Go Volunteer Africa is working to provide quality, meaningful and affordable volunteering in Swaziland travel opportunities. We focus on semi-urban and rural communities of Swaziland (eSwatini) and working with disadvantaged children, youth and women, through provision of quality education, healthcare, access to clean water and community development projects.
Volunteering in Swaziland with Go Volunteer Africa is one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have. If you choose to do volunteer work at our schools, youth center or just to be part of our outreaches, you need to be adaptable, flexible and prepared to face and hear heartbreaking stories of the people’s backgrounds.
Swaziland, officially the Kingdom of Eswatini, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. It is bordered by Mozambique to its northeast and South Africa to its north, west, and south. At no more than 200 kilometers (120 mi) north to south and 130 kilometers (81 mi) east to west, Eswatini is one of the smallest countries in Africa; despite this, its climate and topography are diverse, ranging from a cool and mountainous highveld to a hot and dry lowveld.
Go Volunteer Africa works to provide volunteering opportunities in Swaziland (Eswatini) for those who want to travel with a difference and enthusiastic workforce for grassroots organizations. Our core activity lies in assisting travelers to make the right choice with regard to volunteering in Swaziland.
Why Volunteer in Swaziland?
Despite its classification as a lower-middle-income nation, 63 percent of the Kingdom of Swaziland’s population still lives below the poverty line. The Swaziland poverty rate is attributed to multiple factors. These factors include stalled economic growth, severe drought, unequal distribution of wealth, high unemployment and a high rate of HIV/AIDS.
According to the African Economic Outlook, economic growth in Swaziland dropped to -0.6 percent in 2016 due to a severe drought during the 2015-16 agricultural season that caused significant declines in the country’s agricultural sector. As nearly 77 percent of Swazis rely on subsistence farming for their livelihoods, Swaziland was one of the southern African nations hit hardest by the drought.
In an effort to combat the high Swaziland poverty rate, the Swazi government has undertaken various initiatives aimed at promoting indigenous Swazi entrepreneurship and decreasing youth unemployment rates. The Swazi government is currently working on including more young people in the country’s growing small business sector by including entrepreneurship training in schools and supporting programs that give young people hands-on experience in a small business work environment.
There are also several organizations like Go Volunteer Africa through volunteering in Swaziland opportunities, works on the ground in Eswatini to help those living in poverty. The organization is also working to combat the malnutrition caused by the drought and the high poverty rate. This initiative mainly targets those undergoing treatment for HIV or tuberculosis. Both of these diseases have high incidence rates in Swaziland. Go Volunteer Africa is also working on another project to alleviate the burdens that poverty places on 63 percent of Swazis. Its goal is to end the water crisis by providing sustainable sources of clean water to communities in Swaziland.
If you are interested in participating volunteering in Swaziland program, write to us and we will work with you to identify your best placement options across eSwatini Kingdom. And whether you work in a clinic, school, or children’s center, participate in building or agricultural projects, or simply assist in the day-to-day tasks. Go Volunteer Africa works closely with each volunteer to ensure comprehensive preparation, including both an understanding of the people with whom you will be working, and all considerations necessary for travel overseas.
***Go Volunteer Africa enables people from around the world to share their skills and expertise with needy communities of Swaziland through volunteering. We facilitate volunteer in Swaziland placements for individual solo travelers and groups, for a minimum of two weeks and we can secure the placement within 24hrs of receiving your inquiry.***
VOLUNTEER PROJECTS IN ESWATINI
EXTRAS AND SUPPORT
Eswatini, officially the Kingdom of Eswatini and also known as Swaziland (SWAH-zee-land; officially renamed in 2018), is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. It is bordered by Mozambique to its northeast and South Africa to its north, west, and south. At no more than 200 kilometres (120 mi) north to south and 130 kilometres (81 mi) east to west, Eswatini is one of the smallest countries in Africa; despite this, its climate and topography are diverse, ranging from a cool and mountainous highveld to a hot and dry lowveld.
The lush and mountainous Kingdom of Swaziland, now officially called eSwatini, is Africa's last absolute monarchy. This small but scenically beautiful country of emerald peaks, rivers, ravines, rolling valleys, and waterfalls is a hiker's eden. Nature reserves are the top attraction here, and though only a few host Big Five animals (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, and rhino), all of them offer an intimate game-viewing experience, lush mountain scenery, and a rich diversity of species.
Swaziland also proudly preserves its fascinating culture, customs, and festivals. Travelers are welcome to watch some of the festivities of Incwala, an impressive three-week kingship ritual in December and January, and, Umhlanga, the lively Reed Dance ceremony, which takes place during the last week of August or first week of September. Find more things to do with our list of the top attractions in Swaziland.
With its outstanding scenery and abundant wildlife, the Kingdom of Eswatini is a nature lover’s paradise. One of the world’s few remaining monarchies, the tiny country, which is almost completely surrounded by South Africa, has no shortage of hiking, biking, and horseback-riding opportunities, and its many national parks offer glimpses of everything from rare birds to endangered black rhinos.
Known for being especially friendly and laid-back, the Swazi people are committed to preserving their culture in the face of modernization, which means that traditional customs play a large part in everyday life. Visitors to Swaziland are in for a unique and authentic African experience.
What to Do in Eswatini
Mkhaya Game Reserve: Home to rare species like the black rhino and the Nguni breed of cattle, as well as antelope, elephants, and a host of other animals, this small, private reserve in southeastern Eswatini is also notable for its many mkhaya, or knobthorn, trees, which bear a type of fruit that Swazis use for brewing beer.
Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary: This secluded park in the Ezulwini Valley, in central Eswatini, is known for its relaxed atmosphere and lovely hiking trails through grasslands, eucalyptus forests, and some of the highest points in the kingdom. Catch glimpses of giraffes, zebras, and more on self-guided tours, horseback, or in open Land Rovers.
Sibebe Rock: Located just north of Mbabane, Eswatini’s most famous geological feature is a huge granite dome rising out of the countryside. Thrill seekers may scramble up the nearly 1,000-foot rock and its surrounding boulders; the less adventurous may check out the Bushman paintings marking the rocks at the summit.
Malolotja Nature Reserve: The country’s least touristy park, in the northwestern highlands, is full of excellent finds: ancient mountains streaked with waterfalls, nearly 300 different species of birds, and the world’s oldest mine.
Local Customs: Every year in late August or early September, young Swazi women take part in the Umhlanga, a fertility dance that culminates in the women’s singing and dancing before the king and the queen mother, giving the king an opportunity to pick a new wife. Tourists are welcome to observe the ceremony.
Mbuluzi Game Reserve: Hippos, wildebeests, and more roam freely in this small reserve in northeastern Eswatini; the southern portion is free of predators, so visitors may explore a handful of trails on foot.
Mlawula Nature Reserve: This park near the Mozambique border is so large that it comprises both dry savannas and tropical forests; it’s widely regarded as one of the best, most varied hiking spots in the country.
Ezulwini Valley: The country’s royal heartland and tourism center is worth a quick visit for its gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains and its fantastic selection of locally made handicrafts.
Hlane Royal National Park: You’ll find leopards, lions, cheetahs, and other awe-inspiring animals at this park near the former royal hunting grounds.
Bulembu: A historic town in the northern part of the country, Bulembu, which once housed a thriving mine, provides a fascinating look back in time, with its abandoned homes, Art Déco buildings, and long cableways. The nearby mountains are thought to be some of the oldest in the world.
Ezulwini Valley: The Ezulwini Valley is Eswatini’s tourist hub. Located between Mbabane and Manzini, and just a ten-minute drive from either, it means ‘Valley of heaven’ and is flanked on both sides by a ridge of rocky hills.
Mahamba Mission and gorge: This historic site in the far southwest is the country’s oldest church and marks the point where Christianity reached Eswatini. The nearby gorge is impressive, and home to rare birds such as the black eagle and southern bald ibis. A community project offers hiking trails and simple self-catering chalets.
Mandela’s and House on Fire: This charming family farmstead on the road to Malkerns has expanded into a significant tourist complex, with a bed and breakfast, restaurant, internet café and craft centre. Best of all, it has House on Fire, a unique performing arts venue built around a Shakespearian Globe-style theatre that every May hosts Bushfire, a major festival of southern African music and arts.
Ngwenya Glass Factory and mine: Ngwenya means ‘crocodile’, referring to a large croc-shaped mountain along Eswatini’s western border. The Ngwenya mine, which lies inside Malolotja Nature Reserve, holds the oldest iron-ore workings in the world, dated to 43,000 years ago.
Nsangwini cave shelter: This community-run project, located in the Nkomati Valley southeast of Piggs Peak, is Swaziland’s finest example of San rock art. A local guide will lead you down the short, steep trail to the Nsanqwini Cave Shelter and explain the history and significance of the ancient figures and animals painted on the granite overhang.
PROJECT LOCATIONS & QUICK FACTS
Go Volunteer Africa, welcomes to the beautiful Eswatini. Swaziland, a small, landlocked monarchy in southern Africa, is known for its wilderness reserves and festivals showcasing traditional Swazi culture. Marking its northeastern border with Mozambique and stretching down to South Africa, the Lebombo Mountains are a backdrop for Mlawula Nature Reserve’s many hiking trails. Nearby Hlane Royal National Park is home to diverse wildlife including lions, hippos and elephants.
Go Volunteer Africa offers a wide range of volunteering opportunities in Swaziland from teaching, childcare, construction and healthcare projects. If you are looking for meaningful volunteer projects in Africa for a short or long term stay, Eswatini is an ideal destination. Programs are perfect if you want to do something more than sightseeing and would like to see more than the average tourist and truly start to understand this distinctive culture.
VOLUNTEERING IN ESWATIINI 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 Mbabane & Manzini
- Accommodation available at volunteer house & host families
- We host over 15 volunteers every month across Swaziland
- 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!
Tourism in Eswatini is a successful industry. Most of the tourists who visit Eswatini arrive by road from South Africa. Eswatini's tourism industry developed during the apartheid era in South Africa and this shaped many of its distinctive attractions. Since the end of apartheid, Eswatini has emphasized its traditional culture as a tourist attraction.
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 Eswatini 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 Swaziland's vibrant cities, rich culture, secluded wildlife. There is a lot to see and do in Eswatini.
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
ESWATINI 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 King Mswati III International Airport in Manzini. A member of staff from our local partner organization in Estwani will meet you on arrival at 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. Eswatini has good connections to destinations throughout Europe, the Asia- Pacific region, USA and Africa.
ACCOMMODATION & LIVING IN SWAZILAND
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 not 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 Swaziland 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.
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.