Volunteer Abroad Programs Since 1997

Ride some waves with the excitable children of Cape Town

Project Overview

Get out of the classroom and into the water with our team to teach children to surf while coaching them in other popular South African sports in many of the townships that surround the vibrant city of Cape Town.

The main focus of this program will be to work with teachers and GVI staff to run sports programs at the township schools throughout the mornings.  While you will be running general physical education classes you will also have the opportunity to teach specific sports such as soccer, badminton, tennis, aerobics and basketball.  Starting in the afternoons you will assist in running our surf club for the kids, which involves giving lessons and showing children how to preserve their coastal environment.

Volunteer and live in an attractive coastal village close to Cape Town and Stellenbosch, with direct exposure to local culture and communities. Optional side trips are available to Robben Island, Table Mountain, Cape Point, Cape Town wildlife safari and wine tasting in Stellenbosch, to name but a few! Any side trips you wish to take can be arranged on arrival in Cape Town. For those travelling onwards there is easy access to the Garden Route and cheap domestic flights to Kruger National park from Cape Town.


We are always looking for enthusiastic and dedicated people to join our team. This program offers qualifying and high-performing volunteers the chance to stay on the program for a longer duration on a GVI Scholarship free of charge and as part of the staff team in the field. If you would like to work towards a field career and make the very most of your time abroad, you might want to work towards a place on a GVI Scholarship. Successful scholars may find themselves offered full time employment with GVI, and many of our current staff have come through this route. Contact us for more information!

Please note, the awarding of scholarships is at the sole discretion of GVI and may be offered immediately after the completion of your program or at a later date.

GVI is real volunteering

Our projects are constantly evolving according to the needs on the ground at any given time. All the information displayed here will give you an overall feel for the project, but you should be prepared for any changes in the field when you travel. An evolving project means that we can constantly meet the needs and requirements of our partners, who dictate the work that we do. The way it should be.

Project Life

Monday to Friday

Every weekday morning you will be teaching sports classes at township schools. In the afternoons you will head to the beach where you will be working with an instructor to teach children to surf. Even if you have no previous surfing experience, this project is a great way to start out.

Field Conditions

You will be sharing accommodation facilities with your fellow volunteers in an apartment or house with access to electricity, hot running water.

Free Time

During your downtime at weekends you can relax and enjoy many of the amazing sights and experiences Cape Town has to offer. Several optional side trips are available such as a safari day-trip or cultural tour of the city.

Project Details

Along with the support and collaboration from surrounding community leaders and teachers, volunteers will; plan and oversee general physical education classes; coach specific sports such as soccer, badminton, cricket, tennis, aerobics and rugby; show children how to surf; bring the coastal environment to the forefront of children’s minds through educational, interactive and fun workshops; and, assist with beach clean-ups.

Due to the lack of equipment, skills and supervision within the township the children would not have access to such a variety of sports activities and events.  The volunteers and the programs they run make this all possible.

How this project makes a difference:

This program gives township children the opportunity to play sports and learn to surf in conjunction with creating an awareness of the environment around them. The children not only learn how to respect and protect their local beaches but the project also keeps the children physically active, healthy and safe from the drugs, alcohol, and crime which is so prevalent in the townships.


I highly suggest GVI in general to anyone who loves meeting new interesting people and seeing the world, but specifically the surfing program if you want to make a one on one impact on the children....
Austin Collins, USA

I highly suggest GVI in general to anyone who loves meeting new interesting people and seeing the world, but specifically the surfing program if you want to make a one on one impact on the children. You get to watch them grow from day one. In every single lesson they become better at surfing and open up to you. You see the smiles on their faces as soon as we pick them up from the classroom and it really makes my day every time we do it. This is really just a great experience which I can’t say enough about!

I chose this program as I have a background in sports and water sports and this was a really good combination as I would get to make a difference in both fields. It has definitely met my expectations...
Jack Hawkins, United Kingdom

I chose this program as I have a background in sports and water sports and this was a really good combination as I would get to make a difference in both fields. It has definitely met my expectations, the surfing especially, the set up is really good, the instructors are awesome and the kids really love it! I really feel I have made a difference as you see the kids’ progress and how much they enjoy it and would definitely recommend the project to others.

Free Time

Volunteering with GVI not only allows you to participate on programs assisting disadvantaged communities or endangered ecosystems but it also offers wonderful opportunities to travel in the local area in your down time or further afield either before or after your program. Many decide to travel after volunteering, solidifying the lifetime friendships established on program.

Our long term field staff are a great source of advice and are here to help you make the most of your time abroad. Remember to ask about discounts on local activities and side trips through your association with GVI. Our Cape Town field teams have helped us put together the following information on trips and travel options in South Africa!

Optional Side Trips

Cape Town Cultural and Activity Weekend - This trip includes 2 nights in Cape Town near Long Street so that you can sample the lively weekend city life. On Friday afternoon you will travel through to Cape Town after finishing your volunteer work.. The Saturday is a free day and you may wish to take the opportunity to visit some of the following iconic Cape Town attractions: Robben Island, Table Mountain, District 6 Museum, Castle of Good Hope or the Green Market Square craft markets. Sunday includes a full day in Cape Point and a visit to an African Penguin colony. You will have the opportunity to explore the Cape Point nature reserve on mountain bike where you may see antelope, zebra, ostrich, seals and possibly even whales. During the day you will enjoy a picnic lunch on one of the reserves beautiful beaches.

Wildlife Safari - Visit a private game reserve which is located one and a half hours from Cape Town. Here you will enjoy lunch and an afternoon safari before returning home. Transfers to and from the project accommodation are included. There are many other fantastic trips in the area around Cape Town that can easily be arranged once in-country such as shark cage diving, skydiving, wine tasting tours, Hermanus day trips for whale watching (seasonal) or a typical township experience.

Please note that anyone booking on this project for the two week option will need to extend their stay if they want to take part in more side trips.

Further Travelling Opportunities

South Africa has such a wealth of fantastic opportunities for further travel. In Cape Town, you have easy access to the famous Garden Route, chances to explore the Cederberg Mountain range or take more time to enjoy the vibrancy of Cape Town. Other possibilities include the spectacular Drakensberg Mountains, the beauty of the Kalahari Desert, historic Zululand, the fantastic Southern Coast, the world-renowned National Parks of Kruger and Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, and many more amazing option in this stunning country.

Latest from the Base...

Funds raised by our 100 book challenge will help us buy books for the children.
The children from the orphanage enjoyed a suf lesson.

Related Programs

Program Details

South Africa Sports and Surfing Project
South Africa

Build Your Program

Program Cost

  • $1692.00


(GBP250 / USD425 / EUR300 / AUD425) (4 week minimum program duration) Add a GVI internship certification to your program and receive additional training specifically designed to develop your leadership skills and prepare you for a career in the field. Interns receive one-on-one mentoring and complete focused assessments throughout their program. Participants will receive formal recognition and a professional reference on completion of the internship.
(GBP18 / USD31 / EUR22 / AUD31) The myTsafe online document store keeps copies of your most valuable and private information safe and you can share them easily and securely with others.
(GBP15 / USD26 / EUR18 / AUD26) By making a small contribution to GVI's Charitable Trust you will support conservation projects that can offset the impact of CO2 emissions associated with your international flights.  Visit www.gvi.org for more information.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Arrival orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Airport transfers (before 10pm on scheduled days only)
  • Daily transport to and from project sites

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes