Volunteer & Adventure in South Africa
Volunteering and road trip in stunning South Africa
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Group Size: Varies
Trip code: SAVK
Duration: 20 days
Combine volunteering and adventure on this rewarding and exhilarating 20-day South African adventure!
Volunteer with communities in Cape Town and make a real difference to local children. You’ll stay at our amazing, coastal accommodation at Table View near Cape Town with other volunteers and work with the kids in local schools, crèches and clubs. You’ll have time to enjoy Cape Town nightlife, beach life and unique sights before heading off on the ultimate South African road trip! Enjoy 6 days of action-packed experiences as you leave Cape Town and travel along the famous Garden Route. Encounter local wildlife such as elephants, cheetahs and lions. Explore the mysterious Cango caves, enjoy a canoe ride in Wilderness National Park and visit the famous Addo Elephant Park. With an unbeatable range of optional adrenaline activities on offer all along the route, you will have the opportunity to bungee from the world’s highest jump or go zip-lining over a river! It’s a lifetime’s-worth of amazing experiences packed into a brilliant combo of a trip!
- Rewarding work at volunteer projects in and around Cape Town, helping in local settlements, schools, crèches and adventure clubs to improve the life of the local community
- Enjoy Cape Town night life and sights from your conveniently-located accommodation, have fun with a ready-made South African social scene or head to the local beach famous for its kite-surfing!
- Try a spot of surfing at Jeffery’s Bay, the South African surfing paradise, canoe among the wonderful scenery of Wilderness National Park and join an optional walk with lions
- Head deep underground to discover the magical world of the Cango Caves
- Explore idyllic Tsitsikamma National Park and take a 3-hour bus tour of the incredible Addo Elephant Park
A rewarding and thrilling 20-day South African combo! Spend 14 days volunteering with communities in Cape Town and make a real difference to local children. You’ll stay at our amazing, coastal accommodation at Table View near Cape Town with other volunteers and work with the kids in local schools, crèches and clubs. You’ll have a rewarding experience that will stay with you forever, not to mention boost your CV! You’ll have time to enjoy Cape Town nightlife and beaches with other volunteers, and you can explore further or relax and unwind for two days before starting 6 days of action-packed experiences travelling along the famous Garden Route on the ultimate South African road trip. Encounter local wildlife such as elephants, penguins, cheetahs and lions. Explore the mysterious Cango caves, enjoy a canoe ride in Wilderness National Park and visit the famous Addo Elephant Park. With an unbeatable range of optional adrenaline activities on offer all along the route, you will have the opportunity to swim with sharks on a cage dive, bungee from the world’s highest jump or go zip-lining over a river! It’s a lifetime’s worth of amazing experiences packed into a brilliant combo of a trip!
There are a range of fantastic community volunteer projects which you can take part in in Cape Town. Let us know your preference when you book, and we can get the ball rolling on your volunteer experience.
- Community settlements. Help with education at crèches and adult learning projects, plus assist with social events and empowerment projects. Get involved with building and improvement projects, as well as educating the community about subsistence farming and vegetable gardens, which will help alleviate poverty.
- School/Crèche assistant. Volunteer in pre-school educare centres around Cape Town and work with kids aged 0 - 7. You will be assigned to a class and help the teacher with daily tasks such as marking and teaching. You will be able to run your own lessons and help children develop life and educational skills.
- Disabled school assistant. Assist with learning and care at an incredible township school for disabled children. The school is the only one of its kind in the local area, and provides all-day care for children with disabilities in the community. You will help with teaching classes, mind stimulation, physiotherapy, speaking English to the younger children, and fundraising for the school. This is a challenging but deeply rewarding role.
- Adventure swim and surf club. Teach swimming and surfing to local kids at an after-school club. The main aim of this project is to keep children occupied and away from negative influences and local gangs. The club is an incentive for children to do well at school, and teaches them important skills such as teamwork - as well as just being great fun for them! You will also assist with computer lessons in the mornings before the club starts.
- Skills development projects. If you have specific skills to share, you can volunteer at a specialist skills development project. Skills can include life skills such as basic wound care and HIV awareness, sports development such as soccer and dance clinics, and business skills such as craftsmanship, woodwork and entrepreneurship. This will help out of work adults find new jobs and opportunities.
- Sport and youth development. Plan and deliver sport sessions to children at a local recreation centre, as well as assisting in morning classes. Teach kids new skills and promote teamwork and leadership. This aims to lower socio-economic problems such as delinquency, petty crime, and teenage pregnancy.
You should choose one project to focus on, and most of your volunteering will then take place at this project for the duration of your stay, although you do have the flexibility to move projects if you wish.
Please note alternative projects will be running during school holidays and over festive periods. Please download the trip notes or contact us for further information.
Day 1, Saturday
You will be welcomed at the airport by a coordinator who will transfer you to your volunteer house accommodation. You will have an introductory orientation session. The rest of the day is free for you to check out the shops, beach, bars and restaurants. In the evening you will be invited to a Braai (a traditional South African BBQ) at the hostel.
Day 2, Sunday
After breakfast you will meet your local tour guide who will explain the busy South African bus system, and help you purchase your ticket and travel unaccompanied into Cape Town centre. You will be met by a tour guide and taken on a walking tour where you will visit historical sites such as the Castle of Good Hope and the Grand Parade. You will visit the Parliament buildings and the District Six Museum where you will learn about life under apartheid South Africa. You will be taken to explore St Georges Mall and Greenmarket square where you can purchase African arts and crafts.
At 2pm you can take a bus or walk to the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. Here you can relax, eat some fresh fish, drink a cocktail or two and watch the ships come in and out of the harbour. You can explore this area and find shops, markets and musicians.
From 4pm or after you can head back to the hostel and start planning your next day.
Day 3, Monday
Breakfast is from 7.45-8.15am on all volunteer days. Project volunteering from 8.30am-12/12.30pm. Afternoon – Volunteer meeting to discuss planning, problems and challenges, help with donations, lesson planning, training on how to teach and plan activities with kids, tips on behaviour management and age-appropriate lessons.
Days 4-6, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday
Breakfast 7.45-8.15am. You will take part in your volunteer programme at morning sessions, running from 8.30am-12/12.30pm. Lunch is between 12-2/3pm on all volunteer days, and afternoon volunteer sessions run from 2-4.30 for settlement or teaching projects and 3-4.30pm for the swim/surf project. During the evenings you will set aside some time for project or lesson planning.
Day 7, Friday
A flexible day where you can help with handing out donations to local settlements, do training or planning sessions or get involved in fundraising activities in the local area. You will also have some free time to yourself.
Days 8 & 9, Saturday and Sunday
Day 10-13, Monday-Thursday
Your second volunteer week will follow the same schedule as the previous week.
Day 14, Friday
Another donation or fundraising Friday.
Please note: Depending on start dates, there may be a few days between the end of your Community Volunteering and the beginning of your Garden Route Road Trip. This is a great opportunity to do some independent exploration! Accommodation, meals and activities during these spare days are at your own cost.
Day 15 – Saturday: Cape Town to Sedgefield. Optional Lion Walk, which gives you an unbeatable opportunity to interact with young lions in their natural setting. Then you’ll make tracks for a night spent in Sedgefield.
Day 16 – Sunday: Sedgefield via Storms River to Jeffery’s Bay. Optional activities include canoeing at Wilderness National Park, world’s highest bungee jump, or ziplining. Overnight stay in Jeffery’s Bay.
Day 17 – Monday: Addo Elephant Park and Jeffery’s Bay. Addo Elephant National Park. Optional 2-hour guided 4x4 safari. Free time in Jeffery’s Bay and visits to surf shops.
Day 18 – Tuesday: Jeffery’s Bay to Oudtshoorn. Along Route 62 through the Karoo. Visit to an ostrich farm near Oudtshoorn. Visit to the Cango Caves.
Day 19 – Wednesday: Oudtshoorn to Cape Town. Elephant experience. Tsitsikamma National Park. Visit a Wildlife Ranch and get up close to some awesome animals. Return to Cape Town.
Day 20 – Thursday: Depart from Cape Town.
Please note: This Garden Route itinerary is for guidance only and is subject to change. At times, part of the tour may run in reverse.
This South African road trip offers an unbeatable range of optional activities at brilliant prices, so you can add in all sorts of unforgettable adventures along the way! From wildlife experiences to elephant rides and adrenaline activities, there’s something for everyone on this ultimate South African adventure.
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Arriving on a Saturday, you will need to arrange your flights into Cape Town International (CPT), where you will be met and transferred to your volunteer accommodation, about 25 minutes drive from the airport.
Staying in the west coast town of Table View (or Tafelsig in Afrikaans) you’ll be 25km from Cape Town (around a 20-25 minute bus ride from the centre of the city), and you’ll find classic views of the stunning Table Mountain, with beautiful beaches famed for their kite surfing
You can depart from Cape Town at end time on your end date.
Volunteering Accommodation and Meals
During the volunteering part of your time in South Africa you will stay in our volunteer house (although in busy periods, it is possible some volunteers may stay in a local four star hostel - they are only around the corner from each other). The accommodation is located only a 5-10 minute walk from a beautiful beach, and is in a safe, residential area close to shopping centres, restaurants and great local bars. The volunteer house is located only a 15-20 minute walk from the bus terminal, where you can hop on a 20-25 minute bus ride into the centre of Cape Town.
The volunteer house is made up of four separate buildings in a compound, with a swimming pool and communal outdoor and indoor eating areas. In each section of the volunteer house you’ll find a communal lounge and kitchen facilities, and 2-3 bedrooms per building, with 3-4 people sharing each room, so you're sure to make some new South African friends fairly quickly!
Please note that if you stay in the volunteer house, you'll have free usage of all hostel facilities and will be welcome to hang out there during your evenings and free time. You will also stay in the volunteer accommodation or at the hostel for two nights before you start on your road trip along the Garden Route.
The hostel is really close to the volunteer house, and has everything you will need to feel at home and have a great time during your stay. Facilities at the hostel include:
- Cheap, fast and reliable Internet.
- An on-site bar serving beer, wine, cider and soft drinks.
- A Jacuzzi – the ideal place to relax those muscles after an energetic day.
- Lounge & TV room – includes a flat screen TV with satellite access.
- Laundry – A washing machine & tumble drier are available for a small fee. Alternatively the staff can do it for you!
- Communal kitchen – stacked with all the equipment you’ll need.
- Complementary tea & coffee is available.
- Zen garden - where you can chill out and relax under the palm trees next to the pond.
- Bonfire area – a great place to make new friends, swap travel stories and cook your food the traditional South African way – on the braai!
For your security, the hostel and the volunteer house are only accessible by a code pad entry system. There are lockers for you to store your belongings.
You'll enjoy three included meals a day when you are volunteering. Breakfast is served at 7.45am and is a continental style breakfast of toast, fruit and eggs, and sometimes treats such as pancakes. Every morning you will be asked to fill out a lunch request form, choosing from a selection of hot or cold sandwiches, or salads, and your order will be waiting for you when you return from your volunteer project for lunch. Evening meals include hearty dishes such as chicken stir fry or pork chops. Tea, coffee and tap water are provided but other drinks are at your own cost.
During the week, your meals are served at the volunteer house and cooked by an on-site cook, and will be served in outdoor or indoor communal areas. At the weekends, meals will be served at the hostel.
On Monday you’ll move to the hostel, where accommodation is included until you start off on the road trip with the group. Meals are not included.
Garden Route Accommodation and Meals
5 further nights of mixed dorm accommodation are included throughout the road trip.
Your shared accommodation will be at clean and friendly hostels along the tour route. Private room upgrades are available for an extra cost.
The traditional South African welcome braai is included in the price but most meals during the road trip will be at your own cost.
Most participants will be aged 18-30, however travellers of any age over 18 years old are welcome on the trip.
Nationals of the EU, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand don’t require a visa to enter South Africa, though South African Immigration does ask that you have two completely blank consecutive pages in your passport. As long as you hold a valid passport (and a valid return ticket) you will be granted a temporary visitor’s permit on arrival, allowing visitors to stay in South Africa for up to three months. You should also ensure that your passport will still be in date for six months after you return.
When you book this trip our partner organisation asks that you provide us with a copy of your CV but don’t worry - this isn’t for anything too serious, they just want to look at your skills, experience and interests in order to match you up with the exact right placement! If you have a real passion to join a particular project however, please let us know and we’ll try our best to put you there (as long as your skills suit). Equally you don’t need to have picked out a project before you arrive, as not only will our coordinators be working to advise you based on your CV, but you’ll be given a welcome orientation when you arrive.
On this particular programme, as you’ll be working with children, you’ll need to undergo an enhanced DBS previously known as CRB, or Criminal Record Bureau check and will need to have a clean criminal record.
DBS checks may list past convictions, cautions, reprimands, warnings, and if applicable will show whether or not you have been barred from working with certain vulnerable groups. Non-conviction information such as fixed penalties may also be included.
There is an addition cost for the DBS check, please speak to your travel advisor at the time of booking. The DBS process is in 3 stages:
1. Once we receive your booking payment, you will then be sent an online application link for the DBS check, which you will need to complete.
2. Once you have completed the application, the DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) will need verification of your identity - to do this you will need to take 3 original documents to your nearest crown post office and use their DBS and ID verification service. This costs approximately £5 and is payable directly to the Post Office.
3. Once the post office verification is done it usually takes up to 2 weeks for your DBS to be processed, and your DBS will be sent to you directly in the post.