Most Affordable & Trusted Volunteer Programs in South Africa with IVHQ

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

About

Trusted by 100,000+ 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 100,000+ 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.

This project is well suited to caring volunteers with great levels of enthusiasm and energy who are interested in supporting the day-to-day operations of childcare centers with limited resources.

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.

On the Surf Outreach project, you will be working with children aged between 9 and 15 years old, who come from disadvantaged backgrounds where poverty, abuse and violence is not uncommon.

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

96%
based on 57 reviews
  • Impact 9.1
  • Support 9.1
  • Fun 9.4
  • Value 9.5
  • Safety 8.6
Showing 1 - 15 of 57
Default avatar
Safa
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Together

4 years ago I lost my dad, I was the youngest in my family and it was so difficult, I felt that I want someone to help me and to stand with me again.
This project gives me a lot of power, I felt that I’m alive again. And all I need to feel myself and to be better is to help another children, because I know exactly what they feel. I called the children “my beautiful munchkins”, they were so warm, lovely and cute. I will not forget this days. The accommodation was super great because we were volunteers together, that helped me to meet new people simply. Also the food was delicious and varied. I recommend this volunteer trip for every single person who want to feel better, to make a difference in their life by giving without limits. It really was a life changing experience.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Safa, I am really sorry to hear about your difficult time when you lost your Dad, but we are so happy to hear that IVHQ's South Africa program helped you heal and make peace with your loss. It is really special to see that you had an awesome bond with the children, and I have no doubt they loved spending time with you while you volunteered on the program. We would love to have you volunteer with IVHQ in the future! Acacia - IVHQ Program Manager.

Emma
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

South Africa

I just got back from my two week volunteering program with IVHQ and it was amazing, here I was able to see a new country and work with the locals. Would recommend!
I was able to meet the other volunteers that were from all over the world and work with adorable children and amazing teachers. I was able to do this on my own and be feel while being completely safe. The staff are lovely and help you with any questions you have as well as offering advise.
I have been able to make an impact on others life’s while gaining incredible experience, I would definitely do this again for another country and another program.
While I was in South Africa I had time to also sight see and go on a safari. The organisation gives you time in the afternoons and weekends to do as you wish. They provided places to go and companies to see about safaris, bungee jumping, shark cage diving and so much more

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The most nerve racking thing I found was the trip over but once I was picked up by the organisation I felt completely safe and calm for the rest of my time in South Africa
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Emma, it's great to hear that you had a wonderful experience with IVHQ in South Africa. Thanks for volunteer with us and we would love to have you back! Acacia - IVHQ Program Manager.

Default avatar
Nour
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering in South Africa with IVHQ

Hello! I am a 21 year old Lebanese girl and I volunteered with IVHQ in Muizenberg, Cape Town, South Africa for the Teaching Program for a duration of two weeks.

I assisted the Grade R teacher at Steenberg Primary School. My daily tasks would include playing with the kids outside, assisting them doing their colour/numbers/writing work, helping them doing puzzles, play with blocks, tell them stories, or help with athletics. I had to cut fruits for them at the end of the day.
All the volunteers were always picked up from the accommodation to the school in the morning and then dropped home from the school at the end of their program by a driver working with the local team.
My room in the accommodation consisted of three bunk beds with three big closets. We were 4 to 6 girls in the room. The staff's room was right next to ours and the boys' room was in front of ours. The boy's room consisted of 3 bunk beds as well. We had a toilet for boys, and another for girls with western toilets and showers. The kitchen had many shelves and we were able to keep our food there in case we bought any.
On week days, three meals were included in our program fee. The food was mostly carbs oriented, but we were welcome to complement it with proteins or vegetables from the supermarket which is 5 min away by walk. Also, the people with specific diet requirements had their own food cooked for them. The food was enough for everyone.
A living room with three couches was right next to the rooms and was a great place to chill with other volunteers.
The local team was very nice and always greeting us with a smile. They knew each one of us and would always ask if we are happy.

This volunteering accommodation really felt like home for my two week stay.

Outside volunteering hours, the volunteers are welcome to enjoy the city and go sightseeing. Cape Town really has a endless list of touristic attractions!
From shark cage diving, to crocodile cage diving, to seal snorkeling, penguins, safaris, hikes... You won't stop touring! I even did skydiving and it was a lifetime experience. I personally hiked Elephant's Eye hike and Table Mountain and those two offer amazing landscape sceneries with hidden gems along the way. Also, the Muizenberg beach is just a 5 min walk (or even less depending on your accommodation), and it is one of the most recommended places to surf in South Africa!

If you get ever the chance to volunteer there with IVHQ, never miss this opportunity, it is a life changing experience!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Nour, it's amazing to see that you had a once in a lifetime experience on our South Africa program. We are pleased to hear that you were always greeted with a smile and felt the local team were nice! We hope to have you volunteer with us again in the future! Acacia - IVHQ Program Manager.

Default avatar
Ralph
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

2 Weeks Teaching in Cape Town

I volunteered in the Teaching Program with IVHQ in Muizenberg, Cape Town, South Africa for 2 weeks with my girlfriend.

For the accommodation, I was placed with 4 other boys in the room where I had my own bed and closet space. A girls room was next to us and each of the boys and girls had separate bathrooms. Also a kitchen and common living room were available. On the weekdays, we were given 3 meals per day from breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The food was carbohydrate heavy and sufficient for the stay as enough food was available for everyone with specific diet requirements cooked accordingly upon request. The housekeeper was very polite as well. For a volunteering program, it was really more than you need and a great place to stay.

For the volunteering program, we were placed in Steenberg Primary School assisting a teacher with 30 Grade R kids. The kids were very cute and super fun as they are hyper all the time. We would help them with the class assignment, play with them in the playground, and assess them basic color matching and mathematics numbering exercises. The classroom had the basic amenities needed for the school year. We even left our mark with a painting on the classroom wall! It was an amazing experience and one that we will definitely go through again.

A driver from the program picked us up and dropped us off back to the accommodation every school day. He was usually always on time.

For the city, there are abundant activities to choose from. We were lucky to have done shark cage diving, a safari, and skydiving as main attractions. Other activities were hiking Table Mountain through the Skeleton Gorge trail, visiting the beautiful city of Cape Town and exploring it, surfing, visiting Boulders Beach where penguins are found and the most South Western point of the African continent in Cape of Good Hope as well as many other activities.

This experience is truly one that will be missed and I hope to have a similar one next time!

What would you improve about this program?
The Staff really emphasizes during orientation about the safety of the country but most volunteers just take it in as a joke. Showing real examples maybe would make volunteers more cautious.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Ralph, it is great to hear from you and that you really enjoyed your time in South Africa. It is always pleasing to hear that you got along with the children so well and took part on some awesome tourist activities! Thanks for volunteering with IVHQ! Acacia - IVHQ Program Manager.

Default avatar
Juan Jose
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Literally just do it

I think having the opportunity of meeting the kids on the program and learn frome them is a privilege, and one of the best choices you’ll ever make on your life, their beautiful souls and their energy will get the best of you fore sure, I’m very thankful for that, to that add the chance to surf 5 days a week, leave and make friends frome all over the world, and been able to discover everything this great country has to offer.
What else can you ask for, if you’re spending half your day at the beach with the most amazing individuals, surfing, swinging, playing...
In this proyect I learned to value everything you do everyday, no matter how small it is, if it wakes you a little happy, you should be great full for it. Also the staff is carrying and thoughtful, and always willing to help you, and the town and it’s people are the moste warm and welcoming you’ll find.

What would you improve about this program?
Improve the administration system. Sometimes it feels like the staff keeps doing what they know and think is good for the program without looking for better ways of spending the money.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Juan, it is great to hear you enjoyed your time in South Africa soaking up the atmosphere, the people, and you are right - what is better than spending half your day at the beach! Thanks for the time you out in, it was appreciated by myself and the team. Claire - IVHQ Program Manager.

Default avatar
Bertram
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

International Volunteer Headquarters (IVHQ)

My name is Bertram Scott. September 1, 2018 I landed in South Africa through the International Volunteer Headquarters (IVHQ) Program. I had signed up for the teaching program. I taught math primarily to third and six graders. These students come from poverty communities. They do speak English. I found the students to be resilient in spite of their living and community situation. This was a truly wonderful experience. Additionally, the accommodations and management was very good. Management was very good in responding to any needs we had. We stayed in Muizenberg, a suburb of Cape Town. It was very nice. Once I got to my assigned area I fell under the IVHQ umbrella of the Dreams To Reality management group. They were very professional and available 24/7 to respond to any needs I had. I got to know volunteers that came from all over the world, in the Volunteer House where we stayed. I enjoyed it a lot.
Lastly, South Africa is a beautiful country with beautiful people. I never felt like a foreigner. I was there until November 3rd (a little more than two months). I definitely want to go back again. I highly recommend a IVHQ Program selection to Cape Town, South Africa. The IVHQ Program people are prompt in responding to your questions. They are very professional and polite.

What would you improve about this program?
Provide heat in the Volunteer House in the Winter.
Sarah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

SA Trip of a Lifetime

I cannot even begin to explain how happy I was during and after this trip I booked through IVHQ. Traveling to South Africa was the best, most life changing experience I've had to date. I was very unsure and nervous about traveling to a foreign country all by myself but after preparing and going through each step on IVHQ I felt a lot better. Upon arrival I was immediately greeted by 5 other girls in the program, all just as nervous as me but after just an hour we had become best friends. I met people on this trip that I will remember forever and made connections that are unforgettable. It was truly amazing to be able to work with disadvantaged children and really try and make a difference. It made me so happy to build relationships with the kids I worked with and I would not trade those memories for anything. I recommend IVHQ to all of my friends and family.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

It is great to hear that you enjoyed your time on the program, and felt supported and prepared! The local team loved having you take part and we hope to have you join another program in the future. Claire - IVHQ Program Manager.

Default avatar
Daniel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The MOST profound experiance I have had...

When I signed up for the South Africa program through IVHQ I was a little lost and at a crossroads of sorts. I had just graduated from university and was having a hard time finding use of everything I had just spent years learning. I didn't really have a path for the rest of my life beyond getting my 2 degrees but IVHQ gave me that. Because of my experiance in SA I know I want to help fight the growing epidemic of illiteracy and the lack of fundamental education.
The greatest moment of the trip was at the end of the second day of class; students rarely get 1-on-1 help because classes ar between 30 and 50 students for a single teacher. I was able to spend a good portion of the class time giving 5 students 1-on-1 help; at the end of class each one came up to me and gave me a hug and looked up at me with a huge smile and said, "Thank you sir!"
Because of IVHQ I have found a calling and am currently in the process of forming a non-profit to help schools like the one I was helping at form after school tutoring and special education programs.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Thanks for your review Daniel! It is amazing to hear that your time on the program had such an impact and helped you decide what career path you want to take. I am sure you will continue to make an amazing impact. Claire - IVHQ Program Manager

Valerie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

HIGHLY RECOMMEND

I highly reccomend this trip to anyone who wants to travel for a reasonable price and get some volunteering credit as well! The people i met and the kids made it so hard to leave. I cried the whole way back home! I am a completely different person now with a better perspective on life. I met life long friends and felt amazing knowing that i was helping out a unprivileged community. This program changed my life and i already booked my trip back to South Africa!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

We would love to have you back again Valerie! The time you gave was truly appreciated by everyone you worked with on the program. Claire - IVHQ Program Manager.

Yousef
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

IVHQ South Africa experience

My trip to South Africa was unforgettable. Every day there was fun and amazing. Its wouldn't have been the same if it wasn't for IVHQ team. who were not only supportive and helpful, but also flexible. The accomodation was super comfy and convenient, and most projects were well structured. As for the country there is no shortage of things to do there. South africa is rich with culture and history, and most importantly it's pretty safe. So try to enjoy every moment there because it really is a life changing experience.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Thanks for taking the time to write your review Yousef! It sounds like you truly made the most of your time in the program, and it is always great to hear that the program impacted you as much you impacted the community with the work you did. Claire - IVHQ Program Manager.

Jade
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Surf program in South Africa

My volunteer trip to South Africa with IVHQ was the best decision of my life. I was supposed to stay for 4weeks but decided to extend to 6 weeks because I couldn’t leave the kids so soon. It is such an amazing experience, you get so attached to the kids, the locals and the other volunteers. I did a surf program in South Africa and just had the time of my life! We got personal surf time in the morning but the best part was to get in the water with the kids during the afternoons. I really loved my trip so much! I’ll be going back next year for 3 months because after only one week home I miss the kids and want to make sure they’re’ doing alright.
If I could give one piece of advice to futur volunteers it is to stay as long as they possibly can because it never seems to be enough!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

It is great that you took the opportunity to extend your time in South Africa Jade. We are really looking forward to having you back again next year, as I am sure are the children you worked with! Claire - IVHQ Program Manager.

João Pedro
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

MUIZENBERG - SOUTH AFRICA (THE BEST EXPERIENCE)

My name is João Pedro, I'm Brazilian, and I'm 24 years old. I came here to present the experience at the IVHQ program in Muizenberg, South Africa, which was held from 2nd to 13th July. Well, before leaving my country I was impressed with the organization of IVHQ's team. Because in the application they asked for many details, they demanded criminal records, registration of documents, schedules of flights and other information. The layout of the site is very practical, and the interactive activities are very useful for people who has never done the program. I wondered about if the organization and effectiveness would be the same as it was till that point.
When we arrived at Cape Town airport, an IVQH team was already waiting for us. A van took me from the airpoirt to the volunteer’s home. The house was very clean, every day were two very dear girls to clean up. Were included the house staying and three meals. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. The three meals were sufficient for all occasions, although they were not as significant in protein, they were very nutritious, varied and delicious. Our house had a vegeterian, his food came separate from ours.
On the first day, orientation day, we went to a house that they explained us what we were going to do exactly in each kind of program. We had the opportunity to know all the volunteers and the staff that worked with us. About the childcare program. Every morning they picked us up by 7:30 and left us in the school of the Capricorn community. The place was very safe, and the school staff and kids were already used to the volunteers, they made us feel like home. The van used to pick us up half a day at school and leave us back at the house with our lunch.
It was an amazing experience that I had, exceeded all my expectations in every aspect. You can try to go there to change but who changes is you. I am very grateful to IVHQ for this opportunity and I hope to return soon and help more.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

It is great to hear that you had an amazing experience, and felt supported through the entire process. Both myself and the local team, would like to thank you for your dedication and time given to the program, it was very much appreciated. Claire - IVHQ Program Manager.

Default avatar
Adriana
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best experience

Volunteering abroad in South Africa is by far one of the best decisions I have ever made. I really loved working every morning in the program of childcare and spending time with the kids in the school were we worked at. I created so many meaningful bonds and relationships with all the people I met: the kids, the teachers and all the volunteers from all around the world. What I love about IVHQ is that it has a really good balance between volunteering time and free time to explore the city and all its wonderful surroundings. My favorite parts were seeing the kids every day from Monday to Friday and as a tourist I love hiking both Table Mountain and Lion's head and the Bloukrans Bridge bungee which is the highest in the world!!! This is an experience you won't regret. Lots of love, friendships and adventure.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

We are so happy that you chose to expand on your current volunteer experience, and joined the IVHQ volunteer team in South Africa Adriana. I am sure the children have as many fond memories of you! Claire - IVHQ Program Manager.

Default avatar
Beau
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I Would go back tomorrow!

I choose IVHQ because I had read amazing reviews and the program they offered seemed to fit exactly what I was looking for- a mix of culture, children interaction, exploration, and the opportunity to meet new people. After spending almost four weeks in South Africa I can say that my experience exceeded all of those wishes. The program from the beginning was very easy to apply and pick a location, for me South Africa has always been a bucket list item so that was easy. Communication with the team was great even when the trip was over when they wanted feedback to make the program better. I have to say the people you meet though was the best by far- I created so many new friendships with people across the globe and for almost a month I left everything back home to just be present and live in the moment. I would in a heartbeat go on another volunteer trip with this organization, honestly I cannot wait to starting planning for when that can happen.

What would you improve about this program?
Would be nice to know a rough schedule for your volunteering so you can plan.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Thanks for your review Beau! We are so happy that you decided to volunteer with IVHQ as your first international volunteer experience. Your time was appreciated by all and we would love to have you volunteer again with IVHQ in the future! Claire - IVHQ Program Manager.

Ashley
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Unforgettable Experience!

My overall experience with IVHQ was fantastic from start to finish. Claire was extremely helpful with the support prior to leaving for South Africa and responded to questions, even hours before leaving for the trip. Also, when in South Africa, I never felt alone as the staff from DTR was always available.

As for the Program and the children we worked with was life changing. There is so much need that I felt like my time in South Africa really did help and make an impact. And I cannot wait to go back!

Location

Location:
Cape Town
Currency:
South African Rand
Weather:
Jan-Mar
81 F / 57 F
Apr-Jun
68 F / 46 F
Jul-Sep
66 F / 45 F
Oct-Dec
77 F / 52 F
Airports:
Cape Town International Airport
( CPT )

Cape Town is the 2nd largest city in South Africa, legislative capital, the most southern city in all of Africa, and the "Mother City". This city is a beacon for all of Africa and holds a multitude of the continents monuments and natural wonders like Table mountain.

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Meet the Alumni

About International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

IVHQ is the world’s most trusted and affordable volunteer abroad organization, offering the largest range of safe and impactful volunteer programs in 50+ destinations. Over 100,000 travelers have volunteered abroad with IVHQ over the past 12 years,...
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