Gap Year South Africa

Gap Year South Africa


We are an intimate Gap Year program that provides a platform for you to embark on your own personal journey of self-discovery, where you will learn new skills like Leadership; Independence; Initiative and creative expression.
Our Volunteer programs are uniquely designed to be flexible and cater for everyone's individual interests as we remain well connected and plugged into existing NGO's that are on the forefront of bringing about Change in South Africa.
We are based in the vibrant Cape Town, which is the Metropolitan of South Africa, and lends the opportunity for exciting and adventurous weekend tours and travel.



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Yes, I recommend this program

I have nothing but nice things to say about this organisation! The program is very well managed by Jess and the constant access to transportation makes getting around very safe and easy. The house is well catered and has allowed me to meet lots of new wonderful people that I definitely want to see again and see lots of beautiful scenery that I can't get at home. I had slight concerns about safety before coming out to South Africa but those fears were put to rest immediately and I found out the country is perfectly safe providing you are street smart ie don't go out on your own very late at night. Can't recommend enough to anyone looking to visit South Africa.

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Yes, I recommend this program

My experience with GYSA and the Hillsong Program was amazing! I spent 3 months in South Africa and it was honestly the best time in my life so far! I loved staying at the cute little house in Fish Hoek with Jessica, who is one of the most amazing people you'll ever meet! She made me feel welcome and comfortable from the first moment on. The house is a colourful mix of styles and really has its own personality. Staying there taught me how to be more independent and I learnt a lot of life skills. I really loved going on adventures with the volunteer group and learning how to surf. I think it's a great idea to stay with a local as you get a complete other insight to the country and the culture. You'll get to see some secret spots that normal tourists would not know about. It can also be quite challenging staying with people that are very different from yourself but I think it will only make you stronger and you can learn a lot from them.

Volunteering with the Hillsong Africa Foundation (HAF) taught me a lot. I grew so much in my character and also my faith that I can say I'm a different person now! Going out into the communities and getting the chance to make a difference in the peoples lives really is a great experience. The people I got to work with quickly became my family and I loved every single moment of serving on their side.

All in all I can say that I would totally recommend volunteering with HAF and staying with GYSA as it gives you an overall experience of South Africa. You don't have to worry about food, transport and accomodation; you get to see a lot and make new friends, you see life in the communities and get to help the people and you become part of a great church with a vision to build the Nation.

What would you improve about this program?
The volunteer house is quite far from church. Long rides every morning and evening and being stuck in traffic are normal. But the driver Leanard makes it bearable and quite fun as he always has a story to tell. For me it was just part of the experience.
As you will share a room with other volunteers you need to know that there is not a lot of privacy and that the rooms can get quite messy.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Great program to learn independence and cultivate life long relationships. Over communication is key with the director and other leaders. Overall it was an incredible experience. I would recommend a minimum of a two month stay for the surfing program, five weeks was too short for me personally, I was just beginning to develop a set of surfing skills and beginning to improve. I would advise to stick with one or two surf coaches when possible as they understand where you are at consistently.

What would you improve about this program?
More communication. More textbook surfing information would be helpful, i.e. Tides and wind direction info and history of surfing and board distinctions.
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Yes, I recommend this program

If you have a heart for serving and helping others, Gap Year South Africa is your next destination.
I will keep it short and to the point. My decision to be part of the program has been one that I would regret if I hadn't taken it. It is worth every minute you spend away from your family and loved ones. In the Gap house you will have a new family that has one common purpose, which is to draw a smile on the peoples' faces, to work hard to make them better persons for the future. In your Gap journey along with your service, you will also get to know and see a lot about the country and their culture. Its a lot of fun and you will make many precious memories to recall when you get older. Last but not least, I cannot finish my review without speaking about the amazing host 'Jessica Gould'.. She has a heart of gold, she loves what she does and she is the most supportive, fun, crazy, outgoing, passionate, loving person that you can meet (love you Jess :)).
If you are considering the program, don't hesitate because its worth it!

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Yes, I recommend this program

So enjoyable. Certainly a milestone in my life. Met amazing people both in the GYSA accommodation and in the Hillsong programme. Amazing staff - thank you Josh, Len for ensuring the program ran smoothly everyday. And a special thanks to Jess for going out of her way to ensure we had fun weekends!! On some weekends/weekday evenings, we had lovely picnics which gave everyone a chance to bond after a day full of activities. Other times we would go hiking (and subsequently indulge in delicious pizza). I particularly enjoyed our trip to Cape Verde.. Overall, it's difficult not to enjoy Cape Town -especially if you are the able hands of GYSA!


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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Challum Chapple

Challum is a 19 year old engeneering student from Northern England. He enjoys surfing and supports Preston North End, and wants to travel the world.

Why did you pick this program?

I decided to spend my gap year in Cape Town with Gap Year South Africa because after I had looked into the program I realised that the way of life in Muizenburg (where the surfing program is based) suited me perfectly, one I had seen what GYSA where all about I didn’t even consider any other programs. The volunteer work seemed to really make a difference to the people in the communities GYSA work in. The surfing looked incredible, the opportunity to learn from a world champion surfer at one one of the best beach breaks in the world was far to good to pass up.

What do you wish someone had told you before you went abroad?

Don’t expect everything to go to plan. At some point something is going to go wrong, no matter how prepared you are, something will go wrong. Don’t let it get to you, the best thing you can do is roll with it. It might be a problem with your visa or it might be an injury, but the thing to remember is that the people around you are there to help.

I had more than my share of incidents and with all the fantastic people around Gap Year South Africa, I now look back at those moments as some of the most memorable times I had during my time abroad. So what do I wish I had been told? When things go wrong, thats when you have real adventures.

What do you tell your friends who are thinking about going abroad?

Go. When ever I hear someone say they are thinking about going away travelling or volunteering the first bit of advice I give them is go. Every experience is going to be different but they all start with the same decision.

After that, I let them know that choosing the right place and activity is really important. There is no point going during ski season if you hate being cold, or going to the jungle if you hate bugs. Also, talk to the organisers about any problems you have with the project your thinking about doing, they are normally very flexible. But when you find the right project and you know that you're going to have the time of your life, enjoy it.

What's your favorite story to tell about your time abroad?

Its really difficult to say, there are so many. From walking with elephants to surfing with whales every second was incredible. But the day that stands out in my mind was on a road trip along the coast. We ate breakfast at a local market, then spent the morning bungee jumping on the highest bridge bungee in the world.

That afternoon we led elephants by hand through the African bush, and played with orphan lion cubs before spending the night at a hostel on a beach where we had a braai and walked along a local beach where the sand lit up as you stood on it because of the plankton. That day was incredible.