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South Africa - Teach Children and Surf in Cape Town

Volunteer at a surf and adventure club for children from disadvantaged areas in Cape Town. Be part of an opportunity for children to learn life lessons and stay off the streets. Volunteers receive surfing lessons during the school day and help teach the kids after school.



Fast Facts

Location of ProjectCape Town, South Africa
Project LengthMin 2 weeks - Max 12 weeks (Minimum stay is technically 17 days - 3 day orientation + 2 weeks volunteering)
Arrival AirportCape Town International Airport
Volunteer WorkTeaching kids to surf, helping with other outdoor activities, assisting in schools
Age17 - 80
Program Schedule 3-day orientation is Fri-Sun; Volunteer work begins Mon.

What's Included

AccommodationShared room in volunteer house or hostel
FoodThree meals a day
SupportLocal in-country team and 24hr emergency support
Airport TransfersIncluded on arrival and departure
Transportation Daily transfers between accommodations and project site
Orientation Three days, including welcome BBQ and guided tour
Insurance Comprehensive travel health insurance with volunteer abroad coverage
Pre-Departure Kit Full project details are sent following registration

What's Not Included

Flights, personal expenses, and visa (if required)


Cape Town is the oldest city in South Africa and is referred to as the ‘The Mother City’ by locals. It has a cultural heritage spanning more than 300 years and breathtaking scenery, from the iconic Table Mountain to the glorious Cape beaches.  It is a modern city with cosmopolitan areas boasting nightclubs and trendy restaurants, as well as rustic and unique suburbs with quirky markets and cafés. With a comfortable Mediterranean climate, Cape Town is great place to volunteer all year round.


About the Project

This project aims to teach underprivileged children valuable life lessons and skills, such as leadership and teamwork, through sports and adventure activities, specifically surfing and swimming (no previous surf experience required!). The project hosts an adventure club for 12-14 year old children who come from disadvantaged areas of Cape Town, where facilities and equipment for outdoor activities are not readily available for them. Some of the kids from the adventure club have even gone on to become sponsored by major surf brands and compete in national and international surfing contests!

Arrival and Orientation in Cape Town

Prior to your volunteering, you'll participate in a three-day orientation in Cape Town. You will be picked up at the airport on Friday and transferred to your accommodations where you will be given a map and free time to explore the area before a traditional South African barbecue dinner, called a Braai. After breakfast on Saturday, you will be taken on a guided tour, a great opportunity to learn not only the city, but also the history of the country. On Saturday evening, you can join other volunteers and staff for dinner and drinks at the many restaurants and bars along the beachfront and make plans for Sunday, which is a free day for sightseeing and more. 

Note: The orientation is required and is not a part of the 2 weeks designated for volunteer work. Therefore, the minimum stay is 17 days for the 2 week option, 24 days for 3 weeks, and so on. All prices include orientation.


Volunteer Work and Contribution

This project is a great way to gain experience working with children and leading group activities, while also contributing to a social and humanitarian cause. You are able to take free surf lessons during the school day and then help teach and lead groups of children after school. There are also opportunities to assist in community development projects or to help teach kids in local schools during the day.    Your volunteer activities can include:

  • Teaching kids to swim
  • Teaching kids to surf
  • Helping on hikes
  • Organizing fun days and sports programs
  • Educating children about important topics, such as HIV/AIDS, drugs, etc.
  • Assisting in schools

A typical day: Your mornings will begin around 8:30 am and are spent either learning to surf, helping in a school, or relaxing on the beach. In the afternoon, once the children are done with school, you'll teach the kids how to surf, swim, or any other activity. Volunteers will work 5 days a week with the children. Some days volunteers will work a full 8 hours and other days 4 to 5 hours, depending on the needs of the project. Volunteers will also have a chance to learn how to surf with an instructor. Volunteers will receive a minimum of one surf lesson a week. Extra surf lessons can be booked for a an additional price.

Please note: Surf is a weather dependant sport and this activity can be cancelled on short notice.

The holidays are a time for the kids to have fun, so the programs are less structured and may change depending on the amount of children that arrive on the day. Children 16-years old and younger are given the opportunity to experience new activities outside of their townships. Everyday is different and you will work generally from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm, helping with outdoor activities, such as beach days, surfing, swimming, hikes up the mountain, visits to the museum, and more. The school holidays for 2016 are as follows:
19th March - 4th April
25th June - 17th July
31st September - 9th October
8th December 2016 - 20 January 2017
22nd December - 2nd January 2017: Due to Christmas and New Years celebrations, projects are very limited, however volunteers may still use the accommodation and food.

Living Arrangements

Accommodations: You will stay in a volunteer dormatory, which has shared mixed-gender rooms of 2-5 people, a communal lounge, and a kitchen. Upgrades to private rooms are available in both the hostel and the volunteer house. 

Food: Three meals per day are provided. Breakfast consists of cereals, fruit, yogurt, toast, and spreads and is available on a serve-yorself basis. Lunch is a buffet of breads, fruit, cold meats and spreads for sandwiches.  A hot meal will be served every night for dinner and includes a meat, a starch, and vegetables. 

Internet: Free WIFI is available at the volunteer house. There is Internet available at the backpacker's hostel for a small fee. 

Laundry: Laundry service is available for a small fee. 


Travel Extras

Make the most out of your time in Cape Town by signing up for any of these activities for your weekend or days off. You may sign up following registration. Please note there is an additional fee for these activities. 

  • Kitesurfing, windsurfing, sandboarding and/or paragliding lessons
  • Tours of Cape Point, Cape Town, Robben Island, and/or the Townships
  • Wine Route Tour 
  • Kloofing (cliff jumping), skydiving, and/or quad biking outings
  • Walking tour of the ostrich ranch
  • Abseil Table Mountain
  • Shark cage diving
  • Game drive through the Big 5 safari

Minimum requirements

  • Police background check
  • Basic level of English
  • Ability to swim
  • Immunizations (consult local travel clinic)
  • Motivation to work with children
  • CV/Resume

Here's an excerpt of Jonathan's experience:

  "When I arrived in Cape Town, I was positively surprised by how welcoming not only the staff but also the volunteers were. I had no problems at all finding new friends and engaging with everybody around. The average age was about 21, even though there were exceptions with ages ranging up to 65! I was immediately briefed on the project and on what to expect from it and never felt lost at all."
Read the rest of his story on the GoEco blog!

Here's an excerpt of Abby's experience:

  "Since I was on the surf club, in the evenings after coming back from Zusakhe, I joined the other surf club volunteers and helped give surf, skate and swim lessons to kids from Dunoon who were around 8-14 years old. Often, this was time for us to try to get closer to the kids and learn about their life stories. On days when the weather was too bad for surf club activities, we played board games and even had a pizza cook-off between different teams."
Read the rest of her story on the GoEco blog!

Here's an excerpt of Katie's experience:

  "Basically what we did as volunteers half of the time was go to one of the very impoverished schools and plan a bunch of games to play with the kids for 5 hours or so. Let me tell you, it takes a lot out of you! These kids have been brought up in some really harsh conditions and they don’t have the same attention span or behaviors as kids from home. But it was so very rewarding for those same reasons. The other half of the days we spent doing special activities, like climbing Lion’s Head Mountain or doing a fun day at the beach."
Read the rest of her story on the GoEco blog!

Here's an excerpt of David's experience:

  "Our afternoons consisted of 1.5 hours of personal surf time including instruction from an awesome surf instructor if you needed it. Once we were done with our surf session, 13-15 year old students would arrive and we would spend another 1.5 hours with them doing exercises and playing games on the beach to warm up. We then hoped in the water and assisted them with their surfing. You did not have to be a professional instructor, but rather needed to stay out in the water with them to make sure they stayed safe, and give them the occasional power boost through the water!"
Read the rest of his story on the GoEco blog!

Here's an excerpt of Natalie's experience:

  "My time with the project focused more on rebuilding this site and supporting the community in their new home of Wolwe-rivier, Cape Town. We rebuilt the playground, developed a sustainable vegetable garden, and prepared the grounds for school to resume. Quite often the children would grab shovels or rakes and help us with this project!"
Read the rest of her story on the GoEco blog!

Here's an excerpt of Jennifer's experience:

  "Just to offer a few hugs, kisses and a little bit of attention made all the difference in the world to these kids and it warmed my heart. At the conclusion of my trip, the principal of the pre-school I was working in, Babes Educare, complimented my attitude while working in the classroom and recognized my admiration for the students."
Read the rest of her story on the GoEco blog!

Here's an excerpt of Madison's experience:

  "The school we taught at was called Wings of Hope. We were with these kids for two weeks and I can’t even describe how much I miss them! They were the sweetest and most caring children I’ve ever met. I’m so happy that I took advantage of this opportunity to volunteer in South Africa because it really helped me grow. I have made friends from all over the world, saw beautiful sights, and got to make my mark within their community. I cannot wait to go on another volunteer trip with the help of GoEco!"
Read the rest of her story on the GoEco blog!

Here's an excerpt of Katja's experience:

  "One Saturday the manager of this project, Nikki, had her birthday. Instead of celebrating it herself she threw a party for the kids with games, jump house, scooters, facepaint, birthday cake, hot dogs etc… She dedicated her birthday to the kids because she thinks that every child deserves a birthday party, but she can’t throw one for each child so her birthday is the celebration of all the kids birthdays together – what a great, inspiring  idea!  The kids had a blast and so did we."
Read the rest of her story on the GoEco blog!

Here's an excerpt of Andrea's experience:

  "The children I worked with were between five and six years old and were great.  Even though they lived in impoverished homes and sometimes did not even have a real house, they were always smiling and laughing, just like children from back home.  Some days were really tough, but I would see these eyes looking back at me and I knew I had to stay and help them."
Read the rest of his story on the GoEco blog!


Here's an excerpt of Ekaterina's experience:

  "I have never felt as upset as I felt leaving Cape Town, the city where I spent the 16 best days of my life. I don’t exaggerate. At all.Sometimes we just sat at the playground and hug each other. It seems they don’t have enough attention and care and it upset me so much. They don’t need MP3-players, bicycles and PlayStations – they just need to feel they are loved and cared about. And a football, of course!"

Read the rest of her story on the GoEco blog!

Check out our Volunteer Blog at blog.goeco.org to read experiences written by GoEco volunteers from all over the world!








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