On community volunteering trips in South Africa, volunteers should be prepared for a pace of life that is much slower than they may be used to, so patience, respect and empathy are every bit as important as qualifications and relevant work experience. An open mind and a willingness to smile and be positive are essential for community volunteers, as well as the ability to be flexible and think on your feet when it comes to dealing with conditions that are very far removed from what you find back home. Healthcare, teaching and coaching positions require volunteers to have relevant qualifications, skills and/or work experience, whereas assistants are more likely to be given on the job training.
We recommend community volunteers sign up for a minimum of four weeks. It’s important that time is really invested when it comes to interacting with underprivileged communities in places like Port Elizabeth and Cape Town’s outer suburbs.

Sports coach & teaching assistants

Anne Smellie from Oyster World:
“Physical education isn’t formally taught in many of the schools that support South African townships and, as such, volunteer sports coaches provide a much needed chance for kids to run about and enjoy themselves after sitting down in a classroom all day. Some children will never have played cricket or rugby before, and often a kick around with a flat football will be the closest they’ll get to emulating the Bafana Bafana.”
Township schools around Port Elizabeth and Cape Town are extremely underfunded with limited resources and large class sizes, and volunteering as a classroom assistant or a teacher, alongside, not in place of, local teachers, can make a real difference. Volunteers teaching assistants with experience of working with children, especially in education, are vitally important. Full training will also be given to assistants on arrival. Volunteer teachers must have an appropriate qualification, such as a TEFL certificate, a PGCE, or another relevant certification in youth work. Although weekends are free to have fun, this is not a holiday and the longer you can extend your stay past four weeks, the better.

Our top trip

Wildlife photography and volunteering in South Africa

Wildlife photography and volunteering in South Africa

Enjoy amazing wildlife photography while giving back!

From £2595 4 weeks ex flights
Small group travel:
2023: 24 Dec
2024: 21 Jan, 18 Feb, 17 Mar, 14 Apr, 12 May, 9 Jun, 7 Jul, 4 Aug, 1 Sep, 29 Sep, 27 Oct, 24 Nov, 22 Dec
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about South Africa volunteering or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
Written by Chris Owen
Photo credits: [Page banner: Frontier Official] [Child care group: Pod volunteer] [Sports and teaching: Frontier Official] [Boy playing soccer: Ssilberman]