Do you love a big braai (barbeque) on the soft sand beaches? Or do you enjoy scoping through magnificent caves that contain human bones from 2.3 million years ago? Or do you live for the thrill of being dropped 49 feet below the blue ocean into a shark's den? Why not experience all three on your kief (cool) gap year in South Africa? After asking yourself all these questions, start researching how beautiful a South Africa gap year is. If green nature, wild animal safaris, and endless city nightlife doesn’t excite you, we don’t know what does. So go on, take a gap year in South Africa!
Eish, there’s so many places to have a jol (great time) in your gap year in South Africa. Live amongst the water's edge where you can soak up the sun or see what a cosmopolitan lifestyle is like in the posh atmosphere of its coastal cities.. Or even better… Chase your three-year-old dream and promenade on Pride Rock with Simba, Timon, and Pumba. Hakuna Matata when it comes to planning where you want to be during your South Africa gap year, right?! Here are top gap year spots in South Africa to consider:
Cape Town: Ahhh, what a beaut Cape Town is! Known for the Table Mountain that outlines the city, it’s a perfect place for both nature lovers and city slickers. Gap year programs in South Africa are super popular in the city, because, wellll... the beaches. Just give them a google—they might put any other country to shame. Swing over to the Cape of Good Hope where you can hike to see some of the best views of Cape Town. Or, if you love penguins, head over to the Boulders Penguin Colony. Yes, they have penguins in Africa that you can actually interact with! Cute little guys, huh? With all the neat things to do in Cape Town, it’s definitely one of the top gap year spots in South Africa. It’s super popular to teach English in Cape Town. Students are fascinated with American and European culture so teaching is a breeze!
Johannesburg: Joburg aka Johannesburg is a chic and lively city! It’s flourished with colorful architecture that can catch any art lover's eye. Johannesburg gives off that vibe of coziness where you can walk into any small coffee shop and feel right at home. Not to mention, there’s so much history within the walls of this new city. Check out multiple museums once you arrive to learn the history of South Africa. Looking for an internship? Johannesburg is hiring. Enhance your knowledge by performing a medical or business internship. Best part? Hands on training!
Narrowing down what you want to do during your South Africa gap year, huh? Trust me mate, there’s heaps of gap year opportunities in South Africa. What’s your passion? Pursue your valiant goals and get that international exposure you’ve always wanted by living through what inspires you the most.
Adventure Travel: Gap year programs in South Africa always highlight adventure travel. I mean, come on, you’re in the wild wilderness. Travel around by jeep or jump on a tour safari to see all of the world’s most breathtaking species. Hike across Table Mountain in Cape Town or stop and smell the flowers at Kruger National Park. Adventure is never-ending during your gap year in South Africa.
Internship: Looking to learn more in your field of study or find out what you want to do after school? Sign up for an awesome internship on your gap year in South Africa. Work with kids at a nearby school and teach English. Or, instead of a school setting, teach both kids and adults how to surf in the ocean. There are also heaps of up-and-coming business that are looking for fresh ideas and a creative mindset.
Volunteer: Make the most of your gap year programs in South Africa and give back. Volunteering is one of the most rewarding opportunities that you can do abroad, plus it warms the heart… awww. Obsessed with animals? Work alongside some of South Africa’s best safaris to take care of elephants, exotic birds, monkeys, and other rare animals. Or, show some love for the kids of South Africa and work at an orphanage. Meet tons of cool little ones and learn about the South African culture from them. They’re the best resources!
Everything else you need to know about gap years in South Africa
Costs. Money. The thing in life that makes people excited and nervous. Of course, you’ll need to save some cash before you book your gap year in South Africa, but how much? It all depends on the type of program you sign up for and what they include within their cost package. For some extra spending money, work to save as much as you can. You can always create a FundMyTravel account here.
Accommodations. Traveling around the country? It’s highly recommended to stay in hostels. Not only can you find a room for under $30 a night, but you can meet some of the neatest travelers around! If you’re planting yourself in one city, look into apartment style housing with a few other gappers or find a host family.
Visas. One thing is for sure, if you do a South Africa gap year, you’ll definitely need a one year visa. There’s different types of visa to choose from, but it’s best to work with your gap year in South Africa program leader. Make sure to go online ASAP to know when you can apply for your visa. You’ll have to go to an embassy to request and deliver the paperwork from the South African consulate website. Check out GoAbroad Embassy Directory to find the nearest embassy near you.
Safety. Ok gappers, the world isn’t perfect, but that shouldn’t stop you from exploring it. Play it safe overseas and listen to what your mom said, “never stay out by yourself past dark.” Mom’s are always right, whether you’re rolling your eyes or not. Make sure to travel with a buddy at night. Oh, and always holds hands when crossing the street—lol.
GoAbroad's Inside Scoop
Want to know some info to get you through your gap year programs in South Africa search? Don’t just read online reviews—contact the alumni personally. Set up a Skype or coffee date to get the 411 on specific gap year opportunities in South Africa. Not only will they let you know about their personal experience, they can also connect you with their friends in the area. This way you’ll feel comfortable knowing a handful of people before your arrival.
Woooo, now it’s time to get you outta here and into your gap year in South Africa! Do you hear that? It’s the elephants and lions calling your name. There’s so much to see, hike, and discover throughout this gorgeous land.
What are you waiting for? Sign up for gap year programs in South Africa today!
Keep reading gappers! Looking for some of the best places to do a gap year? Then read GoAbroad's top picks for Malia Obama's gap year.