REQUEST A CALL BACK

UK: +44 (0)1903 502595 | USA: 1-603-574-4935 info@travellersworldwide.com

SOUTH AFRICA

TEACH DRAMA, DANCE AND MUSIC TO TOWNSHIP CHILDREN IN KNYSNA, SOUTH AFRICA

Work with children from very poor townships, giving them exposure to cultural activities and enabling their creativity to shine through. Some of things you could do include:

  • Helping the local school children to put on a small-scale productions, in Drama, Dance and/or Music
  • Devising and performing educational pieces of theatre (on issues such as bullying)
  • Giving Dance lessons and Music lessons
  • Organising and putting on drama workshops
  • Helping out with conversational English classes.

SUMMARY: THE BASICS

Price: £895 (approx. US$1,125) for 1 week
£1,145 (approx. US$1,445) for 2 weeks
£1,395 (approx. US$1,760) for 3 weeks
£1,645 (approx. US$2,075) for 4 weeks
£200 (US$250) for each additional week.
Excludes flights. Please see Full Price List & prices in other currencies
Duration: From 1 week to 12 weeks or longer, subject to visa requirements.
Start Dates and Availability: All year round - you choose your start and finish dates - but subject to school holidays.
Requirements: No qualifications or experience required, just lots of enthusiasm and a love of children. And an active imagination! Minimum age 16.
What's included: Arranging your Programme
Full pre-departure support and assistance
Payment Protection insurance
Accommodation
Food
Meeting you at the nearest Airport
Transfer to your accommodation
Daily transport to and from your project
Local in-country team support and backup
24-hr emergency support
Certificate of Completion
What's not included: Flights, Insurance, Cost of Visas, Return transfer to the airport.
Who can do this Project? All projects are open to all nationalities and all ages over 16.
Suitable for gap years or those taking a year out, grown-up gappers, career breakers, anyone interested in teaching or working with children overseas while doing voluntary work, teaching projects abroad, or study abroad.
Also available as a summer placement in South Africa, short breaks or for those wanting to do TEFL teaching..

WHAT YOU'LL GAIN FROM DOING THIS PROJECT

  • An exciting opportunity to travel, see the world and experience a foreign culture first-hand.
  • New skills, more confidence and invaluable personal and professional development.
  • The enormous satisfaction of helping disadvantaged children and knowing that you made a difference to them.
  • An opportunity to take a break from the traditional academic track or your current career path in order to gain life experience and global cultural awareness
  • An entry on your CV or Résumé that will enhance your career opportunities and make you stand out from the crowd.
  • Make friends, form relationships and build memories that will last a lifetime.
  • Opportunities to enjoy some exciting adventure and cultural activities while on your programme.
  • And best of all ... an unforgettable experience!
BOOK NOW! SEE ALL PROJECTS IN SOUTH AFRICA info@travellersworldwide.com

ANY QUESTIONS?

Please fill in the form below. If you haven't heard from us within one working day, please check your Junk Mail / Spam folder.

Please tick the 'I'm not a robot' box below. It helps to stop spam. Then don't forget to click the SUBMIT button afterwards. Thank you :-)
BACK TO TOP

WORK CONTENT AND DESCRIPTION

South Africa is FANTASTIC! Teaching is incredible. I've been excited every day to go to school. The kids are so ready to learn music and drama. I've been doing a mix with them. I bring my guitar to school every day and have taught most of my classes four of my favorite songs. Two by a band called Old Crow Medicine Show and the other two by The Grateful Dead. I've also been teaching the older kids some stage combat. All in all everything is wonderful. Thank you for this experience! Richard Adler

You'll help with classes in Drama, Dance or Music in schools that cater for township children. You'll be able to do some or all of the following:

  • Organising and putting on drama workshops in various local schools around Knysna. This would involve energising warm-ups, improvisations, dance-drama and devising pieces of theatre in small groups.
  • Organising an after-school drama club (and possibly even during lunch break) or drama sessions during school-time for pupils.
  • Helping the local school children to put on a small-scale productions so that they can all been involved in some aspect of it (either acting, creating costumes, masks, set or make-up). Please note that these may not always take place during your project - it will depend on how long you're there for and what's happening when you're there.
  • Devising and performing educational pieces of theatre (on topical issuesm such as bullying) for the school children at any available venues (town hall/school yard/ ... wherever!).
  • Alongside the Drama, volunteers could also help out with conversational English classes (and any other subjects where needed). It may also be possible to incorporate drama lessons into the English classes, perhaps once a week.

Our South Africa Manager, Sharon, went along to observe two of our Drama Volunteers at work in class and she said, I went up to day to sit in on a drama class at Tembelitsha Primary School that two of our volunteers, Amy Powell and Jack Gunner, were going to take. It was Grade 5B class which is made up of children that are approximately 10 years old. The class started with Amy and Jack teaching them about the different ways of using themselves in drama, namely facial expressions, body language and their voices. How to maximise and minimise their body movements and facial expressions and then the different ways they could use their voices by whispering, shouting, talking, singing and crying.

As you can imagine, the class got extremely rowdy and all the children had a lot of fun. The noise levels then increased as Amy and Jack showed the class how to do breathing exercises, and mouth warm-ups so they could make a ‘sound collage’ by splitting the class up into groups and getting the different groups to make one particular sound. Put together it was deafening but all the children loved it with them all interacting.

They then where taught how to create different effects with their voices by changing the pitch, speed and volume of their voices. All they learnt was then put together in character enactment and by volunteers from the class doing freeze frame sketches. They then ended the class with a song.

The hour class went by so quickly I actually had to check my watch to see if it was really over! It was so great to see so many children in the class participated and it was quite obvious to me that they all got a lot out of it as when the class was over Amy and Jack where surrounded by children hugging and kissing them! Well done guys!!

EXTRA ACTIVITIES YOU MAY BE ABLE TO INCORPORATE INTO YOUR PROJECT:
You may also have the opportunity to provide help and support to the local community through the various afternoon activities we have to offer. This is an excellent way to immerse yourself in the African culture, but most importantly to give a caring hand to the local community. The activities could range from helping out at:

  • Monday Homework Club at the Safe House: Once a week, in the school terms, our Knysna Manager goes with our volunteers after their school placements to a local safe house where the volunteers give the children one-on-one help with their homework for an hour. As the syllabus can be quite stressful for the children, this little bit of extra help will hopefully assist them to get better grades and make their school work more fun. And if we have a volunteer who prefers playing with the little ones, they are always welcome to keep the little ones busy playing fun while the other volunteers focus on the school-going children’s homework and extra lessons. This normally takes place on a Monday.
  • After-school drama or sports - Take some time out after school to set up after school sports or drama clubs, the children love it and it's a great way to get to know them better in a relaxed and fun environment. If you'd like to set up a drama or sports club, please let us know when you apply so that we can arrange it with the school before you arrive.)
  • Other community projects - Past volunteers have helped to paint the outside of a crèche that was in desperate need of a lift. The crèche is now looking very cheerful with brightly coloured walls. A jungle gym was donated to this orphanage and volunteers also helped to put it together for the crèche too! There may be other similar projects available at the time you're there that you might want to participate in.
  • Township Soup Kitchen: On days that your school roster might allow you to finish a little early, our volunteers sometimes help at a local township soup kitchen.

SCHOOL TERMS IN SOUTH AFRICA:
Please note that this placement is not available during the school holidays, so it’s important to consult the school terms below to plan your placement dates. Your project coordinator will also assist you with your placement planning, as well as suggest alternatives and exciting things to do during the holiday periods.

Dates for the 2017 school terms (semesters) are given below.
Term 4: 9 October – 6 December

Dates for the 2018 school terms (semesters) are given below.
Term 1: 17 January – 28 March
Term 2: 10 April – 22 June
Term 3: 17 July – 28 September
Term 4: 9 October – 12 December

Generally the last week before terms end is given to exams and tests. This means that you will find your work load dropping during this week and you will usually find more free time than normal school time. Exams are written by classes from Grade 3 upward three times a year. For the last three weeks of term 2, 3 and 4 it would not be suitable to volunteer in the classes doing exams. The younger children would still welcome volunteers, but individual requests for these dates would have to be discussed first.

Weekends and school holidays are free for you to sight-see and do activities, tours and trips! Please see some of the amazing Add-On trips we've put together for you to complement your placement. More information can be found on the ‘Optional Activities’ Tab on the left.

BOOK NOW! SEE ALL PROJECTS IN SOUTH AFRICA info@travellersworldwide.com
Volunteer directing the drama group
Volunteer Dion Jones directs the drama group in a production.
Children directing the drama group
... and what the adults can do, the students can learn as well - maybe even better one day?
volunteers teaching children some dance moves
Two volunteers share a dance and drama teaching session in the class.
Volunteer giving student a piano lesson
Music is an important part of this project as well and here one of the children receives a pinao lesson from a volunteer.
Volunteer Nicole Chesters teaching the Recorder to children
Nicole Chesters and her Recorder music class having fun!
Volunteer helping child in the Monday Homework Club
The help that the volunteer is giving this child in the Monday Homework Club is invaluable and can make a huge difference to their knowledge and understanding of subjects.

BACK TO TOP

ACCOMMODATION

The volunteer house in Knysna is within walking distance of the town, yet set against a natural green belt. The bird life is prolific and often the local Vervet monkey troop comes to visit to entertain the volunteers with their antics. The sunset views from the top balcony of the volunteer house of the Knysna lagoon are beautiful and great way to relax after a day working at your placement or to catch up on your tan in the summer. See photo on right-hand side.

The house is large and spacious and also has a self-contained flat downstairs for couples and families. y volunteer placements. The bedding in the two same sex dorms and the towels in their ensuite bathrooms are changed regularly every Friday by our much loved cleaner, Pretty, and there is plenty of cupboard space to store your clothing.

Wi-Fi / Internet: There is FREE Wi-Fi / Internet in the Volunteer House, but you will need your own device.

Facilities include a kitchen kitted out for cooking, dining area, a few bathrooms, TV, DVD player, garden and several wooden verandahs.

There is an outside courtyard and garden in the secure grounds where you can have a typical South African barbeque known there as a ‘braai’. Make sure you try the local spicy sausage known as ‘boerewors’ and the Karoo lamb chops are to die for on a ‘braai’, but if fish is more to your taste then a fish ‘braai’ with South African ‘snoek’ is a must.

FOOD:
You'll be given a food budget which will cover your basic essentials (but not extras like alcohol, snacks and eating out). The kitchen has all the cooking amenities that you might need to take advantage of preparing meals with some of the great seafood, meat, fresh fruit and vegetables South Africa has to offer.

There are supermarkets and local shops where you'll do your food shopping.

There are plenty of excellent restaurants within walking distance that offer the most incredible local and international cuisine which our volunteers rave about. Knysna is also famous for its oysters and even has an annual Oyster Festival where everyone eats and drinks far too much!

The waterfront and marine is beautiful and full of restaurants and cafes with cuisine that ranges from breakfast, coffees, cakes and snacks, through to sumptuous meals and various different nationality menus.

The area is beautiful and travelling is easy. The house we stay in is lovely and the Travellers workers are such kind, loving people which really makes it feel like a home away from home. What with all the other volunteers and the Travellers staff, it really does feel like our own little family ... well, our own very big family, I suppose!! Luke Brennan

BOOK NOW! SEE ALL PROJECTS IN SOUTH AFRICA info@travellersworldwide.com
Volunteer House for projects in Knysna
The front entrance to the volunteer house covered in bougainvillea blossoms, with the Travellers minibus in the drive.
Lounge in the Volunteer House for projects in Knysna
The Lounge in the volunteer house, with French doors leading to the patio.
Patio in the Volunteer House for projects in Knysna
One of the communal patios for sitting outside at the volunteer house.
BACK TO TOP

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

YOUR SAFETY, SUPPORT AND BACKUP:
Read important information about the Support & Backup you receive before you leave and during your programme.

Read about the Safety and Security measures we take to ensure your safety and wellbeing while on our programme.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU BOOK YOUR PLACEMENT?
Once you have applied for a placement, we'll contact you and send you our Welcome Pack. You'll also receive Log-on details and password for our Volunteer Extranet where you'll have access to all the documentation and information which we've put together to facilitate preparations for your adventure! Your Project Co-ordinator for your country will liaise with you throughout the arrangements process, as well as while you're on your placement and on your return home.

The documents you'll have access to also include a Country Factfile, Safety Guide and any manuals that may assist you on your particular programme (e.g. Teaching Guide, Sports Manuals, Enrichment Suggestions for Animal Care, etc.). We do all we can to make your stay one that you'll never forget. This is a truly awesome, elegant and beautiful country.

On Arrival, your Introduction to the Country:
When you arrive you will be welcomed by a member of our team who will take you to your accommodation and introduce you to everyone. During your first few days you'll be given an induction so that you can learn about the country and its culture, as well as other useful information, like how to use the transport system, banks, safety issues, tipping, and lots more.

VOLUNTEERING WITH CHILDREN AND VULNERABLE ADULTS
As well as protecting all our volunteers, Travellers Worldwide is committed to all our projects and dedicated to practices which protect children and vulnerable adults from harm. Read Travellers' Child Care and Vulnerable Adults Policy.

BOOK NOW! SEE ALL PROJECTS IN SOUTH AFRICA info@travellersworldwide.com DOWNLOAD THIS INFORMATION in .pdf How to Fundraise for your Program

ANY QUESTIONS?

Please with any questions and include your phone number, if possible, to help us give you the best possible response.

We'll get back to you very shortly, but if you haven't heard from us within one working day, please check your Junk Mail / Spam folder. Thank you.

BACK TO TOP

OPTIONAL ADD-ON ACTIVITIES:

Make the most of your time there! To help you do that, we've put together some exciting activities, courses and tours that you can add to your itinerary. These are designed to be fun, but also to enable you to learn, and expand your personal and professional development enjoyment ... but mostly for your enjoyment! :-)

Cage Dive with Sharks in South Africa

CAGE DIVE WITH SHARKS:
Price: £135, includes breakfast/lunch and return transfer from Cape Town.

Getting into the cage with the sharks around is truly breath-taking and gets the adrenaline going! When feeding actively around the boat, the sharks may occasionally brush their tail against the cage, but they NEVER attack the cage. They are curious and often come close-up to the cage to look at the diver. You’ll usually see at least two or more members of the Marine Big Five - sharks, dolphins, whales, seals and penguins.

You’ll be collected from your arranged accommodation in Cape Town between 3.00 and 5.00 am) and driven to Gansbaai, the shark capital of South Africa. Enjoy a light breakfast while the safety briefing and other formalities are concluded, including sizing you for a wetsuit. After an exhilarating 20 minute boat trip, it anchors in or nearby “Shark Alley”. The shark diving then commences and lasts around 2 hours, sometimes longer.

On return to the harbour, you’ll receive a light hot lunch while viewing the video of the day. A copy of your own personal experience is available on DVD after the tour (optional extra).

Duration: Total duration from meeting point until departure is about 5 hours with around 3 hours at sea. Please note: Due to tides and collection schedules, exact collection times from Cape Town will only be confirmed after 16h00 the day prior to your tour.

Included:
• Hot tea / coffee and light breakfast, plus snacks, drinks and sweets on-board the boat
• A hot light lunch upon return (beef lasagne, rolls and Greek salad)
• Educational information and safety briefing
• Diving equipment and wet-suits available at no additional cost
• Scuba diving in the cage for experienced divers (conditions allowing)
• Assisted snorkeling in cage for inexperienced divers
• View Cape Fur Seals from the boat (conditions allowing), plus enjoy land-based whale watching in Hermanus (July – Dec)

Book Now

Penguins at Boulders in Cape Town

1-DAY CAPE PENINSULA & WINE TOUR:
Price: £59.

ITINERARY: We begin the morning with a leisurely stroll along the cobbled streets and brightly coloured houses of the Bokaap while sampling some of the local traditional snacks before heading through the exclusive seaside suburbs of Clifton and Campsbay where we have a short photo stop.

We then carry on along Victoria drive, through Houtbay and along the scenic Chapmans Peak Drive eventually arriving at The Cape of Good hope Nature Reserve where we have the option of doing a 40 minute hike from the most south west tip of Africa, Cape of Good Hope to the Cape Point Light House.

We then start driving north to Boulder Beach Penguin colony, where on a nice day you can actually swim with these sea birds! By this stage you would have built up quite an appetite. We stop for a traditional Cape lunch of fish ‘n chips in the old Kalk Bay harbour where the local fishing community goes back generations.

After everyone has had their fill, we stop briefly at the Shark Spotter, entrusted by the local surfers of Muizenberg to look out for Great White Sharks. From here we travel through the lush Constantia Valley to one of the oldest wine farms outside of Europe for a relaxing end of the day wine tasting experience, where we also learn about the history of farming in the Cape in beautiful surroundings.

Included Highlights: Lunch and refreshments in Kalk Bay, Cape of Good Hope Entrance Fee & Boulders Beach Entry Fee to see penguins, Wine Tasting in the Constantia Wine Valley, Walking tour of Bo-Kaap.

Book Now

Bungee jump

3-DAY WEEKEND WILDLIFE SAFARI & BUNGEE ADVENTURE:
Price: £230, includes accommodation, breakfast and dinner. Leaves Cape Town every Friday and returns to Cape Town on the Sunday afternoon.

Jump on this 3 day rip-roaring adventure through the Garden Route where we fit as much as we possibly can into 3 awesome days. On this trip you can experience a Game Drive, enjoy some treetop ziplining, visit a local farmers market, an elephant and a monkey sanctuary, the Cango Caves AND The World’s highest Bungy Jump!

Day 1 Friday ǀ Overberg, Garden Route, Myoli Beach: We leave Cape Town, heading past Swellendam, to a Private Game Reserve on the Garden Route. Here we go on a safari where you can see Lion, Buffalo, Elephant, Rhino, Cheetah and Giraffe in their natural habitat. After lunch we will enjoy some fun with a canopy tour, experience the thrill of crossing rope bridges, wobbly crossings and zip wires high up in the trees. Next we carry on our way to Sedgefield.
Included Highlight: Game Drive Safari
Optional Activities: Treetop Adventure & Zipline

Day 2 Saturday ǀ Garden Route, Knysna, Tsitsikamma: After a morning visit to a popular local farmers and craft market in Sedgefield village, we make our way to the Crags where you have a two of options to choose from:
1. Elephant Sanctuary where you learn about, and interact with orphaned elephants.
2. Monkey Sanctuary where rescued monkeys roam free in a large jungle area.

Our next stop is the World’s highest commercial Bungee Jump at 216 meters where you have the opportunity to experience this adrenalin pumping activity! From here it’s back to Myoli beach to carry on with the festivities.
Included Highlight: Local craft and farmers market
Optional Activities: Elephant Sanctuary, Monkeyland, Bloukrans bungy jump (216m), Bloukrans Bridge walking tour.

Day 3 Sunday ǀ Little Karoo, Oudtshoorn, return to Cape Town via Route 62. We head to the Town of Oudtshoorn, the “Ostrich Capital of the world”. Here you can choose between:
1. The Cango Caves where we will embark on a 1-hour guided tour of the cave system to view its massive caverns millions of years old. Cango Caves is a world heritage site and one of the great wonders of the natural world. If you enjoy spelunking and don’t mind trying to squeeze through some smaller gaps then you are also welcome to take the 1.5 hour adventure tour!
2. Go on a guided tour of the Cango Endangered Wildlife Ranch for an opportunity to pet cheetah, cage dive with crocodiles and view and learn about many rare and endangered animal species.

Included Highlight: Cango Caves (Adventure or Standard Tour) OR Cango Wildlife Ranch
Optional Activities: Pet a cheetah, cage dive with crocodiles.

Book Now

3-day Garden Route Safari in South Africa

3-DAY ELEPHANTS, CAVES AND BUNGEE SAFARI
(One-way from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth or Knysna):

Price: £239. Leaves Cape Town every Monday morning (early).

The 4 Day tour is ideal for volunteers to use to get to our Wildlife Sanctuary project near Port Elizabeth, or one of the Knysna projects. You save on a connecting flight from Cape Town and get to take part in a fun-filled experience with lots of amazing activities. The tour bus will drop you off at either project destination mentioned above on Day 3.

Day 1 – Monday ǀ Cape Town to Oudtshoorn Little Karoo, Cango Caves, Wildlife Rehabilitation Ranch: We head into the semi-arid Little Karoo along the scenic Route 62 driving to the town of Oudtshoorn, known as the ostrich capital of the world. Here you can choose between:
The Cango Caves: a 1-hour guided tour of the cave system to view its massive caverns and a wonderland of stalactite and stalagmite formations, millions of years old. Cango Caves is a world heritage site and one of the great wonders of the natural world. Or if you enjoy spelunking and smaller gaps, you are also welcome to take the 1.5 hour adventure tour!
A guided tour of the Cango Endangered Wildlife Ranch: you can pet cheetah, cage dive with crocodiles and view and learn about many rare and endangered animal species.

We then head over the Outeniqua Mountains to the lush coastal region known as the Garden Route where we will head to the beach town of Sedgefield for our first night. If time allows we will also head to the beach for a swim in the Indian Ocean.
Included Highlight: Standard or adventure guided tour of Cango Caves OR Cango Endangered Wildlife ranch.

Day 2 – Tuesday ǀ Sedgefield – Jeffrey’s Bay, Monkey Sanctuary, Elephant Sanctuary, Kloofing, Bloukrans Bungee & Tsitsikamma National Park. This morning we drive through Knysna on our way to the Crags where you have two options to choose from:
1. Elephant Sanctuary where you learn about, and interact with orphaned elephants.
2. Monkey Sanctuary where rescued monkeys roam free in a large jungle area.

Our next stop is the World’s highest commercial Bungee Jump at 216 meters where you can experience this adrenalin pumping activity. Finally, to end the day, we take a beautiful walk through the indigenous Tsitsikamma National Park to the Storms river swing bridges before we head to the famous surfing town of Jeffreys Bay where we stay at a backpackers directly on the beach.
Included Highlight: Tsitsikamma Forest.
Optional Activities: Elephant Sanctuary, Monkeyland, Bloukrans bungee jump (216m), Bloukrans Bridge walking tour.

Day 3 – Wednesday ǀ Jeffrey’s Bay – Addo National Park – Sedgefield Game Drive (Addo), Surfing, shopping time (Jeffrey’s bay). There are 2 options to choose from this morning:
1. Sleep in then explore the town's many surf factory shops, or go for a surf lesson.
2. Wake up early and head to Addo Elephant National park where we go on a morning game drive to view the multitudes of wild animals. Addo has the Big 5 and also the highest concentration of African Elephants in the world!
Included Highlight: Jeffrey’s Bay/Addo Entrance & Game Dive with tour Guide
Optional Activities: Surf Lessons, Shopping OR Addo Game Drive with National Parks guide (morning).

Please note: This is where the 3 Day One Way to PE/ J-Bay/ Knysna will end.
• Volunteers destined for our Wildlife Sanctuary placement are dropped off at the project.
• Volunteers destined for the Knysna projects will be dropped off at our accommodation.

Book Now

Caves, Elephants Safari

4-DAY ELEPHANTS, CAVES AND BUNGEE SAFARI:
Price: £265, includes accommodation and food. Leaves Cape Town every Monday morning (early), returning to Cape Town on Thursdays.

Day 1 – Monday ǀ Cape Town to Oudtshoorn Little Karoo, Cango Caves, Wildlife Rehabilitation Ranch: We leave the Mother City behind and head into the semi-arid Little Karoo along the scenic Route 62 driving to the town of Oudtshoorn, known as the ostrich capital of the world, it is situated in a beautiful, fertile valley between the Outeniqua and Swartberg Mountains. Here you can choose between:
1. The Cango Caves where we will embark on a 1-hour guided tour of the cave system to view its massive caverns and a wonderland of stalactite and stalagmite formations, millions of years old. Cango Caves is a world heritage site and one of the great wonders of the natural world. Or if you enjoy spelunking and don’t mind trying to squeeze through some smaller gaps then you are also welcome to take the 1.5 hour adventure tour!
2. Go on a guided tour of the Cango Endangered Wildlife Ranch for an opportunity to pet cheetah, cage dive with crocodiles and view and learn about many rare and endangered animal species.

We then head over the Outeniqua Mountains to the lush coastal region known as the Garden Route where we will head to the beach town of Sedgefield where we spend our first night. If time allows we will also head to the beach for a swim in the Indian Ocean.
Included Highlight: Standard or adventure guided tour of Cango Caves OR Cango Endangered Wildlife ranch.

Day 2 – Tuesday ǀ Sedgefield – Jeffrey’s Bay, Monkey Sanctuary, Elephant Sanctuary, Kloofing, Bloukrans Bungee & Tsitsikamma National Park. This morning we drive through Knysna on our way to the Crags where you have a number of options to choose from:
1. Elephant Sanctuary where you learn about, and interact with orphaned elephants.
2. Monkey Sanctuary where rescued monkeys roam free in a large jungle area.

Our next stop is the World’s highest commercial Bungee Jump at 216 meters where you have the opportunity to experience this adrenalin pumping activity. Finally, to end the day we take a beautiful walk through the indigenous Tsitsikamma National Park to the Storms river swing bridges before we head to the famous surfing town of Jeffreys Bay where we stay at a backpackers directly on the beach.
Included Highlight: Tsitsikamma Forest.
Optional Activities: Elephant Sanctuary OR Monkeyland. Bloukrans bungee jump (216m), Bloukrans Bridge walking tour

Day 3 – Wednesday ǀ Jeffrey’s Bay – Addo National Park – Sedgefield Game Drive (Addo), Surfing, shopping time (Jeffrey’s Bay). There are 2 options to choose from this morning.
1. Sleep in and take some time in the morning to explore the towns many surf factory shops, or go for a surf lesson in one of the most famous surf spots on earth.
2. Wake up early and head to Addo Elephant National park where we go on a morning game drive to view the multitudes of wild animals. Addo is home to the Big 5 and it also has the highest concentration of African Elephants in the world!
Included Highlight: Jeffrey’s Bay/Addo Entrance & Game Dive with tour Guide.
Optional Activities: Surf Lessons, Shopping OR Addo Game Drive with National Parks guide (morning).

Day 4 – Thursday ǀ Sedgefield to Cape Town: Return to Cape Town via Sir Lowry’s Pass. After breakfast we start our journey back to Cape Town. For our first stop we will enjoy some fun with a canopy tour, experience the thrill of crossing rope bridges, wobbly crossings and zip wires high up in the trees. We then visit an Aloe factory, where you can purchase a variety of Aloe Ferox products. Finally, enjoy a wonderful scenic drive back to Cape Town, arriving early Thursday afternoon.
Included Highlight: Visit to an aloe factory.
Optional Activities: Treetop Adventure and Zipline.

Book Now

5-day sharks and wildlife safari

5-DAY WILDLIFE, SHARKS, CAVES AND BUNGEE SAFARI
(One-way from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth or Knysna):

Price: £345. Includes Accommodation and Food. Leaves Cape Town every Saturday morning (early).

This is the ideal tour for volunteers to use to get to our Wildlife Sanctuary project near Port Elizabeth, or one of the Knysna projects. You save on a connecting flight from Cape Town AND you take part in a fun-filled experience with lots of amazing activities.

Day 1 – Saturday ǀ Cape Town to Struisbaai: Overberg, Whale Route, Cape Agulhus: Depart Cape Town at 8:30 am and Stellenbosch at 9:30 am, our exciting journey begins on the whale route in Gordons Bay for a stunning drive along the R44 mountain pass overlooking False Bay to the vibrant coastal town of Hermanus. After a picnic lunch on the seafront, we continue to Birkenhead Brewery to sample some fine beers before moving to the southernmost tip of Africa in Cape Agulhas National Park.

We then make our way to the harbour where there is an option to embark on an exciting ski-boat cruise to search for dolphin and whales (June to November). Accommodation is along “Die Plaat”, the longest beach in the Southern Hemisphere. This day is a relaxing one for you to get to know your fellow travellers.
Included Highlight: Land Based Whale Watching in Hermanus/Shopping Beer/wine tasting at Birkenhead Brewery
Optional Activities: Shark cage diving.

Day 2 – Sunday ǀ Cape Agulhas to Sedgefield: Canoeing & Hike: After breakfast we drive inland towards the famed Garden Route! After a scenic drive we begin a beautiful canoe trip down one of the many tranquil rivers, followed by a short hike to a stunning waterfall. We finish off the day with some beach time down at Myoli Beach.
Included Highlight: Canoe trip & hike to waterfall.

Day 3 – Monday ǀ Oudtshoorn day trip: Little Karoo, Cango Caves, Ostrich Farm, Wildlife Ranch: We drive over the stunning Outeniqua mountains into the semi desert Klein Karoo and Oudtshoorn. The ostrich capital of the world, Oudtshoorn is situated in a beautiful valley between mountains. The Cango Caves is our first stop with a 1-hour guided tour of the cave system to view its massive caverns and a wonderland of stalactite and stalagmite formations, millions of years old. Cango Caves is a world heritage site and one of the great wonders of the natural world. If you enjoy spelunking and smaller gaps, you can also take the 1.5 hour adventure tour!

Next is an option to view and ride ostriches on a working ostrich farm, or go on a guided tour of the Cango Endangered Wildlife Ranch for an opportunity to pet cheetah, cage dive with crocodiles and view many rare and endangered animal species.
Included Highlight: Standard or adventure guided tour of Cango Caves Optional Activities: Tour of a working Ostrich farm + riding (weight restriction applies to riders). Cango Endangered Wildlife ranch.

Day 4 – Tuesday ǀ Sedgefield – Jeffrey’s Bay: Monkey Sanctuary, Elephant Sanctuary, Kloofing, Bloukrans Bungee & Tsitsikamma National Park: This morning we drive through Knysna on our way to the Crags where you can choose from:
1. Elephant Sanctuary where you learn about, and interact with orphaned elephants.
2. Monkey Sanctuary where rescued monkeys roam free in a large jungle area.
3. Kloofing trip through a spectacular gorge with jumps, abseils and swimming.

Our next stop is the World’s highest commercial Bungee Jump at 216 meters, which you can do - optional. Finally, we take a beautiful walk through the indigenous Tsitsikamma National Park to the Storms river swing bridges before we head to the famous surfing town of Jeffreys Bay where we stay at a backpackers directly on the beach.
Included Highlight: Tsitsikamma Forest Optional Activities: Elephant Sanctuary, Monkeyland, Bloukrans bungee jump (216m), Bloukrans Bridge walking tour.

Day 5 – Wednesday ǀ Jeffrey’s Bay – Addo National Park – Sedgefield: Game Drive (Addo), Surfing, shopping. There are 2 options to choose from this morning.
1. Sleep in and then explore the town's many surf factory shops, or go for a surf lesson in one of the most famous surf spots on earth.
2. Wake up early and head to Addo Elephant National park where we go on a morning game drive. Addo has the Big 5 game animals and the highest concentration of African Elephants in the world!

A relaxed drive back towards Sedgefield for the night. Time permitting, we'll visit the famous Knysna Heads for some absolutely amazing pictures where the ocean meets the inlet to the Knysna Lagoon.
Included Highlight: Storms River/Jeffrey’s Bay/Addo & Knysna Heads
Optional Activities: Black Water Tubing, Canopy Tour, Surf Lessons, Shopping, Addo Elephant NP tour (morning)

Please note:
• Volunteers destined for our Wildlife Sanctuary placement, can get dropped off at the project or choose to be fetched in Jeffrey’s Bay after the activities.
• Volunteers destined for the Knysna projects will be dropped off at our accommodation

Book Now

7-day extreme advanture safari in South Africa

6-DAY WILDLIFE, SHARKS, CAVES AND BUNGEE SAFARI:
Price: £375. Leaves Cape Town on a Saturday morning and returns to Cape Town the following Thursday afternoon.

This is the ideal tour for volunteers wanting to arrive at our Wildlife Sanctuary project near Port Elizabeth, or one of the Knysna projects. You save on a connecting flight from Cape Town and get to take part in a fun-filled experience with lots of amazing activities. The tour bus will drop you off at any of the destinations listed above on Day 5.

Day 1 – Saturday ǀ Cape Town to Struisbaai: Overberg, Whale Route, Cape Agulhus: Departing Cape Town at 8:30 am and Stellenbosch at 9:30 am, our exciting journey begins today along the world famous whale route in Gordons Bay for a stunning drive along the picturesque R44 mountain pass overlooking False Bay to the vibrant coastal town of Hermanus. After a picnic lunch on the seafront, we continue to Birkenhead Brewery to sample some fine beers before moving on to the southernmost tip of Africa in Cape Agulhas National Park.

We then make our way to the harbour where there is an option to embark on an exciting ski-boat cruise to search for dolphin and whales (June to November). After the cruise we take a walk back to the accommodation along “Die Plaat”, the longest beach in the Southern Hemisphere.
Included Highlight: Land Based Whale Watching in Hermanus / Shopping. Beer/wine tasting at Birkenhead Brewery
Optional Activities: Shark cage diving (MUST be pre-booked in advance).

Day 2 – Sunday ǀ Cape Agulhas to Sedgefield: Canoeing & Hike: After breakfast we drive inland again, this time towards the famed Garden Route! After a scenic drive we begin a beautiful canoe trip down one of the many tranquil rivers in the area, followed by a short hike to a stunning waterfall. We finish off the day with some beach time down at Myoli Beach.
Included Highlight: Canoe trip & hike to waterfall

Day 3 – Monday ǀ Oudtshoorn day trip: Little Karoo, Cango Caves, Ostrich Farm, Wildlife Ranch: We begin the day with a drive over the picturesque Outeniqua mountain range into the semi desert region of the Klein Karoo and Oudtshoorn, the ostrich capital of the world. Oudtshoorn is situated in a beautiful valley between the Outeniqua and Swartberg Mountains. The Cango Caves will be the first stop, a 1-hour guided tour of the cave system to view its massive caverns and a wonderland of stalactite and stalagmite formations, millions of years old. Cango Caves is a world heritage site and one of the great wonders of the natural world. If you enjoy spelunking and smaller gaps, you are also welcome to take the 1.5 hour adventure tour!

Next is an option to view and ride ostriches on a working ostrich farm, or go on a guided tour of the Cango Endangered Wildlife Ranch for an opportunity to pet cheetah, cage dive with crocodiles and view many rare and endangered animal species.
Included Highlight: Standard or adventure guided tour of Cango Caves
Optional Activities: Tour of a working Ostrich farm + riding (weight restriction apply to riders). Cango Endangered Wildlife ranch.

Day 4 – Tuesday ǀ Sedgefield – Jeffrey’s Bay: Monkey Sanctuary, Elephant Sanctuary, Kloofing, Bloukrans Bungee & Tsitsikamma National Park: This morning we drive through Knysna on our way to the Crags where you have two options to choose from:
1. Elephant Sanctuary where you learn about, and interact with orphaned elephants.
2. Monkey Sanctuary where rescued monkeys roam free in a large jungle area.

Our next stop is the World’s highest commercial Bungee Jump at 216 meters where you can experience this adrenalin pumping activity. Finally, we take a beautiful walk through the indigenous Tsitsikamma National Park to the Storms river swing bridges before we head to the famous surfing town of Jeffreys Bay where we stay at a backpackers directly on the beach.
Included Highlight: Tsitsikamma Forest Optional Activities: Elephant Sanctuary OR Monkeyland. Bloukrans bungee jump (216m), Bloukrans Bridge walking tour.

Day 5 – Wednesday ǀ Jeffrey’s Bay – Addo National Park – Sedgefield: Game Drive (Addo), Surfing, shopping. There are 2 options to choose from this morning.
1. Sleep in then explore the towns many surf factory shops, or go for a surf lesson.
2. Wake up early and head to Addo Elephant National park where we go on a morning game drive to view the multitudes of wild animals. Addo has the Big 5 and also the highest concentration of African Elephants in the world!

Included Highlight: Jeffrey’s Bay/Addo Entrance & Game Dive with tour Guide
Optional Activities: Surf Lessons, Shopping OR Addo Game Drive with National Parks guide (morning).

Day 6 – Thursday ǀ Sedgefield to Cape Town: Return to Cape Town via Sir Lowry’s Pass: After breakfast we start our journey back to Cape Town. For our first stop we will enjoy some fun with a canopy tour, experience the thrill of crossing rope bridges, wobbly crossings and zip wires high up in the trees. We then visit an Aloe factory, where you can purchase a variety of Aloe Ferox products. Finally, enjoy a wonderful scenic drive back to Cape Town, arriving early Thursday afternoon.

Book Now

4-day Kruger  National Park Wildlife Game Safari Tour in South Africa

4-DAY KRUGER NATIONAL PARK SAFARI:
Price: £595 per person, includes game drives, tented accommodation, breakfasts and dinners. Leaves Johannesburg daily at 7:00.
Join this 4 day tour to the majestic Kruger National Park, one of the top wilderness reserves in the world and home to the highest concentration of lions in Africa. You'll stay at a private game reserve with permanent safari tents.

Day 1 Sunset Drive, Kruger National Park: We collect you from your hostel or Johannesburg Airport and travel via Dullstroom or Nelspruit to the lodge in a Big Five Game Reserve. Transfer to an open-top game vehicle for a Sunset Drive. After dark, spotlights are used to locate nocturnal animals. Dinner in the open Boma and overnight in air-conditioned chalets.

Day 2 Bush Walk, Kruger National Park:
Awaken at sunrise for an exhilarating day of unforgettable bush life. Drive to a remote part of the Balule Game Reserve, where you enjoy a 4h Bush Walk. Your experienced field guide will lead you through the bush. The thrill of following Africa’s large animals until you can take a photo will remain with you forever. Adrenalin surges will be acute, notwithstanding the presence of your armed ranger. Return for brunch. At around 14h30 we go on an afternoon game drive. Transfer to Marc’s Camp where accommodation is in tents equipped with beds and bedding, soap and towels, electric light and fan. Dinner and overnight at in the camp.

Day 3 Orpen Gate, Kruger National Park:
After breakfast you travel on the open-sided Gameviewer to the Orpen Gate of Kruger. The added elevation and absence of windows allow for excellent viewing and photographic opportunities. Your qualified guide will show you various animals, large and small, that frequent this outstanding wildlife paradise. The zone of Kruger you visit has the highest percentage population of giraffe, zebra, wildebeest and impala that attract numerous lions and other predators. Dinner and overnight at Marc’s Camp.

Day 4 Bush walk at Kruger National Park, Johannesburg
We enjoy an early morning Bush Walk accompanied by an armed ranger. You will be shown various interesting details of the bush, including insects, spoor and scats. You have an excellent chance of encountering Buffalo, Nyala and other game on foot. After breakfast, we drive to the Three Rondawels of the Blyde River Canyon. We return you to your hostel or airport at around 17h00.

Includes:
• Return transfers from Johannesburg
• 3 hour Sunset Big 5 game drive in Big 5 reserve
• 4 hour Big 5 walk with armed ranger
• 2 hour afternoon game drive on Balule Game Reserve
• Full Day Kruger Park on open vehicle
• Breakfasts, Dinners, Accommodation and bedding
• Sunrise bush walk with armed ranger
• Blyde River canyon and Three Rondawels

Excludes: Lunches, Transfers, Drinks & Laundry

Book Now

LOCATION | SIGHTSEEING:

The best advice you'll get from us is to try to see some of the country while you're in South Africa. It's big (huge!) and each different region is exciting and very, very beautiful. Cape Town is probably the most beautiful city in the world (I can say that, I grew up there :-) KwaZulu-Natal comes a very close second, albeit very different. Knysna is where South Africans go on holiday, which gives you some idea of how lovely the region is. When you lie on the beach and watch dolphins jumping the waves, you'll think you're in Paradise.

LOCATION - KNYSNA:
Knysna is approximately 500km from the beautiful capital city of Cape Town and voted South Africa’s favourite town 4 years in a row! Its mountainous backdrop, impressively sized estuary and indigenous forests really give the town a natural feel to it. Although it still has that ‘small-town’ feel, Knysna is growing rapidly, and has all the amenities you could ask for such as banks, hotels, internet café’s, cinemas and shopping malls.

Knysna nestles on the banks of a beautiful lagoon in the heart of the ‘Garden Route’ of South Africa. It is surrounded by a natural paradise of lush indigenous forests, tranquil lakes and golden beaches, making it a real natural wonderland.

Knysna is a vibrant town, buzzing with creativity and energy, and the pulse of good music. It's a place where the you can enjoy the mellow atmosphere of street cafes, watching the world go by. The main street is very leafy with trees along the pavements and it has a wonderful holiday atmosphere with sun umbrellas everywhere.

Most cafes have outdoors seating areas overlooking the street or on the pavements, with colourful sun umbrellas - a perfect place to sit with the sun on your face, watching passers-by ambling along, sipping a steamy cappucino or staving off the heat with a cold drink.

About 20-30 minutes' drive away from Knysna you'll find Plettenberg Bay (better known simply as Plett), which is a bit smaller than Knysna, but equally stunning. Its' pure white beaches stretch as far as the eye can see and there is a lot to do, from whale and dolphin watching, to hiking trails and awesome nightlife.

The Garden Route is famous for all sorts of activities from adrenalin sports such as bungee jumping, skydiving and shark cage diving to more relaxed pursuits such as hiking, quad biking in the forest or visiting one of the many animal sanctuaries in the area. Your local Travellers liaison will be happy to assist you in finding interesting things to do and places to see so make the most of it!

TRAVEL:

Read about Travel arrangements and what happens when you arrive in your new country.

REVIEWS AND FEEDBACK:

MARY STOKES
British
Teaching Music to Township Children in Knysna

Life is so different here it really gives you a new perspective on everything. On my first day I was so nervous I didn't know if I would be able to do it, but then I realised that everything was going to seem totally alien and the best thing to do was give it my all... which seems to have worked!!! I have also been taught some Xhosa words by the kids!!! Which was amazing...a sharing of cultures!

I've been taking this little group of grade 5 for recorders and we have been working towards performing in assembly on Monday, which is cool. It is so cool seeing them just learn so quickly - one girl started just 2 weeks ago and she is as good as the rest of them now.. playing along with old macdonald like a pro!!

In my first week my grade 7 class performed a song in assembly, which was awesome, they remembered the actions and the words and looked like they were having a great time up there.

I would definitely recommend this placement to others. It's just amazing to see kids who really want to learn. I love it when the kids come up and ask me what we are going to do today! I think this placement would suit anyone who is willing to just throw themselves in the deep end. The kids are just amazing, with a little patience and a lot of enthusiasm you'll have a ball!

Can you describe a typical day?
We normally get picked up about 7.30 and get dropped off at school about 15mins later. On Monday we have assembly but apart from that the 1st lesson is dedicated to reading. In this class I have been able to do some Shakespeare and some poetry and next week I plan to do Red Riding hood. Try and get there a little early because the kids have "praise time" before lessons start, with some of the most amazing singing you'll ever hear. I was so surprised the first time I walked into the class and they were there singing in multipart harmony without any teacher input! Wow.

After reading there are 2 lessons and a short break, 2 lessons and lunch and then one lesson... we usually get picked up before the last lesson around 1.30, although Anna and I have been helping with netball this last week so we have been picked up later.

You will have to do some marking - I spent about a week marking poems and I also do some marking in class. I have been lucky as I was able to take some lessons myself. We spent a few lessons making some amazing posters about synonyms and we have been doing some work on poetry.. and of course you might be able to teach them a song or two.. which is so much fun! (though I was truly humbled when I heard some of theirs!).

I've just had a great time, thanks so much for helping me be a part of life here in Knysna. The kids really are great and they are so excited to learn. The memory of them performing "I'm going on a bear hunt" will stay with me forever. Being able to get involved with the Arts centre and the soup kitchen was awesome fun as well.

I loved playing with the kids at the soup kitchen - we took some giant bubbles and their screams of laughter when they popped them were so infectious, and my shoes will forever be tinted blue after the finger painting incident!

ADAM BOND
American
Teaching Drama to Township Children in Knysna

I did a blog and this is the last paragraph of the last entry with my final thoughts:

This was the first time I travelled on my own, it was daunting but they say to get a child to swim you have to throw it in the deep end and it will swim on its own. This child swam and became a man.

Seeing the township opened my eyes to how bad it is there. Actually eating in one of their houses just made you realize, this is for real. And I wasn’t even in the worst parts. But these people are so happy, they will bend over backwards for you, and will always be smiling. Even the children just run around and play with the biggest smiles on their faces without a care in the world, and yet children in this country (I know because I was one of them) will cry if they don’t get the right playstation game or iPod or whatever.

In our country we waste so much, and when I see the little these people have. Literally getting anything they can to make their houses, it makes you think. Will it change the way I live? Sadly probably not, I'm not a prophet or anything. But will it change the way I look at things?

Definitely.

... So has this trip changed me?

Yes it has. For one thing I feel I'm a stronger man inside now, even if just a little. It’s made me look at my life and think beyond the music. I want to do more and I don't want to sit in Cambridge all my life. I want to see more places, more people. The world is a massive place, and you can’t see it on a TV screen.

LUCY MORRIS
British
Teaching Arts, Culture, English and Life Orientation to Township Children in Knysna

I am now coming to the end of 11 fantastic weeks teaching Arts and Culture, English and Life Orientation at a primary school in a South African township. Without a doubt, this has been the most rewarding, yet challenging experience of my life.

It has been wonderful, as a gap year student with no teaching qualifications, to be able to walk into a school and teach the children what I think they will benefit from learning, with no moderations, reports or curriculum to stand in the way. As the daughter of a primary school teacher, I am very aware of how much the paper work now dominates a teacher’s role in England; here, I’d say 90% of the role is teaching, and 10% lesson planning and marking work. It is more simple here and in many ways the schools are about 30 years behind English schools! Having few assessments (twice a year) means there is more time to teach, which can only be a good thing.

Although there is a syllabus, I found it difficult to follow as there were big gaps in the children’s knowledge (for example, how could I teach the G major scale if they cannot yet read the notes?) so I taught them what I thought would benefit them most. Often, the gaps are there because the teachers here don’t know it themselves – sometimes a teacher will sit at the back of my lessons doing the same classwork as the children.

Having said that, I am often pleasantly surprised at what they can do and what they know. Their knowledge of their own culture is very impressive (thankfully, as I couldn’t teach that!), and it is a joy to teach music to children who have a natural rhythm and love to sing. Music is a big part of their culture, and they are not embarrassed to sing in front of others like many English children – in fact if I teach them a song in class, they sing so loudly it’s deafening! They learn songs by ear and pick up tunes and harmonies very quickly.

One of the most rewarding things I’ve found is teaching them a song in class and then hearing it being sung for their own enjoyment around school for weeks afterwards. I found that teaching them to read music enables them to learn more songs themselves, which will benefit them in the future. Likewise, they can all dance (really well!) and I learnt pretty early on that they were going to teach me more dance than I was going to teach them (suits me fine!).

The teachers who usually take my classes are very different too – one tells me what I should teach and checks my lesson plans, whilst another has said I can teach whatever I like from day 1. Many things are difficult to adjust to - the classes are enormous (usually between 40 and 45 children), they use chalkboards (the dust gets everywhere!), there are pigs, chickens, dogs and cows from the township wandering around the school, all practical subjects are taught in the playground (there is no school hall or gym) and I am yet to see another white person in the school!

Learning the children’s names is incredibly difficult as they are almost all Xhosa (their language) names – very hard to pronounce and remembering them is as hard as learning the language. I know the bright ones and the naughty ones, but I’m sure remembering the names of all 500 children I teach is impossible…!

The resources here are very poor in comparison to most English schools, but they are far better than I expected. For example, there are some computers (no internet connection), a photocopier, text books and a small library, all of which are very useful. I bought the school some percussion instruments to use in lessons as they had none, and I will never forget the look on their faces when I first showed them a tambourine! They appreciate their resources very much and using them effectively/finding alternative teaching methods just adds to the challenge.

I underestimated how challenging the language barrier would be. For many, English is their 3rd language (!) after Xhosa and Afrikaans, so it’s very impressive that at age 9 they know enough to be taught in it! But I came to SA with the typical English attitude that ‘Everyone speaks English’, and they will do – but not fluently until they are near to finishing primary school. Many of the younger children still have only a basic understanding, and it often takes a few attempts to get a point across using words, actions and drawing pictures on the board! It also took them a few weeks to get used to my accent, especially since the previous Travellers volunteer was Canadian.

I love it when they teach me words in Xhosa too, even when they laugh when I pronounce words incorrectly!

At first, I was overwhelmed at how much there is to learn about the school and the township (even finding the classrooms is tricky at first) but as my confidence has grown, I have enjoyed it more and more – so much that I never want to leave. I have grown very fond of the children – some of whom are so inspiring – and the other teachers/staff are very friendly and a good laugh. The children are polite, enthusiastic and have big personalities, and I wish I could bring them home with me!

My placement has given me amazing insight into another culture, and I have probably learnt as much from the children as I have taught. I will come away from this experience with a new appreciation for life – it is humbling to see how happy these children are despite having very little, and I am proud to have made some difference to their lives. I have learnt new songs, some phrases of a new language and even some traditional dance, and I have gained teaching experience, an insight into a very different culture and memories that will stay with me for ever. I would highly recommend this placement to anyone who is positive, creative, up for a challenge and willing to embrace a very different way of life.

Other music opportunities in South Africa:
As a musician, I was keen to teach and share my love of music as widely as possible here in South Africa, and I feel very lucky to have been given some extra opportunities for this, outside of the classroom.

I run the school choir with two other Arts and Culture teachers, which has expanded since my arrival – now open to grade 6s and 5s as well as grade 7s, and to boys as well as girls (something I was keen to enforce). The choir has as many as 60 children in it, and the sound they make is thrilling. As the teachers do not read music, I taught them the songs they had the sheet music for, as well as some South African songs I knew from my choir at home. I have also accompanied them on the piano and djembe drum, and in return for me teaching them the music, they teach me the African words!

They have also taught me songs from their culture which I can take back to England with me. Choir is one of the highlights of my week and I come out of each rehearsal with a big smile on my face. I will always remember the joy in their faces when they sing and the way they so naturally move as they sing – it’s amazing to be part of it.

I also took the opportunity to teach a marimba band at the township’s youth and development centre. The centre was recently bought 3 marimbas (similar to xylophones), and I have been teaching the 4 teenage boys who come twice a week for an hour’s session. Again, I teach them songs by ear but using the note names (I refer to the notes by name but they are only just starting to read the written music) and as the boys have a natural rhythm and good ear, they are quick learners. I started with a fun arrangement of ‘Zippedy-Do-Dah’, which I had heard performed by a percussion band at home, and have since taught them their National Anthem, ‘Waka Waka’ and ‘Wave Your Flag’, all of which they requested!

Teaching the band takes a fair bit of preparation; I have had to write out 4-part arrangements of each piece, which is fairly time-consuming as each marimba has a different range (just 10 notes for the bass and over 2 octaves for the highest). But it is well worth it! It is great fun and very rewarding and I never want to stop after an hour! Seeing their excitement and pride when a piece comes together is a real buzz; I only wish street-kids in England would be so keen to play musical instruments!

AMY POWELL
British
Teaching Drama to Township Children in Knysna

Having a fantastic time out here experiencing a complete culture change that tests your adaptability and awareness. Also an experience of independence on a variety of levels, although I feel quite looked after in the house with other volunteers and Sharon is very supportive and attentive, but you still are living with people you've never met, in a strange new environment etc.

There's also independence within the school in terms of using your initiative. I have learnt that if you fail to have independence and initiative with enthusiasm whilst teaching you can fade into the background and attend your placement but not do an awful lot! (e.g sit and mark work) however if you DO have that, you can do so much more. For me I am pleased with how much independent drama teaching time I have been given!

What was the best thing about the placement?
To be honest, all the small things from the teaching/time with the children/the letters they get you/when they sing back a song you taught them - it all adds up and gives you a great feeling!

Although jumping the worlds highest bungee jump was a big achievement for me and something unforgettable! So that too!

Can you describe a typical day?
Wake up/drag ourselves out of bed about 6:45ish, have a quick breakfast and ready to leave at 7:30! Arrive at the school at 8, go to your designated reading class for first period (or assembly if its a Monday), lessons last 50mintues. Then 2 more lessons following your timetable.

10 minute break mid-morning, then 2 more lessons (for me it was English grade 7 or drama grade 4) then a 20 minute break, then 2 more lessons again (however you do find you have some free periods for lesson planning which we usually went to the staffroom or to the small computer room).

And then a 2 o clock finish when you feel rather tired!!

DAVID CORBET
British
Teaching Drama to Township Children in Knysna

What experience do you feel you are gaining?
Regarding the teaching placement alone, I am beginning to develop my skills in the classroom. For example, keeping the children's attention throughout the lesson is becoming a less frantic task as my placement progresses, as is the planning of lessons; this is due to my increasing teaching skills but also because of the close relationship I am building with many of the students. I am also becoming more aware of how the skills they are gaining at school will eventually determine their futures, inspiring me to make the most of my time in the school.

What is the best thing about your placement so far?
Number one: the other volunteers, who, over just two weeks, I have bonded with greatly; it was very sad to see the first two, Jack and Tim, leave this weekend. Close second: the school-children and their constant enthusiasm, (despite their rowdiness in certain lessons!) The weekends are definitely up there with the first two, the world's highest bungee jump certainly hitting the top spot in that aspect of my placement.

Would you recommend this placement to anyone else?
I would recommend this placement without hesitation.

What type of person do you think this placement would suit?
I think the placement is quite versatile, you choose what you want to do at the weekend and on evenings (and there is never a shortage of things to be doing at the weekend!) so anybody who is willing to get on with other volunteers (a massive, and possibly underestimated part of the placement, or at least, it was for me before I arrived) Obviously, somebody with a willingness to teach the basics of subjects and with enough enthusiasm to last the day with excitable children!

What, if any, improvements could be made to the placement?
Erm...... how about a giant Jacuzzi/Swimming Pool for the house? Oh and champagne delivery on a weekend wouldn't be too bad either....

Was there anything that you weren’t told before your departure that you think future volunteers should know?
Not at all, you quickly adjust to the requirements of the placement.

LUCY WALKER
British
Teaching Drama to Township Children in Knysna

Things have been so wonderfully busy in South Africa, with trips climbing up Table Mountain and experiencing the nightlife of Cape Town, whale-watching in Hermanus, open-water diving....and of course setting up the drama project. It's quite magical to be here. Knysna is better than imagined....the volunteers are all very lovely, friendly, fun-loving and understanding friends now.

The teachers are very supportive of all Vicky and I are doing...and we've shared many a giggle with each other in the staff room and beyond. Trying to pick up Xhosa...my teacher is Jane, the cleaner, who is incredibly patient with my slow language-learning skills. So, in answer to your questions:

(a) I like, actually love, everything....it's more luxurious than life back home; and

(b) [What can we improve on your project?] The only thing to improve is my Xhosa!Just to fill you in on a wee snippet of school life... the teachers (who seemed very distant towards our ideas at first) have been slowly approaching us to do workshops in their lessons. Word has spread after the first few we took.

On Tuesday I was teaching a class about floods, earthquakes and volcanoes and yesterday I held a workshop on Maths....yes maths!! I had the children pairing into different numbers, shapes and they loved it. We then had a decimal point quiz involving conversions from fractions and percentages. There were other games fitted in as well and by the end of the 3rd period there was enough time for the children to perform some traditional songs and dances...magic. There seems to be a huge interest from the kids about the drama club after school which Vicky and I will be holding on Wednesdays....we may have to split up different ages and hold a few more workshops each week. Its so lovely to be with such enthusiastic young people...they've never had a drama lesson in their life, but they're natural born performers all of them.

Yesterday in the maths lesson there was one little girl...absolutely tiny would looked so scared (excuse the phrase 'runt of the litter' but it's just to give you a picture). Well she seemed to be mocked by some of the other children (predominantly boys) and I couldn't help but feel protective of her. When it came to the kids putting on their own individual performances, she stood up, a few of the boys sniggered and she was muttering to herself in a consoling way. There she stood, this tiny figure in the middle of the classroom with total fear in her eyes. She opened her mouth and the most beautiful little voice came out. After a while some the other girls joined in and harmonised from the sidelines. It was the bravest performance I've ever seen and got the loudest applause. At the end of the lesson I approached her. She looked as though she thought that I was going to swallow her up...and I said "you've got the most wonderful voice. Thank you for singing to us." She gave me a huge smile.

I've taken pictures of all the teachers....they are NOT camera shy...they love a digital camera. And with the photos I've made a smart collage of them with names underneath and will be displaying it on the reception wall. It helps me learns their names too. We have such a giggle with them and the head master is very supportive of all we want to do. The kids love playing at break time. I seem to be the only one of the volunteers who lets rip with them at playtime.

We've played at funny walks, animals and even had a huge human train going around the playground at one point!!

LUKE BRENNAN
British
Teaching Drama to Township Children in Schools.

I am absolutely loving this experience. I feel like I am really making a difference at my school placement and at the same time feel that I am benefiting from being there just as much as the students are from having me there!

There's so much opportunity for extra involvement as well. For example, as well as teaching dance and drama at the school I am also directing a play and giving private dance classes at lunch times. The volunteers also get the opportunity to visit and help out at a soup kitchen and orphanage in the township which we go to a couple of times a week after school. This is great fun and also a very humbling experience. I don't think I could actually define my "best experience" as one moment.

What with teaching at the school, rehearsals for my play, the dance classes, soup kitchen, orphanage, hanging out at home with the other guys, going for a drink, the worlds highest bungee jump, trips to the beach, and countless other activities we really are spoilt for choice. I have been here for over 2 months now and I can honestly say there has not been 1 day that I haven't enjoyed!!

I would definitely recommend this placement to others. It is an amazing experience with a lot of opportunity to make a difference. The area is beautiful and travelling is easy. The house we stay in is lovely and the Travellers staff are such kind, loving people which really makes it feel like a home away from home. What with all the other volunteers and the travellers staff it really does feel like our own little family.. well our own very big family I suppose!!!!

This placement would suit someone who has an interest or passion for teaching. You must also realise that Africa is a completely different way of life - far more laid back than I was used to back in England. A person considering this placement would need to be the kind of person who can make the most of situations, stay positive and use their own initiative to achieve the goals which they feel on completion would benefit the students the most.

Can you describe a typical day?
The bus picks us up at 7.10 for an 8 o'çlock start at school. School finishes at 2pm and then we have the choice of going to the orphanage, soup kitchen or hanging out at home or in town. We usually all eat together at about 6/7pm. Obviously the days are quite different on the weekend when we go on trips and out in the evenings etc.. there's also the opportunity to get a gym membership, play sports, fish and other activities which I enjoy doing throughout the week. Also, of course, some time is spent planning lessons and activities for the students.

I am incredibly happy with my placement and am glad I chose to do 4 months instead of just 1 or 2 as I am just really getting my teeth into the program. Really am just LOVING this experience!

MELANIE GREEN
British
Teaching Drama to Township Children in Knysna

I wanted to send you a small note to say a huge thank you for helping me to have an amazing trip. I absolutely loved every minute of it!

Once I got passed the initial culture shock, it was amazing! I decided to mainly teach the older end of the school (grade 7, 11- 15 yr olds), as these children can speak the best English, and, as I was wanting to teach drama, it was more appropriate. Grade 7 have a lesson called Art and Culture, and the teacher was away on maternity leave, so I took over from a past volunteer, Katy and continued to teach these classes, with help from the 2 other volunteers, Aarti and Becky.

At first me and Katy taught quite a bit on music from around the world, which was really good fun. Those kids can really dance! Then I focused quite a lot on "performing" and what was involved in performances. All these lessons lead to an amazing talent show which was held in the last week of our placement. We had rehearsed a lot throughout the weeks before in class time, but mostly after school, with acts such as gospel singing, kwaito and pop dancing, rapping, gumbance dancing and acting sketches!

Although very stressful, by the time the kids knew what they were doing and we'd hired the big sound system, it was fantastic! We also charged the affordable fee of 2 rand to watch so we fundraised money for the school. I have so many amazing memories of the school. Leaving was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, especially because I got close to a lot of the kids. I’ve got a book full of messages from Grade 7, and they're lovely souvenirs. All the staff were fantastic too, and we enjoyed a few cocktails in Chilli Groove bar when we left!!

Past volunteers told me about a soup kitchen that was set up in a small house in one of the townships, and we went along to help one day. It was heart breaking to see so many kids, hungry and dirty, but with the biggest smiles on their faces. I automatically felt committed and continued to go when the 2 volunteers went home. The soup - side of things was only the first 15 minutes or so, when we would hand out bread and fill their little chipped cups up with soup. The rest of the time, we spent dancing, singing, playing games, skipping and having a real laugh with them. They were so cute, ranging from 2 years old to 18. They were all so curious of us at first, which is understandable, but once they realised we were there to help, they really warmed to us! They'd talk to us about their days at school, what they enjoyed doing, who they "fancied", ask us questions about ourselves, or some would just sit on you and stroke your skin and hair or just dance and sing! After about a week, they were calling us their best friends!

It was such a brilliant experience and again, it was so hard to leave. We got close to a lot of them, especially the older ones, as they'd come and chat to us and ask advice on boys/girls and it was like having a friend from home with us!!

When we left, Benji (the guy who runs it), was telling us about a creche he is wanting to set up, linked with the soup kitchen and I would love to go back to see how its going. And of course how could I forget to mention Newton Street! The house I was living in was fantastic and so much fun! Everyone was so nice and our regular Friday nights out in town certainly did bring us closer together!! I loved staying in the house, and the lifts to school every morning with Jim and the food Pauline cooked and talking to Julie (our excellent cleaner) everyday after school. It all added to my brilliant time in South Africa! I would definitely recommend it to other potential GAP year takers!

It definitely was a real culture shock for me and it has changed my life for the better! I see things in England very differently and can't wait to get back out there! I'm still in touch with a lot of the friends I made out there. Teachers from the school, pupils from the school and a few of the older ones at the soup kitchen, via air mail, texting and emailing.

It really was the best experience I’ve had and I am already planning to go back next year in my uni summer holidays, if you'll have me!! I made some really good friends in the house as well who I am planning to meet up with within the next few weeks! So thanks again and can't wait to get in touch to plan my next placement!

JACK GUNNER
British
Teaching Drama to Township Children in Knysna

South Africa is great - the house and other volunteers are really good fun and its been a great experience - and such a nice place to live for a few months.

I have gained a great experience in teaching, something I have not really done before, and the placement gives a real insight into how a school works. It is valuable to have experience on working with children of many different ages (I have personally taught from 9-16 year olds).

It has also given great experience for me, as a drama student, to teach on a very basic level drama and acting. This will be of great use to me as I take drama to university. Teaching English as a second language has also been a fascinating and very challenging experience.

The best thing about the placement so far is having an entire class eager to get up and participate in the drama games, which takes a while, but is great fun when it happens.

I would absolutely recommend this to others, it is a fantastic country, a great town and though challenging, a very interesting experience.