Being a volunteer in South Africa has something to attract everyone, from wildlife enthusiasts to adventurous thrill-seekers and beach lovers. Situated at the southern tip of Africa, the diverse landscapes of the country range from golden desert to rolling sub-tropical savannah and plateaus. Whether you’re learning about South Africa’s fascinating history, taking in beautiful vineyards on a wine tour, checking out cosmopolitan Cape Town (with the iconic backdrop of Table Mountain!) or ticking off your own Big 5 wildlife list on safari, South Africa has so many incredible things to see and do, including for those looking to volunteer in South Africa.
South Africa is a popular holiday destination for seasoned and first time travellers alike, but behind the scenes there is a great need for volunteers to work on animal rescue projects, marine conservation initiatives and wildlife conservation projects. Pod Volunteer is an award-winning non-profit organisation helping people to volunteer in South Africa for as little as 1 week or as long as 3 months.
You can get involved in animal volunteering projects in South Africa, such as monkey rescue or horse rehabilitation. For elephant loving volunteers, we have an elephant care and research project on the famous Garden Route. If conservation is more your thing, then we work with projects focussing on protecting priority species such as cheetahs, rhinos, lions and leopards that South Africa is famed for. You may even like to combine diving and conservation, contributing to research at world class dive sites.
Volunteers are needed all year round in South Africa. In terms of climate, there are two main seasons in South Africa. During the cooler months of April through to October, night temperatures drop to around 10 degrees and daytimes rise to a temperate 20 degrees Celsius. It is warmer from November through to March and temperatures can hit up to around 30 degrees Celsius during the day, falling to about 15 at night. It can rain throughout the year.
At Pod Volunteer we love travel and and regularly visit our projects in South Africa. Here is our insider’s view of our experiences travelling and volunteering in South Africa…
Things we loved: The perfect combination of rich cultures, delicious cuisine and beautiful landscapes. The wildlife! Seeing Africa’s Big 5 is a unique experience. The braais – the Afrikaans word for a barbeque, you haven’t experienced the real South Africa until you’ve had a local braai.
Things we weren’t so sure about! Travelling around the country can be expensive and often involves internal flights. Not having enough time - South Africa is so diverse it would take months or even years to visit its cities, national parks and coastlines!
Below you’ll find a summary of our volunteering projects abroad in South Africa which you can click through to and find out about the volunteer role, location, accommodation and costs, see lots of pictures and read volunteer reviews!
African wildlife - from penguins running around the beaches in Cape Town to fantastic safari opportunities in the National Parks. The famous Kruger National Park is home to the Big Five and has more species of large mammals than any other African game reserve (at 147 species)!
Adventure - for adrenaline junkies there is bunjee jumping, river rafting, wakeboarding, abseiling, caving and sailing to name just a few. Try surfing at Jeffreys Bay (J-bay) which is known as ‘surfer’s paradise’. Most of these adventure activities are along the world famous Garden Route.
Sea life - South Africa is one of the best places in the world to go whale watching. You can see humpback whales, southern right whales, Bryde’s whales, orcas and dolphins in the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
New natural wonder of the world - at 1086m above sea level, Table Mountain overlooks Cape Town and is the only natural site to have a constellation of stars named after it (Mensa).
History - for nearly 400 years Robben Island was a place of imprisonment and isolation, today however it is a World Heritage site and a place that symbolises victory over Apartheid and other human rights abuses. Nelson Mandela is one its most famous prisoners.
We have long term relationships with hand-picked projects that have lasting and positive impact. We are a highly experienced and passionate team, here to support you!Find out more