You’re considering an epic trip to Africa, but you want to know a bit more about visiting – and volunteering – here before you take the plunge. We’ve got you covered with information about some of the best volunteer vacations and most impactful organizations that you can be part of in Africa, from Cameroon to Zimbabwe. Be prepared to fall in love with a continent filled with amazing wildlife and rich cultural traditions that endure through the ages!
You’ll want to decide where to go first because there are 54 African countries. We’ve made it a bit easier for you, narrowing your choices down to 18 of them. After you’ve decided on a destination, decide what you want to do there – depending upon your interests and abilities, you can choose from an assortment of volunteer opportunities. Volunteer trips to Africa can range from childcare, construction, wildlife conservation, education, healthcare, and community support.
Once you know where you want to go, and what you want to do, the fun begins. A great way to learn about a country and its people before you arrive is to read books and stories by African writers – watch movies and videos, listen to podcasts, and check out essays to help immerse yourself in the imagination and history of someone who knows the place well. This can also help prevent culture shock or surprise when you arrive. Here’s a list of the Top 10 contemporary Africa authors, and the books they’ve written to help you get started!
Ready to plan your trip? Let’s go!
Top Volunteer Vacations in Africa
Since opening their doors in 2007, International Volunteer HQ has become one of the most prolific names in volunteering, with affordable programs in over 40 countries. In their first decade, they’ve sent more than 90,000 volunteers and interns abroad.
IVHQ has numerous options for those looking for volunteer vacations in Africa. For instance, you could join their Volunteer in Ghana program, and do anything from childcare to construction and renovation. Prices begin at just $270 for one week.
IVHQ also offers some great volunteer vacations in Kenya. Help address some of the biggest challenges facing Nairobi and surrounding areas through music education, women’s empowerment, and special needs care. Fees start at $270 for one week.
Also, if you’re looking volunteer vacations in South Africa, check out this Volunteer in South Africa program, which has a variety of projects, including surf outreach, computer training, childcare, and more. Fees begin at $250 for one week.
Commitment to transparency and making a real difference in the communities they serve, Plan My Gap Year is highly recommended by past volunteers for humanitarian trips to Africa. They currently serve 17 countries and have great volunteer vacations in Africa.
The Volunteer in Ghana program offered by Plan My Gap Year gives you the chance to explore one of West Africa’s most vibrant cultures while doing your part to make a better place. Be a medical volunteer (from $465 for two weeks) if you’re interested in pursuing a career in this field!
One of the other volunteer trips to Africa with PMGY is their Volunteer in Tanzania program, where you can volunteer to teach English (both $375 for two weeks), among other activities. Projects take place in the city of Arusha, a gateway to many national parks.
Founded in 2009, Love Volunteers has become a trusted name among charity trips to Africa and beyond, because of their affordability, transparency, and dedication to sustainability. No wonder past volunteers rate their programs highly! Three great projects they have for volunteer vacations in Africa include:
- Drug Rehabilitation in Diani Beach, Kenya: Head to this beautiful area of Kenya, and provide drug users with the quality care, compassion, and sense of hope they need to get better. Fees begin from $299 for one week.
- Education Support in Bamenda, Cameroon: Work at under-resourced schools to provide the extra support needed for impoverished children to build an educational foundation and improve their future prospects. Fees start at $370 for two weeks.
- HIV/AIDS Support in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe: This program aims to uplift children living with HIV/AIDS and supports those impacted by the disease. You’ll also help create a better understanding of HIV/AIDS through local outreach. Prices begin from $599 for two weeks.
Sending more than 10,000 volunteers and interns abroad each year, Projects Abroad is one of the most popular names in volunteering. Around since 1992, their programs on the continent are perfect for volunteer vacations in Africa. They include:
- Volunteer and Intern Programs in Senegal: Head to the Saint-Louis area and assist with building projects or take on a microfinance internship (both cost $2,470 for one week). You could also learn Wolof, which costs $1,870 for one week, as you check out the city’s colonial architecture and natural beauty.
- Volunteer and Intern Programs in Togo: Be mesmerized by the palm-lined Atlantic coastlines of Lome as you participate in volunteer activities. You could help with farming initiatives, care for HIV/AIDS patients, or work on human rights projects. All three projects cost $2,565 for one week.
- Volunteer and Intern Programs in Madagascar: Go to Andasibe, which is right near Andasibe-Mantadia National Park. Learn the local Malagasy language (from $1,970 for one week) or engage in rainforest conservation (from $3,220 for one week).
Started with the goal of uplifting the neediest communities around the globe, A Broader View was founded in 2007 and now has nearly 250 programs. For volunteer vacations in Africa with A Broader View, there are several amazing choices. All of the programs below cost $820 for one week.
For example, you could volunteer in Cameroon and help give struggling street children a chance through educational initiatives. During your free time, explore all the country has to offer, from tropical rainforests to golden beaches.
You could also volunteer in Ghana, where A Broader View has projects ongoing at healthcare facilities and schools. When not volunteering in Ghana, immerse yourself in the exciting local culture and nature.
If you’re searching for volunteer vacations in Rwanda, the ‘Land of a Thousand Hills’, A Broader View maybe your top option. They have a teaching mission in Rwanda that gives you the opportunity to improve local preschools and primary schools.
Founded in 1995, Cross-Cultural Solutions focuses on improving education and health outcomes for disadvantaged children. They’ve sent more than 35,000 volunteers abroad and consistently receive great reviews.
Cross-Cultural Solutions has three great volunteer vacations in Africa:
- Volunteer in Morocco: Participate in the childhood education program or work at a public health facility in Azrou. Fees begin at $1,950 for one week.
- Volunteer in Tanzania: Head to the town of Bagamoyo, and either work as a teaching assistant or provide healthcare support at local clinics. Fees begin at $1,950 for one week.
- Volunteer in Ghana: Give children at local schools in the Volta Region the individualized attention they need or help out with basic healthcare services at medical clinics. Prices start at $1,950 for one week.
Go off the beaten path with Fronteering, an organization that offers lots of truly immersive volunteer vacations in Africa. These projects aim to uplift the communities they serve.
There are many places in Africa where you can volunteer with Fronteering. For instance, you could go to Ghana to teach English and other subjects, work as a journalist, or volunteer at a hospital. All projects cost $1,495 for four weeks.
Fronteering has ongoing projects in majestic Madagascar as well. Teach underprivileged children ($1,695 for two weeks) or help out with lemur conservation activities ($1,795 for two weeks).
Or, you could go on an adventure to South Africa. Help out at a big cats sanctuary ($1,695 for two weeks) or assist with whale or elephant conservation ($1,595 for two weeks).
Created by experienced volunteers, GoEco is a top-rated organization that has a variety of affordable, ecologically-minded programs throughout the world. They launched in 2006 and have several great volunteer vacations in Africa that you can apply to, including:
- Medical Aid in Antelope Park, Zimbabwe: Help a local clinic provide maternity care, medical care to HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis patients, and medication distribution. Program fees start at $1,520 for two weeks.
- Girl Empowerment in Moshi, Tanzania: Empower local girls through education, skills training, and social support. Program fees start at $1,530 for two weeks.
- Chimpanzee Wildlife and Orphan Care in Zambia: Care for rescued chimpanzees and take part in initiatives to conserve and protect them. Program fees start at $2,130 for two weeks.
Specializing in projects throughout Africa, Naturally Africa Volunteers has personally developed amazing programs across the continent, from environmental and wildlife conservation to education and women’s empowerment. They offer an extensive list of volunteer trips to Africa.
Naturally Africa Volunteers may be the best organization to choose if you wish to volunteer in Malawi. Head near Lake Malawi, where you can assist with childcare ($870 for two weeks) or be a medical volunteer ($800 for two weeks).
You could also choose to apply for a program in South Africa. Participate in the pre-vet wildlife project, and help save elephants, rhinos, lions, buffaloes, and other incredible native animals ($1,450 for two weeks). Or, teach at a rural pre-school (~$620 for two weeks).
Kenya is another country where Naturally Africa Volunteers is active. Participate in the community outreach program, and build homes, teach children computer skills, and provide food and clothing to poor families. ($690 for two weeks).
Frontier began in 1989 and has sent more than 103,000 volunteers and interns abroad. A highly respected name in volunteering, Frontier has lots of great volunteer vacations in Africa, such as:
- Cape Verde Turtle Conservation: Contribute to the conservation of rare and beautiful sea turtles (from $1,445 for four weeks).
- Volunteer programs in Zambia: Help out with chimpanzee conservation and care ($2,195 for two weeks).
- Volunteer programs in Namibia: Protect big cats in the carnivore conservation program($2,745 for three weeks).
One of the world’s top volunteer organizations, African Impact has several award-winning programs. Some great options for volunteer vacations in Africa through this organization include:
- Seychelles Volunteer Opportunities: Contribute to marine conservation through coral reef monitoring and research while diving. Fees begin at £2,145 (~$2,770) for four weeks.
- Zanzibar Volunteer Opportunities: Teach and provide community support in Jambiani. Fees begin at $1,372 for two weeks.
- Zimbabwe Volunteer Opportunities: Help out with lion conservation in Antelope Park. Fees begin at $2,597 for two weeks.
Ready to Travel?
There are wonderful programs that place you alongside people in Africa, on authentic experiences, sharing your skills, and earning their respect. But it won’t be easy. Before you travel abroad, prepare for your adventure by reading a book or some essays, or watching videos created by African authors, speakers, and influencers. Walk around with your eyes open, and be flexible to new experiences. Then come home and tell new stories about this magnificent land, and bring your lessons learned home to your own community!