FGASA Field Guiding and Conservation Career Internship in South Africa

Spend 23 weeks training in the African bush with an optional 1 month, 3 month or 6 month non-guiding placement.

Durations: 23 - 50 weeks
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Critical science

Critical science

You'll contribute to vital conservation research targeted at protecting the earth's most valuable ecosystems.
Ethical engagement

Ethical engagement

Using the UN's SDGs as a framework, we've made a commitment to positive, constructive and sustainable impact.
Beautiful adventures

Beautiful adventures

You'll spend your days exploring some of the world's most breathtaking, exhilarating and remote wildernesses.

Program information

Join us in South Africa’s Lowveld region, one of the world’s best big game territories, and train to become a qualified field guide while experiencing the African bush at its most exquisite. This course, which is available to anyone 18 years or older, provides a training platform for prospective field guides or conservation professionals who are eager to get a head start in these competitive industries.

Types of internships
Research Internship
Career Internship
Core Internship

Join a conservation internship and get an exclusive offer

Book by 31 October 2022
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Overview
Dates & Prices
Life On Base
Covid-19 Response
Careers
publications
What's It like?
ExperiencesNew
Arrivals
Your Impact
Our Ethics
Flights
MEET THE TEAM
Program ethics
Qualifications & Training
Free time
Cultural Immersion
Parent Info
Support & Safety
What's Included
Live Updates

Program overview

The FGASA Field Guiding and Conservation Careers Internship allows you to choose your Internship Placements, ranging from 1, 3 or 6 months, depending on the time commitment you wish to make to gain practical experience and improve your CV, ahead of looking for a job in the industry. See the project details tab for more info on each of the specific internship placements and what they each entail.

All Bushwise trainers are highly experienced and Field Guide Association of Southern Africa (FGASA) certified. This accredited course embodies both theoretical and practical elements, which will provide you with full FGASA accreditation.

The course is known for producing the highest calibre of graduates for an in-demand industry. Throughout our years of operation, our graduates have achieved the highest marks of all the FGASA long term providers, and are considered some of the best trained professional guides in the industry.

Students on this course have an opportunity to undertake a career exposure internship (with varying lengths) after completion of the 6 month certified course. This allows you to gain valuable hands-on experience, as well as cementing the information and skills learnt during the training period, as you ‘set foot-in-the-door’ towards the exhilarating and competitive safari tourism industry or in the direction of your intended wildlife and/or conservation career.

For this particular course, the following internships are offered:

  • 6 months non-guiding internship
  • 3 months non-guiding internship
  • 1 month non-guiding internship

It is important to consider that the internship allocation is determined by the Bushwise head trainer, and is based on your performance, interest and our formal T’s & C’s. All students must pass both the FGASA exam and course requirements before starting any placement longer than 3 months.

Possible activities you could get involved with and exposed to on career exposure internship:

  • Wildlife research and monitoring: spend time with a dedicated team of researchers learning about what life is like as a field researcher, logistics, research techniques and data collection.
  • Anti-poaching: learn from the dedicated anti-poaching personnel about anti-poaching techniques, essentially a real’ hands on’ and ‘boots on the ground’ experience.
  • Assisting at an ecotourism lodge: assist in all departments of a luxury ecotourism lodge to see how it works behind the scenes and gain new skills and experiences.
  • Environmental education and animal rehabilitation: help a team to teach local children the importance of protecting wildlife, care for injured or abandoned wildlife.
  • Game farming and reserve management: get involved in some of the activities on game farm and intensive breeding programmes and get stuck in to some hands on reserve management tasks and activities.

The career exposure placements provide you with the opportunity to gain experience in the fields of research, anti-poaching, and more, all while getting practical insight and experience and learning about what life will be like a field guide. You are guaranteed to get a practical head start on the other guides in the industry, and to solidify yourself as a field guide to be reckoned with, as soon as you turn 21 and are able to acquire your PrDP (driver’s permit).

Program details

Program type
Internship
Group
program
Location
GVI Africa, South Africa, Mahlahla, Limpopo
Focus
Wildlife Conservation

Dates and prices

Select an internship program:

Select a start date:

Exclusive offer. Book before the end of the month and receive up to 0 off this program.
COVID-19 flexibility. If COVID-19 prevents you from travelling, change your location and dates free of charge.
Payment plans. Flexible payment plans allow you to pay in instalments.

What happens next?

Once you apply, a personal Enrollment Manager will be assigned to walk you through the rest of the process.

Life On Base

Living on base in Mahlahla provides you with the perfect opportunity to trade a traditional office environment for a work week that unfolds in the heart of the African bushveld. Spend time in the wild on game drives, tracking animal spoor, identifying different types of fauna and flora, learning more about field guiding and also generally getting to know your fellow international students in front of the campfire at night.

Accommodation

Accomodation in Mahlahla is rural, in the bush, and away from the hustle and bustle of modern city life. Your experience will involve sleeping in shared huts directly on campus....

Transportation

All transport will be taken care of by the GVI staff on the ground, including game drives, frogging expeditions and general tasks in and around campus. You will however, be resp...

Communication

Long distance communications are available on campus, but connectivity in the region is limited. There is WiFi on campus, in the communal study area near the pool, but consideri...

Meals

Generally, students prepare their own breakfasts in the communal dining area, which usually consists of toast, cereal and a variety of coffees and teas. The remaining meals are ...

Climate

Limpopo is known for having a small amount of rainfall throughout the year. The year round average temperature in the area is 21.5 °C, with January being the warmest month of th...

COVID-19 Safety

Enhanced cleaning and social-distancing measures in place.

Learn more

Download our Travel Smart Checklist

Essential information you need to travel safely during the COVID-19 pandemic - including destination ratings, flight bookings and tests.

Covid-19 Response

Health and Hygiene

For over 20 years, GVI has prioritised the health and safety of our staff, participants, partners and local community members. In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, GVI has created the GVI health and hygiene team to put in place new standards of cleanliness, norms and behaviours that meet or exceed international recommendations to ensure the ongoing safety of GVI’s participants, staff and communities around the world. Internationally recommended practices, such as advice from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the governments Australia, UK and US, continue to be monitored and the standards are likely to change if and when international advice changes.

The work GVI is contributing to across the globe remains important and the following measures allow our participants to continue to join GVI’s programs and continue impacting positively on their world and the communities we work with. The following changes to our existing protocols have been made by the GVI health and hygiene team to strengthen our health and hygiene protocols and ensure that international standard safeguards are in place to protect our participants, staff and host communities.

Download our Travel Smart Checklist

Essential information you need to travel safely during the COVID-19 pandemic - including destination ratings, flight bookings and tests.

Read up on our COVID-19 protocols

Careers

Alongside your practical on-the-ground work experience, an internship, fellowship or apprenticeship with us comes with curated one-on-one career mentorship and support, including a free GVI online course and exclusive access to a range of job opportunities.

Benefits

Job portal access

Gain exclusive access to our carefully curated job portal that advertises vacancies in the conservation and development sectors.

GVI online course

Accelerate your post-internships career with a certified GVI online course offered in partnership with the University of Richmond.

Career coaching sessions

Take the next step in your career with two one-on-one career coaching sessions from a remote mentor to guide and advise your professional development.

Career mentorship

Continuing support and advice from a career supervisor to help you connect with specialists from all around the world and develop your insider knowledge.

LinkedIn reference

You’ll get professional endorsements from your supervisor and mentor for all your new qualifications and skills on the world’s largest careers site.

Career guarantee

For interns completing a program of three months or more, we offer an employment guarantee – there will be a job placement waiting for you once your internship is complete!

The GVI Online Careers Course is in partnership with the University of Richmond

Publications

The best decisions in international development and conservation cannot be made without accurate and up-to-date data or informed research.

Our many field teams around the world collaborate with local and international partners to analyse data and draw conclusions. In addition, many of our participants have used research they have collected on their various GVI projects to complete their Masters, Doctorate, or postdoctoral studies.

We also run a fellowship program which connects postdoctoral researchers at globally-respected universities with our many sustainable development programs around the world to support their research and ensure continuous improvement of our best practices on base.

Cap Ternay Newsletter, Last Quarter 2019

Newsletter

2019

Reef Conservation UK 13th Annual Meeting, Zoological Society of London

Author(s)

Patsy Theresine1, Christophe Mason-Parker2, April Burt3, Pierre-Andre Adam4, Anna Koester2, Jennifer Appoo5, Nicholas Graham6, Shaun Wilson7, Rodney Quatre1, Isabelle Ravinia1, Dainise Quatre1, Mariliana Leotta2, Joanna Blumel4, Elke Talma8, Arjan de Groene5, Aurelie Duhec4, Richard Jeanne4, Jan Robinson9, Phillip Haupt3, Savi Leblond10, Josep Nogues11, Ariadna Fernandez11, Christopher Narty11, Jude Bijoux12

‘The Current Status of Coral Reefs along the North West Coast of Mahe, Seychelles Following the 1998 Mass Bleaching Event’

Newsletter

2019

Reef Conservation UK 13th Annual Meeting, Zoological Society of London

Author(s)

Patsy Theresine1

What's It like?

If you’d like to find out what the experience of joining a GVI project is really like, simply contact us and we’ll put you in touch with one of our many Alumni.

We’ll try to match you to an Alum based on your location, nationality, age, stage of academic career, gender, and program interests. This allows you to gain insights into the experience that is most relevant to you.

Depending on your location you might be able to speak to an Alum over the phone or online, or meet up with them face-to-face at a coffee shop nearby. We also run a series of small events around the world where you can speak to GVI Alumni, Ambassadors and staff members.

Get a first-hand perspective

Meet us

GVI experiences

We want you to make the most of the chance to live in – and contribute towards –  the most diverse and unique wildernesses and communities on earth. Introducing GVI Experiences – immersive adventure, cultural and wellness activities exclusive to GVI that have been specially designed in collaboration with our local partners to support and stimulate sustainable economic development. 

Enhance your impact. Expand your adventure. Explore your world.

Exclusive local GVI experiences

Arrivals

When it comes to support, we ensure that each participant is provided with unparalleled, 360 degree support, from your initial contact with the GVI Family, all the way through your program, and even after, as you become part of the GVI Alumni Team.

As part of this promise, we will ensure, whenever possible, that one of our dedicated staff will be available to meet you at the airport. In most locations, we also set up a Whatsapp group to help with managing airport arrivals. We will arrange with you prior to your departure that, should you arrive in the agreed upon pick up window, a member of our staff will be there to welcome you, easily identifiable in a GVI t-shirt or holding a GVI sign and wearing a friendly smile. This means there will be someone there to greet you as you land, and from there you will be transported to your GVI base to start your adventure and meet the rest of your team.

COVID-19 safety

Enhanced cleaning and social-distancing measures in place.

Learn more

Your Impact

All of our programs have short-, mid- and long-term objectives that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualise their contribution to the UN SDGs.

Prior to your arrival on base, you will be educated about the UN SDGs. Then once you arrive on base, you’ll learn about the specific goals we have in this particular location, our various objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these.

Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to be an active global citizen after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.

Our Limpopo based programs are primarily aimed at developing the wildlife conservation sector, boosting the local economy by providing additional skills in the field, and providing high quality training to students from all over the world.

As such, the main UN Sustainable Development Goals of this project include #15, Life on Land, #10, Reducing Inequality and #8 Decent Work and Economic Growth.

Project objectives

GVI Mahlahla, Limpopo’s Long-term Objectives:

1. Focusing on training students to the highest standard possible, in both theoretical knowledge and practical experience.

2. Improving the employability prospects of field guides within the conservation industry, providing them with the skills necessary to specialise within their areas of interest.

3. Teaching up to field guiding level 2 field guide standards, providing more than just the basics offered at training providers elsewhere on the continent.

4. Growing Bushwise Recruitment, a branch of the business dedicated to finding jobs for participants after the successful completion of a six month program, and a six month placement.

5. Protecting and preserving the natural wildlife habitat of the Limpopo area.

Our Ethics

Below is a list of core ethics and best practices we believe are essential to the operation of high quality, ethical volunteer and sustainable development programs. We believe that all responsible volunteer and sustainable development operations should focus upon these principles. If you are considering volunteering, these are some of the key considerations you should question, to ensure that your time and money contributes towards positive change.

 

We want to constantly develop our own understanding of ethical best practice. In so doing, we aim to provide an exemplary industry standard for other education institutions, international development organisations, and social enterprises. Our Badge of Ethics stands for the drive to always do good, better. Find out more, click on the Badge below.

Our 10 ethical commitments

01

Locally Driven, Collaborative Projects

We aim to design all our projects in collaboration with local organizations and communities and ensure that they are locally driven.

02

Clear Objectives & Sustainable Outcomes

We aim to clearly define short-, mid-, and long-term objectives with sustainable outcomes for all our projects.

03

Impact Reporting

We aim to track, record, and publish the impact of each of our projects.

04

Working Against Dependency

We aim to build in-country capacity by assisting local organizations in becoming self-sustaining.

05

Responsible Exit Strategies

For each local organization we work with, we aim to have a plan in place for withdrawing support responsibly.

06

Clear Roles & Specialized Training

We aim to ensure that every participant is assigned a clear role and that they are fully trained and supported to carry out their work by specialized staff.

07

Respect for all

In all our actions we aim to respect the skills and efforts of all and seek to protect the rights, culture and dignity of everyone who engages with GVI.

08

Local Ownership

We work to ensure that credit for the results of any project, along with any data collected, research conducted, or Intellectual Property developed, remains the property of local organizations.

09

Transitioning from the Orphanage Model

We do not condone and aim to withdraw support of orphanages and residential care centers.

10

Child and Vulnerable adult policies

We will live by our Child Protection and Vulnerable Adult policies.

Continual Development

As an organization, GVI is committed to striving toward best practice, and to educating both our potential participants, our partners, and the world at large about them. Both the volunteering and sustainable development sectors are increasingly, and rightly, under scrutiny. Many recent local and global articles highlight poor practices and questionable ethics. GVI is widely recognized for striving to apply global best practice in the volunteering, education and sustainable development sectors throughout our operations by reputable organizations such as ChildSafe.

However, global best practice is always evolving and we dedicate both time and resources to engage with internationally respected experts and learn from the latest research to ensure our programs both fulfil their potential to create maximum positive impact, and minimise their potential to create unintentional negative impact. Along with and as part of the sustainable development and volunteering community, we are constantly learning and applying this learning to practice. We do not always get everything right, but we seek feedback from our community members, partners, participants and our staff, and react accordingly. We know are already doing a great job, and feedback we have received confirms this, but we aim to do even better and are continuously refining our operations to improve upon our already excellent reputation.

Flights

Download our Travel Smart Checklist

Essential information you need to travel safely during the COVID-19 pandemic - including destination ratings, flight bookings and tests.

Meet the team

Get acquainted with the GVI Africa, South Africa, Mahlahla, Limpopo family

Sharin

Admin Manager

Sharin is from South Africa and is our Admin Manager at Bushwise. She joined Bushwise after having been in the corporate world and lodge industry and has now been here for four ...

Kim

Sales Manager at Bushwise

Kim handles all the sales for Bushwise and is also involved in the social media marketing. She first stepped onto a game reserve working in hospitality and found that that was t ...

Sophie

Director of Bushwsie

Sophie is the Bushwise Director and helped set up the company thirteen years ago. Since then she has been instrumental in helping to expand and improve Bushwise to make it what ...

Trevor

General Manager at Bushwise

Trevor is our General Manager at Bushwise. He was born in Rhodesia, now known as Zimbabwe but grew up in South Africa. After spending most of his life in the corporate world, he ...

Vaughan

Trainer at Bushwise

Vaughan is one of our Trainers at Bushwise and has a special interest in entomology, the study of insects and their relationship with humans. He is from the local area, having g ...

Gerhard

Trainer at Bushwise

Gerhard is South African with a professional Lead Guide and Field Guide qualification, and a Diploma in Zoology. He is our trainer at Bushwise and our resident singer and songwr ...

Program ethics

No orphanage programs

We don’t support or allow participants to work in institutional residential care facilities, also known as orphanages. We partner with ReThink Orphanages and Freedom United.

Learn more
Child and vulnerable adult protection policy

Our Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy requires all our staff and participants to complete a criminal background check and to learn why you shouldn’t reveal a child’s identifying factors in photographs. We support the ChildSafe Movement.

Learn more
No medical volunteering

We don’t offer any programs where our participants engage in medical treatment. This is because our participants aren’t typically qualified to do this work and would therefore not be able to do this work in their home country. Our participants only assist with public health programs.

Learn more
No disability support programs

We don’t offer any programs where our participants work directly with people with disabilities. This is because our participants aren’t typically qualified to do this work and would therefore not be able to do this work in their home country.

Learn more
Aligned to local objectives

Each one of our initiatives is aligned to objectives set by a local organisation or professional. Our staff and participants work to support these local actors in achieving their specific goals.

Local employees remain employed

Our participants don’t replace the staff employed by local organisations. Rather, they support currently employed staff with achieving their objectives. Our goal is always to increase local capacity to address local problems.

Local employees remain focused

Participants require training and support to ensure that they carry out tasks correctly. Our staff provide this training and support so that local staff can focus on what is truly important to their organisation at the time.

No entertainment-based activities

We don’t support the use of wild animals for entertainment purposes. This includes riding animals, having them perform tricks, feeding or bathing them or getting close to them to take photos

No orphaned animal sanctuaries

We don’t encourage, support or allow the rearing of “orphaned” wild baby animals kept at a “sanctuary”. The conservation value of these types of programs is negligent and would only ethically be used in extremely rare cases

Guidelines for touching or movement restriction

When wild animals are restricted for conservation purposes we follow the guidelines of Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA), approved by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

Animal welfare guidelines

We ensure that the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare are followed. These include the freedom to express normal behaviour and freedom from distress, discomfort, hunger, thirst, fear, pain, injury or disease.

Local community empowerment

We ensure that conservation efforts are also always locally led, that community needs are front-and centre of any conservation effort and that our participants, projects and partners work to increase local community engagement in local conservation efforts.

Learn more
No veterinary programs

We don’t offer any veterinary programs or animal rescue and rehabilitation programs. We don’t allow participants to do any work they would not be able to do in their home country.

Learn more

Training

A GVI program is an investment in your career. No matter which you choose, you will be working toward improving your employability by mastering new social skills, gaining further technical expertise and earning qualifications in many cases. Most of our staff are, in fact, GVI Alumni, and we have helped many of our Alumni discover, move toward, and earn their own personal dream jobs. Each program includes introductory workshops, ongoing presentations, as well as on-the-ground professional support provided by our very own trained staff members. In addition, our training programs are critical for helping us to ensure the long-term impact of our sustainable development projects around the world.

For all GVI participants

Orientation: Your Health, Safety and Wellbeing

Learn about COVID-19 pre-departure guidelines, base expectations, personal and area hygiene practices and what we are doing to keep you safe.

Orientation: Travelling Responsibly and Ethically

Learn about the importance of child and vulnerable adult protection best practices and how to apply them while on project.

Orientation: UN Sustainable Development Goals

Introduction to the history and evolution of sustainable development, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) and how these related to your project work.

Orientation: Further Opportunities for Impact

Learn about our country locations and further opportunities available to you during or after your program.

For all participants at Mahlahla, Limpopo

Camp Management and Logistics

To ensure that life on base is harmonious and efficient, Bushwise students are split into groups. Each group will have a week “on-duty” to gain experience in camp management and logistics. Every student will have a week as camp leader and he/she will be responsible for the group’s obligations for that week.

Certificates & qualifications

The FGASA Apprentice Field Guide (NQF2)

The FGASA Apprentice Field Guide (NQF2) qualification is aimed at achieving the ability of a graduate Field Guide to identify the major living and non-living features of the natural environment in which s/he operates. To interpret them at a level based mainly on observation and from an elementary scientific and cultural perspective. As a general guideline, a Field Guide (NQF2) has a sound knowledge of the history, geology, plants and animals (i.e. birds, mammals, reptiles, etc.) in the specific area of guiding operation.

CATHSSETA National Qualification (NQF2) in Nature Guiding

NQF2 enables you to create and conduct a short-guided experience, based on local natural and cultural resources, that entertains and informs visitors. It enables you to be a competent guide operating within a local area. In addition you will be positioned to further your learning, practice and career within the guiding sector, through, among others, the support and teamwork of members of the guiding sector – either at further levels or in other areas of practice. Expansion into other sectors of tourism is also possible.

Cybertracker track & sign qualification (SASSETA & CATHSSETA)

These Courses are designed to be of benefit to both the novice tracker and yet at the same time to fine tune the skills of an experienced tracker. Aspects covered are principles of tracking, track&sign identification, study of animal gaits and movements, tracking techniques, the study of animal behaviour and signs, and animal trailing methods. All assessments are accredited by Cybertracker conservation and FGASA.

National Level 3 4×4 Driving qualification

FGASA endorsed Specialist Training Provider which represents the 4×4 Training Field with regards to the Nature Guide specific training. Following the national SAQA Unit Standard 254 135, the 4×4 qualification you receive is specialized in reserve-based & overland nature, or adventure guides’ needs.

National Level 1/2 First Aid Wilderness Certificate

Modjadji First Aid Training offers Level 1-3 nationally accredited first aid courses. The latest audiovisual support and lots of practical training add fin to an exciting dimension of life. Modjadji First Aid only uses highly skilled educators and facilitators to offer the courses.

FGASA Apprentice Trails Guide

The FGASA Apprentice Trails Guide is an individual who is in training (in an apprentice programme) to become a Trails Guide and will learn how to function as 2nd Rifle and later as 1st Rifle during the training phase. The apprentice program is a stepping stone in the process for a guide to attain a FGASA Trails Guide Qualification and is not qualified to conduct trails or walks in areas with dangerous game in absence of a FGASA Trails Guide (NQF4), Professional Trails Guide, or SKS (DG) Guide.

Free time

Joining a GVI program not only allows you to collaborate with communities or work toward preserving unique ecosystems – but it also offers plenty of opportunities to explore the surrounding area or travel further to see what other parts of the region have to offer over weekends.

Field staff are a great source of advice and have helped us put together the following information on local travel options. You can choose to travel before or after your experience with GVI (subject to immigration restrictions), solidifying the lifetime friendships you’ve established on the program. Please note that the below options are not included in the program fee, and would be up to you to arrange at your own expense.

Weekend Trips

Debengeni Falls, Tzaneen

Another one of the stunning local waterfalls, including a picnic area and hiking trails.

...

Giant Baobab/upside down restaurant

Get up close with huge baobab trees, and don’t forget to try their world renowned pancakes.

...

Panorama route

Bourke’s Luck potholes, God’s Window and waterfalls are just some of what you can see within a single Saturday, should you be up for the adventur...

Moholoholo rehab centre

Here, you are able to assist with the rehabilitation of endangered species during short term visits to the center.

...

Kruger National Park

Orpen and Phalabourwa Gates are less than two hours drive from the campus. Day Trips/overnight camping are available.

...

Blyde River Canyon

A trip through the canyon could include boat trips, kloofing, whitewater rafting, paintball, hot air ballooning and camping. This is the perfect ...

Further Travels

Visit Durban

Another major city in the country, Durban has a warmer climate than any other city in the country, with lush beaches and it’s own heritage tied c...

Cederberg mountains

The Cederberg Mountain Range is an exquisite sight to see for the adventure enthusiasts. Walk or hike your way through an experience that quite f...

City of Johannesburg

One of the capital cities of South Africa, Johannesburg is a major city roughly a five hour drive from campus. Emerging suburbs bustling with cul...

Cape Town

Robben Island, Table Mountain, The District 6 Museum, Castle of Good Hope or the Green Market Square craft markets are all once-in-a-lifetime exp...

Cultural Immersion

Engaging intimately with a new context teaches global awareness, adaptability and critical thinking – skills highly valued in the modern marketplace. Local and cultural immersion is encouraged on all our programs around the world, and will also be one of the most enjoyable aspects of your experience. Luckily, there are many different activities that you can get involved in during your free time, or before and after your program.

On our community programs, the focus is on cultural topics, while on marine or wildlife programs the emphasis is more on the environmental element. Use your evenings and weekends to explore topics like local cuisine and religion, or how sustainable development challenges are affecting local contexts.

Hoedspruit

Hoedspruit is a town situated at the foot of the Klein Drakensberg, in the Limpopo province of South Africa, on the railway line from Tzaneen to ...

Diversity

The country has celebrated over twenty years of democracy, usher in by the inauguration of former president Nelson Mandela in a historical moment...

Culture

South Africa is the largest country in Southern Africa and the 25th largest country in the world by land area, with a diverse cultural population...

Language

The majority of the population of South Africa is divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different African languages, nine of which ha...

Parent Info

‘If only every student could do this. It changes your life in all the right ways,’ says Chris Heritage, parent of Luke Heritage, one of our teen volunteers who has participated on two GVI programs, one in Costa Rica and another in South Africa.

We are a parent-run organisation that is incredibly serious about health and safety, and increasing the impact, as well as the long-term career benefits of our programs. Our programs help young people develop the skills to select a career path that is personally fulfilling, and live a life aligned to the well-being of our planet and the global community.

Ken and Linda Jeffrey, whose son Sam volunteered with GVI in Thailand, talk about how the experience affected Sam. He also went on to volunteer with GVI again in South Africa. ‘I know it sounds like a cliche but in a sense, he did go away as a boy and he came back as a young man. Both of us could recommend GVI without any hesitation to any other parent thinking about exploring an opportunity for their children to explore the world and to see different parts of it.’

Parent Info Pack

Download the Parent Pack and learn more about:

Our staff: All our projects are run by staff, selected, vetted, trained, and managed by our central office.
Health and safety: Our safety practices include a child and vulnerable adult protection policy and high participant ratios.
Staying in touch: See what’s happening on base, by following a hub’s dedicated Facebook page.
Free parent consultations: We would love to talk to you about exciting opportunities available for your child.

Download parent pack

Support & Safety

We won’t sugarcoat it — traveling abroad is usually a complex process that carries an element of risk. But this is exactly why we’re passionate about providing extensive support throughout the process as well as the highest safety standards during the in-country phase. We believe that volunteering abroad should not only be impactful, but an enjoyable experience that carries as little risk as possible. This is exactly how we’ve been able to maintain our reputation as the most highly respected volunteering organisations in the sector over the past two decades.

COVID-19 safety

Enhanced cleaning and social-distancing measures in place.

Learn more

Safety

Upon arrival at the airport, participants will be greeted by a GVI staff member. All GVI staff are our own and all our programs around the world are run by our staff. All GVI field staff are background checked, Emergency First Response and safety trained. The minimum staff to participant ratio on GVI’s programs is one to six, although on several bases we have a ratio of one to three. When finishing the experience, participants will provide feedback on all aspects of their program.

Support

Once a participant books, they will be assigned a personal support coordinator who will oversee their pre-departure journey. The support coordinator helps to bridge the gap between program enrolment and arrival at one of our field bases. Your personal support coordinator will ensure that you are provided with all the necessary information required to apply for visas, background checks, and any other documentation.

Download our Travel Smart Checklist

Essential information you need to travel safely during the COVID-19 pandemic - including destination ratings, flight bookings and tests.

Health and safety case studies

How GVI upholds health and safety

It takes courage to book a GVI program, get on a flight, and head off to somewhere new. Volunteering offers a level of cultural immersion that typical backpacking or holidays ju...