What To Expect When Volunteering
Volunteering in Africa, especially for the first time, can be daunting, but also thrilling! We want our volunteers and interns to have peace of mind and know that we have a network of experienced, trained staff on hand to support and guide you through your volunteering journey. When people think of travel to Africa, the term ‘culture shock’ comes up a lot, because volunteers are exposed to diverse new cultures, ways of life, animals and scenery which you might not have experienced before. Of course, the people and wildlife you’ll encounter as well as the program activities will differ from project to project. Below are some guidelines to help prepare you for your volunteering trip.
One of our knowledgeable Destination Managers, equipped with on-the-ground experience, will be assigned to you upon your enquiry. They will guide you through the booking of your volunteer placement from start to finish!
Always at your fingertips via e-mail or Skype, they will be able to answer any and all questions before, during and after the confirmation of your booking with us.
Orientation and Induction
At all of our projects, volunteers go through a comprehensive induction program which prepares them for their volunteer activities, duties and engagement with local people. Volunteers learn about cultural sensitivity, mutual respect and understanding, what to wear and how to greet people.
The orientation program also includes a safety briefing and insight into the landscape and history of the area, as well as a detailed explanation of the daily schedule.
You’ll find your home away from home amongst our staff and your fellow volunteers at the volunteer accommodation on your project. Our teams on the ground – from coordinators to housekeeping staff – will provide you with round-the-clock support.
The volunteer house is also a great place to meet people from around the world and learn about different cultures. They are the birthplaces of thousands of lifelong friendships. Communal meals, movie nights and barbecues happen on a regular basis, and socialising with other volunteers and interns, you’ll certainly make memories to last a lifetime.
Weather and Climate
The weather across the African continent is diverse and changes throughout the year, though you can usually expect beautiful sunny days in most parts. African climates are divided into two sections; the wet season and the dry season. The wet season is characterized by hot weather and heavy rain, but rain is typically at night and helps to cool the temperature for sleeping. The dry season is characterized by more moderate temperatures and little rain.
We would advise that all volunteers read through their pre-departure information carefully before arriving on our projects, and do some research of their own.
A volunteer’s day is jam-packed with action and amazing experiences. Some volunteers will spend each weekday traveling into the local communities to work alongside community partners including teachers and healthcare workers.
Other volunteers will spend the early mornings and late afternoons exploring Africa’s expansive game parks while completing research and conservation tasks. Although the days are long, breaks are given and downtime is taken to ensure everyone is energized for their work.
Africa is famous for its magnificent wildlife and many of our projects are focused on conservation and research. Even those that aren’t allow volunteers to encounter wild animals in their free time or over weekends where they’re encouraged to take part in safaris and day trips.
Our Big Cat Wildlife & Research Program in Kenya’s Naboisho Conservancy allows volunteers to get up close and personal to lions, cheetahs, leopards, wildebeest, elephants, buffalo, wild dogs and more.
Our conservation programs in South Africa will get you acquainted with Africa’s Big 5 and you’ll learn about animal behaviour, population trends and conservation.
Free Time and Adventure Activities
You’ll work hard as a volunteer, but there will also be time to play hard as plenty of free time is given to you on evenings and weekends to explore all Africa has to offer. You can sign up for cultural tours and learn more about the local commuities and their history, or explore nearby game reserves, historical landmarks or tourist centres – the possibilities are endless.
There’s no shortage of adventure on the African continent – so step out of your comfort zone and bungee jump over Victoria Falls, abseil down the side of Table Mountain, snorkel in Zanzibar’s coral reefs – the possibilities are endless! Our project teams on the ground will help you book tours upon your arrival, so you can experience it all with your fellow volunteers.