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Surf Outreach Volunteer Project in Cape Town - South Africa

Yes, you read the title right! 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 our Surf Outreach project in South Africa, helping to provide structure, learning and new skills to children from disadvantaged neighborhoods.

You’ll join after school projects that teach local children how to surf while teaching them valuable life skills. You’ll essentially be a volunteer surf teacher, working with children aged between 5 - 15 years old. Many come from disadvantaged backgrounds where poverty, abuse and violence is not uncommon.

Surf Outreach volunteer in South Africa with IVHQ

You’ll provide a positive influence and help to build their self-confidence by providing them with an opportunity to spend their free time in a healthy and productive way.

Volunteers plan and carry out surf lessons after school, and help with the preparation and clean-up beforehand and afterwards. For those who need help with surf lessons, you’re able to get time with an instructor in the morning, before the students arrive in the afternoon. You can also choose to spend the morning helping out around the surf club or assisting Teaching or Childcare projects if you wish.

Please note, this project is subject to favorable surf conditions. If the weather is unfit for surfing, you can help to organize and carry out other beach games. The project is open to all volunteers who are competent swimmers - you don’t need to know how to surf to participate.

Apply now
Apply now
Project Highlights
What you need to know
  • Affordable fees from $320 for 1 week
  • Affordable fees from $320for 1 week

  • Help to teach disadvantaged local children to surf

  • Volunteer on after school projects for children aged 5-15

  • Help with preparation, run surf lessons and other games and assist with the clean-up

  • Suited to active volunteers who are competent swimmers

  • Volunteer for up to 5 hours per day

Destination Highlights
South Africa at a glance
  • Based in Muizenberg, 30 minutes from central Cape Town

  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support

  • Accommodation in volunteer houses

  • Between 20 and 50 volunteers start in South Africa each month

The IVHQ South Africa volunteer program has volunteer placements located near central Cape Town. These placements are based in the Capricorn/Vrygrond community in Muizenberg, which is approximately 30 to 40 minutes from the Cape Town city centre. Volunteers are required to fly into Cape Town International Airport (CPT), which is a 11 to 13 hour flight from most major airports in Australia.

Volunteer programs begin on the first and third Monday of each month. Volunteers can choose to volunteer for periods ranging from 1 week to 24 weeks.

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 Cape Town region by placing volunteers on a wide range of impactful projects. Volunteers help locally-run projects to improve lives through their support initiatives in the areas of teaching, childcare, surf outreach, sports development and computer training. Our South Africa program also has the specific aim of supporting children and young people aged between 9 months and 15 years who have had a rough start to life because of exposure to drugs, alcohol or physical abuse.

Latest impacts achieved:

  • Provided critical resources and support to two important childcare centers in the community of Capricorn/Vrygrond. Without the support of volunteers these centers would not be able to continue providing a vital service to the young people of this community
  • Developed an independent holiday program to provide meals, basic education and life skills to more than 60 street children every day
  • Assisted four schools in underprivileged areas with volunteers who can provide teaching support and valuable labor in a wide range of other initiatives including providing meals and basic clothing items to students
  • Delivered extracurricular surf lessons to more than 30 students per day and empowered the students to participate in a Western Cape surfing competition for the first time, where they competed against 20 other teams from around the Muizenberg area. These types of interactions boost the self-esteem of the children makes them strive for better achievements

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.

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at the Cape Town International Airport (CPT). Australian travellers do not require a visa to enter South Africa for a duration of 90 days. 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.

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 – Introduction to South Africa, South African Customs, Language Training Details, Rules and Expectations, Safety, Travel Opportunities in South Africa, Introduction to your project and placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socialising. Once your orientation is complete you will take a trip into Cape Town before returning to your volunteer accommodation.

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:

7.00 AM Breakfast at the volunteer house.

8.00 AM - 8.30 AM Volunteers leave home and travel to their placements. Work and hours are dependent on the project and placement that each volunteer is working at.

12.00 PM - 2.00 PM Work at the placement usually ends. Volunteers are free to travel back to the volunteer house for lunch, go sight seeing, or do some shopping.

7.00 PM Dinner at the volunteer house.

Volunteers are accommodated in volunteer houses and can expect to share a room with one to seven other volunteers. Bedrooms are comprised of single beds and bunk beds with bedding provided. You will just need to bring your own towel and toiletries. The accommodation is safe and secure with the volunteer houses located in a safe suburb near the community where volunteers work. Living is comfortable and the volunteer houses have electricity and running water with Western toilets.

To access the internet during your program, we recommend bringing an unlocked mobile phone and purchasing a local SIM card when you arrive in South Africa, as WiFi is not available in the volunteer accommodation. Alternatively, you can access WiFi from local cafes and restaurants in the area.

Volunteers in South Africa receive three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner), Monday through Friday, and meals served in the volunteer house are typically Western-style. Breakfast consists of self-serve tea, coffee, toast and cereal. Lunch 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 (AU$8) per week for this (2 litres per 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.

“When I arrived for my surf outreach program the lodge itself exceeded my expectations, it was very comfortable and nice. The surf program was so much fun. The surf instructor was amazing and I was surprised how quickly I learned to surf. I enjoyed working with the children very much and my only complaint was that I was only there for two weeks and just when I was starting to get to know the kids I had to leave.” - Brianna Weeks (Surf Outreach Volunteer in South Africa)

Read more reviews from IVHQ volunteers in South Africa here

South Africa

Length of Program Program Fee $USD
1 week $250
2 weeks $420
3 weeks $590
4 weeks $760
5 weeks $930
6 weeks $1,100
8 weeks $1,440
10 weeks $1,780
12 weeks $2,120
16 weeks $2,800
20 weeks $3,480
24 weeks $4,160
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee (from US$299) on top of the Program Fee (partially refundable until 60 days before your program start date*). A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • To see prices in your local currency, use this currency converter.
  • * Terms and Conditions do apply
What extra costs will I have?
  • Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, souvenirs, in-country trips or tours.
  • Transfer back to the airport at conclusion of the program
  • Spending money - Volunteers in South Africa generally find US$50 to be sufficient for weekly expenses

South Africa: Surf Outreach Project

Length of Program Program Fee $USD
1 week $320
2 weeks $560
3 weeks $800
4 weeks $1,040
5 weeks $1,280
6 weeks $1,520
8 weeks $2,000
10 weeks $2,480
12 weeks $2,960
16 weeks $3,920
20 weeks $4,880
24 weeks $5,840
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee (from US$299) on top of the Program Fee (partially refundable until 60 days before your program start date*). A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • To see prices in your local currency, use this currency converter.
  • * Terms and Conditions do apply
What extra costs will I have?
  • Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, souvenirs, in-country trips or tours.
  • Transfer back to the airport at conclusion of the program
  • Spending money - Volunteers in South Africa generally find US$50 to be sufficient for weekly expenses
Registration Fee
What it covers
  • Most affordable program fees
  • Expert support from a program specialist
  • Full MyIVHQ account access
  • Online volunteer training
  • Comprehensive preparation tools
  • IVHQ alumni rewards
Program Fee
What it covers
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • Airport pick-up
  • Program orientation
  • Volunteer placement
  • Accommodation
  • Meals

On the weekends, volunteers have spare time to relax or take the opportunity to explore Cape Town or other areas in South Africa. Long weekends can be taken if volunteers wish to go on safari, or travel to places further afield, such as the Garden Route. Although there are no cooks on staff during the weekend, food supplies are stored in the kitchen at the volunteer houses for volunteers to use to prepare their own meals.

See our South Africa Travel and Tours page for more volunteer travel options in South Africa!

Capital Pretoria (Executive), Bloemfontein (Judicial), Cape Town (Legislative)
Population 51.19 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).

Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate on this program, unless volunteering with a parent or guardian. If you are under the age of 18, IVHQ offers alternative volunteer opportunities for teens. Visit our High School Volunteer Abroad page to learn more.

All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to IVHQ’s local team on arrival in South Africa. Additional requirements apply for Surf Outreach and Computer Teaching volunteers.

Free Interactive Volunteer Training - All volunteers are encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training, which is available exclusively to registered IVHQ volunteers. The training is designed to build an understanding of important aspects that need to be considered before embarking on an IVHQ program. It helps volunteers to prepare in the right way by providing advice on what it takes to be a safe, responsible and valuable volunteer. Try a sample of the training here.

How to get started

Pick a destination + project and apply for free
Meet your personal volunteer travel expert
Pay the registration fee to secure your place and upgrade your MyIVHQ account
Get ready to volunteer abroad, we’ll support you every step of the way!