Have your own gap year wild adventure travelling along South Africa’s south-eastern coast known as the Garden Route or Tuinroete in Afrikaans whilst combining a range of volunteering opportunities supporting South Africa’s communities and wildlife.
In addition to your volunteering, the Garden Route offers endless opportunities to go on safari, visit deserted sandy beaches, try adventure sports, escape to the mountains or head to one of South Africa’s lively cities like cosmopolitan Cape Town along the way.
Start the route in Cape Town by getting to know local children on your community sports coaching project. Physical education is no longer part of the curriculum in South Africa and thus has become neglected. Sport is essential recreation for children and a defining point of childhood and adolescent development, however, opportunities for children to enjoy and develop from sporting activities remain few and far between. Volunteers can really give something back to local children on this worthwhile project by enabling children to play. Sports clubs also provide vulnerable children with safe havens and a temporary escape from abusive homes, which are frighteningly common.
Next on your Garden Route adventure head west from Cape Town to volunteer with the Big 5 (lion, leopard, African elephant, rhino and Cape buffalo) in Port Elizabeth to have the quintessential African experience. The reserve focuses on wildlife and conservation, and volunteers may have the opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the reserve’s most majestic wildlife in the predator educational and rehabilitation centre, which houses endangered species, the elephant and reptile sanctuary, as well as other tasks maintaining the reserve. Volunteers may also be required to help undertake field research and collect essential data, which will contribute to the reserve’s conservation strategy in the future.
After contributing to valuable conservation work in Port Elizabeth volunteers with move on their final destination, the least touched and most remote part of the Garden Route, where volunteers will be able to support local educators in the provision of computer skills training. An ex-army land-rover has been brought back to life in the form of a mobile computer lab, which has enabled the project to reach out to more children than ever before. Volunteers contributions by providing more attention to the children will contribute to building up a fundamental skill-set which they will need to find employment and break out of the poverty cycle. This will be a fantastic way to end your adventures on the beautiful Garden Route in South Africa.