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Surf Outreach Volunteer Project in South Africa - Cape Town

Surf Outreach Volunteer Project in South Africa - Cape Town

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.

  • Programs start on the first and third Monday of each month
  • Affordable fees from $345 for 1 week
  • Includes accommodation, meals, airport pick up, orientation and 24/7 support
  • Teach surfing and conservation to disadvantaged local children

  • Discover South Africa’s beaches and famous surf breaks

  • Stay in a volunteer house in a coastal surfing town

Key information

Improve wellbeing through physical activity
Based at after-school beach programs
Volunteer house accommodation
Volunteers aged 18+ and families
Fully hosted experience from $345 for 1 week
Durations from 1 - 24 weeks
Learn to surf in South Africa
Up to 5 hours volunteering a day

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.
Who is this program suited to?

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 organize 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 2023:

  • 30th September - 9th October
  • 16th December 2023 - 15th January 2024
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.

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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. 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 traveling 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 socializing. 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. 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 $5 (approximately $5) per week for 2 liters 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
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
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Airport pick-up
  • Personalized 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.

  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately $329) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Additional things to budget for include: Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check and return to the airport when your program finishes.
  • Recommended spending money: Volunteers in South Africa generally find US$50-75 per week to be sufficient for expenses.

Check what's required to visit South Africa

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

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 characterized 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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