Frequently Asked Questions

We know that choosing the right volunteer project for you in the ideal location can be tricky. We also understand that this might be your first time travelling to Africa and that can be daunting.

To help you out we’ve answered some of the most common questions below. Please feel free to drop us a line if you still have questions or would like some guidance on choosing a program that suits you.

Will I need a visa?

Yes, most countries in Africa do require entry visas and in most cases you can obtain them on arrival at the airport. We will guide you as far as possible but it’s important that you check visa requirements thoroughly as some nationalities do need to apply for visas prior to arrival.

Is food provided?

Project meals are provided three times a day and are simple and healthy. Some of our projects will arrange themed evenings where volunteers are encouraged to get involved in some of the cooking (for example a cultural evening, Hawaiian night, etc).

The water at almost all of our projects is safe to drink, but bottled water is also readily available. If you have any dietary requirements we will endeavour to accommodate them as far as possible.

Can I call home?

Communication to, or within Africa is not always as it is back home – it can sometimes be slow and difficult. A telephone will always be available for you to call home, and on most of our projects there are also internet connections available (although depending on the location, this could be intermittent). Volunteers can also purchase local SIM cards for their mobile phones at most destinations.

Do most volunteers travel on their own or in a group?

The majority of our volunteers who join us are individuals travelling on their own; however, we often have school and university groups joining our projects as a team. Some volunteers also travel in a group with their mates and we help them put together a full Africa trip itinerary.

Don’t ever worry about coming on your own, the volunteer houses are great places for everyone to get to know one another and you’ll likely return home with a whole bunch of new friends!

Is there a lot of crime in Africa? Will I be safe?

Africa is a dynamic continent, and sometimes situations can arise within a country that can give cause for concern, as they can in any country in the world. At African Impact we take the safety of our volunteers very seriously indeed. Should an unforeseen situation arise which warrants a volunteer’s removal from that country or region, we would do so immediately.

Do I need any experience to join a project?

Most of our projects are open to unqualified volunteers who go through an orientation program on arrival to prepare them for project work. Our volunteers must have passion, an open mind and a willingness to learn, participate and contribute.

We do have some projects, predominantly medical/healthcare projects, which require varying levels of prior study or work experience. Please check the requirements for each project.

Is working with wild animals dangerous?

Yes, working with wild animals is always dangerous, but thanks to our trained staff and safety protocols incidents are very rare. It is important for any volunteer working with wild animals to understand the risks and maintain respect for all wildlife, as well as noting that many travel insurance providers do not cover working with dangerous animals.

All volunteers will undergo a comprehensive induction and orientation program to brief them on safety and prepare them for the work they’ll be doing. It is crucial to listen to project staff at all times, and to obey camp rules! Common sense is essential and again, pay attention to the information provided and remember that Africa is a wild continent!

What happens in the case of an emergency?

Medical emergencies are by no means a regular occurrence, but our project teams are equipped to deal with all situations and have strict protocols in place to do so. The Volunteer Coordinator for the project will ensure that you receive immediate medical assistance.

It is a requirement that all volunteers have the adequate travel insurance that includes emergency air evacuation and repatration, in the event of a serious illness or accident. It is the volunteer’s responsibility to ensure they have the appropriate level of cover with their chosen travel provider, which will differ depending on the activities involved in your volunteer project. World Nomads provide travel insurance for volunteers, but please check the full description of cover (policy wording) to make sure it’s right for you.

Do I book my flight with African Impact?

No, all flights are booked by the volunteer, but we have partnered with Student Universe who will be able to give you the best advice on flights to match your volunteer placement!

Are there any hidden extras in the cost of the placement?

All costs include transport to and from the project specific pick-up point, as well as all accommodation and meals and transfers during project working hours. The fee volunteers pay for their placement also includes 24 hour support from trained and experienced staff on the ground.

Volunteers should bring money to pay for telephone calls and internet use and for items of a personal nature such as toiletries or gifts.

In addition, on many of our projects, volunteers have the option of enjoying organized trips to nearby sights and attractions. There is an additional cost to be paid locally to cover these excursions, and any visas they may require for border crossings.

What if I pay for my placement and then can’t travel?

It is necessary for all volunteers who book with us to have adequate travel insurance which covers any unforeseen change of plans such as illness or changes to projects due to circumstances beyond our control like fake floods etc. If you wish to cancel your placement please consult the Terms & Conditions provided to you by your Destination Manager.

Is there any risk of contracting HIV, Yellow Fever or Malaria?

If you are travelling to an area of Africa for which vaccinations or anti-malarial mediation is required we will notify you of this well in advance. A yellow fever certificate is required for certain areas. Please consult your nearest GP or travel clinic for more info.

We exercise caution and medical safety on our projects and we advise volunteers to take all precautions necessary to ensure they don’t get sick.

This includes frequent hand washing, applying mosquito-repellent, and being careful about what you eat and drink.

We recommend that volunteers travel with:

  • Paracetamol/Ibuprofen (also known as Tylenol/Advil)
  • Hand sanitizers (a few small ones, keep one in your day pack, for example)
  • Topical antihistamine
  • Tummy tablets (such as: anti-diarrhoea, anti-nausea) Tip: If you bring medication in your carry-on make sure it’s in its original packaging.

How safe are the projects? Will someone be with me while I work?

We make every effort to ensure all volunteers are safe during their placement. Our teams on the ground are trained and experienced and ready to handle all and any situations that may arise. Our volunteers are always accompanied by an African Impact staff member while on project.

Volunteers are briefed fully about the area that they are living and working in, with advice on how to go about their daily life as a volunteer. We are widely accepted in the communities we work with and there’s a culture of respect and understanding.

You can also take a look at our Safety Tips.

Will there be other volunteers helping at the project while I am there?

Our projects range in size – some can accommodate many volunteers, while others only a few. If you’d like to find out whether you’ll be the only volunteer during your trip please feel free to request this information from your Destination Manager.

What if I don’t speak the local language like Zulu or Swahili?

This is no problem. We require all volunteers to speak English as all inductions and safety briefings are given in English, but you’ll have an opportunity to pick up some of the local greetings when you’re with us on project. If you like, try learning some of the ethnic language prior to joining us – you’ll impress the locals and the other volunteers!

What happens when I arrive at the airport?

It’s important to us that you feel safe as soon as you arrive in Africa. At all our projects we have experienced volunteer managers who will meet you at the airport upon arrival and transfer you safely to the project.

There will usually be other volunteers arriving at the same time and it’s a great time to start making connections. Prior to arrival the manager at the project will contact you and clearly state where to meet and give an idea of those arriving at the same time.

How much free time will I have to travel around?

Weekends are a great opportunity to explore the local area or simply to relax. We arrange extra trips and excursions with reputable tour partners. While African Impact staff members don’t chaperone volunteers during their free time, they will be accompanied by trained tour guides.

Evenings are also free time to meet and socialise with other volunteers. Often volunteers opt to use this time to prep for the next day’s activities.

How much money will I need? Can I use a credit card?

Credit cards can be used in most major towns, but volunteers must take caution with the safety of their valuables. We will always give volunteers the opportunity to get cash out in safe surroundings.

Spending money will vary depending on the extra excursions and trips a volunteer would like to be involved in, but an estimate of these costs can be acquired from your Destination Manager and are also outlined on the project brochure for each program.