Most Affordable & Trusted Volunteer Programs in South Africa

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About

Trusted by 90,000+ volunteers, IVHQ offers the most popular volunteer programs in Cape Town and 40+ other destinations around the world.

You can choose from 5 volunteer project options in South Africa 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 other like-minded, impact-focused travelers from around the world.

IVHQ is trusted to support the meaningful adventures of thousands of volunteers every year, so before you even depart for South Africa, you’ll receive outstanding personalized 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 - 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 90,000+ 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

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 55 reviews
  • Impact 9.1
  • Support 9.1
  • Fun 9.4
  • Value 9.5
  • Safety 8.5
Showing 1 - 15 of 55
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Nour
9/10

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!

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

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.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Juan Jose
10/10

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

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.
Yes, I recommend this program
Sarah
10/10

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.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Daniel
10/10

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.

Yes, I recommend this program
Valerie
10/10

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.

Yes, I recommend this program
Yousef
10/10

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.

Yes, I recommend this program
Jade
10/10

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.

Yes, I recommend this program
João Pedro
10/10

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.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Adriana
10/10

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.

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

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.

Yes, I recommend this program
Ashley
10/10

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!

Yes, I recommend this program
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ummugul
10/10

One of the Best Place to visit!

I decided to volunteer in South Africa- Muizemberg and I don't regret one bit! As soon as I came to Cape Town I was greeted by a local who came to pick me up. He was the nicest! Then, I met my house mother, who truly cares for you. I needed to have access to wifi for a tour the next day and she called all her contacts to find someone who can hotspot me for a few minutes and not long after she found someone! All the people who stayed in the same house as me greeted me and helped me to get organized and comfortable.

They also cook amazing food! If you are vegetarian you just need to let them know and they'll make a separate meal for you.

As for the program itself, I was in teaching and it was the holiday program. We started volunteering at 9:00 and ended around 13:00. We worked along the sports development program and it was the best! All the kids are so adorable and genuine. They just want love and affection and they'll be the most happiest person in the world! They knew all the volunteers name by heart before I knew theirs. If I could stay for more than 2 weeks in there I would without hesitation. There are just so many things to do in there and the locals are so nice that you wanna extend your stay and so many people did. Every day we tried to do a new activity. I totally recommend you to hike lions head and table mountain. They're just the best hike you can ever find in the world. Also, if you can go to Chapman's peak, do a three day safari tour, do the Cape Point tour and go to the Roben Island you'll have the best time believe me it's worth it! I had a budget of 500$ before going there, but there are just so many thing to do and see that I didn't care spending more.

Also, if you are worried that Cape Town might not be the safest place just know that there will always be people to help you. I've never had an issue there and you just have to be cautious. For example don't walk alone at night and try to stay with a group of people when you're going out and you'll be fine.

Just know that by volunteering with IVHQ you're never be alone. They will always be there to help you by guiding and preparing you for the trip! They're the best!

Thank you IVHQ for this unforgettable experience. I will definitely volunteer again with you guys.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Ummugul, it sounds like you really made the most of your time on the program as well as exploring Cape Town - you really got to fulfil your wish of doing something different, and helping others while travelling. The time you spent on the program and your positive attitude was appreciated by all of the team, and I am sure the children that you worked with as well. Thanks again for joining the program and being a great volunteer!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Jessica
10/10

Incredible Volunteering Experience

I continuously smiled, laughed, played, taught, sang, and took many pictures with the kids. This program had exceeded my expectations. From the moment I had arrived to Cape Town, I had felt welcomed and felt like this trip would be a life changing experience. I volunteered in the childcare program for 2 weeks, and the teaching program for 1 week in the township of Capricorn. At both schools I had felt very welcomed by the staff, and was able to interact, connect and help with the kids by the first day of volunteering. The local staff for IVHQ were very helpful and kind, and made sure each volunteer had a great experience. Within such a short time I had felt like I had connected with everyone so well, and had fallen in love with the culture of South Africa. I will absolutely never forget this experience as I completely stepped out of my comfort zone, had opened my eyes to a new culture, and had confirmed that I want to become an elementary school teacher.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Thanks for taking the time to write your review Jess! It sounds like you had an amazing time, and really made the most out of the experience outside of your comfort zone, learning about the amazing South African culture and its people. I am sure the teachers and children enjoyed the time with you as much as you did with them! ^Claire - IVHQ South Africa Program Manager

Yes, I recommend this program

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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 40+ destinations around the world.

Over 80,000 travelers have volunteered abroad with IVHQ over the...

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