Volunteer at a rural community

Placement summary


It’s up to you! There are no fixed dates or lengths for this placement. You can volunteer whenever suits you and for as long as you wish, whether it’s for one week or several months.


The group

Volunteers come and go, but typically you will be living with 2-8 other volunteers at any given time.

In addition to other volunteers, you will live amongst the permanent charity staff and members of the local community.  


The charity and community are based in the rural region of Mpumalanga, surrounded by agricultural land, game reserves and wildlife. 

You will stay at the charity’s eco-village and library, which are a 30 minute drive from the town of Hoedspruit on Orpen Road, close to Sigagule village. It is an hour’s drive from the conservation programme camp and Hamba Africa's base of operations.

africa travel volunteer gap year community work animal conservation wildlife nature
africa travel volunteer gap year community work animal conservation wildlife nature
About volunteering

What will you be doing?
There are various different projects that the community and charity actively develop; from creche schools and educational programmes, sustainable agriculture, arts and crafts and much more. You will have the opportunity to get involved with those you find most rewarding and those that best complement your talents and skills.

Why volunteer?

Volunteering is so much more than just a great way for you to travel. It provides an unbeatable, authentic African experience, where you will live with new people and cultures whilst enjoying the rewarding work. You will feel a special sense of achievement knowing that you are helping to break the poverty cycle and uplift these communities.

How to book

Contact us via email or through our contact page, and let us know your preferred dates and trip duration.


Per month


Per week

What's included in your placement

The cost of your placement includes:

  • Accommodation during your stay

  • Airport transfer to and from the community

  • Meals when on-site (excludes personal extras)

  • Programme and activity participation

  • 24-hour emergency onsite support

  • Meet and greet events in the UK

  • List of fellow volunteer contact details prior to departure

  • 100% financial security with your booking

For further information please check out our FAQ page or contact us with your enquiry

Optional activities

You will have the option to take part in various activities in the area. Talk to the community staff or discuss your choices directly with a member of the Hamba Africa team.

What's not included

Please note, we do not book, manage or coordinate the following:

  • Flights

  • Travel insurance

  • Visa and Immigration requirements

  • Vaccinations and health screening/checks

  • Personal travel insurance

  • Optional activities (any booked during your stay)

These are your personal responsibility. Proof that all requirements have been met must be sent ahead of your arrival.


In order to become a volunteer you'll need to:

  • Be above 18

  • Have valid travel insurance

  • Have booked return flights

  • Organise relevant travel and immigration documents

  • Undergo relevant medical checks and vaccinations

africa travel volunteer gap year community work animal conservation wildlife nature
africa travel volunteer gap year community work animal conservation wildlife nature
africa travel volunteer gap year community work animal conservation wildlife nature kids playing
The charity and its mission

The goal of the charity is to invest in and develop the community, encouraging a more sustainable livelihood and economy for permanent, long term improvement focussed primarily on community uplift and conservation. Working with the community and giving them the tools, education and resources to have greater financial opportunity, not only increases their happiness, health and livelihoods but helps to prevent otherwise potentially unsustainable and negative practices such as poaching or mis-managed agriculture.


How they do this?

There are 5 pillars and principles of development that the charity works towards: education, conservation, tourism, economic development and sustainable farming. Each area has its own projects and goals. You can get involved in all of them or if you are particularly interested in a specific area,  let the charity know; together with the charity and the community, you will be able to put your passion and skills to effective and welcome use.

africa travel volunteer gap year community work animal conservation wildlife nature agriculture sustanible
africa travel volunteer gap year community work animal conservation wildlife nature agriculture sustanible
The five pillars and how you'll be working


Education is vital for anyone to have the ability to better themselves and is a crucial part of the charity’s mission. There are many different ways to get involved.

The charity operates its own independent creche  for young children unable to attend government run schools, usually due to the family’s limited financial situation. Children are able to come to the creche both to learn and to play in a safe and supportive environment.

For older primary school children, the after school program offers pupils the space for homework help or to learn about anything from environmental issues to arts and craft skills.

The charity also provides meals for the schoolchildren, and for many young people, this is often the only meal they will have each day.


Living in an area that is surrounded by stunning natural beauty and wildlife, helping the community to love and safeguard its heritage and resources has multiple benefits: it both improves the community’s long term livelihood prospects and helps protect the environment itself;  the community becomes its guardian rather than its poacher or abuser.

Working with and educating the community, especially the children who are its future caretakers, is crucial to promote sustainability and to mitigate human wildlife conflict. The charity has many projects and encourages children to become wildlife ambassadors in an atmosphere of fun and experiential learning about nature.

Hamba Africa guides routinely visit the community to give talks or conduct surveys engaging both children and adults whilst helping locals learn about wildlife and teaching them new skills. We sponsor wildlife centers encouraging animal ambassadors to the community, raising awareness, promoting interaction and understanding and developing respect for wildlife.

Volunteers are welcome and encouraged to take part in these activities!

The magnificent natural beauty of the surrounding area attracts tourists from all over the world.
The charity and community are developing new ways to showcase this vibrant community to travellers passing through.

Visitor tours operate throughout the community and surrounding area and there are plans to launch a local restaurant and food store for tourists and visitors to experience local culinary delights.

Economic Development

As is often the way, the economy generated by tourists and conservation enthusiasts passing through the area, is not evenly distributed. There are high levels of unemployment and poverty as a result. Working together through cohesive initiatives, the community, entrepreneurs, volunteers and Hamba Africa, can effect change and improve the local economy and lifestyle for its population.

Developing arts and crafts projects such as recycling waste and plastics into functional, practical objects, or crafting original art and sculptures for sale, offers the potential for new skills to be taught, utilising local resources and generating new income streams for the local community through artisan and cottage industry growth and development.

Sustainable Agriculture
The charity and community invest in various agricultural projects offering fantastic benefits; some enable locals to upskill, others help produce greater supplies of foodstuffs for children at the community school.

The charity cultivates its own Moringa Tree orchard, which produces leaves that are considered a super food. Native to Africa and Asia the highly nutritional leaves are 25% protein and contain additional minerals and vitamins, often eaten by the local children and volunteers. In addition to their nutritional value they also boost the immune system, help bone growth and have various other pharmacological properties that medical groups are currently researching.

The charity teaches the community to produce lip balms and face scrub products from the tree to generate local industry and sell these unique products to lodges, tourists and other groups.

A newly developed aquaponics system is being introduced, helping to  recycle organic waste into food. The charity also runs and operates a vegetable garden and even rears chickens teaching the children and community useful cultivating skills, not to mention providing healthy nutritious food and a possible extra source of income selling the extra eggs and vegetables.

africa travel volunteer gap year community work animal conservation wildlife nature agriculture sustanible
africa travel volunteer gap year community work animal conservation wildlife nature agriculture sustanible
Optional Activities

As well as the volunteer work there are many activities on offer in the area during recreational days or at the weekends.

These are in addition to your placement and must be organised on an individual basis through the staff at the community. Alternatively,  contact a member of the Hamba Africa team to help you arrange them.

Examples of what's on offer can be seen here!

Further infomation
For details regarding getting there and travel arrangements, visas and immigration, food and drink, accommodation and other information check out our FAQ page.

You can also contact us with any further questions.