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Edge of Africa

About

EDGE of AFRICA is committed to ethical volunteering and responsible traveling, providing volunteer and internship placements in Africa for gap years, career breaks, university internships, school groups and corporate team building projects. EDGE of AFRICA is all about EMPOWERING communities; INSPIRING conservation; and RESTORING biodiversity.

Founded
2007
Headquarters

United States

Reviews

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Hayley
8/10

When arriving in South Africa, a member of staff picked us up right away. He was extremely friendly which took a lot of post-flight stress away. Arriving at the house I was pleasantly surprised. The staff were all lovely and there was just about enough room for all of us in the room. The programme consisted of organising two events for the people who live in the townships pretty much on our own. We had some guidance from a project leader however, were were mainly left to do our own planning and creating. At the end of each day spend on this event planning project we would write down what we had achieved so the project leaders could track our progress. We would drive around venues, speak to the local people, create our own decorations and we learnt a lot about event planning. Both of our events were a success despite last minute stresses which come with all events everywhere. Although planning events for this programme were very different to how I would plan events at home, it still grew my confidence in event planning and made me realise there is not always a step-by-step process to follow, sometime you have to adapt to your situation and surroundings. Overall, this program brought me a lot of happiness when seeing the local people enjoying the event I'd created, it's a feeling I wont forget and it have drove my passion for events even more.

How can this program be improved?
Housing - more space was needed in my opinion. One room had no space for clothes and no room to pull under bed boxes out.
Guidance - due to lots of materials being lost in the devastating fire the year before, I feel like more guidance could have been giving to use as we had to do everything from scratch and getting started was difficult.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Dom
10/10

I spent 5 days with EOA and really enjoyed my time with them and as a group we had a big impact on the community and environment around Knysna. We spent time in the community helping out people and running soup kitchens and a recycling swop shop.

We also did environmental work with GreenPop and planted treesI spent 5 days with EOA and really enjoyed my time with them and as a group we had a big impact on the community and environment around Knysna. We spent time in the community helping out people and running soup kitchens and a recycling swop shop.

We also did environmental work with GreenPop and planted treesI spent 5 days with EOA and really enjoyed my time with them and as a group we had a big impact on the community and environment around Knysna. We spent time in the community helping out people and running soup kitchens and a recycling swop shop.

We also did environmental work with GreenPop and planted trees

How can this program be improved?
More time to spend on projects we enjoyed doing and more time to spend on projects overall
Yes, I recommend this program
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Alice
10/10

Visiting Knysna wasn't just a work based learning project for me, it was an adventure, where I developed academic skills as well as personal, such as time management, organisational, confidence, motivation and perseverance. My South African adventure was an eye opener.

Volunteering at EDGE of AFRICA is one of my most fantastic and rewarding achievements. I imagine it as an inspiring story that I am never afraid to tell. I will forever remember and cherish the memories that were created with my team, the staff and most importantly the local people. It was the local people who made my trip so memorable and special, they put life into perspective for me. In the UK we worry about being up-to-date with the latest technology, in Knysna they worry about being able to provide a pair of shoes for their child. It broke my heart to see such scenes, however, then I thought to myself, wait a minute, these people are surprisingly happy and always have a smile on their faces. And that's the moment where I thought, this is what life is all about. To appreciate the simplest things for example, when I gave the school children each a pencil, they were so delighted they kept it safe and hugged me to say how thankful they were.

The staff at EDGE of AFRICA are phenomenal, they are down to earth, friendly and caring. My South African adventure wouldn't have been the same without the EDGE team by my side. When I was homesick or having a bad day I could always rely on a member of the team to cheer me up and make me laugh again. It was the connectedness of the team that I loved, EDGE felt like my second family.

One of my most treasured experiences that will always stay with me is visiting the Rastafarian community. They are so cool! One message that I took away with me was that diversity is a main factor within society. It is the diverse cultures of this earth that makes the world go round. The more cultures that you discover, the more open-minded you will become and the more open-minded you are as a person, the more understanding you are towards others.

Roar! Now for the beautiful wildlife and natural landscapes. Addo Elephant National Park is one for you to tick off your bucket list. There is nothing more moving than seeing animals such as elephants, lions, zebras, giraffes and rhinos in their natural habitats on a safari. Did I mention that I also did horse back riding with giraffes? Oh, and went shark cage diving at Mossel Bay? See my photos if you don't believe me.

If there is one message to take away from my experience it is to appreciate what you have.

How can this program be improved?
I would've liked all members of the EDGE team to have been more involved during our individual projects and general team bonding activities.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Ayla
9/10

My experience was organized by my university, but I fundraised money to go myself. This process raised awareness about Edge of Africa within my local community and social groups.
My experience was unique because I knew no one going, although I was travelling with fellow UoC students, we had never met before and were all from different departments within the uni. I now have friends for life from my trip. The bond we made was so strong, mainly due to the tough nature of the programme. Many of us got ill and had to overcome personal challenges during our 5 week trip which naturally made us closer as a group. I also met other volunteers in the volunteer house. Girls similar ages to myself, from Denmark, Switzerland for example.
During our stay. we were invited to learn about South African culture with our daily sessions about food, traditions and the community. The programme staff were also really welcoming and friendly, making sure we had everything we needed and were comfortable delivering out workshops. Going into pre-schools highlighted to me how different children's lives can be compared to home. The lack of resources (even paper and colouring pencils) was a shock to us, we just expected to have those kind of things. This made me reflect on my own school experience and really opened my eyes to the poverty in some communities in South Africa. One thing we all noticed though, was all the children were happy. They had so much energy, and soul about them, which lifted our mood every day.
My advice to future participants would be: go with an open mind, expect the unexpected, look forward to visiting the most beautiful varied country, be ready for a challenge, and don't worry too much about what you'll be doing or where you'll be staying. Edge of Africa really look after you and make sure you get the most out of your experience, for you and their community.

How can this program be improved?
Maybe some more support from staff whilst out on placement. We were dropped off at our pre-school with another volunteer who wasn't that helpful. It would have been useful to have had an Edge staff member to introduce us properly to the school and guide us in gradually. We were definitely thrown in at the deep end which was good for us, but it was a lot to take in all at once - especially after such a long journey!
I also think it'd be nice for staff to run weekly one-to-ones with volunteers. To talk through their projects, make sure they're doing okay in themselves and just to touch base.
Yes, I recommend this program
Ruby
10/10

I met such amazing people in my five weeks in Knysna. I absolutely loved working in the pre-schools and interacting with the children who were so enthusiastic and cute. The various community projects we did were also great because the work Edge do is so important for the community and it was also very eye-opening for me to get a real sense of the difficulty of many people's situations. Myself and the other girls in my group are still in contact and all talk about going back someday!

Yes, I recommend this program