This teen volunteer program in South Africa is filled with unbelievable wildlife, scenic landscapes, and a rich cultural exchange. We have a long-established relationship with Eco Children Klaserie and you will get the opportunity to work closely with the local youth. This South Africa summer travel program uses a service-learning framework, where our staff provide guidance and reflection on the impact of the work we do throughout the program and promote the value of empathy and cultural sensitivity. You will gain as much from this experience as the young students you will be privileged to spend time with. Top that off with an unforgettable safari to see the Big 5 in Kruger National Park and this is a summer experience sure to create life-long memories.
About This Program
What It’s Like
The perfect balance of meaningful service projects, cultural immersion and unforgettable adventures.
This program requires an open mind to experience a different culture, new foods and comfortable hotels.
60 Community Service Hours
A certificate of completion detailing the program's service hours and projects will be issued after the trip.
Everybody participates together in each project. Specific projects are confirmed in late spring and are similar to those described.
Hotels & lodges.
Includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily.
Includes all recreation & activities listed.
Chartered, air conditioned vehicles with a professional driver.
Up to 24 participants.
• Embark on a sustainable project with a local school.
• Safari in Kruger National Park to see the Big 5.
• Play soccer and run activities with local children.
• Learn to surf in Muizenberg.
• Help students practice their English with songs and games.
• Learn about African wildlife conservation.
• Participate in a building project at a library or nursery school.
• Enjoy spectacular views at Cape Point & the Cape of Good Hope.
Our project with Eco-Children Training focuses on hands-on environmental education amongst the youth in the Hoedspruit and Acornhoek areas of the Klaserie Nature Park. Eco-Children Training has committed itself to becoming involved in local schools to spread the theme of conservation through creating awareness, teaching, and inspiring youth to appreciate nature in many areas. In the past we worked alongside the students of the Primary School to construct vegetable gardens. We dug holes for the foundation, laid the bricks, filled the gardens with soil and compost, planted seedlings and erected a fence around the mini eco-village.
About Eco-Children Training
Eco-Children Training’s mission is to empower children rural Mpumalanga and Limpopo by developing their capacity as catalysts of positive change in their communities. They sow the seeds of change by improving the quality of education and providing opportunities for talented learners.
The beautiful area of St. Lucia which is located on the coast of the Indian Ocean is surrounded by communities that have HIV/AIDS infection rates of over 70%. You will be working in the two nearby villages of Ezwenelisha and Khula running a holiday camp for the children and orphans in the community. You will play soccer and games, run arts and crafts activities and help these amazing kids practice their English, all while learning about each other’s cultures. These communities run their nursery schools (crèches) out of single-room mud and stone huts. They need your help to work on projects like constructing fences to protect the crèches and the surrounding land, to build a playground or even start construction on a new crèche!
In contrast to the rural communities, you will have worked with until now, here you experience the urban poverty of Red Hill or Masi Pamolailai and lend a hand where your help is desperately needed. In these townships, multiple families share a water source and are unable to build any permanent structures on the land, thus leaving them in poor living conditions. You will either work with crèches, run programs at a library or participate in a building project. You will help teach the children English through songs and play games in these informal settlements to support the families and communities.
Your adventure begins with an orientation to South Africa as well as to one another by whitewater rafting the Sabie River. Take part in a team-building workshop to facilitate collaboration amongst our group. Visit the Apartheid Museum and take a tour of Soccer City – one of the stadiums of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Heard of the Big 5? Scout with bush trackers for elephants, leopards, rhinos, Cape buffalo and lions on an exciting safari drive in Kruger National Park, home to South Africa’s most varied wildlife. Discover Blyde River Canyon, the third largest canyon in the world, and take in the beauty of Bourke’s Luck Potholes.
Get to know some of the local customs and learn a few words in Zulu as you partake in an interactive Zulu Cultural Evening. Enjoy a relaxing beach day swimming in the Indian Ocean in St. Lucia. Travel to Durban and explore the city and local markets.
Welcome to Cape Town, South Africa’s oldest and most striking city! Journey up to the top of Table Mountain and be amazed by the sights and the views of this world-class city. Descend by cable car and then explore the V & A Waterfront for hidden treasures and to check out the seals basking on the wharf in the South African sun. Learn to surf in Muizenberg, one of the best surf beaches in the world! Ferry out to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Robben Island and tour the Maximum Security Prison where Nelson Mandela spent many of his 27 years in prison.
At Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope, experience spectacular views from some of the southernmost tips of the continent. Explore Boulders Beach and the colony of African penguins which call this bay home. Experience a Seal Island boat cruise and see firsthand where some of the incredible scenes from the Discovery Channel’s Planet Earth were shot. Upon returning home, images of your journey will play like a slideshow in your mind – the soothing sunset from your safari, the first time a child reached out for your hand and made eye contact with you, the picturesque landscape of South Africa and the new you – a mentor, teacher, friend and volunteer. All of this made possible by you and a remarkable continent called Africa.
Johannesburg, South Africa
The Holiday Inn is conveniently located ten minutes from O.R. Tambo International Airport and a great place to start your South African adventure. Rooms have TVs and WiFi.
Kruger National Park, South Africa
The amazing and authentic Timbavati Safari Lodge is situated close to Kruger National Park. You’ll share the lodge area with local inhabitants such as Bush babies, Giraffe, Impala, Wildebeest, Bushbuck, Duiker, and Warthog who graze on the lush green grass and can regularly be seen from the verandas of the rooms. Here you will also enjoy dinners alternating between eating inside and outside with a braai (South African BBQ). The property has Wi-Fi.
St. Lucia, South Africa
The Elephant Lake Hotel rooms all share a westerly view across the St. Lucia Estuary. All rooms are equipped with TVs and safes. There is Wi-Fi in all public areas of the hotel.
Durban, South Africa
The Holiday Inn Express Durban Umhlanga Ridge’s curving facade faces the Indian Ocean. Our hotel is situated next to Umhlanga Beach and within minutes of the heart of Durban’s vibrant city center. All rooms are comfortably furnished with TV, Wi-Fi, air conditioning and safes.
Simon's Town, South Africa
Each bedroom at the Quayside Hotel has a magnificent view of either False Bay and the Simon’s Town yacht basin or the majestic Simon’s Kloof mountains. The rooms are all comfortably furnished with Wi-Fi and TVs.
Cape Town, South Africa
Located in the heart of Cape Town, the Cape Town Lodge Hotel offers spacious rooms that are located on the higher floors, so that guests can appreciate the views of Table Mountain, Lions Head, Signal Hill, Cape Town Harbour and the eclectic colours of the Bo–Kaap Village. The property has WiFi.
Flight to Johannesburg, South Africa
We begin this trip with a chaperoned overseas group flight from New York to Johannesburg. Our trip leaders greet you at the airport and are with you from check-in onward. Everyone has the opportunity to begin trip bonding before we even land. For our many travelers from outside the New York area, we require all participants to join our group flight to South Africa and are happy to assist you with arranging connecting flights at suitable times into New York.
Separate from the airfare to and from this program, there is an additional $365 USD fee for internal flights from Johannesburg to Durban and from Durban to Cape Town.
Return Flight Home from Cape Town, South Africa
For your return from Cape Town, we offer a chaperoned flight to New York. You may choose to join that flight and arrange transfers (if required) at suitable times after the group has cleared customs and immigration in the USA; or you may fly from Cape Town to your home city and our leaders help you check-in and remain in the airport until flights at designated times have departed.
South Africa Entry Regulations
To enter South Africa, your passport must have two blank pages facing one another. If you travel often and no longer have this space available, you have to get a new passport, as this requirement is strictly enforced.
New regulations from the Republic of South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs have recently come into effect. Children under 18 traveling without a parent are required to produce an unabridged birth certificate, along with an affidavit from the parents confirming that they give permission for the chaperone to travel with the child. The traveler also needs copies of their parents’ passports and the contact information for the child’s parents.
This is in addition to any other required travel documents such as passports and/or visas. Travelers are invited to visit the Republic of South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs or to contact the South African High Commission at 202-272-7991 for more information.
Where We Stay
We carefully select clean and comfortable accommodations with the needs of our students in mind. While our volunteer programs do not stay at luxury resorts, we do know that a good night’s rest, in your own bed, is key to performing your service hours well and having enough energy to enjoy the day’s activities. For this reason, and also to maintain the close group bond and to uphold the quality of this program, we do not offer any homestays.
Meals & New Cuisines
Eating well while away from home is an important part of a summer’s success. Part of your travel experience will be immersing yourself in the local cuisine and culture so please bring with you an open mind and a willingness to try new things. In South Africa, you can taste local game including warthog, kudu and impala but don’t worry, they also have North American style options on the menu.
We have satisfied the choosiest of eaters and gladly accommodate most special dietary requests including vegetarian, anaphylactic food allergies, lactose intolerance, celiac disease, and kosher style. We welcome discussing your individual requirements with you and have extensive experience in this area.
On this program, we will have large containers of clean water for you to fill up your own water bottles as needed.
We recommend you follow the advice of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and consult with your physician for current immunizations and medication required for travelers to South Africa. These recommendations may change from time to time. We will send you detailed information in March (or upon enrollment if later) regarding the current recommendations for this itinerary.
You will only need one week’s worth of clothing as outlined in the packing list that will be sent to you prior to departure. You will have the opportunity to do laundry at your convenience by dropping off your laundry at a local wash and fold service and then pick it up clean, folded and ready to go.
Included in your program tuition is all lodging, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, recreation & entertainment listed, airport transfers in designated times, gratuities & taxes.
Not included is transportation to and from the program, internal flights, and personal spending money for snacks, souvenirs, and laundry. We also make available optional travel insurance that is not included, but highly recommended.
Please contact us with any questions. We are happy to hear from you!