Planning Tips

Are you unsure where to start? Not sure how to choose the project that’s right for you? No idea what to pack? Don’t worry, we’re here to help you make the right decisions and give you plenty of advice on packing for your volunteering trip abroad.

Pack Light and Pack Right

We know packing can be a challenge – that’s where we can help! As your volunteer trip draws closer, filling your suitcase with all the essentials becomes an increasingly daunting task. Will I need more jeans? Should I pack a scarf, hat, mittens?

How do I respect the local culture as a visitor while being comfortable enough to work with kids or on conservation activities? Volunteering can mean working hard and quite often you’ll wear the same clothes over and over. Our project bases all have laundry services or facilities so rather pack less and wash often.

Having less luggage also makes getting through airports a lot easier. We’ve got plenty of tips and tricks for what to bring with you on your volunteer trip, including this list of must-have gadgets.

Wear the Right Stuff

When working in foreign countries it is respectful to wear suitable clothing and be sensitive to their cultural beliefs. Some of our projects have very strict dress codes so be prepared for what’s appropriate to wear.

We created this nifty guide to help you out, but if you still have questions please ask your Destination Manager.

We’ve even divided it into some of the areas volunteers frequently volunteer, to be extra helpful. Even if you’re volunteering in an area outside of South Africa or East Africa, these guidelines can be very helpful!

Visas and Vaccinations

Many countries in East and Southern Africa do not require visas or vaccinations; however, there are a few exemptions you must be aware of. Countries such as Zambia and South Africa will provide most visitors with a visa and adequate documents upon arrival, but for others you may need to apply for your visa before you leave home.

Our Destination Managers can help you with extra information but you are still encouraged to check your requirements with the nearest consulate or embassy of the country you’re intending to visit.

For countries such as Zambia and Kenya, you’ll be required to show proof that you have gotten a Yellow Fever vaccine.

Consult with your doctor about other recommended vaccinations such as hepatitis and tetanus as precautionary measures.

Getting to Africa

Many international airlines have weekly and sometimes daily flights to many destinations in Africa. Popular airlines include KLM, British Airways, South African Airways, Etihad AirwaysEmirates and Lufthansa.

There are even flights directly to some African destinations from the USA, Australia, the Middle East and Asia, although many cheaper flights will take travelers through major European airports such as Heathrow (London) and Schiphol (Amsterdam).

Don’t be alarmed if your flight to Zimbabwe or Zambia goes through Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport. This airport is a hub for many flights to other destinations in southern Africa and flights such as these are commonplace. Make sure you check whether a transit visa is required.

Once you arrive at the airport designated for your project, you will no longer have to worry about transport as we will meet you at the airport and provide all transportation while you’re on project!

Travel Insurance

Prior to your trip you will need to arrange travel insurance that will also give you full cover for any medical requirements that may arise during your trip, including cover for full air evacuation in the unlikely event that this is necessary. Your medical cover also needs to include repatriation.

Travel insurance is also good to have in case anything happens to your camera equipment or other belongings. We suggest www.worldnomads.com but you are welcome to use whichever provider you find suitable.

If you are working on a conservation or research project and will be working with wild animals please ensure that your insurance covers you adequately.

Guide to Gadgets

Just because you’re volunteering in Africa doesn’t mean you have to leave all your electronics behind! SIM cards for your phone are readily available in most towns near our project locations, so you can keep in touch with family at home.

Keep in mind to bring extra memory cards for your camera, as well as a USB, which may come in handy for exchanging photos with your fellow volunteers. There are also some great gadgets on the market that we recommend you consider, which might make your volunteering stay just that much more of a success.

Check out this article for more info!