Internships in South Africa

Map of South Africa

Narrow Your Search by Popular Cities

Flag of South Africa

Thinking about doing an internship in South Africa? Great idea! South Africa is a beautiful country with lots of different aspects. Every area has its own culture. Looking for a western modern place? Cape Town is the perfect choice! Looking for a more rural, African experience? Then Durban is the place to be! Other places such as Pretoria and Porth Elizabeth are also very popular. A huge advantage of South Africa is that almost everyone speaks English. When you have time to travel before or after your internship, try cage diving (diving with sharks), bungee jumping, safaris, hiking; everything is possible in Africa!

  • Main Industries: Charities, tourism, international business and marketing
  • Popular Destinations: Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Pretoria, Durban
  • Cost of Living: 8000 Rands/month
  • Visa: 180 days tourist visa (Visa South Africa)

The three most popular industries in South Africa to do an internship in are charities, tourism and hotel management, and marketing.

  • Charities: South Africa is still a developing country. The unemployment rate is still high (26%) and the economic problems (caused during the apartheid), poverty and the lack of economic power of less privileged communities are not solved yet. Crime, corruption and aids are major problems that the country is dealing with. It is estimated that a woman born in South Africa has a greater chance of being raped than learning how to read (500,000 raped women annually). South Africa has the highest incidences of child and baby rape in the world. There are lots of orphanages and shelters for rape and abuse victims. They are always looking for volunteers and interns in this field (psychology, nursing school, medicine students). There are also options to work in the management of an NGO.
  • Children at Durban High School
    Children at Durban High School
  • Marketing: For marketing interns there are lots of options since almost every company has a need for marketing. NGO's are also willing to hire a marketing interns. A big advantage of marketing is the upcoming social media. Knowledge and social media skills are basically always required when applying for a marketing internship.
  • Tourism and Hotel management: South Africa becomes more and more popular for travelers. Cape Town attracts most tourists, but since South Africa is providing easy and safe ways to travel around, tourism and hotel management internships are almost everywhere, for example: Krugerpark, Coffee bay, Port Elizabeth and Port St. Jones. You can think of internships such as hotel receptionist, tour guide, diving instructor, but there is also a demand for vet students in lots of game reserves.
When and Where to Look for an Internship:

Finding a suitable internship in a foreign country definitely takes some time. The best time to go to South Africa is between November and April. It is recommended to start searching for an internship four to six months before, so you have time to find a suitable place and to make all the arrangements such as accommodation, visa, vaccinations, etc. There are organizations that can help you find an internship and sometimes support you with finding accommodation. These agencies often charge quite a lot of money, but their services can be very useful. You can find these in every country on the internet or ask for information at your university or travel agency. The internet is always a good source for internships (even social media such as LinkedIn).

Elephants in Hluhluwe Game Reserve
Elephants in Hluhluwe Game Reserve
Cost of Living in South Africa:

The prices for accommodation vary a lot. When you work for a charity, they often provide accommodation, sometimes for free. Working for a marketing company will obviously be in the city center where you will pay around $300 monthly rent for a room.

Transportation is also an aspect that depends on the job and the environment. In city centers you can use the local taxis which are around $0.50, but this can be unsafe in some areas. In some cities the bus can be an option, same goes for trains. Make sure you are aware of the situation when preparing your internship.

Work Culture in South Africa:
  • Etiquette: Generally, South Africa is a relaxed culture. It will be very useful when going to South Africa to read something about the South African culture. It is very different from Europe or the United States, and preparing yourself will definitely help you with these cultural differences. South Africans are proud of their country and are warm and hospitable people. It is polite to welcome your colleagues in the morning, and they will always ask you how you are doing that day. A simple 'good morning' will brighten up your day. The hierarchy really depends on the company you work for, but mostly they really appreciate the effort and work you'll put in the company.
  • Language: The main language is English, so a good understanding of English is required. South Africa has 11 languages, but every school teaches English. There will definitely be a language barrier in the rural areas, but when you are interning there that should not be a problem.
  • Racism: Unfortunately, racism is still present in South Africa. Lots of people who visit the country have experienced this and found it useful to talk about this. This is not really something that you can prepare, but it might help to talk to someone who have already been to South Africa or read blogs about their experiences.
Work and Labor Laws in South Africa

Because of the high number of unemployment, South Africa is very strict on volunteering projects. They want to make sure that no volunteer gets paid, so no jobs will be given to foreigners. If you apply for a visa or an extension, you should have proof that you don't get paid.

At the top of Amphitheatre Mountain in Drakensberg
At the top of Amphitheatre Mountain in Drakensberg
Why Intern in South Africa?

South Africa really is an amazing country where you can learn a lot about the field you will be working in and the African way of living. You will develop your English, gain job experience and learn how to work with people from different cultures. You will experience the kindness of people, their generosity and hospitality, their amazing love for sports and the importance of friends and family. They say that going to Africa may cause an African addiction or fever, simply because you can't get enough!


Contributed by Esther Blaauwwiekel

Esther Blaauwwiekel is from Holland, and did her online marketing and fundraising internship for her major International Business and Languages in Durban, South Africa. She worked for a charity and loved every single bit of it. She loved the people, the safari, the barbecues and the work that she had to do. It was really one of the best 5 months of her life and she can't wait to go back to see her 'African family'. You can read more about her travels in South Africa on her blog.

Programs & Reviews

The Connect-123 internship program in Cape Town offers interns the opportunity to participate in a variety of internships in Cape Town. This is your chance to live and work in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Cape Town! Some...
14 Reviews
More Programs by Connect-123
Our internship division is really important to us and we feel that ethical internships can play a big role in helping us achieve our mission of providing amazing experiences which also see you making a positive impact in rural communities...
4 Reviews
More Programs by African Impact
Projects Abroad offers a variety of internships in South Africa in the fields of healthcare, education, community development, and much more. Interns have the flexibility of arranging internships to fit their schedule, which Projects...
2 Reviews
More Programs by Projects Abroad
This unique professional internship allows you the opportunity to gain hands on learning experience in NGO operations on the ground across Africa. African Impact's charity, The Happy Africa Foundation, is successfully supporting rural...
1 Reviews
More Programs by African Impact
This 22 week Internship starts with a 10 week wildlife research expedition. You will establish your field guide skills while obtaining in-depth knowledge of African game, their habitats and conservation techniques, receiving a BTEC in...
2 Reviews
More Programs by Global Vision International
Internships that contribute to a better world... Do you want to work in the development or humanitarian field? Gain valuable work experience while traveling the world, learning about different cultures, and giving back? if i could......
4 Reviews
More Programs by if i could...
The Volunteer Adventure Corps is a unique organization that has transformed the lives of countless young adventurers through careful program design and a sincere passion for what we do. We at VACorps steadfastly continue our time-honored...
6 Reviews
More Programs by Volunteer Adventure Corps
At the South Africa Institute for Social Innovation, you'll work in the field to develop both social entrepreneurship and cross-cultural interpersonal skills applicable to any profession. Guided by a team of experts, community members, and...
1 Reviews
More Programs by ThinkImpact
Engineering is a field that requires any fresh student to "pay their dues". Internships are an absolutely vital way to gain the experience and knowledge necessary to make it in the field. Why not take the opportunity to do that...
1 Reviews Request Info
More Programs by ELI Abroad
Projects Abroad has designed an innovative gap year program designed for high school students taking a year off before enrolling at a university. Participants are given an orientation in Ghana followed by immersion projects in Ghana, India...
More Programs by Projects Abroad
Travellers Worldwide offers a variety of internships in South Africa for students looking to gain some practical experience overseas. Internships are available in hospitality, graphic design, journalism, and many more fields! Interns can...
More Programs by Travellers Worldwide
The Institute for Cultural Ecology offers internships in South Africa! Internships are available year-round in a variety of fields. If you can't find your ideal internships, I.C.E. offers custom internships in over 50 countries, find the...
More Programs by Institute for Cultural Ecology
Global Crossroad offers internships in South Africa in both the Cape Town and Johannesburg areas. Internships are available in a variety of fields relating to South Africa including conservation, teaching, and healthcare. Interns engage in...
More Programs by Global Crossroad
Immerse: to Involve Deeply, Engage Wholly, Absorb. Imagine getting the chance to leave your home and travel to a completely new culture. What if you could live, work, eat, and grow alongside people in communities around the world. Serve...
More Programs by Experience Mission
Since 2000 Magister has been offering unique, customized internship programs to students and volunteers from around the globe. With our extensive partner network of companies, schools, NGO's and institutions based in Cape Town and South...
More Programs by Magister Internships Africa

Ask a Question About Interning in South Africa

Do you have a burning question about interning abroad in South Africa? We're here to help! Most questions are answered within 24 hours. Here are some example questions:

  • What's a typical day like interning in South Africa?
  • Do I need to speak the local language to intern in South Africa?
  • Do interns in South Africa get paid?

Tell us the name of the university you did or are attending.

Help us battle the bots. Enter the name of this website below.