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Volunteering | Internships | Language Courses


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Experience Cape Town

with First Step Abroad

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Dreaming of living abroad for a few months? Come experience with First Step Abroad, one of the most amazing cities in the world while volunteering, doing an internship or learning English in Cape Town, South Africa!

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South African Kids

Volunteering | Internships | Language Courses


Volunteering in Cape Town

Due to its breathtaking landscapes, excellent wildlife and its cultural diversity, South Africa is one of the most fascinating countries in the world and often described as "a whole world in one country". Besides South Africa's natural beauty, there are also downsides, which often go unheeded. While South Africa has a relatively strong economy and modern infrastructure, the country is still fighting profound social and economic pressures. The country struggles with a high unemployment and crime rate, a growing number of HIV/AIDS-infections and a deficit in the education and health care system. Contrary to the hopes of many South Africans, the situation of those living in poverty has changed little since the end of apartheid.

The role of volunteering in the social sector in South Africa

With the implementation of various development initiatives, the government, non-governmental (NGOs) and non-profit organisations (NPOs) attempt to alleviate the desperate situation of the population by responding to a diversity of social and economic problems. Although the number of social interventions has increased, many organisations often have to deal with the lack of staff, equipment or funds and are in severe need for assistance. This is particularly reflected in the lack of staff in many organisations, which often plays a crucial role for the deficit or even the failure of a project. Therefore, most organisations have to rely on the willingness and commitment of people who offer their knowledge and assistance on a voluntary basis.

Volunteering plays an important role in the fight against poverty and social inequality in South Africa. Volunteering is of great value to social organisations and both the recipient and the volunteer can benefit equally. By contributing to the services provided by a social institution volunteers often relieve staff from their heavy workload. Several children's homes, facilities for disabled people, youth projects, schools and many others could not sufficiently operate without the assistance of volunteers. While the commitment of volunteers and their assistance contributes to the improvement of social services, volunteers themselves benefit greatly from personal and practical experiences as well as a broadened cultural horizon.

Volunteering in wildlife and nature conservation projects in South Africa

Volunteer programmes in South Africa do not only focus on projects in the social field, but also in wildlife and nature conservation. South Africa is well known for its abundant wildlife and for the high level of biodiversity. In the course of nature and wildlife projects, volunteers will be given the opportunity to participate in the conservation and protection of the natural environment. Whether in an animal rescue centre or a conservation project – there are many opportunities to engage with wildlife and nature.


Volunteer Projects - Volunteer Opportunities

There are various opportunities for volunteers to get involved in social projects. You can apply for projects in the following field:

Social projects

  • Orphanage
  • Kindergarten
  • School Projects
  • Life-Skills Projects
  • Projects for Street Kids
  • Adult Education
  • Old-Age Homes
  • Hospitals

Wildlife and Nature Conversation Projects

  • Animal Rescue Centre
  • Seabird Rescue and Conservation
  • Cheetah Project
  • Nature Conservation Projects

Application process for volunteering

Do you wish to apply for a volunteer project in Cape Town? Please find some information below regarding the application process.

You can apply for a volunteer project if you are 18 years of age or older and you would like to get involved with one of our social projects. The requirements are good English skills, the willingness to learn about different cultural aspects and to approach them with much openness and sensitivity. Further requirements are project dependent and will be included in the respective project description.

How to apply for a volunteer project in Cape Town?

In order to apply for a volunteer project, you need to provide information on what kind of volunteer work you would like to do, your fields of interest, requirements (if applicable), etc. Please also send us your desired volunteer period and your available dates. The more information we receive from you, the faster we can find you an appropriate volunteer project in Cape Town. To apply for a volunteer project please fill out the online enquiry form or send us an This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Don’t worry if you don’t have any specific ideas yet. We will gladly give advice on various options available and help you find a suitable volunteer project.

Planning for your stay abroad

After checking your documents (i. e. resume, application or letter of motivation), we will begin the actual search for a volunteer project in relevant organisations. We will then send you suitable options in and around Cape Town. Once the placement of the volunteer project is completed, we conduct all other organisational matters, such as finding accommodation, a rental car, etc. We also offer advice regarding your visa requirements, flight deals, tours, etc.

Do I get paid or is board and lodging included?

As a volunteer in South Africa you will get a visa that only allows you to carry out any unpaid volunteer work. Given that most organisations don’t have the funds to provide board and lodging for volunteers, accommodation and meals are generally not included. It is therefore important to calculate the costs for your entire stay abroad well in advance.

Application deadlines and duration of placements procedure

For most volunteer projects there are no application deadlines, but you should apply about 3-6 months in advance to allow enough time for the organisation and planning process.  It usually takes between 2-4 weeks to find a suitable volunteer project. Depending on the availability of suitable volunteer projects and accommodation, short-term applications and placements are also possible.

Period of volunteer projects

The minimum length of a volunteer project is programme-specific and can range from 4 weeks to 6 months. Some organisations require longer periods (3 months+), especially in projects where building relationships (e. g. with children) is important. The duration of the orientation and adaption phase varies, but you should expect about 2-4 weeks to get used to the new environment. For short-term stays we offer programmes that were specifically designed for shorter periods. Please send us an e-mail for more information on short-term programmes. 

Apply for a volunteer project now by providing the information needed:

To apply for a volunteer project in South Africa please fill out the below enquiry form or send us e-mail. We are looking forward to assisting you in finding a suitable volunteer project and coordinating your stay abroad.

First name + Surname


Country of origin

Email + Mobile number

Period (from/to)

Length of stay

Language course ?




We have successfully placed and supported over hundreds of volunteers, interns and language course students over the last ten years. Seeing them succeed in gaining international experiences and adapting to a new cultural environment is most rewarding. It is my passion to share my own volunteer experience with our programme participants and to help them gain intercultural experience.

Managing Partner
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Cape Town’s diversity for me is priceless – enjoy Cape Town’s beautiful nature, great food, sports, culture and its open-hearted people. It is a place full of energy that makes you feel at home!

Volunteer Coordinator
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Friendly faces, open-minded people, beautiful surroundings, fantastic weather, great food and good vibes. If you can find so much positives over a city in less than five seconds that’s Cape Town, my home.

Volunteer Coordinator
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If you have a question about our services, please feel free to contact us!

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