I would certainly love to return for a long period of time to help the surrounding community and wildlife.
I chose AI because of their work ethic and their continuous impact in communities they work in. I originally signed up for Girls impact at Livingstone but changed my mind three months before I was due to travel to Cape Town and this I didn't regret.
I arrived in November and couldn't wait to start the project and meet the other volunteers then butterflies started when I arrived at Lionhouse. Meeting 20+ people wanting to know where you are from, what project are you doing etc was a bit overwhelming on the first day but I got over it in the morning when we had orientation about what the project was about and couldn't wait to start!!
I was very excited about the Girls Impact project, the orphans and vulnerable project (OVC) I had my reservations about and but it turned out to be my favourite project. Four weeks in Cape Town on this projects was life changing, I remember my last day on the project crying because I couldn't believe that it was coming to an end. Four weeks flew by so quickly so my advice to anyone reading this and wanting to join is make sure that you cherish everyday and if there's something you think will make a big impact on the project do it immediately as you will wish you had .
I've heard in the past from volunteers how it's been a life changing experience and this I can say I agree to as every decision I make now is well thought through, I'm not scared to challenge myself and compassion towards others is more than I had before the projects. The most precious jewel I had around my neck whilst in Cape Town was the arms of the children, hugs from the mamas and the other volunteers especially times when I was homesick.
The passion of the other volunteers kept the fire burning in me, the house was full of love and understanding. It was a nice feeling to wake up daily seeing that we all had the same goal even if we all had different projects that we wanted to make a difference which everyone contributed to.
The greatest lessons I learnt are:
1. The only impossible journey is the one that you never begin
2. If you change the way you look at things , the things you look at changes.
3. The best gift you can give anyone is to empower, educate and care for them.
When I get Cape Town withdrawal, I look at the experiences and opportunities I had with everyone : morning and evening bus rides to projects, music sharing and sing alongs, dinner time, eating smiley, table mountain climb etc. List is endless and priceless... When I look back now, I know I have been blessed to have met the people I had opportunity to share my time with. In summary, we were all strangers to start with but we all had a common goal : Caring!!!
Our passion for humanity brought us all together and I know I've made some precious relationships for life. I can't say thank you enough to AI Cape Town team, the grandmas at GAPA, the mamas and social workers at Fiks, sonwabile, the dance group and the volunteers, everyone made an impact in my life whether small or big and in nutshell that's what I wanted and I got so thanks for making one of my dreams come true.
Cape Town is beautiful city, full of exciting things to do, so make sure you take time to enjoy the mystical city if you do go. Hopefully I will be able to come back and volunteer sometime in the future. So if this is something you are considering, don't be afraid or nervous.
This is an experience of a lifetime, take the leap...
I have returned to the project five times, people always say you should always try something new, I have done other projects, and this is the best.
The bright colours and culture of the Maasai and the diversity and abundance of wildlife, keeps me returning. Every time I visit I look at the wildlife as something precious, knowing that its existence relies on people protecting it, as a volunteer you play a role in protecting it.
Caroline is the project manager who goes above and beyond to accommodate the volunteers. Francis was our guide who is dedicated, focused and respects the wildlife, often finding animal sightings that only a trained eye could spot.
You will drive places tourists rarely go searching for animals such as the ever-elusive leopard. You never know what you're going to encounter, even though I have been to the project five times I still have lots of new exciting experiences a couple of examples are the time Francis noticed in the distance three vehicles chasing around an angry bull elephant. When we arrived on the scene, the elephant had been darted, and the Vets were just finishing up tending to a spear wound which happened outside Naboisho Conservancy. We were within feet of the majestic elephant, the vet Dr Limo took time to talk to us about what had happened and the work he does helping wildlife. On another occasion, Francis spotted a giraffe in the process of giving birth, something only a trained eye could spot. We hung out with her for about an hour watching her give birth and seeing the newborn struggled to stand.
Part of our volunteer work involved collecting data, which meant counting wildlife such as the wildebeest which were in Naboisho in the thousands due to the migration. We also removing invasive plants and helping maintain roads are also vital work volunteers do.
The big cat monitoring is always exciting, we know the four male lions that dominate Naboisho, we also see the females with their cubs that are often playing and up to mischief.
As part of our volunteer placement, We visited Naboisho primary school. The children sang for us, and they were friendly, curious and excited by our presence. One of my highlights was playing football with the children. We also helped prepare and taught a class.
Visiting school helps the children connect with people outside their community and gives you an insight to Maasai life it is something you won't experience as a tourist. The principal told us if the children encounter a dangerous animal on the way to school, such as an elephant not to come to school. Wish I could use that excuse to get out of work.
As a volunteer, you are well treated. You get three delicious meals a day by Ben who cooks with passion and will show off his dance moves. As well as three meals Ben sometimes made treats for us such as banana bread which was the best banana bread I have had.
The community area is where the volunteers eat, socialise and play games you also have the option of having a fire outside which is a great way of ending an evening. Sewella makes your bed and cleans your room/tent daily and does your laundry. I stayed in a dome tent. At night you hear the calls of the lions, hyenas, hippo, zebra and wildebeest a true African experience. leaving my tent in the morning I would sometimes see zebra, wildebeest in the near distance.
The Maasai Mara National Reserve is a day trip. On my visit, we saw coalitions of five cheetahs hunting and making a kill.
We were invited to a Maasai Wedding; Caroline was gracious enough to dress us in traditional clothing to wear to the ceremony, it was a once in a lifetime experience.
You also have the option to stay in a lodge at a discount price if they have availability. I stayed at EagleView which had a breathtaking view, great room and food.
I’m recently home from my second trip to Zimbabwe with AI. The first time we spent a couple of weeks volunteering in Imire Rhino and wildlife conservation centre and had the most amazing experience. We loved it so much we made sure to return on the last leg of this trip. This time we started off in Antelope Park doing the community and lion project which was absolutely life changing getting to experience the work they do with the community and the animals also. After our visit we of course returned to Imire for one week.
I will be back to both places again for sure 😊
I flew out to Zambia in January of 2017, so earlier this year and I have to say it was probably one of the most incredible and amazing trips I have ever been on, and I'm fresh in college. I stayed there doing medical volunteering for two weeks, along with helping out with the local children. The staff are amazing, along with the local folk who dedicate their time to African Impact. It was so memorable that I plan to apply for the graphic design internship through AI in Cape Town within a couple years.
African Impact provided a unique opportunity for me at a wonderful site in Zimbabwe called Antelope Park. It was through the help of emails sent back and forth between people at AP, questions for my friend Kristin Tadlock that works in Vic Falls, and an ambassador for the program, Clara Corbett, that I was able to acquire the knowledge needed to volunteer with African Impact. While there, I made friends from all parts of the world, each bringing their own unique perspective to AP. My program was hands-on lion conservation and community healthcare. I was able to help in th delivery of a beautiful baby, I assisted in caring and conserving the king of the jungle, I helped in the initial steps of building a school in a rural community, I had a chance to help in the rescue of a zebra caught in a snare trap, I visited the gorgeous world wonder that is Victoria Falls, I helped teach children English and math, and SO much more. But most importantly, I developed lasting friendships with some of the most amazing humans on the planet—both volunteers and workers. These people truly cultivated an amazing experience for me during my two week stay. For that, I am forever grateful. So, thank you Antelope Park and African Impact for giving me skills, memories, and friendships to last a lifetime. I’d LOVE to volunteer again with you all!
Me and my partner were excited and nervous the day we were waiting outside our hotel at the airport to be picked up by one of the team and as soon as we met Dan and the rest of the team they made us feel so welcome. The house felt like one big family and we worked as a team and became good friends.
The work was challenging and emotional at times but just seeing the children smile and appreciate things we always take for granted for example clean water. It was inspiring seeing how the community works together to give the best they can back to the children. African Impact always ensured we always had support and that we were safe. The gave us excellent training and information and could not recommended this company enough.
The memories I have from my time spent at the lion house in Cape town will stay with me and my partner forever, we have also made some forever friends who we plan on meeting with very soon.
Thanks Vicki, Dan, Alice and everyone else you really helped us and educated us on so many levels. We hope to see you again in the near future.
In total I have volunteered on 3 different projects in 3 different countries over a period of 8 months with African Impact.
And those 8 months are at the moment the best months of my life!
I met the most beautiful people from around the world. And every one of them I keep close to my heart.
Some of them were staff, others were volunteers and of course some were locals from the communities.
I'm really thankful for each and every one of them.
African Impact is an amazing organization, where you know where your money goes to. The staff is amazing and helpful.
From the moment you book your stay all the way until the end of your stay they will be there to help you.
If you stay for a longer time on a project, you can see and feel the impact you make.
But sometimes you can even see the impact immediately. And through Facebook you are kept up-to-date with all the future things that happen at the project.
These 8 months are definitely not gonna be my last months of volunteering with African Impact!
I have volunteered with African Impact twice. The first time for two weeks in October 2015 the Lion Project in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and the second time as an Alert Intern on community projects for three months at the same place! When I first decided to go I just wanted to do something different in my gap-year before I went backpacking in Asia and Australia. However, after my year of traveling the one adventure that made the deepest impact on me was my three weeks in Africa. Therefore I decided to go back, instead of going to school for another year. I stayed in VicFalls from November 2016 to February 2017. It is with our doubt the most interesting, exciting and most amazing three months of my life. I feel in love the culture and the people, and I admire the way they live their life. I left for Africa knowing that I wanted to go back for a few months, but. It what I wanted to do after. I left Africa knowing that I want to become a teacher, and if I'm getting the opportunity, I will go abroad and teach! Go volunteering, it will change your way of looking at life! ❤️😊
I went on a gap year, I went to do three month in the livingstone, Zambia 🇿🇲, for the building project, I had a lot fun and made loads of new experiences, I really enjoyed the African impact livingstone a lot, I met loads of new people and helped to contribute to the livingstone community via farming, teaching, Build-It and gender equality!
It was the best three months of my life!
I volunteered with AI in my gap-year of high school in 2015. I went on the South African trip involving the BIG 5 for one month. It was a trip that changed my life! After the month volunteering I was lucky enough to score an internship with AI as their research assistant and stayed on for another 3 months. The staff at AI are like a family to me now. The work they do is far more than just tourism, it's conservation education, it's turning apathy into action all whilst giving you an incredible travel experience abroad! I would recommend travelling with AI to anyone who has a desire for adventure, conservation and a everlasting impact!
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