Do I need a VISA?Open or Close
For most countries, you do not need a Visa if you are in South Africa from one-to-ninety days. If you are staying for longer than ninety days, we will help you to get the papers you need for the application. The application must be sent to your embassy within sixty days before you depart.
Please contact your embassy as soon as possible for more information about the visa requirements for your country. We will then assist you with anything you need from South Africa to complete your application.
Accommodation in Cape TownOpen or Close
If you're staying between one and three months, you will room-share with another volunteer, student or intern. This is included in the price. If you visit for over three months, you'll stay in a single room.
It's possible to request a single room for the duration of your stay, but this may increase the price, in addition to being subject to availability.
African Sunrise works with several landlords in Observatory with various houses. Every property has Wi-Fi, shared kitchen and bathrooms, cupboard space, desks and bedding.
For larger field studies or volunteer groups - we use our favourite backpackers. Their house has a braai area, big garden and outside space, communal areas and large rooms.
If you want to book your own accommodation, that can be deducted from your overall price. However, it's still advisable to get our team to arrange it for you to avoid any issues.
Is there WIFI?Open or Close
Wi-Fi is available in all houses.
Most coffee shops and restaurants in Observatory offers free Wi-Fi.
Can I Take Time Off from My Project?Open or Close
Yes, you can. The correct process is to notify your project in advance with the details, in addition to our team, so we know you're safe.
Is Cape Town safe?Open or Close
It's true that South Africa has high crime rates, and like most major cities, Cape Town has its issues with crime. However, due to its status as one of the world's must-visit tourist destinations, there is a noticeable law enforcement presence.
Every house we rent has private security alarm system which includes instant call-out response teams. Additionally, Observatory has a dedicated safety patrol unit on twenty-four-hour alert, as well as security guards on foot and bicycles.
Prevention is often the best deterrent. The African Sunrise team will take you on an orientation and introduction day as soon as you arrive. This will include advice on reducing the risk of being a victim of crime. Don't take unnecessary risks, limit your use of valuable electronic equipment in public.
If your project is situated in or near a township, the project will have appointed security networks to greet you and escort you in and out of the facility.
What are the prices like in South Africa?Open or Close
The prices in South Africa for most things are cheaper than Europe.
A meal will cost you between three and five Euros in a restaurant during the day, slightly more evening time and depending on the type of food they serve. Cape Town is famous for its high quality of food and places to eat out, with cuisine from all over the world here.
It's customary to tip 10% for a meal if you though the service was excellent.
Grocery shopping is also less expensive than Europe for most items.
Is there an Option for Gluten and Dairy Allergies?Open or Close
Yes, Cape Town has many options for people with allergies and special dietary requirements. You'll also find vegetarian and vegan food choices in many restaurants, and various substitute items in most grocery stores. Additionally, several health shops cater for people with gluten and dairy allergies.
Can I use my phone in South Africa?Open or Close
Yes, you can, but it must be unlocked for other sim cards. You may need to consult with your service provider before you leave your country.
During your introduction, we will assist you in buying a new sim card for your phone and show you how to use it.
You can buy the correct plugs and adapters for your laptop or cell phone in any supermarket in Cape Town.
How will I get around?Open or Close
There are lots of ways for you to get to and from your project, as well as travelling throughout the city and Western Cape Province.
When you arrive, we will take you on your first mini-bus taxi trip during orientation. Volunteers, students and interns often use these unique and infamous taxis as they're cheap and easy to locate.
For people who prefer something more direct and comfortable, you can request an Uber via their app. There is a similar company in South African called Taxify who use the same set-up. And there are several meter taxi companies in Cape Town.
There are two bus operators in Cape Town - MyCiti and Golden Arrow. Additionally, there is a train service that has stations throughout the city and outlying areas.
For tours, African Sunrise uses a couple of Cape Town best transport companies.
What else is there to do in Cape Town?Open or Close
There is so much to do in Cape Town and the Western Cape, it's difficult to list everything in one place. Once you are settled, our team will take you around Observatory to show you some of the local places to eat out and shop.
We will also help you find and book any of the activities that are happening in Cape Town, and we also take you on a Cape Point Tour as part of your package.
Here are just a few other activities:
Garden Route tour
Hiking up Lion's Head and Table Mountain
Shopping at V&A Waterfront and Cavendish malls
Surfing and other watersports
Restaurants, bars, nightclubs
Skydiving and bungee jumping
Numerous museums and art galleries
You can read a blog we wrote about some of the popular activities previous volunteers and interns enjoyed here.
What language is spoken in South Africa?Open or Close
South Africa has eleven official languages. The languages most used in the Cape Town area are English, Afrikaans and Xhosa. Most of the children at the projects speak English, so communication will not be an issue.
Other things to noteOpen or Close
It will take some extra patience when you first begin at your project.
Things won't operate as quickly or efficiently as they will back in your home country. There may also be times where you don't feel as involved as you'd like when you first start at your project. A lot of the initial work will be getting to know the people, gaining their trust and confidence to build relationships. In time, you'll be able to start taking a more hands-on role in your project.
Feel free to use your own initiatives at the projects, especially if you have ideas for workshops or activities.