Affordable Volunteer Programs in South Africa from US$250
94% Rating
(28 Reviews)

Affordable Volunteer Programs in South Africa from US$250

By International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ Reviewer Verified Badge   Reviews (28)   94% Rating

IVHQ offers highly affordable volunteer programs in Cape Town, South Africa. Projects are available in a variety of fields including teaching, surfing, computer technical support and sports development. Volunteering in South Africa is a great way to make an impact in largely impoverished communities, and learn about a variety of development issues in the process. Programs start on the first and third Monday and volunteers can choose to join the program for anywhere from 1 to 24 weeks with program fees starting at US$250 for 1 week.

Available Volunteer Projects with IVHQ in South Africa:

  • Teaching
  • Childcare
  • Computer Training
  • Sports Development
  • Surf Outreach

Highlights

  • Programs are available year-round in South Africa at affordable prices starting at US$250 for 1 week
  • The IVHQ South Africa program starts on the first and third Monday of every month and volunteers can join for 1 week up to 24 weeks.
  • Projects are based in the Capricorn/Vrygrond community in Muizenberg on the outskirts of Cape Town
  • South Africa program fees includes airport pick-up, orientation, program supervision, accommodation and meals during volunteer program period, in-country 24/7 volunteer support and in-country administration costs.
  • A special one week program is available for those after an introduction to South Africa and volunteering
  • Options for weekend travel are endless; volunteers can explore Cape Town, climb Table Mountain, explore coastal villages or go further afield for a safari.
  • Read the great reviews IVHQ alumni have left about their experiences in the South Africa, and visit the IVHQ website to start planning your trip!
Locations
Africa » South Africa » Cape Town
Length
1-2 Weeks
2-4 Weeks
1-3 Months
3-6 Months
Language
English
Housing
Hostel
Starting Price
$250.00
Currency
USD
Cost Description
South Africa program fees includes airport pick-up, orientation, program supervision, accommodation and meals during volunteer program period, in-country 24/7 volunteer support and in-country administration costs.

Program Reviews

  • Impact
    87%
  • Support
    86%
  • Fun
    89%
  • Value
    93%
  • Safety
    78%

Program Reviews (28)

Picture
Julie
Female
21 years old
Philadelphia

IVHQ South Africa

10/10

I did not know what to expect when I boarded my plane to Cape Town. The first day we had an orientation that gave all the volunteers extremely useful information about the program, the country, things to do for weekend travel, and more. Each volunteer got to say where they were from and a fun fact about themselves. This was a good opportunity for everyone to get to know one another better. We then had lunch and walked through Cape Town where we were given more useful information about city center and transportation. The team and all the volunteers then had dinner that evening and had more opportunities to get to know everyone.
The first day of our volunteer experience was better than expected. The team made sure each volunteer was comfortable with their placements. IVHQ South Africa has different projects you can chose from. I was on the teaching project, and got to work along side with a teacher teaching grade R. Each and everyone one of the kids had so much love to offer. I got to help them with their school work and help the teacher organize and get work done. All the kids were intelligent and had a lot of offer. In the two short weeks that I was there, I believe the kids have taught me more than I was able to teach them in a short amount of time. I really enjoyed my teaching program experience.
The volunteers had plenty of time for weekend travel and activities. The team helped us organize things to do. I was able to visit so many places around Cape Town and in South Africa including Cape Point, Boulders Beach, Table Mountain, and more. I even got a chance to take a safari and to bungy jump!
Some tips for future volunteers is to bring warm clothes. It can get windy and cold during the winter months. Another tip is to not over pack and to bring the important stuff like adaptors, vitamin C, cameras, a blanket, etc. If you're thinking about volunteering with IVHQ South Africa, do not hesitate. It's an experience of a life time!
My favorite part about the trip was meeting all the great people along the way. From IVHQ, to Dreams to Reality, to all the other volunteers, and people I met throughout the country, they were all so welcoming and humble. For me, it was all the great people who made the trip special. I would recommend this trip to my friends, family, and future volunteers!

Daniel
Male
26 years old
United States
Other

Beautiful Place, Beautiful People

9/10

I was extremely fortunate to spend 10 weeks in Cape Town volunteering with such an incredible organization. Dreams To Reality, a small, young organization making a big impact.

I was part of the Surf Outreach program working with ~20 kids aged 8-14. The obvious passion for the sport and the lifestyle by the kids and the surf instructor, Phila, made the importance of such a program is immediately clear. Not only is it a way to keep the kids attending program occupied and out of imminent dangers and troubles they inevitably face at home, but it is a healthy outlet for them to hone a skill and forge friendships. There was truly nothing better than seeing the kids show up every day excited and smiling to see you and to sense the appreciation they have for the encouragement and empowerment they receive from staff and volunteers alike.

The accommodations. The program and its volunteer housing is located in the surfers town of Muizenberg. It is in my opinion serene. Mountains meet plaines and the expanse ocean in false bay. You are a short walk from any of the houses to the beach and surfers corner, the area with grocery stores, restaurants, etc. Also a short walk or ride to a few hiking trails and nearby towns such as Kalk Bay.

Despite being enrolled in the surf program, I, as well as other volunteers had the opportunity to see they other functions of Dreams To Reality. I was permitted to attend the other programs, such as Child Care and Sports Development at a couple of local schools. This gave me the opportunity to see again just how much this organization means to the community. Enough cannot be said about the staff. While running a tight ship, they maintain personal connections with the volunteers and the kids in the community. I left feeling very much like family. Something I don't believe to be an experience unique to me.

I would 100% recommend this opportunity to anybody and 100% look forward to visiting again.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Daniel, Thanks for your beautiful review! It is awesome to hear that you looked forward to seeing the kids arrive each day and understood the impact that he Surf Outreach project has on these kids. It sounds like the South Africa program was ideal for you in regards to the amazing location, the volunteer work and the staff support. Thanks for your recommendation and for being an exceptional volunteer. Welcome to the IVHQ family!
Claire – IVHQ South Africa Program Manager

Eve-Marie
Female
21 years old
Canada
Université Laval

an amazing experience

10/10

I've wanted to do a volunteering trip for a long time. I looked on the internet for programs but most of them were really expensive and didn't seem trustworthy. I asked my friends for advice and IVHQ came up a lot. My friend Juliette and I looked at the list of places that we could go and we decided to go to South Africa in the childcare program. We were anxious before we arrived in SA, but as soon as we landed and saw that someone was waiting for us, we were reassured. We stayed in Royal house (one of the six houses) and we loved it! The houses are in Muizenberg, a city 30 minutes away from CapeTown. We were very comfortable and the staff was kind and caring.
We started the childcare program on Wednesday because Tuesday was a holiday in SA and we were there for 2 weeks which isn't enough in my opinion. The program is located in Capricorn, a township near CapeTown, in a childcare facility named Sunrise. As soon as we met the kids, we fell in love with the place. We also had a lot of fun with the other volunteers visiting CapeTown and Muizenberg. Everyone is very nice and welcoming and the child are charming. The kids were always calling us teacher, they were very cute. I would definitely recommend this program and I will do it again for sure, it's an experience of a lifetime !!!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Eve-Marie, We are so glad that you and Juliette chose to volunteer with IVHQ in South Africa. It is awesome to hear that you loved your time in Muizenberg and enjoyed your volunteer placement. Thanks for your recommendation and for trusting in our organization. We would love to have you join us again!
Claire – IVHQ South Africa Program Manager

Braden
Male
24 years old
Connecticut
University of Connecticut

10 Weeks of Wonderful

10/10

I stayed in South Africa for 10 weeks working with Dreams to Reality. A small group of individuals is running a really special program down there in Muizenberg. Renae, Angelo, Melissa, and Chrizelda made me feel at home which really allowed for interactions with the children to be so easy. A big shout out to them and everyone else working with Dreams to Reality that I did not mention.

I chose the sports development program and got placed at Christian Davids Primary. I was fortunate to work with "Uncle" Charles. This man is such a role model for the kids. He can relate to them, he encourages them, pushes them, and gets them involved as much as he can. You can tell it isn't a job for him; he does it out of love. In this program you would be interacting with the children throughout the entire schools day. You are basically running a physical education class with multiple classes a day and then running around with the children for interval (recess for the entire school). So you have to be active for this. The kids come to school with smiles on their faces everyday so excited to see the volunteers despite any struggles at home. It is extremely humbling and you will probably learn more from them than you can teach them.

Outside of program you can always find something to do. You can go on numerous scenic hikes, go surfing on the infamous Muizenberg beach, take trips to Kalk Bay for souvenirs or a bite to eat, or just hang out with the volunteers from around the world! You are really in a diverse setting and you should take advantage of it every day. Learn about apartheid and the struggles that this country is facing every day. Talk to locals of all "races" about how their lives were before and after apartheid. Learn from this experience and don't take any day for granted. You can survive on as little as $20 USD a week or really splurge with about $100 USD a week. Utilize the food that the program provides and you will save a TON of money if that is your concern.

Overall I would highly recommend coming to this country and working with this wonderful team. I cannot wait to visit them in the future and tell them how greatful I am for that opportunity.

How can this program be improved?

The program that I chose is pretty great. The only improvements would maybe be asking some volunteers for some new game ideas for some of the older kids. But if you are volunteering you should voice your opinion and get involved as much as you can. They are open to ideas when you speak up about them.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Braden, Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and recommendations from your time on the Sports development project in South Africa. It is awesome to hear about “Uncle Charles” and the support and encouragement he provides to the children, as well as the way the volunteers assist in this project. We have loved having you as an IVHQ volunteer and we hope you are able to join us again in the future.
Claire – IVHQ South Africa Program Manager

Janet

An enjoyable and rewarding experience!! Highly recommended :)

10/10

Volunteering abroad was something I've always wanted to do and I am glad that I choose IVHQ as the provider of this opportunity. The experience was nothing short of amazing. It has changed my life forever in so many ways!

From the time of registration and throughout my program IVHQ was helpful. The program booklets received are full of very useful information about the country, culture and languages as well as the things to do, things to be cautious of, and things to bring with you.
Not to mention that throughout the program I received regular emails from the program coordinator (Claire Chambers) making sure that I was happy, safe and comfortable.
IVHQ definitely goes the extra mile to ensure that not only the organization is getting what it needs from the volunteers, but that the volunteers are enjoying the experience as well.

IVHQ works with a local South African organization called DTR (Dreams to Reality).
They are based out of Muizenberg South Africa which is also the city that you stay in for the duration of your program. Muizenberg is a beautiful city with many things to do and so many places to explore. It is reasonably safe as long as you remember that you are in a foreign country and the safety guidelines provided to you in your booklets and in your orientation with DTR are important then you will be able to enjoy everything it has to offer.
The staff at DTR are very welcoming, they make sure that you have everything you need and go out of their way to ensure that you are safe and comfortable as well. The houses are always clean, the fridges packed with healthy snacks and they are more than accommodating with any dietary needs. Angelo and Renae along with the other staff members are always available and not only care about the volunteers in the program but they genuinely care about the children and families that they are working with.

I did my volunteering at "Daylight Educare" which is a small daycare center in Capricorn. It is run by an amazing and kind woman (Mary) and her niece Nicole. The children at this center are absolutely beautiful inside and out, they have so much to offer and so much love to give. It was a heartwarming experience that will stay with me forever and I hope to someday return.

In short, I'd recommend IVHQ South Africa (DTR) to anyone that is looking for an affordable volunteer experience that they will never forget in country that is has so much to offer. South Africa and the children at Daylight Educare definitely stole a piece of my heart. It was fulfilling the "travel bug" in me and satisfying to the soul as well!! :)

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Janet, Thanks for sharing this beautiful and in-depth review. We are stoked to hear that your experience in South Africa was life changing, amazing and “satisfying to the soul”! You have been an awesome volunteer and we would love to have you join us again in the future.
Claire – IVHQ South Africa Program Manager

Andrea
Female
USA
University of California- Berkeley

3 Weeks in ZA Surf Program

10/10

Volunteering with IVHQ was one of the best experiences of my life. Being with the kids changed my life, they just have so much love to give! Go in with an open mind and you will get so much more than you ever imagined. The volunteers and staff become family, and you will definitely leave your heart in ZA.

IVHQ also did a great job at helping me feel safe and comfortable traveling to a new country by myself. I definitely would travel with them again!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Andrea, We are stoked to hear that volunteering with IVHQ was one of the best experiences of your life! Thanks for offering great advice to future volunteers and for sharing your photos - those views from Muizenberg Mountain are spectacular! We would love to have you join us again in the future.
Claire – IVHQ South Africa Program Manager

Caroline
Female
24 years old
Brazil
Other

A month in Cape Town

10/10

I had such an amazing time in Muizenberg, Cape Town, thanks to you and DTR staff.
The teaching program helped me as a human being because I could learn a lot from the kids. Above all, they need love and someone to be their friend, to listen to them and hug when they are not feeling well. Someone to understand that no matter their family background or the violence in the community they live, those kids have dreams and they want someone to believe them and encourage them to accomplish all their goals.
I grew as a teacher as well. Teaching English and helping around with Math and motor skills activities for 40 kids was a huge step out of my comfort zone. Ms. Goodwin, grade 2 teacher, was giving me support all the time and taught me great lessons about how to get the children's attention, value their skills and also some Afrikaan!
I was lucky to have a great teacher who encouraged me every day I spent with her and gave me a great support. As a teacher back home, I enjoyed it a lot. I recommend this program to those who already think of being teachers and really like kids. There is no specific training for teaching volunteers at school, you help the way you feel better and according to the teacher's needs. Ms. Goodwin and I became good friends and discussed about the best way for me to help her, she decided it would be better if I taught them English, that's what I did and it was a pleasure.
The accommodation was good. We had a great house with hot water, good food, a super fun house manager. Although there is no TV or internet connection, the environment helped us get connected to each other in a great familiar way.
Leaving was hard to me. I wish I could stay longer, or even get a job and actually work at Christian David Primary. After all those incredible moments I lived in South Africa, I am sure this was only the beginning of a volunteering life.

How can this program be improved?

A good training for the volunteers, like the one they have on the surf program, would help a lot on the teaching program. I'm not sure if they can train volunteers to be teacher, but get to know them and theirs skills is a good way to understand how they can help guide their work in the classroom.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Caroline, Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts from your time teaching in South Africa. It is really awesome to hear about your teaching placement specifically, and how you were supported and encouraged by the knowledgeable Ms. Goodwin. It has been awesome to have you as an IVHQ volunteer and we would love to have you join us again in the future.
Claire – IVHQ South Africa Program Manager

Katie
Female
20 years old
Wilmington, DE
Fordham University

More than the Waves--Dreams to Reality Surf Outreach

10/10

I volunteered for two weeks in the Surf Outreach program. It was the most amazing two weeks of my life, and my only regret was that I couldn't stay longer. Volunteers live in Muizenberg, a famous beach town located about 30 mins from City Bowl known for its waves and surf culture. The location itself was incredible with Muizenberg Mt. in the background (perfect for hiking up for sunrise/sunset before/after program) and plenty of shops and restaurants along the beach front. From day one I was amazed by how loving and welcoming the kids were and looked forward to seeing them every day. The Surf program was unique and unlike any program I'd seen before. It was more time consuming than the other programs, meeting in both the morning and afternoon, yet I loved every moment of it. The lessons with other volunteers helped foster friendship and camaraderie among us and I think the kids really vibed off of it. Even though it was difficult at times to learn how to surf, it was completely worth it to see the look of joy on the kids faces when you can ride in with them, race, or just talk with them while waiting for the next wave to come in. Learning how to do something they love is the first step to open a dialogue and achieve a deeper level of understanding with them. After program and on weekends there's plenty to do with other volunteers in Muizenberg, City Bowl, and outside of the city. Even though I was only there for two weeks, I managed to squeeze in top attractions and even go on a two day safari. This was truly the adventure of a lifetime. Saying goodbye to the other volunteers, and especially the kids, was one of the hardest things, but I wouldn't trade this experience in for anything.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Katie, What an awesome review! It is beautiful to hear that you looked forward to seeing the kids each day and loved every moment of the Surf Outreach project. It sounds like you really understood what the project was about in terms of connecting with the kids. Thanks being a great volunteer and we would love to have you back one day.
Claire – IVHQ South Africa Program Manager

Hailey
Female
21 years old
Torrington
University of Connecticut

Amazing Surf Outreach Program

10/10

I participated in IVHQ's 2 week surf outreach program. My only regret is not staying longer. From the beginning of the process when I registered, I was impressed by how well put together the whole program was. They make everything as easy as it possibly can be.

The volunteer house I stayed at was clean and simple, and I lived with 10-15 other volunteers during my time there. It was fantastic to meet people from all over the world. The food that they provide is simple but good, and if you come from the US, the exchange rate is extremely favorable so meals average at about $4 USD for a good one.

The program itself is the best part. I am an experienced swimmer but had never surfed before. The surf instructor did a great job with teaching, and Muizenberg is a great area to learn at. The kids are fantastic and it was great getting to know them.

The value of the program was incredible and I highly recommend it.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Hailey, Thanks for sharing this excellent and informative review from your time in South Africa. We are so stoked to hear that we made the process easy for you – that is what we are here for! It is great that you were joined by other fantastic volunteers and enjoyed your volunteer placement. Thanks for being an awesome IVHQ volunteer and we would love to have you join us again in the future!
Claire – IVHQ South Africa Program Manger

Laura
Female
21 years old
Inishcrone, Ireland

Childcare Program - IVHQ South Africa

9/10

This was truly the best thing I have every done. I am home about a month now and I have never felt so lost. I miss all my babies, the teachers, the other volunteers and the workers over there and I will not be satisfied until the day I can go back!! I gained the best relationships and the best experience while I was in South Africa. It truly felt like a home away from home. I was appreciated and warmly welcomed there, not only by the children but by everyone else too. I went over with four of my friends from college and we have some the best stories. We shared the good times and the bad times together. We had so much fun but it really was an eye opener for us all and we are all much better people after it. Working in the daycare centre and seeing how the people live in the township helped me to realise how lucky I am to have a family, friends and an education. It made me appreciate things so much more and it also helped me to realise that with a little bit of guidance and good role models that anyone is capable of turning their lives around. If my intervention helped just one of those children out of a school of three hundred children plus or if I inspired one of those teachers to make a change then that is enough for me. I went there with the intention of changing they're lives, little did I know they were going to change mine.

How can this program be improved?

It is great but maybe if there was more support or checkups on the volunteers or meetings at the end of each week that would help because I know that some people felt useless at times.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Laura, Thanks for your great review. We are so happy to hear that you gained great experiences, close relationships and life lessons while on the program in South Africa. What an incredible experience to share with friends from home -you will all be able to treasure and share the memories together. Thanks for being a great IVHQ volunteer and we would love to have you back!
Claire – IVHQ South Africa Program Manager

Jordyn
Female
19 years old
Camperdown

South Africa Teaching Program

10/10

As a first time traveller this was the perfect way to kick off my travel experiences. The staff of both IVHQ and DTR were supportive through every process and I would recommend this trip to anybody looking to help and have an adventure at the same time. The kids I worked with are incredible and I felt like I made a difference. You are well looked after both before you leave and whilst in the country and it really is a life changing experience. The programs are well planned and I felt useful the whole time.

How can this program be improved?

More information on the level of safety before getting to SA but they tell you about that at orientation so it's okay.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Jordyn, Thanks for sharing! We are so glad to hear that this was the perfect way to kick off your travel experience. It is really important to feel useful while volunteering and we are stoked this was the case for you. Thanks for being an IVHQer!
Claire - IVHQ South Africa Program Manager

Jamie
Female
20 years old
Kailua, Hawai'i
University of London

Life Begins Outside Your Comfort Zone

10/10

Dear rad perspective volunteers,

To be honest, I was a little hesitant about going at first. I applied for the program one month before, but wasn't sure if I was going to go through with it. Traveling alone can be scary. I went to Bali for summer holiday and actually had a plane ticket back home to Hawai'i. Five days before I was supposed to go home, I canceled my ticket, bought a roundtrip ticket to Cape Town, and, I kid you not, emailed my parents saying "Hi mom & dad, going to volunteer in South Africa for 2 weeks, see you soon!" And of my 20 years of living, it was by far the best decision of my life!

I took a crazy leap of faith and ended up going on an adventure of a lifetime! My volunteer house was filled with 22 amazing people from all around the world, who share the same free spirit adventurous soul as me. We became a family. Today, we have an active group chat. Many of us have visited each other, some are coming to stay with me for Christmas, and we are all planning on doing another IVHQ trip this summer. Out of luck, my randomly picked roommates are now some of my best friends. One of them even became my roommate in real life!

You fall in love with these kids. They are the most genuine, funny, and happy children. You don't realize how attached you get to them. They touch your heart. I got to wake up every day and surf with these amazing children....what's more can you ask for? In the end, they were the teachers. They taught me to find the beauty in the little things in life. They were the ones inspiring me. I was the happiest I've ever been when I was with these kids.

In two weeks, I bungee jumped off the highest commercial bridge in the world, hiked one of the seven new natural wonders of the world, took a selfie with a zebra, went cave climbing, went on a safari, went to the most south-western point of the African continent and so much more. South Africa has my heart! It's my favorite place on this planet. If you ever get an opportunity like this TAKE IT! Because you might just make memories that will last a lifetime and meet the best people in the world.

Love,
Someone who really recommends you going on this

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Jamie, Wow! What a review! We are so happy to hear of your epic and spontaneous journey to South Africa - thanks for taking a crazy leap of faith. It sounds like your volunteer work was rewarding and inspiring, and your free time was totally action packed. It is fantastic that you are planning on volunteering with us again as a group and have stayed such close friends with the other volunteers. Thanks again for your kind words and recommendation. We can’t wait to have you back with IVHQ.

Ellyn
Female
26 years old
Boston, MA
University of Montana- Missoula

Six months in South Africa

10/10

I had the pleasure of living in South Africa for 6 months back in 2015. The experience was unlike any other. I was immersed into a culture that I fell deeply in love with. Over those 6 months I learned a lot about myself and I'm so deeply grateful for that. Obviously I have tons of stories that I wish I could share all of them, but that would require me writing a novel! One of the stories that sticks out the most to me was my second to last day in South Africa. I had the privilege of being invited to one of the families homes in Capricorn Township. I became incredibly close with a group of kids from school and was invited into their home. To be in their territory and see the way the live was so empowering. Every single day these kids show up with a huge smile on their face and are grateful for the new day they're given. That moment I realized how incredibly lucky I was for what I was given in life and stopped worrying about the petty things in life. Over those 6 months those kids taught me life lessons and impacted my life more than they know. Walking away from that trip was one of the hardest things I had to do. You don't expect to get attached to the kids and form amazing friendships along the way. I left South Africa a different person and I'm so grateful for the way this trip shaped me as a person. I am extremely fortunate to be returning to South Africa in January 2017 to be reunited with my kids and my second home.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Ellyn, Thanks for sharing your beautiful story. Committing to a 6 month program is a big decision and we are so grateful to have had you join us in South Africa. Thanks for being an IVHQer and we can’t wait to have you back.

Olivia
Female
20 years old
Vancouver, BC

An Incredible 3 Weeks

9/10

To all anxious, first-time volunteers,

It's hard to pinpoint what made me choose South Africa. As a Canadian student who had never traveled solo before in her life, it seemed like the most unlikely place for me to choose. I didn't know anyone there and, to be frank, I'd never even given the country a second thought. My family thought I was insane to traveling to a place two whole continents away. As the rebellious person that I am, I ignored their nagging and dove into what seemed like an endless number of forms that needed submitting and bags that had to be packed. Caught up in the excitement of it all, I felt like I was in a dream; as if I were about to wake up from it at any second. None of this was actually going to happen, right? It wasn't until I found myself sitting on the plane with a cram-packed backpack on my lap that I began to feel the reality of it all. Yes, I know this sounds all cliche, but bear with me. I'm not lying when I say that I felt utterly alone on that journey over. It was a brutal 32 and a half hours and the last 12 were accompanied by full out panic attacks. It even got to the point where I was seriously considering not boarding the plane. Well, I am extremely and ecstatically pleased to tell you that I did not go along with that plan. Yes, that's right, not me. I made it to Cape Town (and eventually Langebaan) all in one piece, and as a result I had one of the most memorable three weeks of my life.

It's impossible for me to tell you about everything that happened during the time I spent on the Conservation program. All I can say is that I got to experience cultures and adventures that I never even knew existed. Some of them were amazing; none of them were terrible. Everyone staying at the volunteer house was very friendly and we all became involved in some really neat projects. I'd have to say that one of my main highlights took place at the Langebaan Primary School, teaching all the sweet, energetic kids about local conservation issues and fixing up their library. Working out in the field was also incredible and resulted in many beautiful photos (if you're a sucker for sunsets, this is the place to be). The weekends were also filled with many opportunities to explore and climbing Table Mountain was one of the best. The photos truly do not do it justice.

So even though you may be feeling nervous about taking off on a volunteer trip for the first time (like I did), I'm telling you that it will definitely be worth it in the end. South Africa is an incredible place and you'll only regret it if you pass up this chance to experience it. That being said, bon voyage!

How can this program be improved?

The only issue I had was the fact that I was not told that I would be the very first volunteer on the program. I don't think that it would have changed my mind about registering, but it would have been nice to know.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Olivia, thanks so much for being the first volunteer to post a review of our South Africa Conservation project! We are also extremely pleased that you boarded the plane and made it to Cape Town. It sounds like you had an incredible, memorable and adventurous time – and those sunsets!! Thanks for being and IVHQer and we would love to have you volunteer with us again in the future.

Jessica
Female
19 years old
NYC

2 Weeks in SA

10/10

My biggest regret was only staying for two weeks. I had the time of my life in South Africa and I would definitely recommend for everyone to stay at least four weeks to get the entire feel. The kids were by far the highlight of the entire trip. Seeing them every morning is sure to put you in a good mood despite if you're a morning person or not. These kids come from such harsh backgrounds, but they don't let that get in the way of their happiness at school. They were all such sweet, genuine kids and I wish I was able to spend a longer time there.

The other volunteers were all amazing to work and live with. I came into this all by myself, but left after just two weeks with friends from all different parts of the world. For the most part, everyone is there for the same reason, to make a difference and change these kids lives.

I would 100% recommend this program for anyone who is looking to volunteer in South Africa. I had such an amazing time and I will definitely be back volunteering with IVHQ.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Jessica, We are so glad to hear that you had such a great time in South Africa! Thanks for being a wonderful volunteer by immersing yourself in the volunteer work and making meaningful connection with the other volunteers. We would love to have you volunteer with IVHQ again in the future!

Aundrea
Female
21 years old
Oxford

6 Weeks in SA

8/10

The best part of the trip was definitely the time that I spent with the kids. There was truly nothing better than walking into class day after day and having the kids run up to me yelling "Teacher Aundrea!" with huge smiles on their faces ready to give me my morning hugs and kisses. The kids all come from such tough backgrounds and sometimes their stories are heartbreaking to listen to, but it only makes the immense love they have even more amazing. 10/10 would definitely go back for the kids.

To future volunteers, I would definitely recommend that you take it upon yourself to make this trip special. Love the children with every ounce of your being and make them your number one priority. Make it a point to take them out after school or on the weekends. If you see a need for something and you want to fix it, then do it. I did all of these things, and when my last day came, I still wished that I could of done more.

How can this program be improved?

Definitely wish that the volunteers that sign up for childcare could have more time at their placement, or something specific to do in the afternoon. There was almost too much free time to an extent and it always led to spending money. Also, DTR should talk to volunteers about where their fees go as far as how it helps the schools/daycares/community. There are many sketchy stories floating around about DTR not using their money to actually better the community.

Eli
Male
20 years old
Harrisonburg
Virginia Tech

My trip abroad

10/10

There's no one good story that could wrap up my entire trip. There are so many I could tell; playing with kids on the playground, socializing with other volunteers, and exploring an entirely new country were only just a few of the incredible things that this journey has to offer. My one regret is not staying longer. The program was very organized, and I never once felt like I was in danger. 10/10 recommend for anyone who has a soft spot for children and an adventurous attitude.

How can this program be improved?

The only thing that I would improve is to ask for the criminal background check before the volunteer lands in the country. My record was clean, but I would like to be certain that those around me also have clean records before going & sharing a house with them. Other than that, everything was great!

Runa
Female
21 years old
Hamburg, Germany

IVHQ South Africa - 8 weeks

10/10

The two months I have spent in South Africa with IVHQ were one of the best times of my life. I had the opportunity to meet so many open minded, friendly people from all over the world, which broadened my horizon and helped me to know what I want to do when I get back home.

The highlight of my trip was definitely the work with the kids. Even though they come from disadvantaged backgrounds, they are so welcoming and loveable. I will never forget how they ran up to me every morning when I entered the classroom, screaming “Teacher, teacher!” and then all came up to hug me. It was so sad in the end to leave them. I would highly recommend doing the Childcare program, because it is so rewarding and if you give the kids some attention, they are so happy and they smile at you, which fulfills your heart.

Living in Muizenberg was really nice, the houses were very clean and totally fitting for the cause, the staff was really welcoming and they always cared about us and offered their help, if we had any problem. The beach is very close and there is also everything else you need: a big supermarket, a pharmacy, some shops, cafes, bars, restaurants…

Furthermore I did so many great things in Cape Town, because there is so much you can do there! You should definitely put the following things on your bucket list:
1. Watch the sunrise from the top of Lions Head
(That was definitely one of my highlights!)
2. Enjoy the sunset in Camps Bay, which is unbelievable beautiful too
3. Go on a tour to Cape Point, the most southwestern tip of Africa
4. Hike up Table Mountain
5. Get close with penguins in Seaforth and Boulders Beach
6. Go to the Cape Point Vineyards for sunset
and experience the amazing food markets
7. Watch a movie in the open air cinema in
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
8. Go shopping in V&A Waterfront in a beautiful atmosphere
9. Visit the colorful houses in Bo Kaap
10. Feed a seal in Hout Bay
and take a boat trip to the Seal Island there
and you can do so many more things!

So if you have any doubts, just go there, you definitely won’t regret it! :-)

Austin
Male
20 years old
Chicago illinois
Other

Wow what an experience

9/10

My name is Austin fuller and I traveled to South Africa through IVHQ for six weeks. This trip was really a life changing experience for me. Not only can I say I walked away from this trip changing people's lives but I can say I walked away from this trip with my own life being changed. This trip helped me find my true love and passion. I met some friends that I will have forever and met some locals that really opened my eyes to the beauty of this world and the people in it. Most importantly I met the most amazing, kind hearted, talented children. These kids made such an impact on me I even decided to get their school crest tattooed on my arm. There was never a dull moment and I wouldn't have changed a second of this trip. The town is beautiful and there's so much to do! The food is amazing and the people are just fantastic. Four days in I was already calling my parents asking to extend my trip because I realized just how special this place was. It really was a second home for me and I couldn't be more excited to return in August of this year! I would definitely recommend this trip for anyone who is searching for a heart warming or life changing experience.

How can this program be improved?

If I had to change one thing I think I would enjoy there to be some weekend opportunities to see the kids and really show them a good time with positive role models because they really need that.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Austin, It’s nice to hear from you! It's great to hear you had such a life changing experience volunteering in Muizenberg. Thanks for sharing a few photos from your time in South Africa as well. It's great to have you as an IVHQer and we hope to welcome you on another IVHQ program again in the future.

Trinity
Female
22 years old
Hugo, Colorado
University of Colorado- Colorado Springs

5 Weeks in South Africa

9/10

As this was my first time out of the country by myself I didn't know what to expect. I was leaving behind my 2 year old little brother at home and going to Africa to care for children the same age. After my first few days the babies had gotten used to me and would run and cling to my legs when I walked in everyday. It was the BEST feeling in the world! We spent all day cuddling and playing! I taught the babies how to play Ring Around the Rosie and they loved it!

How can this program be improved?

I really had to adjust to the differences in safety in Muizenberg compared to that in the United States. I was not living in a house with a locked fence or security guard, which worried me. I think this is the only thing I would really like to change about my South Africa experience.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Trinity, Thanks for sharing a little about your experience and a few photos. It sounds like you had a really memorable time on your placement in South Africa which is great to hear. I’m sure your time abroad will make you an even better big sister :) Thanks for being an IVHQer!

About The Provider

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IVHQ (International Volunteer HQ) provides safe, unique, meaningful and extremely affordable volunteer programs in 35+ countries around the world, with a constantly expanding base. Programs are available in Asia, Africa, Europe, Central America, South America and the Pacific, where IVHQ works alongside local NGOs to

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