Wildlife safaris and touring Africa go hand in hand. Experiencing game drives and soaking in adventure activities on a trip to Africa is inevitable and is a part of every traveler’s bucket list. Similarly, there are a number of activities, in search of which, tourists arrive at African countries in huge numbers. However, there is one factor that many travelers miss out on amidst leisure traveling and adventure trips; volunteering in Africa. And that is where I count myself out from the common league of leisure travelers.
Taking part in volunteer work in Africa is a different league altogether. I was no more a mere tourist to the region but became a substantial part of the community. It gave an opportunity to get close to the lifestyle of people in Africa and learn about their daily challenges, culture and traditional nuances, and language basics.
So, if you are keen in traveling Africa for more than just a safari trip, then here are a few recommended activities to take part in;
Living with the Maasai community in Kenya
Africa is known to survive several tribal communities within its deep forests and remote areas. While most of them still prefer living in their own world, there are a few who have opened their gates of hospitality for the outer world; the Maasai Community is one of them. Known for their ‘jumping’ uniqueness, the people of Maasai community still hold on to their traditions and, that is exactly what you may just get to witness and understand on your volunteer trip to Kenya.
Teaching English to the children of Zanzibar Island
For once it may be a bit difficult to accept that a region, known for its dense forests, rocky mountains, and ancient tribes, can have an exquisite archipelago as well. But, to your pleasant surprise, there is one; the Zanzibar island in Tanzania. This archipelago is a part of the Indian Ocean and inhabits a population of some 1.5 lac natives. Tourism is one of the key industries through which one can make a living in this area, and having a good hold on the English language can only be as helpful. There are several elementary schools in the area where you can volunteer as a teacher.
Helping to reshape the communities of Uganda
It is not common to see a country like Uganda in a travel bucket list of Africa, but it is only when you visit the country, that you will understand what many have been missing out on. This landlocked country in Eastern Africa has a rich natural beauty in its core to boast about. Apart from inhabiting some of the most exclusive and endangered wildlife in the world (chimpanzees, gorillas, etc.), the region is crossed by the largest lake in Africa; Lake Victoria. And then there are snow-capped mountains and lush green national parks to add to the beauty. However, there are weaker sections of the local communities which needs some refurbishing, and that is exactly what you can help doing. Imagine what it would look like when, both, the communities and the ecosystem will carry a suave image.
Working for the welfare of wildlife in South Africa
If you bifurcate the statement “Volunteering travel in Africa”, you will understand how obvious it is that you can have the opportunity to work for the welfare and development of wildlife in Africa. The African jungles are home to the famous BIG 5 (Lion, Rhino, Elephant, Buffalo, and Leopard), and to preserve these invaluable assets there are a number of reserves as well as wildlife sanctuaries which inhabit these BIG 5. You can be a part of these reserves as volunteers and work for the welfare of the animals. Living with the BIG 5 of Africa, sounds cool isn’t it!?
Enhance sports skills in the children of Ghana
Photo Credit: camfed.org
If there is one sport for which people vow for in Ghana, it is most certainly the game of Football. The craze and love for this sport in Ghana is not hidden, and the fever has reached its all-time high since the world cup of 2010, when it became the only 3rd African nation to enter into the quarterfinals of FIFA world cup. Today, every second child dream to be a part of their national team, but not many make it due to economic constraints. There are several coaching institutes run by local welfare authorities where such children from weaker section of the society are provided football coaching. You, as a volunteer, too can be a part of creating history for Ghana, by preparing the future champs.
Support woman empowerment efforts in Morocco
There are certain common visuals you may picture when thinking of a typical African country; such as, wildlife, tribal people, dense forests, game drives, etc. However, when you take Morocco into consideration, it reflects an ambiance that is totally unconventional from a typical African lookout. The country survives a cultural amalgamation of Berber, Arabian, and European regions. Volunteering in Morocco can be a highly intriguing and one of the most different travel experience you can ever imagine. Volunteers have the opportunity to work for the welfare and development of women in the society.
While it is not necessary to take up volunteering on your trip to Africa, it certainly is a great way to learn about the destination in depth. Volunteering abroad is an activity, commonly, taken up by gap year students. But, whether you are a backpacker or a vagabond traveling to Africa, volunteering will certainly show you a different angle of the African region. So, why just travel, when you can volunteer travel.
An engineer by education, writer by profession, traveler by passion, and big time foodie by obsession. I like to travel places, and that prompted me to take up writing as i wanted to share my experiences with the unlimited audience.