Volunteering in South Africa

Making a difference to the communities & wildlife of South Africa

Why Volunteer in South Africa

There is nowhere quite like South Africa. With its ever-changing dramatic scenery & epic wilderness, South Africa is an intriguing place. From the Karoo & Kalahari semi-deserts and thick savannah grasslands in Kruger, right down to the mountainous landscapes, overlooking stunning beaches in Cape Town; South Africa has it all. Labelled the “rainbow nation” by the legendary Nelson Mandala, the country boosts colourful diversity, as well as a rich and in-depth history.

Cape Town boasts stunning (and we really mean stunning) beaches. Arguably, the best urban beaches in the world. From Surfers Paradise in Muizenberg, right along the coast to Boulders Beach, where you can find endangered African penguins waddling around. Head further north, you can experience tropical coral reefs, incredible diving, and snorkelling at Rocktail Bay!

Cape Town is host to the world-renowned Cape Winelands, with beautiful vineyards and estates. Sample award-winning wines with breathtaking landscapes as your backdrop. Go a step further and discover Franschhoek, for the most luxurious wine experience on offer. The vibrant student town of Stellenbosch also offers incredible wine opportunities, as well as a student community and plenty of bars, restaurants, and shops.

A vibrant and bustling city set right on the waterfront. This is also a hotspot for surfing enthusiasts!

If you are looking for a world-class wildlife experience, Kruger is the place for you. You are surrounded by iconic Big 5 game, in an area almost the size of Wales! You are bound to encounter unique and unmissable wildlife opportunities.

South Africa’s very first world heritage site is a special one. With an impressive wealth of wildlife and nature. Even today, it is not uncommon to see hippos wandering down the road at night!

South Africa Volunteer Destinations

Table Mountain, Big 5 Game Drives, Robben Island, V&A Waterfront, Garden Route, Wine trails, adrenaline-filled activities, water sports and that is just scratching the surface of this amazing country!

Cape Town

Greater Kruger Area

St. Lucia

About South Africa

Previously a British colony, the Republic of South Africa gained independence from Britain in 1934. South Africa has seen many historically significant events. Apartheid began in 1948, which was the beginning of total racial segregation and the significant impact of Nelson Mandala in overcoming this segregation. South Africa has come a long way.

South Africa is known today as the “rainbow nation,” to present the vision of South Africa thriving for new possibilities.

South Africa has produced some very influential names in history. The most significant being Nelson Mandela.

Fun Facts

  • South Africa has three capital cities: Cape Town, Bloemfontein and Pretoria.
  • The largest city in South Africa is Johannesburg.
  • South Africa has the largest economy in Africa.
  • South Africa has 11 official languages, including English, Afrikaans, and Zulu.
  • The landmass is almost 5 times the size of Great Britain, 5 times bigger than Japan and 3 bigger than Texas (United States.)
  • South Africa experienced apartheid (racial segregation) between 1948-1994.
  • South Africa is bordered by Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique, Swaziland (Eswatini) and fully encompasses Lesotho.
  • South Africa’s coastlines border the Indian Ocean to the southeast and the Atlantic Ocean to the Southwest.
  • South Africa is a hotspot for Big 5 game.
  • South Africa was once the world’s number one producer of gold. Now, about 1/5 of the world’s gold comes from South African mines.
  • There are more than 8 of the world’s heritage sites in South Africa.
  • South Africa is the only country in the world to have hosted the rugby, soccer and cricket World Cups.

South Africa Volunteer Projects

Big 5 Project

Make a difference to South Africa’s big 5 volunteer project. Work to preserve the conservation for future generations. 

Location: Kruger National Park

Duration: 2 – 12 Weeks

Education & Early Childhood Development

Make a difference to the children of Cape Town with this education & early development project. 

Location: Cape Town

Duration: 2 – 12 Weeks

Gender Equality

Empower the females of Cape Town with this Gender Equality volunteer project. 

Location: Cape Town

Duration: 2 – 12 Weeks

Sports Development

Inspire the people of Cape Town through sports. Bring your passion and make a difference to the local communities. 

Location: Cape Town

Duration: 2 – 12 Weeks

South Africa Volunteer Highlights & Excursions

The opportunities South Africa present are staggering and promise to provide an experience of a lifetime. From unique wildlife encounters & historic sites to one of the seven natural wonders of the world; isn’t it time you experienced the hype for yourself?

Table Mountain

One of the seven wonders of the world. Take a hike up this iconic South African landmark.

Boulder Beach

From the volunteer house, right along the coast, discover a land of happy feet (in the form of little penguins!)

Robben Island

Rich with the history surrounding the incredible legacy of Nelson Mandela.

Franschhoek Wine Trail

Discover a new appreciation for some of the finest wines in the world, in the best possible style.

Kruger National Park

Go on safari in one of Africa’s largest and best-known national parks.

Blyde River Canyon

With fresh mountain scenery and panoramic views, you can take a hike or helicopter tour to encounter all its natural beauty.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to get to South Africa?

It is very easy to get to South Africa. The largest airport is O.R Tambo International airport, in Johannesburg, which is one of the main airport hubs in the whole of Africa, with lots of routes to different countries in Africa.

Airlines that fly regularly into O.R Tambo International (Johannesburg – JNB); The main flight operator to Johannesburg is South African Airways, which offers many direct flights from different international cities.

  • British Airways: London – Johannesburg
  • Virgin Atlantic: London- Johannesburg
  • Air France: Paris- Johannesburg
  • Ethiopian Airways: Addis Ababa – Johannesburg
  • Emirates: Dubai- Johannesburg
  • Etihad Airways: Abu Dhabi – Johannesburg
  • Qatar Airways: Doha – Johannesburg

There are also many direct international flights to Cape Town International Airport (CPT.) There are also plenty of daily, regular flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town.

  • British Airways: London- Cape Town
  • South African Airways: London – Cape Town (via Johannesburg)
  • Ethiopian Airways: Addis Ababa – Cape Town
Is South Africa safe?

Despite South Africa’s negative portrayal in the western media, South Africa is a safe country as an international tourist, as part of an organized trip. But you need to take precautions in order to stay safe.

You will have the most incredible time in one of the most incredible parts of the world. As with any area of the world, remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings, such as avoiding walking alone at night, petty theft, leave your valuables in a safe place – the usual.

Check out our tips on staying safe in South Africa, so you can enjoy your stay without a worry.

What is the currency in South Africa?

The official currency in South Africa is the South African Rand (ZAR or R) The notes are R10, R20, R50, R100, R200.

As the rand is weak against western currencies (GBP, USD, EUR,) things in South Africa are considered less expensive than Europe and North America. The majority of places in South Africa will only accept Rand.

Most major retailers, hotels, and restaurants accept major international credit and debit cards, such as MasterCards and Visa Cards.

You can withdraw money at ATMs as well.

What electrical plugs are used in South Africa?

The majority of power sockets found in South Africa are ‘Type D’ the three-round pin style sockets.

What languages are spoken in South Africa?

South Africa has 11 official languages, including English, Afrikaans, and Zulu. English is widely spoken and understood, especially in the more touristy areas.

What is the weather/climate in South Africa?

South Africa is a large country with different climate conditions in different areas. Generally, across South Africa, the summer is between November to March.

This is mainly hot, with the occasional thunderstorm in the afternoons. In the northern area of South Africa (excluding Cape Town) winter lasts between May to September, which is drier and milder (although still sunny during the day.) You can expect some chilly evenings and early mornings.

The climate generally ranges from the Mediterranean in the southwestern (Cape Town) and subtropical in the Northeast (Johannesburg & Kruger area.)

The main cities in South Africa experience contrasting climates.

Cape Town:

Cape Town has a Mediterranean-style climate, with wet, cool winters and dry, warm summers. This differs largely, with the rest of South Africa. But, when we say winter, we aren’t quite talking the sort of winter you expect in Europe (although it isn’t uncommon to see snow on the mountain tops of Cape Town during the winter!) But, one of the best things about Cape Town is that no matter what time of year it is, you will be able to do the activities that you want to do. Whether you are hiking up Table Mountain, kitesurfing, shark cage diving, enjoying the Winelands, Cape Town is an all-year-round destination.

Johannesburg and Kruger Area:

Johannesburg and the Kruger Area have a subtropical climate, with cool, dry winters (May-September) and hot summers, with a chance of afternoon thunderstorms, caused by the heat (October- March.) Like Cape Town, we aren’t talking European or North American winters. You can also expect some very chilly evenings and early mornings, but the days remain sunny and warm. The best months to visit Johannesburg are usually April, September, and October, after the hot summers and cooler winters. You can expect less rain, warm temperatures compared to the winter, and cooler temperatures. The best time to visit the Kruger National Park is during the dry season, between April- September. With a lack of rain, animals congregate around the water holes, allowing for more opportunities to spot some of Africa’s most iconic wildlife.

Is there a Big 5 game in South Africa?

Not only are there oodles of Big 5 game in South Africa, but South Africa is recognized as the home of the Big 5! The Big Five consists of the Lion, the Elephant, the Rhino, the Leopard and the Buffalo.

The Big Five originally referred to the 5 most dangerous animals to hunt on foot. Today, these animals hold a huge significance to not only South Africa, by to Africa as a continent.

What are the top tourist attractions in South Africa?

South Africa is bursting with tourist attractions. Check out just a few top attractions.

Remember, this doesn’t include all the activities on offer, from shark cage diving to world-class surfing and water-sports!

  • Kruger National Park
  • Lions Head
  • Table Mountain
  • Boulders Beach
  • V&A Waterfront
  • Franschhoek Wine Trial
  • Robben Island
  • Camps Bay & Clifton Beaches
  • Cape Point

Know Before You Go

Visa Requirements

Packing List

Code of Conduct

Volunteering Safety Tips

Do not wander outside of the volunteer house on your own or without informing a member of staff.

  • Avoid travelling alone, especially at night.
  • Ensure that excess amounts of cash are left in safe boxes, not lying around in plain sight.
  • Do not carry excessive amounts of cash on you.
  • If you are taking a taxi anywhere, make sure you book it in advance through a trusted and reliable driver.
  • Avoid wandering down dark streets, even in large groups.
  • Be aware and alert at bars. Do not leave your drink unattended at any time. If you drink has been left out of your sight, discard it.
  • Do not enter township areas without being accompanied by one of our local staff members.
  • Be wary of people who seem too friendly too fast.
  • Avoid leaving your personal items like bags or mobile phones unattended.
  • Do not share personal information with anyone under any circumstances.
  • Save your project manager’s number on your phone and make sure to provide us with a copy of your emergency contact person at home.

South Africa Vaccinations

Please consult with your private physician or doctor in regards to what immunizations or vaccinations are needed.  

Our recommendations:

  • Tetanus: Highly recommended
  • Polio: Recommended
  • Hepatitis A&B: Recommended
  • Typhoid: Recommended
  • Yellow Fever: If coming from a yellow fever risk country or transited through one (mainly Latin America and Central and Western Africa) it is a requirement to show proof of yellow fever vaccination, with a valid yellow fever certificate. If unsure, please check with your Destination specialist.

You will need an adequate supply of sunscreen cream for the hot African sun – SPF 30 and above. 

Also, please bring a hat and a water bottle with you, as you will be in the sun for a good portion of the day. Even if the sky is overcast, the sun is strong enough to cause burning.

We advise you to drink plenty of water during the day to avoid dehydration.

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