What our clients say about us

Real people who are willing to share their experiences of the AEL.

This is the strongest proof we can present.





Ek wil julle almal weereens hartlik bedank vir wat julle die afgelope jaar vir Jean-Pierre gedoen en beteken het. Ons kan werklik sien dat hy as 'n jong man gegroei en meer versekerd en verantwoordelik geword het.

Hy is nou gefokus op sy studies volgende jaar en is meer selfversekerd en verantwoordelik. Baie dankie vir julle wysheid, geduld, onderrig en vriendskap gedurende die jaar. Ons sal verseker AEL aanbeveel en ons wens julle alle sterkte toe vir die toekoms.

Pierre & Deidre Conradie

Melkbos, Western Cape
Parents: Jean-Pierre

I am delighted that Nicci is at AEL, and that staff and students enjoy that she is part of the group. Nicci is really happy with the AEL experience she has had – she does have her “down” days but overall her feedback to me is very positive. I am so pleased she has had this opportunity. I know she is still a bit uncertain about her future goals and studies, but am sure she will get the support she needs in the coming months to guide her.

Allison Myeza

Durban, KZN
Parent: Nicci Myeza

If you’re still undecided on the course of study you should take next year, then AEL is the place to go. The campus is right on the Orange River. You will learn how a typical University Institution works, and while studying, still enjoy life’s everyday pleasures like fishing, excursions to SANPARKS, rowing on the Orange River and making lifelong friends.

Andre Roux

Malmesbury, Western Cape
Student: Andre Roux

AEL is an exceptionally well managed educational oasis where you will find caring, compassionate people that work together enthusiastically. Each student is offered the opportunity for personal growth and development, and an awareness of nature and the environment is passionately encouraged.

Brewis Fourie

Kroonstad, Freestate
Parent: Brewis Fourie

My granddaughter thoroughly enjoyed the year, and we are so proud as grandparents to see the personal growth that she demonstrated during her time at AEL. She has now become a fully independent adult.

Daphne Bosch

Somerset West, West Cape
Grandparent: Liria Bosch

We were looking for a year that resembled a GAP year but not a total break from studying and a space where personal growth would form part of the package. AEL provided our son with exactly this. He has grown tremendously in an environment that provided balance between structure and routine for educational purpose yet full of fun and enjoyment.

Thank you AEL!

Liezel Anguelova

Morninghill, Gauteng
Parent: Stefan van Zyl

Nicola se spraak is nie op standaard nie - ek het hom as kind gedwing om te praat en om nie gebaretaal te gebruik nie - sy sosiale- en kommunikasievaardighede was nie van die beste nie (sy eie wêreld was vir hom die veiligste). Nodeloos om te sê, Nicola het baie swaargetrek.
Die jaar is verby en my seun het in 'n volwaardige man met selfvertroue, kommunikasievaardighede, doelwitte en met deursettingsvermoë ontwikkel. Nicola lewer toesprake voor mense, kan leiding neem en besluite deurvoer. Sy selfvertroue is ongelooflik!!
AEL is nie net 'n kampus vir akademiese omgewingsbewustheid nie, maar vir die vorming van 'n individu tot sy volle potensiaal. Die betrokkenheid en ondersteuning by elke leerder is ongelooflik.

Elleni Botha

Carnavon, Northern Cape
Parent: Nicola Botha

Sean matriculated in 2018 and joined AEL Gap Year Camp this year. This presented not only big challenges for Sean, but also made us (his parents) apprehensive about how he will cope socially and mentally with the other young adults. Sean has Aspergers (High Functioning Autism).

AEL opened up a whole new world for Sean where he had to cope on his own, without any ‘interference’ or help from Mom and Dad. He is proving himself to be quite capable and willing to face whatever comes his way. He even surprised us by being on the Social and Tuck Shop Committee.

THANK YOU to all the staff and management that EMBRACE our son with all his ‘quirks’ and opinions. It is heart-warming to see our son COMING INTO HIS OWN !!!

Linda Pauwels

Welgemoed, Western Cape
Parent: Sean Pauwels

I absolutely loved my time at AEL but in hindsight, I think I took it for granted. I learnt so many important life lessons that I think would have taken me a lot longer and caused me a lot of pain had I not had that guidance.

I am studying conservation ecology at Stellenbosch University at the moment and the knowledge I acquired at AEL has been invaluable in understanding the concepts that are taught to us this year and for approaching the mountain of work that I have. If I had not gone to AEL I doubt I would have coped as well as I did, especially emotionally.

Coming out of matric I was really struggling with mental illness and going to AEL changed that. I feel like a completely different and much happier person now.

I made life-long friends there who I have kept contact with, and we often make an effort to see each other when possible.

I am immensely grateful for them. Going to AEL was possibly the best decision I have ever made; I cannot believe how lucky I am to be a part of something so special.

Thank you so much for helping me and for making such a huge difference in so many lives.

Erin Bond

Barkly West, Northern Cape

Dear Gys, Matthys, Conrad, Cara, Alta and Annelie

I am sending you this mail to congratulate you on successfully running the first year at the Academy for Environmental Leadership. I am delighted that your accreditation process is going well. I believe there is a real need for courses such as yours to provide young people with a stepping stone from school before they make decisions about their tertiary education or work choices. I have appreciated your good communication to parents and your openness to feedback not only from parents but, I understand, from students as well. It is understandable that there are hiccups when starting such a mammoth task. These are opportunities for growth and reflection.

It has been a pleasure for me to watch Max grow this year under your care. He has certainly found his voice, which is so important. The young man who came home last week is more confident, clearer about who he is and what he stands for (and what he does not stand for). He has forged relationships that can travel far into his life with him. I am grateful as a parent that he could be afforded this opportunity to have such diverse experiences as he has had during this year.

I wish you well as you continue to grow this wonderful venture and will enjoy watching your progress.

Thank you.

Janet Bytheway

Blouberg, Western Cape
Parent: Max Dinckelacker

My son Peter attended in 2019. My wife and I did extensive research to find a single year tertiary experience for him. Looking back, we are very satisfied that we chose AEL. The academy provided our son with a structured environment to grow and mature this year, whilst also offering him an exceptional opportunity to be lectured on emotional development.

Of course, he enjoyed the field trips and tours tremendously, the rowing on the Orange River, touring Namibia and camping in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. We are immensely grateful to the leadership and staff at AEL for their investment in our son over the past year. He is now ready to resume his university degree and he could not have achieved this without their guidance.

Marina Joubert

Stellenbosch, Western Cape
Parent: Peter Joubert

Ons wil graag ook van die geleentheid gebruik maak om terugvoering te gee oor die wonderlike program wat AEL aan jongmense bied. Ons almal weet hoe moeilik dit is om werklik suksesvol te wees in hierdie tyd en selfs met al die onsekerhede het AEL 'n program saam gestel wat vir jongmense die geleentheid bied om nie net te leer van die natuur nie maar ook om hulleself te vind. Jenell het werklik verander as persoon en dit in 'n baie kort tydjie, sy het 'n nuwe liefde vir ons omgewing en motivering om te presteer. Ons vergeet vinnig watter impak die stadslewe op ons het, AEL se kampus en mense laat jou baie vinnig besef hoe pragtig en spesiaal die lewe werklik is. Baie baie dankie vir almal wat betrokke is by AEL, dit was die beste keuse en geleentheid wat ons as ouers vir haar kon bied.

Martinus & Jewell Wilkins

Bellville, Western Cape
Parent: Jenell

My daughter attended AEL in 2019. She went there with a vague idea of what she wanted to do after school but finished the year with so much more than finding out what she wanted to study. She has made life-long friends, matured within herself, learnt leadership skills, the curriculum covers a wide range of topics and the tours they went on were amazing. We have absolutely no regrets sending our daughter to AEL.

Tannith B

Barkly West, Northern Cape
Parent of Erin Bond

I think AEL is the perfect choice for anybody who has not yet made decisions about their future. AEL has definitely prepared me for life at University, and has played a huge role in my choice of career. AEL isn’t just all fun and games though – the material we studied has helped me tremendously in my current studies. All in all it was a very positive experience and I would highly recommend it.

Nico Vermeulen

De Wet, Western Cape

Joel formed lasting friendships, matured under the mentorship and guidance of the leaders, and participated in activities and visited places he perhaps would never have experienced in his lifetime. He completed his year more mature, grounded and certain about his future career path. It was a year that had a big positive impact on his life and will never be forgotten - the best kind of Gap Year we could have wished for.

Erica B.

Hillcrest, Kwazulu Natal
Parent of Joel Boshof

Jurgens mis die kameraderie van AEL en sê gereeld dat dit die beste ervaring ooit was. Hy/ons sal altyd dankbaar wees vir die fondament wat AEL gelê het, en vir die rol wat AEL en sy personeel in Jurgens se eerste jaar na skool gespeel het.

Annelene Coetzee

Paarl, Western Cape
Parent of Jurgens Coetzee

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