South Africa Surf and Community Volunteers
2-8 weeks from $1,020
- Learn to surf on one of the world's most chilled beach settings in South Africa
- Give deprived children the opportunity to blossom as you help them surf and have fun
- Help youngsters with their studies and give them the tools to build a brighter future
- Leave a lasting impact on the wider community and promote a healthy, happy lifestyle
- Share a volunteer house with other inspirational people and make friends for life
- Explore Cape Town and your surroundings and try lots of fun activities in your own time
Ever dreamed of riding the waves in gorgeous surroundings and doing good at the same time? Well now you can do just that, and the great thing is you don't have to be a surfing pro to be a surfing legend! Join our South Africa Surf and Community programme and you'll learn to surf in a gorgeous region near Cape Town before helping children from the surrounding area with their school work and surf skills, and giving them the hope of a brighter future in doing so. You'll get to spend your days hanging out at one of South Africa's most beautiful white sand beaches, helping out with the running and promotion of a fantastic surf project that actively helps deprived children learn and have fun, offering them an out from gang culture and potentially bleak futures. It's a life changing experience and the opportunity for you to leave a fantastic legacy to a hopeful community.
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Download more trip information and detailed itinerary
What to expect at the project
On arrival in Cape Town, you'll be met by our friendly local team who will take you to your volunteer accommodation in the close by town of Fish Hoek. You'll have an orientation session in the late afternoon to help get your bearings and to work out exactly what's what.
The surf project is based at the gorgeous sandy beach location of Muizenburg – a beautiful white sand beach renowned as one of the best places in the world to learn to surf due to the lack of currents and rips, so all you'll need to worry about is catching those waves.
On your first full day at the project, you'll have a surf lesson to get you started and to teach you all you'll need to know to perfect your skills and help others learn. After that, you'll get to meet the children who attend the project each day, and spend time with them helping them with their homework before hitting the waves and having some fun. The children are between the ages of 8 and 17-years-old and come from deprived backgrounds and sometimes not very nice domestic situations. Your job at the project will be to support these youngsters with their education as well as helping to guide them to a happy, healthier way of life, which in turn will help keep them from mixing with local gangs and give them a more optimistic future. You'll work with the children from Tuesdays to Fridays in the afternoons, spending your mornings helping with the admin side of the project and brushing up on your surf skills in the mornings. Saturdays are full day at the project.
Your evenings and Sundays and Mondays are yours to do as you like. There's plenty to see and do away from the waves, whether you want to try out some of the other gorgeous beaches in the area or head into Cape Town for the lively city atmosphere. From awesome restaurants and bars to shops and markets, and tons of fun activities to try out (shark cage diving, anyone?), you'll always find something to fill your time with. Why not go on a guided hike up the world-famous Table Mountain, take a wine tour at one of the area's local vineyards, go bungee jumping or abseiling, or even take a once-in-a-lifetime skydiving trip?
Day in the life
You'll be working on site at the project from Tuesday to Saturday between the hours of 10am to 5/5:30pm. A typical day will begin with a surf session (it's a hard life...) and will be followed by a bit of office/admin work. You'll need to bring along a laptop or tablet so you can help out with some really important work while you're in the office. You'll be helping raise the project's profile online with blog posts and social media updates, posting photos and telling the community about upcoming events. You might even be asked to help out with lesson planning and arranging other activities for the children.
After your morning's work, you'll break for lunch between 1pm and 2pm. grab a bite to eat at one of the local cafes, or tuck into your packed lunch on the beach – there's nowhere nicer to eat! You'll have another hour after lunch to enjoy the great outdoors, so brush up on your surf skills, relax on the sands, or see if there's anything else you can do in preparation of the children coming along.
From Tuesday to Thursday, children from the local area will arrive at the project from 3pm (on Fridays they'll arrive at 1pm). Before the fun starts, you'll be preparing and helping serve the children a well-balanced lunch before then sitting down with them to help them with their homework. You might be helping with maths or English, or a whole number of different subjects – you don't need to be a genius, just support the children and help them with anything they don't understand by working things through together. Only once their homework is done will we take to the waves!
Once the textbooks are packed away, you'll help get the children into their wetsuits and ready to ride! We'll splash about in the sea and laugh and learn together. Bear in mind that the children will all have varying levels when it comes to surfing skills (be prepared for some of them to be a lot better than you!), so you'll need to be safety aware as well as have plenty of energy and enthusiasm. Don't worry, you'll always have a professional instructor with you in case you're unsure of anything.
Please note that all activities, inclusions and itineraries are subject to change.
Purpose and aim of the programme and how do you benefit the programme
The children who attend the project come from close by suburbs and informal settlements, many of whom live in poor conditions and deprived areas where money is scarce and gang culture is rife. It's so important that these children are given the opportunity to see what else there is to life, a chance to escape from their daily concerns, and the tools to become happy and healthy young individuals better equipped to succeed with their education and go on to carve a brighter future for themselves.
Originally set up by a young South African hoping to make a difference to the local community, this project has become a popular and relied-upon source of constant inspiration and hope to the children who use it. And with each and every one of the volunteers that have worked here, the children have made friends, gotten a better grasp of their academic studies, and been given an outlet to simply be children and enjoy themselves outside of other daily worries.
Dedicated volunteers are integral to these sorts of projects, which would struggle to run without the help of people like you. Your work will have a lasting impact on not just the children you meet during the programme, but on the community as a whole, leaving a legacy to future generations to build on the good work and progress you will have made.
As well as getting to learn to surf, or brush up on existing skills, you'll get to help coach a group of eager children not just to surf, but how to make friends, care for each other and their environment, and give them hope for the future. You'll be helping them learn, by offering them an insight into life outside of their own country as well as helping them achieve success with their academic studies. You might be surprised at how much they teach you, too!
It's a great project, not simply to gain experience in a caring or teaching environment, but to genuinely make a difference to children and young people's lives that would otherwise be tainted by deprivation and crime. You'll likely make friends for life and are guaranteed to make happy memories that you'll recount time and time again.
- Arrival airport transfer
- In-country orientation
- Evening meal on arrival day
- Local in-country team
- Surf lesson to learn the basics
- Use of wetsuits and surf boards at the project
- Consistent guidance and support at the project
- 24/7 emergency support
- Travel insurance
- Return airport transfer
- Local transport to and from the project (approx. 30ZAR per person per day)
For the duration of your stay, you'll share friendly volunteer accommodation in the beautiful seaside town of Fish Hoek. You'll share your living space with other volunteers (not necessarily from the same project) and will share a dorm room with up to five others of the same sex. You’ll have access to communal areas, including a kitchen, lounge, and garden complete with swimming pool and barbecue. You'll even have use of your own locker (bring a padlock and keys) and bedding is provided, but if you're going to be here in the country's winter months you'll want to bring a sleeping bag for extra warmth and plenty of warm clothes. There isn't a washing machine at the volunteer house, but there is a laundry service close by as well as shops, pharmacy, hospital and bank.
Please note: there is a security deposit that will need to be paid to the in-country team on arrival so please make sure you have budgeted for this. The deposit needs to be paid in your local currency and needs to be the equivalent of 1,000ZAR. Your deposit will be returned when you leave the accommodation at the end of your project as long everything is left as you found it.
Food and drinks aren't included as part of the programme, so you'll need to provide your own. You can make use of the brilliant shops and supermarket close by and prepare your own food in the well-equipped kitchen at your accommodation or treat yourself to nights out at local restaurants in both Fish Hoek and Cape Town, or even order takeaway! Local food is delicious in South Africa, but you'll find plenty of western food to indulge in as well. A rough budget for groceries is around 600ZAR/£35 per week but add more to your budget if you think you'll be eating out or ordering takeaways regularly. Wifi is available in the house at an extra cost.
You will need to arrange your flight to arrive at Cape Town International Airport (CPT) before 4pm on your programme start date. You'll receive an airport transfer on arrival and will have an orientation at 5pm on your first day. You can depart at any time on the last day of your programme. A return airport transfer isn't included, but the in-country team can help you arrange transport.
To arrange your flights, contact our fantastic flights team on 01892 277037 or email them at [email protected] They will be able to search for the best flight offers to your chosen destinations, so you can plan and organise your trip in one place. Just make sure you give them your full name, as stated in your passport, along with your chosen departure dates, return dates, and any other details you want to include.
It is important that once you have booked your flights you add these details to your online account or alternatively you can contact us with your departure date, the flight number and arrival time at your destination.
The minimum age for this trip is 18.
UK nationals don’t require a visa to enter South Africa for stays of up to 3 months. You should ensure that your passport will still be in date for six months after your return. All visa information is subject to change and you should consult the nearest High Commission or Embassy for the most up to date information.
DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service)
An enhanced DBS check is required for this programme. If you do not hold a certificate dated within 12 months of your programme start date, please contact us as we can help you arrange the DBS check for an extra fee.
How Many Volunteers Will I Be Staying With?
We have a fantastic volunteer house in Fish Hoek where all of our volunteers stay who are volunteering on various projects around Cape Town.
Do I Need To Be Able To Surf Before Going On This Programme?
Nope, you don't need to be a surfer before heading out to South Africa. Luckily for you, you'll get all the surf practice you need (with a lesson to get you started on your first day) to help you learn all the basics before learning the rest by yourself and becoming a surf pro! Muizenburg is renowned for being an excellent beach to learn to surf at because there aren't any scary riptides or currents, just fun waves to ride!
How Do I Get To And From The Project From My Accommodation?
Daily transport to and from the project isn't included, so you'll need to budget around 30ZAR each day for this. You'll catch the local taxi-bus from Fish Hoek to Muizenburg, which is a short 10-15- minute journey. Your in-country team will be able to talk you through this at your orientation. You can also catch a train with seaside views the entire way!
What Do I Do About Food While I'm On This Programme?
Food isn't included as part of this programme, so you'll be responsible for feeding yourself. There are lots of nice little cafes and restaurants in Fish Hoek and plenty of beachside eateries and diners in Muizenburg. In your free time you might want to venture into Cape Town, where there are yet more fantastic restaurants and bars. Alternatively, you might prefer a self-catering approach and buy in food from the local shops and markets to prepare at your volunteer accommodation in the evenings and to take with you to the project.