Most Affordable & Trusted Volunteer Programs in South Africa

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About

Trusted by 90,000+ volunteers, IVHQ offers the most popular volunteer programs in Cape Town and 40+ other destinations around the world.

You can choose from 5 volunteer project options in South Africa 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 other like-minded, impact-focused travelers from around the world.

IVHQ is trusted to support the meaningful adventures of thousands of volunteers every year, so before you even depart for South Africa, you’ll receive outstanding personalized service from your expert Volunteer Program Manager 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.

Available Volunteer Projects with IVHQ in South Africa:

  • Teaching
  • Childcare
  • Computer Training
  • Sports Development
  • Surf Outreach
Highlights
  • 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 - 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 90,000+ 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

Questions & Answers

Reviews

96%
based on 51 reviews
  • Impact 9.1
  • Support 9.1
  • Fun 9.3
  • Value 9.5
  • Safety 8.5
Showing 16 - 30 of 51
Michelle
10/10

Spent 2 weeks in Cape Town doing the childcare program

I volunteered in Cape Town doing the childcare program for 2 weeks and it was amazing. I wish I could’ve stayed longer, but unfortunately I couldn’t take any more time off school. Arriving at the daycare every morning and seeing how happy the kids were to see me was such an amazing feeling!! They were the cutest and always had something they wanted to tell me. They were the best part of the day and I miss them so much.
I’m really glad I chose IVHQ to travel with. They had so many projects and so many destinations to choose from at such affordable prices compared to other volunteer companies. The staff at my placement were also so nice and welcoming. I met some really cool people as well. I would love to volunteer with IVHQ again in the future, and will definitely stay longer because 2 weeks wasn’t enough!

How can this program be improved?
The only thing I can think of is providing more updated information during orientation. Some things we were told weren’t true or didn’t apply anymore.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Thanks for taking the time to complete the review Michelle! We would have loved to have you for longer but I am sure that you got as much out of the 2 weeks as you could, and the time you put in was appreciated by the local team, local staff, and the children. ^Claire - IVHQ South Africa Program Manager

Yes, I recommend this program
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Ash
10/10

Unique volunteer experience

Loved my trip to Madagascar!! Was so cool to hang with like minded people on a beautiful tiny Madagascar island while working hard to make a difference! Was really special to have 3 different programs staying at the one camp! Loved chatting to other people about what they got up to each day! Work was hard but rewarding and we got plenty of down time to rest, socialize and enjoy the island of nosy komba! The staff were cool and friendly and the wildlife was amazing! Would 100% do the exact same program again!

How can this program be improved?
Wish there was more variety in food! Expecialy for people with dietary requirments
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Ash, Thanks for taking the time to submit your review. It is great to hear that you enjoyed your time volunteering while travelling, and enjoyed the social aspect of camp, and island life! Both myself and the local team would love to have you back anytime. ^Claire - IVHQ Madagascar Program Manager

Yes, I recommend this program
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Charlotte
10/10

South Africa

This was my first volunteer opportunity out of the country & I was scared but IVHQ put me at ease & basically provided everything I needed to feel comfortable safe & at ease in a new surrounding. They thought of everything & I can't wait to do it again next year God willing. Taking care of the kids for 2 weeks I fell in love with them & it gave me a new outlook on life. For me this was what life is all about giving & being in service & Pure True Love

How can this program be improved?
It's perfect!
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Thanks for your kind words Charlotte, we are so happy to hear that you enjoyed your first volunteer abroad experience, and look forward to having you join another program in the future.
Claire - IVHQ South Africa Program Manager

Yes, I recommend this program
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Maura
10/10

IVHQ Victoria Falls - Exceeded All Expectations

I did this IVHQ Victoria Falls program as a semi-vacation from work and was expecting to have a relaxing, yet physically demanding experience at Nakavango - just a restful break from work. I thought 2 weeks was nowhere near enough time to truly connect with the local team and country - but I was wrong! I ended up connecting incredibly well with the reserve manager and gained a real understanding of the local people's conflicts with wildlife, and how that intertwines with national and international politics, trade, and economics. It was absolutely fascinating and the volunteering itself was incredibly rewarding. If felt amazing to be outside all day with such wonderful people and to be contributing my small part to the overall project. I studied environmental policy in college and work now for an environmental NGO, so this program was right up my alley and is a perfect jumping point for anyone interested in environmental justice, land/wildlife, and international relations issues. The animals are pretty spectacular as well!

How can this program be improved?
Better orientation when you arrive - there is a bit of a learning curve! But you figure it all out after two weeks.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Thanks for sharing your awesome review! It is great that you were able to learn from the wealth of knowledge that the local team have, and I know the local team enjoyed teaching you, as much as you enjoyed learning.
IVHq Victoria Falls Program Manager

Yes, I recommend this program
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Hannah
10/10

Trip of a lifetime

My trip to South Africa was the best 2 weeks of my life! Volunteering with the kids was so amazing and I loved each of them so much. I would recommend this trip to anyone with the desire to travel. My favorite memory was hiking table mountain. The hike was fun and the view was breathtaking. My favorite part of each day way waking up and going to help with the kids. The staff was so sweet and helpful. I also enjoyed going out at night. The night life was very fun and the citizens of South Africa are extremely friendly and fun people.

How can this program be improved?
Nothing needed to be improved
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Thanks for your review Hannah, it is great to hear that you enjoyed waking up each morning to spend time with the children, and also had the opportunity to explore Cape Town. It is an amazing place with so much to offer.
Claire - IVHQ South Africa Program Manager

Yes, I recommend this program
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Destiny
10/10

Best experience ever

This was by far the most amazing experience of my life. It was super easy to make friends with the other volunteers and by the end of it I made lifelong friends and was sobbing when I had to leave it felt like such a family. I did 4 weeks childcare and extended for one more week and did surf program, the kids were amazing and everyday I looked forward to getting up at 630 to make it there because they were so filled with love. It was definetly the hardest goodbye. The surf program was amazing and I wish I had knew about it earlier because I would have stayed another month, surfing all day was the coolest thing ever. Capetown and muizenburg were so beautiful and offered so much, I miss everything so much and I know I will be back. Best program ever. You won't regret it.

How can this program be improved?
Absolutely nothing it was awesome.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Thanks for your review Destiny! It is great to hear that you have made some new life long friends, and to hear that enthusiasm you had for the children and the work. We look forward to having you return, and nail those surf skills!
Claire - IVHQ South Africa Program Manager

Yes, I recommend this program
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Annie
9/10

My Cape Town Experience

I absolutely loved my time spent in Cape Town with DTR through IVHQ. Although I only spent two weeks, I felt as if I grew so incredibly close with my fellow volunteers as well as the kids I worked with every day. The experience truly gave me more of an open mind and made me thankful for all of the privileges I have here at home, and this has driven me to want to return so bad. The kids really filled my heart with so much joy and love and I could tell that I was doing the same for them, it was moving. If I were to return, I'd want to stay longer, as well as pack more accordingly to weather. My favorite memory was either my safari trip, or simply playing with the kids outside on nice afternoons.

How can this program be improved?
Possibly more organization with our placements and instructions of what we are supposed to incorporate with what we do with the kids.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Annie, Thanks for sharing! We are so glad to hear that you loved your 2 weeks in South Africa and we would love to have you return in the future.
Claire – IVHQ South Africa Program Manager

Yes, I recommend this program
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Jonathan
10/10

Life Changing

I've always dreamed of a trip to Africa, never did I expect it to be so rewarding. Wildlife has been a passion of mine since birth and on top of that African wildlife seemed to be the crown jewel. Being able to come work with a program where I can not only support wildlife, but see for the first time what I've been missing my entire life; while still contributing efforts to help wildlife and protect the lands so these amazing creatures may flourish. The connection I felt with this place made it feel I was leaving home, what's meant to be my home; and returning back to just where I live when my 4 weeks were over. I look forward to going back next year! In the beginning I had thought I wanted to travel everywhere, now all I want to do is travel back to Nakavango in Victoria Falls.

How can this program be improved?
Not one single complaint. Absolutely perfect program.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Jonathan, Thanks for your awesome review of the Victoria Falls program! We are so glad to hear that you had a rewarding experience and we can’t wait to have you back next year!
Claire – IVHQ Victoria Falls Program Manager

Yes, I recommend this program
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Julie
10/10

IVHQ South Africa

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!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Julie, Thanks for your great review. We are so happy to hear that you had an inspiring volunteer experience, explored the beautiful sites around Cape Town, and made close friendships while on the program in South Africa. Thanks for sharing your awesome video and for being a great IVHQ volunteer, we would love to have you back!
Claire – IVHQ South Africa Program Manager

Yes, I recommend this program
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Daniel
9/10

Beautiful Place, Beautiful People

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

Yes, I recommend this program
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Eve-Marie
10/10

an amazing experience

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

Yes, I recommend this program
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Braden
10/10

10 Weeks of Wonderful

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

Yes, I recommend this program
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Janet
10/10

An enjoyable and rewarding experience!! Highly recommended :)

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

Yes, I recommend this program
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Andrea
10/10

3 Weeks in ZA Surf Program

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

Yes, I recommend this program
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Caroline
10/10

A month in Cape Town

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

Yes, I recommend this program

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About International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

IVHQ is the world’s most trusted and affordable volunteer abroad organization, offering the largest range of safe and impactful volunteer programs in 40+ destinations around the world.

Over 80,000 travelers have volunteered abroad with IVHQ over the...