Offer vital medical and healthcare assistance in a rural Zulu village of South Africa. With one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS in the country and a lack of resources and skilled medical staff nearby, this area is in desperate need of dedicated volunteers. Whether you are looking to utilize your existing medical skills or wanting to explore a future in the healthcare field, you will play a useful part of very successful and on-going treatment programs. Couple this with having a life-changing experience in one of the most beautiful and wild areas of South Africa.
AS A VOLUNTEER, YOU'LL GET TO:
- Assist in under resourced local clinics, supporting doctors and nurses in their work
- Visit ill patients in their rural village homes, assessing their condition and administering basic treatments to help them in their road to recovery
- Help organize HIV/AIDS education classes, workshops and support groups
- Be part of highly successful nutrition and physiotherapy programs
- Spend your free time spotting elephants, lions or rhinos on safari in the African bush or join in on some of the many optional sightseeing tours this area has to offer
- Live in the home of South Africa’s largest population of hippos and crocodiles! St Lucia is a bustling tropical tourist town, only a short walk away from the beautiful and warm Indian Ocean, long stretches of beaches and surrounded by nature
About the Destination
A safe tropical tourist town, home to the largest population of hippos and crocodiles in South Africa, is where you will be based during your time volunteering. A malaria-free coastal paradise, with long stretches of untouched and wild beaches, St Lucia is also one of the only towns in the entire world to be surrounded by a World Heritage Site and therefore incredible wildlife opportunities
Picture waking up to the sound of monkeys playing on your roof, spotting hippos going about their business before lunch and spending your evening under the crystal clear milky way, on a night safari drive through some of the most famous Game Reserves in Africa, spotting eveything
from leopards to hyenas! In between all that, you still have time to understand one of the most interesting cultures and people you’ll come across – the traditional Zulu villagers you’ll be volunteering with on a daily basis. Zululand is an area still ruled by the Zulu Royal Family and surrounds the stunning town of St Lucia where there are a number of villages that are impoverished, underdeveloped and in desperate need of resources. This is where volunteers work each day – on our Education and Medical programs. Also surrounding the town are endless sightseeing and adventure activities for you to get involved in, whether that is setting sail on the Indian Ocean to swim with dolphins,
spotting whales out at sea or following the journey of the endangered turtles which lay eggs on the beaches each year from November – March. On land, why not jump onto one of the many safaris that leave from the town and head to the great plains of Africa to view wild elephants, lions and rhinos! Failing that, why not relax at the fully-furnished and beautiful volunteer house with your fellow staff and volunteers, take a dip in the pool or light up the traditional South African braai (BBQ!) and enjoy a night under the stars, like you’ve never seen them before! Oh, but watch out for the hippos who make a daily visit into town every night!
Work & Impacts
Working at the remote rural clinics will give you a chance to learn about the healthcare system in South Africa and gain valuable work experience abroad as you support local nurses and doctors with triage (which includes taking patients’ blood pressure, temperature, weight and other measurements). Extremely under resourced and overcrowded, this frees up time for nursing staff to help in the procedure rooms. This program also provides a great way to get to know some of the local people through interacting with patients, making them feel comfortable and at ease and is extremely rewarding knowing you have had an important role in their recovery.
As part of our home-based care initiative, you’ll go out into the rural villages with our staff and visit patients, some of whom are critically ill, in their homes to assess their health, administer basic treatment, give healthcare advice and refer them for a clinic visit if need be. These visits can be a real eye-opener and also very sensitive in nature as you will work in some extremely impoverished and rural areas.
You may also help with delivering donations such as food and blankets to sick and ailing patients in need and these home visits are something patients look forward to, as it is quite often the only healthcare support they receive.
Nutrition and Physiotherapy
One of the most successful programs volunteers have been a part of is our Nutrition and Physiotherapy treatment plans. With many villagers financially and physically unable to find a healthy sources of nutrients, access to water and to recoverfrom previous illnesses, accidents or on-going medical issues, our home-based program aims to provide a service which is otherwise unavailable in the local surrounding area. You will visit our patients to record and report their progress, monitor weight gain and BMI and deliver nutritional food supplements while also working with individuals to improve their physical condition through structured physiotherapy exercises.
During your time on this project, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to organize medical campaigns and workshops. One of our regular workshops is on Adult HIV Education. This is an interactive program where you’ll be able to engage with local people and, working alongside a Zulu coordinator, assist in delivering key educational sessions.
Further to these educational classes, you will also play a very active role in facilitating HIV/AIDS Support Groups for sufferers, discussing topics such as healthy living, prevention, living with the virus and even touch on topics such as future income generation for the family, sustainable food sources and supporting the group members in their interests and what they would like to learn about.
Fun & Travel
Fun Evening Activities
The iSimangaliso Wetland Park (only a short drive away!) is ideal for great game viewing, as well as nearby world-famous game reserves where you can go on endless safari’s. Besides the regular game drives, you can enjoy a hippo and crocodile boat cruise up the estuary, go for a horse ride on the beach or go on a night game-drive at nearby Thanda Private Game Reserve.
Although your volunteer work will give you a fantastic opportunity to be immersed in Zulu culture, you can also watch Zulu Dancing, taste homemade Zulu beer, go on a Cultural Village Tour and for a traditional Zulu meal. There are also many curios and crafts on sale in the town, which is a five-minute walk from the base.
Extra Trips and Tours
Weekend sightseeing options include a one-night trip with an amazing Elephant Interaction experience at Thanda Private Game Reserve. You can also take a two-day trip to Mozambique, where you will indulge in delicious seafood, swim, snorkel and soak up the sun. There are also plenty of places to head to up the coast for day trips.
Dates & Rates
Our project fee includes:
- Accommodation throughout your entire stay at our African Impact volunteer home in St Lucia – a cozy, safe and lively house shared by our volunteers, interns and staff
- 3 delicious meals a day cooked by chefs from the local community (weekdays only)
- Airport pick-up and drop-off by the African Impact team
- Experienced international and local staff members who live and work alongside you every day
- A full induction, orientation and training session to ensure you can contribute sustainably
- All necessary project equipment and resources you’ll need on the ground
Our project fee excludes:
- Flights to your chosen destination, but we can guide you on this
- Medical or travel insurance
- Visa-related costs
- Weekend trips or tours, or any other non-project activity
- Snacks, soft drinks, gifts or souvenirs
- WiFi – it’s pretty slow here anyway!
“The program was excellent and I enjoyed every minute of it. I have gained many new skills and learnt a lot. It has made me value things back in the UK e.g. the healthcare system. It has opened my eyes a lot to how a large proportion of the world’s population live.”
Jonathon Whyler, UK
“I’m a nurse and after this project I really know I want to continue in this way! Sometimes in France we don’t have enough time for all our patients, but this experience reminds me why I love my job and how I really want to make it!”
Florine Chavand, France