Latest Volunteer & Intern Travel News

Some of South Africa’s tourist attractions are worldwide icons: Robben Island, Table Mountain, Kruger National Park, or the Cradle of Mankind, for example. These places are rich in scenic, cultural and historical interest; and shouldn’t be missed by visitors to the country. But there are also places that are not quite as well-known, but have plenty to fascinate travellers looking for something different.

Travelling of any kind requires an adjustment period once you touch down. If you’re a volunteer, you’re probably going to immerse yourself in a community very far away from your own. You’ll be living in conditions and performing tasks out of your comfort zone. Volunteers can undergo a range of emotions while settling into their chosen project and accommodation.

You’re probably familiar with the concept of teaching overseas, as an opportunity to live and work in a foreign community – it’s been a popular option for educated and adventurous folk since we were first able to travel abroad with relative ease. People used to associate teaching in a foreign country with paid work, through TEFL programmes or initiatives like the UN Peace Corps.

As a prospective volunteer in South Africa, you may have heard the terms “township” or “location”, and you’ve wondered what on earth they mean. Welcome to Township Life 101!

Throughout South African history, the terms “township” and “location” are what the local people have used to describe the neighbourhoods on the periphery of developed towns and cities. These areas were inhabited almost entirely by non-white people, who were not allowed by law to live in “Whites Only” suburbs.

“If we can teach people about wildlife, they will be touched. And humans want to save things that they love.”

Steve Irwin

Most kids are fascinated and thrilled by seeing animals, hearing stories about animals, watching movies and documentaries about animals, and so on. The wonders of the natural world speak to most of us deeply, as fellow creatures on this little blue life raft in space! But if, as an adult, you’ve maintained an abiding interest in wildlife and the environment, then perhaps a job in conservation is for you. And if you want to pursue it as a career, then you also might want to consider volunteering for a wildlife or conservation programme that needs your help, to experience what it takes to work in the field.

Technically, “voluntourism” can be defined as a combination of voluntary service in a foreign destination, along with the traditional elements of travel; such as arts, culture, geography, history and recreation at that destination. However, words also have popular meaning beyond their strictly technical meaning. Whether you are an experienced volunteer or someone who has an interest in volunteering in the future, you’ve probably come across the term “voluntourism” in various media sources. And like many others, you might dislike the term and think that mixing “Volunteering” and “Tourism” downplays and disrespects the volunteering efforts of thousands of people worldwide. Or perhaps you are in the camp that doesn’t mind the term and thinks it acts as a drawcard for those who might want to combine a fun holiday of the usual sightseeing, sunbathing, sweet drinks and shopping with a more meaningful experience. Either way, you’re not wrong!

lilizela logo“Lilizela” is a Zulu word meaning to ululate as a demonstration of celebration and praise when someone has done well – much as one would cheer and clap for someone’s achievements in the West.

Recently, Khaya Volunteer Projects was privileged to be able to take part in the Lilizela Tourism Awards, first launched in 2013. These awards are given annually in South Africa to tourism groups and businesses who deliver a first-class product and exemplary service, and whose contribution greatly enhances South Africa’s ability to compete in the global tourist arena.

The awards are nominated by members of the public who vote for the best tourism experiences and products in South Africa. This encourages the tourism trade to provide excellent and innovative services, products and facilities; and remain competitive in the global arena.

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