Volunteer in South Africa with the leading and largest volunteer travel organization in Africa. Go Volunteer Africa offers wildlife conservation and community development programs across South Africa. Explore the natural beauty and diversity of South Africa whilst making a positive impact. There are so many rewarding volunteering opportunities available through Go Volunteer Africa, from social welfare and education to eco-tourism and wildlife conservation, this resilient and intriguing country will leave a lasting impression on you.
South Africa is very advanced country but there is still extreme poverty and remote communities need help all year round. There are also shocking rates of wildlife poaching and more people are needed to raise awareness of conservation initiatives. You can be of help by volunteering in South Africa where you will get to experience this country, the people, culture and environment.
Go Volunteer Africa is dedicated to improving living standards, helping people and preserving the wildlife heritage of South Africa. South Africa is one of our most popular destinations in Africa and we can place you in programs throughout the country. If you have a passion for wildlife you could become involved in the award-winning conservation program at the world-renowned Shamwari Game Reserve which is spectacular.
Community Development Volunteer Programs in South Africa
Go Volunteer Africa is looking for people to work in carefully selected community development projects working with people in large cities and more remote locations. You can help in communities afflicted by and affected by HIV/AIDS, at creches, community centres, an orphanage and with women’s empowerment projects. There is the opportunity to help with women’s empowerment program, involving spinning of mohair wool, from our herd of Angora goats, which is then made up into mohair blankets and sold, the women involved in the project are mostly historical immigrants from Mozambique, and so subject to related problems, such as poor English knowledge, poor health, illegal status in South Africa and impoverished living conditions.
Some programs aim to provide a stable income from the sale of products and weekly community group sessions that provide an opportunity for the women involved to experience friendship and learn new skills. Each volunteer placement in South Africa has been chosen to ensure that the project is worthwhile and will provide an interesting cultural exchange where you can give back and make a difference – education and awareness is a big part of community efforts. For anyone wanting to assist with some hard (and easy) manual labour, consider contributing to construction projects where you can build schools and community centres helping to renovate and uplift pre schools.
Education & Teaching Volunteer Programs in South Africa
You could join volunteer teaching projects helping schools and community projects to provide education to children in genuine need of help and support. Township schools work with limited resources and benefit greatly from volunteer teachers. When working as a volunteer teacher in South Africa will work alongside local teachers with children of various ages. English language teachers and those with an aptitude for drama, arts, music and sport and a strong will to do good will really enjoy this experience.
Most placements are really fun and the children will enjoy having you helping. South Africa teaching volunteers could be placed in rural and urban schools matched specifically to their own interests and skills or anywhere in the Rainbow nation. There are amazing teaching programs you can join in Townships and Zulu Villages. These teaching projects are usually located in rural communities so be prepared for a rustic experience.
Volunteer with Animals in South Africa
A hands on experience where you will be given the opportunity to assist in maintaining the reserve first hand. There are reserves located throughout the country, most are privately managed with the goal of creating a safe environment for indigenous wildlife. In addition to cheetah, leopard, and hyena research they also plan to start a lion re-introduction program. The responsibilities will include (but are not limited to) cheetah research and monitoring, leopard project assistance, buffalo monitoring, fence checks, reserve maintenance and all aspects of wildlife conservation and management.
There are ranches which are a South African Natural Heritage Site and support the proactive breeding of rare Sable and Roan Antelope. Some reserves boasts over 2500 head of game, including leopard, buffalo, black and white rhino, giraffe, hippo, eland and kudu. Volunteers can get involved in a wide variety of activities ranging from daily feeding and counting of game, tracking and monitoring different animals on the ranch and helping out with the research and breeding programs. Tasks can include tracking animals, collaring and monitoring, game capturing, management and relocating, reserve/vegetation management and maintenance including fence monitoring and poaching prevention.
Volunteer & Coach Sports in South Africa
These projects operate throughout the country but there are well respected programs in the Kysnea region of South Africa which is spectacular with a beautiful coast and mountains inland. You will get to see a lot more of this country as there are lots of sightseeing excursions and extras available with these volunteer programs in South Africa. If you share a love of sport and would like to make a difference in South Africa these projects will appeal to you. No previous sports coaching experience is needed and there are no eligibility criteria.
EXTRAS AND SUPPORT
ABOUT SOUTH AFRICA
South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by 2,798 kilometres (1,739 mi) of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans; to the north by the neighbouring countries of Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe; and to the east and northeast by Mozambique and Eswatini (Swaziland); and it surrounds the enclaved country of Lesotho. South Africa is the largest country in Southern Africa and the 24th-largest country in the world by land area and, with over 58 million people, is also the world's 24th-most populous nation.
It is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Old World or the Eastern Hemisphere. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Bantu ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different African languages, nine of which have official status. The remaining population consists of Africa's largest communities of European, Asian (Indian), and multiracial (Coloured) ancestry.
What to Do in South Africa
Apartheid Museum: The motto of this Johannesburg-based museum is “A history forgotten is a future lost,” and the Apartheid Museum works to keep that loss from happening. Devoted to the 20th-century history of South Africa, the exhibits include celebrations of both male and female political activists through photography and film, as well as representations of apartheid—among them a series of cages in which hang blown-up pictures of the “pass books” that blacks had to carry before traveling out of segregated areas.
Kruger National Park: Located in the far northeast corner of South Africa, Kruger National Park covers over 7,000 square miles and is home to over 1,000 different species of plants and animals. It is also one of the oldest parks in Africa, dating back, under various names, to 1898. The extensive tourism facilities available at Kruger offer visitors the chance to experience the Park by foot, by bike, or by vehicle, and there are almost 40 camps or lodges available for travelers who wish to spend the night.
Table Mountain: Cable cars, check. Amazing views, check. From the top of Table Mountain, many of Cape Town’s most celebrated landmarks can be seen, including Robben Island, Lion’s Head, and Signal Hill. Flora and fauna flourish in this area, and people with an outdoorsy inclination can go hiking and cave exploring, too. Just be sure to bring layers of clothing, as the weather can change quickly. Travel with a guide or a group if possible.
Robben Island: Located off the coast of Cape Town, Robben Island is perhaps best known as the imprisonment site of Nelson Mandela, Jacob Zuma, and many other political leaders during the apartheid era.
Western Cape Winelands: You like wine? As far as new-world wines go, South Africa is topping many lists these days as a destination for wine lovers who wish to retreat and sip something good. Plenty of vineyards on the Cape offer or are located near accommodations worthy of a memorable holiday escape. Some local vineyards are in Cape Town, Wellington, Constantia, Franschhoek, Stellenbosch, and Paarl.
Soweto and the Hector Pieterson Museum: Located in Gauteng, the urban area of Soweto has historically been, and still is, a predominantly black community. The area is best known in recent times as the site of the tragic Soweto Uprising of 1976, during which protesters were killed while speaking against an educational policy that required classes to be taught in Afrikaans, the language associated with apartheid, rather than in individual groups’ own languages. On June 16, the first day of the riots, a 12-year-old boy named Hector Pieterson was shot, and a photograph of his body being carried by an older teenager hit newspapers and magazines. In 2002 the Hector Pieterson Museum was established in Orlando West, honoring Pierson’s passing and the work of the protesters and the Soweto community during those riots.
Garden Route: The Garden Route is a 200-kilometer long stretch of South Africa’s southeastern coast, named for its incredible diversity of flora and fauna. The Route provides easy access to golf courses and national parks as well as some more extreme activities like bungee jumping and cage diving with great white sharks.
District Six: Apartheid had an extremely strong hold on this section of Cape Town; it was the site of the forced removal of tens of thousands of black and immigrant residents during the 1970s. The area was long prohibited from undergoing any new development after the forced removals, until the fall of apartheid in 1994. The District Six Museum opened in December of 1994 as a memorial to this demolished, and now rebuilding, community.
Cape Point: Within the Table Mountain National Park sits Cape Point, located directly east of the Cape of Good Hope and overlooking the spectacular views of the junction between the Atlantic Ocean and False Bay. A cable car takes visitors to a lighthouse where the views can best be savored; whale- and bird-watching are also popular pastimes here.
Umhlanga Rocks: Don’t let the harsh name fool you; Umhlanga Rocks is a sandy and welcoming seaside town located north of Durban on the Indian Ocean. As one of the most popular resort cities in southern Africa, Umhlanga Rocks offers up a huge variety of tourist-friendly activities and accomodations. There are luxurious hotels and golf courses as well as opportunities for surfing, SCUBA diving, deep-sea fishing, and whale watching.
Capitals: Cape Town, Pretoria, Bloemfontein
Currency: South African rand
Population: 58,852,410 (approx)
Official languages: English (among others)
Area: 1,229,912 sq. km
International Calling Code: +27
PROJECT LOCATIONS & QUICK FACTS
Food and wine, art, football, and more: South Africa’s stock has skyrocketed over the past decade, thanks to the 2010 World Cup, a burgeoning economy, and an arts and museum scene that rivals those of the biggest American and European metropolises. Subject to Hollywood portrayals of sports glory (as in Clint Eastwood’s Invictus) and the flourishing presence of its native wines and foods around the world, South Africa’s public profile is rising.
That publicity, of course, bears some of the lingering weight of the country’s history with apartheid. Since 1994, though, the work of Nelson Mandela, and other leaders has gone far in helping the country to separate itself from that harsh legacy. The days of boycotting Sun City are long gone, and while the country strives to alleviate poverty, it also supports ever growing industries and attractions for travelers and students who are looking for leisure-time diversions or are socially conscious—or both.
Take it from us: South Africa’s amazing mixture of culture and natural beauty is not to be missed. We never leave the country without having taken some sips of the local pinotage and made a trip to a new museum or festival.
VOLUNTEERING IN SOUTH AFRICA QUICK FACTS
- The program is open all year-round
- Very flexible start and end dates (arrive any day of the month)
- Over 10 exceptional sustainable project options
- Projects are based across the country with major locations being Johannesburg, Soweto, Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria
- Accommodation available at volunteer house & host families
- We host over 50 volunteers every month across South Africa
- Program fees include pre-departure support, airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support
- We are the most affordable organization in Africa, because we are the locals!
You will get to integrate into local society, sample the tasty food, experience the vibrant culture and also make a difference. There are summer and year round programs available where you can help people, animals and the environment. Volunteering in South Africa and helping people is a highly rewarding experience and there are also lots of cultural and sightseeing activities you will get to do in your spare time.
Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate, unless volunteering with a parent or guardian. All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to Go Volunteer Africa's local Coordinators on arrival in the country.
SAFARIS & TOURS
Safaris, day and cultural tours can be organized over the weekends for volunteers. This is a fantastic opportunity to explore South Africa's vibrant cities, rich musical culture, secluded beaches and wildlife. There is a lot to see and do in South Africa.
BEFORE YOU GO
§ Pre-departure support & documentation
§ Travel & medical advice & documentation
§ Advice on visas & equipment advice
§ Project orientation
§ 3 meals a day
§ Airport pickup
§ In-country emergency support
§ 24-hour HQ backup
§ Free GVA t-shirt
SOUTH AFRICA VOLUNTEER PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS
Volunteer Guest house/ Host Family
ARRIVAL & AIRPORT PICKUP
After you have booked and confirmed your placement, please book your flights to arrive at either Cape Town International Airport in Cape Town, King Shaka International Airport in Durban or O. R. Tambo International Airport in Guateng, this largely depends on your project site. A member of staff from our local partner organization in South Africa will meet you on arrival at the airport and take you to the volunteer guest house or host family which will be your base for volunteering.
Orientation and Placement will be done the next day. This airport services numerous international carriers. South Africa has good connections to destinations throughout Europe, the Asia- Pacific region, USA and Africa.
ACCOMMODATION & LIVING IN SOUTH AFRICA
Volunteers are provided accommodation in a volunteer house or in a homestay accommodation managed by the local coordinating team. Three meals a day (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner) are provided to the participants from Monday - Sunday.
The accommodations are neat and clean. Accommodation is shared amongst volunteers on the ‘same gender sharing’ basis rooms. Wifi internet, warm water is guaranteed.
The homes are close to useful amenities like banks, ATM’s, currency exchanges, restaurants, cafes and shopping places. All placements are around 10 - 30 minutes from the accommodation.
Over the weekends or evenings, participants are free to eat out and explore the different delights that South Africa has to offer.
Some volunteers are also provided accommodation in the project premises itself. For example - Volunteers working in teaching or orphanage project can be provided accommodation in the project premises itself in a separate room that is allotted for volunteers.
PLACEMENT BOOKING FEE:
After application process and acceptance into the program, you will be required to pay a placement booking and confirmation administration fee of USD$180 (solo traveler), USD$150 (2-5 participants p/p), USD$125 (6+ participants p/p). This is charged above the program fee quoted which is paid in cash upon arrival to your host country.
The fee covers: Administration Costs, Placement Booking & Confirmation, Pre-departure support & documentation, 24-hour international HQ back-up
Visas: Visitors to South Africa must obtain a visa from one of the South African diplomatic missions unless they come from one of the visa exempt countries, in which case they get what is called a "Port of Entry Visa". Visitors who require a visa must apply in person and provide biometric data. All visitors must hold a passport valid for 1 month after departure and with one blank page (two if a visa is required). South African Government announced that an e-Visa system would be introduced in November 2019. The Department of Home Affairs confirmed that South Africa's new electronic visa system will be piloted for Kenyans from November 1, 2019.
Insurance: You'll need to buy appropriate travel insurance covering your participation on the program. You won't be able to go without the right travel insurance so double check to avoid disappointment. Please make sure that you're covered for the whole duration of your trip – from the day you leave your home to the day you return.
APPLICATION & BOOKING
To participate in this program, you have to fill an online application form, and submit it for consideration. After application process and acceptance into the program, you will be required to pay 50% of the program fee within 14 days of your acceptance. Failure to make the placement booking and confirmation payment will lead to cancelation of your program.