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South Africa

South Africa's cultural richness, amazing wildlife and stunning scenery will capture your imagination.

South Africa Frequently Asked Questions

Have any questions for South Africa? This section will answer some of the most asked questions.

Will I need to have a passport to enter this country?

Yes, all participants are required to have a passport. Participants’ passport must be valid for 6 months past the date of their return date to their home country. If necessary, participants will need to renew their passports prior to departure to meet this requirement. ISV also requires all participants to either scan and email, fax, or mail a photocopy of their passport photo page.  A copy of your passport photo page is due into the ISV office at least 105 days prior to your departure date.

For more information about passports, please visit the following websites:

Do I need a visa?

Visa information supplied here is subject to change without notice at the discretion of the respective customs departments.

For South Africa, Swaziland and Botswana you do not need a visa for stays of less than 90 days if you are from the following countries: Australia, United States of America, Canada, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, British Overseas Territories, African Union Laissez Passer, Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway , Paraguay, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Spain, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Sweden, Switzerland, British Islands Bailiwick of Guernsey and Jersey, Isle of Man and Virgin Islands, Uruguay or Venezuela.

For Mozambique, if you are from the USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia or New Zealand, you will need a tourist visa. The visa must be arranged within 60 days prior to entering Mozambique, and the cost is approximately $160 USD.

For Zambia, if you are from the USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia or New Zealand, you will need a double entry tourist visa. This visa can be issued at the border for approximately $100 USD. 

Visas can also be obtained prior to travel. All travelers are required to have:

  • A valid acceptable passport or travel document.
  • A return or onward ticket.
  • At least two blank pages in your passport.

Participants from all other countries may may require a visa.

Please contact the nearest embassy of the countries you require entry into. Some helpful websites are listed below:

If you need to arrange your own visa or you have further visa inquiries, please contact your closest embassy. Note: If you ARE required to organize your own visa, you should apply for your visa at least four weeks BEFORE your departure for South Africa. Visas are NOT issued at South African ports of entry, and airline officials are obliged to insist on visas before allowing passengers to board. If you arrive without a visa, immigration officials are obliged by law to refuse you entry to South Africa and to place you on a return flight to your country.

Visa information supplied here is subject to change without notice at the discretion of the respective customs departments.

Will I need to take Malaria medication?

There are only certain areas within South Africa that are malaria zones. Most volunteer projects within South Africa are in malaria-free zones, however please check your Project Overview where you will find information on whether your volunteer project is in a Malaria Zone or not. The Adventure Tour however does enter into malaria zones in South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique, and it is strongly recommended that you approach your doctor or nearest Travel Medical Clinic for information and advice on different malaria preventatives for the entire duration of the Adventure Tour. This also applies to participants traveling on the Wild Africa Excursion, as both Zambia and Botswana are in malaria zones.

How do I obtain traveler's insurance and how important it is for me to have on my trip?

Participants originating from outside the United States and Canada please email your local ISV office for more information on travel insurance.

Australia - au-info@isvolunteers.org 
New Zealand - 
United Kingdom/Europe - 

U.S and Canadian participants see the information below.

Participants are required to have travele'rs insurance which includes insurance for two purposes – coverage for medical treatment and care while in your host country and travel/trip cancellation coverage. Many insurance carriers package these plans together with other travel related issues such as lost or stolen items, for example: plane tickets, passports, and personal items. Cancellation insurance is important in the event that a problem arises that prevents you from going on the Program. Policies do vary depending on the insurance provider, what country you travel to and what is covered, so make sure that you get a policy appropriate for your host country and your needs. Any travel agency should be able to assist you in procuring travel/trip cancellation insurance. Most travel insurance companies require you to purchase travel/trip cancellation insurance within 14 days after submitting your Agreement and paying your non-refundable deposit. The preferred travel insurance carrier for ISV is Travel Guard (U.S. and Canada Only).

Do I need medical insurance?

In addition to travel/trip cancellation insurance (see above), ISV also requires that all participants have medical insurance. Each participant must send a photocopy of proof of both travel/trip cancellation and medical insurance into the ISV office.  Proof of travel/trip cancellation and medical insurance is due into the ISV office at least 90 days prior to departure.

Do I choose a specific volunteer project or project type, or will ISV assign me to a volunteer project?

After your contract and deposit have been received by ISV, you can submit your project preferences through our Project Preference form. We make every attempt to accommodate participants, however many factors influence the project placement ISV will give you. For example, spaces on projects are limited and some projects only operate on certain dates. If you are doing academic credit or independent study, you will need to be assigned to a specific project with other academic credit or independent study participants, and if you are traveling with a friend, this will also affect your placement! Therefore, we cannot guarantee that you will be placed on the projects that you most prefer.

Will I be able to receive academic credit for my participation on the ISV Program?

Details regarding academic credit for the ISV Program are available on the academic credit page of the ISV website. Some students receive credit through independent study.

Are the meals and lodging included in the price?

All lodging is included in the ISV Program cost. Once you arrive at your project location, all meals for the first 2 week Volunteer Project are included. For the 2 week Adventure Tour, at least half of the total meals are included in the ISV Program cost.

I am a vegetarian. Is this going to be a problem?

Vegetarians must advise ISV in advance (on their application or by emailing the ISV office on or before 65 days prior to departure) if they wish to have vegetarian meals available to them during their Program. Participants with very strict dietary requirements may need to supplement meals with additional food at their own expense.

Can friends who do not attend a university or who do not attend a school that ISV has visited apply to your Program?

Friends are welcome to attend the ISV Program and can get an application online. Applicants do not have to be a university or high school student in order to participate on an ISV program. For the ISV University Program, all applicants must be at least 18 years of age at the time their ISV program begins in their host country. For the ISV High School Program, participants must be between 15 and 18 years of age at the time their program begins in their host country.

When exactly is orientation?

An orientation will be held in your host country upon arrival at your 2 Week Volunteer Project and prior to beginning your 2 Week Adventure Tour.

What is an "INCLUDED" activity?

There are 5 "included" Adventure Tour activities included in the Program cost. The final Adventure Tour itinerary with these included activities will be in your ISV Participant Travel Manual which will be sent to you 30 days prior to your departure date. ISV reserves the right to change these activities without notice.

What is an "Optional Activity Package" (OAP)?

In addition to the 5 "included" activities in the Adventure Tour, ISV offers participants an exciting Optional Activity Package (OAP), full of additional popular and exciting activities. Each OAP varies by host country in terms of the type of adventure and cultural activities offered, the total number of activities in each package, and the price. Each year around 95-100% of ISV participants choose to purchase the OAP as it adds great value to the overall experience. All activities in the OAP are organized by ISV staff prior to arrival so you won’t miss out due to a lack of availability. All participants have to do is show up and be ready to have an incredible experience. Offered exclusively to ISV participants at a discounted price, you may reserve the OAP package by checking the indicated box on your ISV Travel Options Form. If you have already submitted your Travel Options Form, please send an email to the ISV office indicating your desire to purchase the OAP package.

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