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🇿🇦 VOLUNTEER IN SOUTH AFRICA 🇿🇦

Volunteer in South Africa with Plan My Gap Year – an award-winning, international volunteer abroad organisation with programs in South Africa. PMGY provides safe, trusted and affordable programs, with a wide range of projects in South Africa, including ChildcareEnglish Teaching & Wildlife Reserve opportunities.

PMGY South Africa have projects located in the picturesque city of Cape Town and the Eastern Cape town of Port Elizabeth. The South Africa volunteer programs start on the 1st & 3rd Sunday & Monday of every month, respectively. Our projects in South Africa run across the year and participants can join us from 1-24 weeks. Volunteers in South Africa are provided with an extensive pre-departure support service, airport pick-up, orientation, meals, accommodation and local support.

KEY FEATURES

PROGRAM FEE FROM 435 USD

PROGRAMS FOR 18+ YEAR OLDS

✓ PRE-DEPARTURE BUDDY LISTS


✓ MEET LIKE-MINDED SOLO TRAVELLERS


✓ VOLUNTEER MON-FRI & TRAVEL SAT-SUN


✓ AVAILABLE TO WORLDWIDE VOLUNTEERS


✓ IDEAL FOR FIRST TIME TRAVELLERS

   

DESTINATION HIGHLIGHTS

LOCATED IN CPT & PORT ELIZABETH

SELECTED DATES EVERY MONTH

✓ AIRPORT PICKUP


✓ ACCOMMODATION, MEALS & WI-FI


✓ SAFE, SECURE & TRUSTED COUNTRY SETUP


✓ CERTIFICATE OF COMPLETION


✓ 24 HOUR IN-COUNTRY, UK & US SUPPORT

SOUTH AFRICA CHILDCARE VOLUNTEERS

In stunning South Africa, help provide essential childcare facilities to struggling families in some of Cape Town's poorest communities.

FROM 495 USD

2-24 WEEKS

MORE INFO

SOUTH AFRICA ENGLISH TEACHING VOLUNTEERS

Teach English and a range of other subjects to underprivileged children from government schools in the stunning setting of cosmopolitan Cape Town.

FROM 495 USD

2-24 WEEKS

MORE INFO

SOUTH AFRICA WILDLIFE RESERVE VOLUNTEERS

As far as hands on conservation experience goes, this project, set in a world-class game reserve is second to none. The ultimate Big 5 wildlife program.

FROM 435 USD

1-12 WEEKS

MORE INFO

REAL AFRICA ENCOUNTER – GHANA, TANZANIA & SOUTH AFRICA

Spend a life-changing 6, 9 or 12 weeks of volunteering across the world’s second-biggest continent in Ghana, fascinating Tanzania & epic South Africa!

FROM 1,635 USD

6-12 WEEKS

MORE INFO

WHY VOLUNTEER IN SOUTH AFRICA WITH PMGY?

Most Affordable – PMGY’s programs are accessible to everyone who wants to make a difference, through low fees and high-impact projects.

 

Best Support – Our international and local teams provide extensive around the clock services to assist you every step of your PMGY adventure.

 

Safety Prioritised – With safety a PMGY number-1 priority, we have taken all necessary precautions to ensure our programs are as safe and structured as possible.

 

Extraordinary Experiences – With PMGY, you have the opportunity to truly immerse yourself in amazing cultural and travel experiences, ensuring you leave with unforgettable memories.

 

Friendships for Life – Your PMGY experience not only opens up a doorway for new experiences and exciting memories, but also life-long friendships when meeting new people from around the world.

VOLUNTEER PROJECTS

VOLUNTEER PROJECTS IN CAPE TOWN

 

 

SOUTH AFRICA CHILDCARE VOLUNTEERS

As a childcare volunteer in South Africa, you will provide additional support to childcare projects within the Cape Town community. PMGY’s South Africa volunteer programs will see you help young children in Cape Town. Volunteer with children in South Africa to make a vital contribution in brightening up the lives of young children.

 

Background to the Childcare Program

 

It is estimated that 80% of young children in South Africa’s townships do not have access to early childhood development education. As a result, many lack the support required to develop to their full potential. Since the end of Apartheid in 1994, poor government funding and flawed policies have hit the most vulnerable South Africans hardest. For instance, many of the problems for South Africa’s poorest have been exacerbated.

 

Today about 57% of South Africa’s population lives in poverty. In low-income township areas, living conditions are challenging, with high crime and unemployment rates, health problems and high population densities. A lack of childcare facilities leaves many children unattended and unprotected.

 

Affordable and accessible childcare services can be very difficult to source across Cape Town and surrounding communities. Above all, it is families from low-income backgrounds that struggle the most. Whilst this has not gone unrecognised, many centres established to accommodate for such families are inadequate. To clarify, such centres are understaffed and operate with a limited stock of resources. This makes the roles of our PMGY participants invaluable to the quality of care that can be offered to these children.

 

The daycare centres we support are either independent local initiatives or government subsidised community support programs. Some are home-based crèches run by local women and others are more structured organisations. They all have a common goal. That is, to help children develop to their full emotional, social and physical potential.

 

Plan My Gap Year supports a range of crèches, day-care centres and kindergartens. All based centrally in the city within Cape Town. These facilities provide essential childcare to impoverished families of nearby communities. The majority of these children come from the Townships and other underdeveloped backgrounds. In short, locations where social and health problems are rife whether it be gang violence, drugs, malnutrition and HIV/Aids.

 

Most parents or relatives of these children from vulnerable communities work in the city. Consequently, they are able to bring the children with them in the morning to drop them off at the daycare centres. Other children arrive each day by bus. The teachers and assistants communicate to the children using a mixture of Afrikaans, English and Xhosa. Some of the centres provide meals for the children so participants can assist with feeding times.

 

Volunteer opportunities in South Africa provided by PMGY will provide you with a platform to make a positive impact. When working at our childcare volunteer abroad projects in South Africa, it is important to maintain energy, enthusiasm and creativity. For the reason that many of these children will be seeking the care and attention that you as a childcare volunteer in South Africa can bring. To volunteer with children in South Africa, you will need to donate your time and skills effectively. This is to ensure you can maximise your impact on the local people.

 

Childcare Project Examples

 

The Kiddies College – A cross between a crèche and a Kindergarten, the Kiddies College was established in 1997. The project supports children from 2-6 years old. Participants aid local staff with the day to day schedule and supervising the children. Kiddies College was formally a preschool closed down by the local council. However, the passion of one of its former staff members led to its re-emergence. As a result, local employment benefits and many spacious rooms and a nice garden area are utilised.

 

Meals are provided for the children at the project. In addition, activities such as visits to the library, swimming and karate lessons or speech and drama classes also take place. Participants can support such activities if placed at this specific volunteer project. PMGY participants ease the workload of the understaffed team by providing the children with extra care and attention.

 

Mini Einsteins Crèche – Home to around 160 learners, Mini Einsteins crèche can be a hectic environment! Most of the children are aged from 3 months to 6 years old. However, some of the children can reach up to 12 years old. The crèche aims to provide a safe, secure, supportive and stimulating environment for all children to discover their full potential naturally.

 

There is a strong philosophy at the crèche that children’s development is based on playing and growing. Participants are encouraged to support and embrace such a philosophy. Subsequently, international volunteers help with homework and games. In addition, participants will also get involved in creative arts activities or even support in the two designated baby rooms.

 

Many of the children at the crèche come from broken homes and deprived backgrounds. As a result, the children highly appreciate the extra care and attention that PMGY volunteers contribute. In the same vein, contributions made by childcare volunteers in South Africa are also highly appreciated by the staff and the local community.

 

Gingerbread House Educare – Located in one of the oldest suburbs of Cape Town, Gingerbread House Educare can be found in the Mowbray district. A serious shortage of affordable childcare facilities in the area led to its initial opening in 1993. Since then, the centre has grown year-on-year. Moreover, the centre now provides care for more than 110 children in the morning. In addition to this, 30 primary school children join the centre in the afternoons!

 

The facility aims to provide its learners with a well-balanced education. Emphasis is placed on building up the children’s overall character and self-confidence. As a volunteer in South Africa at the Gingerbread House, you will assist in every facet of the projects daily routine. This involves helping the local teacher run lessons and dance/creative arts, to food preparation and feeding. General playtime is everyone’s favourite time of day!

 

Your Volunteer Role & Typical Childcare Day

 

As a childcare volunteer in South Africa, you can expect to participate in a range of activities. Most noteworthy, you will be supporting the local staff with daily duties (whether this is cleaning activities and/or admin work). Furthermore, you will assist with food preparation and feeding, supervising during free playtime and nap-times.

 

When you volunteer with children in South Africa, you will also have the opportunity to carry out some teaching. Examples will include helping with basic maths, reading and arts & crafts activities. Most importantly, you will become a positive role model for the children. Sadly, this is something that many of the children are lacking. Ultimately, as you complete volunteer work in South Africa, you will be providing invaluable assistance to the overstretched local staff.

 

The typical working hours are 8am-1pm Monday-Friday with a lunch break in between. The children usually have nap time in the early afternoon. If participants wish too, they can return after until the project closes. Weekends are your own free time.

 

Volunteers will need to make their own way to the childcare project each day. Moreover, this usually involves taking public transport but sometimes projects can be walking distance from the Volunteer House. On average, it takes around 30 minutes to get to the childcare project. Our local team will instruct you as to how to get to and from the project each day. Alternatively, you will be paired with a participant who has already been working at the placement you have been assigned to.

 
 

SOUTH AFRICA ENGLISH TEACHING VOLUNTEERS

As a volunteer teaching English in South Africa, you will play a vital role in developing local children’s English skills. Consequently, as the students English levels improve, so will their future prospects. PMGY’s South Africa volunteer programs will see you help young children in Cape Town. Teach English in South Africa and a range of other subjects to underprivileged children from government schools. All within the stunning setting of cosmopolitan Cape Town.

 

Background to the Teaching Program

 

South Africa adopts 11 official languages. It is a nation with huge potential. Much of its future hope lies with the youth of this great country. Huge steps have been made by the post-apartheid regime to implement a fully inclusive and comprehensive education system for all. However, the sad reality is that the quality of education received is largely dependent on location and family wealth.

 

Those with high-income families and a low cost of living correlate to more prosperous opportunities. Examples include private school and language school learning opportunities. Consequently, direct gateways are provided for children of a more advantageous background to get the top jobs in South Africa.

 

On the other hand, many young ones from disadvantaged communities don’t have it so easy. More specifically, they don’t receive a sufficient level of education to prepare them for the future.
Furthermore, the influx of refugees to emerging cities such as Cape Town is causing further conflicts. In the same vein, extra burdens are being placed on already under-resourced and overcrowded government schools. Most classrooms are filled with 40+ children to only one local teacher.

 

Many of the children that attend public schools we support come from broken homes. These are places where criminality and illiteracy are commonplace. Far too many children become a product of their environment and so become largely disengaged with formal education.

 

The further difficulty lies in the fact that the schools seriously lack manpower and the resources to tackle these issues. In addition, the schools will offer little or no recreational activities to help integrate some of the less enthusiastic learners.

 

PMGY South Africa volunteers provide assistance to primary schools in and around the popular tourist destination of Cape Town. The children are aged 6-13. Primary school teaching will be largely focused on core subjects such as maths, art and science. Above all, there is a focus on students to improve in English.

 

The primary schools are government based schools. In addition, class sizes vary from 15-40 pupils and ages from around 5-12 years old. As a volunteer teaching English in South Africa, you can expect to participate in the following activities. For example, supporting with lesson planning and execution as well as one-on-one support for students.

 

Furthermore, as a volunteer teacher in South Africa, you may be required to substitute for the main teacher. Other tasks expected when you teach in South Africa include leading physical education lessons and administration duties. In addition to this, you will be providing assistance for fundraising and annual functions/events.

 

Volunteer opportunities provided by PMGY offer a platform to make a positive impact when you teach English in South Africa. When working as a South Africa English Teaching volunteer projects in South Africa, it is important to maintain energy, enthusiasm and creativity. Many of these students will benefit from having someone who is fluent in the English language teaching them in South Africa. As a volunteer teaching English in South Africa, you will need to donate your time and skills effectively. This is to ensure you can maximise your impact on the local people.

 

Teaching Volunteer Placement Example

 

Chapel Street Primary School – The majority of the 800 students who attend Chapel Street primary come from disadvantaged local communities. For instance, many of the students arrive at the school from the townships of Cape Town that suffer great poverty. This means that classrooms are often overcrowded and resources limited.

 

With only 24 staff members, the approximate ratio is 1 teacher to 30-40 students. Despite this strain, the teachers do their utmost to combat the economic and social hardships the learners face. Typically, the teachers achieve this through education, information and communications technology.

 

Most of the students who attend the school are between 6-13 years of age. Firstly, participants primary role is to assist the local teachers in the classroom. Secondly, participants will also be expected to lead lessons and support with sports education. Finally, participants may also have the opportunity to help with swimming lessons and art classes. PMGY participants provide invaluable support to overburdened local teachers and can build great bonds with the students along the way.

 

St. Pauls Primary School – Located in the iconic and historic Cape Malay community of Bo-Kaap, St. Pauls primary school is surrounded by colourful houses and steep cobblestone streets. The school is conveniently located within walking distance of the Cape Town city centre. However, most of the students come from townships. These are areas that are home to some of the city’s most impoverished communities. Most noteworthy, these townships often face challenges such as substance abuse and high crime rates. Consequently, schools such as St. Pauls primary are often seen as ‘places of safety’ for these children.

 

Participants at this school are placed in the younger/lower grades with children aged between 6-8 years. For these students, the focus is placed on language, basic math, art/music and physical education. Volunteers that teach English in South Africa largely work as a teaching assistant. Tasks include coordinating tasks such as reading groups and performing admin duties. In addition, teaching jobs will also see you work one-on-one with students who require an additional hand. Occasionally, participants may be given the opportunity to lead their own class. Moreover, participants may also be called upon to help in older classes.

 

Your Volunteer Role & Typical Teaching Day

 

As a volunteer teaching English abroad in South Africa, you provide an important pair of extra hands. Subsequently, you play a vital role as a volunteer in South Africa in reducing burdens placed on local staff. In addition, extra support and teacher presence help improve discipline and overall class productivity. Troubled students and those with learning difficulties greatly benefit from the individual attention provided by international volunteers.

 

Participants will usually work as a teaching assistant. However, please note there may be times where you are required to lead a class yourself. It is not uncommon for this to happen when participants complete volunteer work in South Africa. Therefore, participants encouraged to prepare lessons accordingly in advance if so. Ultimately, it is essential participants spend time planning and preparing for each day. Consequently, this will allow you to get the most out of your project time.

 

The typical working hours are 7:45am-2:30pm Monday-Friday with a lunch break in between. Upon request, additional working hours/duties can be assigned. We expect participants to spend at least 1 hour each day planning activities and lessons for the following day. Weekends are your own free time.

 

Participants will need to make their own way to the English teaching project each day. Moreover, this usually involves taking public transport but sometimes projects can be walking distance from the Volunteer House. On average, it takes around 30 minutes to get to the English teaching project. Our local team will instruct you as to how to get to and from the project each day. Alternatively, you will be paired with a participant who has already been working at the placement you have been assigned to.

 
 

VOLUNTEER PROJECT IN PORT ELIZABETH

 

 

SOUTH AFRICA WILDLIFE RESERVE VOLUNTEERS

As a South Africa Wildlife Reserve Volunteer, you will get the opportunity to work behind the scenes on a world-class wildlife reserve. In addition, you will gain a rich education in conservation management. PMGY’s South Africa volunteer programs provide a fantastic opportunity to engage in meaningful wildlife volunteer work in South Africa. If you have a real passion for animals then this South Africa wildlife volunteer program is the opportunity for you.

 

Background to the Wildlife Program

 

The South Africa wildlife volunteer program is home to vast populations of the incredible ‘Big 5’. In Africa, the Big 5 game animals are the lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and buffalo. The term originates from hunters. More specifically, hunters would refer to the animals as the five most difficult to hunt on foot in Africa.

 

Poaching of wild animals is on the rise in most parts of Africa. Consequently, more species are becoming endangered. Most noteworthy, the Big 5 species represent the highest-profile examples being threatened with extinction. Other threats come in the form of diseases from domestic animals. Cattle and dogs can easily spread disease into wild animal populations.

 

Alien species of animals and plants introduced to Africa represent another threat to the extinction of flora and fauna. Whether introduced deliberately or accidentally, alien species compete with native species for limited food and water. Furthermore, the earth’s changing climate is making much of Africa more prone to drought. This puts even more pressure on all species to compete for scarce water. In the same vein, the human population are diverting rivers for their own needs, leaving many other species high and dry.

 

All of these are exacting a terrible toll on Africa’s once-thriving wildlife. Game reserves and their conservation efforts in South Africa aim to play a role in counteracting these threats. They provide a large area of land where wild animals can live safely. Not only this, they represent a managed ecosystem that encompasses many miles of beautiful terrain.

 

The focus of a game reserve is specifically animals (fauna). However, there can be an equal concern with all aspects of native biota of the area (flora, fungi, etc.). Support in conservation-based activities at the game reserve provides big support to maintaining the flora, fauna and biodiversity.

 

This project was established to return the natural land to its former glory. This includes being home to the wildlife species that once roamed freely here. Since its beginning, the project has worked hard to successfully reintroduce native wildlife and flora. To help sustain the environment, participants take part in a variety of conservation and maintenance based activities on the reserve.

 

Wildlife Volunteer Placement

 

South Africa Big 5 Wildlife Reserve – This fabulous South African game reserve is situated on the Eastern Cape and spans over 6,000 hectares. This experience aims to give volunteers a holistic experience of life on a game reserve. Consequently, as you complete wildlife volunteer work in South Africa, opportunities and exposure will come in abundance. Not only will you be exposed to the majestic Big 5 family but also conservation of all types of fauna and flora. They all go hand in hand.

 

The game reserves education and rehabilitation centre is home to a number of species of endangered predators. For example, lions, Bengal tigers and cheetahs. The dedicated conservation team are committed to the preservation of these elusive creatures. Subsequently, this is done through rehabilitation and releasing them back into the wild. The team will conduct such a process whilst considering the effects on a managed ecosystem.

 

The work is exciting and varied with lots to learn! Naturally, due to the wild and predatory nature of the animals, this is not a hands-on experience. Furthermore, interaction and close-up monitoring of these animals is not an option as a South Africa wildlife reserve volunteer.

 

Big cats like the Bengal tigers are also found at the centre. Their population has deteriorated at an alarming rate. Over the last 100 years, hunting and deforestation have reduced tiger populations from hundreds of thousands to perhaps fewer than 2,500. The centre has been lucky enough to see the birth of a Bengal tiger cub. This was after an arduous 4 years of work and research at the wildlife sanctuary.

 

This is a program designed for participants interested in having a true African wildlife experience. In other words, on the South Africa wildlife volunteer program, you will make a difference to the local wildlife and environment. Activities for this program vary on a day to day basis and are dependent on weather and other factors (so please expect the itinerary to change from time to time!).

 

The itinerary is designed in such a way that participants are divided into groups of up to 10 people per group. Naturally, this is dependent on the number of South Africa wildlife reserve volunteers at the time. Each group will have an outdoor coordinator as a leader and mentor.

 

The groups will be engaged in different daily activities. However, each group will all do the same type and number of activities by the end of the week. In some cases, all the groups might do the same activity at the same time depending on the type of activity.

 

So it is a busy yet highly rewarding and exciting program from start to finish. The dedicated coordinator will ensure that you have a wonderful learning experience. In addition, the local staff will ensure you make a real contribution to the conservation work at the reserve. Ultimately, you will leave with a stronger understanding of the conservation issues in South Africa.

 

The tasks are largely a combination of land management and animal management program activities. Here is just a small selection of the volunteer opportunities you can expect to get involved in during the week on the wildlife volunteering abroad program!

 

• Lion monitoring
• Rhino monitoring
• Educational lectures and classroom activities within local communities
• Removal of alien vegetation
• Planting of indigenous trees
• Landscaping
• Re-establishment of vegetation and vegetation management
• Fence and anti-poach patrols
• Fence repairs and road maintenance
• Monitoring of predators in the rehabilitation centre
• Game counts

 

Your efforts will help to make sure the reserve is a safe and suitable environment for these animals to not just survive but thrive. The activities for the week are extremely varied so no two days will be the same. It’s not all work and no play as the program is designed to provide a physical and fun experience every day.

 

Your Volunteer Role & Typical Work Day

 

Each volunteer in South Africa participant will play a big part and benefit to the conservation efforts of the reserve. All your day to day activities is shown on the itinerary which will be displayed on the volunteer notice board. The itinerary will show you what activity your group will be doing and at what time. If you have any suggestions around working with animals in conservation, you can discuss these with the local team.

 

On the South Africa wildlife volunteer program, you will play a key role in saving the precious wilderness. This is not just for the here and now, but also in protecting it for future generations. So, if you fancy rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty in a once in a lifetime setting then this is the program for you. Whether it be for 1 week or part of a gap year, there is no better place to volunteer with animals in conservation when you complete volunteer work in South Africa.

 

Working hours as a conservation volunteer are generally quite fixed across Monday-Friday. They are split into a morning and afternoon session. The morning session is often more physically demanding where temperatures are relatively cooler running from around 9:30am-1:00pm. A lunch break then follows with the afternoon session usually running 2:30pm-4:30pm thereafter. Please note that times are subject to change based on summer/winter times and the activities. Finally, as participants are based on the reserve, they are only ever a short jeep drive or walk from where their daily tasks take place. Any project transport required is included in the Program Fee.

FLIGHTS & TRAVEL INSURANCE

Flights

 

After confirming your place on a PMGY program, we strongly advise that you book your flights as early as possible. This will help ensure that you get the lowest airfare. You can choose to book your flights independently or we can help you with arranging them. PMGY has a wealth of experience in travelling to and from our host countries. This means that we know the most affordable ways to travel and the best airlines to use. PMGY have an ATOL Licence to ensure any flights booked through us are financially secured by the Civil Aviation Authority. If you would therefore like any assistance booking your flight, you can request an optional flight quote during your online application. Alternatively, feel free to contact us on the phone or by email.

 

Cape Town – Volunteers in South Africa on our teaching and childcare projects should book their flights to Cape Town International Airport (airport code CPT). You can arrive anytime on your Sunday start date.

 

Port Elizabeth – Volunteers in South Africa on our Big 5 Wildlife Program, you should you should book your flights to Port Elizabeth International Airport (airport code PLZ). For this program, you will need to arrive between 9:30am-3:30pm on your Monday start date.

 

Travel Insurance

 

Having an appropriate travel insurance policy during your time abroad is essential. It is therefore mandatory for all of our international volunteers to be appropriately covered across all of their trip dates. Although most of our participants experience a smooth ride during their time overseas, occasionally things may go wrong. Having a travel insurance policy in place helps you effectively deal with any problems you may encounter during your time away.

 

Plan My Gap Year Ltd is an appointed representative of Endsleigh Insurance Services Ltd, authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). We have partnered up with the insurance company Endsleigh to create an affordable and comprehensive optional policy. This has been designed with our international volunteers in mind, to cover our participants for all of their travel essentials. The policy is available to anyone across the globe, up to the age of 65 years. The document will cover you for your time on any PMGY destination and any onward travel (excluding the US and Canada).

 

If you’d like to purchase PMGY travel insurance, you can add this option on during your online application. You can also add this to any upcoming trips with us by getting in contact via telephone or email.

PRE-DEPARTURE SUPPORT

Our International Team will work hard to provide extensive levels of support in the build-up to your trip. From our online chat service to email support and telephone conversations, our team are always ready to help. All international volunteers with PMGY will receive a Volunteer Handbook. This detailed hand guide will provide you with all you need to know in the build-up to your trip. From visa guidance to suggested packing lists, this will be the ultimate guide, helping you plan for your volunteer trip abroad.

 

We have Facebook groups for each of our destinations. Here you can find members of our international and local teams, as well as past, present and future participants. These pages, therefore, provide a great forum for participants to network, share experiences and community updates year-on-year.

 

Sometimes it can be difficult to picture yourself abroad without yet being there. We, therefore, do our best to further manage expectations before you arrive through a variety of informative and action-packed videos on our PMGY Vimeo channel. These clips help provide you with a visual perspective of what you can expect during your time volunteering with us. Our webinars are not to be missed either. Running on selected Tuesdays, at 1pm UK time, our International Team provides invaluable advice for your upcoming trip. Each webinar covers something different. Our pre-departure webinar covers all of the essentials you need to know and do before joining us abroad. Our program preparation webinar is more project-specific, with advice and information for the time you will spend on placement. Finally, our safety webinar offers you some top tips on how to manage your safety and wellbeing across the pond. For those who are simply interested in learning more about PMGY, our team also run an introductory webinar. This provides an introduction to the volunteer organisation, our background, goals and volunteer opportunities overseas.

 

Teaching and childcare volunteers may wish to take their program preparation even further, through a 60 hour online TEFL course. This is the perfect introductory course for working with children and teaching English abroad. Participation in this course enables international volunteers to acquire key skills whilst working towards an internationally accredited certificate.

PROJECT LOCATION AND DURATION

Cape Town

 

Our community projects are based in the heart of Cape Town, around 30 minutes from Cape Town International Airport. Cape Town is a truly multicultural city and exhibits stark contrasts. Central Cape Town is an exciting and trendy location filled with a range of cultural heritage sites and a buzzing nightlife. Yet, as you move towards the suburbs, you begin to see what life is like for those less fortunate. The Townships and Cape Flats here highlight the disparity between rich and poor.

 

Our local team’s office and Volunteer House are based in central Cape Town. This means that our international volunteers in Cape Town are perfectly positioned to enjoy the wonders of this amazing city. In your free time, you could be soaking up some history at Robben Island (the infamous offshore prison that held Nelson Mandela), trekking up Table Mountain or surfing the waves of Clifton beach. The choices are endless! You will find our two most popular weekend trips are visits to the Garden Route and Western Cape trips. Other less popular options include the Kruger National Park and marine conversation trips to George.

 

Our programs in Cape Town run from 2-24 weeks, beginning on the first and third Sunday of each month.

 

Port Elizabeth

 

Our wildlife conservation project is based approximately 1.5 hours from Port Elizabeth International Airport. Participants on this South African volunteer project are based in the heart of the project’s reserve, situated on the Eastern Cape. The reserve spans over 6000 hectares, homing not only the majestic Big 5 family but thousands of species of fauna and flora.

 

Across the reserve, the impressive Big 5 can be found roaming freely on the Sidbury plains. Around one corner, you may stumble upon a herd of elephants, cooling themselves off in thick muds. Across the next (if you’re lucky!), a leopard could be jetting off to catch its next meal. The possibilities of what you may spot during your time are endless. Prepare to be awestruck by the diversity of wildlife seen across your experience here.

 

Our programs in Port Elizabeth run from 1-12 weeks beginning on every Monday of each month.

PMGY SOUTH AFRICA LOCAL TEAM

PMGY’s volunteer opportunities in South Africa program are run by our dedicated and experienced in-country local teams.

 

All staff have been fully vetted by our International Team. The committed local community networks provide the structure for your stay with us as a volunteer in South Africa. Our local team will arrange your accommodation, meals, airport pick-up, in-country orientation and 24/7 emergency support. Whether you are teaching English in high schools, volunteering with children or working on a wildlife reserve, our local team will support you. Our team provides a great framework for you to enjoy a unique volunteering experience with us in South Africa.

ORIENTATION

Cape Town

 

Your orientation for your volunteer program in South Africa will begin on Monday. After breakfast, you will be picked up and taken to our local team’s office in central Cape Town. For the reason that the theoretical part of your in-country orientation will take place here. Alternatively, if it is only a small group partaking in the orientation then this will take place at the Volunteer House.

 

Over the course of the morning, our local team will talk through all aspects of the program. For example, they will teach you about South African culture, safety issues and local transport. Moreover, our team will also explain everything you need to know about the volunteer projects, the ‘dos and don’ts’, and answer any other questions you may have about your time as a volunteer in South Africa. Finally, there will also be a chance to learn about travel opportunities and experiences to engage in outside of your volunteer work in South Africa.

 

After your initial briefing, and a chance to purchase lunch in town, it’s time to explore the area. Most importantly, let’s check out what Cape Town has to offer! You will be taken on a walking tour of this great city. As a result, you will get the chance to see some of the city’s major sites. In the same vein, you will also learn about its tragic history.

 

In addition, our local team will teach you how to locate every essential you may need during your time. Therefore, you will leave how to navigate the markets and malls and where to find the nearest shops, ATMs and bus stop! On completion of your city tour, the rest of the day is free to spend time hanging out with fellow participants. Alternatively, take the time to prepare for your upcoming South Africa volunteer program.

 

Please note, the walking tour only takes place when there is a big arrival group. Should there only be a handful of arrivals, then, unfortunately, the walking tour will not take place. However, in your first few days, you will soon acclimatise and find yourself navigating Cape Town at your leisure with your fellow participants!

 

Port Elizabeth

 

Your orientation as a volunteer in South Africa will begin on Tuesday. Firstly, our local team will take you out on a 3 hour game drive around the reserve. During the drive, you will get the first glimpse of your working environment. Keep your eyes peeled during this journey for the Big 5!

 

After lunch back at the reserve, our local coordinators will explain everything you need to know for your South Africa volunteer program. This will include your volunteer role, history of the reserve and the volunteer tasks you can expect to get involved in. The remainder of the day is then yours to relax before your activities commence.

ITINERARY

CAPE TOWN

 

Please make sure you arrive into Cape Town International Airport in Cape Town (CPT) on Sunday.

 

Day 1 (Sunday) Arrival

 

Welcome to South Africa! Volunteers will be picked up at Cape Town airport by a local backpacker bus. You will then be taken to our Volunteer House in downtown Cape Town. The journey will take around 20 minutes, depending on traffic. The drive will allow you to gather your first glimpses of this amazing location.

 

You will have the rest of the day to relax and settle in. Depending on your arrival time, the hostel manager may take you on a walking tour of the local area. As a result, you can get acquainted with where the ATM, supermarket, laundry service etc are located. Alternatively, if you have a later arrival time into Cape Town on Sunday this will take place on the following day.

 

Day 2 (Monday) Orientation

 

Your orientation as a volunteer in South Africa will begin on Monday. After breakfast, you will be picked up and taken to our local team’s office in central Cape Town. For the reason that the theoretical part of your in-country orientation will take place here. Alternatively, if it is only a small group partaking in the orientation then this will take place at the Volunteer House.

 

Over the course of the morning, our local team will talk through all aspects of the program. For example, they will teach you about South African culture, safety issues and local transport. Moreover, our team will also explain everything you need to know about the volunteer projects, the ‘dos and don’ts’, and answer any other questions you may have about your time as a volunteer in South Africa. Finally, there will also be a chance to learn about travel opportunities and experiences to engage in outside of your volunteer work in South Africa.

 

After your initial briefing, and a chance to purchase lunch in town, it’s time to explore the area. Most importantly, let’s check out what Cape Town has to offer! You will be taken on a walking tour of this great city. As a result, you will get the chance to see some of the city’s major sites. In the same vein, you will also learn about its tragic history.

 

In addition, our local team will teach you how to locate every essential you may need during your time. Therefore, you will leave how to navigate the markets and malls and where to find the nearest shops, ATMs and bus stop! On completion of your city tour, the rest of the day is free to spend time hanging out with fellow participants. Alternatively, take the time to prepare for your upcoming South Africa volunteer program.

 

Please note, the walking tour only takes place when there is a big arrival group. Should there only be a handful of arrivals, then, unfortunately, the walking tour will not take place. However, in your first few days, you will soon acclimatise and find yourself navigating Cape Town at your leisure with your fellow participants!

 

Days 3-6 (Tuesday-Friday) Volunteering Begins

 

Tuesday will be your first day at the volunteer project. On the induction day, our local team would have illustrated to you how to travel to and from the project. In most cases, you will travel to the project with a fellow volunteer. Alternatively, a local coordinator will travel with you and introduce you to the project themselves. Spend the first couple of days getting into the swing of things and working out your weekly schedule.

 

Volunteers will usually have a 1 hour lunch break during each volunteering day. You may decide to arrange a packed lunch before you leave for the project in the morning. Alternatively, choose to buy lunch from a nearby cafe or restaurant. Cape Town is a fun place to be with lots to do in the evenings. However, we expect you to be committed to your volunteer project and punctual at all times. Remember that our local team are only ever a phone call away should you need anything!

 

Days 7-8 (Saturday-Sunday) Weekend!

 

After a week of volunteering, it is your time to explore the wonders of South Africa. Whether you are delving deeper into the huge numbers of trips and activities around Cape Town or heading further afield on safari or to the wine regions – South Africa has it all. As a volunteer in South Africa, our team both welcomes and encourages participants to explore the country’s wonderful treasures. They will be very happy to help you plan your weekend opportunities and outline any travel tips. There are also set dates across the year in which our local team help to organise trips to Garden Route and the Western Cape.

 

The Following Weeks

 

Your next week(s) will follow a similar pattern, as you will be volunteering from Monday to Friday. Time will fly so make sure you make the most of it!

 

Our local team are there to support you throughout your stay. Whether you’ve lost your phone, want some advice for weekend travel plans or just need someone to talk to, they are there for you.

 

Last Day (Saturday)

 

Saturday is your last day with PMGY. If you are heading home then we can help you arrange your return airport drop off. Please note that this is not included in your Program Fee.

 
 

PORT ELIZABETH

 

Please make sure you arrive into Port Elizabeth International Airport (PLZ) in Port Elizabeth on Monday.

 

Day 1 (Monday) Arrival

 

Welcome to South Africa! You will be met at Port Elizabeth airport by our local team who will be holding a sign. Our airport pickup service is available until 3:30pm. This is because the transfer leaves Port Elizabeth for the reserve at 4pm latest. As a result, if you cannot find a flight that lands before 3:30pm, you will need to arrive on Sunday. In the same vein, you will need to arrange your own accommodation for Sunday night. You will then meet the transfer team back at Port Elizabeth airport on Monday afternoon for the transfer back to the reserve.

 

The journey to the reserve will take around 90 minutes, depending on traffic. You will reach the reserve late afternoon on Monday. After being shown to your room, you will receive an initial briefing from your coordinator. In addition, you will receive a walking tour of the internal reserve set-up. As a result, you will learn where meals are served and where the entertainment and leisure rooms are located.

 

Day 2 (Tuesday) Orientation

 

Your orientation as a volunteer in South Africa will begin on Tuesday. Firstly, our local team will take you out on a 3 hour game drive around the reserve. During the drive, you will get the first glimpse of your working environment. Keep your eyes peeled during this journey for the Big 5!

 

After lunch back at the reserve, our local coordinators will explain everything you need to know for your South Africa volunteer program. This will include your volunteer role, history of the reserve and the volunteer tasks you can expect to get involved in. The remainder of the day is then yours to relax before your activities commence.

 

Days 3-5 (Wednesday-Friday) Volunteering Begins

 

Wednesday is your first day volunteering on the reserve. Working hours on the reserve are usually split into a morning and afternoon session. The nature of the activity and factors such as the weather will dictate the working hours of each session. You will be supported by coordinators across each volunteering activity.

 

You will get the chance to get up close and personal with some of South Africa’s most famous residents. There will be a range of volunteering activities that you will be involved in as a wildlife reserve volunteer in South Africa. It is important to note that the activity schedule is designed to achieve a longer-term strategy and impact at the reserve. Consequently, participants should not expect immediate changes or short term impact to be made on the program.

 

Ultimately, the program is designed to provide a physical and fun experience. Volunteer activities are varied so no two days will be the same. The reserve is based remotely. During free time on the reserve, volunteers have great amenities around them. For example, volunteers can relax in the lounge and swimming pool. Alternatively, choose to enjoy the entertainment room and tennis courts.

 

Days 6-7 (Saturday-Sunday) Weekend!

 

After a week of volunteering, it is your time to explore the wonders of South Africa. Whether you are looking to head back to Port Elizabeth on complimentary transfers arranged by the local team or wanting to head further afield to Mossel Bay and Tsitsikamma National Park – South Africa has it all! As a volunteer in South Africa, our team both welcomes and encourages participants to explore the country’s wonderful treasures. They will be very happy to help you plan your weekend opportunities and outline any travel tips.

 

The Following Weeks

 

Your next week(s) will follow a similar pattern, as you will be volunteering from Monday-Friday. Weekends will be free to travel. Time will fly so make sure you make the most of it. Our local team are there to support you throughout your stay. Whether you’ve lost your passport, want some advice for weekend travel plans or just need someone to talk to, they are there for you.

 

Last Day (Saturday or Sunday)

 

Either Saturday or Sunday is your last day with PMGY on the reserve. This is because we have scheduled transfer times from the reserve back to Port Elizabeth. Such transfers are included in your Program Fee. Our scheduled transfers normally run as follows:

 

Saturday – Kwantu to Port Elizabeth (departs 9am)
Sunday – Kwantu to Port Elizabeth (departs 6pm)

 

Should your flight depart Monday or later, you will have the choice of joining a weekend excursion and staying over in Port Elizabeth on Sunday night. Alternatively, you can spend your final weekend on the reserve and return to Port Elizabeth on Sunday evening. However, most participants will typically leave the reserve on the Saturday morning transfer. As a result, they will either take a flight home Saturday afternoon onwards or spend the day/night in Port Elizabeth at their leisure and fly home across the Sunday.

SAFETY

If you have not travelled much before, it is really hard to know what to expect. When anticipating their time overseas, many international volunteers (and their loved ones) are often concerned about safety and security. Although we can never guarantee experiences to be 100% trouble-free, we have taken all necessary precautions to ensure our programs are as safe as possible. Every program that PMGY offers has been personally inspected and selected by a director of PMGY. We have lived in the accommodation, experienced the orientation and worked on the projects. Through our frequent visits and daily communications, we have built strong, trusting relationships with our local staff.

 

In the unlikely event that something was to happen, participants have various layers of support available to them:

 

• Volunteer in South Africa Local Team
• Project Staff
• PMGY International Team

 

Projects are monitored on an on-going basis to gauge participants’ experiences. With the help of feedback, we are able to continually improve our placements and opportunities. Security and safety are frequently assessed as part of this. We ask our participants to raise any concerns with our local or International Team. This ensures that these can be addressed and/or resolved as readily and appropriately as possible.

 

Through pre-departure and in-country guidance, we do our best to prepare our international volunteers for their time in South Africa. All participants are provided with a comprehensive safety briefing during their orientation period. Our local teams will go through everything from project introductions, to emergency procedures, how to use local transport and cultural differences. During this period, our team also provide participants with a full list of the important contact numbers.

 

Listed below are some general safety tips:

 

• Be modest with the amount of jewellery worn in public
• Do not drink tap water
• Be cautious of beggars or crowds. Incidents can occur when is confusion to distract you.
• Be cautious about removing money in public
• Always try to know where you are going before you attempt long journeys. Be especially careful at night
• Use reputable transport only. Our local staff will be able to recommend some during orientation
• Try to keep in groups at night and never walk alone along dark, empty streets
• The recognised tourist areas can be considered potentially high-risk areas for pickpockets and thieves
• Leave your valuables behind before a night out in the town
• For traffic safety, always keep looking to the left and right and walk slowly when crossing the road
• Do not accept drinks or food from strangers

WEATHER

The weather in South Africa is extremely seasonal. These seasons are the reverse of those in the UK. During the summer months (November-March) the temperature can rise up to 35-degrees Celsius! These months are generally warm and dry; however, it can get quite windy. February to April is by far the best beach weather. June then brings in the cold weather, as South Africa enters its winter period. Up until September, the temperature will stay around 15-degrees Celsius, although it may occasionally drop to 8-degrees Celsius! The winter also brings with it some wet weather, with the majority of the annual rainfall coming in July and August.

 

If you are joining us in June, July and/or August, please bring a warm jacket and a sleeping bag as it can get quite cold at night. The weather over this period can be unpredictable so we suggest bringing clothes for all seasons – just in case! The most enjoyable times of the year, weather-wise, are spring (September–November) and autumn (April–May).

ACCOMMODATION & MEALS

CAPE TOWN - ACCOMMODATION

Volunteer House

 

During your time on the South Africa volunteer programs, you will live in our Volunteer House. This is located in Observatory – better known as ‘Obz’ by the locals! Home to South African’s oldest Astronomical Observatory, this is Cape Town’s most bohemian suburb; an arty district. The main entertainment area is located only a 10 minute walk from the hostel, along lower Main Road. During the day, this road is home to various boutique shops, restaurants and cafes. However, at night, the street comes to life, with a vibrant nightlife.

 

The accommodation is basic but comfortable. Moreover, Wi-Fi is available, but there will be a small charge via a voucher system. Each room has bunk beds with up to 8 people per room. These are usually single-sex rooms, although this cannot be guaranteed. Bathrooms are shared, with showers and western-style toilets. During the winter period (June to August) it can get quite cold, so please bring warm clothes. International volunteers are provided with a bedsheet and blanket. However, you may also choose to bring a sleeping bag or buy an additional blanket from the local store for extra warmth.

 

The house has a communal area for participants to hang out after completing volunteer work in South Africa. Moreover, the Volunteer House comes with sofas, a flat-screen TV and DVD player. In addition, there will also be fridge space available for volunteers to store any chilled items. Each participant will be assigned their own lockable cupboard for the safekeeping of small valuable items. For example, this could be storing your passport and/or money. Therefore, participants are advised to bring with them a small lock to make use of these.

 

During our busiest months (June to September) on the volunteer in South Africa program, you may be placed at alternative accommodation. For instance, you could be placed in a nearby guesthouse or one of our summer Volunteer Houses.

MEALS

During your volunteer trip to South Africa, participants will be provided with breakfast Monday-Friday. You will need to purchase your own lunch and dinner during the volunteering week. In addition, you will need to budget for all meals at the weekend. Please note, that although the Volunteer House has a kitchen, this is quite small. As a result, cooking meals can be difficult and it can be more practical to eat out for lunch and at weekends.

 

Breakfast operates in a self-service format. Participants just help themselves and all cutlery and crockery are provided. Dinner is provided at a local restaurant where participants all eat together. Moreover, the restaurant is a short walk from the Volunteer House. There is a set dinner option for each night of the week. If you fancy eating out there are plenty of cafes, restaurants and local amenities in the surrounding area.

 

Here is an example of the meals you can expect:

 

PORT ELIZABETH - ACCOMMODATION

Volunteer House

 

During your time on the South Africa volunteer programs, you will live in one of our Volunteer Houses. This is located right in the middle of the reserve compound. The accommodation is basic but comfortable. Furthermore, it offers a friendly and lively atmosphere for international volunteers. You’ll be living with other participants from around the world, so you’ll make plenty of friends along the way.

 

We will transport you via jeep to and from the accommodation for your volunteer work in South Africa. Volunteers will be transported to each volunteering activity on the reserve. This service is included in your Program Fee.

 

You will be housed in either the Kubs Quarters or Mafusa Camp dorms. The dorms are single-sex dorms. Volunteers are provided with bed linen, cupboard space and a mini-locker safe to store any valuables. We strongly recommend that participants bring a padlock. Alternatively, they can often be bought from our small shop on-site if forgotten. Bathrooms are shared In a dorm-like form with a western-style toilet. In addition, hot showers are usually available.

 

There are communal areas across the accommodation. They come with comfortable sofas, fridge space, books and tea/coffee stations to enjoy some relaxation. Wi-Fi is available (although intermittent) in the main lounge area outside of volunteering hours. This is a short walk from the accommodation. Participants have access to the swimming pool, tennis courts and entertainment room during downtime as well.

 

Furthermore, a chargeable laundry service also operates once per week for all volunteer in South Africa participants. As a result, participants can hand over their clothes to be washed, dried and returned to them. Most importantly, the reserve has on-site security throughout. This includes around the accommodation compound and on the main entrance into the reserve.

MEALS

During your volunteer trip to South Africa, participants will be provided with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Meals are aimed to be as varied as possible across the week so that each day is different. For example, the breakfast consists of cereals, bread, butter, jam, peanut butter, tea, coffee and cheese. However, sometimes the reserve serves eggs, sausages or baked beans. In other words, it can vary and also be a combination of the above from time to time.

 

As for lunch and dinner, the reserve provides a wide variety ranging from burgers, chicken and macaroni cheese. This extends to vegetarian dishes, chips, potato casserole and so on (so you definitely won’t go hungry!). Finally, all meals come with a salad option as well. Please note that all meals are served at the Mafusa dining area. Above all, no cooking is allowed in any of the kitchen areas.

 

Here is an example of the meals you can expect:

* Please note our local team will do their best to cater for any dietary requirements. However, there may be instances where you may need to purchase alternative ingredients at your own expense. Any dietary requirements should be noted within your application and re-iterated to the local team on arrival into the country. Most importantly, any concerns for major requirements should be raised with the PMGY International Team before confirming your place on the volunteer program.

TRANSPORT TO PROJECT

Cape Town

 

Local transport to and from the project each day is not included in your Program Fee. As a volunteer in South Africa, you will need to make your own way to the volunteer project each day. Moreover, this usually involves taking public transport but sometimes projects can be walking distance from the Volunteer House. On average, it takes around 30 minutes to get to the volunteer project. Our local team will instruct you as to how to get to and from the project each day. Alternatively, you will be paired with a participant who has already been working at the placement you have been assigned to.

 

Port Elizabeth

 

As volunteers in South Africa are based on the reserve, they are only ever a short jeep drive or walk from where their daily tasks take place. Any project transport required is included in the Program Fee.

PHOTO GALLERY

 

CAPE TOWN

 

 

KWANTU

 

VOLUNTEER IN SOUTH AFRICA REQUIREMENTS

PMGY welcome participants of all nationalities and backgrounds. The minimum age to join the program is 18 and there is no upper age limit. All participants need to have a good level of English, although it does not need to be your first language. You do not need to speak Afrikaans. However, you will find that learning a few words in your days with us in South Africa will go a long way!

 

All participants must be able to provide a clean criminal background check in advance of volunteering with us abroad. In general, no formal experience or qualifications are required for the projects, just lots of energy, enthusiasm and preparation!

 

In order to confirm your place on a PMGY program, you need to pay your Registration Fee of 249 USD. The remaining fee is then due no less than 60 days prior to your program start date. During this period if you need to make a change to your trip (destination, program or date) then this can be facilitated free of charge.

 

Please check out our Application Process for more info on how to join our volunteer projects overseas.