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"Africa. There's nowhere like it on the planet for wildlife, wild lands and rich traditions that endure. Prepare to fall in love." - Lonely Planet

From the deserts of Morocco to the tropical beaches of Mozambique, from the wildlife scenario of Serengeti to the Garden Route road trip in South Africa, from Gorilla treks in Uganda to scuba diving at Zanzibar - Africa is just the best place for adventure! There's so much to see and do, that you might just fall short of time!

With a unique blend of natural wonders, renowned prehistoric sites, warm people, vibrant cultures, delicious cuisines, remote villages, pristine beaches, and modern cities - you won't be able to stop yourself from falling in love with Africa. Immensely different from the Western World, this continent is surely worth a visit.

Let's take a quick look at the 10 best travel plans for gap year travelers and backpackers that should be added to your bucket list, ASAP!


1. Wildlife Photography & Conservation Project, South Africa

wildlife photography South africa

If you have a passion for photography and the zeal to polish your skills further, then here we are with an amazing plan to help you out! This amazing project is meant for all shutterbugs, planning to spend a gap year in South Africa. Spend your days in the Greater Kruger Area and take a ride through the Panorama Route while enjoying the sights of the world’s third largest canyon.

Needless to say, you'll get ample scope to get closer to the wildlife, take some jaw-dropping shots and learn the basic of conservation from expert guidance. Attend a workshop with our professional photographer, get a hang of the editing skills and by the end of your project, you'll be joining a cover photo competition that you would be rejoicing for years!

 

2. Big Cat Wildlife Research Project, Kenya

wildlife research project

Whether you are a solo backpacker or a gap year student looking for some valuable exposure - Kenya will surely make your days more exciting and leave a mark on your memories. If you have been thinking of taking a career break and spending some time in Kenya, then we know that you are a wildlife enthusiast - we take that for granted! Hence, we thought to suggest you the best safari tour, which is popularly called Big Cat Wildlife Research Project. 

It's all about living amidst the wilderness of Maasai Mara and doing a research on predators like Lions, Leopards, and Cheetahs as well as monitor their behavior in their natural habitat. You will also be engaged in volunteer teaching project at the Koiyaki Guiding School where you'll have to train young Maasai guides to help them polish their conversational skills and become safari guides. Your gap year experience in Kenya will help you to know more about the lives of the Maasai tribal folks, dwelling in this region.

Note: If you are lucky enough and traveling during the months of November/ December, you can also catch a glimpse of the Great Wildebeest Migration! 

 

3. Marine Research & Whale Shark Conservation, Mozambique

marine research mozambique

Mozambique might not be an obvious choice for gap year travelers, but we can assure you that it's an absolutely stunning destination waiting to be explored! With vast stretches of pristine beaches, options for adventurous water sports like snorkeling, surfing and scuba diving, as well as volunteering opportunities for Marine Conservation - your gap year experience in Mozambique will be absolutely delightful.

Being a part of the Marine Research & Whale Shark Conservation Project, you'll be trained to be an advanced diver and get to work with qualified professionals. This is your chance to get closer to the Whale Sharks, Humpback Whales, Dolphins apart from other marine species like turtles, manta rays, starfish, seahorses, and an abundance of colorful fish and coral reef.

If that is already getting you excited, then there's much more! You can club your Mozambique trip with that of Swaziland and South Africa, and spend a couple of weeks more, exploring the wildlife scenario of this region.

 

4. Serengeti Safari to Zanzibar, Tanzania

Senergeti safari

This 11 days trip is perfect for not just gap year travelers, but also couples and families looking for an adventurous African getaway to experience the thrill of wildlife safaris! The amazing tour begins with a road trip from Nairobi to Arusha (Yes, you gotta land in Nairobi, Kenya!). Visit the Mto Wa Mbu village near Arusha to enjoy a local lunch and cultural experience with the villagers.

And then, set out for the much-awaited safari in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Region. Be alert to sport the buffaloes, elephants, lions, wildebeests, zebras, and more. Once you wrap up with the dusty safari trips, board the flight for the next leg of the journey - head towards the Stone Town of Zanzibar! Spend a day at the Nungwi Village in the island and immerse yourself in the Swahili Culture.

 

5. Sports and Community Development Project, Zambia

Sports development Zambia

If you thought that a gap year in Africa will just be about wildlife, then you are certainly wrong. There's a lot more to it. Considering the fact that there are many developing countries, you can actively volunteer for a meaningful cause and contribute to making life better for the people living in the underprivileged societies. If you love to spend time with children and have a knack for sports, then you can surely join this Sports and Community Development Project in Zambia.

You'll living at the Livingstone Backpackers premise which is just a few kilometers from the Victoria Falls and only 1 Km away from the Zambezi River - so, there will be no dearth of adventure!

Spend your weekdays with the kids, teaching them the tips and tricks of the games and also with the community folks, helping them in whichever way you can.

On the weekends, you can indulge in exploring the diverse landscape of the country and feel the chills by participating in some daring activities!

 

6. Baobab & Tsingy Explorer, Madagascar

madagascar

Spice up your gap year by exploring the picturesque island of Madagascar. Yes, it's the same place you've grown up watching in the famous animated movie series! Madagascar in nothing short of a dream destination for adventure lovers and if you are planning to head towards Africa during your gap year, then you should just tick this place off your bucket list.

This is your chance to explore Bekopaka’s famed Baobab Alley, the breathtaking weathered rock formations of the Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve, go for a canoe ride to caves along the Manambolo River, and if luck favors, you can even have an encounter with the odd lemur! In case you have a gang to accompany you, what can be better than that! Convince your folks for this trip of a lifetime and discover Madagascar with us.

 

7. Child Care Volunteering Project, Malawi

malawi childcare volunteering

Volunteering in Malawi is certainly boost your gap year experience and add some brownie points to your CV, that'll help you to impress your future employers! And not just that, but it'll also give you the opportunity to contribute effectively towards the lives of the little ones attending the Nursery Schools in the rural areas of the country, where the teacher-student ratio is extremely poor.

Being a part of this project, be helping the teaching staff to keep the children entertained, assisting with basic education and helping with the daily feeding program. You can arrange co-curricular classes for drama, music, arts, and crafts, depending on your personal interests. But most importantly, you'll have to give proper attention to each kid, love, and care for them. In return, you'll get unconditional love that you can't even imagine.

 

8. Moroccan Desert Adventure

morocco desert adventure

Northern Africa is no less charming than the Southern part of the continent, and Morocco undoubtedly has the cultural richness to mesmerize any visitor. If you are excited about your gap year trip to Morocco, then we would definitely suggest you to go for the Desert Adventure Tour.

From the winding ancient Medinas to the Grand Route of 1000 Kasbahs, along with a camel ride under the Moroccan sun to the desert camp - this is the perfect desert safari anyone can ask for! Experience the amalgamation of African, Arabic and Berber culture, binge on the local delicacies, shop at the local markets and spend some time in Morocco, knowing more about the people and their lifestyle.

And of course, how can you miss talking a walk down the blue lanes of Chefchaouen and clicking some Instagram-worthy photos!


9. Build A Future, Swaziland

build a future swaziland

A tiny country tucked between South Africa and Mozambique, Swaziland is not a regular choice for travelers. But if you have the urge to explore the paths less traveled and do something worthy for the people of the land, then you can volunteer for the Build a Future Project.

Being a part of this project, you'll be living in the Ezulwini Valley in Central Swaziland, which is also known as the valley of Heaven. Spend your days with the natives, helping them to prepare land for building structures, digging out building foundations, taking care of the gardens etc. 

You'll get to indulge yourself in knowing more about the locals, join their celebrations, savor the taste of the local cuisine and try your hands in cooking as well. 

 

10. Gorilla Adventure Tour, Uganda

Gorilla adventure uganda

A Gorilla Trek is a highlight of all visits done in Uganda, a country that houses the maximum number of mountain gorillas which are now on the verge of extinction. Hike through the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and spot the gorilla families living amidst the volcanic forests. Go for a nature walk and soak yourself in the freshness of Lake Bunyonyi.

Enjoy a wildlife safari drive in Lake Nakuru National Park and spot the rhinos, buffalo, impalas, hyenas, and even lions and leopards! For thrill seekers, there can be no other better plan than experiencing the Gorilla Trek in Uganda. A perfect gap year trip, this one is clubbed with some added adventure in Kenya as well.

 

So, what are you waiting for?

Are you already having the urge to take a gap year and explore the African continent? Just choose where you wish to go and what you wanna do - and leave the rest to us. Our expert team is working relentlessly to ensure that your gap year turns to one of the most beautiful chapters of your life.

For more information, you can simply drop us a mail at [email protected] and let us assist you with further planning!

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GDA has a fantastic range of voluntours, adventure tours, internships, work abroad opportunities and responsible traveling options which will surely add a new meaning to your gap year. Pick whatever suits your interests and book your flight tickets for your dream destination. It's time to tickle your wanderlust cells! Calling out all backpackers, gap year students, solo travelers and adventure seekers - it's time that you take the leap and Go, Discover Abroad!

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