African Impact

African Impact

About

African Impact pioneered responsible volunteer abroad travel in Africa back in 2004 and have since grown into the largest provider of volunteer projects on the continent. Proudly African, we work hand-in-hand with local communities to establish, develop and monitor initiatives that contribute to community empowerment and wildlife conservation. Our dedication and commitment to authentic and sustainable practices has earned us numerous awards throughout the years, including becoming the only organization to ever win Outstanding Volunteer Project twice in the Global Youth Travel Awards, and being named the Top Volunteer Abroad Organization by volunteers for 5 years in row in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

We invite you to join our passionate teams on the ground and to experience projects that take you to a place that leaves you awed, inspired, able to do more, to discover more, and to make a real impact. Volunteering abroad in Africa has never been so amazing, apply today!

Reviews

Default avatar
Anna
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Zambia Medical Program

I really enjoyed my time with Africa Impact in Zambia. It was great to experience the culture and the team in African impact really helped with this from hosting cultural dinner, to cultural talks and hosting a mock Zambian wedding. I really enjoyed helping on in the community and feeling like I made a difference even if it was small. As well as learning and getting involved in the Zambian culture it was a great experience to meet volunteers from around the world and learn about their cultures and traditions also.

Pros
  • Experiencing the Culture
  • Meeting people from around the world
  • Helping others
Default avatar
Susan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Healthcare/Community Outreach Livingstone Zambia

This was my first time volunteering overseas and I wasn't sure what to expect. My first day I was warmly welcomed and cheered by the volunteers and staff and felt quite at home almost immediately. The work ( home-based healthcare, clinic and community outreach) felt rewarding and appreciated, the local people were so warm and friendly and the accommodations beautiful and cozy. Weekends were filled with hiking at Victoria Falls, safari, dinners out, local shopping and hanging by the pool. Also the food was delicious! I left with a strong sense of community and much sadness. I wished I'd signed up for more time!

Pros
  • experiencing a culture so unlike my own
  • doing meaningful necessary work
  • being a part of a caring fun community
Cons
  • WiFi was definitely spotty
Default avatar
Wiktoria
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing weeks teaching in Livingstone

I had an amazing time here in Zambia volunteering with African impact! As I earlier have been volunteering with other organisations, I must say that AI was the best one yet :) The staff makes you feel like a part of this amazing family. Everyone is super friendly, helpful and encouraging. Loved my teaching experience here, not only at the main school I worked at but also at the different afternoon projects that we held as well.
If I could describe my experience as three main things, it would be: super organised, lovely people and helped me grow <3

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Because I’m not a teacher by profession just decided to do this on my gap year I must say: teaching fully packed classes in different subjects by myself. I quickly realised it was about confidence and feeling comfortable. The staff and fellow volunteers helped me greatly with that and it quickly became one of the best experiences ever! So yeah maybe that if you don’t count the bungee jump at Victoria Falls… ;)
Default avatar
Daniel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Livingstone, more like Living...home

Never in my life have I felt like I actually did anything worthwhile before coming here for only two short weeks. The work on the medical project with African Impact was low stress and good practice for anyone interested in the medical field. The amount that I learned about the culture here alone and cultural sharing is enough to say that I had a successful trip. After these two weeks in leaving with a new vigor to pursue the change that we need to see all over the world. I'll never forget the people I met and the expiriences here.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
I had the Nshima with the rap greens. I'm not sure what it was exactly, but it was delicious.
Default avatar
Chiamaka
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Community project

I had a great time dealing with patients in the community. Everyone was really welcoming and the African impact team in zambia were just amazing.
Also the teaching projects in the afternoon made a huge impact. I’m really glad I was part of it and got to experience teaching kids, playing games.
There are a lot of tourist attractions and livingstone was the perfect spot, from feeding giraffes and doing a walking safari to iverccoming my fear my going on a helicopter ride. I must say that this was a 10/10 experience

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
I did a helicopter ride and also got to see giraffes walking about resorts and had the opportunity to feed them.

Programs

Displaying 1 - 9 of 11

Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Why did you choose this program?

I fell in love with Africa the first time I visited 20 years ago and have been back several times. I wanted to do volunteer work on my next trip there. My daughter is an environmental science student and also wanted to volunteer doing animal conservation. The African Impact program was recommended to her by one of her professors. The program in Big 5 animal conservation and community volunteering looked like the perfect fit.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

They had everything planned once we arrived (airport pick-up, lodging, volunteer activities, optional weekend trips, etc.). They offered guidance with other things like visas, shots, etc. They offered help with airfare, but we did it on our own.

We wanted to go to Kruger Park for a few days after our experience and they connected us to a travel outfit to help, but we ended up making the arrangements and renting a car on our own which saved us money.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

If you go in the winter, bring warm clothes to wear on the early morning game drives. It will warm up later, but the early mornings can be cold in the open-air vehicles.

Advice for friends traveling overseas: Be ready to have the adventure of a lifetime and open yourself to new ideas and cultures. Your heart and mind will never be the same.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

You're up early for game drives, where you do research on animals; then some days you go into the community to help with reading or farming programs.

Other days, you will go on a game drive, then input data into the computer and have time to listen to talks on animal behavior, poaching, and African culture. We also participated in debates and did presentations on animals.

This was a hand-on learning experience.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

I've been abroad several times, so I'm pretty comfortable, but one fear I had was being older than a lot of the participants since the pictures showed a lot of young people. I was one of the older people, but it turned out to be a lot of fun to be around the fun and energy of students and they were very welcoming.

Is Africa safe?

A lot of people at home ask me if going to Africa on a safari is safe. I felt very safe in this program. The people of South Africa are some of the kindest, friendliest people I've ever met. They have the biggest hearts and smiles. As far as being safe from animals, our guides explained that the animals are used to cars being around them and view the car as one large solid object. As long as you keep your hands and body inside the space of the car, they will ignore you.

Countless times I have had close encounters with lions, rhinos, elephants, and cheetahs in a safari car and never had any trouble with them. For the most part, they just want to get away or ignore you.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Stuart Fairbairns

Job Title
General Manager
Stuart grew up all on the Isle of Mull, Scotland where he trained as a marine wildlife guide. Moved to South Africa in 2007 where a degree in Fine Art was completed and thereafter a deep dive into the corporate world as Integration and Business Strategist. As an avid traveler, with a passion for people and conservation Stuart and his wife Stacey decided to free themselves form the corporate world and head back toward conservation, joining African Impact in 2014. Stuart and Stacey now run the Kruger location projects, Dumela Lodge, the project base as well as support projects at a wildlife rehabilitation center a little further north.
Stuart peering out the Jeep

What is your favorite travel memory?

Having traveled a great deal it is tough to find the 'favorite'. Spending time travelling through North India by train was incredible, slow but incredible :). Getting deeply involved with he culture, experiencing the incredible foods, the people and their stories, the respect for animals (especially cows of course), the religion, the passion for community and the abundance of vibrant colours, spices and music.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I was fortunate to have a great deal of experience of people, cultures and conservation through my upbringing. My parents started the first Whale and Dolphin conservation society in the United Kingdom, that runs to this day. African Impact has afforded me the opportunity to establish solid projects and business concepts that make solid and important impacts. Providing better opportunities and living situations for people and whole communities whilst simultaneously protecting and learning about important wildlife species and their habitats. I have met and worked with people from the world over with such a variety of experience, qualifications and each has inspired me more than I can share. I am passionate about business strategy, turning my skills toward the betterment of situations for people, wildlife and the environment is incredible. My abilities have grown and developed substantially as a result, I shall be forever grateful for the opportunities this role has afforded me.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

There are so may it is hard to list. I am so proud of how many have returned to us and have found their lives passion through the experience. There are Doctors of scientist and anthropology in the world today that have come about as a result of experiencing our projects, the exposure to your passionate teams. We have had story books published by participants who are now well recognised, the books begin put together as part of, and in order to support our projects through essential donations and awareness. We have had those that are now married with children - who met at our location. Without a doubt every single person that joins us firstly doe snot want to leave and secondly is likely to return, I love hearing this and do on a daily basis. We are African Impact, the impact we make is on people and communities, it is on wildlife and habitats/the environment and just as importantly it is on our volunteers and interns - we set out to build informed ambassadors for conservation across the board whilst giving each and every one of them a life changing experience. I am proud to say we more than succeed at this.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

The ones I established and run :) I am bias however! I have visited many of the projects and locations over the years, however I would love to see the projects in Zanzibar and Kenya. I have visited Zanzibar previously and it is an incredible place, the projects there are marine focused which I have an affinity to with my past. Kenya has a special place in my heart. For me, vising other locations is an opportunity to learn form one another. For us to see first hand how things are run and learn what we can. We do have a good communication structure in African Impact but there is nothing like being face to face and working together, to have the cultural exchange and to benefit from one anther's experience and expertise.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

We are unique as African Impact largely due to our values. Be it toward our projects and our teams. I am extremely proud to be a part to this organisation, the impact of the work is palpable and blows my mind daily. We have consistent support sessions with our team members to ensure everyone is on track, not only with their role expectations and performance but further in their personal lives. We are only as good and strong as the people we work with. One pillar is only as strong as the one next to it and we must all share the load. African Impact is an inclusive and powerful operation. The attention to detail when it comes to the volunteer and interns experience as well as the imapct they make through the work they do is scrutinised through grueling processes before a projects establishment and throughout its running. We have meticulous monitoring and evaluation to ensure we are consistently achieving what we set out to, and more. I believe in numbers, I believe in measurement, one of the things we do well is measure the work we do, ourselves, our projects and our overall success.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Well, as mentioned above, measurement and evaluation, passion form the roots up and the canopy down. Communication and fair support. I believe that people make things happen, be it staff running the projects, or the project base, to the volunteers and interns that join us. We must look after everyone, ensure everyone is well motivated, is passionate through doing what they want to be doing, to be moving forward and for the impact that we collectively make to be such that the progressions of Africa's needs is supported and moving forward. Further to this, I use the analogy that finding a need in Africa is like finding a grain of sand on a beach, whilst that may sound sad, it is not, it is ripe with opportunity, what we do need to do, and as African Impact we do well, is selecting the right grains of sand to collect and work on ensuring that we are as effective as possible. We cannot solve all issues however we can take the focus areas that we do and ensure we are successful. As previously mentioned this is done through stringent measuring and evaluation.

Professional Associations

NAFSA Logo
World Youth and Student Travel Conference Logo