Thailand Entourage 2017

This is the shorter version of our 4 week Thailand trip Xreme Thailand Experience our top-selling trip! The Thailand entourage is a 3 week trip through Thailand giving you a taste of culture, adventure, and stunning tropical beaches. An amazing itinerary showcasing the best this amazing country has to offer. Perfect for young solo travelers who love to travel Thailand in a fun group, with excellent guides.

The 3 Week Thailand Entourage

3 AWESOME THEMED WEEKS!

ExplorationXtreme Thailand Experience (12)

Adventure

Beach

Beach Week

Settle in and discover Thailand.

Easy arrival with an airport pickup. Make new friends as you meet other people in the group. Learn about Thailand its culture and history. Stay on the mainland and visit lots of different temples, cultural heritage sites and cities.

Elephants. Unforgettable National PArks & More.

Includes an awesome ethical Elephant experience. Go bathing with Elephants, and get up close and personal with these majestic animals. Visit waterfalls and stunning rural towns. 

 

Top off the tan with well-earned beach time.

Laze about on amazing tropical beaches. Hit the beach. Discover a paradise island. join the adventure day! Party on the beach and munch on some delicious Thai food.

Thailand Entourage Highlights Include:

  • Safe & Fun! Fully guided Xtreme Gap Reps.
  • Discovering Thai culture, temples & cuisine on a mind-blowing cultural  experiences
  • Trekking through national parks & discovering cool waterfalls
  • Volunteering with Elephants and Mahouts
  • Exploring exciting Bangkok and stay in a fun backpackers hostel near the backpacking Mecca Khao San Road
  • Koh Tao adventure day with longtail boat, snorkelling, paradise islands and view points.
  • Lots of chill time on Koh Tao and beach parties to remember
  • Meet and chat to other Xtreme Gappers with an online Buddy list before you travel too!

PHOTOS

ITINERARY

Just about everything you could want out of a trip to Thailand in 3 weeks!

Day 1: WARM WELCOME ON ARRIVAL

Arrival day, the moment you have been waiting for! The start to an awesome life changing Thailand trip! First off, if you have not been travelling before… it will be ok. We make it a hassle free arrival, the Xtreme Team will collect you from Suvarnabhumi Airport (the international airport in Bangkok) and take you to your super convenient Bangkok accommodation, which is a stone’s throw from the famous Khao San Road. The accommodation has a movie room, 2 pool tables, free WIFI and lots of Xtreme Gappers awaiting to join the adventure.

You will have the rest of the day/evening, depending on when you arrive, to relax after a long flight and meet the rest of your group. If you arrive in time we head out for a delicious Thai meal (local payment about £3-8) and explore the buzzing Bangkok area!

Inclusions:
• Breakfast
• Guided tour of Bangkok
• Overnight accommodation in a twin / triple shared room with air-conditioning, en-suite bathrooms and hot water

Day 2: WELCOME ORIENTATION AND EXPLORE BANGKOK

We will take it easy and all meet up at around 10:00 am to start a “real exploration” of Bangkok. This will be lead by our group leader, who will be with you for the next 2 weeks.

Prepare to see incredible things as we include an awesome boat trip through the ancient water ways of Bangkok. Not only will you get to experience stunning traditional communities off the backpacker trail, but we will also take you to the majestic Wat Arun – The Temple of the Dawn, Wat Pho, which is home to the most important reclining Buddha in the whole of Thailand and Wat Phra Kaew –  The Grand Palace.

watt arun thailandExpect an authentic look into traditional Bangkok and lets you see some of the most beautiful temples Thailand has to offer. The tour will last about 4 hours.

In the afternoon we head back to our guesthouse, just in time to freshen up and chill out before your ‘Welcome Dinner’ in the evening. After dinner, we are off to the infamous and exciting Khao San Road, the backpacker area of Bangkok,  where you will get a taste of the Thai night life.

Inclusions:
• Breakfast
• Guided tour of Bangkok
• Welcome Dinner
• Overnight accommodation in a twin / triple shared room with air-conditioning, en-suite bathrooms and hot water

Day 3:  KANCHANABURI RIVER ADVENTURES!

After a relaxing morning, and hopefully a full recovery from a fun night out in Bangkok, we arrange a private minivan to gorgeous Kanchanaburi north of Bangkok, which usually takes about 3 hours, depending on the Bangkok traffic!

Kanchanaburi is where the Kwae Yai and Kwae Noi rivers meet and is as picturesque as Thailand can get, with a magnificent backdrop of forested mountains stretching all the way to the Burmese border.

It’s famous for the film location of the movie ‘Bridge on the River Kwai’ where thousands of prisoners of wars and local Thai’s were forced to build the ‘Burmese Railway’ during WWII, it is a historic setting, but today it has transformed into a fun, chilled-out riverside town and your path to some great activities and experiences.

There´s lots to do here. Visiting museums and temples, swimming in pools by waterfalls, kayaking the rivers, and checking out temples

Once we have arrived, we check you into the hotel, freshen up and there is time to explore the area, see the sights and learn about the history – and of course enjoy a Singha beer or two while trying out some more traditional Thai food.

Inclusions:
• Breakfast
• Private transfer to Kanchanaburi
• Overnight accommodation in twin / triple shared rooms with air-conditioning, en-suite bathrooms and hot water

Day 4: BATHE IN STUNNING WATERFALLS

waterfallToday you’ll visit the exquisite waterfalls in the Erawan National Park. These waterfalls are considered one of the most beautiful places on earth, the waterfalls are truly made of absolute wonder! You will get to explore the several levels of these magnificent falls, each filtering into the different pools below, which you can swim in. How high you go, is of course up to you. The highlight here is a natural water slide that shoots you several metres down smooth stone into the emerald coloured water, so remember to have your GoPro’s and cameras charged! You are most definitely going to need them.

After your morning of photo shoots and an insane amount of fun and relaxation, you will head back to the hotel for the afternoon where you will have the chance to head into town and explore. Our guides are super knowledgeable of the area, so be sure to ask where all the best spots to eat, chill or party are.

Inclusions
• Breakfast
• Erawan Waterfall day
• Overnight accommodation in a twin / triple shared room with air-conditioning, en-suite bathrooms and hot water

Day 5: KAYAKING ON THE RIVER KWAE

The river Kwae is a real paradise for Kayaking! After breakfast at our Guest House, we will take you out for a fun-filled day of adventure, where you will get to go kayaking on the river Kwae. You might see some caves and even monkeys on the way! Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a professional for this, in fact, no prior experience is needed, the river is pretty easy to navigate, you will get to see and experience the surroundings from a completely unique perspective.

Don’t forget sun cream, you will get a tan today on the water! After your epic 3-hour river kayaking journey, we will head back to the Guesthouse to freshen up and get ready for dinner, a chilled evening at the cool laid back bars and enjoy a few cold ones as we watch the river go by.

Inclusions:

  • Breakfast
  • Kayak trip on the river Kwae
  • Overnight accommodation in a twin / triple shared room with air-conditioning, en-suite bathrooms and hot water

Day 6: YOU CHOOSE: HISTORY, NATIONAL PARKS OR BAR CRAWL!

You can do whatever your heart desires, sun tan, sleep in or… go off in search of more adventure. Loads of our Xtreme Gappers take this opportunity to visit the sanctuary for retired elephants near to Kanchanaburi, which our guides can help you sort out.

Today is a free day but that doesn’t mean sitting around doing nothing – unless of course that’s what you want to do.

There are loads of things to do in and around Kanchanaburi and your guide is always on hand to help you book activities, give you suggestions and help you find the coolest places and activities.

Why not head to Elephant Haven? This is a sanctuary for retired elephants and offers a great day trip to allow you to get up close and personal with these lovely animals. Rightly, no riding is allowed – this is a place where elephants are the boss! – but you can help feed them and even bathe with them in the river. Day trip prices start at around 2,500THB for the day and your guide can sort this out for you.

Alternatively why not explore some of the history of Kanchanaburi and walk across the famous ‘Bridge on the River Kwai’, explore the war museum and cemetery or even take the picturesque train up to Hell Fire Pass.

Whatever you choose to do, your guide is there to help you sort everything out and at the end of the day we all meet up in Kanchanaburi’s infamous Sugar Member Bar. Looking like something transplanted from the beach – plus Wrecking Ball  – this is Kanchanaburi’s very own backpacker hangout and always delivers a lively night out.

Inclusions:

  • Breakfast
  • Overnight accommodation in a twin / triple shared room with air-conditioning , en-suite bathrooms and hot water

Day 7: EXPLORE THE HEART OF THAILAND

Today we take you into the ‘heart’ of Thailand, the North East, known in Thailand as Isaan (Surin). If you ever wondered why Thailand is known as the ‘Land of Smiles’ wonder no more, you are now surrounded by one of the friendliest groups of people on the face of our planet. Surin is by far, one of the more ‘off the beaten track’ areas of Thailand and by the time you arrive you will have experienced the overwhelming and humbling friendliness from the local villagers.

The area is renowned for the best rice and you will be an absolute expert by the time you leave. They are also well known for its mixture of Thai, Khmer and Gwi people, it’s insanely awesome food (loads of chilli) and it’s elephants, who have played a major role in the communities here for centuries.

Once again, we have arranged a private minivan and while the journey is around 8 hours, we will stop for lunch and we make the odd stop to stretch your legs. Tip: take some music with you, as nothing is better than to listen to good music, gaze out of the window and see the palm trees, rice paddies and occasional elephant you pass by.

When you arrive, we check into your hotel for tonight, a fantastic place in Surin town, where you can freshen up before we take you out to the night market to find the best places to eat. The food in Surin town is so delicious, so don’t be afraid to get out there and explore, our recommendation, foodie lovers, is the night market – Best chow in town.

Inclusions:

  • Breakfast
  • Private transfer from Kanchanaburi to Surin
  • Overnight accommodation in a twin / triple shared room with air-conditioning, en-suite bathrooms and hot water

Days 8-9:  ELEPHANTS & CULTURE!

thailand elephantLooking after Elephants is on the cards for the next two days. After a bite to eat in the morning, we will leave Surin Town and make our way to a rural ‘elephant village’ about 50km’s away. The main highlight of this trip and also a really unique opportunity is not only to spend time with elephants, but also to live in a small rural Thai community, which is something which is fast becoming more and more difficult to experience. This is what backpacking and adventure is all about. Living like the locals and truly immersing yourself in the culture of the people and the land.

Our project has been vetted to ensure it is ethically run. There is absolutely NO elephant riding by our guests.

During these two days, you will get to:

  • Walk with the elephants to the local river and help the mahouts bathe them
  • Help the mahouts clean the elephant areas
  • Harvest / plant crops (depending on the season) for the elephants
  • Kayak on the local river
  • Learn how to make simple but great Thai food

In the elephant village, you will get the awesome opportunity of living in a homestay, with the village headman and the members of his family, this is an absolute honour and is something that you will truly take back with you. And…you will be sleeping just a few metres away from elephants.

Day 8 We will have lunch and dinner in the elephant village. You can try out your cooking skills and cook alongside the local team and learn a few new tricks, which is great to take home and show off to friends and family back home.

Day 9 We will have breakfast and lunch in the village too. Late afternoon we will have to say goodbye to the elephants and new friends and head back to Surin town, staying overnight at the same hotel as on Day 7.

Inclusions

  • Transfer to and from the elephant village
  • Elephant activities listed
  • Day 8 – breakfast at the hotel in Surin, lunch and dinner and the elephant village
  • Day 9 – breakfast and lunch at the elephant village
  • Day 8 – basic accommodation in the elephant village, shared dorm style rooms with mattresses on the floor, mosquito nets, fans and shared toilet and washing facilities
  • Day 9 – Overnight accommodation in a twin / triple shared room with air-conditioning , en-suite bathrooms and hot water

Day 10: TEMPLES, RICE FIELDS AND LOCAL CUISINE

Another well earned free-day. You will need a break, trust us. You can use this opportunity just chill or do a bit more exploring. Surin town is a super friendly place with a population of around 50,000 people. There are loads Khmer temples,  which means they will look very different to the ones you saw in Bangkok and Kanchanaburi. Surin is also famous for its really cool coffee shops to hang out in. If you are just looking for some fun in the sun, one of the local hotels lets you use their pool for a small fee for the day and for those with a bit more energy. There is a waterpark and a shopping mall if you want to do some souvenir shopping.

There are also some awesome restaurants in Surin and we recommend you have at least one visit to a huge ‘moo gratha’ buffet. For less than 150THB you cook your own food on a charcoal grill at your table and it’s as much as you can eat. Different meats, fish, prawns, vegetables, noodles and all sorts of other bits and pieces – and ice cream!  The best value in town and a great night out – food baby anyone?

Your guide and our local team in Surin will be able to help you plan what you want to do and be on hand whenever you wish!

Inclusions

  • Breakfast
  • Overnight accommodation in a twin / triple shared room with air-conditioning, en-suite bathrooms and hot water

Day 11: KHAO YAI NATIONAL PARK 

Today we leave for Khao Yai National Park, this is the 3rd largest national park in Thailand. This rainforest is a World Heritage Site declared by UNESCO. The journey (by minivan or train, depending on the group size) will take roughly 3-4 hours and once you arrive in Pak Chong (the gateway to the National Park). We will check you into your base for the next 2 nights.

Inclusions

  • Breakfast
  • Transfer by minivan / coach or train to Pak Chong (depending on group size)
  • Overnight accommodation in a twin / triple shared room with air-conditioning , en-suite bathrooms and hot water

Day 12: TREKKING AND FOREST ENCOUNTERS

Khao Yai is absolutely stunning and one of Thailand’s most famous National Parks, but is often lost off of travellers itineraries in their anticipation to just head to the beach. But you won’t miss out! Khao Yai boasts ancient and majestic towering forests, wild elephants and tigers, a colourful array of bird life and a number of different species of monkeys. This is a fantastic place to get a feeling of how much of Thailand really used to be. You will get to experience more beautiful waterfalls, one of which Leo Di Caprio jumped off of for the making of The Beach.

You will spend the day exploring the National Park with a specialist guide, where you will hopefully get to see wildlife, like the herds of wild elephants. A bit of simple forest trekking is also on the menu for today. It’s superb fun, and again, don’t forget your camera and GoPro’s, but also don’t forget to just enjoy this day of splendour in this impressive natural landscape.

Inclusions

  • Khao Yai Adventure day and all park entry fees
  • Lunch during the Adventure Day
  • Services of specialist National Park guide
  • Overnight accommodation in a twin / triple shared room with air-conditioning, en-suite bathrooms and hot water

Day 13:  R & R IN BANGKOK       

Today we start heading back to Bangkok (by train, minivan or coach depending on group numbers) arriving back in the buzzing city of Bangkok around mid-afternoon if traffic is not too hectic.

You will check back into the same accommodation as at the start of the trip and you can have the evening to enjoy some shopping, exploring or partying …or why not just do all three?

Day 14: BANGKOK, IT IS ALL YOURS!

Today  you have a free day to spend with your new friends. There are plenty of options to keep you busy with the rest of the group. Ask our guide for suggestions! As this is the perfect place to go shopping prior to hitting the islands be sure to spend some time at the MBK shopping mall! It’s an experience and a great place to hunt for bargains! If you are feeling a little bit tired from all the fun and travelling, maybe a traditional Thai massage is the perfect antidote.

  • You’ve got most of today to do your own thing and explore a bit more of this fantastic city – just ask your guide for inspiration and they’ll help you see what you’d like to see.
  • Lots of people enjoy a lazy day today – we’re pretty sure you’ll have hit the bars and clubs last night – but if you want to get out and about why not do one of the following:
  • A ‘behind the scenes’ bike tour exploring the backstreets and riverside communities of Bangkok – a great half day trip costing from 1,150THB
  • Give your body a treat and have a 2 hour Thai massage – trust us, you won’t regret it. There are loads of massage shops all around the Guest House with prices starting at +/- 250/300THB
  • Jump in a taxi and see the ‘other side’ of Bangkok – if you like a bit of retail therapy or even just window shopping then have a look at Siam Paragon, Siam Centre and Central World. All huge fancy shopping malls, great for people watching and even better if you’re craving a bit of comfort food from home. A taxi from your Guest House to Siam will cost around 150THB depending on the traffic!
  •  If you’ve not had enough of boats and the river, then taking one of the boat ‘buses’ up the Chao Phraya is a brilliant way to spend a few hours. The ferry pier is only 10 mins amble from your Guest House and for the princely sum of between 15 and 19THB you can head all the way to Nonthaburi pier taking in all the sights and sounds of the city. Once you’re at Nonthaburi, have an explore and take a look at Bang Kwang Prison (the infamous Bangkok Hilton) and get lost in the local markets. Then simply hop back on a ferry back to where you started. Probably the cheapest day out possible in Bangkok!

All these trips and more can be arranged by your guide – just tell then what you’d like to do and they’ll help you get everything sorted. Just make sure you’re back at the accommodation by 6pm to meet back us with your group and begin the journey to the beach.

Inclusions:
• Breakfast
• Late check out from the accommodation – meaning you can store your bags and freshen up before you head on the coach
• Overnight transfer from Bangkok to Koh Tao (arriving the morning of Day 15)

This evening we travel to Koh Tao by luxury coach and fast boat, arriving on Koh Tao the next morning.

Please note the guide will not accompany you to Koh Tao, the group will be put on the bus and met at the other end by our rep in Koh Tao. Whilst your guide from this part of the trip won’t be travelling to the islands with you, don’t worry, they will ensure that you know exactly what the plan and that you have all the contact numbers you need. They will then walk with you all to the check in for the transfer to Koh Tao and stay with you until you’re all safely aboard the overnight coach heading to the islands. Not long now until you see one of the most stunning islands in South East Asia!

Day 15: ARRIVAL PARADISE ISLAND KOH TAO

On arrival, you will have a full introduction from our resident rep who will settle you into the island life and it will go like this:

    • IMG_1904You arrive by night bus and boat on Sunday morning where you will be picked up and taken to your accommodation where breakfast is served!
    • Once you are checked in, you have time to relax, jump in the pool at your resort and freshen up.
    • In the afternoon around 4, our Rep Miss Jai will meet you and the rest of the group at the bar and give you an intro to Koh Tao. She will show you around, tell you the essentials and show you where everything is, like ATMs, pharmacies, beaches and activity locations. She is on hand throughout the week if you need her too.
    • You will then go out for dinner (on us) with the rest of the group, expect a tasty Thai curry! The next day you will be taken by miss Jai to start your activity, depending on the option you have picked.
    • Your Koh Tao itinerary will be explained to you locally. Where and when you have to be will be put up on the Xtreme Gap notice board at the resort.

Day 16-21: BEACH WEEK

Koh Tao! Here you can enjoy some serious beach time. 7 days/ 6 nights to chill and party. You will also have your Xtreme Adventure Day where we take you snorkelling and we visit Koh Nang Yuang by longtail boat, a stunning little island of the coast of Koh Tao.

TROPICAL ISLAND PARADISE…WOW!

Xtreme Gappers (38)Koh Tao has some of the best beaches in Thailand, it is also one of the most popular backpacker hubs in South East Asia, but not ruined like some of the other islands, there is a great community and vibe to the place you are going to love spending time here.

We have many Xtreme Gappers resident on the Island as we run lots of different trips there so there is lots going on. It is also a great place to learn to dive as well, so you can take advantage of getting your PADI Open water while you are there as well.

This part of the trip is all about being social and having fun, you can take long tail boat trips round the island, enjoy amazing Thai food and stay up all night in some of the best beach clubs and bars in Asia. After a few days of chill, you will want to pick up the pace again, so we finish the trip with the action week! The Koh Tao adventure day is the perfect end to the week.

FOOD & EATING OUT

Please note we include 1 breakfast and 2 meals on Koh Tao. There are plenty of restaurants serving delicious and healthy Thai food as little as one pound per meal and there is a restaurant the resort also.

We do not include food because it’s such a sociable atmosphere with so many great places to eat and explore you will want to go off and eat out with lots of new friends. Including food would really limit your options and detract from the whole experience. Bear in mind though we do include food for the first two weeks of this programme (Most other gap year companies ´s Thailand programmes do not) so you have already saved over £250 worth of spending money by booking with Xtreme.

You will receive a welcome breakfast, a lovely Thai meal on your first evening in Koh Tao and a BBQ after the Beach Clean up day though.

THE ADVENTURE DAY

The adventure day is just that an adventure, so sometimes we mix it up. But below is a summary of what you can expect.

Everyone meets at the Xtreme Gap Resort for a breakdown of the days activities.  Expect to be taken to a pretty amazing viewpoint on the neighbouring paradise island of Koh Nangyuan. Even the ride itself is a lot of fun, open air on a longtail boat with spectacular views of Sairee beach.

There will be plenty of time to explore the island, swim with tropical fish and chill on in this piece of perfection.

 

 

NIGHTLIFE & BEACH TIME & ACTIVITIES

Koh Tao is not only famous for its great diving and beautiful beaches, there is quite a party scene there too! Picture cool beach bars, fire shows, awesome night clubs like Fizz bar within easily stumbling distance to your accommodation. If you want to have some serious fun after the sun sets, you will not be disappointed.

This is a great way to finish up on your trip, after experiencing the culture its time to party. Speaking of which…

Beach Clean up day: Not on all departure dates.

Ecodave Xtreme GapWe do not control the dates, but if you are lucky you can join our beach clean up. At Xtreme Gap year we strongly believe in leaving a positive impact on the locations we visit. Mass tourism does take its toll on the environment. This is especially true on small tropical islands like Koh Tao. We strongly feel  it is everyone’s responsibility to make a contribution to maintaining, and improving the places that we visit. We have partnered with Koh Tao’s leading conservation organisations and every trip we run makes a financial contribution to Eco-conservation efforts.

So as part of our trips to Koh Tao trip, we co-host an eco-day. This is split into two parts. A lecture by leading conservationists, on marine conservation, and a hands-on beach clean-up so you can make a physical real difference during your trip. The aim is to provide you with information so you can make people aware of the issues. As well as physically helping out with marine conservation efforts.

It’s a fun day out, it’s a great way to see lots of out of the way beaches on Koh Tao, and feel good about yourself whilst making a positive difference on the island. In the evening we finish up with a barbecue, in one of Koh Tao’s hotspots by way of saying thanks for your efforts.

If you have completed your open water is part of this program, you can be involved in underwater clean-ups, if not its land-based conservation which is just as, or if not even more vital to marine conservation efforts. 80% of trash entering the waters comes from land-based sources.

 

End of your trip> Transfer Back to Bangkok

We do not include the transfer back in the price as there are a few options. Some of our travellers stay on the island or travel on in Thailand and Asia, some will take the boat and bus service back to Bangkok and some will prefer to go by plane from the next door island Koh Samui. read about the options in the frequently asked questions section below. Most will take the boat and bus option which our rep can arrange for you. Its super easy and will costs about 20 GBP.

ACCOMMODATION

Because you stay in various different locations throughout the trip accommodation does vary, however, expect to stay in comfortable and clean and secure accommodation. On the islands, you will stay in a luxury resort, with a swimming pool set in beautiful Thai Gardens just a short walk from the beach and bars and restaurants.

It’s the main resort Xtreme Gap uses in Thailand, Xtreme Gappers to hang out with and share adventures. Accommodation is shared on a twin share in a Fan Room. Upgrades to Aircon rooms are only possible on Koh Tao and only upon booking.

The accommodation in the resort in Koh Tao is the basic fan option at a great resort, perfect for your stay in paradise. A short stroll through a lovely street with little shops and some restaurants and just 5 min from the beach will get you to this perfectly located resort. A beautiful and laid back resort with a swimming pool, bar and restaurant set in tropical Thai gardens. The fan rooms are spacious, clean and comfortable, have an en-suite and there is a maid service twice a week and a laundry service (approx. £1.50 per big bag load) located next door.

Frequently Asked Questions

One of the benefits of booking your trip on Koh Tao with Xtreme Gap Year is not only do you get to do this awesome activity, but you will become part of the Xtreme gap family on Koh Tao. We will pick you up from the pier and give you a warm welcome at our stunning resort. On your first night, our resident representative will take you out for a gorgeous Thai meal annual get to know all of the other members of the group. When you are booking a trip with us it is not just about the activity so please bear this in mind if you are comparing prices to other companies. No other company has such a big presence in Koh Tao, runs groups of like-minded travellers so booking a trip with us is as much about the friends you make as well as the experiences you will have.
We offer airport pick up’s between 06:00 and 22:00 on arrival day and would encourage you to try to arrive at the airport by mid-afternoon so that you have time to freshen up, relax and then enjoy your first night in this amazing city. If you are arriving outside these times or are already in Thailand, then, of course you are more than welcome to ‘make your own way’ to the Bangkok accommodation.
We have a private minivans or coaches for the majority of the trip. Super comfortable and much faster than taking public transport.

No, most of our travellers are solo travellers. You will meet lots of people on the different weeks. With group start dates and lots of group activities, you will make new friends really easy.

The trip ends in Koh Tao on Saturday, please note return transfer is not included in the price of the trip. This is because many people choose to travel onwards to other locations or stay in Koh Tao to do further programmes.

Returning back to Bangkok to meet your flight is very easy, transfers can be arranged on Koh Tao through rep and the cost is approximately £15. If you’re flying out straight after the trip ends, you have two options to meet your flight in Bangkok.

Our recommended option is to fly from Koh Samui directly to Bangkok airport, rep can organise your bus tickets to Samui airport, this will involve catching the boat late Saturday morning and arriving in Koh Samui at around three o’clock. Transfers are provided from the pier direct to the airport and are complimentary.

Please ensure that your flights are not booked any earlier than this and do allow for delays, so we would recommend not booking a flight back to Bangkok until the afternoon which also allows time to check in at the airport as well. Check Bangkok Airways the cheap flights booked ahead this should not cost you any more than £30 the flight time is approximately 40 min.

Option two would be to get the morning boat from Koh Tao back to Bangkok via bus and boat, the transfer time between six and eight hours typically you will get back into Bangkok about 10 o’clock in the evening. This would require an extra night stay in Bangkok, and if you are to pursue this option we do not recommend you do not organise your international flight until Sunday. Again the cost for this transfer is about £15.

If you are planning on travelling to Thailand for 30 days or less and you have British, Dutch or USA passport you can get a Visa exemption on arrival. This is valid for 30 days and cannot be extended in Thailand. If you are planning on being in Thailand longer than 28 days you will need to pre-arrange a Visa. You can prearrange a visa for 60 days which you can extend to 90 days in Thailand.

There are two ways of arranging your visa. When you are from the UK. You can either go in person to the Thai embassy in London, or you can post your passport along with the necessary documentation and fee to one of the Thai Consulates. In general this works the same for the other countries like The Netherlands and United States too, but please contact the nearest Thai Consulate for visa inquiries.

Some of our customers prefer a bigger room or an aircon room. We can arrange this, but it needs to be done at the time of booking, as the resort often fills up. If you are on the programme and still want to arrange it, you would have to arrange that with reception at the resort, and pay for accommodation again. So best to let us know at time of booking.

This is a hard question as age range does vary. On the groups that join the intro and culture weeks the average age is between 18 and 25. On Koh Tao with the Koh Tao Adventure (which are the last 2 weeks of this programme) the average age tends to be in the twenties.

Is this trip suitable for you? The average age on this trip is between 18 and 25. Although it is open to all. The makeup of the groups is usually 75% female to 25% male, just going to show, girls really are braver than boys! So come on lads, what are you waiting for? Prove us wrong!

The final week finishes on the Saturday morning, so you can arrange your transfer back to Bangkok with Miss Jai via boat and Bus (12 hours) or book a flight from Koh Samui to Bangkok (2 hour boat and 45 minute flight). This is the preferred option for most of our travellers as this gets you straight in to the international airport for a smooth flight connection back home.

Remember lots of details are in pre-departure pack you receive after booking. You will also be hooked up with your buddy lists then.

FINALLY

We can also send you loads of information on this trip and the locations so get trip notes for more details!

Full details on your options to get back to Bangkok are included in a very detailed pre-departure pack, which we send you after booking. You will also be set up with an online buddy list so you can chat to other members of the group in Koh Tao. The trip ends on the Saturday morning in Koh Tao. Check the FAQ section for details on how to get back to the airport.

Please do book early

This can be a very popular trip so make sure you get booked up ASAP! You can secure your spot for only £100 by submitting a booking form. Do it now! So now you have read about the trip, you might want to check out where you will be staying or a breakdown of everything included.

Duration Option Price  
3 (Week)23rd July 2017 start dateUSD 1109Book Now
3 (Week)USD 1159Book Now

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Book 16 or more weeks up front to secure these deals.
Duration Option Price
3 (Week)USD 1159 USD 1124 (Early Bird)
Enquire here

Book today with a deposit and travel after 18 - Aug - 2017 to lock in the early bird price. "Hurry only limited early bird spots available !"

Terms: $250 USD deposit required on booking. Full payment 12 weeks prior to trip start.

 

The First 2 weeks

INCLUDED

First 2 weeks

  • Personal meet & greet at the airport
  • Transfers to your hotel in Bangkok
  • Meet your other adventurers: Access to online buddy lists before you leave!
  • Unforgettable Bangkok city tour
  • Wat Arun, Wat Pho & Reclining Buddha
  • 13 nights total accommodation in high standard guesthouses and homestays
  • Breakfast
  • Some delicious meals included
  • A 2 day elephant experience with food  included
  • River rafting experience.
  •  2 days of trekking in a stunning national park
  • Night markets & Nights Out
  • Cookery class
  • 24 hour emergency support
  •  Maximum group size 26

Week on Koh Tao

  • All Accommodation
  • Breakfast on arrival on Koh Tao
  • Overnight Transfer to Koh Tao
  • 6 nights accommodation in standard fan room in Koh Tao at our luxury resort
  • Free Wi-Fi at most of the accommodation
  • Pick up from the boat and transfer to the resort in Koh Tao by taxi
  • Koh Tao adventure day which includes:
    • Boat around the island
    • Snorkelling in crystal clear waters round a tropical paradise island
    • Spectacular trek up to an incredible view point
  • Back up & support second to none. Services of our tour leaders and English-speaking reps who are available and based locally  24/7.

Excluded

  • Flights
  • Visas (if staying longer than 30 days this will cost approx GBP 40 for a 60 day visa)
  • Insurance
  • Return transfer from Koh Tao (but can be arranged locally for approx Euro 15)
  • Meals  (Approx £6 – 15 per day)
  • Entrance Grand palace in Bangkok (around 12 GP)
  • Entrance Fee for Koh Nanguang (100 Baht approx £2)

Dates

2017 Start on Sunday end on Saturday
16 July 2017 – 05 August 2017 (Fully Booked)
23 July 2017 – 12 August 2017
13 August 2017 – 02 September 2017
10 September 2017 – 30 September 2017
12 November 2017 – 02 December 2017
10 December 2017 – 30 December 2017

2018 Start on Sunday end on Saturday
14 January 2018 – 03 February 2018
04 February 2018 – 24 February 2018
11 March 2018 – 31 March 2018
08 April 2018 – 28 April 2018
06 May 2018 – 26 May 2018
03 June 2018 – 23 June 2018
08 July 2018 – 28 July 2018
05 August 2018 – 25 August 2018
02 September 2018 – 22 September 2018
30 September 2018 – 20 October 2018
28 October 2018 – 17 November 2018
25 November 2018 – 15 December 2018

Easy to combine with Vietnam; starting 3 weeks before.

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Big 5 Wildlife Reserve & Community Volunteering South Africa

Stay in volunteer on big five game reserve in the heart of South Africa near Port Elizabeth. Learn all about the wildlife as you volunteer, helping out with lots of different activities. Care for big cats like lions and leopards. Look after elephants and unusually we even have tigers at the sanctuary.

This is hands on conservation work, living in the heart of the reserve in five-star accommodation. No days the same, as you make friends and have an incredible Africa gap year.

Stay in volunteer on big five game reserve in the heart of South Africa near Port Elizabeth. Learn all about the wildlife as you volunteer, helping out with lots of different activities. Care for big cats like lions and leopards. Look after elephants and unusually we even have tigers at the sanctuary.

This is hands on conservation work, living in the heart of the reserve in five-star accommodation. No days the same, as you make friends and have an incredible Africa gap year.

Wildlife Reserve & Community Volunteering

  • Get a behind the scenes look at life on a South African Game Reserve
  • Learn all about amazing African Wildlife while volunteering on an amazing game reserve
  • Large groups! This is the most popular wildlife conservation project we run. So its super social with large gap year groups you are sure to make friends.
  • Get up close to huge Elephants on game drives
  • Be a conservation volunteer and help the land revert back to its natural state
  • Everything is included so you don’t need loads of money on the project

 

PHOTOS

You will be volunteering on a working game reserve. The nature of dealing with wild animals is that no two days are the same! So it’s a bit difficult to be specific about when things are going to happen. We have tried to give you a summary below but the best advice it to be flexible. You never know what exciting animal interactions you will get!

There are a large number of activities that you will be able to get involved in, the longer your stay at the programme the more you will be able to be involved in. Some of the main activities that you may be involved in during your time at the programme include:

We have a highly skilled and professional team looking after you, so don’t worry we have you covered. From our advanced game rangers, who will take you out in groups of 10 onto the reserve to fulfill your activities. Two camp managers, who can cater for your every need when you are not out on the reserves.

When you arrive you will be given a full introduction session, we will run you through dos and don’ts, the house rules and set the scene for what will happen over the next two weeks.

What you will be doing is quite varied, because it depends on the demands of the reserve at the time. But there is always plenty of activities waiting for you to get stuck into.

The Wildlife Conservation Project

For the next two weeks, you will be involved in the management of the game reserve. What that means is you will be working with full-time staff, under the supervision of qualified game rangers. What you will be doing depends on the short-term goals of the reserve at the time. It could be capturing game, checking fences or removing alien plant species. But no matter what you do, you can be sure this will have a beneficial effect and is laying the foundation for the wildlife to thrive on the reserve for future generations.

Expect to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty, some of the work can be quite hard, but ultimately very rewarding.

Work is generally divided into two categories:

Helping manage the land, and looking after the animals. Expect to do both during your time there. You could be feeding elephants, assisting with feeding big cats and doing wildlife surveys from converted land cruisers.

All accommodation and food is included so you do not need to worry about cooking or feeding yourself. During your downtime is plenty to do, and no doubt you will have a fair few stories to share over the campfire with your fellow volunteers.

What’s it like to volunteer on an African wildlife project?

Volunteers are essential for helping the ongoing running and maintenance of a wildlife reserve. It’s a great opportunity to learn loads about the animals, and Africa and do something constructive and fun with your year out. But you are probably wondering what it’s like to actually volunteer on one of these projects. To understand your role better, it’s necessary for us to go back and explain why Africa has wildlife reserves.

When Africa was colonised, the landscape was very different. Animals were free to roam where they pleased. The habitat consisted of the entire continent. The ecosystem was very different back then. As more and more settlers arrived to South Africa more and more of the natural land got converted to huge farms. The native animals habitat shrunk, and worse much of the wildlife was hunted for food, or because they were predators to the farmers livestock.

Slowly but surely fences went up, and the wilderness was transformed into farmland. About 30 years ago, some of the larger landowners who had massive farms decided to put things back to how things were. They wanted the land to become natural again, and haven for animals. This wildlife reserve fits that category. It’s 5000 hectors which obviously requires a lot of maintenance. Invasive plant species like prickly pears that were brought in by the farmers hundreds of years ago as a cheap and easy way to feed their livestock now represent a pest. In order for the land to remain true to its origins lots of effort is required. This is important because the animals need natural habitat to thrive. So on the wildlife conservation project, you will be out helping preserve the wildlife reserve keeping it in its natural state. Then of course there’s the animal side. With huge game numbers, lots of things can happen. Your role is to assist the game rangers in looking after the animals, and helping them when necessary. This does not mean we interfere with the natural order of things. The animals at the top of the food chain will eat their prey and we will not stop them from doing that. But it’s important to look out for all of the animals welfare. During your time you will be taken out with game rangers, who will explain all about the ecosystem as you carry out your daily duties with the rest of your group.

Evenings and weekends off

Evenings and weekends are at your own leisure. There is plenty of entertainment in and around the camp. We have large volunteer groups, so there’s always something going on. When you want to chill there are facilities like games rooms and we have massive flatscreens for movie nights. Not that you will want to watch much television, at night make sure you pop outside and look up you will see 1 million African stars. Sometimes the best stories are shared around the campfire!

ACCOMMODATION

You will be staying in a dedicated 5 star volunteer camp. We have single sex  dorm rooms, and shared common areas. The camp dispensed which is important because it’s located right inside the game reserve. It’s not unusual to hear the call of Africa’s wild as you sit around the campfire. Looking up and 1 million stars the location is really special.

Meals are taken at the camp, hearty traditional South African food is freshly prepared every day. Vegetarians are well catered for as well.

 You will not need much for this trip. All food and accommodation is included on the reserve.
 Please do book well ahead as space is limited on the programme. Simply submit a booking form and you can hold your place with a deposit of £200. Full payment is not due until 12 weeks prior to departure.
We have capacity for up to 80 people. We do get full in peak season so it is a great programme if you are looking to meet lots of other gappers too!
Duration Option Price  
2 (Week)USD 1159Book Now
3 (Week)USD 1699Book Now
4 (Week)USD 2199Book Now
6 (Week)USD 2899Book Now

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INCLUDED

  • Scheduled  transfer from Port Elizabeth (Departs PE at Monday at 5pm
  • Drop off on Saturday´s
  • Orientation on arrival
  • A branded Cap
  • A branded T-shirt
  • Luxury Dorm accommodation
  • All meals while at the reserve
  • Beverages with meals while on the reserve
  • Daily activities
  • Optional weekend excursions (transport and accommodation only)
  • Use of the various facilities such as swimming pool, sporting facilities and entertainment room

EXCLUDED

  • Day trips off reserve
  • flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Optional extras on the road trip
  • Lunch and dinner on the road trip

Dates

More dates

Thailand Ethical Elephant Project

This is not just any elephant programme. The Ethical Elephant project is one of the best out there, and that is why we offer it! This fantastic opportunity will see you working side by side with these majestic creatures, ensuring that they are fed, washed and kept happy the entire time you spend on the project.

THAILAND ETHICAL ELEPHANT PROJECT

GROUP VOLUNTEERING AND TRULY MAKING A DIFFERENCE

The elephant experience is an exciting, fun-filled way to get to know the Asian elephant. The elephant is iconic throughout Thailand and you’ll have the chance to learn about them and just how important they are to the people of Thailand.
Spending time in a rural village, you and your fellow travellers will help the local people care for the elephants. It’s a hands-on, action packed insight into the real Thailand.

The main highlight of this trip and also a really unique opportunity is not only to spend time with elephants, but also to live in a small rural Thai community, which is something which is fast becoming more and more difficult to experience. This is what it is all about. Living like the locals and truly immersing yourself in the culture of the people and the country.

Our project has been vetted to ensure it is ethically run. There is absolutely NO elephant riding by our guests.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Explore exciting Bangkok
  • Learn about Thailand’s culture, history and visit temples
  • Take a rustic train ride to Surin, through Thailand’s largest national park, Khao Yai
  • Walk with the elephants to the local river and help the mahouts bathe them
  • Help the mahouts clean the elephant areas
  • Harvest / plant crops (depending on the season) for the elephants
  • Kayak on the local river
  • Learn how to make simple but great Thai food
  • Eat, sleep and chill at the elephant camp
  • Have a once in a lifetime experience
  • Make new friends from all over the world

LEARN, PROTECT, CARE

Many elephants in Thailand have been taken out of their natural homes and have been abused and mistreated, all in the name of money. With your dedication to this project, you are preventing this kind of unethical practice and ensuring that the elephants have a chance to be Xtremely happy and free again.

While you are with us on the project, you will gain invaluable knowledge into the life of these elephants. By dedicating your time to the elephants, you will be helping to support them and their keepers and help guarantee that they are looked after.

WHERE? THE BEATING HEART OF THAILAND

Our amazing elephant project is Located in Surin, you will be surrounded by inspiring natural wonder, off the beaten track and far from the bustling streets that you would have seen in Bangkok.

We have about 35 elephants living in the elephant village, which is situated about 1 hour from the Cambodian border. Here you can indulge in a Thai cooking class and even brush up on your Thai with a Thai language lesson to really make your experience unforgettable. If you need to let out that inner adventurer, then you will also have the chance to kayak on the Mun river, which is part of the famous Mekong or pop over to Cambodia.

Volunteering on our projects is not only about seeing and experiencing an exotic destination but having a rewarding experience at the same time and truly giving back.

PHOTOS

ITINERARY:

DAY 1 – ARRIVE IN BANGKOK

Arrival day, the moment you have been waiting for! The start to an awesome life changing Thailand trip! First off, if you have not been travelling before… it will be ok. We make it a hassle free arrival, the Xtreme Team will collect you from Suvarnabhumi Airport (the international airport in Bangkok) and take you to your super convenient Bangkok accommodation, which is a stone’s throw from the famous Khao San Road. The accommodation has a movie room, 2 pool tables, free WIFI and lots of Xtreme Gappers awaiting to join the adventure.

You will have the rest of the day/evening (depending on when you arrive), to relax after a long flight and meet the rest of your group. Tonight we head out for a delicious Thai meal (local payment about £2) and explore the buzzing Bangkok area!

Inclusions:
• Breakfast
• Guided tour of Bangkok
• Overnight accommodation in a twin / triple shared room with air-conditioning, en-suite bathrooms and hot water

DAY 2 : WELCOME ORIENTATION AND EXPLORE BANGKOK

We will take it easy and all meet up at around 10:00 am to start a “real exploration” of Bangkok. This will be lead by our group leader, who will be with you for the next 2 weeks.

Prepare to see incredible things as we include an awesome boat trip through the ancient waterways of Bangkok. Not only will you get to experience stunning traditional communities off the backpacker trail, but we will also take you to the majestic Wat Arun – The Temple of the Dawn, Wat Pho, which is home to the most important reclining Buddha in the whole of Thailand and Wat Phra Kaew –  The Grand Palace.

watt arun thailandExpect an authentic look into traditional Bangkok and lets you see some of the most beautiful temples Thailand has to offer. The tour will last about 4 hours.

In the afternoon we head back to our guesthouse, just in time to freshen up and chill out before your ‘Welcome Dinner’ in the evening. After dinner, we are off to the infamous and exciting Khao San Road, the backpacker area of Bangkok,  where you will get a taste of the Thai nightlife.

Inclusions:
• Breakfast
• Guided tour of Bangkok
• Welcome Dinner
• Overnight accommodation in a twin / triple shared room with air-conditioning, en-suite bathrooms and hot water

DAY 3 – TRANSFER TO THE ELEPHANTS

Today we head to the elephant camp. We travel in a rustic train ride to Surin through Thailand’s largest national park, Khao Yai. In the western world we see are used to modern trains but in Thailand, the trains are much more rustic and fun! The train itself is an experience, with old style carriages that have their own special kind of unique character. Bring your camera for this because people back home will want to see just what we are talking about.

Inclusions:
• Breakfast
• Overnight in dorm style rooms in Surin

DAY 4-7 – VOLUNTEER AT THE ELEPHANT VILLAGE

Dear diary: Jackpot! If you are an elephant lover (and we’ll take a guess and say that you might be) then this will be the best part of your trip. You and your group will work together to make sure all of the elephants in the village are comfortable and well taken care of.
During your volunteer time in the elephant village, you will help feed and wash the elephants, play with them, plant crops and create vegetable gardens to create a sustainable source of food and more.

At the elephant village, you help the host family to look after the elephants and learn how elephants have been part of the fabric of life in this part of the world for generations. As you will be living so close to the Elephants, there will be plenty of opportunity to feed and interact with them.

General day-to-day activities include:

  • Walking and bathing the elephants at the river
  • Planting and harvesting food for the elephants
  • Learning to cook Thai food by helping to prepare dinner each evening
  • Kayaking and swimming in the river
  • Visiting the local market

Inclusions:
• Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner while at the elephant camp
• Overnight accommodation in dorm style rooms at the elephant camp

DAY 8 – FREE DAYS OR ONWARD TRAVEL

If you are only volunteering with us for one week your adventure will come to an end. But don’t worry because the memories, the photos and the friends will last a lifetime.Well earned free-days. You will need a break, trust us. You can use this opportunity just chill or do a bit more exploring. Surin town is a super friendly place with a population of around 50,000 people. There are loads Khmer temples,  which means they will look very different to the ones you saw in Bangkok and Kanchanaburi. Surin is also famous for its really cool coffee shops to hang out in. If you are just looking for some fun in the sun, one of the local hotels lets you use their pool for a small fee for the day and for those with a bit more energy. There is a waterpark and a shopping mall if you want to do some souvenir shopping.

If you book 2 weeks or longer: Well earned free-days. You will need a break, trust us. You can use this opportunity just chill or do a bit more exploring. Surin town is a super friendly place with a population of around 50,000 people. There are loads Khmer temples,  which means they will look very different to the ones you saw in Bangkok and Kanchanaburi. Surin is also famous for its really cool coffee shops to hang out in. If you are just looking for some fun in the sun, one of the local hotels lets you use their pool for a small fee for the day and for those with a bit more energy. There is a waterpark and a shopping mall if you want to do some souvenir shopping.

There are also some awesome restaurants in Surin and we recommend you have at least one visit to a huge ‘moo gratha’ buffet. For less than 150THB you cook your own food on a charcoal grill at your table and it’s as much as you can eat. Different meats, fish, prawns, vegetables, noodles and all sorts of other bits and pieces – and ice cream!  The best value in town and a great night out.

Your guide and our local team in Surin will be able to help you plan what you want to do and be on hand whenever you wish!

All weeks on the programme follow the same format: Monday to Thursday at the programme, with Friday, Saturday and Sunday free to soak up life in Surin and the surrounding areas.
Note that return travel to Bangkok is not included but is easy to arrange, our guides will sort you out!

ACCOMMODATION

You will split your time between the accommodation in Surin town and the Elephant village, but both are in dormitory style shared houses.
The rooms in Surin town are clean and comfortable, and all rooms are equipped with fans. The bathrooms are shared with your fellow travellers and have Western-style toilets. There is a basic kitchen for you to use, and of course, the accommodation has free WIFI!
The accommodation is located close to a supermarket, a pharmacy, ATM’s and lots of local street food vendors and small restaurants.

Living with elephants: Be prepared for living in a rural setting

Monday to Thursday afternoon are your activity days, so you will be living at the elephant village. This is back to basics Thai Style living, sleeping on floor mattresses and with up to 5 people to one room. The family who looks after the elephants live in a house on the same grounds, and so do the elephants.

The house at the elephant village is basic but clean, has plenty of fans to keep cool and has Western style toilets. There are hammocks for you to chill in and there is no wifi, so you are off the grid, and it will be amazing!

Trip Frequently Asked Questions:

Airport pick up times are between 06:00 and 22:00 on the start date and only from BKK international airport. (we can’t do pick ups from Don Muang – DMK – I’m afraid)

If someone is already in Thailand then they can either ‘make their own way’ to the BKK accommodation on the start day (information will be in the pre departure pack!) from 2pm on the start day.

As with the rest of Thailand, Surin can feel hot and sticky all year round. March to May are the hottest months of the year, whilst June to September is when most of the rain comes. November to February are the cooler and drier months of the year. During the winter months of November to February it can get chilly, especially in the morning and evening so be sure to bring along an extra sweater or jacket.
We have different size groups depending on the time of year, but generally you will be with between 5 and 20 volunteers.
All bedding is provided, but if you want to bring one, make sure it is feather light and not too warm.Or alternatively, take a duvet cover.
Yes, Thailand is basically the backpacking capital of the world and super traveller friendly and our ground staff are always there to help when needed
No problem, most of our travellers are solo travellers. You will meet loads of people, travellers and locals, and make new friends really easy.
If you are planning on travelling to Thailand for 30 days or less and you have British, Dutch or USA passport you can get a Visa exemption on arrival. This is valid for 30days and cannot be extended in Thailand. If you are planning on being in Thailand longer than 30 days you will need to pre-arrange a Visa. You can prearrange a visa for 60 days which you can extend to 90 days in Thailand.

Remember, obtaining the correct visa is your responsibility.

We offer airport pick up’s between 06:00 and 22:00 on arrival day and would encourage you to try to arrive at the airport by mid-afternoon so that you have time to freshen up, relax and then enjoy your first night in this amazing city. If you are arriving outside these times or are already in Thailand, then you are more than welcome to ‘make your own way’ to the Bangkok accommodation.

PRICE

Duration Option Price  
1 (Week)USD 699Book Now
2 (Week)USD 885Book Now
3 (Week)USD 1099Book Now
4 (Week)USD 1299Book Now

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INCLUDED

  • Airport pick-up on arrival
  • Two-night guest house accommodation in Bangkok
  • Breakfast is included on Days 2 and Days 3 (at the Bangkok accomodation)
  • Guided Bangkok Tour
  • Train transfer to Surin
  • Accommodation in Surin volunteer house
  • Accommodation at the elephant camp
  • Full orientation of project and surrounding areas
  • Daily transfers to and from project location
  • Thai language and cooking classes
  • Full ongoing support
  • 24 hour emergency support
  • Meals at the elephant camp. Day 4 – lunch and dinner (on arrival day at the village), on day 5 and 6 – breakfast, lunch and dinner and on day 7 – breakfast and lunch before heading back to Surin.

EXCLUDED

  • Your flights
  • Meals when enroute, in Bangkok or Surin – Please allow around $10USD/day
  • Visa (if required)
  • Travel insurance
  • Any additional activities not mentioned in the itinerary

Dates

2017

07/04/2017
21/04/2017
05/05/2017
19/05/2017
02/06/2017
16/06/2017
07/07/2017
21/07/2017
04/08/2017
18/08/2017
01/09/2017
15/09/2017
06/10/2017
20/10/2017
03/11/2017
17/11/2017
01/12/2017
15/12/2017

2018
05/01/2018
19/01/2018
02/02/2018
16/02/2018
02/03/2018
16/03/2018 NOTE: PROJECTS CLOSED 13-17 APRIL INCLUSIVE FOR THAI NEW YEAR
20/04/2018
04/05/2018
18/05/2018
01/06/2018
15/06/2018
06/07/2018
20/07/2018
03/08/2018
17/08/2018
07/09/2018
21/09/2018
05/10/2018
19/10/2018
02/11/2018
16/11/2018
07/12/2018 MAX 2 WEEKS

Xtreme South Africa Experience

The Xtreme South Africa experience, taking the best parts of a South African gap year experience and boiling it down into 5 weeks of non-stop group travel, action and adventure. All different weeks at different locations, focusing on different incredible activities. Adrenaline adventures in Cape Town, hands-on conservation and community projects covering the first two weeks. Then an unforgettable adrenaline tour up the coast featuring safaris, bungees and epic scenery before finally finishing on a two-week big 5 conservation project. Fly into Cape Town and out of Port Elizabeth.

The Xtreme South Africa experience, taking the best parts of a South African experience and boiling it down into five weeks of non-stop group travel, action and adventure. Different weeks, focusing on four different incredible activities. Adrenaline Adventures in Cape Town, hands-on conservation and community projects covering the first two weeks. Then an unforgettable adrenaline tour up the coast featuring safaris, bungees and epic scenery before finally finishing on a two-week conservation project. Fly into Cape Town and out of Port Elizabeth.

Xtreme South Africa Experience

What you experience now will change your life in the future. This trip with its massive highs, adrenaline shocks, and humbling insights into real issues will grow you as an individual. This trip combines it all; it will be the best five weeks of your life join our groups and kick off an amazing South African adventure.

Week One

Adrenaline Week

  • Arrival into Cape Town transfer to backpackers
  • Five-day Cape Town Adrenaline Week
  • Paragliding
  • Surfing
  • Cape Tour
  • World’s Highest Abseil
  • Free Weekend With Beach Time

Week Two:

Xtreme Hero Week

  • Choose either  Xtreme marine conservation hero great white shark project option or
  • Xtreme Kite Surf Qualification or
  • Or the Xtreme community superhero option in a township

Week Three:

Adrenaline Tour Garden Route Road Trip

  • Cape Town / Gaans Bai to Cape Aguilas
  • Cape Aguilas to Oudtshoorn
  • Face Adrenaline
  • Monkey / Elephant Park Night in Sedgefield
  • Jeffreys Bay via Tsitsikamma
  • Addo Game Drive – Jeffreys Bay
  • Hang out in Jeffreys Bay With Surf Lesson
  • Weekend in Port Elizabeth with city tour, Jazz club and Donkin Trail

Week Four & Five:

Big 5 Wildlife Conservation

  • Wildlife conservation Game Park
  • Transfer to Port Elizabeth
  • Trip ends

Highlights

  • Make friends from all over the world, as you discover, learn party and chill in some incredible locations all throughout southern Africa.
  • Experiencing the site sounds and colonial vibe of Africa’s most beautiful city: Cape Town
  • Revelling in the epic landscape of where to oceans meet at the Horn of Africa: the Cape of Good Hope
  • Pitting yourself against the world’s highest abseil of Table Mountain
  • Insane views of Cape Town on the Table Mountain cable car
  • Chilling on white sandy beaches with incredible views of Table Mountain with optional kite surf lessons
  • Picking between two adventurous and worthwhile projects. Helping to report scientific research aiding in the conservation of the great white shark, or immersing yourself in a community project to give something back to the poorest and most vulnerable in South Africa
  • Experiencing one of the most scenic coastal drives in the world en route to the shark conservation project
  • An incredible garden route adrenaline tour, covering 1000 km of action and adventure!
  • Testing your bravery. Facing the world’s highest bridge bungee: Bloukrans at 216 m (optional).
  • Mount up and ride an ostrich Cango Ostrich Farm!
  • Discover the true beauty of the garden route as you drive through the Hops Valley experiencing its mind blowing scenery
  • Discover the gateway to the Otter Trail in South Africa’s third most popular National Park Tsitsikamma. A feast for your eyes as steep wilderness gives way to a beautiful stretch of coastline.
  • Go on safari in Addo National Park and search for the big five.
  • Chill on the golden sands and get proper beach time in Jeffreys Bay. Ultra cool beach-side surf hostel, with epic nightlife and chilled out vibes.
  • Get hands-on on a wildlife conservation project for an entire week. Loads of interaction with nature, in a beautiful environment.


PHOTOS

Full Details

Cape Town Adrenaline Week One

On Arrival

You stay here.
You stay here.

Arrange your flights to land in to Cape Town International airport. We will pick you up from the airport and transfer you to our base in Cape Town. A stress free way of arriving into Africa. When you book with Xtreme gap year you get access to a Facebook group buddy list prior to arrival, so you can already start chatting to fellow Xtreme Gappers is who will be joining you on your trip.

Check in, kick back and relax. On Monday morning you will be given a full comprehensive introduction and then start your week-long adventures in and around Cape Town.

Your accommodation for the week is located in Table View its near the beach, and its a nice chilled out place to relax when dipping in and out of Cape Town. The views of table Mountain are spectacular as well.

Cape Town

DJI00013For the first week Cape Town will be your playground. It’s an amazing destination with a distinctively European feel yet African flair. You have loads of activities arranged for you for the week, but also plenty of free time to explore and check out some of the site sounds and highlights of the mother city.

As some of the activities are weather dependent the days you complete the activities might change, but we will aim to complete the following:

Table Mountain National Park & Abseil Africa

Take a trip to the top of table Mountain and check out the stunning scenery surrounding you. Awarded natural wonder of the world status, it’s easy to see why from the top. On a clear day you have impressive views of not only Cape Town but the Cape of Good Hope and the stunning scenery surrounding the mother city.

Table Mountain Drone (1)When you’re at the top, we are going to take full advantage of the altitude, because you are going to abseil of the world’s highest abseil from the top. Over 100 m in distance, and the thousand metres above sea level you will learn the true benefits of adrenaline travel with Xtreme. If you do not have a head for heights or want to back out you will not be forced to participate in this activity, but you will miss out on one of the best experiences of your life.

Please note the cable car ticket is not included in the trip price and you must purchase this locally (or this can be done online the night before) allow approximately £25 per person for the return journey.

Xtreme Cape Peninsula Tour

We will take you off to check out the Horn of Africa, on a mission to see the Cape of Good Hope. Along the way we will show you a thing or two about the history of Cape Town and show you things that most tourists miss. Check out the penguins at boulders Beach, have lunch with the locals in Kalk Bay and of course taste some of the local wine which is spectacular. We will take you through Clifton, camps Bay and then the stunning coastal road to Hout baai. It’s a scenic drive and then some with the final destination being the Cape of Good Hope. Prior to reaching the Cape there is a 40 minute hike, surrounded by baboons, seabirds and all forms of exotic wildlife. This is an entire day out, and will take around eight hours.

Surfing

During the first week we will hit the beach and do a three-hour surf session!

Paragliding

When we look at table Mountain, we just want to jump off it . So as part of the Cape Town adrenaline week we will take you tandem paragliding. The views are insane from up there!

Please note this activity is wind and weather dependent so there is some flexibility as to when this happens. If we are unfortunate with the local conditions we will substitute this activity with something more appropriate.

Food Included

For the first two weeks breakfasts and dinners are included in the price of the programme (unless you are on the shark conservation option, in which case breakfasts and dinners will be included for the first week in Cape Town).

Week 2: Hero Week Pick An Option

  • Xtreme marine conservation hero great white shark project option or
  • Xtreme Kite Surf Qualification or
  • Or the Xtreme community superhero option in a township

On your second week you have two different projects you can choose. Please note both projects are located in different locations. If you choose the community hero option, you will be located in table view in Cape Town. The shark conservation project takes place in Gansbaai approximately two hours from Cape Town. The group will be split depending on which activities you have picked and be reunited on the road trip one week later.

Great White Shark Option

And Xtreme Gap your exclusive we have partnered with one of the leading great white shark conservation projects in the world.

Every day (weather permitting) boats go out to monitor great white shark numbers in one of the world’s top great white shark hotspots.

Your role as an Xtreme reporter will be to get in the water with the sharks (in a cage) and observe the sharks in their natural environment. There are various research projects and data collection needs that you will get involved with, and you will be briefed on arrival as to what research tasks need to be completed.

Important scientific data collection work… That just happens to be bloody exciting.

DJI00125For one week you will be going out on the boats, examining and interacting with great whites, collecting and collating data on their movements and markings.

You will also fulfill the role of an Xtreme reporter, by contributing to the Xtreme marine shark conservation blog with the aim of raising awareness of issues surrounding threats to the great white shark. The database and bloggers running conjunction with white shark projects, one of the world’s leading white shark conservation projects, and the work you do will be accessible to marine biologists throughout the world.

Now this is important work, because you will be located in the worlds number one hotspots the great white sharks. Very little is known about them, so the data that you collect is very important. Scientists from all over the world can use the data collected in Gansbaai to further their understanding of great white sharks, and help assist in the conservation of these magnificent animals. Sharks are under threat, this is common knowledge now is your opportunity to help do something about it.

Xtreme South Africa Experience (9)We will aim to get you in the water as much as possible, but please note the activity is weather dependent, so there may be some non-sea days. During these days your focus will be on writing up the article that you are working on, or nonacademic activities like visiting some of the incredible hotspots in the area.

During the week you will be accommodated in a volunteer house, located in Klein Baai, a stones throw from the launch site of the shark conservation projects boats. After one week you will have gained an incredible insight into the issues surrounding great white sharks, and we hope got to know them a little bit better! Not only that you will come face-to-face on multiple occasions with a top apex predator and probably crapped your pants in the process!

Breakfasts Included

Please note breakfast is included during this week and lunches and dinners you have to pay for locally however there are cooking facilities at the volunteer house, and volunteers usually take turns to cook together.

Kite Surf Option

The third very exciting option in your second week is our learn to  Kite Surf option. You will be located a short stroll from one of the best kite surf beaches in the world. Cape Town is well known for its perfect kite surf conditions, warm temperate waters reliable steady wind and some of the top kite surfers in the world choosing this is the number one destination.

If you pick this option we will enroll you on an IKO beginner kite surfing course. As this option is wind and weather dependent, you have a week to complete your course, which should provide ample time to complete the necessary hours and modules.

What you will learn:

The kite surfing course will take you through the theory of kite surf, everything from wind conditions to the equipment and safety checks. You will learn how to fly the kite on land prior to getting in the water to start body dragging. (Controlling the kite in the water without the board). Finally you will get onto water start where you are up on the board under power from the kite. How far you progress is really up to how quickly you pick it up.

During the week you will be accommodated in the same backpackers hostel as in week 1.

All meals are included during this week and you get a total of 12 hours of instruction split throughout the week.

Breakfast and dinner included with this option

 Township Community Work. The community superhero project option.

Skandal Camp Xtreme Gap Foundation (8) (Copy)For those not doing the white shark conservation project, you have an amazing opportunity to help some of Africa’s most vulnerable communities. Partnering with the save foundation, you are able to get involved in a series of different project to help benefit local impoverished communities. You will be visiting some of the most unfortunate and impoverished people in South Africa. There are significant social problems which need addressing with the help of overseas volunteers. Helping volunteer your time in community creches, playing with the children and being involved in construction projects like building classrooms can make a real difference to the local community.

Some of the work is heartbreaking, and some of it incredibly rewarding. You will be under the stewardship of very capable coordinators, who have been successfully running community projects in South Africa for many years. Nikki the project leader, comes from an NGO background whose drive and enthusiasm is infectious. Under her guidance hopefully you can give something back and contribute to the well-being of some of Africa’s most needy.

During the week he will stay in a shared volunteer house, located a couple of minutes from the beach in dormitory accommodation. The house is in one of the most picturesque parts of Cape Town, table view and each day you will be transported to the projects and set tasks.

Breakfast and dinner included with this option

 

Week Three Adrenaline Tour Garden Route Road Trip.

tAFELBERG 2 EN oUDTSHOORN 249 (Copy)The third week involves an epic 1 ½ thousand kilometre road trip along one of the most beautiful drives in the world: the Garden Route. This is a fully guided adventure stopping off in some of the best places in South Africa.

This will be a non-stop quest for adventure with some seriously awesome activities in the itinerary:

What you can expect

  • Opportunity to go shark cage diving (if you are on the community township option)
  • Safari and game drive in the legendary Addo Elephant Park
  • Two night stay in Jeffreys Bay with surf lessons
  • Optional bungee jump at the legendary Bloukrans (Or cheer on your mates from the clifftop bar!)
  • Tsitiskamma National Park the gateway to the otter Trail
  • Ostrich riding and cango caves
  • Cango Wildlife Park to see rare breeds and leaping crocodiles
  • Option to do some crocodile cage diving
  • Epic scenery of mountains, coastal roads and two amazing oceans
  • Chilling out on the golden sands of Jeffreys Bay
  • A breathtaking view from the top of Knysna Heads

Adrenaline Tour Garden Route Road Trip

Day 1 ǀ Cape Town to Struisbaai:

One of the most scenic coastal drives in the world optional shark cage dive,  ending at the bottom of continental  Africa.

It’s an early start from Cape Town at 8.30. It’s going to be a hell of the road trip. Today we head East, as we leave behind table Mountain and the glorious Cape Town, we had along the N2 to the coast. We will be joining the famous Whale route which is one of the most scenic coastal drives in the world. Mountains descend into the Indian Ocean, which is loaded with whales and sharks.

If you did not pick the great white shark option in the second week you have the opportunity to go shark cage diving today. This will mean you leave even earlier than the main group to get out on the boat to see the sharks. You will then meet up with the main group directly after your shot cage dive.

Make sure your camera is fully charged because you’re going to be snapping away like a lunatic, we can have a stop in a craft beer brewery to quench your thirst before heading to Cape Agulhas National Park.

Despite most people believe the Cape of Good Hope holds this title, it is actually Cape Agulhas that is the most southern geographical point of Africa.

After a visit to the lookout point we make our way to the harbour where there is an option to embark on an exciting ski-boat cruise to search for dolphin and whales (June to November).

After our cruise we take a walk back to our accommodation along “Die Plaat”, the longest beach in the Southern Hemisphere. This day is designed to be a relaxing one for you to get to know your fellow travellers, to get used to travelling in our vehicle and to settle into the comfortable routine of life on tour.

  • Meals: Dinner
  • Accommodation:  Backpacker dorm -Cape Agulhas Backpackers
  • Facilities Shared ablutions, bar, internet, swimming pool
  • Route: Cape Town to Struisbaai ±260 km
  • Travel time: ±4 hrs
  • Included Highlight: Land Based Whale Watching in Hermanus / Shopping
    Beer/wine tasting at Birkenhead Brewery
  • Optional Activities: Shark cage diving

Day 2 ǀ Cape Agulhas to Sedgefield: Canoeing & Hike

Goodbye whale route hello garden route. Day two brings beach time, kayaking and waterfalls.

Not such an early start this morning, enjoy your breakfast After a relaxing breakfast we start driving inland again, this time towards the famed Garden Route!

After a scenic drive we begin a beautiful canoe trip down one of the many tranquil rivers in the area, followed by a short hike to a stunning waterfall.
We finish off the day with some beach time down at Myoli Beach.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Cape to Addo Backpacker dorm: Sedgefield
  • Facilities: Shared ablutions, internet, pool, entertainment areas
  • Route: Struisbaai to Sedgefield ± 340 km
  • Travel time: ±4 hrs
  • Included Highlight: Canoe trip & hike to waterfall

Day 3 ǀ Oudtshoorn:

Driving through the desert Little Karoo. Exploring underground caves. Riding ostriches and swimming with crocodiles!

We begin the day with a drive over the picturesque Outeniqua mountain range into the semi desert region of the Klein Karoo and Oudtshoorn. Today you’re going to see more ostriches than you will probably ever see for the rest of your life. Originally not native to Oudtshoorn, settlers discovered that the ostrich thrives here. So you’re going learn a lot about them. If you’re up for it you can ride one one as well (don’t worry it doesn’t hurt the ostrich and it is really very silly).


Prior to that we are going to explore the amazing Cango Caves. Think massive caverns and a wonderland of stalactite and stalagmite formations, millions of years old. Cango Caves is a world heritage site and one of the great wonders of the natural world.

If you enjoy spelunking (yes that’s a real word we didn’t make that up) and don’t mind trying to squeeze through some smaller gaps then you are also welcome to take the 1.5 hour adventure tour!

Finally you can go see endangered wildlife act can go wildlife Ranch. This is the only place in the world we can go crocodile cage diving! They also have a big cat Sanctuary, where you can interact with cheetah as well.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Cape to Addo Backpacker dorm in Sedgefield
  • Facilities: Shared ablutions, internet, pool, free shuttle service to PiliPili Beach bar
  • Route: Sedgefield to Oudtshoorn day trip ±190 km
  • Travel time: ±3 hrs
  • Included Highlight: Standard or adventure guided tour of Cango Caves

Optional Activities:

  • Tour of a working Ostrich farm + riding (weight restriction apply to riders)
  • Cango Endangered Wildlife ranch

Day 4 ǀ Sedgefield – Jeffrey’s Bay:

Learn all about monkeys and Elephants. Throw yourselves down canyons and take on the mighty bloukrans Bungee. Hike through a national Park. Finish in one of the worlds top surf spots. Not a bad afternoon.

This morning we drive through Knysna on our way to the Crags where you have a number of options to choose from. This is an action packed itinerary today so you will not get to pick every single option, so pick the one that you would most like to do.

  1. Elephant Sanctuary where you learn about, and interact with orphaned elephants.
  2. Monkey Sanctuary where rescued monkeys roam free in a large jungle area.
  3. Kloofing trip through a spectacular gorge with jumps, abseils and swimming.

Bloukrans bungee

Bloukrans Face Adrenaline bungee jumpOur next stop is the World’s highest commercial bridge Bungee Jump at 216 meters.  It is really bloody scary. If you cannot face the jump, you can face a pint, from the clifftop bar where you can watch the jumpers on a live video feed.


For those that have successfully completed the jump they are going to need a serious wind down. There is no better place to do this than the Tsitsikamma National Park. It’s like something out of the lost world, with an ancient rainforest descending down beautiful cliffs into the sea.  We will go for a hike over the suspension bridges to check out the scenery and stop for lunch in an amazing beach-side lodge. Make sure you try the stake it is to die for.

If we have time we will head to Storms river swing bridges before we reach the world-famous surfing Mecca Jeffreys Bay. We will be staying right by the beach in an awesome Surf Lodge. The Surf Lodge will be your home for the next couple of days, although we will be doing road trips up to the Addo national elephant Park.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Accommodation Backpacker dorm; Island Vibe Backpackers, Jbay
  • Facilities: Shared ablutions, bar, restaurant, internet
  • Route: Sedgefield to Storms River/Jbay
  • Travel time: ±2-3 hrs
  • Included Highlight: Tsitsikamma Forest
  • Optional Activities: Elephant Sanctuary, Monkeyland, Bloukrans bungee jump (216m), Bloukrans Bridge walking tour

Day 5 ǀ Jeffrey’s Bay – Addo National Park – Sedgefield: Game Drive (Addo), Surfing, shopping time (Jeffrey’s bay)

Wake up early and head to Addo Elephant National park where we go on a morning game drive to view the multitudes of wild animals. Addo is home to the Big 5 and it also has the highest concentration of African Elephants in the world!

Addo Game Drive

The Addo elephant Park is immense. It’s also one of the top elephant game reserves in South Africa. Miles and miles of endless African bush, will have surprises around every corner. We will go for a 3 to 5 hour game drive in the elephant Park so have your camera charged in your memory card is empty!

Jeffreys Bay With Optional Surf Lesson

In the afternoon we had back to Jeffreys Bay, where you will set up for the next couple of days, learning to surf and getting some much-needed beach and chill time.

This is your opportunity to relax, take in the white sandy beaches and hang out with other backpackers. The week after we are heading into the African bush, so it’s nice to spend some time by the ocean.

No meals are included in Jeffreys bay so please budget and additional £30 to cover these expenses for the next couple of days

Weekend in Port Elizabeth

P.E for the weekend. You will be based in a hostel near the center and have serveral activities planned. An interesting city tour (Donkin trail ) combined with township tour finally dinner at a Jazz Club in the township (New Brighton Township).

When we depart from the Jazz club after dinner we stop at the beer shack for beer tasting (beers own cost).

This section is guided from Jbay all the way through PE until the wold life section of the trip. You will have free time at the weekend. You can shop, explore or if you thirst for some more adventure: Rent a bike from the hostel and do a few kilometres cycle to a SAMREC penguin rehabilitation centre and or you can do  a 9 km hiking trail of the Cape Nature Recife/light house.

Week Four & Five Wildlife Conservation & Safari

Week four and Five are all about the animals of Africa. Staying in the big five wildlife reserve near Port Elizabeth. Guided by expert game rangers you will have access every day to Africa’s wildlife. Early in the mornings and in the afternoons you will head out in modified land cruisers, looking for wildlife and getting involved in conservation activities.


It is spectacular as it is adventurous, but more than that you will gain a deeper understanding of the issues African wildlife is facing. For example the exploitation of the rhino, or combating poaching from elephant ivory poachers. There are so many different projects and tasks that need your assistance you can really contribute something back. But it’s not all hard work out on the reserves, its incredible experiences as well. Face-to-face with raw African wildlife, you will track lions, buffaloes leopards and more.

During these weeks you will stay on the reserves, in a shared volunteer house, all food is provided for you, although there is the opportunity to purchase extra snacks and soft drinks. With days full of wildlife interaction, your nights around the campfire will be filled with incredible story swapping as you relive the moments of the day.

Car Chasing (2) - CopyYou also have the option to contribute to our wildlife conservation database, and write reports on your findings, a great way to show future employers or university tutors what you got up to with your time off.

At the end of the weeks you will be dropped off in Port Elizabeth (Monday 11 am) where you can catch your flight home. If you wish to travel further on through South Africa, we can also help organise Baz bus tickets, a hop on hop off bus network so let us know all about your travel plans.

Which reserve will you stay at?

We use several different reserves depending on the groups sizes and availability at the game reserves. All reserves are highly rated (5 star game reserves). Sometimes it is necessary to split the group, but we endeavour to keep the group together. The game reserve selected will be confirmed to you at the time of booking and we do reserve the right to change game reserves at any time depending on what is best suited to group size. All game reserves are located in the Port Elizabeth Malaria free zone.

ACCOMMODATION

On this trip you stay multiple locations. Accommodation is mainly in dorms or twin to triple share single sex rooms.

Trip Frequently Asked Questions

What are the group sizes

Group sizes do vary but expect up to 12 people per group. We keep it nice and intimate because this ensures the road trip section is truly unforgettable. You will make good friends with other Xtreme Gappers and have some incredible experiences along the way.

What spending money should I take

South Africa is very cheap, the exchange rate is very favourable so if you are on a tight budget you should only need around £80 per week. Most of your food is included in the second and fourth weeks, and there are cooking facilities available as well.

What are the average ages?

The majority of people on this trip are between 18 and 30, but it is popular with people of all ages.

As a first-time traveller as the suitable for me?

Yes absolutely. The majority of people on this trip book on their own, and you are well looked after throughout. It’s a great introduction to travelling, and you will be with other people in a similar position. You also get access to our online Facebook buddy lists prior to travel so you can make friends with other people on the same trip prior to leaving.

Is South Africa safe?

Yes it is. Throughout the trip you have assistance from our guides and coordinators, you will be well looked after.

Advise about vaccination

No need to really worry about a rabies vac – highly unlikely that you will need it. Most hospitals have this in stock and they could definitely get this within 24 hours (they don’t keep stock but can get in very quickly).  Our pharmacist in Kenton also said that they can order the rabies vac should someone wants to get vaccinated once here.  Most good pharmacies should be able to do this. We always suggest to our volunteers to get a tetanus jab before coming out – if possible but also not to stress if they haven’t (in case you stand in a rusty nail, hurt yourself with a machete whilst chopping out alien plants on the last 2 weeks.

Great White Shark option

Our great white shark project is closed for volunteers from the 15 Dec- 15th Jan but our kite surfing and community volunteering will still be running then.

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Duration Option Price  
5 (Week)Xtreme CommunityUSD 2429Book Now
5 (Week)Kitesurf 5 Week OptionUSD 2609Book Now

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INCLUDED

Cape Town Section, Week 1:

  • Pickup from Cape Town International airport
  • All accommodation at an awesome hostel close to the beach
  • Fully guided in country support and predeparture support
  • Walking tour of Cape Town
  • 3 hour surf lesson
  • Breakfast and Dinner
  • Table Mountain abseil
  • Cape Peninsula tour
  • Paragliding in Capetown or Lions Head Trek  (weather dependent)
  • Wine tasting
  • Hop on hop off bus tour of Cape Town (with optional Signal Hill sunset)
  • Blouberg Beach the perfect place for a sunset

The Xtreme Hero Week 2 :

  • Meals (dinner is excluded in shark option)
  • Breakfast and Dinner (on the Kite Surf and Hero Options)
  • Accommodation
  • Transfers to the projects
  • Xtreme Gap Year coordinators
  • Guidance on the various activities

Road Trip Section, Week 3:

  • All transport
  • All accommodation
  • Xtreme Gap Year guide
  • Entrance to Addo Elephant Park and game drive
  • Entrance to Tsitikamma National Park
  • Cango Caves
  • Cango Wildlife Ranch & Ostrich Ranch
  • Jeffreys Bay Surf lesson

 Wildlife Reserve Section Week 4&5:

  • Transfers to and from the reserve
  • Accommodation in a secure gated compound
  • All meals
  • Game Ranger supervisors
  • Game drive vehicle for 2 weeks
  • Drop off to Port Elizabeth

EXCLUDED

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Some meals unless stated and all meals during the road trip Jbay section
  • Snacks & Drinks
  • Cape town cable car
  • Activities listed as optional on the road trip

Dates

More dates

 

Xtreme Wildlife Experience

Live amongst the African big five on the exclusive private game reserve with Xtreme gap. It’s like a five-star luxury lodge safari experience at a fraction of the price. Joining the Xtreme conservation team, you will go on daily game drives, monitoring and playing an active role in conservation of wild animals in South Africa. The location really sets this project apart, as well as the wide diversity of animals. A truly epic stunning game reserves, with magnificent views to the sea will make this an incredible African wildlife experience.

Live amongst the African big five on the exclusive private game reserve with Xtreme gap. It’s like a five-star luxury lodge safari experience at a fraction of the price. Joining the Xtreme conservation team, you will go on daily game drives, monitoring and playing an active role in conservation of wild animals in South Africa. The location really sets this project apart, as well as the wide diversity of animals. A truly epic stunning game reserves, with magnificent views to the sea will make this an incredible African wildlife experience.

 Xtreme Wildlife Experience

Highlights:

By far the most beautiful private game reserve in South Africa (in our opinion).

  • Living right on the reserve, with lions and big five on your doorstep.
  • Daily game drives, to spot and monitor a wide variety of animals.
  • Location! The reserve is set in one of the most stunning locations in Africa.
  • Beach access. Unlike other reserves, you are only 15 minutes from a gorgeous beach which is great on your weekends off.
  • Good times! Joining people from all over the world, you will do fun social activities as well as the nitty-gritty hard work of wildlife conservation. Game walks, waterfall treks social events.
  • Reporting on your findings Xtreme gap exclusive.

 

Photos

 

Wildlife Volunteering in South Africa

 Xtreme gap wildlife conservation experience: the difference.

South-Africa-Wildlife-Conservation-Experience-(16)Plenty of gap year companies offer wildlife conservation programmes. On the face of it they seem the same, but how do you tell them apart? Without visiting the reserves, and checking out the projects it’s hard to know what you’re getting.

Well we have, and we have selected an exclusive partner in South Africa to run a wildlife conservation programme.

This Experience You Are Not Just Getting a Conservation Programme, You Are Getting a Completely Immersive Experience.

The Volunteer House is located smack bang in the middle of a big five game reserve. As you enjoy a cold beer, by the swimming pool as the smells of the barbecue carries off into the bush, it’s not uncommon for lions to come right up to the fence in your garden.

From the moment you leave the sanctuary of your accommodation you are in it and it is on!

While other companies will station you off the reserve, you will be located in a stunning region. We purposefully run small groups (there is a maximum of 10 participants at one time) whereas other companies can run 60 to 80 volunteers. This means you will get an intimate and personalised experience. You will learn all about the animals and gain a deeper understanding of African nature.

The work you do will genuinely make a difference, with rhino conservation at the forefront of your activities.

So what will you do?

DSC_5624aThere is no set schedule as such but your itinerary will be filled with some incredible moments. From game drives, game walks and hikes to waterfalls, you can expect plenty of interaction with African wildlife.

You will be working alongside leading African conservationists, and have your own mentor Throughout. On arrival you will be given a full introduction, and your programme will be laid out in full. You will be given some essential do’s and don’ts, and it is obviously important that you stick to these as you will be living with potentially dangerous animals all around you.

Game drives

As the name suggests game drives is where you go out looking for the animals. Our wildlife volunteers have at their disposal one specially modified land cruiser that can take up to 10 people. These landcruisers are virtually indestructible, and you will not believe the terrain we can cover with them. Steep rock paths get devoured by the 4×4 which means you will be taken to some quite inaccessible places on a quest to discover the wildlife.

South Africa Wildlife Conservation Experience (17) - CopyThe activities you partake in each week, will have a genuine benefit. From collecting scientific data on animal populations, kills and any other areas of interest that affects the wildlife population.

There are other activities that you can partake in as well. It’s a fairly close-knit social experience, with other volunteers from all over the world. You are sure to make friends very quickly. We take you on excursions, the local town canton on Sea is only 15 minutes away and has some of the best beaches in South Africa.

The reserve has a sea view, not only does this make it an already impressive location even better, it serves to bring in the cool winds from the sea, meaning you are not so roasting when you are out in the field.

Safety and guidance

Bear in mind you will be staying surrounded by the wildlife, it’s good to note that there is a fully trained conservation guide stationed with you. Should you have any questions, needs or issues during your stay help is at hand. Not only that our team is young, dynamic and impassioned about wildlife conservation. This will no doubt rub off on you as you work closely with our highly experienced team.

Accommodation

You are located in a shared volunteer house right in the heart of the reserve. The compound is secured with an electric fence, which is completely necessary as there are lions, elephants and other dangerous game roaming freely around the perimeter. Incredible views giving way to the sea and the stunning South African bushveld. It is a haven that constantly reminds you you are in the heart of Africa. There is a gorgeous plunge pool, barbecue area, and garden few to enjoy after a hard days work. There are multiple bedrooms and you share with members of the same sex. Wi-Fi Internet is available although a little slow, but all of the creature comforts you could need are there. We even have a treehouse overlooking a watering hole to enjoy a nice sundowner in the company of wildebeest and warthogs!

Find out more about the accommodation on our blog here.

Meals

You cook meals in the house. There is a cooking rota so once per week you will be expected to cook for the rest of the volunteers with a partner. Food is purchased once per week, and rationed accordingly. Males are basic but hearty, and dinner time is a very social experience.

Pickup

Airport pickup is included from Port Elizabeth on a pay on arrival basis. There are set arrival dates so please see the date section for availability.

Some of the projects you might become involved in include:

  • Elephant impact monitoring identifying elephants and monitoring their movement, so that they can be managed effectively in the future.
  • Lion prey selection monitoring this is not for the faint-hearted! You must record as many lion kills as possible, so it´s possible to form a picture of what they are eating. As lions are fitted with collars, you´ll get regular glimpses of this majestic beast.
  • Population status of leopards as one of the most elusive animals in South Africa, recording the population of leopards is tough. You´ll help to monitor them, and will be part of a privileged group to have seen this amazing cat.
  • Rhino monitoring  rhinos are becoming rarer and rarer, so it is vital that the remaining animals are monitored effectively. With 633 rhinos poached in South Africa in 2013 alone, protecting them is one of the biggest conservation priorities for the whole continent.
  • Birds in Reserve Project (BIRP) mething that lets you see the beauty of this part of the world first hand!
  • Conservation projects  these include projects such as game counts, sex and age surveys for certain species, controlling invasive plants and controlling soil erosion.

Xtreme Gap Year Wildlife Volunteering South Africa (3)You won´t just get to do one of these projects though you´ll be able to have a go at many of them! That way, you´ll get a real feel for how this important game reserve works. Occasionally, exciting projects such as animal releases and captures will also spring up, but these are not regular and therefore can´t be guaranteed. You´ll also get a number of educational lessons before each activity  don´t worry, they are informal and not like the formal classes found at schools and universities!

What Else Is There?

Don´t worry: it isn´t all work, no play on this trip! You´ll get plenty of days off and will have the choice of many different activities to complete or you can simply sit back and relax for the day, while you take in the sun and the beautiful scenery in the game reserve. Some of the additional activities you can complete are:
Horse riding on the beach

  • Deep sea fishing
  • Quad biking
  • Two day canoe trip on the Kowie River
  • Trips to the Addo Elephant National Park
  • Shark cage diving
  • Tandem sky-diving

Additionally, the closest town, Kenton, is only 15 minutes away and has an absolutely amazing beach, with a bar overlooking the sea the perfect place to grab a beer and reflect on what you´ve done during the day. The town also has shopping facilities, where you can stock up on essentials. Port Alfred and Grahamstown are also close by, should you fancy a change of scenery.  

Trip Frequently Asked Questions

There are no set arrival/departure dates for this project, but please note all arrivals are scheduled on Mondays. Departure days can be Fridays, Saturdays or Mondays (please note: no Sundays). Volunteers are required to sign an indemnity form acknowledging and accepting the consequences of working in close contact with wild animals. Applicants must be 17 years of age or older. The minimum time period for a booking is a two week placement and the maximum period is 12 weeks.

Please note that our activities are based on a minimum stay of four weeks. Although many of the activities listed below may take place in two to three week placements, not all are guaranteed. So the longer your stay, the more in depth your experience.

This trip runs from 2-12 weeks, depending on your personal preference. The longer you stay though, the more you´ll be able to immerse yourself in the workings of this important and beautiful game reserve! This is a great option if you want to spend a decent amount of time South Africa, because all of your food and accommodation are included, you only have to budget a very small amount for spending money.
There is Wi-Fi at the house, where you will be able to check emails and browse the internet. There is no phone though, so you will need to use the pay phone in  reception or pay phones in the local towns. To make calls, we´d recommend bringing a good supply of “World-Call” phone cards.
Ingredients are provided, however volunteers will be required to cook their own meals each night. Unfortunately ingredients can´t be supplied for those with specific dietary requirements these will need to be bought by the volunteer. If you want a really authentic South African meal, feel free to use the barbeque at the house!
The weather will generally be hot, so make sure you bring plenty of t-shirts and pairs of shorts! Heavy rain does happen though, so it is also vital you bring a decent rain jacket. It is also important to bring clothes suitable for manual work, such as boots and long trousers. You should also bring a sleeping bag for your camping outings, as well as towels, toiletries and insect repellent.
Many volunteers also bring items from home that they can donate to the local school. Popular gifts include stationery, sports equipment and vegetable seeds for the school´s garden. You´ll be amazed at how grateful the children and staff will be when they receive these gifts from you.

No need to really worry about a rabies vac – highly unlikely that you will need it. Most hospitals have this in stock and they could definitely get this within 24 hours (they don’t keep stock but can get in very quickly).  Our pharmacist in Kenton also said that they can order the rabies vac should someone wants to get vaccinated once here.  Most good pharmacies should be able to do this. We always suggest to our volunteers to get a tetanus jab before coming out – if possible but also not to stress if they haven’t (in case they stand in a rusty nail, hurt themselves with a machete whilst chopping out alien plants etc.)

In order to reach the Game Reserve, you will need to fly into Port Elizabeth Airport, where you will be met by a taxi organised by the game reserve. As the airport is predominantly for domestic flights, you will probably need to fly to Cape Town or Johannesburg, before then getting an internal flight. Arrivals to the park must only be on Mondays, although you are able to finish your trip on Fridays, Saturdays or Mondays. Please note whilst we will arrange the taxi for you you will need to make a local payment to pay for it.

Absolutely! There are many other trips within Africa that can be combined with this one, plus it is also easy to go on this trip in combination with a trip to Australia or New Zealand. However you want to combine this trip, we will be able to make it happen!
Duration Option Price  
2 (Week)USD 1099Book Now
3 (Week)USD 1599Book Now
4 (Week)USD 2159Book Now
5 (Week)USD 2639Book Now
6 (Week)USD 3099Book Now
7 (Week)USD 3599Book Now
8 (Week)USD 4049Book Now
9 (Week)USD 4499Book Now
10 (Week)USD 4859Book Now
11 (Week)USD 5349Book Now
12 (Week)USD 5899Book Now

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Included

  • Representative to pick you up from the airport: local payment charge applies (1 pax 1250 zar (approx £60)
  • All accommodation in a shared volunteer Lodge
  • All meals included
  • All Wildlife conservation activities
  • Wildlife field guides and mentors throughout the duration of the course

Excluded

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Spending money (budget five pounds per day)
  • Costs of transfers (paid locally)

Dates

More dates

 

Xtreme Marine Conservation & Dive Hero Belize

Hang loose and protect the world’s second-largest barrier reef clearing it of lionfish. Staying on an idyllic tropical island, join the Xtreme marine team to protect Whalesharks, Queen conch, lobster and eradicate invasive species. The perfect Caribbean Marine conservation and diving getaway.

Diving in Belize (4)

Get a PADI qualification, Become a diver and help protect the world’s second largest reef system. Staying on an idyllic tropical island, in the middle of the Caribbean you will be diving 12 times a week taking part in valuable and exciting Marine conservation initiatives.  The perfect place to disconnect from the world and live life to its fullest.

 

 Xtreme Marine Conservation & Dive Hero Belize

Become a true Marine conservation hero in Belize. Diving in Caribbean seas, submerged in turquoise waters you will find the second-biggest reef system in the world.  Belize a former English colony has the ultimate Caribbean tropical island vibe.  But like all complex and beautiful reef systems it is under threat.  Invasive species like the lionfish, not native to Caribbean waters are raging rampant all over the reef system and they need to be stopped. These beautiful but menacing little critters can hatch eggs in two days and a single fish can release up to 15,000 eggs.

Highlights

  • Explore stunning Belize and But, hey Marine conservation hero on the world’s second-largest barrier reef.
  • Learn to scuba dive and gain a PADI qualification.
  • Dive 12 times a week and discover new addiction in an underwater paradise.
  • Disconnect from reality and stay in paradise on an idyllic private island in the Caribbean Sea.
  • Live on an unspoiled island, contributing to Marine conservation and becoming a legendary diver In a Marine Park.
  • Hunt these evil Lionfish Critters. The other fish will thank you for it.
  • Get involved with Marine conservation efforts from other species such as lobster, conch and whale sharks
  • Contribute to the global Coral watch and reef check initiative
  • Cut your dive teeth in the dark with a night dive.  This will completely change your perspective of the underwater environment.
  • Let loose at the weekends on the mainland with some incredible extreme adventure activities!

 

PHOTOS

Belize Island (7)Imagine living on a tropical island helping protect the reefs by day and seeing 1 million tropical stars by night.  Learn to dive, get involved in conservation efforts and have the time of your life with the group of fellow Xtreme Marines! Beautiful beaches with white sand that will spoil you. Turquoise waters that will take your breath away. So let’s check out what happens on this program

 

On arrival

Arriving on Sunday you will be met at the airport by our representative and transferred to your accommodation. We recommend you meet up with the fellow course participants in a local restaurant that evening.  The introduction and orientation session takes place first thing Monday morning at 830.

Then half an hour later we hop on a boat for a two-hour ride out to your new home from home on a tropical paradise island surrounded by the world’s second-largest barrier reef.

 

The Adventure Begins!

Diving in Belize (2)If you do not have a PADI open water course or equivalent you will begin your dive training.  Contact us the details  of what happens during the section.  If you already have an open water course qualification, you are welcome to begin the Marine conservation section straightaway.

Once you are dive trained you will take part in 12 conservation dives per week.  We include most of the equipment but there is some that you will need to bring with you:

Bring your own wetsuit (a full 3mm suit is recommended) and booties, a dive mask and snorkel. You will also be required to purchase the relevant PADI Open Water manuals for training purposes if you are undertaking the PADI training. If you wish to take part in night dives you must also bring a dive light or waterproof torch with you. You cannot purchase these on the island so please bring these from home.

 

The Xtreme Marine conservation project in detail

IMG_4363Once you have completed your diving qualifications it’s time to get down to business. The Marine conservation programme focus on five core activities.  All of which take place in a protected area the Sapodilla Cayes Marine Park (SCMR) area.

Please note: In order to support the marine conservation projects and the local area, each participant will need to pay extra marine Park fees of USD25 per week or USD75 per month.

You will take part in several different activities during your stay, depending on the season and the needs of the project of the time.

 

Lionfish Population Control

Lionfish huntingThe seas around Belize are currently under threat from an invasion of the non-indigenous Lionfish.

Not native to Belize they eat the local fish, and degrade the reef.  They are outcompeting all the local fish population as well is killing them because they can release 15,000 eggs every four days.  The region is overrun by these beautiful yet perilous fish so they need to be eradicated.

As part of the Xtreme marine conservation dive team, you will be responsible for diving down and removing Lionfish using a special spear gun, and then analysing and collecting data on the local Lionfish population.  If you think that killing fish species is contradictory to conservation, then you do not understand the impacts of the lionfish on the native species.  If you ask squirmy wish about hunting fish this is not the programme for you.

But this is not just about eradication.  Surprisingly lionfish taste delicious, and you’ll no doubt get to try your catch once you return to your island hideaway.

Working closely with local partners we have been able to get the lionfish onto many of the local menus.  This provides a sustainable great alternative to the overfished fish stocks so you are actually contributing to conservation efforts in more than one way. Every fish you spear means others will live!

 

Whale Shark Monitoring

Diving in Belize (17)The whale shark population in Belize is exceptionally good.  Whalesharks the world’s biggest fish, our incredible to be in the water with.  The reef in Belize attracts some of the largest concentrations of Whalesharks in the world.  But with their food supplies dwindling the conservation project aims at sustaining the food supply for these impressive creatures.

It is widely known that whale shark numbers are in decline and unless action is taken they are under threat from extinction. Whalers who target them for their fins and meat prize Whalesharks this is your chance to give something back. When we encounter Whalesharks we do data collection and log their movements.

Please note: The main whale shark season runs between March-June, although sightings have been recorded throughout the year. We cannot guarantee a sighting of a whale shark. You must abide by the whale shark code of conduct when diving which means no touching!

 

Protecting lobsters

While lobsters are very tasty they are overfished.  It is important during the breeding season is that they are not finished so as part of the programme you will help monitor the population of lobsters underwater.  You also check out on local restaurants to make sure that lobster is not on the menu during the off-season.

Many Caribbean countries now have open and closed lobster seasons, with the closed season being when the female lobsters are ready to release their eggs. Belize’s closed season usually runs from February – June, and during these months, fishing for lobsters is banned, as is serving them on restaurant menus.

How does this help?  Well by identifying the male to female ratio of lobsters as well as locating females carrying eggs. By protecting the key areas where the female lobsters lay eggs, we can help protect lobsters in their own native habitats.

The underwater lobster survey is conducted using a ‘rover diver’ technique, with groups of six divers spaced along a line, with two divers carrying slates and a measuring stick. Divers move slowly along, allowing time to coax the lobsters out of their holes using the measuring stick, checking its sex, measuring its length and seeing if female lobsters are carrying eggs.

 

Queen Conch Monitoring

The queen conch carries a high commercial value and as a result it has become a victim of overfishing in Belize. This large, shelled mollusc takes around 3-5 years to reach maturity and in this time it can grow up to two pounds in weight and up to 8 inches long. If left undisturbed, a conch can live for up to 40 years.

Each year between July-October each year the female conch lays huge egg masses, and as part of the marine conservation diving team you will be responsible for locating and recording conch breeding grounds. Some conchs are being forced to breed further out in deep water due to overfishing.

In order to monitor the migration patterns of the conch, a number of individually-numbered plastic cable ties have been placed around each conch, so that every subsequent observation can be recorded. Divers will go down in pairs to measure and/or tag the conch and to record the lip thickness, which determines the age and maturity of each conch, as well as the size of spiral, habitat, depth and tag number. Follow up survey dives are then undertaken each week. Help to protect this unusual and rare creature and do your bit for marine conservation in Belize.

 

Coral Reef Conservation

Southern Belize has a unique marine ecosystem, and as part of the marine conservation dive team you can take part in a comprehensive assessment of the health of Belize’s beautiful coral reefs. This will include monitoring the number of species including Parrot fish, Groupers, Surgeon fish, Butterfly fish, Grunts, Snappers and Lionfish. You will also record signs of coral bleaching, damage or disease as well as mapping the composition of the reef.

Working along a 100m transect line, divers will be divided into three sub-teams, one focusing on fish, one on invertebrates and one for substrates. Divers will count the species in a specific area for a set time, and records will be taken as you go.

The Belize Coral Watch Programme was set up to monitor coral bleaching and health using a non-invasive method. Divers are trained to recognise the difference between coral bleaching and coral disease using the ‘rover diver’ technique. You will record and submit your research into an international database, contributing to a much-needed central overview of coral reef health across the world.

Day to Day Itinerary

An Xtreme Gap representative or a taxi will meet you at Placencia airstrip and take you to your  accommodation. Sunday night we suggest that all of our gappers get together and meet at a local  restaurant for dinner.

  • 8.30am – Monday morning – meet, greet and breakfast at the snack shack.
  • 9am – Monday morning – transfer from mainland to the island (expect a 2 hour boat ride).
  • 11am – Island briefing, accommodation allocation and equipment allocation.
  • 12.30pm – Lunch.
  • 1.30pm – Dive briefing.
  • 2.30pm – First dive, boat fun dive or refresher dive.
  • 6pm – PowerPoint presentation about the programme and the marine environment.
  • 7pm – Dinner.
  • Relaxation

Typical itinerary Tuesday and Wednesday.

  • 6am – Tea, coffee, biscuits and fresh fruit available.
  • 7am – Dive briefing.
  • 7.30am – Dive 1 – Conch or Lobster survey and Lionfish hunting
  • 9am – Breakfast
  • 10.30am – Fish Identification training session
  • 11.30am – Dive 2 – Fish Identification dive, Commercial fish survey and/or Lionfish hunting.
  • 1pm – Lunch
  • 2pm – Coral Identification training session.
  • 3.30pm – Dive 3 – Coral identification dive, Coral watch bleaching survey and/or Lionfish hunting.
  • 5pm – Lionfish presentation, dissection and data collection.
  • 7pm – Dinner
  • Relaxation

Typical itinerary Thursday

  • 6am – Tea, coffee, biscuits and fresh fruit available
  • 7am – Dive briefing
  • 7.30am – Dive 1 – Conch or Lobster survey and Lionfish hunting
  • 9am – Breakfast
  • 10.30am – Briefing for ReefCI check survey
  • 11.30am – Dive 2 – ReefCI check survey
  • 1.30pm – Lunch
  • Relaxation 3.30pm – Guided free dive to spear Lionfish and look for Lobster and/or Conch (seasonal) for dinner!
  • 7pm – Dinner
  • Relaxation

Typical itinerary Friday

  • 6am – Tea, coffee, biscuits and fresh fruit available.
  • 7am – Dive briefing
  • 7.30am – Dive 1 – Conch or Lobster survey and Lionfish hunting
  • 9am – Breakfast
  • 10.30am – Leave island to return to the mainland

There is one night dive per week planned to fit into the above itinerary.
The above itinerary is subject to change and weather conditions. The survey participation is dependent upon the length of the trip. For example, week 1 will be mostly learning species, doing Lobster and Conch surveys and Lionfish hunting.

Week 2 will be actual Commercial fish surveys and Coral watch surveys.

Location

Belize Island (4)Tom Owens caye is a 1½ acre island situated 36 miles from mainland Belize. It is surrounded by turquoise coral seas and situated on the continental shelf; dive sites are 5-10 minutes away! This is the ultimate place to learn to dive and contribute to Marine conservation.  While there is Internet access on the island, it’s the perfect place to get away from it all and enjoy this beautiful planet.

Most of the dives take place in Sapodilla Cayes Marine Park (SCMR), an unspoilt ocean landscape only 5-10 minutes away from your island base.

Additional Activities

During the weekends there are plenty of options available to you if you want a bit of adventure.  The additional activities are not included in the price and payable locally.  You could visit Mayan ruins explore the jungles by kayak and interact with the indigenous Mayan population.  You can check out water fall underground cave systems go zip lining water tubing and so much more.

Accommodation

Belize Island (9)Living on a tropical island is pretty idyllic but you do have to make some sacrifices. Accommodation is basic but very clean and comfortable as for the location, it would make someone a five-star resort envious. Even Without a TV you will feel right at home. Programme participants stay in individual cabanas with shared bathrooms or twin shared rooms with bath. Couples are guaranteed their own room with bathroom.

Quirky, stone, individual cabanas surround the island. Every Cabana has incredible views of the Caribbean! Imagine waking up to the sound of waves lapping against  the shore and a spectacular Belizean sunrise! Guests staying in cabanas use the shared bathrooms.
For groups, friends and couples, there are twin, family and double en-suite rooms in  the main building. We never have more than 3 people in one room.  Hammocks are scattered around for that chill out moment with a cold rum cocktail.

During weekends accommodation is hostel style.  If you wish to upgrade, you can do so but will have to pay the difference in price locally.

Arrival Info

Please ensure your flight arrives on Sunday and you will need to arrange your own arrival into Placencia in Belize. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your accommodation in Placencia. If you would like help booking the flight from Placencia to Belize let us know and we can help you book it at a better rate.

Recommended method of getting there:

There are no direct flights from the UK to Belize. Our recommendation is to combine this program with a stop off in Mexico flying via Cancun and spend a week in Mexico.

Xtreme Gap Year owns a hostel in Playa del Carmen where you can stop off on the route. You then have the option to fly on to Belize or take an overland bus. You can also then take the advantage of completing a free diving course in Mexico should you wish which will come in handy on this program. Please ask us the details.

Other routes for getting to Belize are to fly from London Gatwick to Cancun in Mexico and hop on a safe and comfortable first-class overnight bus service into Belize City and then travel onwards to Placencia (using one of the methods listed above). Buses depart Cancun at around 10pm and arrive in Belize City before 8am (approx cost USD47).

An alternative is to fly via the US:

Then take a connecting flight onwards to Belize International Airport (BZE).

Please note that most connecting flights will require you to make a stopover overnight in the USA so you allow for this extra time when booking flights. Accommodation is not included for any USA stopovers so please factor this into your flight planning. Once you have arrived at Belize International Airport you then have two options to travel onwards to Placancia:

Internal Shuttle Flight:

If you wish to fly directly from Belize International Airport to the airstrip at Placencia our partner company in Belize can book these flights for you (but at your own cost). The internal shuttle flight takes around 1 hour and costs approximately £100 one-way or £175 for a round trip.

Please note that there are only around 5 internal flights per day so you will need to factor this in when planning your previous flight times. You will then be met at the Placencia airstrip by a representative and taken to your local accommodation.

 

 

End of the programme:

Friday is the last day of the programme and accommodation for this final night is included.

Trip Frequently Asked Questions

Simply put they kill the other fish.  And they breed so successfully and so quickly they hijack the native habitats of other fish. The Lionfish is also an invasive species, originally from the Indian and Western Pacific oceans. It was brought into Florida as an aquarium fish, and after a hurricane broke some of the aquariums containing the fish, they started to appear around the lower coast of Florida. They have now spread all the way up to Long Island, New York and throughout The Central American continent.

When scientists do dives to study the lionfish, sometimes they capture one, and trace it’s DNA. The odd thing lately, is that all the fish trace back to an original six or seven Lionfish from the ocean in which they came.

As you will be living on an island everything has to be imported so we take care of your meals.  You will eat well!

Typical Menu:

  • Breakfast: Flour tortilla or Fried jacks, bacon, eggs and refried beans
  • Lunch: Island chicken pasta salad
  • Dinner: Fresh fish filets baked in coconut milk, garlic, lime and cilantro with carrot
  • salad and yellow ginger rice.
  • Homemade chocolate rum cake with rum butter sauce
  • Purified water and fresh juices

We will do our best to complete further education courses such as PADI Rescue and Speciality courses Should you wish to participate in these (local payment).  However please be aware that the Xtreme Marine Hero Programme is primarily a conservation initiative.

We can guarantee the PADI Open water and mostly you should be fine for the Advanced Open water.

Weekend activities.

Mayan Ruins

Nim Li Punit (the big hat) sits atop a hill with amazing views of the surrounding forests and mountains. It is easily accessible by bus from Placencia, and quite often our guests are the only visitors. Lubantuun is about 45 minutes drive from PG and is the largest Mayan site in Southern Belize. The famous yet controversial crystal skulls was supposedly found at this site back in 1926.

Mayan Villages and Homestays

You can step back in time and visit the picturesque Maya villages of Southern Belize .  Surrounded by beautiful jungle and countryside you can experience how life is for the  indigenous communities of Belize. The experience can include Mayan home stays, local  story telling, dance, eating the local food and even having a lesson how to prepare  homemade corn tortillas.

Garifuna drumming lessons – www.warasadrumschool.com

Warasa Garifuna Drum School is a locally owned business that offers hands-on interactive experiences in Garifuna culture, including drumming, drum-making and  dancing. You can sit back and relax under our traditional thatch while watching our professional drummers and dancers to all the hard work (and when you see how fast the hands drum and how fast the hips shake, you’ll see it really is hard work!), or you
can try it yourself. Lessons in are available one-to-one or for groups of up to 20, and service comes with a very big white smile from our Director the one and only Ronald Raymond McDonald (yes, that is his name!).

Adventure tours

For those who like climbing, jumping off cliffs, exploring, getting dirty, going fast and getting wet an adventure tour in Southern Belize is meant for you! A short trip from Placencia you will find yourself surrounded by dense jungle, unusual creatures, stunning waterfalls, zip lining, tubing through the jungle and unexplored caves!

Rio Blanco Waterfalls

A tiny reserve, Rio Blanco National Park is as remote as it is beautiful! The nearby villages of Santa Elena and Santa Cruz organised the Rio Blanco Mayan Association in 1994 to protect the waterfall and 104 adjacent acres of sub-tropical forest. Jaguar, ocelot, margay, river otter and many species of birds and fish live in the part. Men from Santa Elena and Santa Cruz rotate ranger duties at the small visitors centre and local
women will open the craft co-operative shop when tourists arrive.  It is only a 15-minute walk on a gentle gravel trail to the falls. Benches provides spectacular views and a photographic opportunities. Thrill seekers can step out to the 20’ cliffs and jump into the swimming hole (if they dare!) Limestone pools above and
below the falls are perfect for swimming and wading. A great place to cool off!

San Antonio Waterfalls

Tucked away in the hilly Mayan village of San Antonio are the beautiful San Antonio falls. Smaller than Rio Blanco, you can wade or swim and those that want to challenge themselves may climb the boulders around the falls to the pools at the top and maybe even jump off the ledges here.

Blue Creek Caves

This trip is one of our ‘must do’ trips for our guests. Towering karst limestone hills, offering challenging hiking, surrounds the village of Blue Creek and a network of dry and wet caves. The Mayan name for Blue Creek Cave is Hokeb Ha, or where the water enters the earth!

To reach the cave, you’ll hike approximately twenty minutes over mostly easy terrain through the jungle and upstream along the banks of the green-blue river. As you approach the cave, the river breaks into small waterfalls and beautiful clear pools for swimming. The last 100 yards of the journey are the most challenging, climbing over roots and rocks.

You will be provided headlamps, life jackets and a trained guide to assist you as you step into the water and swim upstream towards the cave’s interior and the river’s source.  After you turn the first corner, all natural light disappears! You will see stalactites, stalagmites and other unique rock formations as you swim and hike upstream.

Tiger cave

The ancient Maya believed that the caves of Toledo marked entrances to Xibalba – the Mayan underworld! Caves were amongst the most sacred places and used for rituals, sacrifices and communication with the spirits. When you enter Tiger cave, it is easy to imagine the ancient Maya holding their  ceremonies here. The entrance chamber is strewn with shards of broken pottery other  evidence of Maya presence. As you explore the cave, you will see stalactites, stalagmites and other unique rock  formations. The cave has topography of narrow passageways, huge chambers and  underground rivers. Each turn a new challenge. The final chamber, more than a mile  into the cave, is filled with spectacular rock formations and well worth the effort.

This excursion is only recommended for people who are very physically fit. From the  road to the cave, visitors must navigate a steep drop down a dirt path. Inside the cave,  expect to walk on slick cave floors, climb boulders and navigate loose gravel slopes.  Also available are Chocolate tours, Zip-lining and tubing, River and sea kayaking.  Guests also have the chance to visit neighboring Guatemala or go to the beach town of Placencia.

Duration Option Price  
1 (Week)USD 1229 USD 1106 (SALE! 10% Off!)Book Now
2 (Week)USD 2199 USD 1979 (SALE! 10% Off!)Book Now
3 (Week)USD 2849 USD 2564 (SALE! 10% Off!)Book Now
4 (Week)USD 3739 USD 3365 (SALE! 10% Off!)Book Now

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INCLUDED

  • Incredible tropical island accommodation with Caribbean sea views.
  • Tasty and fresh Island meals
  • Xtreme Marine conservation activities guidance and training
  • All diving, typically 12 dives a week, subject to weather conditions and including at least one night dive
  • Diving equipment: BCD, regulator, fins, weights and tanks
  • Unfortunately as many lionfish as you can spear
  • 3-5 days PADI Open water course. * $50USD admin fee applies to be paid cash in country upon completion.
  • 1 week trip: weekend accommodation includes:
  • Sunday and Friday night prior to departure.
  • 2 + weeks trip: weekend accommodation includes:
  • Sunday, weekends Friday, Saturday and Sunday and Friday night prior to departure.

EXCLUDED

  • Mainland meals
  • Mainland activities and tours
  • Internal flights with Tropic air – $186.25USD one way, $264.25USD round trip
  • Internet access on the island – $15USD per week
  • Marine Park fees – $25USD per week, $75USD per month
  • Beers, sodas, rum drinks – typical price:
  • Beer: $2.50USD
  • Mixed rum drink: $4USD

Dates

You can start any Sunday through out the year. Check availability with us.

Closed in September each year.
The following dates are currently full:
Sunday 26th March.
Sunday 21st May.
Sunday 25th June.
Sunday 2nd July.
Sunday 16th July.
Sunday 23rd July.

 

Xtreme Mexico Experience

Discover the Mayan Riviera on Xtreme ´s Awesome Mexico Experience. 3 Weeks incredible adventures in a group. The first week you settle in and learn Spanish and more about the history of the Mayans. The second week the perfect mix of partying and cultural discovery. Finally in the third week you go Xtreme with an amazing adrenaline option plus adventure day!

An awesome three weeks in Mexico. The perfect blend of Action, Adventure and Cultural discovery. Join our groups and our guides will show you Mexico at its Xtreme best!

The Xtreme Mexico Experience is split into a Settle in & Spanish Week, a Mayan Culture & Party Week and an Xtreme Activity Week with many different options. The perfect blend for an excellent Caribbean Holiday full adventure and beach time! Expect adventures and good times with new friends.

Xtreme Mexico Experience

Want To Travel To Mexico In A Group? Now You Can.

You can now join the 3 week Xtreme Mexico Experience in Playa Del Carmen! The place to be.

1: Settle in & Learn Spanish, 2: Mayan Culture & Party, 3: Xtreme Activity

 

 

1: Settle in & Learn Spanish

2: Mayan Culture & Party

3: Xtreme Activity

PHOTOS

 

Weekly Breakdown

settle-in-and-learn-Spanish
mine-culture-party-time
xtreme-week

Week 1: Settle in & Spanish

Sunday Arrival Day

We will have morning and afternoon airport pickups. From Cancun airport its only a short 45-minute ride to our excellent hostel in Playa Del Carmen. You have some time to settle in and sip on a Corona, or enjoy a home brewed coffee while you get to know the others. In the evening, we include a Mexican welcome dinner, and our guide will tell you all about your trip and answer all questions you might have. After that,   we take you for a shorts stroll around town, so you know where you are and what is where! The perfect start!

Don ´t be a gringo. Speak the lingo

Monday morning: Start Spanish Lessons

Monday morning you will be taken to a gorgeous Spanish school. It is an open air set up with lots of fun activities thrown in so you will not feel like you are at a “school”. In reality, it is an excellent way to learn basic Spanish and do some cool activities. We have plenty planned for the week. Like Mexican cooking, day trips and salsa classes.

The lessons run in the morning, finishing at   1 pm, so you have plenty of time to hit the beach and explore with your new buddies.

  • Spanish Lessons: Monday to Friday from 9 am to 1 pm
  • Excursion: Coba Mayan Village
  • Mexican cooking classes
  • Salsa Classes
  • Beach Volleyball or Football on the Beach
  • Evening out at Social Cafe, Cocktail Night!
  • Certification

There will be plenty of free time to explore or hang out at the beach during the week, but you will also get involved in lots of different social activities in the afternoons and evening. This way you will get to know lots of people in Playa del Carmen, not just the people in the Xtreme Mexico Gap Year group. People from all over the world enrolled in the language school. It’s a really social environment, and you will make friends very quickly.

You will have Saturday and Sunday as free days to enjoy as you want. Need ideas? There are lots of extra activities you can book to upgrade your Mexico trip. Like scuba diving, stand up paddling, cultural experiences, whale shark snorkeling trips… you name it!

Week 2: Mayan Culture & Party Time

Nowhere else in the world boasts such a great mix of ancient civilizations and modern day playtime. On the second week you will have both.

Okay the first thing we should mention in this itinerary is that it can change depending on the season and the time you go. We substitute different activities during different months to get the most out of your time in Playa del Carmen. For example: The whale sharks are only around from 15 May to 15 September. When they are in town you definitely want to see them so we make sure it is included in your itinerary. No matter what, with us you know you’re going to have an incredible adventure with a group of like-minded travellers all up for having the best time of their lives.

 

Monday – Good morning with water sports

Xtreme Gap Playa del Carmen Mexico (113)Monday mornings: Most people hate them, but you won’t as you will be starting off   by greeting the sunrise with a stand-up paddle adventure. The beach is only 5 min walk from the hostel, and even if you have never tried stand-up paddle before, it’s great fun to get out on the water experience a true Mexican sunrise. If the wind is in you can have a go on our kite surf trainer kite, to see if you have the feel for what it takes to become a kite surfer. It may be an early start (6 am!) but it is worth it, and breakfast will be waiting back in the hostel.

Beach Club visit! Later that day we will take you to a stunning beach club. What else can you wish for Chillaxing and zipping cocktails in the Caribbean! The Parrot beach club is legendary, and gives you access to one of the most stunning beaches of Playa!

 

Tuesday – Chichen Itza

Yes! Its time to Explore the Mayan Ruins. The most famous Mayan ruins and global heritage site. Famed for its human sacrificial ceremonies, this day trip will blow your mind! Built to awe, the pyramid known as El Castillo has become the towering icon of Chichen Itza.

 

Wednesday – Whale sharks Or Mayan Xtreme!

Whale Sharks
From 15 May to 15 September Mexico is one of the best places in the world to see whale sharks. The can be up to 150 of them feeding and breeding off the peninsular. An early start we will transfer you in an air-conditioned van to the waiting fast boat. High horsepower engines will blast you through the aqua marine waters in search of whale sharks. When we find them you will be guided by our trained whale shark Marine guides. The experience of actually swimming with these incredible creatures, which can reach up to 18 feet is virtually impossible to describe. It’s just amazing.

Sian Kaan Adventure Day!
Between 16 September and 14 May we have the Mayan Xtreme Adventure for you in place called Sian Kaan. This epic day will have you speed boating, jungle trekking and drifting in crystal clear Mangroves. Mind blowing nature, jungle trekking and high speed adrenaline.

 

Thursday – Xtreme Maya Adventure Day. Cenotes, Ziplines and JungleXtreme Gap Playa del Carmen Mexico (61)

Be part of nature as you experience the most thrilling adventure ride

Immerse yourself in the perfect mix of adventure & nature. Fly 20 meters (60 feet) above the jungle canopy on the fastest zip line ride in the region!

Test your nerves as you rappel 20 meters (60 ft) down into the Mayan jungle. Afterwards, wind down and snorkel in the mystical waters of an underground river with crystal-clear waters and astounding rock formations. Finally, delight yourself by sampling authentic and delicious Mexican cuisine as the perfect finish.

Friday –   Beach Club & Bar Crawl

On Friday we head to the beach, with access to the blue parrot beach club with beach towels included. This is one of the top beach destinations in the world, so go out and enjoy! On Friday evening there is an optional bar crawl, and if you are up for a big night out we head to Cocobongo.

Tequila, Michael Jackson, shows and more tequila… after all its friday night

  • Other activities can include (local payment or bookable in advance):
    Chichen Itza Day trop 45 gbp
  • -Tulum- Coba- Cenote 50gbp – a really recommended tour mainly because you get a lot for what you pay – entrance to Tulum ruins, a cenote, lunch, mayan village, and coba ruins. 7am to 7pm.
  • Catamaran to Isla mujeres 55gbp – it is a day trip to Isala mujeres on a catamaran with alcohol. They visit the beach in Isla, go to the shops a little bit, go to snorkel, lunch
  • Bacalar – 2/3 days trip – 80gbp- we can organize a 2 day trip with a boat tour at the lagoon and a night or two at the hostel. It is an amazing place.
  • There is also a full week of activities at the hostel as well. (These activities and schedule may change but that is a general idea of what we have).
  • Monday – Guitar Night/ Open mic – free
    Thursday – Argentinian BBQ “All you can eat” – 9GBP
    Tuesday and Friday – Cenote tours – 15 GBP
    Saturday – Our Famous “Mojito Lesson” – 4GBP
    Sunday – Movie Night – FreeWe also organise 2 times a week “Donations Yoga” and Donations Salsa classes, we will soon add also Spanish lesson for donations also. There is always something going on!

 

Week 3  Xtreme Option Week

You pick your option at the Xtreme Activity week.

As its your trip, and we understand not everyone is the same you can pick your option. What ever suits you best let us know and we arrange it for you. You can choose between the options below (its all pretty amazing!)

  • Skydive
  • Kitesurfing beginner course
  • PADI Open Water Diving
  • Freediving beginner course
  • CrossFit sessions
  • Yoga sessions
  • Xtreme Reporter

Activities In Detail

Skydiving

While attached to your jumpmaster, you will exit the plane from 10,000 feet. After a 40 second freefall, you and your instructor will be suspended in a dual harness below an oversized ram-air canopy.

While under canopy, the instructor will assist you in guiding the canopy to a soft, on-target beach landing.

Beginner Kite surfing Course

The beginner kite surfing option includes a full learn to kite surf course consisting of several stages.

The course lasts approximately 12 hours covering the following

Learning to fly the kite, equipment harness and safety features (approximately 3 hours)
Body dragging. Prior to being able to stand up on the board it’s important to understand how to harness and control the power from the kite. Body dragging is undertaken in the water where you will use the kite to pull yourself over the waves at speed! (Approximately 3 hours)
Water start. Once you have mastered harnessing the power from the Kite you are ready to get up out of the water on the board. This is called water start you will have approximately 3 hours of instruction.

Important:

Different people progress at different speeds depending on how quickly you are able to master the different sections. You have 12 hours in total of instruction which can be completed at any time during the three weeks you are there. As kite surfing is wind dependent we will not leave this all until the last week.

Should there not be favourable kite surfing conditions and you are unable to complete any of your time allotted you have the option to do an alternative activity ( stand-up paddle – yoga – CrossFit – extra Spanish) but there will be no refunds on any time not used. We believe you will have plenty of opportunity to complete your training however.

Xtreme Extra Support

We will also provide you access to extracurricular training to help further assist your learning. You will have access to the progression kite surf training DVD and a training kite to be able to practice your kite surfing and kite flying prior to starting your lessons. The more practice you have with kite flying the quicker you will learn and master the basics. Approximately 80% of kite surfing in the beginning is getting to grips with flying the kite. It’s much like driving, once you know how to actually drive the car it becomes second nature. The same as with kiting. Prior to worrying about wind direction and how to control the board, you need to know how to fly the kite. With the kite surf options you will have access to the trainer kite and you can use it as and when you like. This will be unsupervised and at your own risk.

There is no sugarcoating it kite surfing is an expensive activity to learn, but once you have the instruction under your belt and have your own equipment you can have limitless fun at zero cost. By utilising a trainer kite you can make the most of your instructions time and develop at a much quicker pace.

PADI Open Water Course

Your open water course is a ticket to complete underwater freedom. Accredited with PADI you can complete this 2 1/2 day course which includes four dives in the ocean. You will be taken through the theory and safety aspects of diving through modular theory and practical-based learning. Prior to starting you will be required to undertake a medical.

The PADI open water course qualifies you to dive to 18 m. Should you wish you can also complete your advanced open water taking you down to 30 m and go really extreme with the bull shark dive! This course includes 4 boat dives!

Beginner Freediving Course

Free diving is about getting to grips with what you are really capable of underwater. It is about the complete freedom and flexibility Of being able to explore the underwater world without limits. Why is it called free diving? Because you are free, normal diving you are constrained by nitrogen in your bloodstream, with free diving you can change your depth as fast as you like. This is particularly awesome in Playa del Carmen due to the large whale shark population, and as they are surface feeders they tend to dive and rise very fast meaning you cannot keep up with them with scuba tanks. Do the free diving course, bring underwater camera and you will be sure to have the most amazing experiences. 2.5 day beginner freediving course.


CrossFit Training Sessions

Cross Fit MexicoCrossFit is taking the world by storm. Widely regarded as one of the most effective ways of building fitness fast. It works on functional movements in a supportive environment. CrossFit boxes are popping up everywhere for good reason. In Playa del Carmen we have connections with a fantastic CrossFit box which will help you get that perfect beach body to show off on the white Sands and turquoise seas. The CrossFit option gives you one weeks box access.

Yoga Sessions

One of our cool options If you want something a little more sedate try yoga.  Five sessions in the final week. The Yoga sessions are at the most famous gym in Playa, around the corner from the Hostel. We include 5 sessions, time tables change from time to time, so check with our rep when in Playa del Carmen.

 

Accommodation

Living in a Caribbean paradise naturally you want to be by the beach. Don’t worry we have you covered. 5 min from the beach, you will find the Xtreme Gap Year base in Mexico. It’s a really social hostel, with lots going on. Every night people are encouraged to get together and do fun activities.  If you want to take advantage of Playa Carmen’s amazing nightlife, it’s on your doorstep. But there are plenty of chill out areas as well. You can get involved as much as you like or relax after a busy day’s activities totally up to you.

The rooms have private bathrooms and air conditioning! All guests have use of a big terrace where they can relax or just share travel tips with other guests. Its located in a great neighbourhood, everything is round the corner, oh and there is free WiFi!

Breakfast

We include breakfast for you. Breakfast is a buffet style and includes – coffee, tea, bread, butter, 4 types of jam, 2 types of cereal, milk and 2 types of fruits, so good start of the day!

Frequently Asked Questions

Its always a good time to come to Playa. Playa Del Carmen has a subtropical climate, so its weather ranges from warm to hot for most of the year. The average temperature over the year is about 27 ºC and the humidity is usually very high. The sea is almost always warm enough for a swim. Hurricane season is between August and October, with the peak activity generally being in early to mid September. But when we were there during this period…there was no hurricane at all, so do not let this stop you!

Yes there is! You can use the kitchen at the accommodation to prepare your meals. also in walking distance is a massive super market with beautiful food! So if you like preparing your own meals and you want to keep the costs down, this is a perfect option.
Anyone can join! super international crowd.

An open water course gains you the license to dive anywhere in the world. It is a full on PADI accredited scuba diving qualification.

Disclaimer: Please check yourself with your local consulate and do not take the below for granted!

The Government of Mexico requires that all travelers to present a valid passport to enter Mexico. Driver’s licenses, voter registration cards, affidavits and similar documents are not accepted.  
In Mexico VISA policy allows citizens of these countries to travel to Mexico without a visa: Andorra, Argentina. Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Chile, Cyprus, South Korea, Costa Rica, Denmark, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, USA, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Israel, United Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Norway, New Zealand, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Uruguay, Venezuela.

Most of your activities, all of your accommodation plus breakfast is included in the price the trip however you will need some spending money. We estimate $5-$10 per meal per day. $500  per week should be more than enough to cover you for the duration of your stay. It off course depends on how much you like to party….
Plenty! You will be in one of the top destinations in Mexico, and whilst there is loads crammed into this itinerary you will also have plenty of beach time and extra time to explore and do optional extras. Our guides at the hostel can tell you all about it!
Duration Option Price
3 (Week) Yoga/ Crossfit £ 1399 £ 1189 (SALE! 15.00% Off!) Book Now
3 (Week) Sky Dive £ 1559 £ 1325 (SALE! 15.00% Off!) Book Now
3 (Week) Freediving course £ 1689 £ 1436 (SALE! 15.00% Off!) Book Now
3 (Week) PADI Open Water £ 1689 £ 1436 (SALE! 15.00% Off!) Book Now
3 (Week) Kite Surf £ 1899 £ 1614 (SALE! 15.00% Off!) Book Now

INCLUDED

  • Airport pickup Cancun
  • Transfer to Playa del Carmen from  Cancun
  • All accommodation (Dorm)
  • Xtreme Gap Year representative on-call
  • Welcome dinner on arrival
  • Walking tour of Playa del Carmen
  • Daily breakfasts at the hostel
  • Mexican cooking class
  • 20 hours of Spanish lessons
  • Whalesharks Safari in season (15 May to 15 October). Alternative is Sian Khan
  • Free diving/snorkelling in 3 different the Cenotes
  • Adventure day featuring the  highest Zip line in Latin America
  • Stalactite rivers
  • Underground rafting
  • speed boating, jungle trekking and drifting in crystal clear Mangroves.
  • One Xtreme activity option as per selection in week 3, take your pick between freediving, Open water, Crossfit, Skydive, Yoga,

EXCLUDED

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Meals unless stated
  • Extra spending money for drinks
  • Departure tax 50USD payable at the airport. ONLY USD!

DATES

 

The trip starts on the first Sunday of the month. The trip does not run in January

 

Xtreme Options In Week 3

 

South Africa Adventure

A once-in-a-lifetime experience, giving you the opportunity to walk alongside of some of Africa’s most majestic creatures. With a one or two-week wildlife conservation programme set in in a big five game reserve. Then hit the road and explore some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, mixed with adrenaline on a one-week garden route, finishing in Cape Town. Awesome group travel with like-minded adventurers it’s time to hit South Africa!

South African group travel at its finest.  A once-in-a-lifetime experience, giving you the opportunity to walk along side of some of Africa’s most majestic creatures.  A trip of two parts with an impressive wildlife conservation experience set in a big five game reserve plus and incredible tour of the garden route. Group travel with like-minded adventurers, it’s time to hit South Africa!

South Africa Adventure

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • Spend quality time on a big 5 game reserve working with the rangers and experiencing the animals close up.
  • Make new friends as you are split up into groups of 10 exploring the reserves and interacting with the animals.
  • Go surfing in the epic Jeffreys Bay
  • Explore the stunning garden route with loads of adventures along the way finishing in Cape Town.
  • Strap on your adventure boots as you hit national parks!
  • Brave the humongous bungee jump at Bloukrans! (Optional Extra)
  • Explore Cape Town and bolt on with an optional volunteering project from only £225 per week

Here is why we love this trip:

It’s mega adventurous.

South Africa is one of our favourite destinations. It screams adventure, so appropriately the South Africa Adventure lives up to the hype. Combining a stay on a big 5 – 5-star game reserve, with a one-week action-packed road trip of the garden route.

Great way to make new friends on new adventures

If you are nervous about travelling for the first time or worried about going solo do not worry. We have you covered. On average we have around 30 on this trip, so if you are travelling alone you won’t be alone for long.

Everything taken care of for you.

From three meals a day and all your activities to having your laundry done everything is taken care of for you on this program. So if you are a first-time traveller, but desperate to explore Africa this is the perfect gap year programme. After two weeks on the game reserve, we take you on a massive road trip that is fully guided as well

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PHOTOS

 

Wildlife Conservation Experience

We have a highly skilled and professional team looking after you, so don’t worry we have you covered. From our advanced game rangers, who will take you out in groups of 10 onto the reserve to fulfil your activities. Two camp managers, who can cater for your every need when you are not out on the reserves.

When you arrive you will be given a full introduction session, we will run you through dos and don’ts, the house rules and set the scene for what will happen over the next two weeks.

What you will be doing is quite varied, because it depends on the demands of the reserve at the time. But there is always plenty of activities waiting for you to get stuck into.

The Wildlife Conservation Project

For the next two weeks, you will be involved in the management of the game reserve. What that means is you will be working with full-time staff, under the supervision of qualified game rangers. What you will be doing depends on the short-term goals of the reserve at the time. It could be capturing game, checking fences or removing alien plant species. But no matter what you do, you can be sure this will have a beneficial effect and is laying the foundation for the wildlife to thrive on the reserve for future generations.

Expect to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty, some of the work can be quite hard, but ultimately very rewarding.

Work is generally divided into two categories:

Helping manage the land, and looking after the animals. Expect to do both during your time there. You could be feeding elephants, assisting with feeding big cats and doing wildlife surveys from converted land cruisers.

All accommodation and food is included so you do not need to worry about cooking or feeding yourself. During your downtime is plenty to do, and no doubt you will have a fair few stories to share over the campfire with your fellow volunteers.

ACCOMMODATION

You will be staying in a dedicated volunteer camp. We have single sex rooms, and shared common areas. The camp dispensed which is important because it’s located right inside the game reserve. It’s not unusual to hear the call of Africa’s wild as you sit around the campfire. Looking up and 1 million stars the location is really special.

Meals are taken at the camp, hearty traditional South African food is freshly prepared every day. Vegetarians are well catered for as well.

 Garden Route Road Trip

Day 1: Jeffreys Bay – Surfers Paradise
Jeffreys Bay is an awesome place. It’s one of the worlds top surf spots, but also just stunningly beautiful. An awesome place to kick back and chill out on the golden sands.

Day 2: Tsitsikamma area – Trekking and adventure with an impressive backdrop of lush jungles dramatically plunging into the Indian Ocean this will not disappoint. On the agenda we will go trekking and have various adventures.

Day 3: Knysna – Chill out on the Quays
Dramatic scenery, coupled with a cool beachside town. We will take you out to the head land and you can check out Knysna heads. It’s pretty cool.

Day 4: Oudtshoorn – Lots to explore
From Knysna, we travel inland to Oudtshoorn, the Ostrich capital of the world. Yes there is an ostrich capital of the world and it’s here. It has some pretty impressive cave formations here or you can go to the wildlife ranch and get to know more than you would ever need to know about an ostrich. Ever. You can even ride one that that’s just being ridiculous.

Day 5: Cape Town – welcome to the mother city.

We are on the home stretch . But not before you see some incredible scenery. This is genuinely one of the best road trips in the world and you are going to experience it all. Finally you will end up in Cape Town, which is one of the nicest, most exciting and special places in the world. We will take you to the cable car seat and go up table Mountain, sometimes if the weather clo in we will offer you an alternative.

Finally we will go out for dinner in the evening. South African cuisine is amazing. Great wine, great meat and great friends to share the last moments with.

Day 6: Cape Town – The final day
Today is your last day check out and had back to the airport (transfer not included but cheap at around £10 and a taxi) or considering you are in Cape Town why not add on our Cape Town community superhero project. You can stay and volunteer for only £449 for two weeks. It’s the perfect complement to this trip.

 

 

the weather in South Africa can vary greatly. Typically in July we received the lowest rainfall and the highest amount in March. The average daily midday temperatures range between 20° in July and 28° in February.  The coldest time to come is in July when temperatures drop to 7° during the night. As South Africa is in the southern hemisphere the seasons are reversed from the UK.
 you will not need much for this trip. All food and accommodation is included on the first two weeks. On the road trip all of your transport and accommodation plus breakfasts are included. So we recommend you bring about £80 per week spending money. South Africa is a very cheap destination as well. 
 Please do book well ahead as space is limited on the programme. Simply submit a booking form and you can hold your place with a deposit of £200. Full payment is not due until 12 weeks prior to departure.
Duration Option Price  
2 (Week)One week wildlife & Road Trip PE-CTUSD 1399Book Now
3 (Week)Two week wildlife & Road Trip PE-CTUSD 1859Book Now

Pricing Feedback

Great Value
Well Priced
Can´t Afford it right now

INCLUDED

  • Scheduled  transfer from Port Elizabeth (Departs PE at Monday at 5pm and Drop off on Saturday/ Sunday)
  • Orientation on arrival
  • A branded Cap
  • A branded T-shirt
  • Luxury Dorm accommodation
  • All Meals while at the reserve
  • Beverages with meals while on the reserve
  • Daily activities
  • Optional weekend excursions (transport and accommodation only)
  • Use of the various facilities such as swimming pool, sporting facilities and entertainment room
  • A week-long road trip with breakfasts and activities
  • Farewell dinner in Cape Town

EXCLUDED

  • Day trips off reserve
  • flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Optional extras on the road trip
  • Lunch and dinner on the road trip

Dates

2016

• 22nd August 2016
• 19th September 2016
• 10th October 2016
• 7th November 2016

2017

Garden Route (The Garden Route Road trip component starts the following Tuesday):

• 16th January 2017
• 27th February 2017
• 3rd April 2017
• 8th May 2017
• 5th June 2017
• 10th July 2017
• 21st August 2017
• 18th September 2017
• 9th October 2017
• 6th November 2017

Dates listed above are for the two-week experience. If you would like to add extra dates and extend the wildlife conservation section please arrive one-week earlier. Or as many weeks earlier as you wish to extend by.

 

South Africa Monkey Rehab

Want to mess about with monkeys all day? Well either work in our office or join this exciting project! The Xtreme Monkey Rehab programme is a really fun african wildlife conservation project. Get hands on and become a surrogate monkey minder from 2 to 12 weeks. All food accommodation provided.

Want to mess about with monkeys all day? Well either work in our office or join this exciting project! The Xtreme Monkey Rehab programme is a really fun African wildlife conservation project. Get hands on and become a surrogate monkey minder from 2 to 12 weeks. All food and accommodation provided.

 Xtreme Monkey Rehab South Africa

Get ready for some Xtreme monkey business!xtreme gap monkey conservation 2

You will be tasked with helping out and keeping the centre running smoothly. Now if you feel that sounds like a walk in the park, just consider the fact that most of your colleagues will be juvenile baboons!

You will have to keep them in check look after them and become best mates with the troop (That’s a bunch of baboons by the way).

The daily tasks of caring for them include preparing food and milk, cleaning their play enclosures, playing, supervising, and observing them throughout the day, cleaning their sleeping cages, and preparing blankets and soft toys for their sleeping cages in the evenings. This is not a  glamorous job! You will get dirty, and peed and pooped on.

The animals´ needs come first, and they need the same care on weekends as well as weekdays. Other tasks include help preparing food crates for the older troops and monitoring troops daily. There are no rigid working hours, we finish when everything is completed, although a typical volunteer day usually is 7:00am until 5:00pm. Time off is dependent on the number of volunteers at the centre.

Highlights:

  • Playing and looking after adorable juvenile Baboons and Getting involved in a lot of monkey business.
  • If you are wild about animals, and want to learn more about primates there is no better opportunity.
  • Join a team of professionals and other volunteers to learn something new, rewarding and ultimately unforgettable.
  • Bottle feeding orphaned baby baboons, giving you a real sense of excitement and achievement.
  • Staying in an incredible environment, right in the heart of the African Bush this will be a completely mind blowing experience.
  • Loads of satisfaction in knowing that what you are doing is genuinely helping out.
  • Optional Kruger Park Safari way can check out the big five during your time off.

Photos

 

Full Details

What will this project give you?

baboon project 2This will make you really proud that is for sure. Travelling can give you so much confidence but working on a project like this is extremely self rewarding as well.
As you will be working in a team it will show that you possess initiative and have the skills to work well with other people.
Besides that it’s extremely worthwhile. It’s not everyday you make a genuine difference and do some good.
South Africa is a mixture of many different cultures, it will give you plenty of exposure to different cultures and help you grow and develop as an individual.
Job satisfaction guaranteed! This will be one of the best work experiences you could ever have, your colleagues will literally be monkeys.
It presents you with an opportunity not only to develop your CV by demonstrating skills, but will actively put you in a completely different environment that will test you. If you plan to get into animal science or medicine afterwards even better, but that aside it would be an incredible experience to tell your friends about.
This is a great way to spend serious time in South Africa, with three meals a day included all of your accommodation and lots of fun is perfect to add into any South Africa backpacking trip.

 

Your typical day looks like this, no time to get bored 🙂

  • 7:00 – It up early to have breakfast with the Monkeys, expect a lot of banana action and pretty shocking table manners!
  • 9:00 –  After the monkeys are full of bananas, it’s time to stuff your face as well breakfast is served.
  • 10:00 ” 13:00 ” Morning activities involves looking after the monkeys, and fulfilling various projects as set out by the staff.
  • 13:00 ” 14:00 – It in our break for a gorgeous lunch and to discuss the crazy goings on at the monkey Sanctuary
  • 14:00 ” 17:00 – Activities in the afternoon vary depending Upon what is happening at the monkey Sanctuary, You might be planting vegetables (We try and be a self-sustaining as possible when it comes to food for the monkeys) or but helping to build new cages, planting vegetables. You will be paired up with other members of the group and no matter what you get up to ensure to be a good laugh.
  • 18:00 – Dinner
  • 19:30 ” After dinner, you´ll be feeding nocturnal animals, and will have the rest of the evening as free time to relax.
  • Of course it goes without saying the above is just a guide. Things will change depending on the needs of the project at the time.

You will be a member of the team and your activities include

  • 10523309_741145572610836_3946811895925531839_oLiving in a Big 5 South African Nature Reserve ” so enjoying regular drives through the reserve to spot animals
  • Hand-rearing orphan baby baboons (and so making bottles, preparing food/toys, cleaning the nursery, supervising the babies in the nursery and taking them on river walks)
  • Taking care of sanctuary baboons (those that cannot be released); making their food/enrichment’s, social grooming/interactions, cleaning their enclosures
  • Helping with the rehabilitation of other small mammals in the reserve when needed
  • Observations of releasable baboons
  • Living amongst wild baboons and vervet monkeys (wild troops roam the centre)
  • Walking the rescue dogs in the reserve
  • Enclosure renovations
  • Giving education
  • Learning about primates, wildlife conservation, husbandry and rehabilitation
  • Helping with the rehabilitation of other rescued wildlife (usually small mammals/birds)
  • Excursions to the Kruger Park and surrounding attractions as a supplementary cost

Free time

Every day you will have a few hours of free time. Most volunteers nap, check email, read a book, visit the river, walk around taking photos, do laundry, give out extra enrichment/branches, or spend extra time in the baby hok.South Africa Monkey Rehab Xt (5)
You can ask for a day off and trips (at an additional cost) are offered to nearby attractions such as the Kruger Park.

Accommodation

Volunteers are accommodated in a rustic, two story brick and timber house nicknamed ´The Mountain Lodge´. The ground floor is comprised of 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, kitchen, and open-air veranda/eating area.

The upper level has 4 bedrooms, a lounge with a DVD player and couches, and a balcony.

Bathrooms have hot water showers and flushing toilets. There are a maximum number of 4 people per bedroom. The veranda is protected from the animals by a diamond mesh wire enclosure, but rats, bugs, and other creepy crawly wildlife have free access. Electricity is 220v.

Meals

Food is purchased in town once a week. Menus are planned and cooked by the volunteers on a rotating schedule of cooking and cleaning. Basic, wholesome foodstuffs are provided.

The centre provides a mainly vegetarian diet. We can accommodate vegetarians, vegans, or anyone with food allergies. Additional personal food, such as alcohol, chocolates, sodas, etc, can be additionally purchased on your own accord. A ´tuck shop´ is available onsite that sells some sweets and sodas. We often have a braai (a traditional South African BBQ) with delicious grilled meats and veggies.

There is a washing machine in The Mountain Lodge. Each volunteer is assigned one day per week to do his/her laundry. Clean clothes are hung in the backyard on clotheslines to dry. There is always the option for additional hand-washing. Detergent/washing powder is provided.

Volunteers will have a single bed with a mosquito tent/net. Sheets, a duvet, and pillows are provided. You can bring a sleeping bag or extra blanket if you want to, but is usually not necessary. There are storage lockers to lock away any expensive or personal items.

There is basic wifi internet connection at the Mountain Lodge. If you bring a laptop or tablet you can purchase the connection for a R150/month fee. Almost all volunteers use this wifi. You can purchase a mobile phone or SIM card in town. MTN and Vodacom are the local carries and the centre gets decent cell reception.

Trip Frequently Asked Questions

The minimum length of time you can stay at Primate Sanctuary is two weeks. Although you can stay up to 12 weeks to really get involved in the project. 12 weeks is the maximum on a tourist VISA (you will be given 90 days on arrival.
You will need to fly into Phalaborwa airport, this involves internal flight from Johannesburg or Cape Town and our flight partners can help you with this. You will be met by an Xtreme Gap Year representative at the airport and transferred to the project. If you arrive early in to Jo Burg, you do not need a night here. 3 times a day there are flights to  Phalaborwa
We can take up to 20 volunteers at one time, during the months of June and July and August we tend to be very busy so get your booking is an early. On average you will be with around 15 other people.
We’ve never dealt with a rabid animal, and I don’t have the vaccine and have been there for 3 years – but we always just inform people that when working with wild animals it is a recommended vaccination so they can decide for themselves.
Short answer is lots! This is prime African Bush, home to some of the greatest safari parks and private game reserves in Africa. There is plenty to do in the area, and whilst there are loads of activities included during the project you may want to budget a little bit extra to get involved in some extracurricular activities.

Kruger National Park, the largest national park in South Africa Is a short drive away. There are optional trips into the park, to see Jessica the Hippo, the Panorama Route, and other various animal parks including a reptile park, a cheetah sanctuary, and an elephant sanctuary, among others.

With regards to payment for the extra activities. They van be paid in cash when at the centre to the staff member organising the trips during that time. If trips are not available due to lack of vehicle/staff member some volunteers chose to hire a car for 2 days to do site seeing (elephants, chimp eden for example). We do not take money in advance for trips due to the possibilities of vehicle problems or lack of available staff – the baboons always come first, but we do try our best to accommodate trips/sightseeing to other projects and the Kruger Park.

Volunteers here don´t need any prior experience ” Our dedicated Team of full-time professionals will give you all the training you need. You do need however lots of love and enthusiasm for working with primates. It can be hard work sometimes, but it is ultimately very rewarding.  

What will this project give you?
This will make you really proud that is for sure. Travelling can give you so much confidence but working on a project like this is extremely self rewarding as well.
As you will be working in a team it will show that you possess initiative and have the skills to work well with other people.
Besides that it’s extremely worthwhile. It’s not everyday you make a genuine difference and do some good.
South Africa is a mixture of many different cultures, it will give you plenty of exposure to different cultures and help you grow and develop as an individual.
Job satisfaction guaranteed! This will be one of the best work experiences you could ever have, your colleagues will literally be monkeys.
It presents you with an opportunity not only to develop your CV by demonstrating skills, but will actively put you in a completely different environment that will test you. If you plan to get into animal science or medicine afterwards even better, but that aside it would be an incredible experience to tell your friends about.
This is a great way to spend serious time in South Africa, with three meals a day included all of your accommodation and lots of fun is perfect to add into any South Africa backpacking trip.

Duration Option Price  
2 (Week)USD 949Book Now
3 (Week)USD 1259Book Now
4 (Week)USD 1749Book Now
6 (Week)USD 2549Book Now
10 (Week)USD 3949Book Now
12 (Week)USD 4599Book Now

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Included

  • Three meals a day
  • Airport pickup
  • All activities and assistance at the monkey Sanctuary
  • Detailed predeparture pack
  • Optional trip to the Kruger National Park (small local payment)

Excluded

  • Flights
  • Visas (you are given a free 90 day tourist VISA on arrival)
  • Travel insurance
  • Spending Money

Dates

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Sri Lanka Experience

Sri Lanka Experience

A group travel experience like no other. A sun drenched, palm fringed tropical island with turquoise seas. There are lots of action packed weeks to choose from, plus a worthwhile and important turtle conservation project and a chilled beach week at the end! Explore Sri Lanka, its beautiful nature and friendly people while getting a real taste of local life in the tropics.

A group travel experience like no other. A sun drenched, palm fringed tropical island with turquoise seas. There are lots of action packed weeks to choose from, plus a worthwhile and important turtle conservation project and a chilled beach week at the end! Explore Sri Lanka, its beautiful nature and friendly people while getting a real taste of local life in the tropics.

Sri Lanka Experience

Spend a whole month exploring Sri Lanka, and getting the best out of the country with a group. Staying in two different areas, Kandy and Ambalangoda Beach with different adventure week options. You can always join the intro week and after that choose locally which other programme you would like to do. This is nice because you may decide as a group what would be more fun, so why not wait and have a chat with your fellow travellers and see what takes your fancy!

Highlights

  • Sri Lanka Gap Year adventure 1Visit Kandy, the second largest city in Sri Lanka after Colombo
  • Traditional Kandyan dance show
  • Stay with a Sri Lankan family as part of Turtle week
  • Turtle week! Turtle conservations on one of Sri Lanka ´s best beaches
  • Ambalangoda Beach, one of Sri Lanka’s best beaches, also home to exotic mask carving and devil dancing!
  • Sharing the experience in a group with Xtreme Gappers

Adventure Week Options

There is something for everyone on this trip, you can pick an adventure week most suited to your interests.

  • Elephants –  Cleaning, feeding, washing them and learning their language!
  • Trekking – Visit beautiful gardens, stunning mountains and ancient palaces.
  • Mind & Body – Yoga, meditation and detox in Kandy

Photos

Itinerary

Sri Lanka Experience Xtreme Gap (15)Welcome to this magical land of myths, legends, breathtaking scenery and some amazing activities that you’ve never experienced before. This is Sri Lanka.

Our itinerary gives you a few weeks to explore many aspects of this fantastic country and you can even tailor the trip to suit your interests.   There is a saying that   goes ‘It’s not my cup of tea’, but with Sri Lanka you will definitely find something that is, whether that be the spiritualism, the nature, the architecture or the even the delicious tea from the abundant plantations.

First week introduction

The first week consists of a comprehensive induction, city tours, language lessons and a history of Sri Lanka. It’s an ideal time to get to know the group that you’re travelling with and in addition to the planned activities you’ll have plenty of free time, including the weekend.

Sunday

Arrival day and airport pick up/transfer to your accommodation.

MondaySri Lanka Experience Xtreme Gap (16)

Your adventure begins with an explanation to the coming weeks, a language (Sinhala) and cultural lesson and a tour around the city of Kandy .

Today is all about Sri Lankan culture and religion.  To ensure that you get the most out of your adventure in Sri Lanka (and to avoid offending any locals!) there will be some guidance on the culture, customs and etiquette.  A predominantly Buddhist country, the religion has a big influence on day-to-day life and conduct in certain places and situations.

If you haven’t already invested in a phrase book then you’ll find the morning language lesson invaluable.  By now you’ll be wishing you could greet the residents and order a meal in the local language, so your teacher will get you started with the basics.

The Sacred City of Kandy, one of the most scenic cities in Sri Lanka, sits between the dramatic mountain ranges of Knuckles and Hanthana, and was the last capital of the ancient kings’ era of Sri Lanka.  The city itself has been developed around a large picturesque square and pretty lake.  This is a UNESCO World Heritage site and has a combination of stunning architecture and interesting history, particularly at places such as the Palace of the Tooth Relic, The Royal Palace and the Lankatilaka and Gadaladeniya Temples.
If this far-eastern paradise city looks familiar in some way then it might be because much of the 1984 film, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was filmed here.  However, you get to see and experience far more than the Hollywood take.
On Monday evening you are treated to a show of traditional Kandyan dance. There are many different types of dances, each one with its own traditional meaning and purpose.  Some dances are named after the musical instrument that accompanies it and others are named after the animal of which the dance interprets.  The whole experience of the music, dance, elaborate costumes and history is fascinating.

Tuesday

During early historical times Sri Lanka was world renowned for its Quality Spices. During your time in Sri Lanka you will be getting a unique experience about Sri Lankan Spices and learn about them at a Spice plantation.
Kandy Lake is a lake in the heart of the hill city of Kandy, built in 1807 by King Sri Vikrama Rajasinha of Sri Lanka next to the Temple of the Tooth and you will be getting a boat ride in this lake. and we will be exploring more! A tour around the Garrison cemetery which was opened in 1822 as the final resting place for British nationals who passed away while in then colonized Ceylon. Sri Lanka is also well known for the gem industry. Sri Lanka was named Ratna Deepa which means Gem Island. You will be getting a chance to visit a gem museum and learn about different types of gems and how they are formed.

Wednesday

There is a special treat waiting for you where you will be attending a cooking lesson with a local family. You will get a chance to learn about Sri Lankan spices and how they are being used and learn to cook some Sri Lankan dishes. You can then enjoy lunch prepared by you with the family.
As Buddhism is the main religion in Sri Lankan, you have the chance to learn about Buddhism in the evening by two monks. They will give you an introduction to Buddhism and also you can meditate.

Thursday

The Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy, the temple which houses the Sacred Tooth Relic of The Buddha, is possibly the most sacred Buddhist shrine in the world. It is venerated not only by Buddhists in Sri Lanka but by Buddhists all over the world and you will get the opportunity to experiencing the beauty of it by visiting the temple and will learn about its history and it architecture.
Your evening will be free for you to explore the city trying the Sri Lankan cuisine and many more things and why not go shopping.
Friday

On Friday morning we visit one of the largest Buddha statues in Sri Lanka and the only Buddha stature where your allowed to climb all the way up to the shoulder of the statue and you will get a beautiful view of the whole Kandy city.
Also you can visit one of the beautiful Hindu temples popularly known to the Sinhalese as Pillaiyar Kovil dedicated to God Ganesh, the elephant headed son of Siva. The history says that this holy place was founded during the early times of the British rule. The devotees started building a shrine for Ganesh after finding a statue of the God in a well there. This experience will give you a taste of other religions in Sri Lanka.

After a delicious Indian meal, you will be treated with a soothing Aurvedic massage to end the orientation week.

Sri Lanka Experience Xtreme Gap Year (6)

Saturday and Sunday

You´ll have some free time to enjoy more sightseeing, shopping or eating, and to prepare yourself for the start of ´Adventure Week´.

 


 

Then choose your adventure:

 

Elephant Week

Sri Thailand Experience (5)

Go Trekking

Sri Lanka Experience Xtreme Gap (1)

Yoga and Spiritual Body & Mind

During adventure week you have the opportunity to choose from a number of activities, which are all very different and suit those who like to be active or those looking for more tranquil days.   From ‘Elephant Week’ to ‘Body and Mind Week’ you can be at one with nature one way or another ;0)

Elephants

Sri Lanka Experience (98)This is one of the most popular choices for adventure week and is certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  The location for this activity is close to the town of Kegalla, halfway between the present capital and the ancient royal residence of Kandy, at the Pinnawela Elephant tourist park.

You will be transferred from your residence in Kandy on the Monday morning and take the two hour drive to the town where you will settle into your accommodation, either a homestay or a guest house, depending on the group size, before heading off to the orphanage to find out what you´ll be doing for the week.

You will work there from the Monday to Friday, between 8am and 5pm, which might not sound like much of a holiday, but as you might have gathered, Xtreme Gap provides adventures! There is a typical daily schedule for looking after the elephants and once you have got over your initial awe and excitement at being so close to these magnificent beasts your duties will include the following

  • Cleaning the elephant beds (yep, dung-tastic)
  • Washing and feeding the elephants (they may decide to give you a wash too!)
  • Learning elephant commands (you definitely haven´t covered that in your language lessons)

At the end of the week you´ll not only have made lots of new friends (of the human and elephant kind), but have made a really big contribution to this important project.   You´ll also get a certificate to prove it!

On the Saturday morning you will return to your base in Kandy to relax for the weekend, rest those tired muscles and catch up with the rest of the group to find out what they´ve been doing in their adventure week.

Trekking

The trekking week is the perfect choice if you love the great outdoors, breathtaking scenery and a good amount of physical activity. During the whole week you will be staying in our  house and will travel daily. So no need to take all your stuff. Just bring a day pack!

Monday

Sri Lanka Experience Xtreme Gap Year (13)The day will start early with a short introduction into the weeks activities. We will then have a quick breakfast and proceed to Sigiriya Rock, also known as Lion Mountain.   This 180 metre, steep granite rock  is an archaeological, historical and geographical wonder, with the ruins of an ancient stone and rock fortress and palace, extensive network of gardens and lakes and rock paintings or frescoes, that are thought to date back to the 4th  and 5th  century.

After exploring this area you will get a once in a life time experience to ride on an elephant.  Just be aware, that it’s gonna be a quite a bumpy ride!

You will then get a chance to walk through the rose stone garden also known as “Namal Uyana” which is the largest ironwood forest and pink quarts mountain in Asia. It’s the perfect opportunity to take some more photos of this stunning and historical area.  In the afternoon you will return to Kandy for a hearty dinner, much-earned rest and to prepare for the next day’s trek

Tuesday

Sri Lanka Experience Xtreme Gap (8)Starting your day with breakfast, you will leave the accommodation to visit the three of the most ancient and interesting temples in the central highlands of Sri Lanka known as Embekke, Lankathilaka and Gadaladeniya which are important to both Hindus and Buddhists. These three temples not so far from each other can be visited by foot through the beautiful rice fields and a wonderful landscape. The temples were built in the 14th century and you will see its beautiful wooden carvings, ancient paintings and ruins.

Wednesday

Today you will get a chance to hike the Ambuluwawa peak located in the Gampola Kingdome which was discovered in the 14th century by the Sinhala King Bvanekabahu IV. Ambuluwawa is about 365 feet above the sea level and 1965 feet from the level of Gampola town. It is famous for its bio diverse composition with over 200 different kinds of plants. Ambuluwawa is the only Sri Lankan mountain surrounded by other mountains adding beauty to its scenery. It is surrounded by mountains such as Knackles range in the North, Piduruthalagala on the Eastern side, Adam`s peak in the South and Bathalagala (bible rock) on the West. So be prepares to click pictures once you hike all the way up to the peak.

Thursday

Sri Lanka Experience Xtreme Gap (7)

Today you will have a late start as you will be visiting one of Sri Lanka`s rainforests known as Udawatte Kale Sanctuary also known as Royal Forest Park of Kandy located on the hillside behind the Temple of the tooth relic. This forest extents about 257 acres and is a shelter for different types of animals and creatures live, such as monkeys, wild boars, hares, porcupines, lizards, reptiles, many types of birds, worms and insects. The forest is considered to be a vital Bio reserve for the much populated Kandy city and is filled with trees, creepers, ferns, grasses fungi and bacteria.

It is said that the pond at the heart of the forest is where the queens from the past used to bath. The kings also used the forest during war time for their defense against attacks.

Friday

After breakfast you will be off to the hill country side of the central province in Sri Lanka to visit Nuwara Eliya city located at an altitude of 6,128 feet. You will have a city tour and as Sri Lanka produce one of the best tea in the world, you will get the opportunity to visit a tea plantation where you will get the chance to walk through the plantation and watch how they produce the world`s best tea. You will also be able to see beautiful landscapes in Nuwara Eliya.

Weekends

The weekend will be free.

Body and Mind

This is all about learning how to have a healthy mind and body, through a combination of meditation, yoga and detox treatments.   This might be right up your street or you could be thinking ‘I’m not into all of that!’, but before you dismiss it have a read through what the week entails as you might just find that it’s exactly what you’re looking for.  After all, ‘Xtreme’ doesn’t just mean adrenalin-fuelled adventures, it’s about doing something that you’ve never done before.

The daily schedule is as follows:

  • You’ll rise with the sun and take a guided meditation session, followed by a yoga lesson.
  • In the afternoon there are sessions on Ayurveda (derived from the Sanskrit words meaning ‘Life’ and ‘Knowledge’) and an Ayurveda detox treatment.
  • In the evening there is another guided meditation session, including instruction on breathing techniques.

Don’t worry if you are a complete beginner when it comes to these practices as there are different stages.   In brief you can expect to learn the following techniques.

  • 5 days of Aurvedic massages
  • 4 days of Yoga
  • 1 day meditation

Beginners:

This starts with the Surya Namaskar, also known as the Sun Salutation, which you may have heard of.   It contains 12 consecutive Asanas, or postures, and promotes the fitness and flexibility required to move onto the second stage.

Second Stage:

If you master the Surya Namaskar then you will be taught several more Asanas – up to as many as 15, depending on how you get on.

Advanced Stage:

For those who become adept at the previous stages will be taught more advanced Asanas.   However, if you don’t get to this stage don’t be disheartened – it’s important for everyone to work at their own pace and its certainly not a competition!

Pranayama:

Sri Lanka Experience Xtreme Gap Year (1)This is the study and practice of breathing techniques that can be taught once reaching the advanced stage.   If you’ve ever been involved in sport or activities such as singing, you’ll know that there is more to breathing than the automatic ‘in-and-out’ reflex.   When studied properly you can learn techniques that cool or heat the body, help concentration and assist with cleaning the body of toxic air.   It really is quite amazing.

When you’re not having lessons you can enjoy long walks amongst the gardens and soak up the peaceful atmosphere, which promotes feelings of tranquillity, and enjoy the Ayurvedic detox treatments.   These include massages with herbal oils, body scrubs and a Dhara treatment, all of which help to remove toxins from the body, improve circulation, clear your mind and put you in a relaxed mood.

To ensure that you get the most from the mind and body week the meals served are vegetarian and you are asked to refrain from smoking and consuming alcohol.

After the week we’re sure that you will feel like never before and quite a few of those who have chosen this activity for their adventure week have carried on with the techniques at home.

Turtle Conservation

Sri Lanka Experience Xtreme Gap Year (11)If someone mentioned babies to you, you might well run a mile!   But, what if was really cute little baby turtles?   We can see you going all doe-eyed from here ;0)

During this part of the trip you’ll stay at the volunteer accommodation in Ambalangoda where all your meals will be provided (Monday to Friday all 3 meals and during weekends brunch and dinner)

Your tasks throughout the week will include:

  • Collecting and hatching eggs
  • Identifying different kinds of turtles
  • Caring for turtles – feeding, cleaning tanks
  • Dependent on the season you may release turtles back into the ocean!
  • Treating sick turtles
  • Protecting turtle nests
  • Rescuing turtle eggs
  • Helping to keep the beach and general area clean

The working week is from Monday to Friday from 09:00am – 03:00pm and it is such a rewarding experience.

Ambalangoda Beach Week

Sri Lanka Experience Xtreme Gap (17)After all the hard work of the previous few weeks, this is just what you need.   The chance to relax on the soft sand beaches, with swaying palms for shade and a coconut toddy or Lion Beer for refreshments.

You’ll be based about 90kms from Colombo for beach week, at a stunning untouched location.   In addition to chilling out in the sun you’ll have the chance to visit local places of interest, including a mask factory, temples, Galle City and go on a river safari.   In addition it’s a great chance to meet up with everyone whom you started out on the adventure with – you’ll all have different experiences to share and that’s one of the things that makes the ‘Xtreme Gap’ adventures so good as you meet so many likeminded people as well as taking part in activities you’ve never had chance to do before.

It really is the perfect end to a month in this stunning country.

Accommodation

home stay house sri lanka outsideAccommodation is of a basic but comfortable standard. You share accommodation with the rest of the group. The accommodation is with in a very short distance or at the different projects. Transport is generally public transport but guided. You are not left to fend for yourself!

Accommodation in Kandy

  • Accommodation type: Shared house
  • Shared room : Four or six people in a room
  • Food: Sri Lanka vegetarian meals only. Three meals a day are provided on weekdays but during weekends brunch and dinner only

Accommodation Ambalangoda

  • Accommodation type: Shared House
  • Shared room : Four to six people in a room with ensuite bath room (no hot water)
  • Food: Sri Lanka vegetarian meals only.  Three meals a day are provided on weekdays but during weekends brunch and dinner only

A coordinator will be available 24 hours a day to help you and answer questions. At the weekends you are free to do whatever you would like to.

Frequently Asked Questions

October to April is the nesting season, the baby turtles are generally released two to four days after hatching.

You will be taken to a couple of different locations during the trip,

Kandy and then Kosgoada, 40kms south of the Sri Lankan capital Colombo

About £60 a week will cover everything you need.
Expect local Sri Lankan specialities, that means lots of delicious curries, also bread, milk, fruit and veg.
Group sizes can vary but a normal amount would be about 5 to 10 people.
The average age on the trip is between 18 and 25. This does not exclude people a bit older as we have had people in their 30 ´s quite comfortably on the trip and because we can tailor the itinerary locally different groups tend to opt for different options.
One of our coordinators will meet you on arrival at the passenger paging area with a name board. The coordinator takes you to the project. All of the pre-departure details will be sent to you in a comprehensive information pack after booking.
Duration Option Price  
4 (Week)USD 1639Book Now

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4 (Week)USD 1639 USD 1557 (Early Bird)
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Terms: $250 USD deposit required on booking. Full payment 12 weeks prior to trip start.

Included

  • Pre departure information
  • Airport pick-up
  • All accommodation
  • All meals through the week (vegetarian), at weekends you are free to eat out, it is very cheap!!!
  • All activities as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Transfers between projects on public transport
  • 24/7 guidance available

Excluded

  • Flights
  • Visas
  • Spending money
  • Travel insurance
  • Drinks and spending money
  • Transfer back from the programme to the airport (very cheap and we do help you)

Dates

2017 on Sundays

01.01.2017
05.02.2017
05.03.2017
02.04.2017
14.05.2017
04.06.2017
02.07.2017
16.07.2017
06.08.2017
03.09.2017
01.10.2017
05.11.2017
03.12.2017