Port Elizabeth Sports Development

Creating platforms for overseas volunteers to work in the townships and to interact closely with local – predominantly Xhosa – communities is still relatively new, as South Africa’s history has only allowed township communities to receive attention since the 1990’s after the collapse of apartheid.

Project includes the following

Accommodation Yes
Meals Yes
Transport Yes
Project co-ordinator Yes

Cost of Project

5 weeks 1280 euro 1664 USD 1024 GBP
Extra weeks 220 euro 286 USD 176 GBP
Extra nights 30 euro 39 USD 24 GBP

About this project

History of the Project
Walmer Township childrenCreating platforms for overseas volunteers to work in the townships and to interact closely with local – predominantly Xhosa – communities is still relatively new, as South Africa’s history has only allowed township communities to receive attention since the 1990’s after the collapse of apartheid. Due to these historical reasons, townships are still today “taboo” zones for many people and it is only by "crossing the bridge" that the experience turns into unforgettable and rewarding times.

They hope that through your commitment and their experience, you can – together – make a humble but nonetheless significant contribution toward the social uplifting and empowerment of disadvantaged communities. The experience of sharing, learning and exchanging through exciting daily activities will help the legacy ideal of providing opportunities for underprivileged youth, whilst creating better understanding between people as well as leaving you with lasting memories of an unforgettable human, cultural and work experience!

Mission of the project
The project is aimed at strengthening the psychosocial development of South African children and youth, through participative education, sports and social / health awareness projects. The project’s mission is to encourage this through the promotion of intercultural exchanges and the development of well-defined local projects, which broaden opportunities for the youth of South Africa and provide tools for responsible citizenship. This aims at achieving the vision of bringing about sustainable social change and strengthening communities.

Interactive sports activities – both fun and competitive – are a powerful tool and an extraordinary leverage mechanism to develop life skills and encourage sustainable social change. The focus is on developing personalities, life skills and reducing at-risk behaviour by broadening youths’ options, bridging social divides, increasing health-related knowledge and awareness and providing participants with tools to help them make the right choices in addressing and facing social negatives.

The projects have long proven the tremendous potential of sport to positively impact educational aspirations, grades and achievement scores, self-esteem, self-confidence and social connectedness to reduce delinquency and school drop-outs. Their efforts provide a complement to a traditional mentoring / role model strategy by empowering the young participants to take responsibility and be sustainable change agents within the community. The project curriculum emphasizes on-going active and experiential learning and includes tactics for the beneficiaries to “get the message out” to their two core social groups: peers and siblings.

The project’s approach is to encourage sustainable change by motivating the participants to become opinion leaders in their social network of peers and siblings. Research supports the strong influence of positive peer relations, with peer-led groups resulting in significant improvement in knowledge compared to teacher-led groups. The impact of the projects hence goes beyond its immediate beneficiaries and positively influences peers and siblings not directly involved. The activities are aligned with government and corporate interest in strengthening leadership capacities and in strengthening the capacity of communities through sustainable social change. They are equally in line with the efforts aimed at attaining the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

"Sport is increasingly recognised as an important tool in helping the United Nations achieve its objectives, in particular the Millennium Development Goals. By including sport in the development and peace programmes in a more systematic way, the United Nations can make full use of this cost-efficient tool to help us create a better world"

Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General

"Sport has the power to change the world, the power to inspire, the power to unite people in a way that little else can..."

Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa

"Sport, with its joys and triumphs, its pains and defeats, its emotions and challenges, is an unrivalled medium for the promotion of education, health, development and peace. Sport helps us demonstrate, in our pursuit of the betterment of humanity, that there is more that unites than divides us."

Adolf Ogi, former Special Adviser to the Secretary-General of the United Nations on Sport for Delopment and Peace

Other volunteers
The project’s local partner welcomes hundreds of people each year, all from different walks of life and from all over the world (though mainly the UK and USA). This provides for an enriching exchange opportunity not only with the local communities, but also with volunteers from different international backgrounds. Some people travel with the project as part of a long break, year out or career break, whereas other people book the project’s trips as part of an activity holiday, working holiday or volunteer holiday. One thing is for sure, you will leave your trip with new found friends, locals and internationals. Generally though, most of the volunteers and activities are rather youth focused. The majority is of 18-25 year olds who are doing a gap year or who simply wish to enrich themselves with a genuine cultural and human experience and entering the field of youth and community development. The project does not cater for any person under the age of 18 but any person above the age of 25 is more than welcome. They usually represent some 20% of the volunteers.

Depending on the sessions, volunteer groups can vary from 10 to 70 persons at a time.

Tasks and activities

Play and coach sportsAs mentioned, placements are primarily within the education and development through sport projects, coaching and / or promoting social and health awareness. Alternative non-sports placements include teaching, arts and crafts or working with disabled or HIV/AIDS affected children.

YDS - Sports Coaching Placements
Join one of our volunteer coaching placements in South Africa during your gap year, career break or activity holiday and play and coach sports to keen young players who are passionate about football/soccer, cricket, rugby, hockey, netball, tennis, basketball, swimming and more. As part of the life-skills curriculum, promote good citizenship and impart social / health awareness and knowledge.

Non-Sports Placements and Work Experience Internships
If you want to get involved in worthwhile volunteer work in South Africa during a gap year, career break or activity holiday, then you should check out our teaching, arts and craft or orphanage care work projects. You will be able to gain a valuable work experience and use your creativity and care to broaden opportunities for sick, disabled or underprivileged children.

A typical weekday:
08h00 : Wake up time
08h15 : Breakfast
09h30 : Departure for the various placements
10h00 : Activities at various school or orphanage placements
12h30 : Packed lunch
14h00 : Activities at various after-school or arts and design placements
17h00 : Last return to accommodation
18h30 : Dinner

Evenings: Occasional activities but usually free - can be spent either at the accommodation or out. Only condition: be fit the following morning!
Weekends: Occasional work but usually free for outings and activities or personal time and travel.

Area description

Port ElizabethPE is the biggest city of the Eastern Cape with approximately 1,2 million inhabitants (including the Northern areas, Despatch and Uitenhage). In the Eastern Cape you will find cities such as Bisho, King William’s Town and Umtata which are found in the regions of Transkei and Ciskei, they were previously known as homelands.

During the Apartheid era, the ‘homelands’ were the home of the Xhosa speaking people. There weren’t a lot of facilities and work opportunities in those areas. The Xhosa’s worked in the bigger cities, but went home every year to visit their families. Fort Hare University was the only university in the area where Xhosa’s were allowed to study. Famous politicians namely Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and Steve Biko completed their studies at the university. Although Bisho is the capital of the Eastern Cape, it remains poor and an undeveloped city. Many people move from these homelands to the bigger city in search of employment and a better life.

PE is the fifth biggest city in South Africa. PE has the biggest car manufactures (Daimler Chrysler, Volkswagen and General Motors). This provides plenty of employment. Besides that PE is developing the biggest harbour of South Africa, called the Coega Project. It contributes to the economic growth of the Eastern Cape.

The Eastern Cape is culturally diverse as is the nature and the climate of the region. The diversity in culture is represented by the black (mostly Xhosa speaking), coloured, Indian and white people of Port Elizabeth. You will recognise that the white people still have economic power while the black people are still struggling economically. This is slowly changing with the growth of the black middle class.

When you look at the map of PE you’ll see how the city is divided due to the time of Apartheid. The rich, white areas are situated by the sea, the centre and the the coloured and the black people live there. The houses are smaller and more compressed than in the southern and western part of the city. These areas have their own schools, shops, sport fields, churches and hospitals. During Apartheid there were only two entrances to those areas, this made it easy for the police and the army to shut down the neighbourhood during demonstrations and uprisings.

The townships (black communities) are situated far away from the white, rich southern part of the city. The townships are known for poverty, small houses or shacks and a bad infrastructure. The situation is slowly changing. The government and NGO’s are trying to improve the circumstances in which these people are living.

A good way to understand and see this for yourself would be to go on a township tour, for instance through your project co-ordinator. We advise you not to do a township tour with Calabash (a big township tour operator) because you won’t get the true township experience while travelling in an air-conditioned bus for the whole tour. Another good way to learn more about the history of PE is to go on the Donkin Heritage Trail (5km), a beautiful walk with 47 historical and special places in PE. There are also museums which are filled with the history of PE and a ghost trail, an exciting tour that leads you through PE in the dark.

The project takes the safety of their volunteers very seriously, and while living overseas is an exciting and eye-opening experience, any experienced traveller will warn you of the dangers of being unprepared. Like anywhere else in the World, security can never be 100% guaranteed. Crime in South Africa is a real issue and one needs to remain aware of it at all times. This is why they take a number of security measures to make sure you have a safe and enjoyable trip abroad. The project’s staffs regularly visits all the activities in South Africa. Their permanent overseas expatriate and local staff is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week and live in the volunteer accommodation.
The project will provide you with lots of information about your destination and how to stay safe abroad. The projects staff is experienced and will always be willing to help you prepare for your trip. The project will meet you at the airport in South Africa and put you through comprehensive inductions and local orientations.

Port Elizabeth the Friendly CityThe project will keep easily accessible records of your travel information including flight details, insurance policies, medical conditions and next of kin. So, you can see that quite a lot goes into making sure you are kept safe and secure while away. This peace of mind for you and your family is priceless. With this kept in mind, we have seldom encountered problems and Port Elizabeth is widely known as the “Friendly City”!

At the accommodation is a central safe where all passports and travel documents can be kept. There are also individual lockers in each room which are locked with a normal padlock, so you can be sure that your valuables are safe when you are out.


Fully inclusive free activities and outings (in 12 week stay)

  • Visit to Kragga Kama Game Reserve – Port Elizabeth
  • Authentic evening meal under the stars at the Bush camp Boma – Port Elizabeth
  • Traditional dances and drumming performance and workshop
  • Visit of the Red Location Museum in the historical New Brighton Township
  • Braais, games, etc… - at the accommodation

Outings where free transport is provided, but activities are at own cost (for 12 week stay)

  • Day at surfing mecca of the world – Jeffrey’s Bay
  • Wilderness adventure activities and nature outing at Storm’s River

Travel and adventure in South Africa
Play basketball with childrenPort Elizabeth is a hot-spot for travellers worldwide and with its abundance and variety of exciting activities there is no wonder why. You will be able to experience all the delights of the local area, including the game reserves, its renowned scuba schools and friendly nightlife, as well as its 40km of golden beaches. Access is also provided to a whole assortment of sports and adventurous activities for you to try out - if you can master up the courage! Think of activities such as: mountain biking, camping, shark cage diving, bungee jumping, 4x4 safaris, golf, fishing, scuba diving, parachuting, horse riding, dune boarding, boogey boards, deep sea cruises, microlight and helicopter flights, tennis, squash, kayaking, badminton, water-skiing, coastal hiking, power kiting and more!

All these activities are at the volunteers’ own expense. So, to give you an idea of prices, here a selection of paid activities that the project can propose and facilitate:

  • Weekend bushcamp experience along the Fish River, including horseback safari (R1 400)
  • Skydiving – Plettenberg Bay or Grahamstown (R1 500)
  • World's highest bungee jump at Bloukrans Bridge (R700)
  • Day excursion to the Sundays River (water-skiing, fishing, dune boards, braai – R250)

If you will have time to travel around South Africa and beyond, whether you decide to head west to Cape Town and its legendary Table Mountain or veer north to Namibia and its desert beauty, their in-country staff will be able to advise on safe ways to travel and will be only too happy to suggest some of the best sights to see in South and Southern Africa.


You will be staying in a communal accommodation in town, basic but comfortable with dormitory style rooms and shared toilets and showers. The accommodation has a very sociable atmosphere and you will find it a great place to relax and unwind in the evenings, with a swimming pool and lots of activities such as ping pong, TV/DVD room, pool table, braai area, etc…. The accommodation is centrally located to the placements (5 minutes' drive from the nearest townships) and not far away from the city centre (8 minutes’ drive), shopping centres (within walking distance), the beach (10 minutes' drive) and the night life. Where walking is too far, it is advised to use taxis or minibus taxis.

Volunteer accommodation57 King Edward Street
Newton Park
Port Elizabeth
6045 South Africa

All meals are provided and will offer a range of familiar and more unfamiliar dishes, so be open and try the diversity of what we can offer.

Arriving at the project
You will arrive in Port Elizabeth either by air, bus or vehicle. Either option; we will pick you up from the airport or bus station and welcome you in PE. The coordinator will take you to the volunteer house where you can settle in. Upon arrival the coordinator will sit down with you to go through some rules and regulations and answer all your questions.

Daily transport
Your transport is provided and you will be driven to the different locations of the sports project on a daily basis. The vehicle is also there for weekly shopping sprees and visiting the supermarket. If you want to go out for a drink or dinner by yourself you can use local cab services for minimum costs.

Possibilities for arranging own transport
If you like to do your own thing for the weekend and rent a car; no problem, there are several car rental options available with which we gladly help you when you are here. Car rentals start from R120 (12 euro or 17 USD per day) for a basic older car, but there are lots of options so let us know and we can help you out.

Travelling before or after your stay here can also be provided by booking with your project co-ordinator and get some great discounts on;
- Bazbus www.bazbus.com 5% discount
- Nomad Overland Tours www.nomadtours.co.za  10% discount
Contact us for any travelling questions; you never know, we might get you a great discount.


This project only takes volunteers for a minimum of 5 weeks.

5 weeks 1280 euro 1664 USD 1024 GBP
Extra weeks 220 euro 286 USD 176 GBP
Extra nights 30 euro 39 USD 24 GBP

Included in costs – while in South Africa:

  • Transfer to and from the Port Elizabeth airport
  • Full orientation and induction to your project and the general local context upon arrival
  • Accommodation in a communal house with swimming pool and all amenities
  • Three meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
  • Your volunteer placement or training course
  • All work related local transport
  • Necessary equipment and briefings
  • 24/7 in country attention and support
  • Numerous free weekend and evening social, adventure and cultural activities
  • Work experience and reference letters on request
  • Lots of advice on what to do and where to go in your free time and further travels
  • Unforgettable memories and lifelong friends!

Excluded from costs (but we are happy to help with):

  • All flights
  • Visas (when applicable)
  • Vaccinations and medications
  • Local transport which is not work related (we encourage volunteers to use local taxis or public transport)
  • Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
  • Laundry service
  • In-country travel and personal spending money, i.e. all costs related to personal social, tourist and cultural activities – the project can assist with bookings and useful advice
  • All travel and personal insurances: loss of personal property, illness, accident (whether during an activity linked to the project or not), repatriation, personal liability, etc.

Dates and duration

The amount of time you wish to travel for is a key factor when choosing your trip. This means the project usually gets two types of travellers: the first type are people who want a long break (12 weeks or more) from their current life plan, for example gap year takers in between school and university or postgraduates straight after university. There are also the career breakers and young professionals who want to take some 'time out' from their current job or place of work.

The second type of travellers are those who would rather take a shorter break (minimum 5 weeks), usually as part of their annual holiday allowance. But instead of sipping a Pina Colada by the pool in Tenerife or Florida, these travellers have a hunger to do something a little more adventurous and social in their time off, by bringing a contribution to the development of underprivileged youth.

Each calendar year is subdivided into a certain number of 5 to 12 week sessions, with only the swimming coaching placement being season dependent. Sessions are established based on the local school calendar, so hosting volunteers during the gaps between sessions is not possible. Sessions are as follows:

3 months 5 weeks
11th January - 05th April

A: 11th January - 15th February
B:15th February - 22nd March

12th April - 28th June
(note this is an 11 week session)

A: 12th April - 17th May
B: 17th May - 21st June


A: 19th July - 23rd August

30th August - 22nd November A: 30th August - 4th October
B: 4th October - 8th November

Start Dates 2014:
11th Jan* - 5 weeks, 6 weeks, 7 weeks, 8 weeks, 9 weeks, 10 weeks, 11 weeks, 12 weeks
15th Feb - 5 weeks, 6 weeks, 7 weeks
12th Apr - 5 weeks, 6 weeks, 7 weeks, 8 weeks, 9 weeks, 10 weeks, 11 weeks
17th May - 5 weeks, 6 weeks
19th Jul - 5 weeks
30th Aug* - 5 weeks, 6 weeks, 7 weeks, 8 weeks, 9 weeks, 10 weeks, 11 weeks, 12 weeks
4th Oct - 5 weeks, 6 weeks, 7 weeks

* indicates you can come on this date for a full 12 week trip (maximum duration).
Note 1: 5 weeks = 35 nights, 6 weeks = 42 nights, 7 weeks = 49 nights, 8 weeks = 56 nights, 9 weeks = 63 nights, 10 weeks = 70 nights, 11 weeks = 77 nights, 12 weeks = 84 nights
Note 2: dates are based on school holidays and are subject to change.
Note 3: All programs run from Saturday to Saturday

Should the volunteer wish to leave the session temporarily for any reason, it is required that he / she give the Coordinator at the project a minimum of 72 hours prior notification. No refund will be granted, with terms and conditions applying.

Volunteers must organise their flights accordingly. Make sure you book your flight to arrive into Port Elizabeth Airport (airport code: PLZ) and that you communicate precise arrival details to ensure your airport pickup.

Practical tips

Summers get really warm and winters very cold. This is a summer rain fall area. There is usually no snow in winter.

Summer (Dec, Jan and Feb): 16 – 45 ˚ Celsius
Autumn (Mar, April and May): 10 - 32 ˚ Celsius
Winter (June, July and Aug): -5 - 25 ˚ Celsius
Spring (Sep, Oct and Nov): 10 - 32 ˚ Celsius

Bring clothing for a variety of weather conditions. Even though it is Africa it is not always hot and especially in winter the nights can be cold. So bring a wind jacket and some long trouser, a hat is always handy on sunny days and some good shoes for weekend outings and running around with the children.

Education & development through sportsSouth Africa has been referred to as the 'rainbow nation', a title which epitomises the country's cultural diversity. The population of South Africa is one of the most complex and diverse in the world. Of the 45 million South Africans, nearly 36 million are Black, 4 million White, 4 million Coloured and one million Indian. The population density is 32.9 people per km².

The Black population is divided into four major ethnic groups, namely Nguni, Sotho, Shangaan-Tsonga and Venda. There are numerous subgroups of which the Zulu and Xhosa (two subgroups of the Nguni) are the largest. The majority of the White population is of Afrikaans descent (60%), with many of the remaining 40% being of British descent. Most of the Coloured population live in the Northern and Western Cape provinces, whilst most of the Indian population lives in KwaZulu Natal. The Afrikaner population is concentrated in the Gauteng and Free State provinces and the English population in the Western and Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal.

There are eleven official languages in South Africa, namely English, Afrikaans, Ndebele, Sepedi, Xhosa, Venda, Tswana, Southern Sotho, Zulu, Swazi and Tsonga.

South Africanisms
just now sometime soon, shortly
now now sooner than "just now"
howzit hello (a greeting), as in "how is it going?"
bakkie pick-up truck
robot traffic light
braai barbeque
garage petrol station

Especially for a country like South Africa, researching the history before you go will explain the cultural differences you will see and will add a whole new dimension to your experience. If you understand the history of a country you will understand not only the country but the people, their culture and customs.

Way of life in SA
It is important to also prepare yourself and obtain local knowledge. Get a good guidebook and look into it before you go to inform yourself about the country and their people. This will help you avoid offending people or breaking local laws however unwittingly.

Show respect towards the people and culture of the local communities. You might not agree with certain ways of conduct during your stay here, but please don’t forget you are a guest here, and you can’t try to change everything in a period of just a few weeks. The people in the townships live in visible poverty but have a high self-esteem and their self-esteem and dignity must be honoured.

The way of life and work in South Africa is a lot different from other continents.
Foreigners consider South Africans often as lazy, always late, talking loudly, chaotic and hot blooded. But are you, just because of the fact of being from overseas and not from South Africa, then automatically hectic, not enjoying life, always focused on work, always on time, humourless, serious and cold blooded? Pretty sure you are not like that, so please think twice before you form an opinion and always keep in mind that we are all the same human beings no matter where we come from or how we look like.

Links to get further information

Nelson Mandela – Long walk to freedom: While not travel literature, Nelson Mandela’s superb and inspirational autobiography, is one of the best ways to prepare for a South Africa trip.
Alan Paton – Cry - the beloved country: A beautifully told and profoundly compassionate story of the Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo and his son Absalom, set in the troubled and changing South Africa of the 1940s.
Steven Otter – Khayelitsha: The account of the years journalist Steven Otter spent in the township, drinking in shebeens (unlicensed bars) and challenging his preconceptions about race.
Jason Carter – Power Lines: Two Years on South Africa’s Borders: The chronicle of a Peace Corps volunteer’s perspectives on the still-deep divisions between white and black South Africa.

Invictus: A biographical sports drama film about the events in South Africa before and during the 1995 Rugby World Cup, hosted in that country following the dismantling of apartheid.
Bang bang club: A drama based on the true-life experiences of four combat photographers capturing the final days of apartheid in South Africa.
Tsotsi: Six days in the violent life of a young Johannesburg gang leader (Chweneyagae).
Goodbye Bafana: The true story of a white South African racist whose life was profoundly altered by the black prisoner he guarded for twenty years. The prisoner's name was Nelson Mandela.


Social and health awarenessWhen travelling to South Africa you are going to the African continent, yes, but the country South Africa is pretty developed and modern. You will not find people in the cities living in mud huts or lions walking on the streets. And a word of fashion advice, when going to South Africa it is not necessary to bring multi-function safari khakis.

Expect to be exposed to the reality of life in South Africa, to meet new people and to bring smiles to the faces of many children!

Extra money

This depends on your spending habits. South Africa is not an expensive destination but we all like an ice-cream, beer or greasy snack at times! Maybe you like to buy some souvenirs or see as much as you can by joining the weekend outings; bring some pocket money so you can.

Immunization & Vaccination

This is a malaria free area, in fact we have very little mosquitoes at all. It is best to contact your local physician before you leave your country to check what inoculations they advise you to have. Rabies is NOT common here and no real risk, so no need for that.


Accidents can happen to anyone. Make sure you get comprehensive travel and medical insurance. Shop around and make sure it’s right for you. Think about activities you may be doing, even spur of moment ones, and make sure you're covered for these. Your policy also needs to cover medical costs. If you do not take out proper insurance, you will foot the bill.

Next to your international travel insurance we advise you to get the VOLUNTEER CARD . This will not only cover your volunteering activities but will also give you an incredible amount of discount options throughout the world! US and Canada nationals can order the card online, other internationals can email us for the order form! www.volunteercard.com 


Your passport must have enough pages for any visa. Your passport should have 2 pages free for every country to be visited. Please ensure that you take your own passport out from your hotel / backpackers safe the night before departure. It is absolutely necessary that you make a copy of your passport and give it to your supervisors; we strongly recommend that you also leave a copy at home or with some friends. Please note that South Africa insists on people having 2-free pages available when you enter. Keep this in mind if you are going to fly home from South Africa after completing a tour to multiple African countries. Please ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months after your date of departure from Africa. You are personally responsible for ensuring that passports, visas, vaccination certificates and other travel documents are in order and for all costs relating thereto.


As visa requirements vary considerably, please contact the various embassies or a visa service agent to recheck, visa requirements at least 4 weeks prior to departing. Please note that visas are the responsibility of the traveller and that the project co-ordinator will not be held responsible for clients being denied entry should they not be in the possession of the relevant visas. All travellers must be in possession of a valid onward/return air ticket.


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