5 African Gap Year Experiences You Could Never Dream of Having Back Home

By Mark Bottell

The African bush is full of adventure, which is probably one of the main reasons that people head there in the first place. Another reason is that you’ll get to experience things on your gap year that you could never experience back home. Here are a few of the experiences that will stay with you for a long time after you return.

1. See the biggest animals in the world up close and wild
This has to be one of the highlights of any gap year experience in the African wilderness. You may have seen elephants and lions in a zoo, but nothing can prepare you for the thrill of seeing the largest animals on land walking right in front of your jeep. It is a moment that you will never forget, and it’s what a gap year is all about.

And the best thing is that if you are working on a conservation holiday you will more than likely have the whole place to yourself and won’t have to share the animals with anyone else.

2. Come into contact with ancient tribes
The wildlife of the African plains is only one of the highlights. Depending on where you go on your gap year, there’s a good chance that you will come into contact with ancient tribes who have been living off the land for thousands of years.

In our consumer driven Western lifestyle, coming across people on your gap year who have been living more or less the same lifestyle for so long is a real eye opener. Learn about their culture, discover how they manage to survive in such an environment, and you’ll have the educational experience of a lifetime.

3. Listen to the sound of wild animals through the night
You may be used to waking up to the sound of birds singing back at home. But how would you feel if you woke up during the night to hear a cacophony of noise from the wild animals of the African plains? Elephants, lions and lots of smaller creatures really come to life during the night, and it is an incredible feeling to be surrounded by so much wildlife. If you’re staying in a tent on your gap year adventure then the experience will be brought to life even more, as you know that there’s just a thin bit of material between yourself and the wild world outside.

4. See the stars revealed in all their glory
Although you can probably see a few stars back home, nothing can quite prepare you for the sheer glory of the stars at night over the African plains. With no light sources for hundreds of miles, this is how the stars were meant to be witnessed. Enjoy star gazing on your gap year and see the Milky Way revealed in all its glory spread across the night sky.

5. Help to protect an endangered species
Not many people can say that they have had an active hand in helping to protect an endangered species. But if you go on a conservation holiday in Africa for your gap year then this is exactly what you will experience. Volunteers play a crucial role in the preservation of numerous species in Africa, and no matter how small you may feel your contribution is, you can say that you have done something to help the plight of a unique and endangered animal.

Mark Bottell is the General Manager for Worldwide Experience, an online tour operator offering extended breaks on gap year and other adventurous holidays for adults.

Leave a Reply