Volunteer and Intern in South Africa
- Location: Cape Town, Wild at Tuli
- Accommodation: Host families
- Local languages: English, Xhosa, Afrikaans
South Africa, a country twice the size of Texas, has developed rapidly since their first democratic election in 1994, but there is still a great deal of work that needs to be done in disadvantaged communities. As a volunteer with Projects Abroad, you can work on worthwhile projects and help others, whether you are on a college summer break, gap year, career break, or volunteer vacation.
Most major South African cities, including Cape Town, are highly developed and the country has a thriving tourism industry. However, unemployment levels are high and the gap between the rich and poor is wide. Poor township communities struggle with social problems such as alcoholism and domestic violence. The work of volunteers is crucial to making a difference in these communities, and Projects Abroad focuses on sustainable projects that will promote change long-term.
With eleven national languages and a variety of religions, South Africa truly is the “Rainbow Nation”. Thought to be the birthplace of mankind, South Africa historically attracted Europeans as a gateway to Africa. At the start of the 21st century, South Africa is leading the way in African development, and is seen as an inspiration to other countries.
“South Africa’s mother city, Cape Town, has so much going for it but like most mothers, a little bit of help and lots of love goes a long way. Originally from the UK, I’ve lived and worked in this incredible city for over 3 years and haven’t looked back. The famous mountain follows you wherever you go, you can follow the dramatic coastline wherever it goes, and all within a country rich in history, culture, and diversity. South Africa truly is the rainbow nation and we look forward to welcoming you on one of our worthwhile projects soon.”
Where You Will Live in South Africa with Projects Abroad
Projects Abroad South Africa is based in the cosmopolitan city of Cape Town, located in the heart of the Western Cape. From its beginnings as the first European outpost at the Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town has grown into the second largest city in South Africa.
Volunteers work within Cape Town in the townships of Lavender Hill and Vrygrond and in smaller outlying suburbs, such as Grassy Park. Volunteers can teach English and many other subjects in schools, and help care for young children in care centers called crèches. There are also options to join a practical building project within the impoverished townships or teach sports to underprivileged youth. Those wanting to gain meaningful work experience in South Africa can choose from a range of innovative internship projects, including Journalism, Law & Human Rights, and Animal Care.
Did you know? South Africa has the most official languages of any country in the world- there are 11 languages recognized in the constitution: English, Afrikaans, Ndebele, Pedi, Sotho, Venda, Xhosa, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, and Zulu.
By living and working in these communities you'll start to understand the complexities of South Africa's past and present, and help to give the younger generation the tools they need for the future.
We also have a Conservation & Environment project based on the Botswana side of the Limpopo river border with South Africa, though as a volunteer you may also spend some time in South African nature reserves. Your time will be split between collecting scientific data and creating species lists, hands-on work doing tree wrapping, maintenance of water holes and building bird hides, and learning new skills such as animal tracking and GPS mapping.
Travel and Sightseeing Opportunities in South Africa
Living in Cape Town is the perfect base for the huge variety of surrounding attractions. The famous Table Mountain, with its unique species of plants and animals, forms the dramatic backdrop to the city. World-class vineyards, stunning beaches with multiple surf spots, and the trendy establishments at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront are all within the city limits.
Inside the city lives a population with a hugely varied demographic in terms of race, religion, language, wealth, and interest. Whatever your favorite sport, hobby, taste in music, or preferred choice of dinner you’ll find it in Cape Town, where the cultural calendar overflows with events to suit every taste.
In terms of travel after your placement, South Africa’s attractions will spoil you. With mountains in the east and center of South Africa, you could be climbing or skiing one day and on the beaches in Durban the next. South Africa is the home of adventure travel, boasting the highest bungee jump in the world. The game reserves where you can view the Big Five are also an essential part of the South African experience. Combine these activities with beautiful beaches and traditional sunsets after a safari and you're in for either a thrilling or a relaxing time. The choice is yours.