Volunteer & Intern Travel News

 While travelling, we have all come across possibilities to visit the “other” side of a country - to see, for example, what the REAL Africa is like. As I have found from working and living in South Africa for the last 11 years, this subject comes up with many of our volunteers. It remains an ongoing discussion and should be addressed on an ongoing basis. What is ethical and responsible when dealing with tours or experiences of this nature? A big question indeed – and no one answer completely covers it. I will share my opinion, however, of how I see this kind of tourism.

It has been around for years - travelling with a purpose to contribute and utilise your skills and financial means to make a difference: building schools in Ghana, helping at an orphanage in Ecuador or Indonesia, assisting with disaster management after a natural disaster, and many more good things that can be done while travelling and exploring new places.

Working with exotic wildlife is a dream for many and nowadays these experiences are available with only the press of a button. Searching the internet will provide a large range of programs and projects; one even nicer than the other, or so it seems. Since I started Khaya Volunteer Projects in 2005 we have learned the hard way how this industry works.

Service learning is a teaching method that combines all the usual learning goals with community service. This is a modern and progressive approach to teaching that puts focus on students giving back to society while furthering their studies – and it helps them to understand their place in the larger community that is the planet Earth!

If you follow the mainstream media, you’ve probably seen lots of horrific images of Africa, paraded in front of your eyes in what seems like a never-ending bad movie. You’ve seen starving Ethiopian children, child soldiers in West Africa, Somalian and Sudanese refugees forced out of their countries by tribal warfare, the brutal Apartheid regime in South Africa, and cruel poaching of vulnerable animals like rhinos and Cecil the Lion.  You’re not exactly crazy if you immediately decided not to come within 1000 miles of any African country! Let alone to think of volunteering in an African country…

So you’re interested in volunteering overseas, but all the volunteering programmes you’ve researched charge fees to join up. Why are you being charged to donate your time and energy helping people, when you’ve already paid for visas and air fares and travelled halfway across the world? Let us enlighten you!

One of the main concerns travellers have is budgeting for a trip. Affordable (if not downright cheap) flights and accommodation are a must, and everyone wants to avoid getting blindsided by hidden costs. You don’t want to have to sell your soul just to be able to afford a sundowner and a very small snack in that pricey resort pub, or get a sudden extra cost on your accommodation bill because you used too much “free” shampoo!

To many travellers, South Africa is known as one of the adventure capitals of the world. You won’t be able to do all the incredible things and see all the awesome sights that the country has to offer in only one trip – be prepared to get hooked and keep coming back for more! Here are a few ideas for either first-time travellers and volunteers, or for those who have spent time in the country beforehand but want to see more.

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