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Surf Outreach Volunteer Project in South Africa - Cape Town

Surf Outreach Volunteer Project in South Africa - Cape Town

Improve wellbeing through physical activity
Start dates
Programs start on the first and third Monday of each month
Choose from 1-24 weeks
Volunteer hours
Up to 5 hours a day
Volunteers aged 18+ and families
Volunteer house
Program fees
From AU$536 for 1 week
What's included
Find out here
Apply for free
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Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

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This program is ideal for:

Volunteers who are competent swimmers and interested in surfing, youth development and ocean education. You don’t need to know how to surf to participate and are welcome to learn on the project. Experienced surfers will be able to make a great impact too.

Project details

Ready to ride the waves as a Surf Outreach volunteer in South Africa? International Volunteer HQ’s Surf Outreach project is a thrilling opportunity for volunteers to assist with an after-school program that aims to teach children to surf and care for the beach environment. The project is designed so that volunteers can spend time developing their own surfing skills as well as providing local children with a great opportunity to learn new skills and spend their time in a healthy and productive way.

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

You don’t need to be a pro surfer to appreciate the thrill involved in surfing, and surf enthusiasts of all abilities are welcome to join the Surf Outreach project in South Africa. Volunteers help to provide structure, education and new skills to children from disadvantaged neighborhoods.

The project is divided into two parts. The first part which happens in the morning allows volunteers to work independently with a surf instructor to develop their own surfing skills. For the second part, which happens in the afternoon, volunteers work with children from the community to help improve both their surfing abilities and general life skills.

In order join the program, students must attend, behave and do well at school so it also provides an extra incentive for them to stay engaged with their education. As a volunteer you’ll be a positive influence and help to build their self-confidence by providing them with an opportunity to spend their time after school in a constructive way.

The project is also designed with long-term sustainability in mind, aiming to give the children of the community skills and experience that could potentially lead to a future career. Volunteer duties can vary but generally include helping children learn:

  • To surf and and swim well
  • Social and life skills
  • To care for the natural marine environment
  • To understand, appreciate and manage risks posed by sharks
  • About the ocean and its importance the world over

Please note, this project is subject to favorable surf conditions. If the weather is unfit for surfing, you can help to organise and carry out educational classes or beach games.

If you choose to volunteer during the school holidays, you’ll help on a special holiday project, which operates during the day and involves surfing and a variety of other activities aimed at promoting physical, social and personal development.

School Holidays 2024:

  • 21 March - 2 April
  • 17 June - 8 July
  • 23 September - 30 September
  • 11 December - end date in January 2025 to be determined
Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #4: Quality Education

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #4: Quality Education

More than half of all children and teens do not meet minimum proficiency standards in reading and mathematics. Quality education provides an opportunity to learn and grow in a safe environment and is key to preventing poverty, securing long-term employment and improving quality of life.

Why do Surf Outreach volunteering in Cape Town with IVHQ?

As a volunteer surfing coach in South Africa you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:

  • Providing disadvantaged young people with valuable learning opportunities
  • Helping students develop life skills in a safe place
  • Developing your communication skills
  • Gaining teaching and surfing experience
  • Immersing yourself in South African culture
  • Discovering South Africa’s beautiful beaches

Volunteer requirements

  • Volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to participate in this program, and may be asked to provide additional documentation to the local team
  • All volunteers aged 13+ are required to provide a criminal background check to IVHQ prior to departure. Those aged 13-17, if unable to obtain a criminal background check, can provide two character reference letters instead
  • All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance
  • All volunteers must speak fluent English.
Are you eligible to volunteer?

Submit a free application so we can confirm your eligibility and check availability for your preferred dates.

Apply for free

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'Who is going' users image
Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

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What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience

Xavier Raap
02 Jul 2024

Exploring a new environment, helping others and getting to know yourself better is the best experience you could ever ask for.

Jonas Steinmair
19 Sep 2023

I believe that I had a personal development in terms of social skills, also a wider understanding of the world and its problems. Obviously my surfing improved a lot and I met so many amazing people from all around the world, with whom I made friendships that will last for a long time!

Sofia Linares
15 Aug 2023

My experience in the surf program was extremely fun and watching the kids be so motivated with a sport and make you part of it was the best experience I've had!

Eric DeStaebler
29 Jun 2023

Experiencing the pure joy from the kids we were helping despite some of their extremely difficult and stressful home lives was the best part for me. Recognizing that even the kids who had nothing compared to myself could still live everyday with a smile and excitement for every opportunity presented to them. I would say it is normal to feel a bit apprehensive about entering a new environment but it is important to remember the impact you will have on those you are helping and their community. Once you are on site all worried fade away and you will wish that you never have to leave.

Blanche Ruellan
22 Jun 2023

My favourite moments were when I was in the water, surfing with the kids and the other volunteers. It has opened my mind about the situation in Africa and I want to do more volunteering now. For anyone thinking of going to South Africa, I would say go for it, you will have the best time of your life!

Nicole Hayaux du Tilly
02 Feb 2022

Volunteering in South Africa... Wow! the best decision I’ve ever made. I just fell in love with the place, the culture and the people. Cape Town is a beautiful city with infinite activities and places to go. The staff is supportive and the program is great!


To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

Academic course credit

Academic course credit through International Volunteer HQ and Intern Abroad HQ.

Academic course credit

Gain course credit from your college or university and meet your academic requirements when completing a volunteer abroad program with International Volunteer HQ!

Learn about course credit


Volunteer Abroad in Cape Town, South Africa with IVHQ


The IVHQ South Africa volunteer program is based in Muizenberg, a beautiful, small coastal town with excellent surfing. It is about a 30 minute drive from the Cape Town City, and up to 15 minutes from volunteer placements located in the Philippi, Steenberg, Capricorn, and Grassy Park townships.

South Africa is known for its natural beauty, wildlife, sporting prowess, and diversity of culture and ethinic groups. It’s turbulent socio-political history is also well known, and is important to learn about in order to gain insight and understanding of the country’s people, culture and attitudes. There are many places where you can do this in Cape Town and the surrounding areas.

The IVHQ South Africa program is one of our longest running volunteer programs and has the aim of delivering positive outcomes in communities throughout the area by placing volunteers on a wide range of impactful projects. There is a focus on animal welfare as well as supporting children and young people who have had a challenging start to life because of exposure to drugs, alcohol or physical abuse.

Arrival and orientation

The program orientation begins on the first and third Monday of each month and volunteers need to arrive in Cape Town on the day before orientation. If your start date falls on a public holiday, your orientation will begin on the day following the public holiday.

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at the Cape Town International Airport (CPT). Your airport pick-up is included in your program fee.

When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation in Muizenberg. Your accommodation is covered by your program fee and includes the night before your program orientation and checkout is on Saturday.

If you are travelling in South Africa prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up within the Cape Town CBD area on the day before your program orientation.

Orientation is taken by our South Africa team in Muizenberg, Cape Town. Orientation begins on the morning of your chosen start date and covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in South Africa – an introduction to South Africa, South African customs, rules and expectations, safety, travel opportunities in South Africa, and an introduction to your project and placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and make plans for weekend travel and socialising. Once your orientation is complete you will take a trip into Cape Town before returning to your volunteer accommodation.

Volunteer schedule example

First Day

On your first day of volunteering, you will be escorted to your placement by a local coordinator and introduced to the placement staff you will be working with.

Weekdays - A typical volunteer day would be as follows:

07:00 - 9:00 AM Breakfast is available at the volunteer house.
9:30 AM Volunteers leave home and walk to the beach to have surf lessons.
12:00 PM End of surf lessons. Volunteers travel back to the volunteer house for lunch.
1:30 - 2:30 PM Volunteers go back to the beach to surf with the children.
4:00 - 5:00 PM Surf usually ends and volunteers walk back home.
5:00 - 9:00 PM Dinner is available at the volunteer house.


On the weekends, volunteers have spare time to relax or take the opportunity to explore Cape Town or other areas in South Africa. See unusual wildlife like antelope and penguins, visit the spot where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, paraglide off a rock high above the city, visit a local vineyard, or watch the sun sink into the Atlantic ocean with a glass of the region’s finest wine in your hand.

Long weekends can be taken if volunteers wish to go on safari, bungy jump, or travel to places further afield, such as the Garden Route or Stellenbosch.

Accommodation and WiFi

All volunteers are accommodated in a large two-storey dormitory style volunteer house with capacity for around 40 volunteers, with rooms separated by gender. It is a 7 bedroom house that comfortably sleeps 6 people per room. The rooms on the second floor lead out to a balcony that overlooks the village. The house has 6 bathrooms, a TV lounge, a dining area and a volunteer kitchen.

The beach, convenient stores, ATMs, restaurants etc. are all in walking distance from the house. Bedrooms have single beds and bunk beds with bedding provided. The house is clean and well looked after, and living is comfortable.

The accommodation is safe and secure with the volunteer house located in Muizenberg, a safe suburb near the communities where volunteers work. Muizenberg is a very historical part of Cape Town and the house you will be living in for the duration of your stay is about 150 years old.

The volunteer house has electricity and running water with Western toilets, but you’ll need to bring your own towel and toiletries. During the Winter (June through August) Cape Town can get quite cold and it’s recommended to bring an extra blanket.

The volunteer house has unlimited Wifi 5G with a very good connection.


Volunteers in South Africa receive three meals a day, Monday through Friday. Breakfast will also be available on weekends. Meals served in the volunteer house are typically Western-style and can be high in carbohydrates.

Breakfast consists of self-serve tea, coffee, toast and cereal. For lunch volunteers will be provided with supplies to make their own sandwiches, and dinner consists of dishes containing meat, vegetables and a starch, such as potatoes, bread or pasta.

It is not possible to drink the tap water in South Africa, however, bottled water is readily available in South Africa, and you should budget approximately US$5 (approximately AU$7) per week for 2 litres a day.

If you have any special dietary requirements, please let us know when you apply for the program so we can make arrangements for you. However, we need to stress the point that you should not expect to eat as you normally do at home. We will do our best to see that you are well taken care of, but also as a volunteer, there is a need to be flexible.


  • USD

Spots are limited. For a Registration Fee of just US$329 (approximately AU$511) you secure your spot and unlock all our preparation and training tools.

You don't need to worry about paying your Program Fee until you get closer to your start date.

Program Fee
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
  • USD
1 week $345 Equivalent to $49/day
2 weeks $585 Equivalent to $42/day
3 weeks $825 Equivalent to $39/day
4 weeks $1,065 Equivalent to $38/day
5 weeks $1,305 Equivalent to $37/day
6 weeks $1,545 Equivalent to $37/day
8 weeks $2,025 Equivalent to $36/day
10 weeks $2,505 Equivalent to $36/day
12 weeks $2,985 Equivalent to $36/day
16 weeks $3,945 Equivalent to $35/day
20 weeks $4,905 Equivalent to $35/day
24 weeks $5,865 Equivalent to $35/day
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately AU$511) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Recommended spending money: Volunteers in South Africa generally find US$50-75 per week to be sufficient for expenses.
  • Meals
  • Airport pick-up
  • Accommodation
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Personalised preparation tools, guides and check lists
  • Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
  • Certificate of International Volunteer Service

Learn more about what's included in your IVHQ Registration Fee and Program Fee.

  • Return to the airport when your program finishes
  • Flights
  • Visa (if required), travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check.
  • Personal spending money for snacks, laundry, public transportation, drinks and leisure activities during your free time.

Check what's required to visit South Africa

Safety and support

Safety and support with IVHQ

Safety and support

IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.

  • All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
  • All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
  • All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
  • All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Learn more about IVHQ's safety

Essential country information

Essential country information

Capital Pretoria (Executive), Bloemfontein (Judicial), Cape Town (Legislative)
Population 58.6 million
Languages Afrikaans, English, Zulu, Xhosa, Swati, Tswana
Currency South African Rand (ZAR)
Time zone UTC+02:00

Weather and climate

The subtropical location, moderated by the Atlantic and Indian Oceans on three sides of the country and the altitude of the central plateau, are responsible for the warm temperatures typical of South Africa. Across much of the country, summer (December to February) is characterised by hot, sunny weather with temperatures averaging around 25°C (77°F). Winter (May to September) is cooler and drier with evening temperatures averaging around 10 °C (50°F). In Cape Town, sporadic showers and chilly winds are common during the winter months, but with daytime temperatures can average around 15°C (59°F).

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