South Africa lays at the southernmost tip of the continent and is the second most developed country in Africa after Morocco. It is known as the ‘Rainbow Nation’ because it has such a wide cultural diversity in its residents. A region of vibrant and distressing history, Africa is a continent of large disparities. A great destination to volunteer in, It is the site of where one of the most infamous injustices in recent history, Apartheid, took place.
It is also the region where Nelson Mandela, the man who led the way to equal rights in the country was born. South Africa is a rapidly developing country, modern in some ways but still developing in others. A quarter of the population still lives in shocking poverty so volunteers are always needed and welcomed.
In addition, flanked by Atlantic and the Indian Oceans, the opportunities for eco-volunteers with marine life or the variety of animal sanctuaries are numerous.
Volunteers from across the world aspire to volunteer in South Africa as it offers many good projects along with splendid natural beauty to explore for travel enthusiasts. Volunteering Solutions offers volunteering opportunities to aspiring international volunteers in two of the most frequented and beautiful destinations of the region – Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.
Here are a few things that you should know before Volunteering in South Africa.
it is quite a vast country and so having an idea of where you would like to travel is helpful. The two major airports are located in Cape Town and Johannesburg so if you plan on going elsewhere in the country, it would be wise to research how to travel to those destinations.
From 1948 to 1994, blacks faced a lot of discrimination and struggled against Apartheid. It is recommended that you read extensively about Apartheid to improve the quality of your volunteering and to understand the culture of South Africa.
With opportunities to volunteer ranging from surf camps to orphanages, from large cats conservation, such as lions and cheetahs, to great white sharks, the country is teeming with areas of interest in which your skills can be put to use. Make sure to consider what the expectations will be, some require quite extensive physical work, and make sure it is suitable for you in every way. VolSol projects cater to volunteers with varied interests and should be picked accordingly.
Once you have chosen your project and destination start making the necessary plans. Flights are often cheaper to book in advance and you also get a confirmed spot if you apply for your project on time. Make sure to get a complete physical checkup and bring the necessary prescriptions to buy medicines that you may need and check that you are up to date with all the necessary vaccines. You can get your travel insurance arrangement via Volunteering Solutions.
Both for the program you will be attending and for the part of the country, you will be staying in. South Africa is a nation of extreme wealth and poverty. A taxi ride through Cape Town can pass by residences made of cardboard boxes and grand mansions in a span of 10 minutes. It is a good rule of thumb to try to always stay with other people when you are out and keep in touch with the local project coordinator for quick safety tips.
For the time of year at which you will be going. South Africa is in the Southern Hemisphere meaning that summer is from about November to February and winter from June to August. Nights can get quite chilly so, even if you are there in summer, bringing a sweater is always a good idea. When volunteering comfort takes precedence over fashion and it is never a good idea to bring pricy items.
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