Community tourism projects in South Africa are inspired by Nelson Mandela's legacy of moral fortitude and offer a way for the local and international traveller to acquire a little of his glow and change the southern tip of Africa for the better in some small or large way.

Did you know?

The Bulungula Lodge has created jobs for over 35 people in the village

Ready to make a difference? Then leave your preconceived ideas at home, and pack your smile. A wide range of local and international organisations are doing amazing community tourism projects throughout the country.

If you have more than few days, the Bulungula Lodge in the Eastern Cape should be your first stop. The lodge provides a platform for outsiders to access one of the poorest communities in South Africa. The lodge is located on one of the most remote beaches in the country.

A model of sustainable community development, Bulungula Lodge is an eco-friendly backpacker’s lodge, 40% owned by the Nqileni village, where you can be as hands-on, or chilled-out as you desire. Whether you canoe, horse ride, or enjoy pancakes at the iLanga Fire Restaurant, every activity is 100% community-owned and run.

You can spend your days getting involved by making bricks, stamping corn, brewing beer or catching crayfish. Stay longer and share your expertise with the community, be it in art, teaching or nursing – all contributions are welcome.

Calabash Tours, also in the Eastern Cape, allows volunteers to go into the local schools to teach at the same time as they learn from the community. Children can benefit from your time and knowledge while you can forge relationships that will change the way you look at the world.

You2Africa offers a diverse choice of community projects with children. Work at a soup kitchen or visit a school for troubled boys, play football, share stories and change lives. Orphans and abandoned babies are a big problem in Africa. Why not spend some time looking after those without anyone to love them?

The South African branch of the international organisation Voluntours has a variety of volunteering options available, both in the wildlife conservation and humanitarian fields. Among these are conservation projects focusing on dolphins and sharks, as well as humanitarian-based projects focusing on education.

Remember that whatever community tourism project you select, make sure that the money you spend is going back into the community by choosing only those volunteer projects who follow the Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA) code of good practice for volunteerism.

Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA) is a non-profit marketing organisation that promotes sustainable community development projects, in partnership with the National Development Agency, a government organisation mandated to fund civil society programmes to alleviate unemployment and poverty in disadvantaged communities.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Tel: +27 (0) 11 315 4049

Tel: + 27 (0) 21 424 2840

Calabash Tours
Tel: +27 (0) 41 585 6162

Bulungula Lodge
+27 (0) 47 577 8900