Welcome, Summer.

We have come to the end of our busy period, here at MozVol HQ. Volunteers have been subjected to torrential rainfall, high winds and hale storms reminiscent of snowfall in the northern hemisphere. However, summer is now here, and we are enjoying long, lazy summer days, weekends at the beach with the children from the children’s centre, and breezy boat trips down the estuary hippo and croc-spotting and monitoring.

We are looking forward to starting the reno at the children’s home (orphanage) – over the next couple of weeks we will be replacing broken windows, painting, fixing play equipment, decorating and redoing the kitchen facilities and replacing exterior doors to ensure the safety of the children at all time.

The creche facilities are going from strength to strength, and we are starting to develop the new syllabus for the 2013 academic year, starting in January.

With these two activities in mind, we are keen to have career break-ers join us in the forthcoming months. We are particularly looking for teachers, builders, healthcare workers and others with practical skills.

We are going to be making an effort to market our projects to family groups, in a bid to provide ethical family holidays to our beautiful part of the world, and selling the concept of a ‘mature gap year’, for when the daily grind of office work gets a bit much and you just need to get away… why not take an extended holiday and use your skills to the sustainable benefit of others less fortunate than yourself?

Participants in our conservation project has had a 100% success level over 2012, with all participants sitting the THETA examination passing with flying colours. Conservation volunteers have particularly enjoyed learning wildlife spotting techniques in the Big 5 reserve Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, and taking plaster of Paris imprints of wild animal spoor through the reserves to help with spoor recognition and learning animal behaviour.

Watch this space for our annual sports projects coming up in May and August 2013 and join our community care project (South Africa) for either 3 or 4 weeks in December 2012 and January 2013 through One World 365 and receive a 25% discount.

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Family volunteering holidays? what do you think.

Family holidays.  My memories include a rainy experience in a caravan near a beach somewhere in England, Bean on the other hand reminisces fondly of weeks on end spent basking in sunshine, sleeping in beach huts on Cape Vidal dunes and hours whiled away fishing and surfing, checking rock pools for interesting creatures and enjoying beach braais with brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents and parents.

In this age of ethical travel, and responsible tourism, surely we should start to consider an alternative to the typical high cost, highly unethical, overseas family holiday?

Family volunteering holidays may well be such an alternative…

We at MozVolunteers started offering volunteering as a family holiday experience a few years ago, and, whilst I have to admit we haven’t had quite the influx of punters we were initially hoping for, the five or so families who have taken up our all inclusive family volunteer packages have enjoyed the experience more than we could ever have expected or hoped for.

So, why bring your family to South Africa to volunteer, instead of searching on booking.com or lastminute.com for that late reservation hit of sunshine, sparkly pool with adjacent loungers and evening buffet meals?

We believe that family volunteering provides all you would want from a family holiday along with the added bonus of giving something back to the area that you so enjoy when you are there for a couple of weeks.

We affordably combine voluntary tasks, with tours and safaris, picnics and excursions to amenities in our area, all whilst staying in our comfortable family room in our volunteer house. We have the knowledge of the local area to provide you with up to date, sensible information about what to do in chill out time, where to go, where to avoid, and above all, what’s great to occupy the kids when you and the best beloved want some down time.  We provide you with choices for the different activities you can experience in our local area (of which there are many: snorkelling, scuba, surf lessons, BIG 5 safaris, parks, world heritage sites, cheetah conservation, rhino conservation, mozambique, scuba, swaziland, craft markets, beaches and many, many more) and give you the opportunity to sit back and relax, and enjoy the “all inclusive” nature of the package (i.e. all meals provided, a rest from the cooking!)

On a more serious note, volunteering as a family allows you to give something back, allows you to gain an enhanced understanding of the disadvantaged circumstances of others, and share the experience of this understanding and helping.  This is a rewarding opportunity to make life-long family friendships and care for others.  It means also that the kids are never short of others to play with, and is a contact for when little princess turns 18 and decides she wants a round the world ticket for her birthday in order to “find herself”.  Surely you would feel happier knowing first hand the kind of organisation she’s joining for 6 months?

So next time you browse through a holiday bookings website, take a quick moment and visit http://www.mozvolunteers.com – maybe you’ll take the opportunity to book this low cost option to South Africa, and experience what we really think is a holiday opportunity of a lifetime, a family vacation with a real difference.