Without travelling to a country, it’s hard to understand – and enjoy – everything it has to offer. Unfortunately, it’s easy to get a one-sided view of a place thanks to how it’s portrayed in the media.
Recently, there have been concerns that charity campaigns to help Africa have focused too much on the negatives
. Although hardships do exist, Africa has a bright future ahead of it. Why not see for yourself by volunteering in South Africa? Here are three diverse places that are ideal for exploration.
On the east coast lies the bustling port of Durban
. South Africa’s third largest city, this seaside metropolis reflects the nation’s multi-ethnic make-up. Although founded by British settlers, Indian workers were brought it to work on the sugar plantations. Today, Durban has one of the largest populations of Indians in South Africa.
The local cuisine reflects the city’s inhabitants; while you’re there, sample a Durban curry. This popular dish ranges from mild to seriously spicy. Another favoured meal – one that’s unique to Durban – is Bunny Chow. A quarter loaf of bread is hollowed out then filled with a curry of your choice.
While volunteering, catch some surf, attend the annual contemporary dance festival or experience the culture as a local. There are many projects that need your support, like helping street children or lending a hand in health centres. Experience a new culture while giving something back to the city.
If your favourite travel destinations are urban areas, volunteer in South Africa’s second largest city. Cape Town, over on the west coast, is the country’s most popular tourist destination.
Alongside picturesque beaches, admire natural wonders such as Table Mountain. Standing proudly in the middle of Cape Town, the famous flat peak is covered in a blanket of unique flora.
Cape Town is already on the radar of wine-loving travellers. The area’s numerous vineyards produce bottles that are distributed across the globe. Many offer tasting sessions if you fancy a tipple or sample a locally made white wine with freshly caught seafood. For a really special meal, have an oyster or three when they’re in season.
offer many internships and projects to help give you a proper South African experience. Whatever skills you have – or want to develop – there’s the perfect placement. Benefit from the surrounding beaches while helping underprivileged children. There are also opportunities to assist Project Abroad’s law and human rights programme.
Vibrant urban areas aren’t the only attraction; South Africa’s natural landscape and wildlife offer one-in-a-lifetime experiences to travellers. Located on the country’s border with Botswana, Kwa Tuli is a nature reserve overflowing with majestic beasts.
As it has never been a hunting reserve, the animals aren’t fearful of humans so you’ll encounter many creatures when travelling about.
A trip to Kwa Tuli is an excellent way to discover wild Africa. There are few mod cons here; you’re likely to be staying in a tent enjoying home cooked meals with porcupines for neighbours.
Despite the remote location, there’s plenty of entertainment to be found on wildlife tours and visits to traditional Tswana villages.
Volunteering on conservation or other projects in Africa
is the ideal way to get nose to nose with some of the world’s most endangered animals. Human interference and natural disasters like drought wreak havoc on the landscape.
Protect the animals from snares and wire fencing or help track elephants and wild dogs; at the same time you’ll see a side of Africa you wouldn’t see in a fancy five-star hotel.