VOLUNTEERING IN South Africa

AFRICA

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!

Big 5 Conservation

Big 5 Conservation

South Africa

  • Experience amazing Big 5 encounters - lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino and leopard
  • Live on a stunning wildlife reserve, near to the beautiful beaches of the Garden Route
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Duration: 1 – 12 weeks

Cost from: £645 / $825

Children’s Day Care

Children’s Day Care

South Africa

  • Support children from low income families by helping at short-staffed day care centres
  • Provide care and education at a local community development initiatives
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Duration: 2 - 12 weeks

Cost from: £895 / $1145

Dog Rescue

Dog Rescue

South Africa

  • Provide support to the dogs at an animal rescue centre in the beautiful winelands close to Cape Town
  • Help the local team feed, clean and care for abandoned and rescued dogs
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Duration: 2 - 12 weeks

Cost from: £995 / $1275

Elephant Care and Research

Elephant Care and Research

South Africa

  • Join an active research team collecting data to guide best practice for management of captive elephants
  • Work hands on with elephants providing care and enrichment
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Duration: 1 - 12 weeks

Cost from: £795 / $1020

Endangered Wildlife Conservation

Endangered Wildlife Conservation

South Africa

  • Award winning conservation of priority species including black rhino, African wild dog, cheetah, leopard, elephant and lion
  • Join a small team living on a game reserve, monitoring wildlife
Discover more >

Duration: 2 - 12 weeks

Cost from: £1195 / $1530

Horse Rehabilitation

Horse Rehabilitation

South Africa

  • Help to care for and rehabilitate over 40 horses (no previous riding experience required)
  • Enjoy riding along the Indian Ocean whilst watching whales and dolphins
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Duration: 1 – 12 weeks

Cost from: £895 / $1145

Kruger Conservation

Kruger Conservation

South Africa

  • Experience amazing Big 5 encounters (lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino and leopard)
  • Receive bush craft training, learn key skills and contribute to important wildlife conservation research
Discover more >

Duration: 2 - 10 weeks

Cost from: £1095 / $1400

Marine Conservation

Marine Conservation

South Africa

  • Learn or advance diving skills and enjoy some fantastic diving in the Indian Ocean
  • Receive marine ecology training and contribute to turtle, shark, potato bass and manta ray research
Discover more >

Duration: 2 - 10 weeks

Cost from: £1345 / $1720

Monkey Rescue

Monkey Rescue

South Africa

  • Work hands on with a variety of primate species at a well-respected monkey sanctuary
  • Learn about primate behaviour whilst providing care and enrichment for rescued monkeys
Discover more >

Duration: 1 – 12 weeks

Cost from: £545 / $700

Top 5 reasons to visit and volunteer in South Africa

  • 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.

South Africa horse riding on beach

South Africa horse riding on beach

South Africa elephants

South Africa elephants

South Africa rhino

South Africa rhino

South Africa coastline

South Africa coastline

South Africa volunteers on beach

South Africa volunteers on beach

South Africa countryside

South Africa countryside

South Africa lions

South Africa lions

South Africa giraffes

South Africa giraffes

South Africa elephants

South Africa elephants

South Africa researching elephants

South Africa researching elephants

South Africa capetown table mountain

South Africa capetown table mountain

South Africa rhino and lions

South Africa rhino and lions

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!

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AWARDS AND ACCREDITATIONS

  • Tourism Concern
  • Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust
  • Right Tourism
  • DOFE
  • theguardian
  • the independent
  • Sunday Times
  • Year Out Group
  • Best Volunteering Organisation
  • Wall Street Journal