Community tourism projects in South Africa are inspired by Nelson Mandela's legacy of moral fortitude and offer a way for the local and international traveller to acquire a little of his glow and change the southern tip of Africa for the better in some small or large way.

Did you know?

The Bulungula Lodge has created jobs for over 35 people in the village.

The number of choices for volunteering in South Africa can be bewildering. There is a wide range of local and international organisations doing amazing community tourism projects throughout the country.

If you have more than few days, the Bulungula Lodge in the Eastern Cape should be your first stop. The lodge provides a platform for outsiders to access one of the poorest communities in South Africa.

The lodge is nestled on one of the most remote beaches in the country. You can spend your days getting involved by making bricks, stamping corn, brewing beer or catching crayfish. Stay longer and share your expertise with the community, be it in art, teaching or nursing – all contributions are welcome.

Calabash Tours, also in the Eastern Cape, allows volunteers to go into the local schools to teach at the same time as they learn from the community. Children can benefit from your time and knowledge while you can forge relationships that will change the way you look at the world.

You2Africa offers a diverse choice of community projects with children. Work at a soup kitchen or visit a school for troubled boys, play football, share stories and change lives. Orphans and abandoned babies are a big problem in Africa. Why not spend some time looking after those without anyone to love them?

The South African branch of the international organisation Voluntours has a variety of volunteering options available, both in the wildlife conservation and humanitarian fields. Among these are conservation projects focusing on dolphins and sharks, as well as humanitarian-based projects focusing on education.

Remember that whatever community tourism project you select, make sure that the money you spend is going back into the community by choosing only those volunteer projects who follow the Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA) code of good practice for volunteerism.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact


Tel: +27 (0) 11 315 4049


Tel: + 27 (0) 21 424 2840

Calabash Tours

Tel: +27 (0) 41 585 6162

Bulungula Lodge

Tel: +27 (0) 47 577 8900

How to get here

South Africa is served by several international airports.

Best time to visit

Community tourism projects are run throughout the year.

How to get around

Public transport, especially the informal taxi service, is best if you want to get a feel for the way the locals live.

What will it cost

Costs vary depending on the project.

Length of stay

Most community based initiatives require a minimum stay of 4 weeks.

Where to stay

Try to get involved in projects that allow you to stay in the community, allowing you to really become part of the initiative.