Culturally diverse and boasting amazing landscapes, Africa is also a continent home to plenty of people – and animals – in need. This makes it the perfect choice if you’re looking for volunteer work abroad, but it can be a bit tricky choosing where to go. To get a little inspiration, check out our top picks below.
When planning a volunteer trip, there are loads of factors that’ll influence your decision, including the kind of work you’d like to do and any particular destinations you’re keen to see. I think another thing that should be high up on your list of things to consider is which places are most in need and, when you do, you’re likely to come up with Swaziland.
This is Africa’s smallest country – and one of its most beautiful – but it’s also one with more than its fair share of problems. The average life expectancy here is the world’s lowest (just 31.3 years) and HIV/AIDS has had a devastating effect on families. So, there’s a lot of ways you can help.
A lot of projects here focus on helping children in need – since they’re often the ones who are hardest hit and need the most protection. Among the ways you can contribute are by building new homes for youngsters, teaching and taking care of orphans. In your spare time, you’ll be able to explore the amazing landscape.
South Africa also has to be one of the continent’s top places to volunteer – mainly because of the massive variety of projects you can get involved in. Here, you can take your pick from all kinds of activities, from helping children near Cape Town to read, to getting involved in wildlife conservation.
If the latter sparks your interest, head to the Vervet Monkey Foundation (which is close to Kruger National Park – good news if you’re keen to visit!), where you can help with the day-to-day care of injured or orphaned monkeys. Plus, you can assist with all kinds of other things while you’re there, like making the enclosures more exciting for the animals and helping with general maintenance and building work.
Located off the coast of Tanzania, Zanzibar is our final top destination to volunteer in Africa. Why? Because it gives you the chance to combine seeing some amazing island scenery (the beaches here are mindblowing) and doing some good at the same time. You can teach local children at a school in Stone Town, which, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is in itself well worth exploring.
Spend your weekdays assisting local teachers, or support disadvantaged children by helping them learn English and playing games with them. Whichever you choose, it’s really rewarding work. And, when the day’s over or the weekend rolls around, you’ll have ample time to explore this incredible island. What’s really great about it is that it combines unbelievable scenery and with lots of rich heritage, so there’s plenty to discover while you’re here.
There are lots of other African destinations to volunteer in, like Kenya, Tanzania and Botswana, so it’s well worth giving some thought to what you’d really like to do and see before making your final decision. Among the things to think about that might help you decide are considering what kind of work you would most like to get involved in and whether there are any projects close to a place you already plan to travel to.