Top Volunteer Projects in South Africa

Video and Photos

About

GoEco was created by experienced volunteers for people who are eager to travel and contribute to the community, wildlife and environment they visit. Join us in South Africa for a wide variety of programs.

Highlights
  • Gain experience in wildlife conservation or teaching abroad
  • Get up-close with Africa's Big Five!
  • Ethical wildlife interactions and volunteering tasks
  • Discover Cape Town, Johannesburg, Kruger Park and other top destinations
  • Comprehensive and professional pre-departure travel guidance, 24/7 GoEco emergency hotline, experienced local field team.

Popular Programs

Female volunteer with a giraffe on a wildlife conservation program

Wildlife lovers rejoice! This sanctuary is home to various wildlife species who have been rescued but are unable to be returned to the wild. Volunteers are able to provide hands-on care by preparing food for the animals and creating enrichment activities. Volunteers also assist in maintaining the sanctuary itself.

Female volunteer with a lemur at a wildlife conservation program in Africa

Work closely with fascinating African animals at a widely-accredited wildlife ranch! Volunteers work alongside professional staff and have the option to join as a volunteer or wildlife intern. Volunteers prepare food, feed the animals, maintain the ranch and more. Take the opportunity while here to dive with the resident crocodiles!

Female volunteer with a child in Cape Town

Join a program in Cape Town to empower the local low-income communities. Provide educational resources to local children, assist in a preschool or lend a hand at a farm school. Volunteers will create fun, educational activities and games, and teach the local schoolchildren.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

9.82 Rating
based on 22 reviews
  • Impact 9.4
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 8.9
  • Value 9.5
  • Safety 9.3
Showing 1 - 8 of 22
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Heidi
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

We Blessed The Rains in South Africaaaaaa

From the amazing hostel in Jo-burg to immersing ourselves in the history & culture of Soweto to Wildlife Sanctuary, this was undoubtedly the experience of a lifetime. I truly felt I got a 360 degree experience through my partnership with GoEco. Everyday at the sanctuary was an adventure. I walked to breakfast next to grazing zebras, watched giraffes at dinner, & laughed at monkeys stealing food from the wart hogs. The people were warm, fun, and now lifetime friends. Sign up now! You won't be sorry!

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
When we visited Soweto, we had the pleasure of dining at a local restaurant with traditional food. It was buffet style so I went around and added whatever I wanted to my plate, some of which is still a mystery. I got to salad bar and saw, what I thought, was a cold, couscous salad. I got back to my table and took a big bite of this couscous dish and immediately realized something was not right. It was not pleasant! I soon figured out that I had taken a nice, big bite of minced garlic! I didn't want to be the rude American so I chewed and swallowed it and apologized to my friends for the garlic magic they would smell the rest of the day. Needless to say, the rest of the meal was delicious!
Silvia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Wild Cat Sanctuary in South Africa

Volunteering with this programme was the best decision I could have possibly taken. It was such an amazing experience getting to wake up everyday to the lions roaring. The staff there was super nice and the volunteers were the most funny people I have ever met!
We got to prepare the food and feed all the animals everyday, water them ad help with the cleaning of the house. On weekends we helped with the tours that came to see the animals and we also had a lot of free time to spend time with some of the animals. Also, we did some trips to the city to have dinner out, go to the mall and buy the groceries.

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Tamara
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best two weeks of my life!

As I said, best two weeks of my entire life!
South Africa has become my favorite place on earth, I would totally say it's my second home.
The interaction with the animals is amazing, much more than I could ever ask for! You really get to create a strong bond with them. Our lion cubs Malakai, Malia and Nairobi stole my heart as well as the ostrich Josephine and its babies :)
And the people you meet there...they become your family!

Can't wait to go back!!!

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Lara
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The best month of my life!

Words cannot describe what an amazing time I had volunteering! First of all, the setting is just stunning as the place is surrounded by mountain chains. You can admire this view while walking the elephants, or if you go within the next few months, the 3 lion cubs. Malia, Nairobi and Malakkai were the absolute highlight as we had a lot of interaction with them and it broke my heart to leave them!
Everyday is different; from injecting goats, horse riding in the morning to chasing animals out of places where they aren't supposed to be! Everything was so overwhelming in the beginning and it was still at times after two or even 4 weeks because you experience so many different, new things.
Whatever excursion you want to do, the lovely Less will make it possible. I went to a monkey sanctuary, reptile farm, skydiving (twice), etc...
Of course the people you meet are a crucial part of your experience and you won't be disappointed: they are all amazing! They come literally from all over the world and still you all connect, because you are all there for the same reason: Your love for animals and traveling! Fun is guaranteed and it gets never boring!
The best part, however, were the different animals: the gracious tigers, the stunning lions (they are taller than you think!), the beautiful elephants, the playful leopard Selati, the super chilled zebra Jack an Roxy, the hyena, my personal favourite!
I enjoyed every second of my stay and I left a piece of my heart at this amazing farm in South Africa with all of those beautiful animals! I will definitely go back!!!

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elena
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing experience

This was a once in a lifetime experience that I recommend to anyone who loves animals. It was a real dream come true and I enjoyed every single second of it. It was amazing to work alongside and interact with such amazing animals, who each have their own background story as to why they are at the sanctuary. All of the leaders and the manager were so knowledgeable and welcoming from the second we got there. My only regret is not staying for longer (2 weeks), but I will be returning in the near future.

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Ryan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Opportunity of a Lifetime

Traveling to South Africa truly is an amazing experience. I am an avid traveler -- I have traveled to many locations in my home country and in other parts of the world. Even with that experience, I must admit I had butterflies in my stomach before leaving. I thought about the length of the flights, finding my staff member at the airport, what kind of people I would meet, the level of difficulty of the research, and how interesting the excursions would be to name some items.

However, from the moment I met my project staff member at Johannesburg airport, I knew what kind of tone this experience would entail. He was very welcoming and right away I meshed with the other volunteers on the way to the bush. The accommodations did not disappoint, as the food was delicious and plentiful and the rooms were very clean. The staff gave us a sufficient amount of training before we went into the field. Everyone was responsible for a different task related to research. These tasks were educational but not overwhelming. The sights and sounds in the South African bush were extraordinary. Our schedule kept us busy but still allowed some time for resting and sharing photos. There was a wide variety of tasks to be completed, including research, conservation work, community involvement, camping, and social events. On the weekend, everyone got to sign up for a fun excursion. My trip to Swaziland proved to be memorable.

My time in South Africa went extremely quickly. Meeting people from all over the world was truly a great experience. By keeping an open mind and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone a little, it is amazing what you can accomplish. I highly recommend this trip to anyone interested in a life-changing experience!

Ashley
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Taste of the Wild Side

I’ve always wanted to be a veterinarian since I was five years old and I’ve always wanted to work at a zoo because I’m in love with wildlife, so I thought this internship was a perfect opportunity to see if my dream is what I wanted and to also be a part of a volunteer project. During the project, I was able to do so many things I would have never thought I’d been able to do for years to come. I was able to give a Nyala an IV, which is probably one of my highlights of the trip. We were always asked our diagnosis on an animal to figure out what was wrong with it, which helped you start thinking like a vet, and then we were able to treat the animal if the medicine was at hand and if we were able too. After being at the project for 3 weeks and being able to visit the same townships, during dog dipping, you could see the impact you were making on the animals which is honestly the best feeling in the world. You would notice the decrease in mange, ticks, fleas, and worms that dogs had. You would see the growth of puppies and see how much healthier looking they would be after you treated them. Additionally, we were able to practice tasks of a large animal veterinarian as well. These tasks include, pregnancy testing, pig AI, cow dehorning, etc. The program offered a great selection of tasks where you could work with wildlife, livestock, and domestic animals. I realized from this trip that I do not want to be a zoo veterinarian anymore because I believe animals shouldn’t be in enclosures and instead roaming free like they were supposed to be. You could see the happiness of animals when they were in their own environment with freedom to do as they pleased. It was an amazing feeling being apart of such an awesome program that made a difference in the local towns and its surrounding reserves. And thanks to this internship, I now know that I want to travel to different countries that need veterinary help due to animals that have poor health and living conditions and be a part of the impact veterinarians are making around the world.

What would you improve about this program?
Even though the program is hosted in Africa and I know things never go as plan, the program's organization could definitely improve. Some days you knew what you were doing for the week and other you didn't know till the day of. Besides organization, the program was ran pretty well.
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Lindsey
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Working in a wildlife reserve

Growing up I have always loved animals especially cats since my mom always made sure we had at least one! So when I found this experience to go help in a wildlife reserve and Moda specifically the white lion I was giddy excited! It was more than what I had ever dreamt of! The staff at the park were so nice and I loved staying right there at the park! goeco.com has a ton of wonderful wildlife and conservation programs it was hard to choose which one but this was an experience I'll never forget!