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Volunteer in Surfing in South Africa

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Surfing in Africa

The moment I got off my plane, I knew I was about to have one of the greatest experiences of my life. Staff were quick to greet me and the airport and drive me to the volunteer lodging. This first Monday, IVHQ and DTR lead u through a very informative orientation on what to expect from our programs and how to stay safe in the area. We were situated in Muizenberg, in the Western Cape. About 35-45 minutes to Cape Towns city center and only a 2 minute walk to the beach. Muizenberg is not very tourist-orientated which gives a very local and different aspect on life in Africa.

As for the volunteer program itself. I participated on the surf outreach program. Everyday from 10am-12pm you are in the sea practicing how to surf.

After 12pm, you get to go home and have a delicious home cooked meal made fresh each day by an in-house cook. The food menu rotates every 4 weeks so you'll have the opportunity to try many amazing new foods.

When 2 pm rolls around, you're back at the surf shop preparing sandwiches for the children on your program. They come directly from a local school and eagerly want to get into the ocean each day. Usually at between 4:30pm or 5pm the surf program finishes and you head home for dinner.

There is a very lively vibe at the volunteer lodges. With 6 houses in total, there are many volunteers to meet from all over the world. If you wish, there are local bars and clubs you can go out to, with a curfew of 1 am each day. I found this more than enough time to have fun on a Friday night with those in my program.

Cooked Food is not provided to the volunteers on the weekend. They do however provide you with the ingredients to make many different chicken and or veggie dishes. If you choose to buy your own food, there are many inexpensive local restaurants around that serve amazing food!

Wifi is available almost everywhere but it is not available in any of the volunteer houses. You can buy a SIM card for your unlocked phone and purchase a data pack to have access at home if you wish.

I feel that it is also important to add that the houses are in very safe areas, but thefts do occur. To prevent your stuff from going missing, bring luggage locks and always remember to properly lock up your house before you leave entrances unattended.

Over the course of my 4 week stay in South Africa, I had a few requirements from the staff that arose. Each time I had a request or a question, the staff would do their best to fix the concern within the hour. Quite amazing service on their part!

I would go back tomorrow if I could. The longer you stay here, the more it impacts you and the more it opens up your eyes to the way of life. I would highly recommend this program or any of the IVHQ's South Africa's programs to anyone.

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review February 22, 2016 at 5:45 PM

    Hi Avery, It's great to hear from you! Thanks for sharing such a detailed first hand account of your experience volunteering in South Africa. You have left some great advice for future volunteers as well. We are glad that you had such a positive and memorable experience and we hope to see you back on another IVHQ program soon.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I enjoy volunteering!

I am here to learn how to surf, meet with the kids, and I enjoy this volunteering.

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review February 08, 2016 at 1:21 PM

    Hi Rasmus, thanks for your contribution to our Surfing project in South Africa, and we would love to have you volunteer with us again soon!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I get to learn how to surf and meet a lot of kids

I chose this program because I've never surf before so I get to learn and meet a lot of kids and I've done IVHQ before and I loved it. So I am up for a new place.

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review February 08, 2016 at 1:22 PM

    Hi Olivia, It’s great to hear from you. Thanks for the recommendation. We hope to see you on another IVHQ program soon.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

It will change your life for the best and hopefully you can do the same for someone else.

I chose this program because of pretty similar reasons to Olivia, I just wanted to surf and I haven't been anywhere in Africa before and this a good place to start. It's my fourth time volunteering with IVHQ and I love it.

On a typical day, we wake up at between 7 to 8o'clock, breakfast at the house. We come here (program location), we put wetsuits on, and we surf for roughly two hours. It sort of changes because the kids had exams. So the time varies, sometimes it's different but it's roughly the sort of what we do. We go home for lunch. We come back here after about say 45minutes or to half an hour of break for lunch. We wait for kids to finish school. Then when they arrive we make sandwiches or prepare certain types of food for them. Then we take them out to the beach, if they wanna surf, they surf. If they don't wanna surf, we play beach games. Sit and talk like the females here, etc. After about two or three hours, we come back here and we get them dressed in dry civilian clothes again. Then we feed them the prepared sandwiches or fruit. Sometimes we got fruits. Then we send them their way. And then we clean clean clean. Ready for the next day!

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review February 08, 2016 at 1:24 PM

    Hi David, thanks for a glimpse into daily life as a volunteer in South Africa! It’s great to see that you had such an amazing time, and we’d love to have you volunteer with us again soon!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Really interesting!

I chose this program because I have done a previous program with IVHQ not in South Africa. I saw this program and it seemed really interesting that's why I chose it. I'm here for another week and this is my last week.

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review February 08, 2016 at 1:26 PM

    Hi there, great to have you join us again as a volunteer! We’d love to host you on your 3rd program one day!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Here to help!

I came here because I am a Sail Instructor back home so I thought I'd use all the sport knowledge to help out here.

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review February 08, 2016 at 1:27 PM

    Hi Adam, great to see you using your skills and knowledge to assist our volunteer program in South Africa. We really appreciate your valuable contribution!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Second time around

I'm here for three months and this is my second time on the Surf Program. I guess there's always room for me back here!

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review February 08, 2016 at 1:28 PM

    Hi Nikie, we’ll always make room for you on our volunteer programs! We look forward to hosting you again sometime soon!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Amazing experiences

I chose this program because it seemed like there will be amazing experiences and a lot to do in Cape Town. I've been here for a month now and will be staying for a total of 3 months.

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review February 08, 2016 at 1:30 PM

    Hi Morgan, It sounds like you are having a positive experience in South Africa while volunteering and in your free time. We hope to have you back on another IVHQ program soon.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    7

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    8

Lief - It Means Love in Afrikaans

Put simply, my South African experience through IVHQ was phenomenal. We volunteers came with the intention to lend a helping hand, instill positive values upon the children, and "teach" them to surf after learning ourselves. Ironically enough, the children were the ones teaching us how to surf, alongside lessons larger than the ones we could ever dream of teaching them.

Upon arrival, my group was shuttled directly to the volunteer house where we were met by the incredibly friendly and helpful staff. Brazzio and Whitney warmly welcomed us to South Africa by helping us to settle in and advising us on how to spend our first weekend before placement since we came several days early. The home itself was beautiful, spacious, safe, and had incredible views from the gated front porch (an amazing place to enjoy some coffee before heading out to placement each morning!) Come Monday morning, we were off to orientation. The ride to orientation was already so enjoyable I knew the next few weeks were going to be extraordinary. We were picked up by a man named Karl in a makeshift shuttle van to drive into the city center. Along the way, Karl told us stories and explained the people and culture, all while cracking jokes and "bumping" popular music. We met the other volunteers, got the scoop on the local area and how program was going to run, and were treated to a wonderful lunch and walk through Cape Town. Post-orientation, we split into our respective programs. The first day of surf program was met by an awful storm, but that did not stop William (surf program director) from making our first day together unforgettable. After trudging through the rain to tour of every single surf shop within walking distance, we enjoyed an afternoon at a coffee shop getting to know each other while sharing our visions for what to put into and get out of the program. Barriers were broken, laughs were shared, and bonds were formed. The next day, Karl's van rolls up outside the surf room and the children pour out running to the door with overflowing energy and joy. Accompanying them was Charles, a man with a heart of gold and the ability to make just about anyone crack a smile at his discretion. My favorite habit of his was yelling "Peace!" as he left the surf room every afternoon to take the children home, while throwing up the peace sign.

The following weeks flew by and were filled with plenty of playtime, surfing, beach games, and sandwich making. Although these activities sound simple, every interaction with the children was a chance to radiate positive values and love; essentials that we often take for granted that they do not always have at home. Just as words are inadequate to define love and positive values, so too are words inadequate to describe those few weeks. Inspiring, heart-warming, eye-opening, unlike anything or anyone else, these words attempt to describe my experience and the locals but do neither justice. What I can define, however, is one of the most significant themes of those two weeks; the transcendence of love and positivity through all language barriers.

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review September 29, 2015 at 9:40 PM

    Hi Lauren, Wow! Your two weeks volunteering on our surf program in South Africa sound incredible and we are so glad to have been part of facilitating this for you. Thanks for being an IVHQer and for sharing a review and photos of your experience. We hope to see you back on another of our programs soon.