Volunteering in South Africa

South Africa is one of the most visited countries in Africa, and for good reason.  Cape Town is the most cosmopolitan city in Africa and arguably one of the most beautiful in the world.  South Africa is globally recognized for being one of the best places in the world for surfing and wine tasting; not to mention the incredible wildlife viewing opportunities in Kruger National Park.

South Africa is also the first country in which GOAT Volunteers has established partnerships with two separate NGOs.  Our first partner is focused on marine and coastal conservation in the Western Cape; while our second is based in the Eastern Cape and supports an array of local community education initiatives.

South Africa flag

Fast Facts on South Africa

Capital City: South Africa has 3 capital cities: Cape Town, Pretoria, & Bloemfontein

  • Cape Town is the legislative capital, Pretoria is the administrative capital, and Bloemfontein is the judicial capital

Currency: South African rand

  • Find your currency’s exchange rate here

Languages: Various national, regional, & local languages

  • There are eleven official languages of South Africa: Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu

Population (2015 estimate): 55 million

  • About the same as Canada and Kazakhstan combined

Size:  471,445 square miles or 1,221,037 square kilometers

  • About the size of France and Ukraine combined

2018 Global Peace Index Ranking: 125 out of 163 nations (Low)

  • For comparison: USA (121 – Medium), Canada (6 – Very High), United Kingdom (57 – High)

Our marine conservation partner in South Africa is an established organization focused on marine and coastal conservation, research, and education.  In addition to assisting researchers and performing conservation activities, volunteers also provide environmental education in local schools and potentially even helping teach English at a local pre-school for underprivileged children. You’ll get one of the most all-encompassing experiences that you can find in marine conservation volunteering in an truly magnificent and exciting location.

The project location is in the seaside town of Plettenberg Bay, commonly referred to as Plett.  The volunteer house is nicely situated near an array of shops and restaurants.  Meals are provided by an in-house “Mom” and the NGO’s program coordinator/house manager lives on-site with the volunteers, providing 24/7 support.  As with most conservation initiatives, there is typically more work available than individuals able to complete it.  Volunteering in South Africa provides the opportunity to experience some of the world’s most incredible wildlife while working alongside passionate scientists and conservationists to help these animals, beaches, and oceans.


Our education and community focused partner in South Africa is still relatively new to the volunteering industry, but is truly dedicated to their rural community.  The mission of the volunteer program is to encourage individuals from around the world to travel to South Africa to learn about the people, culture and environment of the region through voluntary service. This program aims to recruit volunteers who can share their skills with members of the local community in a way that helps them achieve their own goals, without creating unhealthy dependencies or undermining the values of the local culture. 

Through educational programs and becoming involved in the local community, volunteers are able to enact lasting change for a relatively new community.  The locals were displaced from their previous village in 1984 due to the building of a new dam.  Therefore, their village is still in the growing phase and needs help to educate the young to create a sustainable future.




Marine Conservation

Volunteering in South Africa will present travelers with a wide array of activities while participating in the marine conservation project; most will be land based, but occasionally volunteers will have the opportunity to go out on the water.  The volunteer’s day will be comprised of tasks such as coast & underwater cleaning, aquatic animal monitoring, flora & fauna surveys and flora restoration, and wetland ecosystem support; including removal of invasive species, turtle monitoring, and logistical operations.  You’ll get one of the most all-encompassing experiences that you can find in marine conservation volunteering in an truly magnificent and exciting location.

Marine Conservation



It’s said that the most important thing you can give to a child is your time. That’s especially true for underprivileged children. Teaching in Ghana is one of the best ways to experience local culture and make a significant impact in a short time. Even if you’ve never taught before, this project provides the perfect opportunity to help improve a child’s life and education.



Child Care

Do you think little kids are the cutest thing ever? Obviously! If spending time and caring for the littlest of humans makes you absurdly happy, then this project was made for you! You’ll spend your time volunteering in South Africa helping underprivileged kids with their communication skills and overall development. It’s guaranteed to be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.

Child Care


Computer Education

Can you remember your life before computers?  Unless you’re over 40, probably not.  The concept of not having at least one laptop or desktop in your home is probably foreign to you.  In rural villages in Africa, that’s not the case.  Having a computer is a luxury.  Most kids aren’t exposed to computers until later in life.  The Computer Education Volunteering in South Africa project gives you the opportunity to open the door to using computers to a group of children who have had little to no exposure to them previously.

Computer Education


After School Program

After school programs have always been a way to continue the learning experience, but in a more open and exciting environment.  Getting kids out of the classroom and on to the field of play or studio allows them to explore their passions for sports and artistic expression.  This program focuses on giving kids who don’t have organized opportunities to pursues these activities, the chance to do so.

After School Program


Community Development

Community Development is a phrase used to describe an extensive range of activities. But, at its core, it is exactly what the two words say: it’s using development to create a community. As the town is small and lacking in industry, the best way for it to grow is to develop its own industries. This project hopes to jump start several ideas with the potential to create a sustainable source of jobs through training programs and business development.

Community Development


Project Fees

Project2 weeksAdditional weeks (each)
Marine Conservation$952$476
Prices for the Marine Conservation project in South Africa are in US dollars; please check the current exchange rate for costs in your local currency (www.xe.com).

Included: Pre-departure information • In-country orientation, training and coordination • Local transfers during working hours • Shared room in the volunteer house • 3 meals per day • T-shirt and cap


Project1 week2 weeks4 weeks
All Educational Projects$340$600$1,120
Prices for educational projects in South Africa are in US dollars; please check the current exchange rate for costs in your local currency (www.xe.com).

Included: Pre-departure information • In-country orientation, training and coordination • Local transfers during working hours • Shared room in the backpackers hostel • 3 meals per day • SIM card • Village Tour • 15-20% project donation

Additional weeks are $225 per week

NOT Included in ANY projects in South Africa: Flights • Travel insurance • Vaccinations • Visas (if necessary) • Local transport outside of project activities • Airport transfers • Personal expenses • Bank/wire transfer fees


All projects incur a $250 application fee.  Please see the The Fine Print page for more information.



The climate of South Africa is considered Mediterranean characterized by temperate weather throughout the year.  Located on the south central coast, Plettenberg Bay experiences the following climate norms:

Summer Season: December to March

Winter Season: June to September

Temperatures throughout the year are relatively cool month-to-month with an average of 62° F (17° C).

Hottest Month: February | average highs of 83° F (28° C)

Coolest Month: August | average lows hovering around 48° F (9° C)


Special Considerations | Volunteering in South Africa


South Africa is famous for its exciting outdoor activities and volunteers are encouraged to explore this incredible country in their free time.  Safaris, scuba diving, wine tasting, hiking, surfing lessons, and much more are at your fingertips.  The local team can help you plan your adventures (often at discounted prices)!

All activities are optional as some/all may incur added costs to the volunteer.  You can join in on the fun, do your own exploring, or just relax at the volunteer house.

Check out GOAT Volunteers on Facebook and Instagram for more photos from our South Africa projects!

For additional information, please visit our Resources page.