Volunteer Programs in South Africa with African Impact

Video and Photos

The view you work with every day.
Rhino and elephant conservation in South Africa
Rhino and elephant conservation in South Africa
Wildlife Photography and Conservation in South Africa
Wildlife Photography and Conservation in South Africa
African Big 5 & Wildlife Conservation in South Africa
African Big 5 & Wildlife Conservation in South Africa
Education volunteering abroad
Education volunteering abroad
Wildlife Photography and Conservation in South Africa
Wildlife Photography and Conservation in South Africa
Exploring South Africa
Exploring South Africa
Sports coaching volunteering in South Africa
Sports coaching volunteering in South Africa

About

There is a reason why South Africa is consistently rated one of the top travel destinations in the world. Make that several reasons. Where else can you watch the sunrise from the top of a mountain, catch a wave in the ocean and spot an elephant roaming at dusk all in the same day? President Nelson Mandela proclaimed this country as the ‘Rainbow Nation’ – a country as diverse and colorful as it is exciting and adventurous.

Whether you prefer the wild outback of the Greater Kruger, the rural beauty of Zululand, or the hustle of Cape Town, South Africa has something to offer for any volunteer.

The MOST flexible travel policy in volunteering

As a leader in global responsible travel African Impact understands that during the current COVID-19 crisis we must enable as much decision making flexibility as possible. In order to give our travelers full control we have implemented the most flexible travel policy in volunteering. Secure your space with only a US$200 deposit to travel to any of our locations or projects at any future date that suits you.

Questions & Answers

Hey Jenna, glad you're interested in joining us either later this year or in April next year. We can definitely help you with that! We have 3 different program bases in South Africa: Cape Town, the Greater Kruger Area and St Lucia. The only program base that offers short-term trips (either day volunteering, or 1-week volunteering) is at our Cape Town project base, where we run: - An Early...

Hi! Awesome news that you're interested in joining us as a volunteer - we can definitely help with finding just the right project for you. The majority of our volunteer placements only offer stays between 2 and 12 weeks, however it's possible to do 2 placements back-to-back if you did want to spend 6 months volunteering. The price per project does vary, so we would highly recommend visiting our...

Monday to Friday. 8 hours per day. I don't know yet, but around this.

Hi Rachael, Thanks for getting in touch and that's very exciting that you're interested in volunteering abroad - we can certainly help you out with some options and give you advice on each of our available programs. The majority of our programs are only option to volunteers aged 17 and above, but that being said we do have a few locations across Africa that are open to 16 year olds and each of...

Reviews

9.07 Rating
based on 45 reviews
  • Impact 9
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 8.9
  • Value 8.5
  • Safety 9.4
Showing 1 - 8 of 45
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Tristan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

So glad I decided to do this!

We were a bit hesitant, its a pretty big adventure to decide to go as a 17-year old to kind of 'the middle of nowhere' in South Africa. But it was just... just... GREAT. The support from African Impact before even going was quick, personal and just really caring. I felt I was in good hands, and this was confirmed during my 2 weeks there. We got to do different things, got enough autonomy without feeling lost. Learned so much. The person in charge in our project was this super cool lady that taught me every day new things. We want to book another trip for this summer!

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
The organisers took us out camping in Kruger and they offered some kind of weird fried worms. At home I wont even eat a weird vegetable (weird vegetable is any veggies that is not a carrot or a cucumber) but I ate it and yes, I even liked it (enough to have a whole bowl and be the cool dude in the group!)
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Sarah
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

2 weeks in St Lucia on the Rural Medical and HIV/AIDS Awareness Programme

It's hard to sum up the two weeks I spent in St Lucia as the whole experience was amazing! So to give it some context, I'm 23 from the UK and have volunteered with African Impact previously in Cape Town, both times I went as a solo traveller.
For anyone worrying about going on their own, don't! You will soon become best friends with the other volunteers and staff members! (Plus it's pretty cool to say you went on your own)

I spent two weeks on the Rural Medical and HIV/AIDS Awareness programme and I absolutely loved it. Sometimes doing the same thing day in and day out can get boring, but every day I seemed to do a different project, or one I hadn't done for a while. From home based care, wound care, clinic transfers, clinic sessions, physiotherapy, nutrition, every single project I loved. Genuinely, there wasn't one that I didn't enjoy.
One of my favourites was the clinic sessions, we helped the doctors and nurses by taking patient's vital signs, something which the doctors and nurses were so appreciative of as it meant that they could see patients quicker.
Another of my favourite sessions was physiotherapy. I worked with a man who at the start of my project couldn't walk, instead he used his crutches to swing himself instead of walk. We gave him exercises to improve his strength. My last ever project was also physio. We returned to the same man and with the aid of someone holding onto his upper arm, he managed to walk from one side of the room to another. He was beaming afterwards and this is a memory I will always cherish.
Not only do you make a difference to other people but I promise they make a difference to you too.
Every single patient we met thanked us for everything we did. One day we provided home assistance to a blind couple. We scrubbed, we cleaned, we tidied and at the end of the morning project, we had given the house a real spring clean. We guided the couple around the house and let them feel where everything was. They could not thank us enough for the help as something so simple meant the world to them.
Outside of project the volunteer house is awesome! I can't recommend enough going to the balcony that over looks the estuary and watching the sunset. St Lucia itself is beautiful, there are plenty of restaurants where the food is good and also cheap! Its a very calm and chilled out town. Its harm to sum up my trip but all I can say to anyone thinking about going is to do it, you won't regret it and you'll leave with life-long memories.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be open-minded. The communities that you work with live a very different life, it can be hard to see the poverty that these people live in but it just makes everything that you do feel so much more worthwhile.
Also if you're gluten intolerant, I'd say bring some gluten-free basics, like pasta, snack bars etc.
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Jennifer
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience!

I can’t say enough good things about my volunteer experience with African Impact Greater Kruger Big 5 program. It’s always been a dream of mine to research and make an impact in wildlife conservation. I loved all aspects of my experience from learning about wild animals social and feeding behaviors on game drives to helping in the community on projects that benefit people’s lives. Every day was a new adventure seeing elephants, lions, leopards, giraffes, and hyenas in the wild. Camping overnight in the bush under a million stars with the milky way and southern cross visible was another highlight. Lodge life was wonderful. I made friends with people from all over the world, ate great meals, enjoyed quiet time by the pool and loved being able to take walks along the walking path around the property. It was hard to leave this remarkable experience and I hope to return. I highly recommend African Impact.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
We were observing an elephant on the side of the road then he walked directly toward our open-air vehicle. I'm usually brave, but I wasn't sure what the elephant was going to do and was starting to feel nervous as he kept coming. He came right towards us then walked around the car to get to the other side of the road. He then continued to eat on the the other side of the road.
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Maryam
3/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Girl Impact - African Impact

I am grateful to have have had the opportunity to meet such a wonderful group of people. The staff and volunteers at Lion House were all unbelievably kind hearted and were the main reason for why my time in South Africa was one to remember. It was fantastic having the opportunity to work with different communities in South Africa and getting an insight into the wonderful initiatives set up by the locals.

Although I had a lovely experience living amongst other volunteers, exploring South Africa and working alongside the locals, I'd say that most of the work I contributed was not very impactful at all. The Girl Impact project is not yet very established in South Africa, and I spent most of my time sitting around or partaking in activities that I felt were not a good value for time (e.g. sitting and watching a girls football team play football and call this 'supporting' the girls). Not only did I have an issue with my project but also felt that other projects were overstaffed (picture a class of approximately 15-25 with 6 volunteers and a teacher). The main issue I had with African impact was that for a lot of the projects I did not understand the need for volunteers. For example, we would volunteer and deliver a lesson to a class of young kids, however the teacher of the class (a South African local) was more than capable of delivering that same session (in fact the teachers were so great, that they could probably deliver a lesson better than all the volunteers combined) so I did not understand why we went in and were doing that teachers job whom could do a much better job than us. Even with the Girl Impact Project, African Impact hired a local to coordinate and deliver the project. She was great at doing her job and did not need our support in delivering the programme at all, in fact I think it would have been more impactful if she had delivered on her own since she could speak the language of the beneficiaries.

Although, I enjoyed my time in South Africa, I do not believe that some of African Impact's projects were impactful or sustainable. The staff are all clearly well intentioned and highly motivated individuals, I do believe that with continued efforts, African Impact in SA could do a much better job in aiding those most impoverished. They just need to figure out where volunteers could be used to have the most impact and re-evaluate some of their partnerships so that they are being as helpful as possible (e.g. instead of going in to do the teachers job, simply provide resources the school does not have access to).

What would you improve about this program?
Projects to be re-evaluated so that more impactful work is being done. The feeling that I was not doing useful work is the main reason why I would not recommend this programme.
Response from African Impact

Dear Maryam,

Thank you for this valuable feedback. We’re always looking to improve our projects and bring more impact to both the community and our volunteers. We’d love to open up discussions with you; please will you pop us an email at alumni@africanimpact.com.

We’re delighted to hear that you had a wonderful time at the Lionhouse and in Cape Town!

The African Impact team

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Ana Maria
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Highlights of A.I

The fact that we get to interact with so many places makes everything worth it, you actually feel like your making an impact on these kids and it never becomes a routine. I would like to highlight the fact that African Impact is very organized, they have everything structured which makes it just more professional and easy going. I've been volunteering before and we didn't spend the whole day at the project which I think is totally worth it if you're traveling abroad for a volunteer experience.

What would you improve about this program?
The program itself I consider it's fine, maybe at the house the wifi connection should be better if we are paying for it. But the rest is just fine, was a great experience.
Response from African Impact

Hey Ana Maria,

Thank you for this feedback. Welcome to our Alumni Squad!

The African Impact team

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Sarah
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

If you want to volunteer abroad - do it here.

This was by far one of the most accommodating and rewarding volunteer trips I have gone on. From the welcome packet, orientation, child protection policy, and weekly topic based seminars, the program and staff go above and beyond to make sure everyone feels welcome and supported in the stay. The community partners that they pair with are top notch and each day is set up for success starting the day prior to ensure each program and project is set up for success. My one bit of feedback to the program was not to require experience but to possibly provide some incite prior to arrival on the weekly planning need and goals for each program so that each volunteer can bring some ideas to the table in advance (if desired).

My only disappointment was not staying longer.

Response from African Impact

Hey Sarah,

Thank you for such a glowing feedback report! We're happy to have you part of our Ambassador Program. Keep well!

The African Impact team

Default avatar
Shane
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Summer In Cape Town

African Impact and the staff at Lion House (the house location in Cape Town) provided the unforgettable experience everyone should desire to achieve. The program helps support multiple sectors from a sports program, to foster homes, after school problems, etc;.
My time in Cape Town saw me in a Academy Volunteer role, which allowed the opportunity to experience each program and there ability to help the surrounding communities of the mother city. Creating memories that support the notion that the experience does more for you, then you could ever do to help the community.
You will be given the opportunity to leave your mark in what ever sector you chose to provide help for. From Monday to Friday you get to go on project and make a connection and a difference in the community. After 5, and on your weekends the freedom to experience and see the cape are endless. The staff is accommodating in helping you cross of your checklist so that you can live the entire volunteer-traveler experience. A must do experience all should invest in.

Response from African Impact

Hey Shane,

We couldn't agree more - our Lion House staff are amazing! We're so happy to hear you had an unforgettable experience in Cape Town. We hope to have you back one day. Until then, keep well and keep in touch!

The African Impact Team

Default avatar
Michaela
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering In South Africa

I volunteered with African Impact in the summer of 2017. It was my first time ever leaving the country and I was going alone. As soon as I landed I was greeted with a smile and a huge hug, exactly what I needed after 23 hours of traveling. My time in Cape Town was the best 2 weeks of my life. The other volunteers became my family and the Team is exceptional with organization and made me feel completely safe at all times. I got to spend each day in an orphanage, foster home and after school program called GAPA. I still hold onto those memories and think about the kids and people I met all the time. I can't wait to get back there someday! I recommended this program to anyone who wants to have a life changing experience and have the time of their life in the most beautiful country I have ever seen!

What would you improve about this program?
Its perfect!
Response from African Impact

Hey Michaela,
Thank you for such an awesome review - it's so lovely to hear you had a wonderful time in Cape Town. We hope to have you back soon!
The African Impact Team