Volunteering in South Africa: Arrival Procedure in Cape Town
On arrival in South Africa, one of the first things you'll notice is the huge variety or races and nationalities - you won't stick out, neither will you blend in - welcome to the Rainbow Nation! You'll first go through the usual immigration procedures then, through the melee of people waiting with signs, you will see one of our members of staff holding a Projects Abroad sign.
Whatever project you do, all volunteers based in Cape Town live with host families, generally in the Southern Suburbs. From the airport, you’ll be taken directly to your host family, who will introduce you to the family members and possibly also other volunteers living with you. The following working day, a Projects Abroad staff member will pick you up at your host family to be taken to our office in Cape Town to meet the staff, collect your welcome pack and have a thorough induction before starting your project the next day. We cover and - depending on the project, arrange transportation to and from placements.
Volunteering in South Africa: Orientation and Induction
After a well earned rest, you'll be collected the following morning to begin your full induction to South African culture, your work, and life in Cape Town. You'll be taken around the city on public transport, introduced to your placement supervisor, and have lunch with one of our staff to get to know them better, and to ask any more questions you might have about the Projects Abroad experience.
As you can imagine from a country known as the Rainbow Nation, South African food is an eclectic mix of flavours and styles. From fresh 'mielies' to the classic Cape Malay curry dish "bobotie", you'll find plenty of variety here! South Africans love their food and if you chose to eat out, you'll be blown away by the selection of foods available - Indian, Portuguese, Mozambican, Western. You name it! And don't forget to wash it down with some world class wines from the local winelands.
Though South Africa is a huge country, transport is excellent so it is easy to get around and travel at the weekends or after your placement. There are frequent trains in and out of Cape Town, or you could choose one of the many budget airlines, or even the famous "Bazbus", which is popular with backpackers. Internet is readily available throughout the Cape and is the cheapest and easiest way of staying in touch with friends and family back home.
Conservation & Environment in South Africa
If you're doing the Conservation project, your final destination will be Polokwane airport in the rural heartland of the Limpopo River basin. You'll be met off the plane by one of our members of staff, before making the stunning three hour drive in the back of a land cruiser to our base camp in Kwa Tuli, on the Botswana side of the Limpopo river border with South Africa. You'll settle in, meet the other volunteers, receive a full safety induction before relaxing by the fire and listening to the sounds of the African bush . The next day you’ll be up early to begin work before the heat of the day intensifies.
As you can imagine living inside a nature reserve, you'll be isolated from the outside world, with limited mobile phone signal and no internet, which many volunteers relish! For safety reasons, you won't be able to leave the base camp without one of our fully qualified staff members, but don't worry, you'll get the chance to go into town once a week to call home, help re-stock the fridge and get hold of anything you've been craving since the last trip! Then it's back to the camp for another home cooked meal with the other volunteers and Projects Abroad staff over the traditional open Braai (Pit BBQ).