Ask anyone who has taken a gap year in Africa and they’ll tell you that it was one of the most rewarding experiences of their life.
Everyone knows that the continent is a hub for cultural and natural diversity – nowhere else in the world affords visitors the joys of going on a Big Five safari, exploring the bustling metropolis of city life and getting to grips with cultural phenomena, all in the same country. As a whole, Africa has something for everyone looking for an exciting gap year opportunity. Of course, the famous animals found in the game reserves of Africa are a big attraction to outsiders. If you’re a lover of furry four-legged creatures with a desire to explore Mama Africa, have a look at some of the best gap year programmes available. From wildlife conservation to veterinary practice, you’ll find something to suit you in Africa:

– If you’ve always been fascinated by wildlife, why not embrace it and submerge yourself in wildlife training during your gap year? Become a game ranger and get to experience the Serengeti first hand. Learn more about the Big Five, but more importantly, what you can do to protect them. There are a number of year-long courses that will leave you with full game ranger accreditation.

– There is also always the option to go to South Africa’s famous Shamwari Game Reserve and join in on their conservation experience. Gap Africa Projects can help you organise the rare opportunity to catch a glimpse into what happens at one of the continent’s most popular attractions. Spend your days and nights tracking animals, learning about the diverse ecology and ecosystems and making fantastic memories.

– If you have dreams of pursuing a career in veterinary science, why not spend some time working alongside a wildlife vet? Getting into vet school is extremely competitive. The more experience you have, the better. Have a look at the pre-vet programmes. These are perfect for anyone looking to build up a bit of a portfolio before applying to study further.

– If your love for animals extends to the deep blue sea, there are also a number of conservation projects focussed on marine life in Africa. Every year, 100 million sharks are unnecessarily culled. Do your part to help save them by volunteering for the Great White Shark Project. This is an excellent way to learn and experience more about the ocean while still protecting one of its most majestic creatures.

– Promoting marine life sustainability is just as important as anything else. If this particular sphere interests you, the ORCA Marine Foundation offers programmes that encourage the responsible use of marine resources in order to ensure the longevity of the ocean’s ecosystems.

As an animal lover, you will not be out of place in Africa. Spend your gap year on a continent unlike any other – you certainly will not regret it.