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Africa changes you forever, like nowhere on earth. Once you have been there, you will never be the same. But how do you begin to describe its magic to someone who has never felt it? How can you explain the fascination of this vast, dusty continent, whose oldest roads are elephant paths? Could it be because Africa is the place of all our beginnings, the cradle of mankind, where our species first stood upright on the savannahs of long ago?

Travelling around Africa with a purpose

As this post is written, we are in a crisis, Covid-19 is here and it has affected people, businesses and especially the travel industry. We are not and will not go back to “pre coronavirus”, the world has changed and we must adapt!

Travelling has ceased! Planes, trains and travel companies have come to a complete stop but this will not last forever. I am seeing so much positivity on Social Media regarding travel and I look forward to the day that I can jump aboard a plane and visit a new and wonderful destination.

As the world is changing so must how we travel and I foresee a rise in meaningful travel rather than mass tourism. The time is now where we must make a difference and there is no better place than Africa.

Africa is one of the most undervalued continents in the world but it offers visitors the most amazing experiences and this is the very reason why millions of travellers visit each year.

Why travelling with a purpose is a must

If you travel with a purpose, everything about your trip starts to illuminate and your experiences become bigger and better. You are not just travelling for yourself but for something greater.

You learn about different cultures

Africa is full of different cultures and it 100% depends on where you visit. By immersing yourself into an idea, topic or project you are opening doors that you will never have had the opportunity to experience or be exposed too.

It is human nature for people to want to share when someone is interested in them and in Africa this is doubled by the cultures of the African people. By getting to know them, you will be invited to be apart of their lifestyles, their cultures, their meals and their family.

Meet like-minded people

Having a purpose brings like-minded people together and this is the case in life. By choosing a path, you will find similar people doing the same things. This allows you to meet people who you already have a common interest.

When you spend time, work together and share a common goal, you are connected and this leads to life long friendships being formed.

You create meaningful memories

By choosing to travel with a specific purpose, you are giving yourself as must time as you can to make a difference rather than aimlessly wasting time between outings.

From the moment you land, you have a plan, an agenda that will allow you to connect to the area, allow you to meet new people faster and easier and lifetime memories are being formed.

Veto mass tourism

By choosing to travel with a purpose, you are not a tourist but a traveller. Here is a quick definition of each:

What is a tourist?

a person who is travelling or visiting a place for pleasure.


What is a traveller?

a person who holds New Age values and leads an itinerant and unconventional lifestyle.

There are many benefits to being a tourist (convenience, guidance in unfamiliar destinations etc) but you often lead down a cluttered path which does not offer an authentic African experience.

When you are travelling with a purpose, you have an idea of what you will be doing, what you will see and you won’t be swayed by the bright lights and touristy experiences. You will get more out of your time in that African country.

Voluntouism in Africa

What is voluntourism?

  • Voluntourism means volunteering your time, skills, and energy with an organization, issue, or causes to help make a difference in communities around the world as part of your vacation package.
  • “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Gandhi

Voluntourism or Volunteer Tourism is an emerging trend of travelling where a tourist (called as Voluntourist) travels to a place to experience new cultures and feel valuable towards society by contributing in a certain project.

Voluntourism translates into travelling with a purpose.

Voluntourism represents a combination of both travel and voluntary work. A good voluntourism program provides opportunities to experience new cultures, have fun, and contribute to worthwhile projects.

Volunteer in Africa

Volunteering in Africa

Africa offers a wide variety of volunteering opportunities and it comes down to what you like and how you want to make a difference while travelling.

Different types of volunteer projects

  • Children volunteering
  • Disaster relief
  • Wildlife Conservation
  • Environmental conservation
  • Women’s Empowerment
  • Teaching Volunteering
  • Healthcare volunteer projects
  • to name a few

When deciding on a volunteer project to participate, you first have to decide what fits your personality. What do you enjoy doing and what can you offer as a skill to help the project.

Below are 7 amazing volunteer projects in Africa that we have found and researched that do what they say and you are actually making a difference.

Here are 7 amazing volunteer projects in Africa

* These are in no particular order and all the projects focus on Southern Africa.

Volunteer in Africa
Horse Volunteer

Volunteer with Horses

If you are a horse lover, then there is no better way to travel than to do it by volunteering with horses. You get to experience the African bush on horseback while making a difference to the local communities of Zimbabwe. 

You will learn how to manage an authentic African stable. You will be involved in everything from sunset horse rides, improve your showjumping skills, polocrosse and so much more.

Daily Activities

  • Stables upkeep
  • Horse upkeep
  • Boundary patrols & snare sweeps
  • Vet treatments
  • Schooling horses
  • Assisting with guest activities

Horse riding experiences

  • Sunrise rides
  • Horseback safaris
  • Horse swimming
  • Polocrosse
  • Overnight horse safaris

Project Information

This project runs all years round and you have the choice of time you want to spend doing this project. 

Project Length: 2 – 12 weeks

Location: Antelope Park, Zimbabwe

Sports Development

Sports Development Volunteer

The local communities of Africa love sports and volunteering as a sports coach allows you to bring people together and break through barriers of individuals. You will allow people to flourish in so many different ways.

63% of South African children live in poverty and have little to no means of playing sports which leaves them with hours of nothing to do which leads them to misfortune.

The majority of your time coaching sports will be done at underprivileged schools with limited resources.

An average day of a sports volunteer

Work with up and coming coaches to create and plan lessons and become fully involved in running classes and training sessions.

Twice a week you will teach rugby at the VUSA  Rugby Academy. You will be running fitness sessions, keeping children occupied during the time they are at the academy and motivate the kids to stay away from negative influences.

Take part in school activities (frisbee, baseball and more) and aim to improve their sports skills and sportsmanship.

Sports Development Volunteering 3
Sports Development Volunteering 2
Sports Development Volunteering 1

Project Information

This project runs all years round and you have the choice of time you want to spend doing this project.

Project Length: 2 – 12 weeks

Location: Cape Town, South Africa

Marine Conservation Volunteering

Marine Conservation Volunteering

As far as destinations go, this volunteer project is set in one of the most beautiful destinations in the world, Zanzibar. 

If you are the type of person who wants to help marine conservation then this is the project for you. You will be working directly with the marine biologists who promote responsible dolphin tourism through vital research and ethical practices.

Make a difference with this project while having one of the best beach experiences ever!

Why volunteer in Zanzibar?

Despite its blissful beaches, unique architecture & exquisite flora & fauna, life for many locals is tough and the majority of people are living below the poverty line.

Zanzibar offers a truly authentic volunteering experience and will provide you with a fresh perspective.

How you will make a difference

You will be making a difference in many different aspects:

  • Monitor & research human-dolphin interaction
  • Eco-development
  • Marine conservation
  • Local communities

Project Information

This project runs all years round and you have the choice of time you want to spend doing this project.

Project Length: 2 – 12 weeks

Location: Zanzibar

Lion Conservation Volunteer

Lion Conservation Volunteering

This project has been voted the #1 lion conservation project in Africa for a number of years and there is a reason for that, it is awesome!

Antelope Park has developed a groundbreaking Lion Release Program where they stage lions with the aim of releasing the offspring of captive-bred lions into national parks in Zimbabwe and around Africa.

You will play a vital role in collecting data on a pride of lions that are proving that the offspring born within the managed reserve are suitable candidates for release into the wild, as well as important daily upkeep duties of our resident lions.

Lion volunteer activities

  • Enjoy unique and unforgettable close encounters with magnificent African lions by caring for them, feeding them and cleaning their enclosures while getting to know their personalities.
  • Discover the Thrill of the Chase in an experience like never before. You will witness our lion’s natural behaviours come to life, as you join them, hunting for their next meal. At an additional cost, witness this on another scale – at night!
  • Be part of the research team that studies minute by minute the different behaviours of the Ngamo pride and see how they really function in the wild. 
  • Take part in behavioural enrichment activities by making toys from natural materials to stimulate the lions’ predatory and sensory behaviours.
  • and so much more…

Project Information

This project runs all years round and you have the choice of time you want to spend doing this project.

Project Length: 2 – 12 weeks

Location: Antelope Park, Zimbabwe

Healthcare Support

Hospital & Medical Support Volunteer

If you are looking for a meaningful and hands-on project in the medical field where you’ll be supporting and assisting rural communities in Kenya by working in hospitals and clinics suffering from limited resources, lack of infrastructure and overcrowding, this is the right project for you!

You will gain invaluable practical and theoretical knowledge in the healthcare system and will be able to give back while expanding your horizons and gaining invaluable knowledge and new skills!

Healthcare Support 1
Healthcare Support 2

Project Information

This project runs all years round and you have the choice of time you want to spend doing this project.

Project Length: 2 – 12 weeks

Location: Limuru, Nairobi, Kenya

Wildlife Research Volunteer

Wildlife Research Volunteering

If you are looking for a purposeful volunteering experience in one of the most sort after travel destination, then this is the volunteer project for you.

The preservation of African wildlife can not be done without proper, scientific and ethical research programs. It is essential for preservation and management of wildlife in their natural habitat and for the coexistence with local communities as well.

This is a very unique opportunity not just for university students but also for all animal lovers and explorers of all types. A whole world is out there for you to discover. What are you waiting for?

Research volunteer activities

  • Work alongside a team of researchers monitoring large predators such as hyena, lion and leopard in the Zambezi National Park and document all sightings as part of your tasks.
  • Contribute to science by assisting field researchers actively working in the Zambezi National Park.
  • Collect data aimed at assessing elephant population size, herd type, structure, movement corridors and behaviour in relation to human settlements as well as the impact of elephants on vegetation.
  • Get your hands dirty (Yeah!) by helping to remove alien plant species, by going through waterhole and fire management tasks and by joining snare sweeps and litter picks. It’s as important as it sounds.
  • Take part in other key wildlife research work such as weekly game counts and bird surveys.
  • and so much more…

Project Information

This project runs all years round and you have the choice of time you want to spend doing this project.

Project Length: 2 – 12 weeks

Location: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Gender Equality Volunteer

Gender Equality Volunteering

One of the most rewarding volunteering programs in Africa. Empowering women to live a better life in Africa. 

This gender equality program is breaking barriers in rural Tanzania working primarily with women and girls, who we help to educate, inspire and nurture, promoting positive female role models, through the involvement and invaluable assistance of our volunteers.

Through educational programs, youth clubs and women’s entrepreneurial groups, volunteers get to help girls and women realize their potential while reducing poverty and developing the local community.

Gender Equality Volunteering 3
Gender Equality Volunteering 2
Gender Equality Volunteering 1

Volunteer activities

  • Join a sustainable and impactful project on the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro that is looking to uplift a whole community by working side by side with all of its members, from children to youth, adults and elders!
  • Enjoy a true cultural exchange experience while spending time living on the lands of the iconic Maasai Tribe and learn from their culture and traditions.
  • You will work with teenage boys and girls in secondary schools, helping to bridge the gender gap and include both sexes in the conversation around gender equality.
  • We work with different women’s groups in the community providing education and training that allow them to learn new skills and generate an income to provide for their families.
  • and so much more…

Project Information

This project runs all years round and you have the choice of time you want to spend doing this project.

Project Length: 2 – 12 weeks

Location: Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Africa Volunteer FAQs

Volunteering in Africa FAQs

What is volunteering abroad?

To volunteer abroad is to travel overseas with the purpose of donating your time, skills and energy to support a community that values your contribution. When volunteering abroad, you can expect to volunteer alongside local people and other international volunteers who are working towards a common goal, supporting the long-term social or environmental objectives of your host community.

How much does it cost to volunteer in Africa?

The cost of a volunteer abroad program can range anywhere from $200 to $3000 just for 2 weeks. It’s important to carefully compare programs to make sure you’re paying a reasonable price.

Is volunteering in Africa safe?

Africa is one of the most exciting volunteer destinations in the world. It’s also a lot safer than you might think. The African continent can be intimidating. It’s huge, home to some of the harshest climates, most dangerous animals on Earth, and is wildly diverse.

Should I pay to volunteer abroad?

Volunteering abroad costs money because when people come to volunteer, expenses are incurred. … However, technically, it’s impossible to volunteer for free. Somebody has to pay for your living expenses. If you aren’t paying, then the organization that you are volunteering with must pay those expenses.

Why do you want to volunteer in Africa?

Using your skills to help others or playing a role in wildlife research or conservation can be very rewarding, plus you‘ll take home loads of new skills, knowledge and practical work experience. Taking part in a volunteering program abroad can add immense value to your resume and make you infinitely more employable.

Why is it so expensive to volunteer abroad?

Volunteering abroad costs money because when people come to volunteer, expenses are incurred. Volunteers need food, housing, and airport pick-up, among other things. … If you aren’t paying, then the organization that you are volunteering with must pay those expenses.

What do you gain from volunteering?
Benefits of volunteering
  • Gain confidence. Volunteering can help you gain confidence by giving you the chance to try something new and build a real sense of achievement.
  • Make a difference. …
  • Meet people. …
  • Be part of a community. …
  • Learn new skills. …
  • Take on a challenge. …
  • Have fun!