Gap Year in South Africa

Browse 55 Programs
  • About

    Home to captivating landscapes, exotic animals, sophisticated cities, world-renowned vineyards, famous townships, and delicious cuisine, South Africa is a truly fascinating country for a gap year.

    Most gappers who choose to spend part of their gap year in South Africa will opt to participate in a volunteer program or indulge in one of the many adventure travel opportunities the country has to offer. However, there are also several world-class universities with programs in English if you'd prefer to spend your gap year learning.

    No matter how you spend your time, however, you can rest assured that your time in South Africa will be surrounded by beauty. Not convinced? Take a look at this compelling photo essay of a gap year in South Africa.

    Photo Credit: Elaina Giolando
  • Types of Programs

    South Africa is a rewarding place to volunteer. It has struggled to recover from the many changes that have developed in the last 20 years and many people live on less than a dollar a day. While townships have started to improve, poverty is still widespread. If you're an international volunteer in South Africa you will have the opportunity to provide the underprivileged population access to better education and healthcare. Fight for human rights and help build a working infrastructure!

    Adventure Travel

    As South Africa's tourism industry has grown over the past decade or so, so has the amount of adventure travel options.

    Whether you want to spend your gap year diving, surfing (or learning to surf), trekking, biking, bungee jumping, or spotting wildlife on safari, South Africa has it. Not to mention, they're also known for their shark cage diving in Cape Town. Anyone??


    Recently, South Africa's economy made it to the top 20 in total GDP. South Africa's economy is on the rise, making it a good place to find an internship. While Cape Town is still a developing city, (many residents live in unsafe and overcrowded conditions) interning in South Africa gives you the unique opportunity to improve the lives of Cape Town's residents. Find an internship that matches your interests and offers you a chance to expand your horizons with cultural and learning activities.

  • Planning Your Trip
    Cost of Living in South Africa

    South Africa is cheap when compared to the Western world. Living in urban areas costs in terms of commodities, rentals and leisure activities. The rural areas tend to offer more of a quiet life and there are very cheap places to live in with lots of space. The cost of goods and food products cost only half of those found in supermarkets and grocery stores in the United States.

    Typically, budget travelers should expect to spend about $50 per day on food, lodging, transportation, and excursions. However, if you're on a program, some of those items -- particularly food -- may already be included.

    Flights, though there are a few direct ones from the States now, will likely be your biggest expense.

    Culture and Etiquette in South Africa

    Souht Africa's cultures are diverse, but we'll try to cover some general basics here. Greeting styles in South Africa vary depending upon the ethnic heritage of the person. When dealing with foreigners, most South Africans shake hands while maintaining eye contact and smiling.

    Business attire has become more informal in many companies. Still, for the first meeting it's best to dress more conservatively. Men should wear dark colored business suits and women should wear more elegant business suits or dresses.

    It's important to realize that some women do not shake hands, but only nod their head in appreciation. When meeting a woman, it is best to wait for her to extend her hand. Men may also kiss a woman on the cheek if they are well acquainted. In general, greetings are leisurely and include time for the exchange of pleasantries.

  • Health & Safety

    In order to travel to South Africa you are required to have a yellow fever vaccine and proof. Make sure to consult a nearby travel clinic well in advance of leaving.

    While on the ground, make sure you take precautions to make sure your food and water are clean, and protect yourself against mosquitos. Malaria and dengue fever are both issues here, but you can prevent them by using Deet and sleeping with a mosquito net.

    And of course, please practice safe sex and use your judgment when it comes to drinking.


    South Africa has a bad rap for being unsafe. Yes, Jo'burg has a comparatively high crime rate, but fortunately, most of the violent crimes occur in isolated areas away from tourist destinations.

    To stay safe while in South Africa, be sure to watch your bags in crowded areas, avoid going out at night alone, and talk to locals about which areas are safe and which areas to avoid.

    For more tips, head over to the UK Foreign office website.

Showing 55 Programs

Filter by:
  • Global Gap Year with Projects Abroad
    Projects Abroad
    Projects Abroad has designed an innovative gap year program designed for high school students taking a year off before...
    1 reviews
    Community Photos
  • Apartheid Museum
    Experiment in International Living
    Experiment Leadership Institute Program Examine human rights, multiculturalism, and inequality in the context of South...
    2 reviews
  • Xtreme Gap Year
    If you want to explore one of the most exciting, beautiful and interesting countries in Africa, the Xtreme South Africa...
    2 reviews
    Community Photos
  • Mozvolunteers
    Situated in the heart of the majestic southern Drakensberg mountain lies a village in need of your help. Join Mozvolunteers...
    1 reviews
  • Volunteering with underprivileged children in South Africa
    The Expedition Project
    By reinvented volunteer tourism and combining it with exciting internships, The EXPEDITION Project will be taking you on a...
    2 reviews
    Alumni Interviews
    Staff Interviews
  • South Africa - Horse safari in a private game reserve.
    The Leap
    Reviewer Verified
    Join a team of leap volunteers to horse safari across a game reserve, south of the Kruger National Park. Help rangers with...
    3 reviews
    Alumni Interviews
  • "These kids have taught me more than any of my school teachers ever could" vol
    Gap Year South Africa
    We offer a variety of volunteer and surfing projects. You can join the Hillsong Africa Foundation in Christian outreach, or...
    2 reviews
  • South African Wild Adventure
    Gap 360
    See another side to South Africa -- plus a side trip to Swaziland and Mozambique! -- with this 4-week adrenaline,...
  • Lots of work but also plenty play
    Kevin Richardson Wildlife Sanctuary Pty Ltd
    This program offers volunteers the opportunity to experience the best that South Africa has to offer with its great mix of...
    12 reviews
    This program has been rated exceedingly fun by 5+ reviewers.
    This program has been rated exceedingly supportive by 5+ reviewers.
  • A view from above in Cape Town
    Gap Year South Africa
    Join Gap Year South Africa for an adventure during your gap year. This volunteer adventure program give volunteers the...
  • Hockey Coach in South Africa
    Sporting Opportunities
    The national hockey team in South Africa has shown considerable success in the international field, and youth in South...
  • Marine Conservation Project- Volunteer learning to drive the boat
    The Baywatch Project
    The Baywatch Marine Conservation Project hosts volunteers from all over the world to help in running our eco marine tour...
    1 reviews
  • Gap Year South Africa
    Gap Year South Africa have teamed up with Hillsong Africa Foundation to bring about an epic Christian Outreach Program....
    2 reviews
    Community Photos
  • Volunteer with animals and children in South Africa
    DAKTARI Bush School and Wildlife Orphanage
    This educational project, which combines the education of underprivileged children and a wildlife orphanage, is a registered...
    11 reviews
    Staff Interviews
    Community Photos
    A review was left for this program in the last 30 days
    This program has been rated exceedingly fun by 5+ reviewers.
    This program has been rated exceedingly supportive by 5+ reviewers.
  • Volunteer Teachers in South Africa
    Sporting Opportunities
    Spend your gap year abroad in South Africa volunteer teaching in Port Elizabeth. Although, South Africa is considered one of...