Each year we are approached by hundreds of applicants, interested in taking a gap year program than enables them to volunteer, live and work in a rural community in Africa or Asia and then take a few weeks of independent travel.
The hot favourites tend to be the places that are better known, such as South Africa, Nepal and China. Some people are totally set on their desired gap year destination and some like to follow a well-worn path, in gap year terms.
We do always ask our applicants why they have chosen that particular location as they might be missing out on a hidden, gap year gem!
One of these hidden gems, for example, is Uganda in East Africa. Uganda was referred to as the Pearl of Africa and we send groups of young people there every year, either for gap years or for shorter summer programs. What we tend to find is that it isn’t one of the obvious bucket list destinations but the impact that this incredible country has on our AVs is immeasurable. But Uganda isn’t alone. There are so many vibrant cultures and landscapes in other parts of East Africa and our volunteers have a number of AV programs to choose from.
So, what’s so great about a gap year in East Africa?
Location, location, location
Wildlife and wilderness
Despite being home to half the world’s remaining mountain gorillas in the forests along the south-western border, most tourists have not yet discovered what Uganda has to offer.
Culture and history
East Africa is the home of the Massai. The Massai population is estimated at anywhere between half a million and a million people, who are located in Kenya and Tanzania. In the Tanzanian schools where our AVs volunteer, many of the pupils will be from the exotic Maasai tribe, with their beautiful clothing and beaded jewelry.
Don’t do the predictable. See the world differently!
Still not convinced?
Who could resist visiting the amazing landscape and wildlife featured in this comedy home video filmed and edited by US stars, Kristen Bell and her husband Dax Shepherd, set to the 80s hit pop song by Toto.
(Disclaimer…do as your safari guide tells you and don’t leap out of vehicles to get closer to nature!)