FAQ2017-12-28T16:52:17+00:00

Frequently Asked Questions

The expenses for your accommodation are included in your project costs. Expenses for food and drinks are for your own account. Everyone’s spending pattern is different of course, so it is difficult to say how much money you will need each week. It is true that the price level in South Africa is lower than in for example the Netherlands, the UK or the USA.

In the first place it is important that you can be reached by telephone. For that purpose we advise you to buy a SIM card at a mobile telephone store. You will get a South African prepaid number which you can upgrade with a few rand (the South African currency). So take a SIM-free mobile phone with you, for which you can buy a South African SIM card with call minutes. For some time now, the authorities have determined that you need an official document from our project coordinators stating that you live in South Africa temporarily, when you want to make all these arrangements with the mobile phone store.

The volunteer house is equipped with a Wi-Fi network, so you are within easy reach of you family and friends during your stay in South Africa. Do keep in mind, however, that internet access outdoors can be limited.

Some well-known South African providers include Vodacom, MTN, Telkom and Cell C.

If you are from a country that has a visa waiver agreement with South Africa (such as most of Europe, the USA and Canada), you do not have to apply for a visa if you visit South Africa for less than ninety days. Your passport must be valid for at least another six months on your arrival in the country. For stays that exceed ninety days, you have to apply for a visa. You can do this at the South African embassy or consulate general in your country. Read the extensive information of the South African government here. If you are unsure whether your nationality requires a visa to travel to South Africa, click here.

When you apply for a South African internship visa, you have to prove that you have an adequate health insurance, see “How can I take the right kinds of insurance?” below for more information.

The level of medical care in South Africa is comparable to Europe. If you want to know if there is an international agreement between your home country and South Africa, please contact your own insurance company. There is no international agreement on health insurance between the Netherlands and South Africa. If you have to make use of medical care, you have to pay for it at once. It is advisable to use a credit card in that event. There are government and private hospitals in South Africa. It is wiser to go to private hospitals.

If you want to take part in one of the projects, it is compulsory to take travel insurance which also covers volunteer work/internships. Therefore it is important to check beforehand if your own travel insurance covers this, for this is not always the case. There are a number of big insurance companies that offer a continuous travel insurance specifically covering volunteer work/internships. In addition, there are special “customized” insurances to be taken at smaller specialized insurance agents particularly covering these kinds of activities abroad.

When applying for you internship visa for South Africa, you have to prove that you have adequate health insurance. So keep your own health insurance and take additional insurance besides to cover hospitalization and repatriation with world coverage. Ask for the coverage conditions and procedures from your own insurance company. In this way you will be able to avoid unpleasant surprises.

NOTE: If you want to apply for an internship visa, it is important to check if you also need a local health insurance for that. You can apply for your visa at the South African embassy in your own country.

Option Phalaborwa Airport: Pick-up and drop-off at Phalaborwa Airport are included in the project costs. If you should want to go on safari or discover the Panorama route on your own at the weekends, it might be convenient to rent a car and possibly share these costs with more participants. A valid driving licence and a credit card are required for renting a car. An international driving licence is officially required for South Africa, though it never asked for. Note that there are rules concerning the diver’s age, the minimum age for renting a car often being 21.

Option Hoedspruit Airport: You will be picked up at Hoedspruit Airport by a taxi arranged by us and taken to the accommodation in Phalaborwa. Note that an additional fee of €35 is charged for each ride (if you come with more persons, you can share these costs, of course). If you should want to go on safari or discover the Panorama route on your own at the weekends, it might be convenient to rent a car and possibly share these costs with more participants. A valid driving licence and a credit card are required for renting a car. An international driving licence is officially required for South Africa, though it never asked for. Note that there are rules concerning the diver’s age, the minimum age for renting a car often being 21.

Option Three Bridges Restaurant: You will be picked up at the Three Bridges Restaurant by a taxi arranged by us and taken to your accommodation in Phalaborwa. Note that an additional fee is charged for each ride (if you come with more persons, you can share these costs, of course). If you should want to go on a safari or discover the Panorama route on your own at the weekends, it might be convenient to rent a car and possibly share these costs with more participants. A valid driving licence and a credit card are required for renting a car. An international driving licence is officially required for South Africa, though it never asked for. Note that there are rules concerning the diver’s age, the minimum age for renting a car often being 21.

Transportation to and from your project are included in the project costs. You will be driven to and from your project by our project coordinators.

You need vaccinations depending on the season and the duration of your stay. The website of ‘Havenziekenhuis Rotterdam’ will give you a good overview of the most necessary vaccinations (in any case Hepatitis A, DTP – Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio – and MMR – Mumps, measles and rubella, – if you have not yet been immunized, or if your previous vaccinations have expired) and possibly required additions. For the website of TravelClinic, click here. We advise you to contact TravelClinic for a customized advice. It is our experience that other health services provide varied advice. TravelClinic’s phone number is +31 900 503 40 90, to be reached on Monday to Friday from 08.30h to 17.00h. Please mention that you will be in contact with the local population on a daily basis. It may well be that inoculation against Hepatitis B will be advised as well, even if your stay will be shorter than three months. Inoculation against tuberculosis will probably not be necessary, but in view of your activities among the local population, it may be possible that you are advised to have yourself tested on your return from South Africa to exclude that you have been infected with tuberculosis (this is called the Mantoux test). Also consult TravelClinic on advisability to take malaria profylaxe (anti-malaria tablets) or just limiting yourself to other measures such as anti-insect spray, for instance DEET, a mosquito net and wearing covering clothing after sunset.

Note: some vaccinations consist of a series of two or three inoculations. Between these inoculations there should be a certain period of time, so contact TravelClinic for information as soon as possible after signing on and see to it that you take all vaccinations on time (you can simply take the inoculations at your local Heath Services).

The security situation in South Africa cannot be compared to most of the developed world. The country is world leader when it comes to income inequality, and for that reason the crime rate is high. Many regions are safe, but in cities have to keep yourself to certain codes of conduct if you do not want to become a victim of crime. It is important to always use your common sense and intuition and, for example, not to decide to go out on the streets alone at night. In a group you are always less vulnerable. See to it that you know where you are going and do not go to places where you have no business.

In contrast to the big cities, though, Phalaborwa is generally safe. Because of its unique location adjacent to Kruger National Park, the town has become very attractive to tourists, which as a consequence has drastically improved local services. The town has multiple restaurants, guest houses, lodges, a shopping centre, and an airport. The residents of Phalaborwa usually, in contrast to people in the countryside, have a job, so the crime rate is relatively low. The project coordinators on the spot, who give you guidance as a participant, are always well-aware of any safety risks and will, at all times, advise and/or help you.

We associate with a number of experienced South African project coordinators on the spot, who know their country well and are able to give you good advice or support in all respects. These reliable and very motivated people take care of the accommodation, transportation and support of our participants. Their guidance is, by definition, personal and they have no ‘nine-to-five mentality’, so participants can always rely on them.
Also in case of unexpected need for medical care our project coordinators are at all times ready for you. Medical care in South Africa is comparable to Europe, although it is wise to go to a private hospital, where you have to pay immediately after treatment, however. If you are well-insured, you can successfully declare the bill to your insurance company.

That will differ with each project and depends, of course, on the work you are going to do. On average you can count on six working hours a day, five days a week (the weekends are free). However, due to the African pace and the way of doing things, it may occur that you will have to work more or fewer hours and it may also be that you only work in the morning or afternoon, for instance, or that you are free for a couple of hours in between.

Note that the seasons in South Africa are opposite to those of the northern hemisphere, so it is winter in the months of June, July and August. January is the hottest month of the year and July the coldest. The number of hours of sunshine in South Africa are very high compared to, for example, Spain. In Madrid there is an average of 2910 hours of sunshine a year, in Pretoria 3240 hours of sunshine a year.
The north of South Africa (near Kruger National Park) is subtropical and sunny all year round. Summers are dry and hot (up to 45°C  in the ‘lowveld’) with regular thunderstorms. In winter the mornings are chilly, the afternoons hot and the evenings chilly or even cold. The average winter temperature may vary from 4 to 20°C.

We find it important that participants can focus on the projects. As a participant you can therefore count on solid projects, reliable support, comfortable accommodation and you can rely on all the transportation concerning your project being taken care of. Especially the convenient location of our permanent accommodation at Phalaborwa is important for us as an organization, as we do not want to put our participants at unnecessary risks. The placement in one of our accommodations takes place on the basis of our own planning.

Yes, you certainly can, and we are absolutely open to your own ideas. If you want to know what exactly you can do for us from your home country, you can always contact us via teachersforafrica@gmail.com.

Teachers for Africa has been identified by the Dutch tax authorities as an “ANBI” (=Public Benefit Organization). For more information you can go to the site of the Belastingdienst (IRS).