Volunteer in Cape Town
Cape Town is a wonderful city to choose for volunteering! There are plenty of projects available ranging from teaching kids to planting trees or roaring with lions. But the real fascination is Cape Town itself! It is a vibrant city that will instantly get under your skin, because as varied as the programs are, are the people and places of Cape Town. Walking through the city's streets and meeting its people, you will fall in love with its incredible natural beauty and proud city- spirit. View our guide to volunteering in Cape Town today.
Volunteer Opportunities in Cape Town
Why Volunteer in Cape Town?
Cape Town simply has it all: beaches, mountains, harbours, forests, gardens, exotic animals, small markets, huge malls, clubs, bars, coffee shops, corner pubs, and you could spend months finding something new each day. The beaches are world class, from Big Bay to Camps Bay there's really not a grain of sand that you wouldn't want to stretch out on. With a handcrafted beer in hand, the awe-inspiring sunsets will make you wonder where this beautiful place has been all your life.
Cape Town is a city where the unexpected is always just around the corner, there is so much to learn and explore, so much to see and all of it will make you change the way you think and live your life. You will learn to relax and live in the moment! Cape Town, the Mother City, the Rainbow Nation’s most radiant city will widen your horizon and help you grow. Cape Town has something for everyone, something for the active, hyperactive and even the ones who like to take it easy.
Types of Projects Available
- Community Development
- Wildlife Conservation
Recommended Volunteer Organisations in Cape Town
Which so many volunteer organisations based in Cape Town it can be hard to find the best one. All are different and offer a range of placements. The following companies are recommended:
The Busy Beagle
Applying to volunteer with the Busy Beagle will be a life changing experience. They offer placements where you can work at a local wildlife rescue centres helping dogs and other animals. You can also help disadvantaged children and experience the highlights of Cape Town in your spare time.
Projects are open to South African nationals and also international participants. So wether you are planning a gap year to South Africa, or would just like to spend a break doing something rewarding there are opportunities for you. Some organisations will require you to be aged 18+ whilst others are more flexible and are open to younger ages and families.
How to Apply
You can view our featured projects above and apply today.
What to Do in Your Spare Time
You will usually volunteer Monday to Friday, 9-5. Here are just a few of the many things you can do in your free time:
The bright red double-decker Sightseeing bus is a perfect way to get to see much of the city in a day. It’s a great starting point and gives you a feel for the city, its layout and all the things to see and do. There are two routes which transport you to many different sights, and if you book a two day ticket you even get a Township tour, a Waterfront canal cruise and a wine tasting tour on top.
Check out the different suburbs
Cape Town is diverse and the different areas in town and the suburbs showcase its multicultural background. Take a walk through Bo- Kaap and be inspired by the colourful houses. Taste a curry while watching the locals and hear the call for prayer. Observatory is known as the hippie and student suburb and has lots to offer in terms of nightlife as does the famous Long Street. De Waterkant is the cool gay hood and offers a hot nightlife. Camps Bay is where the rich and trendy go.
Shop local at markets
Capetonians love their markets. Every year there are new markets popping up and shopping and eating there is great fun. You will mingle with lots of locals as everyone streams to the hippest market of the season on a weekend. Definitely visit the Neighbourgoods Market at the Old Biscuit Mill and the Hout Bay Harbour Market.
Have a Braai (Barbecue)
Life doesn’t get much better than, beer, food, friends and music... and that's exactly what a South African Braai is all about. If you don't have the pleasure of being invited to one, check out Mzoli's a popular “meat-ing” place in Gugulethu, for people of all walks of life. Lekker, lekker.
Get to know the other side
...and go on a Township tour! Don’t forget that the majority of South Africa’s Black population still live a very different life to the one you are accustomed to. Many different tours are on offer, from a gospel-tour to an eco-tour to a jazz safari or a bicycle ride. Gugulethu is well-known because of the butchery Mzoli’s, Manenberg because of its jazz heroes and Kahelitsha because of its size. A township-tour is a good way to get to know Cape Town properly.
Visit one of South Africa's many music festivals
AfrikaBurn is a must, but there are plenty of other great festivals and trance parties happening somewhere every other weekend. Rocking the Daisies, Earthdance and Vortex are just a few bigger events. Round up your newly found friends, grab your tent and drive out into the open.
Go on a Wine Tasting Tour
Without the many vineyards the Cape simply wouldn’t be the Cape. Stellenbosch and Franchhoek are famous for their wines and fancy wine estate restaurants. Constantia is in Cape Town and has some of the Cape’s oldest Vineyards.
Hang out with African Penguins
Beautiful Boulders Beach, located in the quaint seaside village of Simon’s Town, is home to a colony of over 3000 Penguins, a unique and wonderful experience. Welcome to the cutest paradise!
Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope
A must on your list for Cape Town is to spend an unforgettable day in one of South Africa’s most beautiful nature reserves. The drive along the coastline is breath-taking and you will definitely see large baboons! Watch out for them; they will jump faster into your car than you can blink. You might like to view our tours in South Africa.
Greenmarket Square in the heart of the city
Traders from all over Africa have converged on the cobblestoned Greenmarket Square to sell a variety of goods and curios for hundreds of years. It’s a great place to buy souvenirs for your family and friends back home. When you are done shopping, relax in one of the many trendy coffee shops in the vicinity or check out the small fashion boutiques and antique shops on Long Street and Kloof Street. Many of the buildings are characterised by Victorian architecture, beautiful, colourful and opulent.
Established way back in 1652 by Dutch settlers, the Company Gardens is a greenbelt in the heart of the city with manicured lawns, flower beds and large trees. Lots of cute squirrels are running around and it’s is a favourite lunchtime spot for people working in the city. There are a number of museums close by, including the Iziko Museums, the South African Jewish Museum, the District Six Museum, and the South African National Gallery.
Go up the mountain
Voted one of the seven natural wonders of the world, Table Mountain is the city’s Icon. Take the cable car up Table Mountain or hike up Lion’s Head, its smaller brother, for an unforgettable view over the whole of Cape Town. Pack a picnic and enjoy feeling on top of the world! Signal Hill is where everyone ends up for sundowners. It sits lower than the two others, but offers amazing views and is accessible all the way by car. It’s also a great spot to get up close and personal with launching and landing paragliders.
Take the Boat to Robben Island
Nelson Mandela’s former prison cell is a strong reminder of the adversity that once plagued South Africa. To see how Nelson Mandela and many other political prisoners, who fought to change the countries apartheid system, were forced to live on the island over decades makes you shudder. Former prisoners will guide you through your visit and answer questions, so you get a very special firsthand experience. Everyone should visit Robben Island, if not to be humbled, then to be inspired by the islands history and the stories of the men who rose from obscurity to build a free and fair South Africa.
Help / Advice
Need any help arranging a volunteer program in Cape Town? Contact us today. You might also like to view all of our South Africa volunteer opportunities.
Cape Town Volunteer Reviews
Have you ever been to volunteer in Cape Town? Would you like to review an organisation or experience? Get in touch.
Our guide to volunteering in Cape Town was contributed to by Anna, founder of the Busy Beagle Project. You might also like to view our guide to volunteering in Port Elizabeth.
Volunteer with Children in Hout Bay, near Cape Town, South Africa
- Cape Town, South Africa
- 4 weeks - 1 year / From: € 1250