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Posted on: Thursday, 20 December 2012


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Helping Hand

Helping Hand

Travelling and vacationing are awesome ways to meet others, learn about the world and immerse yourself in the beauty around us. But, it also gives each of us the chance to give back to the people, communities and countries that we visit. Voluntourism is a new buzzword that refers to tourism that incorporates voluntary charity work. This is not only very valuable to those you meet and help but will also give your trip a special kind of meaning that you will never forget.

South Africa is beautiful and varied, but is still home to a number of communities that are in dire need of help. Before heading out on a trip, you may do some research and find out what projects and initiatives exist in your destination.

Voluntourism works especially well if you plan to travel in a group. The larger the group, the more you will accomplish. Still, even one pair of hands is all that some projects need to make a big difference. Contact the following organisations to find out about such initiatives:

Wash The Elephants

Wash The Elephants

  • Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa
    Tel: +27 (0)12 342-2945/3642
  • Volunteer South Africa
  • All Out Africa
    Tel: +27 (0)79 768-4148
  • Volunteer Africa 32° South
    Tel: +27 (0)43 738-5523
  • Voluntours
    Tel: +27 (0)11 315-4049
  • You2Africa
    Tel: +27 (0)21 447-0477

If you are not able to find a formal volunteer project in the destination you will be visiting, why not plan and implement your own personal project? You could:

Clean Up

Clean Up

  • Clean a beach and park area.
  • Arrange with a local school principal for you to visit the school or one of the classes and educate them about pollution / recycling, etc… Alternatively, visit a rural school and play a game of football with them or teach them to play something new (like Chess).
  • Take along ingredients to make a massive pot of hearty soup and hand cups of it out to the homeless that you encounter.
  • Volunteer at a local animal shelter to walk and bath the animals over the course of a few days.
  • Prepare some fun activities and visit a local orphanage or children’s home.
  • Read to patients that are confined to a hospital bed.
  • Collect funds from kind-hearted friends, family members and colleagues and donate it to a charity in need at your destination.
  • Contact an aquarium well ahead of time and find out if they are planning to do a rescue or rehabilitation programme during your visit. They might need you to wash penguins or feed fish.

Destination Info:


St Francis Bay


Amelia Meyer


Amelia is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for all things travel-related. She is based in Knysna, but has studied, lived and travelled further afield. She studied Film, Media and Literature at the University of Cape Town. She began her solo career in the form of Voxate Writing & Editing in 2008 and loves every minute of it. Amelia believes in silver linings, lessons learnt and the responsibility to do what’s right. When she is not writing, she can frequently be found at the local animal shelter, on the bicycle trails of the nature reserves or sampling new restaurants with her family.

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What Others are Saying

1 comment about Voluntourism
  1. December 27th, 2012 at 10:59
    Jarryd says:

    I’m most certainly going to get my hands dirty next year. My sister and i have already planned how we are going to clean up the parks around our area and even walk along the main roads and just pick up any rubbish we can see. South Africa is by far one of the most beautiful countries in the world and i am certainly very proud to be South African.