- What is the accommodation like?
Together with other volunteers you will live in a hostel in Mossel Bay, a coastal city in South Africa’s province Western Cape. In the hostel you will sleep in dormitories and use shared bathrooms – in general, you will be separated by sex. The hostel provides 24/7 security, gated security and restricted access and a daily housekeeping. It is just a short walk to various restaurants, take-aways, supermarkets, stores, hiking paths, beaches, museums and other cultural activities. In the hostel, you can use a swimming pool, snack stalls, an “adventure centre” for various free time activities and free Wi-Fi.
- Is it possible to share rooms with a partner?
In general, it is possible to share rooms with a travel partner, but it depends on the size and structure of the group. We ask you to let us know if you would like to get accommodated with a partner as soon as possible so that we and our partner organisation have enough time to arrange everything accordingly. It cannot be guaranteed that you can share rooms with a partner, though.
- How is the food provided?
The hostel provides breakfast which consists of eggs, toast, cereal, porridge and/or yogurt. While being out in the field you will be provided with a light lunch which is mostly salad or sandwiches, together with chips and fruit. You are in charge for your daily dinner and weekend lunches– for these meals you can either go to one of the numerous beach restaurants or use the self-catering kitchen in the hostel. After your arrival as well as once or twice a week you will stop at a supermarket after coming back from reserve work to purchase the groceries you need. Drinks are not included in the price – but the tab water of the region can be consumed without any concerns.
- Is it possible to receive vegetarian meals?
The meals provided allow a vegetarian diet. Nevertheless, we ask you to inform us about any special diets you prefer.
- How can I spend my free time?
Evening hours and weekends are free. You can spend this time using the offers of the hostel – such as the swimming pool or the adventure centre – or you can visit a close beach to relax, get to know the city with its stores, museums and other cultural sights or you can go on day or weekend trips to explore the region. You can book dozens of free time activities, which include: surfing lessons, whale watching tours, sand boarding, horseback safaris, wine tours, bungee jumping, hiking tours and trips to some of South Africa’s beautiful national parks.
- Do I have a contact person on site?
During your time in the project you will always have a contact person to talk to. Feel free to contact NATUCATE at any time if questions or problems arise.
- What kind of cost do I have to expect during the project? Can I withdraw cash on site and do I have to pay in local currency?
The currency in South Africa is the South African Rand (ZAR). You can use an online currency converter to check the current exchange rate, e.g. Oanda (https://www.oanda.com/currency/converter/). Changing U.S. dollars or Euros is much easier and cheaper than exchanging travelers’ checks in South Africa, although it is also somewhat less secure when traveling. It is also easier to exchange any cash in ZAR (South African Rand) whilst in your international airport (such as Heathrow or JFK). It can also be done in South Africa, but the process tends to be quicker in the airports. At many locations, it is possible to pay for services directly with bank cards, though the easiest method is to withdraw denominations of the local currency from the increasingly more common ATM machines. Some smaller shops and street stalls will only take cash, though. The ATM machines will automatically calculate the current exchange rate, but will also charge your account a foreign transaction fee (depending on your institution). We highly recommend using such a debit or credit card when dealing with money, as it is far easier to have cash on hand than finding a bank with regular business hours that will exchange U.S. dollars or Euros. Check with your bank well ahead of time to ensure that your card will work in South Africa, and will not expire while traveling abroad.
Keep in mind that you will need to pay for daily dinners as well as the weekend lunches and might also want to take part in some leisure activities – that’s why you should bring enough money for your volunteer stay.
- How can I contact family and friends at home?
The hostel offers free WiFi, so don’t forget to bring along your laptop or smartphone to contact friends and family at home. Moreover, you can purchase a South African SIM card / a South African phone with a calling plan.
- What’s the weather/climate like?
At the Mossel Bay Site, it is quite mild year-round. Day temperatures in winter (May to August) are usually between 14and 18°C and summer temperatures (December to March) are usually between 25 and 30°C. Evenings are cooler, especially in winter, but never below freezing. Since having the ocean on one side and mountains on the other you are subject to winter winds from both side which can add to the chill.
- Is there a prohibition regarding alcohol?
In general, there is no prohibition regarding alcohol. Since we would like to provide a profound educational experience for you, you should consume alcoholic beverage – if necessary – only moderately. It is not allowed to consume it during the working week. Excessive alcohol consumption leads to termination of the programme.
- What happens in case of sickness or an emergency?
If you have a general cold you can get medication in one of the multiple registered pharmacies. In case of a more adamant flu there are several general practitioners in Mossel Bay where you can have medicine prescribed.
In case of a medical emergency, volunteers will immediately be taken to Bay View Private Hospital in Mossel Bay. Using the medical aid information given on the registration form the volunteer will be checked in and examined by hospital staff. The volunteer’s supervisor will phone the emergency contact provided on the registration form and notify them of the situation.
- Do you have further questions that you did not find here?
Then call us at +49 241-91994357 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org