To Help With Your Packing
Cape Town has a Mediterranean climate. Our hot and dry summers are generally between September and April, and the wet chilly winters you will find in the months of Mid-April to Mid-September. Do remember this when packing! Also important – your clothes will get dirty! So think through what you pack for the project work.
- Passport, insurance certificates and personal documentation including some certified copies stored separately.
- Personal medical first aid and hygiene kit (including antihistamines, anti-diarrhea and headache tablets)
- Camera with enough film/memory cards and batteries for the duration of your placement ( you will have electricity on your placement to charge batteries)
- If you wear glasses (or contacts) it is also advisable to bring a spare pair.
- Sunscreen, lip balm, and sun hat.
- Spending money – small denomination notes
- Proof of recommended inoculations
- Mosquito and insect repellent
- Torch/ Flashlight
- Water bottle
- Travel Adaptor (for round 3-prong plugs in SA)
- Waterproof and secure bag for documents and money
- You could be doing some painting while on the project, so a set of clothes you don’t mind getting dirty and damaged!
- Fleece type pullover (It can get cold at night) and lightweight sweater.
- Trousers/tracksuit pants
- Lightweight waterproof jacket for the wet season (April – September)
- Short sleeved shirts or t-shirts
- Long-sleeved shirts/blouses
- Trainers / comfortable shoes and sandals
- Swimwear, beach towel and bath towel
- Shorts / Skirts (on or below the knee for ladies)
- Positive attitude
Arranging your visas is YOUR responsibility and the information provided below is to serve as a guideline only. We advise that you confirm this information with the embassy/consulate of the countries that you will be visiting in your home country before departure.
Please check whether your home country requires you to have a Visa and do they allow you to apply for the Visa once in South Africa.
Many nationalities are able to obtain a 3-month TOURIST VISA when arriving in Cape Town at no cost but please confirm this before starting your trip.
When applying for the TOURIST VISA, please state you are here on HOLIDAY.
This is the address to use when applying: 57 Trill Road, Observatory, Cape Town, South Africa
Prior to your trip, you will need to arrange medical insurance which will give you full cover for any medical requirements which 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. If you do not already have a company that you are happy to use to take out a policy with, we suggest World Nomads, who offer comprehensive medical and travel insurance. Please be sure to check your policy carefully to ensure that it does cover activities which you are likely to participate in.
Police clearance / background check requirement
You must please get a police clearance/criminal record check certificate, which we need you to send to us before you arrive on the project.
PLEASE NOTE: WITHOUT POLICE CLEARANCE, YOU WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO JOIN THE PROJECT. It is mandatory for all our volunteers to complete police checks prior to joining any one of our projects to ensure they have no criminal record. As a volunteer, regardless of project selection, you will come into contact with minors or vulnerable adults during your stay. We, therefore, feel that it is our responsibility to run a check on everyone volunteering with us in order to ensure the safety of the people and communities we work with. Depending on your nationality and the rules attached to your home country, there will be a small charge, either payable to African Impact or your local authority.
Please note that your police/criminal record check cannot be more than 6 months old when you start your volunteer program, so if you are booking more than 6 months in advance of your project start date, please wait to obtain this check.
If from the UK or US we can assist you with the process for a minimal fee. Please note it is required for all projects. For all other countries, we have helpful contacts and usually, experience. In addition, African Impact insists that volunteers and interns avoid any contact with drugs and any inappropriate activities relating to alcohol.
Please consult your private doctor with regards to immunizations/vaccinations. Below are details of what is likely to be recommended.
Tetanus: A recent tetanus injection is highly recommended
Hepatitis A&B: Recommended
Yellow Fever: If coming from a yellow fever risk country or transited through one (mainly Latin America and Central and Western Africa) it is mandatory to show proof of yellow fever vaccination by means of a valid yellow fever certificate. If unsure please check with your Destination Manager
You will need an adequate supply of sunscreen cream for the hot African sun – SPF 30 and above. Also, please bring a hat and a water bottle with you, as you will be in the sun for a good portion of the day. Even if the sky is overcast, the sun is strong enough to cause burning.
Many volunteers and interns get dehydrated during their time with us, don’t let that be you – we do not want you to have to miss out on any of your experience due to being sick as a result of dehydration, so please, please, drink lots of water!
We take your safety very seriously and on arrival, will give you a comprehensive talk on the do’s and don’ts around the city. We pride ourselves on our record and give all our volunteers 24-hour support. We also live in the house with you, so we have the best knowledge of the local area and how to have the best experience. Please respect this advice.
Some safety guidelines you should be aware of:
- Avoid traveling alone, especially at night.
- Find out where the unsafe areas are and avoid them.
- When traveling keep all important documents and valuables in a safe place, like a hidden pocket or money belt.
- Carry only as much cash as you think you will need for that day.
- Don’t wear expensive jewelry or watches.
- Be wary of people who seem too friendly too fast.
- Keep cameras out of sight and always keep bags and purses in your sight.
- Before swimming, ask how safe the area is.
- We would advise not sharing your personal contact details with anyone under any circumstances. In addition, as you will be working outdoors, in an unfamiliar community and environment, you have to listen to your project manager and respect the local rules and customs at all times!
- Know the emergency number of the project team.
- Make sure we have the contact details of your emergency contact person at home.
Staying in touch with family & friends
You are able to buy a local SIM card at the airport if you wish. Alternatively, you can change your cell phone status to roaming. Please just check with your service provider to ensure your phone is “unlocked” to allow foreign SIM cards.
Cape Town has Wi-Fi but it’s important to know that the connection is not always reliable. There are also internet cafes available if you fancy a coffee and a catch up with home, so please bring your laptop if your telephone doesn’t have data roaming.
Money & Forex
The South African currency is the Rand (ZAR). It is advisable to bring Rands with you as you will need cash to pay for incidental purchases. You can use all major credit and debit cards in most restaurants and shops, as well as to pay for doing tours or activities in and around Cape Town. You should budget on spending about $500-$600 for a 4-week placement (note that if you would like to do the one-day safari this would cost up to $200 per person.
Cape Town restaurants, markets and shops all accept major credit cards and there are plenty of ATMs from which to draw cash, although it’s important to note you may be charged for this.
Please notify your bank of your stay in South Africa as some banks suspend accounts when they see an unknown international transaction.
You will need to book your flights to land at Cape Town International Airport on the Monday that your placement starts. Please ensure that you have booked your flight to land within the transfer window – between 09:00 and 15:00 on Monday.
Upon arrival, you will be met by a member of the African Impact team and then transferred to our project accommodation. Once you have passed through customs, look out for someone from our team who will be holding a board with the African Impact logo and your name on it.
If you cannot find the African Impact representative, please DO NOT leave the airport or accept any offers to take you into town. We will be there and will certainly never leave without you.
Arrival in Durban (St. Lucia projects)
We will meet you at the airport!
You will be collected from Durban’s King Shaka International Airport by one of our representatives; they will be wearing an African Impact T-Shirt and will be holding a board with your name on it. We will then transfer you to your accommodation (approximately a 2.5 hour drive) where you will meet all the staff and other volunteers involved in this project. Please make sure that your arrival flight lands before 14:00 If you cannot for some reason find the representative, please do not leave the airport or accept any offers from strangers to give you a lift into town.
We will meet you at Nelspruit’s Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport. Please ensure your flight lands before 13:00. When you arrive, look out for the African Impact sign and a friendly face to welcome you.
It takes approximately three hours to drive from the airport to Dumela Lodge. Please do not leave the airport if you can’t find an African Impact representative. We will be there and will certainly never leave without you.
You will be dropped off at Cape Town International Airport between 09:00 and 15:00 on the Monday that your project placement ends. You need to book your flight to depart after 12:00 in order to avoid missing your check-in.
Please remember that your placement starts and ends on a Monday and you need to book flights that arrive in and depart from Cape Town on a Monday.
Durban (St Lucia Projects)
Departure will then be the Sunday 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 weeks from your start date and you’ll be dropped at the airport by 10.30am in the morning – please keep this in mind when booking return flights.
Please Note: For odd week departures (3, 5, 7 etc), volunteers will be charged USD 75 / GBP 52 / EUR 75 / AUD 109 for their return journey to the airport and this will be paid for prior to arrival.
Kruger Area Projects
You can book your flight for the Sunday your project ends. We will drop you at the airport around 10:00. Please ensure that you book your flights to leave after 13:00 and remember to reconfirm your flight, as times can change.
You can also fly into Hoedspruit Eastgate Airport, on the Sunday arrival dates. This airport is a short 30 minute drive from Dumela Lodge. We will collect from the front of the airport next to where the tractor brings out your luggage. Don’t worry this airport is small so it’s impossible to get lost. Please be aware that the cost to fly to this airport can be higher than flying to Nelspruit.
Important to remember:
Complimentary arrival and departure transfers are on the scheduled project start and end days only. If you arrive outside of these dates, or if your flight lands later than 13:00 in Nelspruit and later than 16:00 in Hoedspruit, you will need to arrange a private transfer to the volunteer base. The cost of this private transfer is ± ZAR 1000 and it will be for your own account. Please check dates and times with your booking agent before confirming any flights bookings.
|NB! NB! NB!
If your flight arrives or departs outside of the transfer window (09:00 – 15:00), we will unfortunately not be able to offer you a complimentary transfer. However, we can arrange a private transfer for you with a trusted and reliable transfer company.
There will be an additional fee of ZAR 270 per person. This fee needs to be paid to the driver in cash (unfortunately it cannot be prepaid.)
Travel Requirements for Under 18’s
New requirements, introduced by the South African Department of Home Affairs from 1 June 2015, specify that all minors (children under 18 years) are required to produce, in addition to their passport, an Unabridged Birth Certificate which shows the details of both parents for all international travel to and from South Africa. Minors traveling alone require additional documents over and above the unabridged birth certificate.
For full details please visit the Department of Home Affairs website.
Travelers will be asked to produce the required documentation at check-in for each flight.
Important contact information:
- The South African Department of Home Affairs, 0800 60 11 90 (toll free from South Africa)
- Your local South African Embassy
If arriving in Cape Town a day or two before your placement starts, or if departing a few days after your placement ends, we can arrange an airport transfer and additional overnight accommodation for you. Please note that there will be a surcharge for this service.
|Location: At Cape Town International Airport. Accommodation: Double/twin rooms with en-suite bathrooms and flat-screen TVs. Other facilities: Free airport shuttle; free WiFi.|
Rates subject to change
|Standard double/twin with
en-suite bathroom B&B
|Studio double/twin with en-suite bathroom
|Executive double/twin with en-suite bathroom
|EUR 110 p/room||USD 130 p/room||GBP 130 p/room||EUR 145 p/room||USD 170 p/room||GBP 145 p/room||EUR 165 p/room||USD 195 p/room|
|Location: ± 40 minutes’ drive from Cape Town International Airport. Up the road from Cape Town volunteer house. Accommodation: Dormitory, double, twin & family rooms with shared bathrooms. Other facilities: Free WiFi.|
Rates subject to change
|Bed in dormitory
|Standard double/twin with shared bathroom
|Standard double/twin with
African Soul Surfer Backpackers
|Location: ± 15 minutes’ drive from Cape Town International Airport. Close to Cape Town CBD. Accommodation: Dormitory, double & twin rooms with shared or en-suite bathrooms. Other facilities: Free WiFi.|
Rates subject to change
|Bed in dormitory
|Standard double/twin with
with en-suite bathroom
Durban (St. Lucia )
In some cases (such as early arrival or departure after your project end date) it might be necessary for you to spend the night in a backpackers’ lodge/hotel and you will then need to return to the airport on your scheduled start date, in time for your scheduled collection time at 1.30pm. Should this be the case all transport and accommodation will be for your own account and you will need to arrange this yourself.
We can recommend the following places to stay in Durban:
Umbrella Tree Bed & Breakfast: www.umhlanga-bedandbreakfast.co.za
Tekweni Backpackers: www.tekwenibackpackers.co.za
Happy Hippo Backpackers: www.happyhippodurban.co.za