country flag South Africa

Volunteer in South Africa – Most affordable programs with Iko Poran!!

Volunteer in South Africa with Animal Conservation: save orphaned Vervet Monkeys, volunteer on Big Five Game preservation and Marine Conservation. You may also volunteer teaching children at Doreen’s Crèche, teaching sports to underprivileged children or go for something very special: Learn to surf on the waves at the beaches of Muizenberg close to Cape Town and teach children of the neighborhood. Locations for the volunteer programs are Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg.

Volunteer in South Africa at a glance:

  • 8 Fantastic volunteer projects in South Africa to choose from incl. Animal Conservation & Great white Shark Conservation, Teaching, Childcare, Surf & Sports;

  • Location: find volunteer projects all across South Africa: Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg & more;

  • Accommodation in shared houses, wood cabins, & dorms on animal reserves;

  • Program fees starting from only US$394 for 2 weeks;

  • Fees include: placement, airport pickup, orientation, accommodation, food*, supervision, 24/7 in-country support;

  • Start Dates of the volunteer programs: 1st and 3rd Mondays of the month;

  • Available all year.

    *Included in most projects. Please see the program specifics below.

Choose from a wide range of volunteer programs which best matches your skills & interests:

projects

Childcare Orphanage

Childcare Orphanage

Sports

Sports

Animal Conservation

Animal Conservation

Volunteering in South Africa – Overview

Volunteer in South Africa - kids painted with the flag colors and smiling

Volunteer in South Africa with IKPVA – Most affordable volunteer programs.

South Africa is a unique and attractive destination for international volunteers with it’s breathtaking landscapes and amazing wildlife.

Marine Conservation Projects at the Beautiful Beaches near Cape Town

Since South Africa is located at the Southern tip of Africa, it features beautiful beaches close to Cape Town. As a volunteer you may work there with marine conservation, helping to protect the Great White Shark, or join the special surf program at Muizenberg.

Animal Conservation Volunteers with the Big Five in the African Bush

The African Bush stands out for it’s fantastic wildlife, especially The Big Five. You may work with the Vervet monkeys, saving orphaned monkey babies. South Africa is a country of immense contrasts and spectacular beauty, local people are hospitable and engaging. They speak 11 official languages, however you will find your way around easily with English.

White Beaches, Picturesque Coastlines, Tropical Vegetation – a Beautiful Setting to Volunteer in South Africa

Discover South Africa on your volunteer trip: from the white beaches and dazzling oceans of Cape Town, the picturesque coastline of the Garden Route, and tropical Durban – where the sun never sets and the surf is always up! – To the rugged Drakensberg mountain range, a place marked by imposing views and jagged sweeps of peaks. Then in the North, and different again, is the famous ‘veld’ or bush where you can expect to behold spectacular sunsets like no other, made up of the most vivid reds, orange, pinks and purples.

Volunteering in South Africa amidst the Natural Beauty and Wildlife in the Bush

As if the natural beauty and scenery were not enough, South Africa offers one of the most diverse populations of wildlife in the world. In the raw African bush only an hour from urban cities such as Pretoria and Johannesburg, you can hope to see Africa’s Big Five: lions, elephants, buffaloes, rhinos and leopards, among many hundreds of other species.

Volunteer Programs ranging from Animal Conservation, Teaching Children, Helping Disadvantaged Children to Surfing

Volunteer programs in South Africa range from animal conservation and adventure projects, teaching children, surfing to sports programs. Volunteer in South Africa to work hands-on with animals, or provide much needed community assistance in schools and sports placements.

Animal Conservation Volunteer in South Africa

Animal Conservation volunteers will get up close and personal with Africa’s amazing wildlife, whether it’s nurturing injured animals to recover their health or doing vital work to protect endangered species. Work with cheetahs and hear them purr, care for the wellbeing of vervet monkeys, or relax with the wolves. You could even face your fears and cage dive with Great White sharks! We offer the opportunity to see the world’s most fascinating predators in their natural habitat; track and monitor lions every day, or follow black rhino on quadbikes – probably the most exclusive safari in the world!

Surfing Program at Muizenberg close to Cape Town

In the Surfing program volunteers will learn to surf and hone their skills in beautiful Cape Town, home to some of the most surf-friendly waves in the world, all the while helping children who otherwise would never receive that opportunity.

Why volunteering in South Africa with Iko Poran?

Iko Poran is not a travel agency, it is a non-profit organization based in a developing country. We are committed to making volunteering abroad the most affordable and effective for everyone involved, so that more people can help where it is really needed. There are no hidden costs and the entire placement fee goes directly to the host country.

Join us for the experience of your lifetime!

 

Volunteer programs in South Africa

Township Teaching with Doreen close to Cape Town

Volunteer in South Africa with childcare. Whilst volunteering with children in South Africa, you also woll learn about township life, culture, and history..

As a child care volunteer you will be teaching and caring for beautiful children at Doreen’s Crèche, a well-established day care centre near Cape Town.

Volunteer in South Africa happy playing with kidsThe crèche receives over 60 children aged 3-6 during the day while their parents work to earn a living. Taking care of these dynamic and energetic children requires a lot of work, which is why you’re your help will be greatly appreciated.

If you are energetic and ready for a challenge, and you like to care for children then this is the volunteer program for you. It is a unique opportunity to make a difference in the lives of underprivileged children. You will have a lot of fun working with a team of highly motivated women.

Teaching in Doreen was the best experience I´ve had as an English teacher. You learn a lot from the kids. Everyone at creche is so nice to you.
If I could give anyone´s advice I would say: Be a volunteer in South Africa. It´s worth.

Your work will be to entertain and teach these wonderful kids every day, through coloring, drawing, reading and games to help give them the best start to life.

Finally, you will be living in Cape Town and enjoy the city.

Qualifications and requirements:

  • Minimum age 18+ years
  • You must love playing and spending time with children and be willing to work hard.

 

 

Volunteer Teaching Sports to disadvantaged Children in South Africa

Volunteer in South Africa in our sports project.

In this project you will be teaching and helping with sports activities in a primary school situated on the South Peninsula of Cape Town, part of a disadvantaged community.

Your presence is desperately needed as there are only 33 teachers for almost 750 children. Your help with give the children access to more one-on-one attention and offer them the possibility of improving and gaining new skills that Volunteer in South Africa - Volunteers and children in our Sports project in South Africapreviously they would never have had the opportunity to learn.

These children are energetic and enthusiastic and so keen to learn, if you put in the effort there is no limit to what you can teach them.

You can help develop their capabilities with more popular sports like football and basketball, or if you’re a guru at bowls or have a secret passion for ballet, bring it on!

Just remember that the school won’t have access to expensive equipment, so you will need to have an imagination and patience to think of creative ways to make sure everybody has fun. Also any old sports gear that you, your family or friends could provide as a donation would make a huge difference, and would be another way of improving these children’s lives.

Qualifications and requirements:

  • Minimum age is 17 (with parental consent).
  • DBS – Disclosure and Barring Service check required.
  • You must love spending time with children and have a positive attitude.

Big Cat Conservation Sanctuary in South Africa

If you choose to join this animal conservation project in South Africa you will be working for a non- profit organization fueled by passion and love for these exploited animals. The population of big cats in South Africa is being threatened by a high presence of bone trade and canned hunting, and poachers who hunt them for sport. They have also traditionally fallen victim to exploitation in captivity and face a constant and rapid loss of habitat as the land gets developed.

Providing a Home and Shelter to Big Cats in the African Bush

The best hopes for these magnificent animals are sanctuaries such as this one, providing a home to lions, tigers, panthers, caracals and jackals, which can offer them a protected home environment and which work hard to spread awareness within society of the problems that these creatures are facing, educating people on the hunting trade. We are of the opinion that all animals should be roaming the wild but, in reality, much of it has been destroyed and hunting disrupts delicate balance of the bush. It is also the work of this project to look after what is left of it.

Volunteer Caring and Protecting Big Cats

Your role while you are here will be to take part in the activities of a passionate team dedicated to caring and protecting big cats. You will be tasked with helping to prepare their meals, making enrichment objects (toys for the animals), observing the animals, cleaning and maintaining animal enclosures, general farm work and assisting with our educational visits. As a volunteer you should be open and excited to learn about conservation, and be willing to assist in all areas of the project.

This is an incredible opportunity for any wildlife lovers out there to help work towards the long term survival of some of the world’s most incredible animals, which getting to witness some of the world’s most astonishing sunsets.

Qualifications and requirements:

  • Minimum age is 18 +  years old.
  • You must love wildlife and be willing to work hard.

**Note: It’s important to note that this project does not breed any of their cats. There will be no cubs or any hands on work with the cats. Also be aware that the cats are carnivorous and you may have to work with raw meat.

 

Great White Shark and Ocean Conservation at the Coast of South Africa

Volunteer in South Africa in our marine conservation project.

Today the population of sharks worldwide is under threat. This is your opportunity to play a vital role in helping to monitor and conserve one of the most incredible creatures of the marine world, the Great White.

You will be working alongside marine biologists researching and White shark jumps of the waterobserving these magnificent predators and their environment. You will have the task of sharing this research and knowledge with visitors going shark diving, and may get the chance to assist in tagging and tracking sharks.

Most exciting of all, you have the unforgettable experience of going cage diving to meet your subject face to face – just try not to drop your camera! In your spare time you will be free to enjoy and get to know the beautiful Western Cape and even travel further afield to explore the rest of South Africa.

Qualifications and requirements for Marine Conservation:

  • You must be 18+ years old.
  • You must bring a copy of your passport and travel documents.
  • You need to provide your CV.
  • You must be flexible and have a good attitude – Boat excursions are weather-dependant.
  • Be prepared to get up early in the morining – although these can be the most beautiful time of day in Africa.
  • Bring your own snorkel, mask & flippers (these will also be available to rent in country).
  • You must have a passion for the ocean and love marine wildlife.

Big Five, Hyena Monitoring and Conservation project

Volunteer in South Africa monitoring a researching South Africa’s Big Five – lions, elephants, buffalos, white & black rhino, and hyenas. You will be heavily involved in important conservation work to make sure the animals are healthy and the land is well balanced.

Two white lions rest on the grass

Your days will be spent tracking, spotting, recording and observing the movements and behavior of these African animals. The data you collect will be used to create files on the animals and monthly reports which will be analyzed and monitored by the park coordinators.

This project is responsible for all the conservation work and record keeping for the National Park Section, and the volunteers it receives provide its only source of income. Your participation is so important for the long term success of this project. Like your memories, your contribution will last for a long time.

If you have always dreamt of experiencing the wilderness of the African plains and you love animals, this project is for you.

Qualifications and Requirements for volunteering on Big Five Conservation:

  • You must be 18+ years old.
  • You must love animals and be dedicated to working to take care of them.
  • You will be expected to be up and out early in the morning and sometimes, depending on lion activity, you will be working late into the night.
  • You must be prepared to learn new skills such as radio telemetry, navigation techniques, animal and plant identification, ground tracking and tracking collared animals.
  • You must realize the enormous responsibility that comes with working with animals in the wild.

Save Vervet Monkeys in South Africa


Mother monkey and baby looking at the camera in one of our Volunteer in South Africa conservation projects
Volunteer in South Africa with Iko Poran and work with monkeys.

Join the family at this amazing primate sanctuary. At this special initiative, orphaned primates come from near and far and are given a loving home where they are rehabilitated and cared for until they can be released back into the wild.

With over 500 cheeky monkeys in care at any one time, this sanctuary always needs an extra pair of helping hands. Your participation will help to ensure they are all well fed, cared for and loved; and will help raise funds to maintain the place up to scratch for its gorgeous guests. This is an incredible option for those who go bananas for animals as you will get the chance to work hands on, under the guidance of experienced professionals, with the monkeys. At other times you will be helping to carry out all the back-stage tasks which really ensure the monkeys’ wellbeing.

At the same time you will get to experience the amazing life in the African bush, and make friends you will remember forever – some furry and some a little less so.

Highlights

  • You must be 18+ years old.
  • Working and living with Vervet Monkeys.
  • Enjoying the bush life of SA.
  • Meeting amazing people from all over the world.
Gijs van Suijlichem - Volunteer in South Africa
Gijs van Suijlichem

“I’m having a wonderful time here and there is nothing that I don’t like.”
Gijs van Suijlichem has been volunteering in South Africa on Vervet Monkeys

Qualifications and requirements to volunteer in South Africa:

  • You must have a Tuberculosis (TB) test, or a free letter from a medical professional to state that you don’t have it – This is really important as it if for the safety of the animals.
  • You must be willing to get your hands dirty and really give your all. You will be required to help with a broad variety of tasks from observation & research, to the construction of new enclosures, maintenance, or eradicating invader plant species.
  • You must be passionate about primates and love animals, you must be committed to taking care of them.

Volunteer with Rehabilitation of Injured and Orphaned Wildlife in South Africa

Volunteer in South Africa holding, caring for and living with African wildlife is beyond most people’s wildest dreams.

Take part in essential conservation efforts in South Africa nursing animals in need back to health. In this once in a lifetime opportunity you will be working in a unique sanctuary filled with the most amazing species of birds and animals that Africa has to offer.

You will be doing incredible and meaningful work, giving your time and love to the rehabilitation of creatures big and small. You will wake up every morning to the chorus of the African dawn, living in a nearby lodge, and spend your days working hands on with the animals.

Staying only a few miles from the beach and the bush and other tourist attractions, this placement in South Africa has it all.

This experience will develop your insight into the wildlife of South Africa and really touch your heart.

Qualifications and requirements for animal conservation volunteers:

  • You must be 16+ years old.
  • You will have a key role helping to prepare food and feed the birds and animals twice a day – This is really important work and you must be willing to get stuck in.
  • You must love animals and birds and be committed to their recovery and wellbeing.
  • Expect to work hard and get your hands dirty – your responsibilities may include cleaning enclosures and aviaries, constructing new enclosures and checking for damage to fences in order to prevent anything getting in or out.

 

Learn to surf in South Africa & help underprivileged kids

Volunteers and children on the beach in the South African surf schoolVolunteer in South Africa with Iko Poran in this amazing surf project.

Situated in Muizenberg, Cape Town, a place renowned for its gentle rolling waves just calling out to be ridden, you will be learning to surf in one of the best places in the world. The surf is free from rips and currents, giving you the safest & best opportunity to hone your skills – it’s not as easy as it looks!

Surf at the Beaches of Muizenberg and Teach Children

You will first learn the art of surfing, along with the addictive and electrifying feeling that comes with riding a wave all the way into the shore; then you will be working will kids from the disadvantaged areas surrounding Muizenburg, teaching them how to surf.

These are bright, enthusiastic children who have been unfortunate to grow up in underprivileged communities. Their upbringing will often have been marred by violence and tragedy, as well as limited access to money. This is why this work is so important, as it gives them the chance to get away from all of that; to spend a few carefree, laughter-filled hours in the water, where they can have fun and make friends.  It provides them with a freedom that really is priceless and makes a huge impact on their lives.

This is only made possible through the help of volunteers like you. You will get to spend sun-soaked days on the beautiful beaches of South Africa, while giving new experiences and skills to these wonderful kids, letting them escape the difficulties of their lives and helping to broaden their horizons.

In your free time you will also be able to explore all the amazing places in Cape Town with the city right at your feet.

Qualifications and requirements:

Child surfing a wave in our surf project in South Africa

  • You must be 18+ years old.
  • You should provide a CV & Motivational letter.
  • Be ready to care for the children
  • If you love spending time with children, this project is for you.
  • If you’ve got your own wetsuit, bring it along. The weather can become quite cold, especially during the winter months of May to September. If not, you will be provided with one.
  • Please bring your laptop and camera, if possible, so as to be able to help with administration tasks; working in the office, blogging, social networking, coming up with new ideas to improve the project and other helpful tasks.

Volunteer in South Africa with the Big Five & Game Reserve Project

Volunteer in South Africa in our Big Five game reserve project.

On this animal conservation project you will be in a team of volunteers working to carry out a spectrum of important tasks across the reserve. The nature of the work will vary according to the weather and season, however tasks may include, but not limited to: lion tracking, game counts & capture, environmental work, planting trees, managing vegetation, and patrolling fences. There will also be tasks in the petting farm and stables, caring for the horses. You will get to go out on game drives & wilderness walks, and work hands on helping with the care of animals in the rehabilitation and education centre.

The volunteers of this project rotate to visit and work in different parts of the reserve, giving you the opportunity to try a hand at all the different tasks and activities whilst you are staying in South Africa.

Qualifications and requirements:

  • You must be over 18 years old. There is no maximum age limit.
  • You must be in a state of good physical and mental health.

Volunteering in South Africa – Program Fees

Please Note:

  • The program fee is paid directly to the host organization.
  • All of the projects incur a registration fee of US$ 199.00 on top of the program fee.

Volunteer In South Africa - Fees table

 

What is included in the volunteer program fee?

  • Airport Pickup
  • Orientation
  • Accommodation for all projects
  • Meals are included in most programs (please check the description of your chosen project)
  • Support from local staff & Program supervision
  • In-country 24/7 support throughout your stay
  • In-country administration costs
  • Donation to support the local project

There are no hidden costs. Most of these projects are the most affordable to volunteer in South Africa.

Iko Poran is an NGO based in a developing country. We are dedicated to helping you help others, at the lowest possible price. We are interested in making volunteering abroad more accessible so that more people can help do really important work.

Participants in our South Africa programs normally find US$100 to be sufficient for weekly expenses in the country.

The program fee should be paid to the host country and it is due 30 days before the project start date.

 

Volunteer in South Africa – Project Details

Location

Find all the volunteer programs across South Africa here. You will find in detail, where the volunteer programs for a specific cause are located in South Africa.

Accommodation & Meals

The details of these services vary according to the project, please check the specifics of your chosen program.

Start & Duration

Our programs to volunteer in South Africa start on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month. Therefore, you should plan to arrive before 4:15pm. If you can’t make it, we suggest you fly in a day early. We can arrange airport pickup and extra night of accommodation.

Program length also varies according to the project

Township Teaching with Doreen

  • Location: Masiphumelele Township, around 45 minutes from central Cape Town
  • Arrival airport: Cape Town (code CPT).
  • Shared dormitory room in volunteer house, same sex rooms
  • Food is not included. You will need to purchase your own food (budget approximately US$50 per week)
  • Available from 2 to 12 weeks.

Teach Sports to disadvantaged Children

  • Location of project: Southern Peninsula, Cape Town
  • Arrival airport: Johannesburg – Cape Town (code CPT)
  • Shared dormitory room in volunteer house, same sex rooms
  • Food is not included. You will need to purchase your own food (budget approximately US$50 per week)
  • Available from 2 to 12 weeks.

Great White Shark and Ocean Conservation

  • Location of project: Kleinbaai, 180 km south east of Cape Town
  • Arrival airport: Cape Town (code CPT)
  • Shared room in a chalet sleeping shared by four and six people. Each chalet has a kitchen, lounge, bathroom and 2 bedrooms.
  • Food: Breakfast included (cereal, tea, coffee and sugar) and lunch if on the boat. All other meals are self-catering (budget approximately US$50 per week).
  • Available from 2 to 4 weeks.

Big 5 and Hyena monitoring

  • Location of project: Limpopo province
  • Arrival airport: Johannesburg (JNB)
  • Shared dormitory room in volunteer house on the park section; a couples room with ensuite bathroom is also available on request if available.
  • Food: Self-catering – food is provided. Volunteers will cook following a menu and do the washing up on a rotary basis with the other volunteers.
  • Available from 2 to 12 weeks.

Work with Monkeys

  • Location of project: Near Tzaneen, 6 hours drive from Johannesburg.
  • Arrival Airport: Johannesburg (airport code JNB)
  • Shared wooden cabins at the park.
  • Food: All meals included (vegan food only – prepared by an African maid trained by a professional chef).
  • The food has had excellent reviews from non-vegans and vegans alike.
  • Available from 2 to 8 weeks

Work with Injured and Orphaned Wildlife

  • Location of project:  Animal sanctuary on South Africa’s world renowned Garden Route next to Port Elizabeth
  • Arrival airport: Port Elizabeth (code PLZ)
  • Shared dormitory style room in wooden lodge at project (2-8 persons per room)
  • Food: All meals are included
  • Available from 2 to 8 weeks

Learn to surf & help children reach for their dreams

  • Location of project: Muizenberg, Cape Town
  • Arrival airport: Cape Town (code CPT)
  • Shared dormitory room in volunteer house, same sex rooms
  • Food: Self-catering (budget approximately US$50 per week)
  • Around 30 min to the project – a short multi-person taxi ride and a train journey (budget approx. US$20 per week).
  • Available from 2 to 8 weeks

Big Five Animal Conservation Volunteer Project

  • Location: Eastern Cape, South Africa
  • Arrival airport: Port Elizabeth (PLZ)
  • Same sex shared dorms with an awesome entertainment area. Very comfortable accommodation.
  • Food: All meals are prepared for you.
  • Available from 2 to 4 weeks.

Orientation for Volunteers in South Africa

Orientation takes place at 5pm of the arrival day. Therefore, you should plan to arrive before 4:15pm. If you can’t make it, we suggest you fly in a day early. We can arrange airport pickup and extra night of accommodation

Volunteer Requirements

Iko Poran Founder and Director smiles to the camera with 8 children also smilingYou must be at least 18 years old at the start of your placement.

All participnats in our volunteer in South Africa programs must have adequate travel insurance and are required to provide a criminal background check to local staff on arrival in South Africa or during orientation,

Treat animals and humans with respect.

Most importantly, pack in energy, a positive attitude, love in your heart and a spring in your step!

Some projects also have specific requirements, therefore please check the description of your chosen program.

Language Skills required to volunteer in South Africa

Fluency in English is required in all the projects.

Safety

You will have competent support and advice from the local team and project leaders. Someone will always be available in the case of any emergency. Please keep in mind that you are in a different country and should take some precautions to avoid exposing yourself to certain risks.

The local coordinators will give you all the information to have a safe and unforgettable experience.

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