Most Affordable South Africa Volunteer + Gap Year Programs | IVHQ

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Trusted by 113,000+ volunteers, IVHQ offers the most popular volunteer and gap year programs in Cape Town and 50+ other destinations around the world.

You can choose from 5 volunteer project options in South Africa: Teaching, Childcare, Surf Outreach, Sports Development or Computer Training and give back for periods ranging from 1 week to 24 weeks. Your Program Fee includes airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support. You’ll be accommodated in a volunteer house with like-minded, impact-focused travelers from around the world.

IVHQ is trusted to support the meaningful adventures of thousands of volunteers every year, so even before you depart for South Africa, you’ll receive outstanding service from your Volunteer Travel Specialist and exclusive access to superior pre-departure volunteer training.

With IVHQ, you can expect to establish real connections within the local community while supporting projects that make a genuine difference.

  • IVHQ’s South Africa program is available year-round, starting on the first and third Monday of every month
  • Highly affordable program fees starting from $250 for 1 week - IVHQ provides the most affordable and top-rated programs
  • You’ll be joining between 20 and 50 other IVHQ volunteers who start in Cape Town each month
  • You’ll be traveling with IVHQ, the volunteer travel experts, and joining a network of 113,000+ volunteers. Our outstanding safety systems and track record set us apart, we are the world’s safest organization
  • Your efforts will have a positive impact because our programs are community-driven with a focus on supporting long-term local needs

Book With Confidence: Added Flexibility & Free Changes

IVHQ makes it easy to change your travel plans should you need to – or if you simply change your mind. As long as you cancel or reschedule at least 15 days before your program start date this year, it's free to change your dates, volunteer program or destination.

Popular Programs

Childcare Project

As a volunteer on the Childcare project, you will play an important role in helping increase access to care and education for children from disadvantaged backgrounds and broken homes in South Africa. Some of the children have lost their parents to crime, alcohol or drug abuse, and HIV/AIDS, forcing them to live with their relatives or neighbors, who often do not have the means to take proper care of them.

Teaching Project

The aim of the Teaching project in South Africa is to provide assistance within public schools in low-income communities in Cape Town, to support struggling students and help ease the workload of teachers within under-resourced classrooms.

As a Teaching volunteer in Cape Town, you will be placed in one of three public primary schools, where you will work alongside local teachers or other volunteers.

Sport Development Project

The focus of the Sports Development project in South Africa is on developing both the physical skills and general life skills of the children at schools that do not have Physical Education teachers. Our Sport Development project operates in the same schools as our Teaching and Computer Training projects in Cape Town.

This project is well suited to volunteers who are passionate about sports and youth development, and would love the opportunity to share their passion with young learners.

Surf Outreach Project

You don’t need to be a pro surfer to appreciate the thrill involved in the sport of surfing and surf enthusiasts of all abilities are welcome to join our Surf Outreach project in South Africa! This is an after school project in which volunteers help facilitate local children in learning how to surf while teaching them valuable life skills.

Questions & Answers

Volunteers 18 years or older can participate on an IVHQ program alone. However, children under18 must be participating in a group with with a parent, guardian or family member who is 18 years or over.


9.64 Rating
based on 59 reviews
  • Impact 9.1
  • Support 9.1
  • Fun 9.4
  • Value 9.5
  • Safety 8.5
Showing 1 - 8 of 59
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Yes, I recommend this program

Best weeks of my life

Volunteering with IVHQ was incredible! I'm 24 and I'm from Guatemala, I had always wanted to volunteer in Africa and with IVHQ it was possible. The process to apply was super easy and reliable, I didn't know anyone from Guatemala who had done this before, but from the beginning they earned my trust. I spent 3 weeks in Tanzania and 3 weeks in South Africa, and it was the best experience of my life. In Tanzania I was in the HIV / AIDS program, in which I learned a lot and felt the impact that I had on people, but especially the impact that people had on me. In Cape Town, I was in childcare, taking care of children from 4 to 5 years old, and I can easily say that those children stayed with my heart. In both places I met incredible people, lived unforgettable experiences and met impressive places. The only thing I regret is not having been longer. I can't wait to continue traveling the world with IVHQ.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
Extend my time, not enough time! I would do at least 6 weeks
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Alejandra, thanks for your review of our Tanzania & South Africa programs. It's great to hear that you had such a rewarding experience on these projects. Your contribution to these communities is greatly appreciated. We look forward to having you volunteer with IVHQ again soon! ^ Stacey & Kaila - IVHQ South Africa & Tanzania Program Managers

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Yes, I recommend this program


4 years ago I lost my dad, I was the youngest in my family and it was so difficult, I felt that I want someone to help me and to stand with me again.
This project gives me a lot of power, I felt that I’m alive again. And all I need to feel myself and to be better is to help another children, because I know exactly what they feel. I called the children “my beautiful munchkins”, they were so warm, lovely and cute. I will not forget this days. The accommodation was super great because we were volunteers together, that helped me to meet new people simply. Also the food was delicious and varied. I recommend this volunteer trip for every single person who want to feel better, to make a difference in their life by giving without limits. It really was a life changing experience.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Safa, I am really sorry to hear about your difficult time when you lost your Dad, but we are so happy to hear that IVHQ's South Africa program helped you heal and make peace with your loss. It is really special to see that you had an awesome bond with the children, and I have no doubt they loved spending time with you while you volunteered on the program. We would love to have you volunteer with IVHQ in the future! Acacia - IVHQ Program Manager.

Yes, I recommend this program

South Africa

I just got back from my two week volunteering program with IVHQ and it was amazing, here I was able to see a new country and work with the locals. Would recommend!
I was able to meet the other volunteers that were from all over the world and work with adorable children and amazing teachers. I was able to do this on my own and be feel while being completely safe. The staff are lovely and help you with any questions you have as well as offering advise.
I have been able to make an impact on others life’s while gaining incredible experience, I would definitely do this again for another country and another program.
While I was in South Africa I had time to also sight see and go on a safari. The organisation gives you time in the afternoons and weekends to do as you wish. They provided places to go and companies to see about safaris, bungee jumping, shark cage diving and so much more

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The most nerve racking thing I found was the trip over but once I was picked up by the organisation I felt completely safe and calm for the rest of my time in South Africa
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Emma, it's great to hear that you had a wonderful experience with IVHQ in South Africa. Thanks for volunteer with us and we would love to have you back! Acacia - IVHQ Program Manager.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering in South Africa with IVHQ

Hello! I am a 21 year old Lebanese girl and I volunteered with IVHQ in Muizenberg, Cape Town, South Africa for the Teaching Program for a duration of two weeks.

I assisted the Grade R teacher at Steenberg Primary School. My daily tasks would include playing with the kids outside, assisting them doing their colour/numbers/writing work, helping them doing puzzles, play with blocks, tell them stories, or help with athletics. I had to cut fruits for them at the end of the day.
All the volunteers were always picked up from the accommodation to the school in the morning and then dropped home from the school at the end of their program by a driver working with the local team.
My room in the accommodation consisted of three bunk beds with three big closets. We were 4 to 6 girls in the room. The staff's room was right next to ours and the boys' room was in front of ours. The boy's room consisted of 3 bunk beds as well. We had a toilet for boys, and another for girls with western toilets and showers. The kitchen had many shelves and we were able to keep our food there in case we bought any.
On week days, three meals were included in our program fee. The food was mostly carbs oriented, but we were welcome to complement it with proteins or vegetables from the supermarket which is 5 min away by walk. Also, the people with specific diet requirements had their own food cooked for them. The food was enough for everyone.
A living room with three couches was right next to the rooms and was a great place to chill with other volunteers.
The local team was very nice and always greeting us with a smile. They knew each one of us and would always ask if we are happy.

This volunteering accommodation really felt like home for my two week stay.

Outside volunteering hours, the volunteers are welcome to enjoy the city and go sightseeing. Cape Town really has a endless list of touristic attractions!
From shark cage diving, to crocodile cage diving, to seal snorkeling, penguins, safaris, hikes... You won't stop touring! I even did skydiving and it was a lifetime experience. I personally hiked Elephant's Eye hike and Table Mountain and those two offer amazing landscape sceneries with hidden gems along the way. Also, the Muizenberg beach is just a 5 min walk (or even less depending on your accommodation), and it is one of the most recommended places to surf in South Africa!

If you get ever the chance to volunteer there with IVHQ, never miss this opportunity, it is a life changing experience!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Nour, it's amazing to see that you had a once in a lifetime experience on our South Africa program. We are pleased to hear that you were always greeted with a smile and felt the local team were nice! We hope to have you volunteer with us again in the future! Acacia - IVHQ Program Manager.

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Yes, I recommend this program

2 Weeks Teaching in Cape Town

I volunteered in the Teaching Program with IVHQ in Muizenberg, Cape Town, South Africa for 2 weeks with my girlfriend.

For the accommodation, I was placed with 4 other boys in the room where I had my own bed and closet space. A girls room was next to us and each of the boys and girls had separate bathrooms. Also a kitchen and common living room were available. On the weekdays, we were given 3 meals per day from breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The food was carbohydrate heavy and sufficient for the stay as enough food was available for everyone with specific diet requirements cooked accordingly upon request. The housekeeper was very polite as well. For a volunteering program, it was really more than you need and a great place to stay.

For the volunteering program, we were placed in Steenberg Primary School assisting a teacher with 30 Grade R kids. The kids were very cute and super fun as they are hyper all the time. We would help them with the class assignment, play with them in the playground, and assess them basic color matching and mathematics numbering exercises. The classroom had the basic amenities needed for the school year. We even left our mark with a painting on the classroom wall! It was an amazing experience and one that we will definitely go through again.

A driver from the program picked us up and dropped us off back to the accommodation every school day. He was usually always on time.

For the city, there are abundant activities to choose from. We were lucky to have done shark cage diving, a safari, and skydiving as main attractions. Other activities were hiking Table Mountain through the Skeleton Gorge trail, visiting the beautiful city of Cape Town and exploring it, surfing, visiting Boulders Beach where penguins are found and the most South Western point of the African continent in Cape of Good Hope as well as many other activities.

This experience is truly one that will be missed and I hope to have a similar one next time!

What would you improve about this program?
The Staff really emphasizes during orientation about the safety of the country but most volunteers just take it in as a joke. Showing real examples maybe would make volunteers more cautious.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Ralph, it is great to hear from you and that you really enjoyed your time in South Africa. It is always pleasing to hear that you got along with the children so well and took part on some awesome tourist activities! Thanks for volunteering with IVHQ! Acacia - IVHQ Program Manager.

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Juan Jose
Yes, I recommend this program

Literally just do it

I think having the opportunity of meeting the kids on the program and learn frome them is a privilege, and one of the best choices you’ll ever make on your life, their beautiful souls and their energy will get the best of you fore sure, I’m very thankful for that, to that add the chance to surf 5 days a week, leave and make friends frome all over the world, and been able to discover everything this great country has to offer.
What else can you ask for, if you’re spending half your day at the beach with the most amazing individuals, surfing, swinging, playing...
In this proyect I learned to value everything you do everyday, no matter how small it is, if it wakes you a little happy, you should be great full for it. Also the staff is carrying and thoughtful, and always willing to help you, and the town and it’s people are the moste warm and welcoming you’ll find.

What would you improve about this program?
Improve the administration system. Sometimes it feels like the staff keeps doing what they know and think is good for the program without looking for better ways of spending the money.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Juan, it is great to hear you enjoyed your time in South Africa soaking up the atmosphere, the people, and you are right - what is better than spending half your day at the beach! Thanks for the time you out in, it was appreciated by myself and the team. Claire - IVHQ Program Manager.

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Yes, I recommend this program

International Volunteer Headquarters (IVHQ)

My name is Bertram Scott. September 1, 2018 I landed in South Africa through the International Volunteer Headquarters (IVHQ) Program. I had signed up for the teaching program. I taught math primarily to third and six graders. These students come from poverty communities. They do speak English. I found the students to be resilient in spite of their living and community situation. This was a truly wonderful experience. Additionally, the accommodations and management was very good. Management was very good in responding to any needs we had. We stayed in Muizenberg, a suburb of Cape Town. It was very nice. Once I got to my assigned area I fell under the IVHQ umbrella of the Dreams To Reality management group. They were very professional and available 24/7 to respond to any needs I had. I got to know volunteers that came from all over the world, in the Volunteer House where we stayed. I enjoyed it a lot.
Lastly, South Africa is a beautiful country with beautiful people. I never felt like a foreigner. I was there until November 3rd (a little more than two months). I definitely want to go back again. I highly recommend a IVHQ Program selection to Cape Town, South Africa. The IVHQ Program people are prompt in responding to your questions. They are very professional and polite.

What would you improve about this program?
Provide heat in the Volunteer House in the Winter.
Yes, I recommend this program

SA Trip of a Lifetime

I cannot even begin to explain how happy I was during and after this trip I booked through IVHQ. Traveling to South Africa was the best, most life changing experience I've had to date. I was very unsure and nervous about traveling to a foreign country all by myself but after preparing and going through each step on IVHQ I felt a lot better. Upon arrival I was immediately greeted by 5 other girls in the program, all just as nervous as me but after just an hour we had become best friends. I met people on this trip that I will remember forever and made connections that are unforgettable. It was truly amazing to be able to work with disadvantaged children and really try and make a difference. It made me so happy to build relationships with the kids I worked with and I would not trade those memories for anything. I recommend IVHQ to all of my friends and family.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

It is great to hear that you enjoyed your time on the program, and felt supported and prepared! The local team loved having you take part and we hope to have you join another program in the future. Claire - IVHQ Program Manager.