Volunteering overseas is the best way for any international vacation to have a more positive impact. In the Mother City, there are a lot of volunteer programs offering you the opportunity to give back to the community, while exploring the city. Many programs allow you to contribute to exciting fields such as coaching a youth rugby team, or tracking endangered African animals.
As a tourist destination, Cape Town provides its visitors with a picture-perfect environment for a comprehensive volunteer experience. On off days, you can wander the cobblestone streets of the city’s colourful Bo-Kaap district, or go for a hike up Table Mountain. You can also explore the coastal landscape of the Cape Peninsula, which offers scenic views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Although these destinations are highlights for an unforgettable adventure, it’s the rewarding feeling of working as a volunteer that is bound to become the highlight of your stay. If you are looking to do more than just sightsee, here are 10 organisations you can consider as volunteering opportunities in Cape Town.
Location: Sihume Road, Nyanga
Contact Number: +27 (0) 21 386 1516 | [email protected]
The Etafeni Programme has been doing astounding work with the young children of Nyanga for a number of years. They are responsible for providing AIDS infected children with a care centre and caregivers. Etafeni also provides the school with a good education, nutritional guidance, a vegetable garden and an AIDS counselor programme. Although most of the work that needs to be done here is specialized, they are always on the lookout for volunteers from all over the world to help assist the children with their daily needs.
Location: Hout Bay Road, Scott Estate
Contact Number: +27 (0)21 790 0383 | [email protected]
The Domestic Animal Rescue Group (DARG) is a non-profit organisation that commits to rescuing and caring for animals that have been neglected by their owners. They also rescue abused or neglected dogs and cats from careless owners. They are located in Hout Bay, and put in a lot of effort to assist the surrounding communities and their animals.
Volunteers do most of their work, and they are always on the lookout for passionate and dedicated people who can help them restore order and give love to animals.
Location: Erf 2843 Van Hoogstraten Street, Imizamo Yethu, Hout Bay
Contact Number: +27 (0) 72 517 4100 | [email protected]
Ikhaya Lathemba is a non-profit organisation that is based in Hout Bay. They run holistic after-school care programmes for children of informal settlements.. They are also responsible for providing children with emotional and physical care. They are currently seeking volunteers to be involved in traditional after-school activities.
Location: Lekkerwater Road, Sunnydale
Contact Number: +27 (0) 21 785 4482 | [email protected]
The Emma Animal Rescue Society (TEARS) is another popular animal rescue centre in the Mother City. They are committed to finding the right homes for rescued animals and providing the right medical care to injured, abandoned, and neglected animals. They are currently accepting volunteers aged 16 and above, including dog walkers.
Haven Night Shelter
Location: 2 Napier Street, Green Point
Contact Number: +27 (0) 21 425 4700 | [email protected]
This shelter has branches all over Cape Town that assist the homeless in various ways. They welcome all kinds of volunteers to help the mission of the shelter as much as they can. Volunteers are assigned to the shelter branches or at the Haven Shelter Head Office. Aside from providing shelter for the homeless, they also provide meals and other forms of help.
Location: 22 Pentz Drive, Table View, Milnerton
Contact Number: +27 (0) 21 557 6155 | [email protected]
South Africa is home to a wide range of beautiful coastal birds and many of them have been under threat because of various human activities, habitation disturbances, and pollution. The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCOB) is currently attempting to reverse all of the terrible damage that has been done to the birds’ homes. They have a committed team that is responsible for rescuing and rehabilitating sea birds. They are always looking for volunteers both internationally and locally to help them with the work. All volunteers will be given the chance to accompany the team members on a seabird release trip at the end of the programme.
Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust
Location: 23 Trill Road, Observatory
Contact Number: +27 (0) 21 447 1467 | [email protected]
The Rape Crisis Center is one of the oldest organisations in South Africa. They offer assistance to rape victims and survivors. They provide support, help the survivors transform communities, and help seek justice. They also have an intensive volunteer programme, which includes orientation and training. However, due to the nature of work that needs to be done, volunteers are required to render a certain amount of hours each month throughout a year.
Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women & Children
Location: Klipfontein Road, Manenberg
Contact Number: +27 (0) 21 633 5287 | [email protected]
The Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children (SBCWC) provides assistance for women and children who have fallen victim to abuse. They provide survivors with food, safe spaces, and legal advice. They require new volunteers willing to help provide care to the victims. The work is very hands-on including farming, counseling, maintenance and moral support. Each volunteer has to go through rigorous training to ensure that they can provide as much care to the victims as possible.
Oude Molen Eco Village
Location: Alexandra Road, Pinelands
Contact Number: +27 (0) 21 448 9442 | [email protected]
Nestled in a unique location in Cape Town, the Oude Molen Eco Village is a lively multi-purpose village. It is home to a broad range of well-respected social enterprises that provide valuable services but also benefit from the local community’s involvement. They accept both local and international volunteers. Workers will be stationed in their stables and organic farm.
Location: 47 Commercial Street, Cape Town City Centre
Contact Number: +27 (0) 21 465 6433 | [email protected]
The Scalabrini Centre is home to more than 2 000 migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers each month. The centre assists these people through various programmes, which will eventually help them to function better in local society. The centre also works closely with a group of volunteers who help with all aspects of work, which include development, advocacy, welfare, and outreach programmes. Due to the nature of the work, volunteers are required to spend a minimum of three months with the organisation, either full-time or part-time.