Volunteer in South Africa:
Few countries have changed politically as much as South Africa in recent years. It is a diverse and beautiful country, from the Kruger National Park to the stunning Kalahari Desert. Volunteers generally work in private or state schools and their roles involve improving education levels of students with varying aptitudes and needs, or working in the outdoors leading adventurous activities.
Placement locations range from the industrialised cities of Johannesburg and Cape Town to smaller provincial towns and rural areas.
School’s assistant’s placements vary considerably from private boarding and day schools, to state high schools. Volunteer tasks may include such things as boarding house duties, after-hours supervision of students, sports coaching, tutoring of small groups in English, maths or IT and assisting with school administration. There is also plenty of opportunity for volunteers to get involved with many areas of extra curricular activities such as helping with sports teams, music and drama.
Teaching placements are generally in schools in more rural areas where facilities are very basic. These are challenging placements where volunteers take responsibility for their own classroom and teach students in a range of subjects with limited aids and resources. Given the nature of these placements volunteers must be imaginative, determined and motivated. If you are looking to make a real difference these placements are truly rewarding and will change your life.
Outdoor activities placements have an emphasis on skills building and teamwork. They often involve working with children in the stunning wilderness of South Africa. The outdoor camps in South Africa vary with some focussing on the environment, where volunteers help teach groups of children and support the work in the wildlife sanctuary. Volunteers on outdoor education placements in South Africa are relied upon by staff to help out in many ways and are always kept busy.
Community placements are undertaken in orphanages and schools for either mentally or physically disabled children. Volunteers assist with a full range of recreational activities and are relied upon by staff to help them ensure the residents at the centres are well looked after.
Placements in South Africa are varied and can be tough at times, but volunteers speak proudly of the positive impact their hard work has had on the local communities. As an outdoor education assistant you could be placed in a camp in the Eastern Cape, where you would be working with people of all ages. School groups, church groups and companies attend the camp throughout the year and take part in a range of activities, including hiking, horse-riding, abseiling down nearby waterfalls, rope courses and rafting on local lakes. During certain months, the camp also accommodates underprivileged groups free of charge. On average volunteers work 7 hours per day, but this can climb to 11 during busier periods. Volunteers in this kind of camp would be involved in leading team building and personal development programmes, which would involve helping groups with the activities outlined above.
Elsewhere, as an educational assistant, you could be placed by the coast in the residential suburb of Summerstrand, in a school for children with special educational needs, cerebral palsy or physical disabilities. In this role, volunteers would work 8am-2pm alongside teaching staff, counsellors, physiotherapists, speech-language therapists and occupational therapists to help look after the individual needs of pupils in class and to assist in recreational activities. Examples of volunteer duties could also include helping with sport for the disabled or horse-riding for the disabled sessions from 2-4pm.
Volunteer teachers could alternatively be placed in a co-educational school next to the spectacular Drakensburg mountains. As well as assisting with classroom teaching, Lattitude volunteers help with child mentoring and sports coaching. These placements involve working around 8 hours per day, which may well include helping out in the school’s boarding hostels.
Accommodation and food
Accommodation is largly in rooms and / or apartments attached to the host institution, where a system of self-catering has been established for volunteers. There are some placements however where volunteers will have meals provided for them. Food and accommodation is provided by hosts at all placements. However, some volunteers may wish to further supplement their diet. Depending on volunteer needs and the placement this may cost between £0-£20 a week
Is it for me?
Placements on offer range from assisting students with special needs in the classroom or leading group activities in outdoor camps through to teaching entire classes in remote rural areas blighted by AIDS. These placements will suit open minded, resilient, self-starters who are culturally sensitive and mature in attitude.
Need to know
Pre departure briefing – all volunteers are invited to a group briefing prior to departure On arrival – all volunteers will attend a three-day orientation and teaching skills course (for those who require it) on arrival in South Africa
What you do in your free time will depend largely on where you are placed. Many of our placements, particularly those in outdoor education camps, can be situated in quite isolated areas. But for those outdoor enthusiasts this is not a problem! You can make the most of the surroundings to climb, hike and bike. Or if placed by the sea, you can make the most of the shoreline with an array of water sports or simply relax on the beach. If you fancy a bit more human contact though, many hosts offer lifts to the local town too. Some placements are also located near to a university, and past volunteers have undertaken photography or language courses at these institutions.
For longer periods of free time at weekends, during your holidays or after your placement, South Africa is an incredibly diverse country to explore. Whether you prefer hippos, dolphins, zebras or penguins, there is plenty of wildlife to be found within the country’s 1.2 million km².
The list of must-see travel destinations is as long as your arm, and includes such delights as Table Mountain and Kruger National Park, not to mention the cultural hub that is Cape Town. South Africa is also blessed with incredible cultural and linguistic diversity, with no less than 11 official languages. With Afrikaans, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Swazi, Tswana, Tsonga, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu to choose from, why not take some language classes in your spare time?
For anyone seeking adventure, South Africa will deliver. From safaris to cage diving with crocodiles, hot air balloon flights over National Parks to shopping for designer goods, South Africa offers an inexhaustible range of experiences. Don’t miss Cape Town and the Kruger National Park. Make time to visit Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, Soweto and the Apartheid Museum to understand how much South Africa has changed in recent years.
Lattitude Global Volunteering fee:
All departures: £2,200
- Accommodation & food (provided by host)
- In-country support
- 24/7 support
- In-country orientation
- Assigned Volunteer Coordinator to help with all pre-departure support and offer guidance
- Pre-departure briefing
- Airport Pickup
- In depth matching process to align your skills and interests with a placement that really suits you
Please note this fee does not include the cost of getting to South Africa or extras such as insurance or any inoculations you may need. For an estimated break down of all costs you may have to budget for please click here
As a charity we always recommend our volunteers fundraise to help meet the costs involved in volunteering overseas. In many ways it is part of the whole experience. For more information and fundraising ideas please click here
Planning your trip
|Outdoor Education||8 months||Sept 2013||1st May 2013||Spaces Available|
|Outdoor Education with Conservation||8 months||Sept 2013||1st May 2013||Spaces Available|
|Schools Assistant||8 months||Sept 2013||1st May 2013||Spaces Available|
|Schools Assistant with Community Care||8 months||Sept 2013||1st May 2013||Spaces Available|
|Outdoor Education||11 months||Jan 2014||31st Aug 2013||Spaces available|
|Outdoor Education||8 months||Jan 2014||31st Aug 2013||Spaces available|
|Outdoor Education with Conservation||11 months||Jan 2014||31st Aug 2013||Spaces Available|
|Outdoor Education with Conservation||5 months||Jan 2014||31st Aug 2013||Spaces Available|
|Schools Assistant||11 months||Jan 2014||31 Aug 2013||Spaces available|
|Schools Assistant||8 months||Jan 2014||31 Aug 2013||Spaces available|
|Schools Assistant with Community Care||11 months||Jan 2014||31 Aug 2013||Spaces available|
|Schools Assistant with Community Care||5 months||Jan 2014||31 Aug 2013||Spaces available|
|Schools Assistant||2.5 months||July 2014||April 2014||Spaces available|
|Schools Assistant||5 months||July 2014||April 2014||Spaces available|
|Schools Assistant||11 months||July 2014||April 2014||Spaces available|
|Schools Assistant with Community Care||2.5 months||July 2014||April 2014||Spaces available|
|Schools Assistant with Community Care||5 months||July 2014||April 2014||Spaces available|
|Schools Assistant with Community Care||11 months||July 2014||April 2014||Spaces available|
|Outdoor Education||2.5 months||July 2014||April 2014||Spaces available|
|Outdoor Education||5 months||July 2014||April 2014||Spaces available|
|Outdoor Education||11 months||July 2014||April 2014||Spaces available|
|Outdoor Education with Conservation||2.5 months||July 2014||April 2014||Spaces Available|
|Outdoor Education with Conservation||5 months||July 2014||April 2014||Spaces Available|
|Outdoor Education with Conservation||11 months||July 2014||April 2014||Spaces Available|
Please note that the deadline is the last possible time allowed to get an application form in that allows us enough time to match volunteers and begin sorting out visas.We always recommend applying as early as possible in order to secure your place.
We are currently accepting applications for departures up until 2015.
Volunteer in South Africa: Apply now>>