ISV - Volunteer Projects in South Africa

Video and Photos

Program Update:

ISV will only be conducting programs for this coming summer, 2018 in the Dominican Republic.

About

South Africa is renowned for its vigorous culture, sweeping landscapes and remarkable wildlife – but communities, children’s homes and wildlife reserves need the help of volunteers through organizations like International Student Volunteers (ISV) to address disadvantage and environmental concerns.

Through volunteering with ISV, you can be involved in life-changing community development projects, taking part in tasks such as building schools and playgrounds, urban renewal programs, water and sanitation development and classroom support. On ISV’s wildlife conservation and environmental management projects, you could be assisting researchers in surveying and monitoring of flora and fauna used for conservation management, or volunteering on a wildlife rehabilitation centre. Come join us to make a meaningful difference in South Africa!

Related Programs

Questions & Answers

Reviews

98%
based on 151 reviews
  • Impact 9.5
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 8.5
  • Value 9.6
  • Safety 9.6
Showing 106 - 120 of 151
Default avatar
Kristen
10/10

South Africa with ISV

This trip to the township Langa with ISV is a life-changing experience. I cannot put into words how much it has impacted my life... when there you stay with a host family and are immersed in the culture of the family life there. They cook you traditional food and you get to see their daily activities and customs- I felt like a sponge taking in every detail I could! We worked every morning in the local preschools which are held in various homes throughout the township. The walls had holes in them, there was one cloth and bucket of warm water that was used to change all the babies diapers, and no heat (it is the beginning of winter there in June and colder than you would expect). The babies are as sweet as can be and smile all the time, they just want your love and attention. After school in the afternoons we would help out with a program called "Happy Feet" with the children ranging from toddlers to high schoolers. We would dance and play games with them and feed them dinner and help them communicate with us practicing their English. We also got to do some sight-seeing on the weekends. Overall this was an extremely rewarding experience, and one day I hope to go back!

How can this program be improved?
Be a little more clear earlier on where you are going to be going on your program and what you are going to be doing.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
StefanieA
10/10

AMAZING EXPERIENCE

I absolutely loved traveling with ISV. The staff was amazing, support was fantastic as I got injured just before my trip and they still helped me along the way. Volunteering at the preschools was so rewarding and getting to know the kids was so much fun. Also the traveling we got to do in the weekends was great. Loved getting to know the fellow students on my trip. My trip with ISV is my most favorite travel experience ever!!

How can this program be improved?
I would stay longer next time, and maybe change to more cultural foods instead of american ones.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Megan
10/10

Expereince of a lifetime

The trip to South Africa with ISV was amazing. Volunteering at the Ann Van Dyk Cheetah Centre was hard work, but totally rewarding. The staff was amazing and super friendly, and we all got a chance to try every job and work to help the centre. You really know you are making a difference when a group of ten can do something in a week that the staff probably couldn't do because there aren't enough of them. The volunteer leader was always there to help or to answer questions. our accommodations, both for volunteering and the adventure tour were fantastic! the adventure tour had a bit of everything, and really pushes you to try new and frightening things. i was never once scared for my safety, and i feel like everyone i went with, as well as what we did, really made an impact on me. i would 100% recommend ISV and South Africa to anyone thinking of it.

How can this program be improved?
The only part about the whole experience that i would change is the pre-travel things. ISV doesnt send you specifics on where you are going/vaccines etc until about two/three months before you leave. vaccination information and general things would be nice to get sooner. program and location specific things arent as big a deal, but i feel like i was rushing to get everything ready and more time would have been nice. that being said, they did give you enough warning to get everything done, and its not like they waited till a week before you left to give you any information.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Arie
10/10

Just do it!

South Africa was my second ISV trip. I loved Costa Rica so much I wanted to do another trip and chose SA. I can honestly say all of the money I spent was completely worth it. I 100% recommend anyone even considering it to just do it and go because it will be the best time of your life. You have opportunities to do and see so many new things that you can't do anywhere else in the world. The ISV staff are always great and super helpful and the other volunteers are so much fun. I left both of my trips with over 20 new friends from all over the world.

How can this program be improved?
If I had to change one thing I would like it to be cheaper but after all the activities and meals you see where the money is going and it's all worth it in the end.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Courtney
9/10

Cheetahs in South Africa!!

The pre-vet program through ISV was an awesome experience! Not only did we get to shadow surgeries on cheetahs and wild dogs we also had the chance to play with and socialize cheetah cubs! Besides great food and great people my favorite part of the day was around 5pm. The animals would come from every direction and it was absolutely breathtaking to witness nature first hand that close!

How can this program be improved?
The program could be improved by having a set schedule, but then again you are in Africa and the saying that you will come accustomed to is "TIA-This is Africa."
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Shelby
10/10

South Africa

My trip to South Africa was life changing. While I was there I met the most incredible people and got to experience the true culture of the villagers. It was a very authentic experience as we got to work with the locals as well as the wildlife. My favorite part of the trip was out group leader. He made our stay amazingly memorable.

How can this program be improved?
I would change the cost, it is very expensive and it would good to see where the money is being used.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Wiatt
10/10

South Africa experience

My experience with ISV in South Africa was amazing. You get a hands-on experience that is hard to find anywhere else. I would recommend this to anyone who feels adventurous and wants to make a difference in the world while also having one of the best times of their lives. The interaction with cheetahs and lions was the biggest highlight for me as well as just the society and culture I got to see.

How can this program be improved?
The only downside is the cost. The program cost is reasonable, however the deposit and other costs add up to quite a high amount. Perhaps a lower deposit price could be a possible improvement.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Jill
10/10

A life-changing trip

I absolutely loved every minute of my time in South Africa. I loved not having cell service or internet for almost the whole time as it brought us all closer together and made us focus on what we were there for. For the adventure tour, I was blown away by the activities we were able to do. One crazy thing everyday and sometimes more! The leaders were all fantastic as well. The biggest impact it had on me is that I now know generally what I want to do with my career life. Working at the nature reserve inspired me to pursue conservation.
Thank you to everyone involved for making it a trip of a lifetime!

How can this program be improved?
Everything about the program and experience was phenomenal, but I'm not sure what all that money I paid went to.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Carly
10/10

Best experience of my life

I did this trip in 2009 when I was 18 years old. It was the first time I'd traveled outside the continent and the first time I'd traveled alone. It was the greatest thing I've ever done with my life. I'd since traveled to 3 other continents and nothing can compare to this amazing country and incredible volunteer program. The people I met have become life long friends and still keep in touch to this day. I will be talking and thinking about this amazing experience for the rest of my life.

How can this program be improved?
Since this is targeting more for college/university students, it is fairly pricy and I found myself struggling to find the money to pay for it. Although it was worth every penny in the end.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Emily
10/10

South Africa: Through My Eyes

This trip to South Africa with ISV is the experience of a lifetime. Hands down the best decision I have ever made in my life. A well-organized trip that provided me with an amazing opportunity. We did two weeks worth of volunteer work and then two weeks of adventure tour. During volunteer project we got the opportunity to work at five different schools...each day we woke up, had breakfast, went to a different school and provided them with an opportunity to have a gym class. We showed the teachers the different activities they could do with the kids and we played with the kids of all ages. Then we were given dinner after work and got to spend time with our friends! There was a great balance of work and free time. I developed such a passion for being with the kids that I was crying when I knew I had to leave. On adventure tour, we did amazing things! We got to go to Swaziland, Mozambique, Kruger National Park, and Blyde River Canyon! In Mozambique we got to take surf lessons, go scuba diving and snorkeling, ocean safari, and got to experience the interesting customs. In Swaziland we got to go adventure caving, and we visited an orphanage and donated lots of food and helped feed the children that day. In Kruger we went on a sunset game drive and a full day game drive! The things we saw were unbelievable and amazing. In Blyde River Canyon we got to go kloofing (a mix between cliff jumping and caving), we went tubing, and I chose to do paintball with some of my friends. The trip went by way to fast and the friendships I made are ones that will last me a lifetime! The children and people of South Africa changed my life in the most positive way! I loved everything about this trip and I left my heart in Africa

How can this program be improved?
One thing I would recommend would be to allow for more time to volunteer and make this program 5 weeks instead of a month! Volunteer was the best!
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Sienna
9/10

ISV South Africa

I truly loved my volunteer experience in Cape Town, South Africa. ISV and SAVE paired up to develop our volunteer plan. We built part of a school, tore down and rebuilt a roof, and played with the township children. It was definitely a culture shock from California, but I'm so glad I went. Our on-site program staff was very helpful, however ISV gave late notice on some details. My group consisted of volunteers from mainly the U.S., with a from Canada. I expected it to be more culturally-diverse, however it was still an amazing experience. Cape Town was beautiful and we frequently walked to the beach, bussed to the Victoria Waterfront shopping center, and went on a wine tour! For those of us who stayed two weeks, the staff scheduled is a safari for an additional cost. All and all very happy with my experience!

How can this program be improved?
It would be very helpful if ISV was more direct in some of the scheduling details.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Kayla
10/10

Africa 2014

I had an INCREDIBLE time volunteering in South Africa through ISV!! I went in May 2014. We spent the first 2 weeks in Cape Town volunteering in townships. I spent a week helping build a school for disabled children and the other week with the kids helping in their classrooms. It was such a rewarding experience.The children were the happiest people I've ever met. They were energetic and soo excited that we were there. All of the African people that I met were super nice and welcoming. The other students on my trip were great too! We became fast friends. I still keep in touch with most of them! After volunteering for 2 weeks, we traveled to Swaziland, Mozambique and other parts of South Africa. We got to do amazing activities such as surfing, horseback riding, safaris, caving, rappelling down cliffs, and so much more! I wouldn't trade my experience for anything! If I had the chance, I would go back to Africa in an instant. I completely fell in love with the country and its people. I would love to do another ISV trip one day! If you ever have the chance to do an ISV trip, don't hesitate! You will absolutely love it!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Maddy
10/10

Amazing

The best trip I've ever been on. I would absolutely recommend it to everyone. If you have the opportunity to go, go. It was an incredible experience and I am so blessed to have had the chance to go on such a life changing trip.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Masha
10/10

ISV South Africa Conservation project

I was lucky enough to visit the breathtaking South Africa last summer (August 2013). My project was a conservation project which involved feeding and handling cheetahs in a cheetah rehabilitation and breeding center. In our two weeks there, we completely refurbished an enclosure and cleared up and sorted a local dump which was affecting the wildlife living on the resort. It was the most incredible experience of my life. Our two project leaders were absolutely incredible and passionate. This experience changed my life forever and I have a greater perspective on life after my time there. We did not only volunteer, we also traveled for 2 weeks and saw some of the most incredible things. The tour was exciting and full of activities. Although the trip was quite pricey (approx $6000 altogether) it was more than worth the experience. Without going through ISV we would not have seen or done any of the things we did. It was very well organised and project and tour leaders as well as staff from our resort on project (Shingwedzi) were incredible and passionate about their job. I definitely recommend this, it was a once in a lifetime experience and almost a year on I still miss it every single day!!!

How can this program be improved?
The only thing that could be improved is the amount of work given to us on project. We probably helped quite a lot, but because it was made so enjoyable by our project leaders I believe we could have done some more good whilst we were there. However, I guess this all depends on the group you are travelling with. I was lucky to have a group who were all eager to work and get things done, and I can imagine that not every group is like that.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
snarlster
10/10

Greatest thing I've done in my life!

This was by far the greatest thing I've ever done! I worked in community development and saw how much of an impact our work has on the families! You make incredble friends while having a blast! I absolutley LOVE this program and would go back every chance I could If I could afford it!

How can this program be improved?
This program is actually perfect! I can't think of a single thing I would change!
Yes, I recommend

Interviews

Meet the Alumni

About ISV (International Student Volunteers)

ISV’s mission is to support sustainable development programs around the world through life changing student volunteer programs designed to positively impact our world and to educate, inspire and result in more active global citizens.

Destinations...