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Volunteer in South Africa

The Greater Kruger area lies between Mozambique, Eswatini and the world-famous Kruger National Park. This area encapsulates Africa at its heart. It is a wildlife haven with natural beauty unlike anywhere else.

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Why volunteer in South Africa?

There is a reason why so many people want to volunteer in South Africa. Make that several reasons. Where else can you watch the sunrise from the top of a mountain, catch a wave in the ocean and spot an elephant roaming at dusk all in the same day? President Nelson Mandela proclaimed this country as the ‘Rainbow Nation’ – a country as diverse and colourful as it is exciting and adventurous.

However, due to its complex history, one that is still very much in the making, there is still enormous inequality that continues to provide barriers to quality education and healthcare for marginalized people. The unequal distribution of wealth is not only seen in the most well-known city, Cape Town, but across the country. Communities are struggling from food scarcity, minimal opportunities for employment, access healthcare and education.

South Africa is a country that welcomes, and needs, volunteer support.

“Volunteering has helped me see that helping others can change, not just societies, but our own lives too.”

Pratik | Raleigh Volunteer

“I definitely feel that I’m more open to new experiences and that my comfort zone has considerably expanded”

Steve | Raleigh Volunteer

Where will I be in South Africa?

The Greater Kruger area is nestled in between Mozambique, Eswatini and the world-famous Kruger National Park itself. In comparison to Cape Town this area encapsulates Africa at its heart, not to mention year-round sunshine. It is a wildlife haven with natural beauty unlike anywhere else in the world.

Despite their complex history, South Africans are hugely welcoming to international travellers. The Raleigh expedition takes place in a diverse area combining wild bushveld, a friendly community and the majestic Drakensberg mountains.

Projects you can join in South Africa

Whilst on Expedition, you can take part in up to three project phases. For a full itinerary of what your South Africa Expedition could look like, download your guide.

01. Community

This community-led project is focussed around finding sustainable solutions to issues such as poverty, low levels of education, food insecurity, and unemployment.
Each day you will walk into the adjacent community, working as a team on projects such as building sustainable food gardens. You will discover a warm welcome, gain an appreciation for the local culture and learn some of the Xitsonga language (one of the 11 official languages of South Africa)

02. Environmental

This phase will have direct impact on restoring a healthy habitat on land bordering the Kruger National Park.
You will be involved in alien plant removal, indigenous tree planting, combating soil erosion, snare sweeps, litter picks and road clearing. All of which will help accelerate the restoration of a wilderness. The work will be physical, dirty and fun, making a difference to the health of the habitat.

03. Adventure Leadership

Supported by our local experienced guide, medic and Raleigh leaders, your trek will allow you to explore a true wilderness, with no marked trails, facilities or shops along the way.
Everyone starts and finishes trek together, come rain or sun (or even snow!) and no matter what trekking experience you have beforehand. Supporting one another through these moments, not giving up and sharing your achievements together will be some of the most memorable and defining moments of your Expedition.

What can I expect on my Raleigh Expedition?

Everyone’s Expedition is slightly different – depending on how long you stay when you go and where. This is an outline of what you can expect from a 10-week Expedition. For a more in-depth description of life on a South Africa Expedition, including camp life and project info, download your sample itinerary.

Arrive at Hoedspruit Eastgate Airport
You will be met by the country team

Induction and training (3-4 days)
Get to know your fellow volunteers and prepare for Expedition life. You’ll receive essential training on topics such as health and safety and cultural awareness.

Community Project (19- 21 days)
Each day you will walk into the adjacent community, working as a team and sometimes alongside members of the community, working on building sustainable food gardens.

Debrief at base camp (2-3 days)
At the end of each phase, everyone returns to the training centre for a few days before moving on to your next project. You’ll catch up with the rest of the Expedition team and start to prepare for your next project. Project groups will change between each phase, this is an important part of the Expedition experience.

Adventure Leadership Project (19 – 21 days)
For this leg of your adventure, you will head to Drakensberg. You will travel together by bus for a day through northern South Africa, skirting around Swaziland and heading towards the mountain Kingdom of Lesotho. 

Environmental Project (19 – 21 days)
Take part in physical conservation work in the reserve. The work will be physical, dirty and fun, making a difference to the health of the habitat.

Final review at base (2 days)
All Expeditions end with everyone coming together for a final few days back at the training centre. Catch up with friends and celebrate all you have achieved together.

Departure from Hoedspruit Eastgate Airport

There is a reason why so many people want to volunteer in South Africa. Make that several reasons

When can I go and how much?

We run three cycles every year during the following times.

CYCLE 1
FEBRUARY - APRIL
CYCLE 2
JUNE - AUGUST

10 Weeks

28th June – 2nd September 2023
£3,995$4,900

7 Weeks

28th June – 13th August 2023
£3,570$4,400

6 Weeks

19th June – 28th July 2023
£3,250$3,995

Reserve
CYCLE 3
OCTOBER - DECEMBER

10 Weeks

9th October – 14th December 2023
£3,995$4,900

7 Weeks

9th October –  24th November 2023
£3,570$4,400

Reserve
CYCLE 1
FEBRUARY - APRIL

10 Weeks

12th February – 18th April 2024
£3,995$4,900

7 Weeks

12th February – 29th March 2024
£3,570$4,400

Reserve
CYCLE 2
JUNE - AUGUST

10 Weeks

27th June – 1st September 2024
£3,995$4,900

7 Weeks

27th June – 12th August 2024
£3,570$4,400

6 Weeks

27th June – 5th August 2024
£3,570$4,400

4 Weeks

27th June – 25th July 2024
£2,350$2,900

Reserve
CYCLE 3
OCTOBER - DECEMBER

10 Weeks

8th October – 13th December 2024
£3,995$4,900

7 Weeks

8th October –  23rd November 2023
£3,570$4,400

Reserve

What’s included

  • Airport welcome and transfers
  • All food, transport and accommodation 
in Expedition country
  • 24-hour support from Expedition country 
office and UK staff
  • Safety expertise
  • Extensive pre-departure information and support
  • Local orientation, project training & equipment

Not Included

  • Flights
  • Visas
  • Vaccinations
  • Personal kit
  • Travel insurance

A full breakdown of whats included and not included along with a welcome pack to help you prepare will be provided on application.

How to apply

Volunteer Application

Apply online

Fill in your online application form and tell us why you want to go on Expedition!

Screening

If your application is successful, we send you a booking form and ask for more information and process a deposit of £350$350

Confirmation

You will be assigned a volunteer coordinator who will send you all the information you need about your Raleigh Expedition.

Pre-departure

Get ready for your Expedition – we will support you all the way!

Over 25 and looking for a Volunteer manager role?

Our Volunteer Managers (VM) are the driving force behind the Expedition and are vital to ensuring the programmes run smoothly and effectively. You can apply for these roles on the main application page.

The Raleigh Impact

Over the years Raleigh has made some significant impacts on communities, the environment and people

100

Over 100,000 people now have long-lasting access to safe and accessible hygiene facilities and access to toilets, handwashing and drinking water.

900

Raleigh young people have planted over 900,000 trees to help combat climate change.

65

Volunteers have built or rehabilitated more than 65km of trails and conservation infrastructure

500

Over 500 rural households supported to protect income from environmental challenges.

The on-the-ground team

Here are some of the Raleigh South Africa team who will be looking after you

Stacey, Country Director

Stacey leads the development of Raleigh South Africa and is responsible for the general management of the organisation. South African born and bred, she has extensive experience in volunteer travel. Having run Conservation and Community projects in the Greater Kruger area for 8 years.

Stacey also has extensive African travel experience having backpacked through 17 African countries, and understanding the life-changing impact of expeditions on youth. Stacey believes in the impact volunteers can have on our projects and also the change our expeditions can make on our volunteers.

 

Yolisa, Operations Coordinator

Yolisa is responsible for planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating the Raleigh Expedition and is responsible for the health and safety of all programmes.

Yolisa is from Cape Town originally but has worked in the Greater Kruger area for two years on volunteer programs. She has been working in South Africa as a guide and project manager for seven years, she is passionate about wildlife and the environment. Yolisa ensures the work we do is impactful and sustainable and is passionate about working with young people as she can see how, through volunteering, people can strengthen their personal and professional development.

Spencer, Operations Coordinator

Spencer oversees the day-to-day logistics and health and safety of Raleigh’s Expedition programmes.

Spencer is originally from Canada but moved to South Africa after falling in love with the African bush. Having studied to be a nature guide, Spencer is passionate about the environment and the communities we work in. Spencer’s priority is running programs where the welfare of people and the environment are at the centre.

What makes Raleigh Expedition unique?

Volunteering with Raleigh International is an immersive, one-of-a-kind experience. Described by our volunteers as “absolutely life-changing”, it’s a journey you will never forget. Don’t expect tourist hotspots, five-star hotels and 24/7 wifi (we promise you won’t miss it); instead, expect a memory-making adventure full of fun and rewarding experiences.

Be with people your age

Apart from team leaders and staff, you will be grouped with people aged 17-24. This is unique to Raleigh.

A community environment like no other

Share the experience with the same group for the duration of your trip. Learn to help and support each other and make friends for life.

Varied experiences

You will have the opportunity to take part in up to three phases contributing to community and environmental projects allowing you to gain more skills and experiences.

Diverse and Inclusive

Volunteers join diverse teams of young people from across the globe as well as volunteers from the country you are based in.

Real adventure

Raleigh Expedition is an exciting and fun experience that will push you out of your comfort zone (in a safe environment!).

Future ready

Gain the skills, confidence and perspective to play a leading role in building a better and more sustainable world for everyone.

Need more information about Expedition?

Consultation call

Whether you have a specific question or want to discuss which Expedition is right for you, schedule a call with a member of the team at a time convenient to you. 

Join an info event

On our monthly online info events, we’ll tell you all about Expedition. Have your questions answered, meet other volunteers and find out what Expedition is really like from an alumni.

Download a guide

Find out all about Raleigh International and Expedition in our helpful information guide.

South Africa national and want to volunteer?

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Apply now

FAQ's

Frequently asked questions about Raleigh Expedition at our South Africa locations

Will I need a visa and is it included in the cost?

Most nationalities will receive a 90 day tourist visa on entry into South Africa. Your Volunteer Coordinator will provide you with all the relevant information.

How many people will be on Expedition with me?

The number of volunteers can vary (up to 60) but you will be in group sizes of no more than 20 

Where will I be staying?

You will stay at our base camp on arrival and in between projects. Our base camp is a tented camp with ablutions and social areas. The camp is basic, with no electricity apart from our solar charging station for charging phones.  

On our community project, you will setup a camp with shared sleeping tents and a basic kitchen.  

What vaccinations will I need?

Malaria precautions are essential. Avoid mosquito bites by covering up with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers, especially after sunset, and using insect repellents on exposed skin. 

Check with your doctor about suitable antimalarial tablets. 

Yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travellers arriving from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited for more than 12 hours through an airport of a country with a risk of yellow fever transmission. 

How much free time will I have?

There will be breaks during the day to recharge. In the African bush, we tend to get up early to get work done before it gets too hot. We then have a break over the heat of the day and lunch, then get back to work in the afternoons. In between your projects, you will have five days of rest.  

Camps are remote and therefore venturing out of camp is not always safe. We will go on excursions as a group.