Most Affordable & Trusted Volunteer Programs in South Africa with IVHQ

Video and Photos

This is Curtis
This is Curtis
This is Curtis
This is Curtis
This is Curtis
This is Curtis
Black rhinos
Black rhinos
Elephants
Elephants
Lion
Lion
Surfing
Surfing
Surfing
Surfing

About

Trusted by 110,000+ volunteers, IVHQ offers the most popular volunteer 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 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.

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 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 110,000+ 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

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 Sport 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.

Reviews

97%
based on 58 reviews
  • Impact 9.1
  • Support 9.1
  • Fun 9.4
  • Value 9.5
  • Safety 8.6
Showing 46 - 58 of 58
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Aundrea
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

6 Weeks in SA

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
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Eli
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My trip abroad

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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!
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Runa
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

IVHQ South Africa - 8 weeks

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! :-)

IVHQ Volunteer with children in Africa
Austin
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Wow what an experience

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.

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Trinity
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

5 Weeks in South Africa

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!

What would you improve about this program?
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!

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Pedro
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Marvelous Experience in South Africa!

This is definitely a life changing experience after I joined the IVHQ volunteer program in South Africa as I participated in the Sports Development program. The most memorable moments were when the very first time I step into the school, I was surrounded by lots of kids as some boys jumped on my back hugging me, and cute girls holding my hands as I am part of them.

Most of them called me Jackie Chan as I have no idea why, probably because I am the only Asian and have a well built body? They were also very curious see my tattoos on my arms and shoulders.

One thing I learned from those kids is that, whatever they've been through, they give happiness and a big smile to people like us (the fortunate) and we have to appreciate whatever we have and who we are.

This journey definitely opened my eyes towards society and the world, giving positivity and great vibes around, to help those who needs it.

What would you improve about this program?
More protein meals to include in the daily program :)
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hey Pedro, Thanks for volunteering with IVHQ in South Africa. It sounds like you had a really special experience and we are glad we were able to provide this for you. Great photos! We hope to have you on another IVHQ program again in the future.

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Siobhan
7/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Learning to surf (more than just waves)

The kids you get to work with will change your life. They are beautiful, so resilient and will teach you oh so much. I was in the Surf Outreach Program, so I got to surf everyday, hang out with the kids after school, and also help out in the schools once in a while. I built some amazing relationships with the kids and community members, however, working with Dreams to Reality, IVHQ's local partner, was probably the worst part of my experience

However, Dreams to Reality as an organization is very lacking. They did not provide proper security to the volunteers, were anything but transparent about where our fees were going, and very difficult to work with.

I will be returning to Muizenberg to see the kids that I worked with and visit this beautiful place, however, I would never work with DTR again. DTR showed me the bad side of 'voluntourism' and I would not want to support them again.

My suggestion would be to look into other organizations in Muizenberg, as the place and the people contain so much beauty. (ALSO S/O to David Kennedy - the best adventure leader/tour guide around town, if you will be in Muizenberg, find this dude and go on some of his tours!!!)

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Siobhan,

Thank you for your feedback! We appreciate all feedback from volunteers - it helps understand where we can make improvements to our programs.

It’s great to hear that you enjoyed the time that you spent in the community as part of your program. We can assure you that there have been a number of changes implemented within the program over the past 2 years. All houses are patrolled by a security company in the evening and have either security gates or an electric fence. The local team now provides volunteers with a program fee breakdown during their orientation and this is also displayed in all of the volunteer houses, along with the contact information of the local team ( 24/7 support), emergency numbers and recommended taxi companies.

We wish you all the best on your return to Muizenberg and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to let us know.

Maryke
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

IVHQ South Africa volunteer review

South Africa is an absolutely amazing country with some really wonderful people and astonishingly beautiful scenery; however the political and social turmoils it faces will undoubtedly leave you heartbroken. IVHQ and their current in-country volunteer company is great because they allow you to see both sides of the story. You'll fall in love with the kids you volunteer with -- I was placed in Steenberg Primary School seen and I've never seen a school with a more welcoming and loving community of kids. While the program itself has a few flaws and hiccups, the experience is what you make it and it's not difficult to make it life-changing. I miss it so much!

What would you improve about this program?
Although the program is quite affordable, I felt that Dreams To Reality should change the way they accommodate for their volunteers. While I definitely wasn't expecting 5-star hotels and gourmet cuisine, they houses/security were very low quality and the food verged on inedible. My advice would be to bring some decent pepper spray and South Africa is a very dangerous country (although if you're street smart and use a bit of common sense you'll be fine) and over budget for food and groceries as you'll be making and buying a lot of your own food!
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Katharina
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

8 weeks of happiness

I came to South Africa without any expectations, because I had learnt various times before this trip that this is the best way to make the most out of it. But in the end my time there was so much fuller than I could have ever imagined.
I don't know where to start, because so many things were just amazing. The country is beautiful. Just incredibly beautiful. That's why it is especially sad that it is so dangerous there and we could only go outside till 5pm, before it was "hunger games time". Your freedom is definitely taken away from you by the living conditions there, in the sense that you can only walk in groups or take cabs if you don't wanna risk getting mugged or worse. But the kids you teach there make it all worth it. They have the worst background stories and don't even show a glimpse of negativity. Their smiles make your day and in the end I learnt more from them than I could ever have taught them. Moreover the other volunteers I worked with are great. Everyone has their own amazing life story and everyone just wants to enjoy life, which spreads good vibes wherever you go. I did so many things from my bucket list while I was in South Africa, I walked with lions and elephants, did a skydive, experienced Cape Town, drank more expensive wine than I would have imagined, dived with great white sharks in a cage, went surfing, rode in a cab with crazy local "cab drivers", saw penguins, went to beautiful places of which I could not have dreamt of... This list could go on and on. I met people from all over the world, made friends with the most beautiful people and learnt so much during these 8 weeks, more than I could ever have wished for. I highly recommend doing this program to everyone! Of course one will encounter dodgy situations and be to scetchy places, but if you have a common sense and some luck you will survive South Africa without any problems! :)

What would you improve about this program?
The food should consist of less carbs and more proteins. We all started feeling impacted by the quality of the food provided after some time.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Katharina, thanks for the recommendation! Sounds like you had beautifully amazing 8 weeks in South Africa. We are so glad that you made lifelong friends and made the most of your time there. Thanks for being an IVHQer!

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Alvaro
6/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering in Muizenberg, South Africa

I volunteered with Dreams to Reality, IVHQ's local partner in Muizenberg, South Africa.

Accommodation: I stayed in one of the volunteer houses, my room had bunk beds to accommodate up to 5 people. It was in a residential area 15-min walk from where the shops and restaurants are. There was no wi-fi. The house had security gates and procedures to protect from break-ins (luckily, there were no break-ins during my stay), however due to constant power outages, the electronic security door didn't work all times, and once I was locked out of the house at night (fortunately nothing happened).

Food: lunch and dinner was brought to the house during weekdays and they could be much better. Menu was mostly carbs. Manny volunteers chose to eat out.

Transportation to/from placement: due to safety concerns, transportation in a van was provided.

Safety: South Africa has safety issues. We heard from staff mugging and break-ins in the volunteer house happened, but fortunately no major issues happened during my stay. I recommend volunteers to avoid using their credit cards, since many volunteers had been victims of credit card frauds, including me. Also, I recommend having a local mobile number to take Uber to travel around the city.

Volunteering: my placement was at a day care center with other volunteers (we stayed there in the morning). We helped the teachers feeding the children, playing with them. The children were lovely.

What would you improve about this program?
Quality of food could definitely be improved. Also, I think working hours should be increased since volunteers stayed at their placements only in the morning.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Alvaro, thank you for the feedback on your trip to South Africa. We appreciate your comments and have passed on you suggestions to the Program Manager. Thanks again.

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Rebecca
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best summer in South Africa

My volunteering experience with IVHQ in South Africa was absolutely amazing. I was doing the Surf Outreach program and I loved every single second of it. The volunteers on this program got connected very fast and it was a lot of fun to work together. There was always this happy and positive vibe going around.
Working with the kids at the beach and seeing them being happy, was the best feeling you could ask for. The kids might be shy in the beging, but as soon as they know you a little bit better, they won’t leave you alone and want to play with you all the time.
You will be staying in a beautiful town just outside of Cape town. The stuff is very helpful, always around if they are needed and very passionate about the community support we are doing. The accommodations are in good conditions and you’ll be sharing a room with other volunteers. It is very easy to socialize and fun to meet all those new people from around the world.
You are not only teaching and helping the kids, you will learn so much about yourself and from the people you are staying with.
The hardest part is to say good bye. You can’t get those sad faces out of your head, when you tell the kids that it is your last day on program.
Back home I’m already trying to find the perfect time to go back again and spend more time with the kids.
So if you are still thinking about the program, just do it! I’ll promies, you will have the best time of your life!

What would you improve about this program?
I had a very good time on the program and nothing to complain about.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Rebecca, It's great to hear from you. We totally agree, it will be the best time of your life - just do it!! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on your experience volunteering on our South Africa program. It sounds like you had a really special abroad experience where you met some great people and made some good memories. It's great to have you as an IVHQer and we hope to see you on another IVHQ program soon.

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Alondra
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

South Africa Childcare program

I traveled to SA in 2013. I was 18 years old and traveled alone. I was quite nervous at first but once I met the staff and volunteers, they made me feel right at home. I volunteered in the childcare program for 6 weeks and I got to spend time with the cutest little kids. They were very welcoming and as the weeks flew by I got to know each one individually. In the classroom we would sing songs, play games, and help pass out the porridge to the kids. During recess they would dance and sings songs, one of the songs they sang to me was "peel banana". It was really sad when I had to leave :( The volunteers were very friendly and outgoing. I made life-long friends while coming here. I really do recommend IVHQ. I promise you wont regret this program. I'm actually planning my next trip with them now to Peru! If you decided to volunteer in SA I really recommend shark cage diving in the great white shark capital, and bunji jumping Africa's highest bridge!!

What would you improve about this program?
I would probably say the food. The lady who cooked for us did'nt cook as good as I imagined.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Alondra, It’s great to hear from you! Thanks for sharing photos and a little insight into your experience volunteering in in South Africa back in 2013. We hope you are having a fantastic time volunteering in Peru.

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Megan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering with IVHQ in South Africa

I was in South Africa for three months working at the Sunrise Educare Center. I had the privilege of working with the 3-4 years who changed my life. They taught me no matter what hardships you face, smiles and love can guide you through anything. For a few hours a day, I played, read, did crafts, and sang with these beautiful children. There are so many amazing places and people to meet while in South Africa. From safaris, to the world's highest bungee jump, to the beaches, this place will leave you speechless.

What would you improve about this program?
If I had to change one thing about the program, it would be that some of the houses upgraded their security. For example, higher fences or more durable barbed wire.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Megan, Sounds like you had fantastic volunteer travel experience in South Africa. Thanks for sharing!

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