Learn to Surf and help children reach for their dreams
Muizenberg, Cape Town is renowned as one of the best places in the world to learn to surf. There are no rips and currents, just gentle waves which roll in, almost begging you to ride them! On this trip you’ll learn the thrilling, addictive art of surfing (it’s not as easy as it looks!) and then have the fantastic opportunity to surf with kids from the underprivileged areas around Muizenberg. They have a tough upbringing in which money is short and their community is troubled by violence and tragedy. The opportunity to get out of that situation and into the water where they can laugh, have healthy, happy fun and forget their troubles for a few hours is absolutely priceless. And they wouldn’t be able to do it without the help of volunteers like you. You’ll be exposing them to new skills, culture and experiences while you get to spend your days on the beautiful beaches or in the water, soaking up the sun and escaping the humdrum of everyday life. In your free time you can explore everything that amazing Cape Town has to offer. Who would have thought that giving back could be so much fun?
Learn to surf or improve your skills on one of the most chilled out, surf-friendly waves in the world
Surf with kids who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity – and help to make sure they’re doing it safely.
Enjoy life on the beach and all its related activities from beach volleyball and soccer to chilling with a book.
Experience beautiful Cape Town and all it has to offer.
At a Glance
Project duration: Minimum of four weeks
Location of project: Muizenberg, Cape Town
Arrival airport: Cape Town (airport code CPT) arriving no later than 4.15pm
Activities: Learn to surf, with underprivileged kids, help out in the office where the project is run from, project development by taking photos or blogging for the website. Help out with kids activities such as hiking or beach soccer.
Working hours: Monday to Friday, 10am-5.30pm, occasionally up to 6.30pm if activities run over, weekends are free.
Getting to the project: Around 30 mins - a short multi-person taxi ride and a train journey (budget approx US$20 per week) – or walk to office if you choose to stay with the project.
Requirements: Minimum age 18, police check required, must bring your laptop
Accommodation: Shared dormitory room in volunteer house, same sex rooms
Food: Self-catering (budget approximately US$50 per week)
Airport pickup: Included on arrival date - ask us for details if you’re arriving early
You need to organise: Flights, insurance, visas, return airport transfer (in country)
Your role at this project is multi-dimensional and your help is invaluable. First you’ll learn to surf (or get to improve your skills if you already know how). What a fun way to start!
Then it’s your turn to give back. The surf school you’ll be working with ongoing programmes with the kids of local communities, giving them a chance to get out on the water and taking them on fun outings to develop their little minds and bodies - and enjoy a much-needed break from home life. There are many kids around who need this opportunity and the project needs lots of caring, passionate volunteers like you to lend a helping hand.
These kids and their families simply can’t afford to do any of this on their own, so you’ll really be having an impact of their lives and helping them to see that there is a much happier, healthier side to life than the one they usually experience. One of them might even become the next Kelly Slater!
Along with your own surf lessons you’ll help the centre prepare for the kids’ surfing lessons, including activity plans and equipment. You’ll also get them into wetsuits and ready with a surfboard. Then it’s into the water! Muizenberg Beach is one of the safest beaches around and don’t worry, you’ll never be in charge of more than one or two kids. Their safety is very important and an experienced instructor will always be nearby.
Most mornings start with a surf (tough life!) followed by work in the office blogging, social networking, brainstorming new ideas to improve the project and other helpful tasks. In the afternoons you’ll help with outdoor activities with the kids, which are usually either surfing, hiking or soccer – but sometimes the team likes to surprise them with an exciting activity, or even a night out at the movies.
You’ll assist with the development and networking of the project by taking photos, writing blogs and posting to websites and social networks. The project welcomes your suggestions on how to improve – this way you can help ensure the project continues to make kids’ dreams come true.
You’ll also teach these children, who don’t have money to travel, about culture, ideas and life outside their community. And you’ll find that these brave, enthusiastic little heroes have lots to teach you too. We know you’ll fall in love with them and this will be an experience you’ll never forget.
Note: the project has all the resources you’ll need. However, if you’ve got your own wetsuit, bring it along (you’ll be provided with one if not). Please also bring your laptop to help out with administration duties. Running a programme like this takes lots of work so wherever you can help, your input will be appreciated!
The weather can become quite cold, especially during the winter months of May to September, so please pack some warm clothes.
Day 1 (Monday) – hello and welcome!
Arrive at Cape Town International Airport (airport code CPT) where you’ll be met at the airport and taken to our surf house in Muizenburg. You’ll need to arrive before 4.15pm so that you’re in time for orientation at 5pm. The journey from the airport to Muizenburg takes about 45 minutes and you’ll see the magnificent Table Mountain on the way! Orientation will take you through what you can expect from your project, dos and don’ts and how to stay safe. It’s also a great opportunity to ask any burning questions you’ve got. Afterwards you can relax, enjoy a delicious South African meal and prepare before your first day at the project.
Note: If you aren’t able to arrange a flight to get you into Cape Town before 4.15pm then we recommend you fly in a day early. We can arrange an early airport pickup for you including one night’s accommodation. Please give us a call for more information.
Day 2 to 5 (Tuesday to Friday) – surf’s up!
Your first day on the project will be all about fun! After a short orientation from the surfing academy, including health and safety on the project, it’s time to get suited up, grab a board and enjoy your first surf lesson with a fully qualified surf instructor. Prepare to be amazed and stoked – although you probably won’t be elegantly cruising by the end, most people manage to stand and catch a wave within a couple of hours. After that you’ll be hooked!
This project operates from Monday to Friday and generally the days go as follows:
- In the mornings (from 10 am to 12pm) you’ll have access to surf boards and wetsuits so you can practice your own surfing skills. Every day! What a luxury.
- Afterwards you’ll lend a hand in the shop or the office polishing or fixing boards and helping with other equipment and admin. You’ll learn some amazing new skills from seasoned professionals here.
- Break for lunch and catch a tan, socialise or read a book till 2pm when the local kids start arriving (you can buy lunch at the cafes in the area or bring food with you).
- It’s all hands on deck to prepare the kids with boards and wetsuits before their lessons between 3pm to 5pm, then help pack up afterwards.
- Hop on the train back home and enjoy the evening. In the first few days you’ll probably fall straight into bed with aching arms dreaming of barrelling waves and golden sand. But soon you’ll be super-healthy, fit and strong.
Days 6 and 7 (Saturday and Sunday) It’s the weekend!
Spend your free time as you please. If you’ve had enough of the beach (we doubt it! And there are loads more stunning beaches to choose from apart from Muizenberg) Cape Town offers so much to do. Visit the city, climb Table Mountain, check out a penguin colony, go wine tasting or check out the many fascinating museums and art galleries.
Following weeks – just keep surfing!
Now that you’re familiar with the project and Muizenberg’s waves, you’ll really start to get the best out of your time here. Your surfing will improve and you’ll watch your kids get better too. It’s an incredibly rewarding experience. This one-on-one time with these children, as well as visits to their communities, will give you unique insight into their lives, their situations and South Africa’s troubled history. We take so much for granted and you’ll become aware of what a positive impact you are having.
Your Last Day (Monday) – goodbye, we’ll miss you!
Say goodbye to all your new friends and travel back to the airport. The return transfer from Muizenburg to Cape Town International is not covered within your project fee but our regular transfer company will help you organise the journey, budget around US$35/ R350.
About the Project
The organisation you’ll be working for runs two arms – they give surfing lessons to tourists who lap up the opportunity to learn to surf in such a spectacular, yet safe, environment. This commercial side provides the funds for the upliftment side of the project. The local surfer who founded the company is passionate about helping disadvantaged children and the project’s mission is to get them off the streets and into the water, giving them a constructive and positive experience away from the negative influences of gangsterism, alcohol and drugs.
Surf lessons and other activities also teach the kids about the ocean and their environment, about healthy eating and fitness – and about the power of positivity, perseverance and ambition. Surfing is an expensive sport and these kids would never have this opportunity without the help of this project.
While you're here
Our large surf house in Muizenburg will be your happy home for this trip. It accommodates up to 10 people in dormitory-style, same sex rooms with bunk beds, a maximum of four people per room. There are three bathrooms with hot, running water, showers and regular flush loos. There’s also a lounge area with amazing sea views. You’ll be only a short distance from the shops and beach.
You’ll be self-catering while in the house. The kitchen has everything you need from cookers, loads of fridge space and microwave to toaster, kettle and and kitchen utensils. You can eat at the dining room table or lounge on the balcony. You can also grab takeaways at the many spots in the town, about 10 minutes’ walk away.
Note: While in the house you will be responsible for keeping the place clean so please tidy up after yourself, especially in the kitchen. Budget around US$50 per week for groceries, as prices are similar to home.
Facilities and the area
- There’s a phone at the house for incoming calls, and buy local phone cards to make outbound phone calls.
- Washing can be done at the laundry down the road: simply drop off your clothes and pick them up later!
- Cape Town has a temperate climate but winter is still chilly so pack warm jumpers and even some cosy socks as SA doesn’t have central heating.
- Bedding is provided but bring a sleeping bag for away weekends and extra warmth.
- Bring along a towel
- Muizenburg main street is only 5 minutes’ walk away where you’ll find a supermarket, serviced laundry and internet café, as well as banks and other shopping. The beach is just a stone’s throw beyond that!
- Bars, restaurants, more shopping and more beautiful beaches are only a 2 minute walk away.
- Muizenburg is on the train line and trains are a great way to travel but they stop running at 7pm.
- Taxis to Cape Town CBD cost around US$35/ R250 each way.
Advice & Safety
Throughout your programmes you will have the support and guidance of the programme co-ordinator and team. You will be provided with competent assistance and help with any questions or advice you may need during your stay and someone will always be available in case of emergency.
What you get
We're always available to offer support and guidance before, during and after your trip.
Thorough project briefing materials
Once you’ve booked you'll receive a full pack of all the information you need for the project. It contains general information about volunteering, your specific project and South Africa as well as advice on safety, visas and inoculations.
Don’t worry about arriving in a new country on your own. We’ll be there to welcome you and take you to your accommodation.
Soon after you arrive you’ll attend a thorough orientation with our team. It covers everything you need to know about your next few days, dos and don’ts and your safety. You can ask any questions and find out more about the fun stuff to do around Cape Town and South Africa.
Accommodation and meals
Accommodation is included with all projects and meals are included with some. We only use locally-owned and operated accommodation so that part of your placement fee is filtering back into the local economy. Most projects offer homestay, guesthouse or shared volunteer houses as standard accommodation, but some offer the chance to upgrade to a more comfortable living standard.
24/7 emergency support
We’re always on hand in case of an emergency.
After you've booked
- You will receive a welcome email confirming your booking
- You’ll receive a full project pack with all the info you need
- You’ll be asked for any extra info if we need it – such as doctor’s notes for medical conditions, or maybe a CV on some projects
- You’ll need to pay if you haven’t paid already (at least 90 days before travelling)
Then the fun starts!
Next you should:
- Book your flights
- Arrange suitable travel insurance
- Get a visa for your trip if it's needed
- Visit a nurse or travel clinic for advice on inoculations and malaria prevention
- Start packing and come and join us!
*Remember to keep our contact details in a safe place in your hand luggage in case you need to contact us during your travels.
About South Africa
South Africans are patriotic and passionate about their country. And it’s not despite the country’s famously troubled history – it’s because of it! The people of this democratic country are so proud of how far they have come from the dark days of Apartheid and it makes us grateful for the diversity of cultures and languages that make up our amazing rainbow nation.
South Africa is a country of diversity in so many ways. It’s not a big country but travelling across the length and breadth of it, you’ll encounter an incredible range of climates and landscapes. There’s beautiful Cape Town, with its Mediterranean feel, pristine white beaches, sparkling oceans and magnificent Table Mountain providing the craggy backdrop for every setting. Travel east along the Garden Route with its picture-postcard coastal villages and you’ll eventually reach Durban and surrounds, a tropical area where the sun shines almost every day, the sea is warm and the surfing is fantastic! Then there’s the rugged Drakensberg mountain range, a place of rich Zulu heritage, spectacular views and jagged sweeps of peaks. Further north you’ll hit South Africa’s famous ‘veld’ or bush where you’ll find Africa’s big five and many thousands of other species of animals, hiding out in landscapes that are lit at sunset by the most vivid orange, pinks and purples.
There are so many things to see and do here that you’ll need years. But if your time is limited, here’s our top five must-dos:
You can’t come to Africa and not experience the amazing animals, the wild and beautiful African bush and the chorus of an African dawn. Kruger National Park is the most popular choice but there are a host of other parks in the northern parts of South Africa and the Free State as well as KwaZulu-Natal, offering a range of options from the most luxurious accommodation with chefs at your service to DIY game viewing and camping.
Adventure is the name of the game in this crazy country and if it’s outdoors and adrenalin-inducing, you’ll find it here. From the highest bungee jump and highest commercial abseiling in the world to shark cage diving, downhill mountain biking, trail running, walking safaris, big wave surfing and multi-day hiking, there’s something for ever thrill seeker.
South Africa has thousands of miles of glorious coastline, with Blue Flag beaches and hidden gems dotted along its length. There’s beaches for the glamorous, where you can go to see and be seen, beaches perfect for families, beaches for walking, beaches for swimming and beaches for watersports. There’s probably beaches which have never been trodden by a tourist before. Go on, we dare you to find it!
Nightlife, restaurants and entertainment
No holiday would be complete without a few good nights out and South Africa knows how to entertain. With so many cultures making up our population, there’s loads of delicious food on offer full of every fresh ingredient you could think of. There are pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes to suit every taste. South Africa is famous for its wonderful wines and there’s a craft beer revolution happening right here. Pack your dancing shoes!
A taste of township and culture
South Africa has a rich, tumultuous history dotted with dismal lows and incredible highs – and full of astounding stories from amazing people. It’s what makes South Africa the colourful place it is. Museums of every shape and size document the various aspects of our human and natural history, arts and culture – you’ll find them all over the country. Or why not take a township tour and experience the true heart of South African culture? If you’re visiting Cape Town, come to Kommetjie and visit Masiphumelele with the Township Sisters, our special Volunteer and Explore partners, and help support the sustainable development of this vibrant township.