5 Tips for Volunteering in South Africa

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There are so many reasons to plan a volunteer trip to a country like South Africa, but it’s crucial to understand what to anticipate before you commit. Here’s a rundown of some must-know volunteering tips for South Africa and cool facts to help you prepare!

What to Know Before Traveling to South Africa?

There are many things to know before traveling to South Africa. First off, South Africa is home to many big cities that face the challenges of poverty and unemployment. For instance, Cape Town has one of the highest teenage unemployment rates in the world, with 40% of young people unable to find work. This means many people struggle to afford basic needs like food and healthcare. Since COVID-19, unemployment has increased, highlighting the need for more resources to be dedicated to tackling these issues. 

With help from organizations like ours, volunteers that join volunteer projects in South Africa and help provide essential services to those in need, helping to reduce poverty and unemployment and create a better future for South Africa. Our volunteers provide a sense of hope to those who are struggling, showing them that they are not alone and that someone is there to help! The goal is not only to help vulnerable people in the community, but also to preserve South Africa’s majestic landscapes. So, whether you’re into marine life or environmental sustainability, South Africa offers plenty of exciting opportunities!


5 Volunteer Travel Tips for South Africa

Our helpful volunteering tips for South Africa will simplify the planning of your trip, from how to do the necessary research about our volunteer projects to clearing up any misconceptions you previously had about South Africa. While this is just a sneak-peek into being a volunteer in South Africa, the best way to prepare for your volunteer trip is to arrive open-minded and just dive right in!

1. Learn About South Africa

You’ll be reminded that the media often fails to show us the full picture, tending to favor the most extreme and provocative stories. But once you get here, you’ll meet some of the happiest children, including the amazing kids on our community school volunteer project in Cape Town. Despite their circumstances, these kids have bright smiles and sharp, curious minds. 


Capetonians usually give off an incredibly safe and welcoming feeling, especially in the communities where volunteers work. Not to mention, the inspiring volunteer projects we run will take you in as family. You’ll begin to form your own opinions of Africa based on your first-hand experiences, and you’ll keep those stories with you for a lifetime.

2. Get Involved in the Local Community

South African people are generous and compassionate at their core; the act of giving aligns  with our innate values and fills us with a pure sense of purpose. Especially for those with a passion for giving in the community, few things are more rewarding.

One of our most valuable tips for volunteering in South Africa is to embrace the feeling of waking up in the morning, knowing you have the chance to make a difference, even if it’s just in one person’s life or within a community. That early morning motivation and clarity are both things not to take for granted. And after experiencing it in your first week as a volunteer, you’ll want to wake up every morning with that bounce in your step!

3. Embrace Discomfort as a Means to Grow

Constantly exploring outside your comfort zone is what keeps you evolving and learning! Do you want to skydive, paraglide, or learn to surf? It’s all on the menu for volunteers in South Africa. You can make the most of your weekends by following some of our top volunteering tips for South Africa, like exploring the surrounding areas, which encompass mountains, deserts, oceans, rivers, and forests. There is a wide range of exciting activities you might wish to try. For those less inclined to jump out of planes, try going to the outskirts of the main city center instead! There, you’ll find places like Kalk Bay or Muizenberg, both incredibly relaxing havens that lie between the sea and the mountain range.

4. Bond with Your Volunteering Peers

When you arrive in South Africa, you’ll find yourself welcomed by a group of friendly do-gooders. Throughout the year, African Impact has volunteer representation from Germany, France, America, Canada, the UK, Ireland, and more! And they’re all after the same thing as you, exploring new places and ideas while making the world a better place. It’s rare to find yourself among a group of such like-minded people who all have different and interesting backgrounds. It’s amazing how quickly you become comfortable and form connections with your fellow volunteers. There’s a culture of inspiration and enthusiasm that fosters long-lasting connections that span across the world.


5. Protect Vulnerable Children

One of our most meaningful tips for volunteering in South Africa is to prioritize understanding and respecting local cultures and customs. This includes taking the time to learn about the specific needs and challenges faced by vulnerable children in the community. Building genuine relationships with local stakeholders and actively involving them in project planning and execution can significantly enhance the impact and sustainability of our efforts.

At African Impact, children’s safety is a top priority; we follow a strict Child Protection Policy to ensure everyone’s well-being. On project, you’ll undergo comprehensive training on child protection measures and communication techniques tailored to the cultural context that greatly contributes to creating a safe and supportive environment for these children. Remember, the key is to approach your volunteer work in South Africa with empathy, sensitivity, and a commitment to making a positive, lasting difference in the lives of these vulnerable children.

Ready to Volunteer in South Africa with African Impact?

Start an exciting adventure abroad and apply for a volunteer program in South Africa. Treat our South Africa travel tips above as your essential tips for volunteering in South Africa and making the most of a fantastic opportunity!

With our incredible staff, volunteer groups, and of course, the kids, grandmothers, and other participants in the programs, each day you volunteer with Africa Impact promises to be even more epic! Between the multiculturalism and the group of like-minded internationals you’ll meet while volunteering in South Africa, there’ll always be an opportunity to learn about other cultures and create your global network. This is what we value, only the best learning experiences that open eyes, hearts, and minds.



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During sundown, a group of volunteers are enjoying the view of Zimbabwe.

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