Best Volunteer Programs in South Africa in 2023

Looking for volunteer programs in South Africa?

Here are a modest bunch of them that can benefit from your help. We can’t get enough of these volunteers opening doors in South Africa, and neither can their graduate class! For some travelers, South Africa works up fabulous pictures of safaris, blue skies, and sparkling seascapes. While a prime location for travelers and volunteers, South Africa also tops many travel bucket lists around the world.

It is particularly a major area for important volunteer encounters. If you’re prepared to commit a few weeks or months of your life to a good cause as well as make a difference in others’ lives and communities. Then, look no further than volunteer programs in South Africa.

You will leave as a better version of yourself, and you will leave one corner of the world as a superior variant of what you first found.

Table of contents

Can You Volunteer in South Africa?

Yes, it is possible to volunteer in South Africa. Many organizations and projects in South Africa welcome international volunteers who are eager to contribute their time and skills to various causes. T

here are opportunities available in areas such as community development, conservation, education, healthcare, and more. Volunteering in South Africa allows individuals to make a positive impact, gain cultural insights, and contribute to meaningful initiatives. It’s important to research and connects with reputable organizations that offer volunteer programs aligned with your interests.

Each organization may have specific requirements and guidelines for volunteers, so it’s essential to thoroughly understand their expectations before applying.

Do I Need a Visa to Volunteer in South Africa?

Yes, if you are planning to volunteer in South Africa, you will likely need a visa. The specific visa requirements may vary depending on your country of origin and the duration of your stay.

It is important to check with the South African embassy or consulate in your home country to determine the appropriate visa type for volunteering purposes. They will provide you with the necessary information regarding the application process, required documents, and any fees involved. It is recommended to start the visa application process well in advance to ensure a smooth and timely approval before your planned volunteering period.

How to Get South Africa Volunteer Visa

Obtaining a volunteer visa for South Africa involves several steps. Here’s a general guide:

  • Determine visa requirements: Visit the official website of the South African Department of Home Affairs to check the specific visa requirements for volunteers. Ensure you have a valid passport and meet the necessary criteria.
  • Find a volunteer opportunity: Identify a reputable organization in South Africa that offers volunteer programs aligned with your interests. Research their requirements and confirm if they can provide the necessary documentation for your visa application.
  • Contact the South African embassy/consulate: Get in touch with the South African embassy or consulate in your country to inquire about the visa application process. They will provide you with the required forms and a checklist of supporting documents.
  • Gather necessary documents: Prepare the documents typically requested, including a completed application form, a valid passport, proof of travel insurance, a letter of motivation, a letter of acceptance from the volunteering organization, and proof of financial means to support yourself during your stay.
  • Submit your application: Schedule an appointment with the embassy/consulate to submit your application. Pay the required fee and provide all the necessary documents.
  • Attend an interview (if required): Depending on your country of residence, you may need to attend an interview as part of the application process. Be prepared to answer questions about your volunteering plans and intentions in South Africa.
  • Wait for a decision: The embassy/consulate will review your application and make a decision. This process can take several weeks, so be patient.
  • Collect your visa: If your application is approved, collect your volunteer visa from the embassy/consulate. Ensure that all details are accurate.

Why Volunteering Programs for South Africa?

There are two significant reasons for which to volunteer in South Africa: kids and wildlife.

Volunteer programs in South Africa that pay attention to kids are chiefly based around Cape Town. This includes serving underprivileged youthS and orphans from disadvantaged communities.

Conservation and wildlife volunteer programs in South Africa work in Johannesburg. It is close to Kruger National Park and particularly provides a safe avenue for working with wild animals; like lions, zebras, cheetahs, and elephants.

If any or all of that sounds like a dream come true, you’re prepared to take a plunge into reviewing your choices. We are delighted to realize that we’ve just arranged a list of the best volunteer programs in South Africa for your consideration.

If that doesn’t seem like your cup of Umqombothi, don’t worry—practically the entire volunteer community to how you figure your time will be best spent. It’s practically similar to there’s no reason to not follow your fantasy about volunteering abroad in South Africa!

Read: Volunteer In Nigeria – Top Volunteer Opportunities

Best Volunteering Programs in South Africa

Don’t worry about applying to every individual program. Below, you will find a list of the best volunteer programs in South Africa. The list is made as per past volunteers and current travelers (like YOU):

  1. South African Wildlife Sanctuary with GoEco
  2. Education Program in South Africa with Love Volunteers
  3. Volunteer in Surfing in South Africa with IVHQ
  4. Childcare and Orphanage Program with Volunteering Solutions
  5. Music Education in South Africa with Performing Arts Abroad
  6. Volunteer Teaching with GVI
  7. Human Rights Work in South Africa with Projects Abroad
  8. Volunteer in Cape Town with Connect-123
  9. Volunteering with Children & Animals in South Africa with DAKTARI
  10. Computer Literacy & Arts in South Africa with Kaya Responsible Travel

1. South Africa Wildlife Sanctuary with GoEco—9.91 rating

South Africa is eminent for its safaris and access to unbridled wildlife, which implies preservation in this nation is fundamental. Normally, there are a lot of astounding wildlife volunteers open doors in South Africa.

With GoEco, you will have unmatched collaborations with African fauna, as you will work at a sanctuary that spends significant time in the consideration of orphaned and injured creatures.

You can pick up the opportunity to get close to zebras to elephants and vultures to chameleons. Our feathered, textured, and flaky companions will thank you for it.

Where: Hartbeespoort

When: All year for 2-12 weeks

Causes: Creature Welfare, Building and Construction programs, Wildlife

2. Training Programs in South Africa with Love Volunteers—10.0 rating

If you have a talent for working with kids or a route with teaching, you will definitely discover a lot of volunteering opportunities in South Africa. And on the other hand, teaching and spending time with kids through Love Volunteers will be a completely satisfying encounter.

You could work with toddlers and primary school students, showing them basic English abilities, or you could work with more seasoned kids in center school and secondary school, showing them basic, beneficial computer skills.

Adaptability and flexibility will be key with this program, as it requires volunteers across many age groups and learning environments.

Where: Cape Town

When: All year for 1-12 weeks

Causes: Childcare and Children’s Community Development, Teaching, and Youth

3. Volunteer in Surfing in South Africa with IVHQ—10.0 rating

IVHQ has made summer volunteer programs in South Africa for high school students considering these goals. Most of IVHQ’s volunteer programs in South Africa aren’t accessible to those under 18. IVH presently offers unique summer volunteer abroad opportunities for teenagers that incorporate holistic adventures.

The basic goal of this program with IVHQ is to get kids to learn basic abilities through games. You will get day-in and day-out help from our local group, also, you will meet similarly invested volunteers from across the globe, framing quick kinships with your fellow IVHQers.

Volunteers will work with kids between the ages of 11 and 14, showing them how to surf and encouraging other evening exercises. Generally, extra volunteer programs in South Africa are accessible when closed by schools. However, this is in case you’re hoping to keep your schedule full.

A decent reward perked with this program is that during your mornings off, you will have a free rule of the given surfboards. Basically, you get out there and hang 10. Coincidentally, you don’t have to realize how to surf to take an interest in this program, however, you must know how to swim.

Where: Cape Town

When: All year for 1-12 weeks

Causes: Sports, Teaching, and Youth Development

4. Childcare and Orphanage Programs with Volunteering Solutions—9.33 rating

Orphanages are consistently in need of careful and compassionate volunteers who can offer probably the most significant humanitarian effort in South Africa.

Through Volunteering Solutions, you will be put in an orphanage in Cape Town, where you will be responsible for taking care of little children between the ages of a 1 – 6 years.

Your responsibilities will incorporate preparing and giving suppers, just as spending quality time with the children. Although this job can be emotionally demanding, nevertheless, you will recover and handle your experiences as days are just 5-6 hours.

Toward the end of this placement, you will get back to realizing that you have genuinely made a difference in many lives.

Where: Cape Town

When: All year for 2-12 weeks

Causes: Childcare, Children, and Orphans

Also, read: How to Become a Volunteer in Thailand in 2023

5. Music Education in South Africa with the Performing Arts Abroad—9.75 rating

This extraordinary program is a demonstration of how music can change lives. As a volunteer with Performing Arts Abroad, you will work with local kids in towns close to Kruger National Park.

Assisting them with finding and gaining proficiency with the delights of music execution. Kids who have taken an interest in this program in the past have even performed with local and national musical acts all thanks to the work of devoted volunteers.

With Performing Arts Abroad, you will appreciate the interesting opportunity to help children and young people find their own hidden gifts and interests (and presumably have a great time en route).

Where: Kabokweni

When: All year for 1 or 2 months

Causes: Music, Teaching, and Youth Development

6. Volunteer Teaching with GVI—9.42 rating

This teaching program through GVI gives a smidgen more structure than others. However, it’s mainly for those whose enthusiasm for teaching can’t be handily satisfied. As a volunteer with GVI, you will go in-depth with subject material that covers proficiency in math and English aptitudes.

Class sizes are clearly huge, and yet, there are openings given to children for one-on-one meetings and coaching, so, you won’t need to stress over students not accepting the admissions they merit.

Stay receptive to challenges; while the language of guidance in the homeroom is English, students’ first language regularly has a lengthy 11 different dialects.

Where: Stellenbosch

When: All year for 1-12 weeks

Cause: Public Venues, Education, and Teaching

7. Basic Liberties Work in South Africa with Projects Abroad—10.0 rating

Even beginner students of history know some things about the role apartheid played in South Africa. This turbulent history has established an extraordinary environment for volunteering common freedoms and gaining from slip-ups of the past.

Generally, volunteers with Projects Abroad will spend time exploring the inequalities that are still apparent in present-day Cape Town, just as they need to find out about how NGOs develop and work at the grassroots level.

Also, you will have a fantastic view of figuring out how to make and propel change. However, daily tasks change and occasionally you will participate in workshops at schools. And while at this, others will be spent exploring reports.

Where: Cape Town

When: All year for 1-12 weeks

Cause: Common Liberties and Law

8. Volunteers in Cape Town with Connect-123—9.5 rating

Certainly, many programs in South Africa center around wildlife and youth development. But, if neither of these offers you totally, that is alright—there are as many tasks in South Africa that can use your liberality.

Interface 123 significantly creates custom volunteer programs in South Africa. However, despite what you need to commit time to; for example, medicine, agriculture, or everything in the middle of it, you will discover an occasion to offer.

With this program, remember your exceptional skills and interests, as they will be vital to making an outstanding volunteer encounter.

Where: Cape Town

When: All year for 5 weeks and a half-year

Cause: Human studies, Gender Issues, Marketing, Medicine, Organic Farming, Writing, and That’s Only the Tip of the Iceberg.

9. Volunteer with Children and Animals in South Africa with DAKTARI—9.54 rating

Does it just so happen that you can’t force yourself to pick between working with kids and giving yourself a chance for stability? Well, you’re in luck! Daktari absolutely gives the best of the two universes by joining training with wildlife.

Altogether, being a volunteer in this program gives you the wonderful qualities of South African widely varied vegetation. This, you will use to show children the negative effects of poaching through exercises, for example; bramble strolls.

Having the advantage of making children fully aware of the benefits of dealing with wildlife will be completely life-changing. If you have your sights set on a program to volunteer in South Africa with big cats, this is it.

Where: Hoedspruit, Kruger Park, Limpopo

When: All year for 1-12 weeks

Causes: Creature Welfare, Conservation, Eco-Tourism, Education, Environment, and Youth Development.

10. Computer Literacy and Arts in South Africa with Kaya—10.0 rating

“My primary feature was without a doubt working with the children. How they were so alive, upbeat, and brimming with energy. This is notwithstanding the reality and it is shocking. Even so when they have nothing.

Also, their limitless energy and eagerness implied that it was incomprehensible for me to feel even a tiny smidgen down while being in their organization.

How the children truly appreciated me being there was a huge achievement. And, seeing the kids’ progress even in the brief time I was there caused the entire experience to feel even more helpful.

There is no doubt as far as I can say that the work being done on the undertaking would positively affect these kids’ fates, it gladdened my heart to have been a piece of having that effect.”

On the off chance that that doesn’t state everything, we don’t have the slightest idea what will!

Where: Provincial territories of South Africa

When: All year for 1-12 Weeks

Causes: Childcare and Children’s Community Development, Computer Training, Education, English Teaching, Youth Development.

FAQs for Best Volunteering Programs in South Africa

Do volunteers get paid in South Africa?

In general, volunteers in South Africa do not receive monetary compensation. However, some organizations may provide volunteers with basic accommodations, meals, or a small stipend to cover living expenses. It is best to inquire directly with specific organizations to determine their policies on compensation for volunteers.

How can I volunteer in Africa without paying?

To volunteer in Africa without paying, you can explore opportunities with nonprofit organizations, NGOs, or community-based projects. Look for organizations that cover accommodation and meals or offer stipends to volunteers. Conduct research and reach out to them directly to inquire about their volunteer programs.

How long can a person volunteer in South Africa?

The duration of volunteer opportunities in South Africa can vary depending on the organization and program. Some volunteering opportunities may last for a few weeks or months, while others may offer longer-term placements for several months or even years.


Volunteer programs in South Africa are practically a one-way ticket to perspective-altering programs with children and wild creatures. Also, there are magnificent open doors for volunteers inspired by one or the flip side of that range. There’s also a choice for individuals who can’t make up their minds!

Many volunteer programs in South Africa offer uniquely crafted volunteer opportunities, so you can spend your time doing precisely what you believe is significant. The best volunteer programs in South Africa are genuinely flexible packs.

So what thing would you say you are hanging tight for? Gather your packs for half a month or more and set yourself up for possibly the most significant times of as long as you can remember.

Traveling and volunteering in South Africa can have notable advantages. This is particularly when it comes to a point in your life when your viewpoint of the world is just taking shape.

No matter what, you will express gratitude toward yourself for settling on the decision to accomplish humanitarian efforts in South Africa—and the individuals to who you dedicate your time to will thank you, as well.


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