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Volunteer in South Africa

Take action to support development in local communities and conservation in wildlife havens, while also exploring incredible landscapes across South Africa’s Drakensbergs.

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

Steve | Raleigh Volunteer

Why volunteer in South Africa?

A word you will hear a lot in South Africa is Ubuntu. It means ‘I am because we are‘. South Africans are all about the people and how we can all work together. Through this Raleigh Expedition, volunteers will see the real South Africa.

In the Community phase, you will be in the heart of the rural communities where you will be welcomed by friendly faces. On the Environmental phase you will be based in a reserve open to the Kruger National Park which will allow to you to see all the animals, but without the tourists.

This Raleigh Expedition will take you to the heart and soul of South Africa, and it will change your life forever. 

Where will I be in South Africa?

The Greater Kruger area is nestled between Mozambique, Eswatini and the world-famous Kruger National Park itself. In comparison to Cape Town, this area encapsulates Africa at its heart.

Experience year-round sunshine and share this land with all of the Big 5 (Lion, Elephant, Buffalo, Rhino and Leopard). Experienced rangers will accompany you at all times who will share with you their knowledge of the wildlife, plants and landscape throughout. 

“I have now been with Raleigh 3 times. Twice in Tanzania and once in Borneo. Each time I got to see the country and experience a culture that would never have been open to me as a tourist. I respect the organization and believe in their work”
Hilary | Raleigh Volunteer

Projects you can join in South Africa

You can get involved in up to 3 phases (Community, Environmental and Trek). For a full itinerary of what a 10-week Expedition could look like, download a 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

Expedition Schedules & Pricing

We run three cycles every year. You can choose between different Expedition lengths:

10 week: The most immersive and popular Expedition. Take part in all three full phases.

7 weeks: Take part in two full phases. You’ll be assigned either the Community or Environmental project with the Adventure Leadership Trek.

4 weeks: Take part in a full phase of a Community Project or Environmental Project with a shorter 5 day trek.

2024 Expedition Dates

CYCLE 1

FEBRUARY - APRIL

10 Weeks

12th February – 18th April 2024 – FULL
£4,395$5,970$5,570$5,570

NOW FULLY BOOKED

7 Weeks

A: 12th February – 29th March 2024 – FULL
B: 4th March – 18th April 2024 – FULL
£3,930$5,380$4,980$4,980

NOW FULLY BOOKED

Reserve
CYCLE 2

JUNE - AUGUST

10 Weeks

24th June – 29th August 2024
£4,395$5,970$5,570$5,570

SPACES FILLING FAST

7 Weeks

A: 24th June – 9th August 2024
B: 14th July – 29th August 2024
£3,930$5,380$4,980$4,980

4 Weeks


A: 24th June – 22nd July 2024
B: 25th July – 22nd August 2024
£2,585$3,680$3,280$3,280

Application deadline: 15th April 2024

Reserve
CYCLE 3

OCTOBER - DECEMBER

10 Weeks

8th October – 13th December 2024
£4,395$5,970$5,570$5,570

7 Weeks


A: 8th October –  23rd November 2024
B: 28th October – 13th December 2024
£3,930$5,380$4,980$4,980

Application deadline: 31st July 2024 (7B – 15th August 2024)

Reserve

2025 Expedition Dates

CYCLE 1

FEBRUARY - APRIL

10 Weeks*

10th February – 17th April 2025
£4,395$5,970$5,570$5,570

7 Weeks*

A: 10th February – 28th March 2025
B: 2nd March – 17th April 2025
£3,930$5,380$4,980$4,980

Reserve
CYCLE 2

JUNE - AUGUST

10 Weeks

24th June – 29th August 2025
£4,395$5,970$5,570$5,570

7 Weeks

A: 24th June – 9th August 2025
B: 14th July – 29th August 2025
£3,930$5,380$4,980$4,980

4 Weeks


A: 24th June – 22nd July 2025
B: 25th July – 22nd August 2025
£2,585$3,680$3,280$3,280

Reserve
CYCLE 3

OCTOBER - DECEMBER

10 Weeks

11th October – 16th December 2025
£4,395$5,970$5,570$5,570

7 Weeks


A: 11th October –  16th November 2025
B: 31st October – 16th December 2025
£3,930$5,380$4,980$4,980

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
  • Exclusive kit discounts & advice
  • Raleigh t-shirt

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

Apply online

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

APPLY NOW

Screening

If your application is successful, we send you a booking form and ask for more information and process a deposit of £200$200$200$200

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.
74
of volunteers feel happier after being without their phones during Expedition. 63% said they had improved mental health.
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.

 

Jason, Expeditions Manager

Jason has been actively involved in outdoor adventure and conservation since 2008, starting as a white water rafting guide and progressing on to professional field guide and ranger. He has worked extensively all over Africa and the UK on various land and sea conservation projects. Most recently, he has been leading volunteer projects in Zanzibar focusing on marine conservation and conservation education in the local communities. He has also received military training in survival, navigation and map reading. Jason is passionate about protecting the environment, uplifting local communities and adventure. Helping to transform people’s lives through active and impactful expeditions is a dream come true!

Gareth, Operations Coordinator

After studying a Bachelor of Heritage and Cultural Science at the University of Pretoria, Gareth followed his passion to create a positive impact on the lives of people and animals. He has worked on community and environmental projects, and as an adventure guide for groups travelling Southern Africa.

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

What makes Raleigh Expeditions 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 are all about the digital and alcohol detox); instead, expect a memory-making adventure full of fun, rewarding experiences and real world connection.

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

We're no phones programme so you can share the experience fully with the same group during your trip. Learn to 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

We're booze-free and adventure filled. 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?

Apply now

South Africa Expedition FAQs

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.  

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