Backpacking vs volunteering?

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Between us, Bean and Myself (and Bali, mitsles and co) have had many years experience working in the international development sector, running “real” volunteering opportunities for interested internationals, and also, working in the backpacking sector, when it was in the midst of its hey day in the 2000′s.  We got to thinking the other day, how the sector has changed.  Here are our five reasons why Ethical “real” volunteering beats backpacking in South Africa.

1. Affordability: If you wanted to volunteer in South Africa with MozVolunteers for one month, the costs would be far less than if you backpacked around, say with the Baz Bus, or personal hire car.  Volunteering also provides opportunities to travel, in free time, around our province, to Mozambique, Lesotho, Swaziland and further.  Backpacking is expensive, you have to factor in travel, accommodation, meals and extra activities.  With us, these are all included in your volunteer placement.

2. In-depth travel, and immersion: Many backpackers complain that they try and cover too large an area of the country in too little time, meaning that they spend most time on the road rather than actually making memories.  When you volunteer with us, you get an in-depth experience of our area, and travel opportunities around to locations and destinations that are “off the beaten track”.  This means, best of both worlds, and a real South African experience.

3. Safety: Hands down, volunteering with us is a far safer experience than backpacking around.  We offer reliable and safe accommodation, and provide in-house, expert advice, and support 24/7.  When you are backpacking you can often end up in undesirable places, at the wrong time, and open yourself up to personal risk.

4. Community benefit: Volunteering with us provides an opportunity for the communities that you are visiting to benefit, as a large proportion of your fee goes to them, either directly or indirectly.   You are also given the opportunity to share your skills with others. When backpacking, you are participating in the commercial sector only.

5. Cultural experience: When participating in a volunteer placement, you will spend large amounts of time immersed in a local community and exposed to local culture for a prolonged period of time, giving you a better understanding of the way of life, and hardships of local, previously disadvantaged people.  Backpacking, on the other hand, you may book on a day tour to a cultural village, this is usually set up just for the benefit of the tourists.

Hike for health 2014, dates confirmed!

We have final confirmation of the Hike for health 2014, dates.

Participants hike through the Southern Drakensberg mountains, and Lesotho, raising awareness about TB.

Arrival date for the hike is June 1st 2014, and departure June 13th.

Flights should be booked into Durban King Shaka International Airport.

There is an opportunity for participants to join our Three Countries Tour after the hike has been completed. This provides the opportunity to travel through the KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa, first stop St Lucia Estuary for wildlife tour and Hluhluwe for big 5 Safari. Through to Mozambique to swim with dolphins and enjoy the Indian Ocean, then on to Swaziland to stay in the stunning Mlilwane wildlife sanctuary and enjoy nature and culture.

For more information, or to join this charity challenge, please email alex@mozvolunteers.com

 

Alternative energy powering us up in the mountains

Alternative energy powering us up in the mountains

Volunteer in the mountains… Why not? Even more of a reason now – we’re solar powered!

Come and visit us – we’re going eco. Once we got here, we realised that the cost of electricity installation far surpasses that of installing an all singing, all dancing alternative energy supply, so logic and finances automatically dictated that we immediately got straight on the blower to all the alternative energy suppliers here in South Africa. We have now opted for our first energy purchase to be a two solar panel system, providing a huge amount of amp hours daily. Later on, we’ll upgrade to a dual system, which will provide us with our own wind turbine to work in tandem with the solar units.

So, as well as giving back to the communities you visit and stay amongst, whilst on holiday here in Drakensberg with us, you will be minimising your footprint, as we are using not only renewable energy sources but a sustainable water source for both household and drinking water too!

What more reason do you need to come and volunteer with us in the Southern Drakensberg?

Hiking for Health 2014

hike 1Are you keen to get involved with an adventure challenge? something a bit different, that is physically demanding, interesting, different and does good at the same time?

Join us and hike for health in May 2014.

We are starting to advertise places on our hike for next year, we are aiming to get together a group of 20 participants, to raise money for TB awareness in the Southern Drakensberg.  We will hike through the Southern Berg, and into Lesotho, spreading awareness about TB – the silent killer in our rural areas, moving between schools, creches, community groups and villages providing information about TB, prevention and services.

The hike lasts 12 days, and begins and ends at Rivercroft cottage, in Pevensey, Underberg.  Participants are required to raise a certain amount to participate, which covers all costs and a donation.

If you would like to join us,  or would like more information, please contact alex@mozvolunteers.com for more info!

http://www.mozvolunteers.com

Please reblog for us to help spread the word!

Tragedy of Mozambique

Perhaps you have heard about the recent growing concern about unrest in central Mozambique.  Last week, we heard in the national media that after 21 years of peace, Renamo and Frelimo (the opposition and ruling party respectively) are again at loggerheads and are beginning to involve civilians, tourists and vehicles in transit in their political clashes.  Does this mean that there is going to be a recurrence of civil war? Hopefully not.  Over the past few days it has been reported that two transport vehicles using the corridor road in the north of the country have been held up at gun point with Frelimo soldiers battling to hold onto their life, and worryingly an overland truck heading through the country into Zimbabwe has also been caught up in terrorist activities.  Numerous British owned companies have repatriated their ex-pat workers, and the US has warned its citizens against travel.

Cause for concern?

We ourselves have suspended our operations in Inharrime province, as we are also concerned for the safety of tourists and our own staff. Although the unrest appears to be isolated to the North of the country, with occasional demonstrations in Maputo, the capital, we would rather be safe than sorry.  We’re holding thumbs that this political unrest is a temporary matter, and will be resolved swiftly, perhaps with international mediation.  This should mean that Mozambique will yet again become the peaceful country of palm trees and sunshine that we all know it to be.

What about Ponta D’Ouro?

As Ponta D’Ouro is situated in the South of the country – really, only a 10 minute drive into Mozambique from South Africa, we have no concern about our volunteers here.  All projects are continuing as usual, as there has been no reports at all of any problems in this part of the country.  Don’t forget, that Ponta D’Ouro is highly reliant on South African tourism for income and revenue, and is also isolated from Maputo by the harbour.  This means that it is highly unlikely that any political unrest will be felt in this small village.  This has always been the case in the past.  We will, however, reassess the situation in the new year, but until then it is all systems go in Ponta!