Updated Saturday, 14 January 2017

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:

  • Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa
    Tel: +27 (0)12 342-2945/3642
  • 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 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.

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