Love surfing and want to volunteer in wildlife conservation? Gap Africa Projects have many different programmes that allow you to do both.

When choosing a volunteer programme abroad as part of a gap year, you should look for a way to combine your interests and maximise your experience. For those who love sun, sand, surfing and wildlife, there are many conservation programmes that place you in excellent locations close to fantastic sand and surf. Many of these programmes are on Gap Africa Projects’ lists, with information about the nearest surfing locations and other outdoor activities. In fact, for those who love being outdoors, many of these wildlife conservation volunteer programmes would be ideal, combining the acquisitions of practical hands-on skills – such as building, surveying, etc. – with an outdoor environment that encourages adventure, exploration, and fun. This article will talk about the Gap Africa Projects that combine outdoor activities – especially surfing – with exciting volunteer projects.

Pumba Game Reserve

This large wildlife and game reserve is located in on the eastern cape of South Africa and is nestled in one of the region’s greatest biodiversity habitats. The reserve offers many volunteer programmes, including an accredited seven-week Wildlife Training Course, and an excellent volunteer conservation programme that gives its volunteers experience working with the “Big 5”, hippo, cheetah, and many others. This reserve is also the home of one of the only two populations of White Lion free ranging in South Africa. Importantly, it is also close to Jeffery’s Bay, which makes it a great Gap Africa Projects pick for surfers. This is the location of the ‘supertubes’ – giant and long-riding waves that entice avid surfers from all over the world.

O.R.C.A. Marine Foundation

This amazing volunteer programme sees its participants work with one of the leading marine conservation initiatives in South Africa, which collaborates with local government and communities to bring together realistic policies to deliver positive, sustainable change. Located in Pettenberg Bay – with its miles of unspoilt, sweeping beaches and dramatic surroundings – this project’s location is perfect for those who enjoy energetic river and ocean activities, such as rafting, canoeing and diving. There is also a trend here for tree top canopy trips and bungee jumping, making this an exciting place for adrenaline lovers.

Shamwari Conservation Reserve

At the Shamwari Game Reserve, a popular pick for Gap Africa Projects, volunteers get the opportunity to work behind the scenes in conservation efforts, with assistance from the award winning Conservation Department of South Africa. With a strong focus on ecology, this volunteer programme specialises in wildlife conservation that incorporates local communities into educational projects. This diverse volunteer opportunity places its participants in the eastern cape of South Africa, with easy access to both the Wild Coast and the Sunshine Coast. These locations are both reputed as having some of the world’s best beaches and surf.