10 Best Places to Volunteer in Africa in 2018

by Published

If you’re wondering which continent is one of the most popular to volunteer in, you guess right if you say it’s Africa. Although many African countries have developed into strong economies, they still suffer from social issues in overcrowded cities and impoverished rural areas. Africans are also eager to learn English but many cannot because schools are under resourced or locals are too poor to attend. This is where international volunteers can help, providing English language instruction to those who need it most.

Young boy looking at the camera

Ready to do volunteer work in Africa?

Why should you volunteer in Africa? First of all, it’s immensely rewarding to share your knowledge and skills with those who are underprivileged. Second, if you choose to do volunteer work in Africa, you can gain skills that will help develop your resume, especially if you want to work in international development later on in life.

Where should you volunteer? You can find the best Africa volunteer programs spread across the north, south, east, west, and central regions. Work with an African orphanage in Egypt in North Africa or sign up for teaching volunteer programs in Africa in West African countries like Nigeria and wildlife conservation in East African countries like Tanzania and Kenya. Volunteer abroad Africa includes medical volunteering in southern African countries like Botswana and central African countries like Rwanda. 

Ready to learn more and get involved? Our meaningful traveler community has spoken, and we’re here to report the 10 top destinations to volunteer in Africa in 2018!

1. South Africa

School building in South Africa

Help bring change to South Africa—Volunteer in its local schools and orphanages.

South Africa is one of the most popular places for volunteer work in Africa. Since the end of apartheid in 1994, the country has been progressing but still needs international volunteers. Work in animal conservation and environmental awareness education in Kruger National Park. Future Doogie Howsers can also work in health education to help control South Africa’s high HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and fetal-alcohol syndrome rates. 

Recommended program: Volunteer in South Africa with African Impact

See ALL volunteer abroad programs in South Africa

2. Nigeria

Smiling Nigerian girl

Bring a smile to the face of young Nigerians by volunteering abroad in Africa.

Although Nigeria, the giant of Africa, is rich in oil and mineral resources, there are still several ways you can volunteer there. Work in agriculture, AIDS awareness campaigns, and community development. You can also teach English or sports to kids in rural parts of the country. If you’re Christian, there are even opportunities to spread the gospel in communities across Nigeria. 

Recommended program: Volunteer in Nigeria with GivingWay

See ALL volunteer abroad programs in Nigeria

3. Gambia

Group of happy women in Gambia

Really get in with the locals by working in Gambia.

Gambia is Africa’s smallest country that also needs volunteers. About one third of the nation’s population live below the poverty line so many international volunteers work in development projects in urban and rural areas. Volunteer in Africa programs in this West African country usually involve human rights, environmental planning, education, medicine, and preventative healthcare. 

Recommended program: Volunteer in Gambia with Frontier

See ALL volunteer abroad programs in Gambia

4. Egypt

pyramid

Volunteer in agriculture in Egypt, home of one of the world’s oldest civilizations.

Although the Nile has long served as the lifeline of this North African country, today, it feels the strain of an ever increasing population. Egypt also suffers from a lack of enough arable land and poor infrastructure in certain parts of the country. Volunteer in Cairo to teach English to adults and kids or work in environmental protection and conservation in coastal areas. Volunteers can also work in community development projects and in farming.

Recommended program: Volunteer in Egypt with Baladna Projects

See ALL volunteer abroad programs in Egypt

5. Sierra Leone

Group of women work on farm in countryside

Work with locals on farms in Sierra Leone.

Although blessed with natural beauty, Sierra Leone has long been plagued by the consequences of civil war. As a result, it desperately needs international help especially in preventing disease, dealing with poverty, and restoring the country’s infrastructure. Volunteer with orphans and AIDS patients in Freetown or work with the deaf in Makeni. Teach English and other subjects in Sierra Leone’s schools and help provide health education to locals. 

Recommended program: Volunteer in Sierra Leone with CIDS4KIDS

See ALL volunteer abroad programs in Sierra Leone

6. Mauritius

Birds eye view of beach and ocean

Work in marine and beach conservation in Mauritius, the star and key of the Indian Ocean.

Located 1200 miles from Mozambique is the island of Mauritius. Although the former home of the dodo is blessed with year-round tropical weather, biodiversity, aquamarine waters, and white sand beaches, you can still volunteer to help preserve its natural beauty. Volunteer in marine conservation on Ile de la Passe or beach conservation on La Preneuse beach. 

Recommended program: Volunteer in Mauritius with Working Abroad Projects

See ALL volunteer abroad programs in Mauritius

7. Ethiopia

Group of smiling and laughing young people

Make a real difference in the lives of young Ethiopians while volunteering in Africa.

Volunteer in Africa’s Ethiopia, the original home of coffee and the rumored location of the Ark of the Covenant. Lend a hand in local communities by volunteering in healthcare, education, and community development. Work with street children, help those who were affected by civil conflict, teach English in elementary schools, or share your time with orphans or those afflicted by HIV/AIDS. 

Recommended program: Volunteer in Ethiopia with BCI

See ALL volunteer abroad programs in Ethiopia

8. Kenya

Herd of zebras in savannah

Help protect important (and often cute) species in Kenya.

Lion King fans, put down your poor cat and take an Africa service trip to Kenya, your spirit destination. This is the place to be if you want to save wild cats in the savannah. Volunteers can also help educate the communities, build houses, or clean up rural villages. Even if you aren’t a fan the Disney movie, don’t discount Kenya totally. There’s still a lot of volunteer opportunities in social welfare, healthcare, or education programs in Nairobi, Mombasa, and other areas. 

Recommended program: Volunteer in Kenya with IVHQ

See ALL volunteer abroad programs in Kenya

9. Morocco

Child on mothers back looks at camera

Make a difference by empowering local women in Morocco.

Sign up for trips to Africa to help the people of Morocco. Because the country does not legally recognize children born out of wedlock, many live on the street and in crowded Moroccan orphanages. Spend time with these kids and make them feel loved. Teach English in local schools or help the local women feel more economically and socially empowered in Rabat, Tangier, and Casablanca. If you’ve got a medical background, work in Moroccan clinics and hospitals that need the extra help.

Recommended program: Volunteer in Morocco with Love Volunteers

See ALL volunteer abroad programs in Morocco

10. Botswana

Group of tribespeople walking in the bush

Volunteer to preserve the natural environment of Botswana.

Volunteer in Africa in Botswana, a country blessed with diamonds, game reserves, and national parks. Work in Gaborone, the nation’s capital, Maun, the tourist hotspot, or Serowe, in the eastern part of the country. Popular volunteer programs include wildlife and animal conservation, rehabilitation projects for locals, and working with children who have HIV/AIDS.

Recommended program: Volunteer in Botswana with Projects Abroad

See ALL volunteer abroad programs in Botswana

A note from GoAbroad

We’d like to thank our community for not only inspiring us daily, but for also giving us enough insight to share accurate predictions for meaningful travel in 2018.

Learn more our research methodology, recommended programs, and links here.

Read the full report here.

Browse more of this year's report on top destinations to find volunteer work abroad

Find your next great international volunteer project