Whether you’re embarking on a survival trek in the desert or playing a small role in marine conservation for a week, isn’t it time we all stepped out of our comfort zones and learnt something new?
Transform as we travel? Some may argue that travel has always had the ability to transform.
Only now, travellers are intentionally choosing authentic experiences that teach us, inspire personal growth, and leave a positive impact on the people and space we encountered.
If you are an advanced diver, join a Go Deeper expedition with Marine Megafauna Foundation (MMF) in Mozambique and dive alongside MMF’s marine biologists.
As a guest, you’ll learn how to interact with whale sharks and manta rays without disrupting their natural behaviour, identify the maturity of an individual animal, recognize different types of behaviour, take identification photos, record environmental conditions and take part in land activities too, such as making a traditional dish with locals.
Chumbe Island is the world’s first financially self-sustaining Marine Protected Area and its projects and conservation efforts are fully funded by ecotourism.
Stay in one of their seven eco-bungalows with zero impact on the environment.
As a guest on the island, you will learn about coral ecology, marine protected successes and challenges through pre-and post-snorkelling briefings, learn the names of local marine life in Swahili, and contribute to science by recording indicator species by taking images of marine life with your own underwater cameras/go pros.
Immerse yourself in interactive art, music and story-telling experiences of the Open Africa Ribola Art Route in Mbokota, near Elim in Limpopo.
Visit Twananani Textiles, where you’ll be taught the art of textile design (batik, block printing, beading, painting by hand) in an interactive, hands-on way by Ma Florence and the dynamic Amu.
Design and draw on your own cloth, trace the outline with wax and then paint it to create your own tablecloth to take home.
Visit the Mukondeni Pot Village where you’ll learn how to create clay pots the age-old way – in a fire pit.
Fancy yourself a forager? Or at least curious about what sourcing your own food from the land may look like?
Veld and Sea hosts various workshops, depending on the season, to teach sustainable and responsible foraging and to teach guests what is edible, what part of the plant to harvest and how to prepare it.
From wild mushrooms to seaweeds and shellfish, edible weeds and flowers, you will forage for indigenous edibles, learn how to sustainably harvest them, utilize them in your kitchen, grow them in your garden, and learn about some of their medicinal properties.
After snacks and a gathering excursion, you’ll get creative in the foraging classroom kitchen and prepare and share a feast.
Fly into the wildlife paradise of Nosy Be Island for a week or 20 and join Wildlife Conservation Madagascar in searching for and surveying reptiles, amphibians, butterflies and lemurs.
Home to a vast diversity of life, 80% of wildlife here is unique to the island but also endangered.
Trek up the highest mountain of Mount Maromokoto, and immerse yourself in the diverse Malagasy culture.
The aim of the programme is to assess the island’s biodiversity, to see which species are most affected by human disturbance, and how to help them best by making conservation plans for the rainforest together with the relevant national and local entities.
Only 10 minutes from Malawi’s capital city of Lilongwe, Kumbali Country Lodge is a private lodge situated on a 650-hectare forest reserve.
It has a Permaculture Centre, a dairy factory and a conservation research facility studying hyenas and bats on site.
While staying at Kumbali, you will receive practical experience at Nature’s Gift Permaculture Centre.
Guests are immersed in the principles of permaculture and will gain insight into this holistic, environmentally friendly way of designing and building our human habitats.
Join Nick Dyer on a journey to the remote wildlife areas of Hwange National Park and Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe.
It is the adventure of a lifetime. Nick Dyer is an award-winning photographer and author of the coffee–table book Painted Wolves: A Wild Dog’s Life. He has a love of animals and is committed to their conservation.
Join this nine-day photographic safari which combines the pristine national parks and knowledgeable and passionate safari guides.
It starts in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, and ends in Harare. You’ll return with images to remind you of your journey – as well as better photography skills.
Ready to discover your inner hunter-gatherer and test how well you would survive in a harsh, remote environment like the desert?
Wild Human, a small team of highly respected bushcraft educators and specialist wilderness guides, encourage the re-discovery of wilderness skills to empower others to enjoy nature.
During this hands-on experience you’ll learn practical routines and desert bushcraft, and the Bushman trackers will impart a myriad techniques used to sustain life, from tracking spoor to hunting with poison arrows.
In two or 12 weeks your role will be to help overburdened teachers in a rural school by offering one-on-one tutoring time with those pupils falling behind at school.
Without this kind of support system, many kids won’t be able to complete their schooling. Antelope Park is where you’ll be living, teaching and also researching lions as part of their lion–release program.
While in Zimbabwe, take the chance to lay eyes on the mighty Victoria Falls, kayak in the rapids, swim in Devil’s Pool (in season) or see the world’s largest sheet of water from a helicopter.
Swaziland and South Africa
Thinking about combining a holiday with a few days of volunteering? The Vacation Project hosts you on a holiday in Swaziland and South Africa and a volunteer trip with their NGO partner, Centre for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW,) for a few days.
While in Swaziland, stay at the country’s first community eco-tourism project, Shewula Mountain Camp.
And while in South Africa, go on safari in Tembe Elephant Park, which is partly owned and fully managed by the Tembe tribe.
Then it’s time to get active by volunteering at CROW to help feed and care for the animals, ensuring their enclosures are cleaned and helping the team with general maintenance around the grounds.