Volunteer projects in South Africa

A volunteer works with with orphans. © Voluntours
Volunteer projects in South Africa, be they wildlife- or community-based, enable participants to leave for their home countries with a heightened sense of achievement, self-awareness and understanding of the host country. Said one voluntourist: 'I now live in the present....'

Did you know?

A Code of Good Practice for voluntourism in South Africa was drawn up in 2007.

Volunteer projects in South Africa are among the freshest forms of responsible tourism to gain momentum in this country.

Voluntourism, as it's also known, is an extraordinary way of getting under the skin of the country, of leaving a positive legacy while also gaining experience and leaving with unforgettable memories. Hosts and visitors alike will part feeling enriched.

Broadly speaking, South African volunteer work falls into two main categories - helping to uplift impoverished communities, or nature conservation.

Within these categories, however, are endless possibilities, depending on your own skills, time limitations or inclinations. You could find yourself helping to identify resident and migratory schools of bottlenose dolphins. Or you may turn your hand to fixing mountain bikes so that children in remote areas can get to school.

Or you could tutor primary school children in rural areas in, say, mathematics or English. What about getting behind the scenes at a game reserve and helping with game capture or animal rehabilitation?

The best voluntourism operations funnel most of the money to the host community or project, have a structured and positive relationship with the host community, and are transparent about how their funds are spread. They also have specific insurance covering volunteer work.

Testimonials are the easiest ways of communicating the powerful impact of volunteer projects in South Africa. A couple from the UK said: ‘This is the best thing we have ever done.... We really did make a difference and doing the project made a difference to us.'

A middle-aged man from the US said: ‘We came with the expectation of giving and instead gained far greater insight, love and self-awareness in return.'

A student from Australia said: ‘My experience here was amazing. I now live in the present...'