INTO THE WILD GAP YEAR PROGRAM

Quick Facts

Greater Kruger Area, South Africa

Hoedspruit Airport

4 September 2022

8 weeks

Impact: Wildlife Conservation

from $9,000

INTO THE WILD GAP YEAR PROGRAM

Taking a gap year is a great idea. It’s an opportunity to gain perspective on your values and goals, to explore your strengths, and to grow in confidence and adaptability. Moreover, research shows that people who take a gap year before going to university end up performing better academically and finding a more fulfilling career. So plenty of reasons to get off the academic treadmill for a year, and have a purposeful adventure.

At African Impact, we believe there’s no better place for your journey of self-discovery than the African bush. Based in South Africa’s Greater Kruger Area, we offer an 8-week gap year program that combines experiential learning, self-discovery, and skill development. You’ll learn about wildlife conservation, African cultures, and broaden your horizons. You’ll gain survival skills, learn about advocacy, and support grassroots causes. More importantly, you’ll grow in confidence, self-awareness, and flexibility.

Build confidence, explore your unique talents, and get ready for a purposeful career. At African Impact, we firmly believe that taking a gap year offers you these opportunities, and provides you with a platform for self-exploration that will help guide you on the right life path.

Let us take you on this exciting life adventure!

Project Highlights

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Game drives spotting wild animals in the African bush
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Zipline through the canopy of ancient forests.
Volunteer Travel
Stay in our bush camp surrounded by the Big 5
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Take part in local language and cooking lessons
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Survival camping weekend – cook for yourself on an open fire
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Participate in our 3 Day survival course living in the African wild with only the bare-essentials
Learn about rhino poaching, research, data capturing and analysis to enrich our conservation efforts
Meet the world famous, all female, Black Mambas Antipoaching unit
Assist a local group of women who make bracelets from snare wire
Identify your purpose in life, exploring your strengths and making life long friends

The Destination

The Greater Kruger Area encompasses over 20 private wildlife reserves on the west side of the world-renowned Kruger National Park in South Africa. These private reserves come together to create one big reserve. A significant contribution to wildlife conservation efforts, helping to protect and preserve one of the world’s last remaining wildlife strongholds.

The whole area comprises almost 5.5 million acres of unfenced land where animals roam freely across wild savannah. The Greater Kruger Area is a major hotspot for wildlife conservation and offers endless opportunities for wildlife encounters with iconic animals such as elephants, lions, rhinos, and wild dogs. Many of these animals are endangered or vulnerable.

Our Lodge will become your home away from home during your time with us, an exclusive, fully equipped volunteer house on land with open borders to the Kruger National Park. You will experience a safari-style lodge with everything you need for a comfortable stay, including a swimming pool, viewing deck, WiFi, hot showers, and an outdoor area for star gazing and socializing. We don’t know of a better place to sit around a camp-fire and admire the stars!

Situated on the banks of the Olifants River your home during your time with us will be at a private base camp which is open to the Kruger National Park. You will experience a safari-style camp with everything you need for a comfortable stay, including a swimming pool, viewing deck, WiFi, hot showers, and an outdoor area for star gazing and socializing.
2 cooked meals a day by our onsite chefs and a help-yourself breakfast of a variety of locally sourced products.
At the lodge there is free WiFi to enable you to make contact with home through WhatsApp, Zoom etc. It is also easy to purchase a sim and add data credit to allow you to use your own phone to stay in touch.
The project is situated in the Lowveld - a semi–arid region. We are blessed with good weather all year round. Summer season (October to March) can be wet and hot. The hottest months are usually December, January and February. Winter Season (April to September) is dry and sunny. The coolest months being June and July when it does get cold at night and early mornings.

Project Impact Areas

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Days 1 - 7: Welcome to the wild

What better place than the African bush to isolate with dedicated team members to ensure safety against Covid19. Enjoy game drives in reserves surrounded by wild African animals. Spend evenings at the lodge sitting around the fire sharing stories and building new relationships. This is the perfect opportunity to experience and develop skills around developing social connections. This is fundamental in life and business as a skill that is the basis for forming relationships and healthy boundaries to support and enhance your life experience.

Learning Outcomes
a. Teamwork
b. Friendships
c. Social Confidence
d. Healthy Barriers
e. Mutual Respect

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Days 8 - 14: The Outer Edges

Build cultural awareness, adapting to your new surroundings. Reflecting on our lives, taking time to observe the world around us allows for us to gain perspective on immediate situations giving greater clarity with a sense of calm re-aligning to our greater purpose.

Learning outcomes
a. Stress & anxiety reduction
b. Situation/problem management
c. Greater focus
d. Calmer life experience

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Days 15 - 24: Purpose

Find purpose and meaning in what life has to offer. Identify your own passion and advocacy and stand tall with new confidence. Learn about how conservation works and how you can contribute, spend time in the bush with conservation professionals learning about their lives and what life is like protecting animals in the wild. Through reflection consider your purpose in life. It is our driving force that leads to not only a satisfying future but greater motivation, passion and happiness in daily life. Often this is not found until later in life, if at all. Encouraging the exploration of purpose leads toward more dedicated and focused individuals who are more likely to succeed.

Learning Outcomes
a. Life direction
b. Decision confidence
c. Motivation & passion
d. Personal Prioritisation

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Days 25 - 34: Trust

Identify individual strengths that contribute to a team goal. Get involved in healthy debates and learn to influence others. All the elements of working in a successful team. Here you experience exciting adventures where in teams you will find your courage to zip line through the treetops and together contribute toward impactful work on a collaborative project. Key critical thinking skills are, analysis, interpretation, inference, explanation, self-regulation, open-mindedness, and problem-solving. Gain a better understanding of how to manage situations as well as understanding ourselves and our abilities. Critical thinking provides different perspectives and promotes personal growth and overall happiness.

Learning outcomes
a. Creative problem solving
b. Psychological resilience
c. Self-belief

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Days 35 - 42: Independence

Learn the importance of proudly standing on your own two feet. Being self-aware allows us to appreciate who we are as individuals. Strap on your hiking boots as you head out into nature to explore the area and yourself. Reflect on life as you visit a local community project that empowers local people to provide for themselves. We can objectively evaluate ourselves, manage our emotions, align behavior with our values, and understand correctly how others perceive us. This is an essential life skill to establish confidence and emotional resilience.

Learning outcomes
a. Communication skills
b. Self-confidence
c. Positive outlook
d. Optimism

The spirit of Ubuntu

Days 43 - 49: Ubuntu

Ubuntu meaning “humanity.” It is often translated as “I am because we are,” In a more philosophical sense to mean “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity.” Working together you embark on a thrilling team survival course. You will be guided through reserve areas, sleeping under the stars, bonding with one another whilst listening to the African nature that surrounds oyu. Through our abilities to show compassion in life we gain greater emotional intelligence as well as an appreciation for the world around us and those within it. By appreciating the lives of others much of our life is positively impacted from relationship management, inter-personal respect to our presence and engagement in the moment.

Learning outcomes
a. Active listening
b. Greater patience
c. Gratitude

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Days 50 – 56: Looking forward

Your time is coming to an end. This is your opportunity to reflect on your journey through this program and on your value, purpose and strengths. Here you embed positive change in your life and look forward with confidence. Learn to be intentional in using your natural strengths to propel yourself through your life. The culmination of all your personal development work, your impactful field work and experiences throughout this journey. Reflection on goals set in the initial weeks take this chance to work closely with the team and fellow gappers to share experiences and explore how everything learnt can be applied to life going forward.

Learning outcomes
a. Greater confidence and emotional resilience
b. Goal setting and achieving skills
c. The importance and strength of working together
d. Discover your purpose in life
e. Greater sense of self-awareness
f. Improved decision-making skills

Recent Reviews

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked Questions on Gap Years with African Impact

Why should i pay for my kid to do a Gap Year abroad?

Investing in gap year travel for your child can seem daunting and you may be asking yourself, ‘will it be beneficial in the long run?’ 97% of Gap Year students say the experience increased their maturity. 84% acquired skills to be more successful in their chosen careers. 73% found increased readiness for college.

How will my child benefit from a Gap Year Abroad?

With the correct structure this can be one of the most powerful and formative years of your child’s life. We have found that young adults find themselves more prepared for the world, taking on the responsibilities of being an adult with greater ease. Increased maturity, confidence, self-awareness and purpose in life leading toward greater clarity on directions to take and the right decisions to make. It is all too often that young students make the wrong decision of what to study leading toward increased stress and even drop-outs of college. As a parent college is a big investment and a gap year with all of its benefits adds greater security to this investment in the long run. More on personal development The 7 themes that our program is constructed are specifically designed by expert guides and coaches in order to give your child the best possible experiences and opportunities to grow and develop as an individual. These themes cover a range of developmental focuses to get the most and the best out of your child, and their life ahead. Read more about the themes here (link to program page)

Is it safe to do a gap year in Africa?

We are passionate about safety. As we have been around for over 15 years we consider ourselves experts on Africa and youth travel in this incredible continent. Our teams are highly trained and fully present at all times in order to give your child the best possible exposure to what Africa has to offer in safe and supportive environments. We pride ourselves on our locations, our in-house training and quality of standards from accommodation to transportation, activities and more. You can read more about our safety protocols on our information pages.

Why should i choose African Impact for my Gap Year program?

With over 15 years in the youth travel and impact sectors we provide transformative experiences, filled with exciting activities and opportunities to explore the Greater Kruger Region, as well as focuses on self-development and personal growth. We believe the investment in young adults as they transition from high school to adult life can truly be the catalyst between a good life and a truly great life. Statistically, almost 1 in 3 students do not complete their studies and many believe this is due to choices made or a lack of interest in the areas of study. Therefore, taking the time to discover oneself, understand your core strengths and values can lead to greater success. This is where we come in. Our programs are designed to provide safe and adventurous exposure to the world as well as guide students toward finding the courage and clarity of their personal purpose in life. 77% helped them find purpose in their life. 77% say it positively influenced their career decision. 93% report greatly improved communication skills. *All stats from studies conducted by the Gap Year Association of America

What are the benefits of doing a gap year abroad?

Experience a different culture, learn a new language, develop new life skills, discover a hidden passions, prep for college, improve yourself, live life to the fullest, boost your job prospects and have a whole lot of fun! 86% of those who took at gap year say they are very satisfied with their chosen career. 81% highly recommend others take a gap year. 77% take a gap year after finishing high school. 92% Wanted to gain experiences of personal growth. 81% Wanted a break from the academic track. 52% Wanted to explore academic pursuits 44% Wanted to explore careers

What personal benefits will I achieve from taking a gap year abroad?

Support leading up to your life changing experience Get to know your fellow participants and build relationships before you embark on this life-changing journey together. Share excitement and challenges along the way and work with our supportive team leaders to get the most out of your preparations. Learn about your true-self Identify your individual strengths that makes you, you. Learn active listening, get involved in healthy debates, share feedback and practice how to influence others to achieve a team goal.

What are some of the activities I can experience on a gap year program in Africa?

Media project Build a presentation throughout the 12 weeks on a topic of your choice. Consider two sides to every story. Challenge western thinking. Learn valuable communication skills, identifying your own areas of passion and advocacy. Innovation and problem solving Through an actual building project, learn about planning, budget, design, leadership, building execution, celebrating success and learning from failures. Creatively problem solve, learn from others and create relevant solutions in a different context and culture. Documenting your journey Our experts will host lessons on journaling, blog writing and photography to get the most out of documenting your experience. Make every minute count and reflect on what really matters. Weekends in Africa Optional weekend trips to explore the nature reserves and adventures that the area offers. Make the most of your African experience.

Other Activities

With the world-famous Kruger National Park right on our doorstep, going on safari will be at the top of your list of things to do during your stay in South Africa. It is the largest game reserve in South Africa, and by far, the best. Mountains, savannahs, rivers, and tropical forests make up the landscape of Kruger National Park. The Big 5 – lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, buffalo – are the most well-known residents. But hundreds of other animals call the Kruger National Park home, so keep your camera ready!
The Panorama Route is a must-do during your time in South Africa. A weekend road trip along the Panorama Route gives you a chance to explore its wonders, including the spectacular Blyde River Canyon. It is the third-largest canyon on Earth. Two of the best ways to experience the canyon is on a white river rafting trip or microlight flight. If you prefer to keep your feet on the ground, Three Rondavels and God’s Window are the best viewpoints. Waterfall chasing is another highlight of the Panorama Route. The most impressive waterfalls are Berlin Falls, Lisbon Falls, and Lone Creek Falls.
After the day’s excitement, you can relax beside the pool, have a drink at the bar, watch a movie, or enjoy a games night with the other interns and volunteers. We often have presentations by guides and staff members, which is a great way to learn more about the African environment and its inhabitants. You can also get involved in fundraising events such as games and quiz nights. Dinners on our viewing deck are a highlight at Olifant's River Camp. As are the marshmallow roasting get togethers around the fire!
Experience a 2 day, 1 night survival bush walk and camp out under the stars with a trained ranger in the Greater Kruger Area. You will walk to your camp ground, setup your tent, cook your own food, use the African Bush ablutions and experience the wild side of Africa.

Apply Now

Once you have submitted your application, a Destination Specialist will be in-touch to discuss the project with you.

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Project Fee Includes

  • Airport pickup and drop-off
  • Shared Accommodation
  • Personal development coaching & workshops
  • All your daily program transport
  • 3 meals a day, freshly cooked from our team of great chefs
  • A full-time housekeeping service and 24-hour onsite support
  • WiFi

Project Fee Excludes

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa-related costs
  • Weekend trips or tours not on the itinerary
  • Snacks, soft drinks, gifts, and souvenirs
  • Camera and laptop
  • Mandatory contribution of US$25 that is donated to the African Impact Sustainability Fund
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