South Africa Gap Years

Overview and Highlights

South Africa is one of the most beautiful, interesting countries in the world and it is no surprise that for many it is a gap year must. Whether you are hunting the Big Five (with a camera!), indulging in high adrenaline adventure sports, sampling some of the world’s finest food and wine or volunteering on a nature reserve, you are sure to fall in love with the Rainbow Nation. The iconic Table Mountain, Kruger National Park, idyllic Garden Route, wales, sharks, penguins and so much more await.

For a developed, westernised country, South Africa is also incredibly good value. In a post-Brexit world, South Africa is one country that still offers a lot of bang for a British buck.

We found 32 programmes in our database that matched your search. Choose one below to learn more.

TEACH DISADVANTAGED CHILDREN IN TOWNSHIP SCHOOLS IN KNYSNA, SOUTH AFRICA

Programme Overview:

Teach disadvantaged children in township schools in the beautiful coastal resort town of Knysna. You'll begin by assisting the teacher but, depending on your ability and your confidence, you may also take classes on your own. Class sizes can range between 40 to 50 students.Generally you'll teach conversational English but you can teach a variety of other academic subjects if you'd like to, as well as Sports, Drama, Arts and Music. This is a very fulfilling project and most volunteers end up in tears when it's time to leave. You'll certainly leave your heart behind!What is the best thing about your placement? "I don't think I could actually define my "best experience" as one moment. What with teaching at the school, rehearsals for my play, the dance classes, soup kitchen, orphanage, hanging out at home with the other guys, going for a drink, the worlds highest bungee jump, trips to the beach, and countless other activities we really are spoilt for choice. I have been here for over 2 mon

From: £895
Country: South Africa
Continent: Africa
Minimum age: 16
CARE FOR CHILDREN IN A SAFE HOUSE IN A TOWNSHIP IN KNYSNA, SOUTH AFRICA

Programme Overview:

Assist the trained Carers in a children?s Safe-House in by helping to care for children from abusive backgrounds. You'll help with basic Reading, Writing, Maths, play games with the children, help them with their homework and generally keep them stimulated and entertained.This is a wonderful and very rewarding project and would suit anyone interested in Social Work, Teaching or Child Care.

From: £895
Country: South Africa
Continent: Africa
Minimum age: 17
STREET KIDS: SOCIAL WORK AND CARE WITH CHILDREN IN KNYSNA, SOUTH AFRICA

Programme Overview:

Work at a Youth Development Centre in a township, helping out with anything from basic schooling, such as reading or writing, to community projects, job skills and life skills lessons. The programmes are all presented in a fun, experimental manner with an outcome based learning environment. There are also arts and crafts programmes, computer classes, sewing and baking.The purpose is to prepare youngsters to re-enter mainstream schooling and domestic home life again and to give them the skills that will enable them to become a fully functioning, employable member of society.

From: £1145
Country: South Africa
Continent: Africa
Minimum age: 17
LION AND WOLF RESCUE & REHABILITATION IN A GAME RESERVE SANCTUARY IN SOUTH AFRICA

Programme Overview:

Help with the care and rehabilitation of lions and wolves. These animals have been rescued from hunting facilities and relocated to a beautiful Game Reserve which will give them sanctuary for the rest of their lives!LIONS: This is a complete lion experience and unique in its end-goals of allowing rescued lions to live in a protected area. You?ll spend real time with lions in the wild! The project is not a breeding or cub petting facility. However, there is initial hands-on care needed for younger lions and cubs that are rescued.WOLVES: There are currently two wolves on the project which were found in a terrible state. They were then rescued and given the proper care to rehabilitate them.Your work will offer a variety of opportunities, including some veterinary experience and possible participation in game captures (which are hugely exciting!). You?ll also get involved in other conservation-related fields, including wildlife monitoring, game fence checks and animal behaviour monitoring.

From: £1475
Country: South Africa
Continent: Africa
Minimum age: 18
TEACH DRAMA, DANCE AND MUSIC TO TOWNSHIP CHILDREN IN KNYSNA, SOUTH AFRICA

Programme Overview:

Work with children from very poor townships, giving them exposure to cultural activities and enabling their creativity to shine through. Some of things you could do include:Helping the local school children to put on a small-scale productions, in Drama, Dance and/or MusicDevising and performing educational pieces of theatre (on issues such as bullying)Giving Dance lessons and Music lessonsOrganising and putting on drama workshopsHelping out with conversational English classes.

From: £895
Country: South Africa
Continent: Africa
Minimum age: 16
ANIMAL CARE: CARE FOR ANIMALS IN A WILDLIFE SANCTUARY, SOUTH AFRICA

Programme Overview:

Care for animals, many of whom had been abandoned, abused, injured or orphaned, in this very caring Sanctuary set in a small private game reserve. You'll assist in feeding and generally looking after many different animal species, including over 250 different species of birds.The animals need love and attention to help prepare them for life back in the wild, if possible, or a safe life in the Sanctuary. As well as animal welfare assistance, you'll also help with general assistance in other areas, such as maintenance and administration.

From: £995
Country: South Africa
Continent: Africa
Minimum age: 14
CONSERVATION: VERVET MONKEY REHABILITATION IN SOUTH AFRICA

Programme Overview:

Help to care for, rehabilitate and release injured and abandoned Vervet Monkeys back into the wild to live a free and natural life. This is a wonderful project that encompasses all aspects of Vervet Monkey Rehabilitation and Conservation ... not to be missed! As these Vervets are being prepared for the outside world and by necessity have to be kept in cages until they have been cared for, rehabilitated and prepared for release, the contribution you can make to improving their daily pre-release lives is enormous.

From: £895
Country: South Africa
Continent: Africa
Minimum age: 17
SOCIAL WORK, PSYCHOLOGY, COUNSELLING WORK EXPERIENCE IN KNYSNA, SOUTH AFRICA

Programme Overview:

Work with social workers who provide Counselling services to people in need of support owing to emotional problems. These can include marital and family stress, depression, mid-life crisis, divorce counselling, HIV-related counselling, conflict management and parenting.The Society (FAMSA - Families South Africa) is very much family orientated, serving to help resolve family problems and disintegration. It is one of a chain of Centres throughout South Africa. You'll learn a lot about all the areas of counselling and social work that they deal with.

From: £1745
Country: South Africa
Continent: Africa
Minimum age: 21
CONSERVATION: MULTI-MARINE PROJECT WITH SHARKS, WHALES AND DOLPHINS, NEAR CAPE TOWN

Programme Overview:

Work with sharks, whales, penguins, seals, dolphins, tourism, research and community development. You'll be taught, guided and lectured by very skilled field teams.Sharks, Whales, Penguins, Seals, Dolphins... this is an extraordinary project in a beautiful location, white beaches and blue ocean. And two hours from Cape Town. Fantastic! Go on whale watching trips that are not just magical but rewarding too. And then of course there's the Great White Shark, the greatest modern day predator of all.

From: £1295
Country: South Africa
Continent: Africa
Minimum age: 17
CARE FOR CHILDREN IN A CRECHE IN KNYSNA, SOUTH AFRICA

Programme Overview:

Help prepare the children for primary school. You'll use fun activities and educational programmes to greatly benefit their social and mental development. Activities include singing, painting, reading, educational classes (like learning the alphabet) and playing with educational toys.Many of the children come from underprivileged homes and any help they can get from volunteers is greatly appreciated.

From: £1145
Country: South Africa
Continent: Africa
Minimum age: 16
WILDLIFE AWARENESS, REHABILITATION AND VETERINARY PROJECT IN KNYSNA, SOUTH AFRICA

Programme Overview:

This is a perfect project for those wanting to get involved in animal awareness and rehabilitation, as well as veterinary students! You?ll work to help provide life-saving care and veterinary treatment to wild animals in distress. As well as feeding the wildlife animals and working on enclosure enrichment, you?ll also be involved in the care and medical treatment of animals.The nature of the work includes partly veterinary and partly care work with animals. There are two main sections to this project that you?ll be rotated on weekly.1. The Wildlife and wild cat awareness centre (for the public); and2. The Wildlife Rehabilitation and Clinic (not for the public).

From: £1595
Country: South Africa
Continent: Africa
Minimum age: 21
CARE FOR ANIMALS AT A WILDLIFE REHABILITATION AND RELEASE CENTRE IN KWAZULU-NATAL, SOUTH AFRICA

Programme Overview:

The best cage is an empty cage! Work in a Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre that provides life-saving care and treatment to wild animals in distress. You will assist the centre?s staff with feeding and caring for its wildlife patients on a daily basis, as well as assisting them with rescues and releases.Much of your work involves understanding the principles of wildlife rehabilitation and contributing towards giving animals that have been orphaned or injured, the best chance of getting back out into the wild where they belong. You?ll contribute to an extremely valuable conservation effort that provides medical care, rehabilitation and also releases wild animals back into their natural environment.

From: £1395
Country: South Africa
Continent: Africa
Minimum age: 17
TEACH AND CARE FOR CHILDREN WITH AUTISM IN CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

Programme Overview:

Work in a Centre and Hostel for children with Autism, as a classroom and hostel assistant. You may help children needing special attention, or work with a small group while the teacher works with another group. You'll also be able to help with supervised activities like swimming which is part of the daily summer curriculum. After school, you'll help with "play time" duty. On your arrival you will have a short Orientation during which you will learn about autism. This will include watching a video as well as meeting the teachers and pupils of the school. School work is based on the normal school activities and a great deal of one-to-one attention is needed and children learn basic skills.

From: £1645
Country: South Africa
Continent: Africa
Minimum age: 17
VETERINARY INTERNSHIPS AVAILABLE IN SOUTH AFRICA

Programme Overview:

We have two infrastructure hubs in South Africa where internships can be provided, Cape Town and Knysna. The Clinics where we have arranged internships for Purdue Students are listed below. They have been given details of the experience that you require by Purdue University (as listed here) and have confirmed that they will be able to provide those experience elements for you.

From: £1545
Country: South Africa
Continent: Africa
Minimum age: -
VETERINARY, WILDLIFE GAME CAPTURE AND CONSERVATION IN LIMPOPO IN SOUTH AFRICA

Programme Overview:

You'll experience and witness some extraordinary sights, learn a great deal about African wildlife and work with the local community. Your work will include some veterinary experience, participation in some game captures (hugely exciting!), some community work and some wildlife monitoring.You may also get involved in other conservation-related fields. The amount of time you will have in the different areas will vary depending on the length of time you are there and what type of work is taking place or required at that time.

From: £1595
Country: South Africa
Continent: Africa
Minimum age: 17
WHALE AND DOLPHIN MONITORING IN KNYSNA, SOUTH AFRICA

Programme Overview:

Work on this project will give you exposure to all aspects of this exciting industry, from conservation and research to all other aspects of the day-to-day running, including crewing and guiding on the Boats, doing land-to-sea observations/spotting, marketing, liaising with clients, assisting with community projects and educating the local children about the sea and lagoon.The company collects valuable research material for future conservation use, including daily sightings of the various species of whales and dolphins, recurring visits and the migratory habits of the whales and dolphins in the area.

From: £945
Country: South Africa
Continent: Africa
Minimum age: 16
CONSERVATION WITH BIG CATS IN A SANCTUARY NEAR CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

Programme Overview:

Get up close and personal with big cats!You'll work behind the scenes in a sanctuary currently looking after Lions, Leopards and Tigers. You?ll help with all aspects of the day to day running of a big cat sanctuary, with the focus being on education and enclosure enrichment for the cats. This is a true conservation sanctuary and no ?cub-petting?, breeding or trading takes place!The sanctuary is situated on a 40 Hectare ?piece of paradise?, environmentally friendly and was created to rescue and care for captive-bred big cats, giving them a safe haven.

From: £1395
Country: South Africa
Continent: Africa
Minimum age: 18
PUBLIC RELATIONS WORK EXPERIENCE INTERNSHIP IN SOUTH AFRICA

Programme Overview:

This opportunity to gain Public Relations, Events Management and Marketing work experience is truly unique because you'll work with an Animal Rehabilitation Centre, so your PR assistance will also benefit the animals! You'll assist with the daily PR duties and events scheduled during your time on the placement, such as hosting fairs, golf days, or even get involved in events like an off-road bike race which is being planned by the locals at time of writing! You'll use lots of energy and your own initiative.As the Centre relies solely on the goodwill of the public for donations, they regard your internship role as one of the most important ones at the Centre!You'll leave with with hands-on experience, more skills than you arrived with, plus a great sense of achievement and satisfaction.

From: £1395
Country: South Africa
Continent: Africa
Minimum age: 18
TEACH UNDERPRIVILEGED CHILDREN IN A SCHOOL IN CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

Programme Overview:

Assist in a school in Cape Town that has many children from previously disadvantaged backgrounds. You'll work with children ranging from 5 to 13 years old. You can teach English and language enrichment, as well as coaching Sports, teaching Music, Art, Computers, or any other subject that you have particular knowledge in.You'll be a classroom assistant, helping the teacher with whatever tasks are needed ? like helping individual children to catch up on work they find difficult, or supervising projects set by the teacher. If you wish to teach a lesson independently, this can be arranged with the teacher and planned to fall into the curriculum.

From: £895
Country: South Africa
Continent: Africa
Minimum age: 17
COACH SPORTS TO UNDERPRIVILEGED CHILDREN IN A SCHOOL IN CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

Programme Overview:

Coach your choice of one or more sports in Cape Town, working with children from underprivileged communities who range in age from 5 to 13. You'll help with fun games and sports. The coaching sessions take place during Life Orientation classes, which is now part of the curriculum in South Africa.English is not the children's mother tongue, but the general standard is about Fair to Good.

From: £1145
Country: South Africa
Continent: Africa
Minimum age: 17
CONSERVATION: THE GREAT WHITE SHARK PROJECT, NEAR CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

Programme Overview:

Come face to face with the Great White Shark! You'll work in an organisation dedicated to the exploration and conservation of Sharks and the preservation of their environment. Weather permitting, you'll go to sea frequently. At sea, you'll get involved as much as possible with all aspects of sea work. This will be focused on working with the sharks from above and below the water.Your work will help to gather accurate data on Great White sharks to assist in management programmes for the ensured survival of the species. Your work will also help efforts to change negative public attitude towards sharks through awareness and education.Students may be able to obtain university credit for their experience, depending on your university.

From: £995
Country: South Africa
Continent: Africa
Minimum age: 17
TEACH HEARING IMPAIRED CHILDREN IN A DEAF SCHOOL IN CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

Programme Overview:

Volunteer with children who have hearing difficulties. You'll work with children from 3 to 13 years old, right from when they're first introduced to sign language. The classes are very small to ensure that children receive individual attention. The very little ones are introduced to sign language and do what all pre-school children do ? learn by playing.You could teach normal lessons, such as English, Maths and other subjects, or you could teach sign language to the beginners. The school is very poor with just a few classrooms, library and a hall, so every bit of involvement makes an incredible difference.

From: £1145
Country: South Africa
Continent: Africa
Minimum age: 17
CARE FOR CHILDREN AT THE RED CROSS CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL IN CAPE TOWN

Programme Overview:

Children from a few months old to 12 years of age attend this Children's Hospital for specialised treatment. You'll visit the children, hand out toys, play and interact with them, and give them lots of comfort and love.You may also assist with general non-medical support, e.g., accompanying a patient to another department, collecting folders and fetching food, etc, or assisting the pharmacy area or clinics where patients wait for their medication.

From: £1145
Country: South Africa
Continent: Africa
Minimum age: 17
TEACH AND CARE FOR MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY IMPAIRED CHILDREN IN CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

Programme Overview:

Help in a school that has just over 200 children aged 3 to 18 who have physical and intellectual impairments. Work as a classroom assistant or class aide (helping children in and out of wheelchairs for different activities, or helping the teacher with various class activities, like painting, doing puzzles ? and with the older children cooking, simple maths and reading etc).When you arrive you will be allocated to a teacher who will introduce you to the work. You might be sent to different areas of work in the school before settling in to a particular job. If you're particularly interested in, for example, working with a specific age group or helping in the Physiotherapy or OT departments, we can arrange it for you.

From: £1145
Country: South Africa
Continent: Africa
Minimum age: 17
VETERINARY MEDICINE INTERNSHIP IN KNYSNA, SOUTH AFRICA

Programme Overview:

Gain excellent work experience in a veterinary clinic in Knysna. You'll assist with field work, which can include anything from rescuing abused or abandoned animals, to flea dipping. You'll also assist with the rehoming process, i.e. helping with the many dogs and cats, who, after a quarantine period, de-worming, dipping, feeding, and health checks, will (hopefully) be up for adoption.You can also assist in the mobile clinic that goes to the township. This Animal Welfare clinic is the only animal rescue centre in Knysna ... and they are inundated with work!

From: £1745
Country: South Africa
Continent: Africa
Minimum age: 18
TEACH AND CARE FOR PHYSICALLY DISABLED CHILDREN AND CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS IN CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

Programme Overview:

Assist in a primary school for children with a variety of disabilities or special needs. The children's syndromes or conditions include Cerebral Palsy such as muscular dystrophy, multiple physical impairment, ADHD and specific learning disabilities.You'll work in five different areas, including class aide, 'scribe' administration, libary and generally filling in wherever you're needed. You may spend time in these different areas before settling into one particular area. You can also help with Sport and Physical Education, such as swimming, soccer, cricket as well as sport for the disabled.

From: £1145
Country: South Africa
Continent: Africa
Minimum age: 17
WILDLIFE AND GAME RESERVE CONSERVATION EXPEDITION IN KWAZULU-NATAL, SOUTH AFRICA

Programme Overview:

Work with a professional team (supported by WWF amongst others), with Cheetah, African Wild Dog and Black Rhino, as well as priority species like Elephant, Lion, Rhino, Leopard and Buffalo.You'll work across different Game Reserves, helping to track wildlife, mapping the sightinhgs, observing animal behaviour and herd dynamics for research purposes, photographing and assisting with game counts, and so much more!Experience genuine conservation work in up to 5 different game reserves in the region, depending on the length of your stay. This project is very popular and gets booked up quickly, so we strongly advise early booking!

From: £1795
Country: South Africa
Continent: Africa
Minimum age: 17
MONKEY BUSINESS - URGENT APPEAL: CARE HANDS-ON WITH BABY MONKEYS, BABOONS AND BUSH-BABIES AT A WILDLIFE REHABILITATION AND RELEASE CENTRE IN KWAZULU-NATAL

Programme Overview:

We are looking for volunteers to assist a Primate Manager and Clinic staff at a wildlife rehabilitation centre with the hands-on care of injured and orphaned primates during baby season. the project runs from 4 weeks (or longer), from mid-December 2017 to April 2018.The Centre?s primate patients currently include:Vervet Monkeys (Chlorocebus pygerythrus)Chacma Baboons (Papio ursinus)Greater or Thick-tailed Bush babies (Otolemur crassicaudatus)The volunteer placement timeframes will run in 4 week and longer cycles. First come, first served.

From: £1195
Country: South Africa
Continent: Africa
Minimum age: 18
VETERINARY MEDICINE WORK EXPERIENCE INTERNSHIP IN CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

Programme Overview:

Work in a general vet practice in Cape Town - small, but extremely friendly. You'll shadow the Vet with plenty of scope for observation and some hands-on work. Depending on your experience and confidence, you may be able to participate in basic and simple procedures under supervision, such as making blood smears, analysing urine samples, learning to prep surgical sites, etc.The Practice is typical of a veterinary clinic in South Africa. The practice deals mainly with domestic animals, but you may also get an occasional opportunity to help out at the Blue Cross Animal/Veterinary Hospital, which is much bigger, with some bigger animals. This internship will be an excellent entry on your CV or R?sum? - and an excellent experience for your future career.

From: £1895
Country: South Africa
Continent: Africa
Minimum age: 17
SPORTS WORK EXPERIENCE INTERNSHIP IN KNYSNA, SOUTH AFRICA

Programme Overview:

This internship combines coaching a variety of sports with gaining valuable work experience in a well set-up Sports School. You'll work in Sports Administration & Management, Organising Sports Events, and Development and Grounds Management. As well as assisting in the management and running of the school, you'll also coach full time for the underprivileged community and possibly playing for various teams based at the school.The experience you gain on this internship will be an excellent entry into your CV.

From: £1145
Country: South Africa
Continent: Africa
Minimum age: 17
HOSPITALITY (HOTEL & CATERING) INTERNSHIP IN KNYSNA, SOUTH AFRICA

Programme Overview:

Gain valuable work experience in a 5-star luxury Boutique Guesthouse set in an idyllic, prime position of the beautiful resort town of Knysna in South Africa. Its panoramic views of the Indian Ocean are absolutely breath-taking, and one can often see whales and dolphins passing by!This is an excellent opportunity to work in a highly esteemed and professional environment and a perfect addition to your CV or Resume if you're currently in, or or planning to enter, a hospitality career.This internship is on the famous Garden Route, one of South Africa?s most beautiful and popular tourist locations.

From: £1745
Country: South Africa
Continent: Africa
Minimum age: 18
COACH SPORTS TO TOWNSHIP CHILDREN IN SCHOOLS IN KNYSNA, SOUTH AFRICA

Programme Overview:

Combine sports coaching with some teaching in poor township schools in the coastal resort of Knysna. You can coach a variety of sports, such as Cricket, Football, Netball and Rugby. Sport classes are run during Life Orientation classes. The purpose of these classes is to develop Team work, Confidence, Self Esteem, Communication Skills and Leadership.Although facilities are basic, there is a huge amuont you can do to help the children and raise their skills (and their enjoyment).

From: £1145
Country: South Africa
Continent: Africa
Minimum age: 16

Gap Year Opportunities

For almost everyone who goes to South Africa, nature and wildlife are big motivating factors in their choice to visit. Whether your encounters with the natural world are limited to a day or two on safari, or stretch to an extended period of ecological or zoological volunteering, South Africa has a plethora of enticing options available.

Aside from volunteering with animals (working with lions is a popular choice), South Africa also has a large range of charities and NGOs whose aim is to help people. Much as South Africa is a modern country, many of the population live in poverty and medical and educational volunteering is a great way to help, be that in the cities, townships, orphanages or rural communities.

South Africa offers myriad opportunities to unwind, relax and enjoy yourself on a more hedonistic level, if the mood takes you. The vineyards of Stellenbosch, Swartland and Franschhoek, to name just three, will delight oenophiles. The brilliant restaurants and nightlife of Cape Town offer more ways to sample the local produce. South Africa also possesses all sorts of outdoor adventure activities, from bungee jumping, sky diving, shark diving and rafting (Blyde River in Mpumalanga is a great choice for the latter), while others prefer more sedate options such as trekking and sailing.

Practicalities, Health and Safety

South Africa has a somewhat unfair reputation for high levels of crime but it remains a popular destination for Brits of all ages, which reflects the fact that most tourists experience a trouble-free visit. Avoiding ostentations displays of wealth and sticking to normal tourist destinations unless you have a qualified guide will go a long way to ensuring you remain safe.

Travelling in South Africa is easy, with almost everyone speaking English and a combination of good roads and cheap domestic airfares making the logistical aspect a doddle. What’s more, those entering on a UK passport can stay for business or tourism for 90 days. For full information, especially if you intend to stay longer, contact the South African High Commission.

In terms of medical requirements, certain vaccinations may be required and anti-malarial medication is also necessary in some areas. Contact your doctor or local travel clinic at least two months before travel for the latest advice. Visitors should also practice safe sex. This is highly advisable everywhere of course but it should also be noted that South Africa has the fourth highest prevalence of HIV in the world.