Volunteer Programs in South Africa with African Impact

Video and Photos

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

Popular Programs

Children and a woman cleaning up plastic in South Africa.

Teach the local community about litter and waste, as well as find creative ways to help individuals earn an income from upcycling discarded plastics.

See elephants and the other big 5 in the Kruger National Park.

Take your safari to the next level by joining our research team in game reserves across the region, tracking and monitoring the ‘Big 5’ – lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards, and buffalo in the Greater Kruger Area.

Man playing with a baby in South Africa.

Work with local children as well as the greater community in a rural Zulu village of South Africa that is surrounded by wildlife.

Woman photographing a crocodile.

Learn to take great photographs and use them to contribute to the conservation efforts of South Africa’s at-risk wildlife in the Greater Kruger Area.

Woman reading to children.

Provide specialized support to local children in township communities around Cape Town during and after school hours, contributing to their health, safety, learning, and fun.

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

90%
based on 44 reviews
  • Impact 9
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 8.8
  • Value 8.5
  • Safety 9.3
Showing 31 - 44 of 44
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LeonaArmstrong
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The best thing I've ever done!

Volunteering with African Impact is the best thing I have ever done and I can't wait to go back as soon as possible! The projects are organised really well, they keep you busy when you are there but thats the whole reason of volunteering right? Sustainability is really important to African Impact and thats clear in each project I was involved in. The more you put in to the projects the more you get out, thee most rewarding thing I've ever done.

Monday to Friday you're busy on projects from 8:30am till around 4pm, coming home for a delicious cooked lunch in between. In your spare time you get to see more of this beautiful part of the world and get to make friends for life with the other wonderful volunteers and the AMAZING African Impact staff.

The co-ordinators and other staff members are just brilliant, a total inspiration and are always there when you need them. The house where you stay is really lovely and the meals the zulu ladies cook are DELICIOUS!

Volunteering with African Impact is a fantastic experience, you get to see a different part of the world, immerse yourself in a different culture, help those less fortunate than you and develop yourself as person as a result.

What would you improve about this program?
Trying to think of something negative about the project is really difficult, I just wish I had enough time and money to stay there longer!
Default avatar
Emily_DW
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing experience

My 2 weeks spent with African Impact in St Lucia were awesome. The team of staff and volunteers were so supportive, knowledgeable and encouraging. I really enjoyed all of the projects that I was involved in, especially brick building, holiday club, reading club and the Support Groups. The experience of working alongside members of the Zulu communities is second to none. The accommodation and food provided was superb and made the whole trip very comfortable in comparison to previous trips to Africa. I really would recommend African Impact, especially to those who enjoy meeting new people and making a noticeable difference to people's lives. The staff dealt with any problems that arose in an incredibly professional manner, maintaining the safety and well-being of volunteers at all times. Thank you very much African Impact for a brilliant time!

What would you improve about this program?
I would have stayed longer than two weeks!
Default avatar
Beth
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Rewarding and Worthwhile Experience

I spent 2 weeks volunteering for African Impact in St Lucia, South Africa on their Community Project and it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life! The volunteer house was brilliant and comfortable - absolute luxury compared to some places I have stayed in other parts of Africa where we had cold outdoor showers, long drop toilets and no electricity. The food was great - always enough, extremely varied (definitely not just rice and veg) and able to cater for a whole range of dietary requirements including one fellow volunteer who was both a vegan and ate Kosher! The staff were always very friendly, supportive and knowledgeable as were the other volunteers. The project itself was wonderful because we got to do a whole range of things that not only took into account an individual's skills but allowed them to develop new ones. For example, I never thought I would be able to make concrete and bricks by hand, and now I can! I loved being able to get to know members of the community and the gratitude they showed us for something as simple as weeding their garden was humbling. I truly believe that all the African Impact projects in St Lucia are making a difference in the surrounding communities and I would thoroughly recommend African Impact to anyone, regardless of age or skill.

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing I would say is that 2 weeks is definitely not long enough!
Default avatar
Travellingprof
2/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Medical program needs work

I wish that I had better things to say about African Impact. I did not have a good experience with them, in many ways. First of all, the volunteer house itself is in need of repair. The showers were very unreliable and many people ended up finishing their showers in the sink. The food was low in nutritional value overall (rice and frozen veg was the regular meal) and generally very spicy. On the medical program, there was simply not enough for the volunteers to do, so we would be sent out in 4's to check on one person. The idea was to get quality time with the patient, but really it was just the Zulu social worker doing all of the communication, so the volunteers were left just to sit and stare at the person. Not exactly what I had in mind when I signed up for this experience. This leads me to believe that they are more interested in getting the money from the volunteers more than creating significant change or a valuable experience, at least for the medical part of the program. I began to disagree with management after they changed my assignment without my input. I specialize in teaching Human Sexuality and they gave the HIV class to people who had no training or knowledge of HIV, and no special desire to do the class. They were just randomly assigned the task. I didn't take this well and started to get depressed and sullen. The worst part came when, after 3 weeks of working with them, I was roused out of bed and told I had been terminated from the program. The initial reason was due to a stupid, generalized joke I posted on Facebook about smothering people, but then stated the official reason was that I had revealed, in an email to the lead coordinator, that I had an anxiety disorder (citing that as why I had trouble discussing with them that I was so unhappy with the recent change). I was told that I had not listed that on my application, so that was grounds for immediate termination. This was after a night of program sponsored drinking, so I was not in the place to take this well either. I left, even though they gave me the option of staying, in separate quarters--like a criminal. They put me in a very dangerous position, drunk, alone, having a full-blown panic attack on the darkened streets of St. Lucia . They did try to offer suggestions of hostels, but if you've ever had a panic attack, you know that it's unbelievably difficult to focus on anything besides the anxiety. I was rescued by a local woman and after a few days, I took responsibility for my actions and sent an email to them apologizing for my part in things and asked to come back. If you are interested in volunteering abroad, you want to do the work. That's why you're there and that's what I wanted to do. I wanted to finish the work that I started. I was denied that chance with no explanation of why. The majority of the coordinators are incredibly young and inexperienced. If you are over the age of 25 and have any actual skills that you want to employ, this is not the program for you. This rash decision, coupled with my own ill conceived behavior, has costs me almost $1,000, since I had to find my own lodging, food, and way back to Durban, 3 hours away. I am a school teacher and do not have that kind of extra cash, especially after paying $5,000 for the experience in the first place. I'm afraid this has killed any motivation for me to volunteer abroad or to encourage others to do so. That's probably the saddest outcome of all. I do want to note that this is not my first review of this organization. I was contacted by the lead coordinator and pressured to take down my initial feedback. This tells me that they are not interested in receiving honest feedback or others knowing their serious flaws.

Response from African Impact

African Impact would like to comment that we are aware of this unfortunate event in which we were required to make some difficult decisions that we do not take lightly. All feedback we receive is important to us and reviewed seriously so that we can agree on appropriate steps to improve. We are committed to our responsibility to volunteers who join us in Africa to help us achieve the objectives we agree with local communities on the projects we run. At the centre of our focus is our responsibility to facilitate projects with meaningful outcomes for all of our volunteers, and we make it a priority for volunteers in turn to experience, learn and enjoy their time with us, and feel safe in all aspects of their stay. We have in place a Code of Conduct which on rare occasions we use to make sure all other volunteers are safe and their experience is not affected negatively by others. When we use the Code of Conduct we ensure the person involved is offered support and is safe.

Our St Lucia Project hosts over a hundred volunteers a year and the testimonials speak for themselves – this is one of our top rated projects and has received rave reviews from previous volunteers. We invite any potential volunteers to read subsequent reviews of this program for more accurate project feedback.

- Andrew Procter, Operations Director, African Impact

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

Amazing Experience

I was on the education project in St. Lucia for 2 months, and it was easily the best experience I have ever had. I had a lot of expectations coming in, and I they were all exceeded. The staff is extremely kind and always willing to help. You can tell that they love what they do and truly believe in it. From the beginning of my trip, they made me feel extremely comfortable and at home. Since I was on the education project I participated in teaching at the creches, reading club, after school club, holiday club, adult english classes and other community projects such as gardening and brick building. I could tell that the different projects we take part in really do make a difference in the communities, especially since I was there for 2 months. I can't choose a favorite project, but I really loved reading club and holiday club. I feel like I really got to know these kids, and they had a huge impact on me. One of the things that was really cool is when people in the community talked about how much African Impact means to them, and how it has affected their lives. One experience that was really cool was when a kid wrote a poem about African Impact. That's when you know that the work you are doing is affecting people's lives. I will never forget the experiences that I had here, and I hope that I will return soon.

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Hellyeahcooke
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Orphan Day Care Teaching and HIV/AIDS Education program -St. Lucia

can't even begin to explain how amazing my time with the St. Lucia team was. The staff were so helpful and knowledgeable, and an absolute laugh! I had a great group of volunteers to work with, from all over the world. It was so rewarding teaching the children everyday and seeing them learn and respond, playing the hilarious apple game! I got to help teach English to adults within the community, partake in gardening, as well as having the absolute joy of working with and seeing the growth of the inkanyezi crèche, a look in at what the medical volunteers get up to in the clinic. It was the most insightful and -as cliché as it is- life changing experience to date. It's opened my eyes to so much and really broadened my prospects and aims for the future. There is no doubt in my mind that I will be coming back, hopefully to St. Lucia, as well as more of my beautiful home country. I cannot recommend African Impact enough. 10/10

Default avatar
Patto
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

St Lucia

I had a lot of reservations about volunteering in St Lucia. I'm pretty sceptical when it comes to humanitarian volunteer work in general. But St Lucia proved to be one of the most rewarding, worthwhile things I've ever done.
I left there knowing my work was beneficial and my time was spent well. The program is really well set up; it can easily rotate volunteers on a weekly or monthly basis through ongoing projects. Standard assignments included English lessons, gardening and HIV awareness. Those on the receiving end of the help are happy to receive it and free to turn it down; no one is forcing the issue. I feel as though I played my small part in something very worthwhile.

What would you improve about this program?
If you have a large appetite expect to visit the supermarket for snacking purposes in between meals.
Default avatar
TSO
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Thank you St. Lucia for showing me the value of life

Never in my life I imagined myself doing anything of the sort as I ended up doing in St. Lucia. Had been to Africa before, but not the REAL Africa, only the touristy type of Africa where nothing is really Africa... When I arrived in St Lucia and saw the colours, the people and, mainly, the children, I felt I was home. It was quite daunting the first day (never I imagined that 10 kids running towards me could actually bring me down!) but it was a truly humbling experience. I've learnt to be happy, genuinely happy, with a brick or a tyre or with the simple fact that there's water to shower at the end of a very hard working day. The little African stars (and believe me, they really are stars) will make your money truly worth it, and you will experience things that you'll never experience again! The staff were great, great organisers and mainly friends, always ready to help you and to make sure that you are getting the best of your time there. The local ladies are a show of their own, and you'll never find people so lively and lovely as them. And if you can, travel around St Lucia and beyond, you'll find amazing people and scenery. And finally, don't think you cannot do something: I've built bricks, taught English, made tonnes of face paints, made friends and left a bit of me in St. Lucia. And, at the end of your time with the great staff of African Impact, you'll feel exactly the same, and you'll dream of the day to go back again.

Default avatar
lzdrowski
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing experience in beautiful St. Lucia

I loved my time volunteering in St. Lucia. This experience opened my eyes to the epidemics of poverty and HIV/AIDS in a South African village while offering concrete and veteran projects that allowed me to feel like I was truly making a tangible difference in the lives around me. I can honestly say I learned and benefited as much or more than those we were helping, giving me deeper insight and perspective that I have been able to keep with me and share with others upon my return home. The volunteer house is beautiful, comfortable, and safe, and the staff are absolutely amazing. The programs are organized and structured without being "stuck in old ways," and are therefore constantly being reevaluated and improved upon. Additionally, there are plenty of opportunities for travel and memorable excursions so that you can be both a volunteer and a tourist in beautiful South Africa. I will never forget my time in South Africa or the amazing people I met there!

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Elsbeth
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A great time in St.Lucia

I was for 8 weeks in St.Lucia with African Impact. From 1-10-12 till 26-11-202. It is the best decision I have ever made im my life! It was great to work with the children and to meet the Zulu people. It is a wunderful culture. This place is in my heart and if I can have the chance, than I will come back and find a job overthere. It is a beautiful country and the people are amazing. I think everybody must be a volunteer, it really chance your life! And African Impact is great, they made this volunteer experience for me as a time in my life that I never forget!

What would you improve about this program?
Get internet in the volunteer house so that the volunteers can use that instead of the internet cafe.
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ClaireT
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Awesome experience!

I was on the community project in St.Lucia working in the surrounding communities. It was such an incredible experience and worth every penny. The people are incredible and the staff are so supportive. I would 100% recommend it to anybody interested in volunteering. It was a humbling experience I will never forget and I have made so many friends from all over the world. Sign up, jump right in and have the time of your life!

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

African Impact South Africa - St. Lucia

My time in St. Lucia was beyond anything I could have expected. While there, I was on the community project. Volunteers from both the community and medical project lived together, and had afternoon projects together.

My mornings consisted of teaching at creches (like a preschool or day care center). African Impact has organized a rotation to teach at creches at different times throughout the year, but ensuring all get an equal amount of our time. Their influence at creches is huge, but I think the children's influence on me was even greater. These kids are amazing, their desire to learn, their happiness, their sense of responsibility and positivity moved me. The more you put into teaching, the more you truly receive back.

The afternoons consisted of a variety of projects, from After School Club, to gardening, to bed making. The schedule worked on an equal rotational basis. Regardless of the project done, African Impact's goal is sustainability, and all projects aim for that.

During the weekends, there are plenty of opportunities to go on excursions, thanks to our great location. You can go on game drives, feed elephants, go swimming with dolphins in Mozambique, hold a baby croc, the list could go on and on.

I felt extremely welcomed, among our mini little volunteer community, and among the community in the villages we worked. I stayed for 4 weeks in St. Lucia and felt it wasn't long enough. My advice to you is to go, to try everything, and put all your effort into the project!

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Jody
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fully submerse yourself in South Africa

For myself, the best part of volunteering with African Impact was that only once during my 6 week stay, did I feel like a tourist. The rest of the time I felt like I was fully submersed in all the amazing things that South Africa has to offer. I walked away with a very personal and true understanding of the plants, animals, people, communities, cultures and lifestyles which has all contributed to the most amazing memories of an unforgetable experience.

Default avatar
Brett28
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

African Impact experience

This trip to africa helped change my life. The African impact project made me realize how blessed I was and how great it was to make an impact in the lives of other people. I came home knowing that I truly made a difference in the lives of the children I was involved with. The group leaders did a great job of keeping us informed of what was going on and I didn't feel out of the loop as some people might feel when starting on a new project. I was very involved with everything and my group leaders were there every step of the way to help the volunteers out. They even took time out of their busy schedule to take us to the doctors office when a few of us got sick in the middle of the week. I could no ask for a better experience and I want to work with African Impact in the near future.