School Trips to South Africa

About school trips to South Africa

Known as the ‘Rainbow Nation’ due to its diverse cultural heritage, South Africa is the ideal location for an exotic cultural experience.

On their South Africa adventure, pupils can hike more than 3,500 feet to the top of Table Mountain in Cape Town or visit Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years, but which now hosts a colony of endangered penguins.

South Africa has an abundance of wildlife, including the Big Five - lions, elephants, rhinos, buffalo and leopards - and pupils have the opportunity to volunteer at one of the largest game reserves in the country to protect these majestic creatures from the impact of poaching and environmental disruption.

School trips to South Africa can combine a large variety of activities within one secure program, from assisting local children on our rural school project to watching professional surfers in action at J-Bay. This is an ideal first African location for schools seeking to empower their pupils to become global citizens.

Suitable for:  Science School TripsGeography School TripsOutdoor Education School Trips

Support we offer on school trips to South Africa

We support schools embarking on trips to South Africa in a variety of ways, including:

  • Tailormade itineraries to match your school’s learning objectives
  • A launch evening at the school for parents, students and teachers
  • One point of contact for planning and preparation
  • A comprehensive pre-departure briefing
  • A highly qualified Expedition Leader to accompany your group

For more information regarding planning and executing an expedition to South Africa with your school, see our comprehensive guide on how to plan a trip here.

Day 1

Fly to South Africa

Take an afternoon/ evening flight from London to Port Elizabeth. Flights will usually go via Johanesburg or Cape Town.
Overnight in Flight.

Day 2

Port Elizabeth

On arrival in Port Elizabeth, The Friendly City, you will be met by your Gapforce Leader and transferred to your accommodation and receive a welcome & safety briefing.
Spend your first afternoon going on an exciting Cape Recife tour, one of the best spots for sighting marine and freshwater birds.

Day 3

Game Reserve Project Work

After breakfast, you will be transferred to a game reserve which is home to all of Africa's Big 5 animals (the lion, the African Elephant, the Cape Buffalo, the leopard and the rhinoceros).
The Reserve engages in extensive conservation programmes which is important as without these conservation efforts, wildlife in this area would not be sustainable.

Day 4

Game Reserve Project Work

You will continue great work at the game reserve. As a volunteer, the activities you might get involved include:
  1. Lion tracking and monitoring
  2. Tree planting and landscaping
  3. Predator interaction
  4. Elephant sanctuary
  5. Wilderness trail walks and patrols
  6. Fence patrol
  7. Game counts

Day 5

Game Reserve Project Work

Depending on the project needs, you will continue assisting the short and long-term projects on the reserve, with all projects intended to create sustainability for generations to come.
The experience is diverse and structured so you will certainly find yourself learning a lot and contributing to the cause!

Day 6

Game Reserve Project Work

The fourth day of project work will bring a sense of achievement and by now you will realise how much one can learn in such a short period of time!
During your week on the project, you will have plenty of chances not only to learn about animal conservation, but also learn bushcraft skills or participate in fun team building sessions!

Day 7

Game Reserve Project Work

Today is your last day in the Big 5 game reserve! You will have an opportunity to make your final contributions to the project.

Day 8


Today we say goodbye to the game reserve and begin our journey along the infamous and beautiful Garden Route.
The first destination is Tsitsikamma National Park, a coastal park with dense forests and rocky shores. Here you can enjoy a hike in the Tsitsikamma Mountains, and for those brave enough there is the option to zipline through the treetops.

Day 9


Today we head to one of the most idyllic towns on the Garden Route, Knysna. This sleepy town sits around a big lagoon, an 18 square km body of water which is home to at least 200 species of fish and numerous types of birds.
Activities here include a boat tour along the Knysna Quays and marvel at massive sandstone cliffs.

Day 10

Oudtshoorn Community Project

Next, you will be heading inland to the rural town of Oudtshoorn to volunteer at a local day care centre for disadvantaged children.
Before we settle down in Oudtshoorn, you have a chance to visit the nearby Ostriches farm to marvel at this exotic bird species. Once at the community centre, you will learn about the difference the project has made to abandoned children.

Day 11

Oudtshoorn Community Project

During your time on this project you can play games with the children, help cook and feed children of all ages, or help insulate homes to help keep wind and rain out.
Contributing to this sustainable volunteering program will give you so much to reflect on.

Day 12


Today we have an early start and travel along the Garden Route to the charming town of Hermanus, reputedly the best place in the world to see Southern Right Whales.
In addition to whale-watching, it offers a myriad of activities, such as enjoying the pristine Grotto Beach, or snorkelling off the secluded Breakfast Bay.

Day 13

Cape Town

This morning we depart early for Cape Town! The Mother City of South Africa occupies one of the world's most stunning locations, with an iconic mountain slap-bang in her centre.
Today you visit either Cape Point or Table Mountain (weather dependent). On route to Cape Point you will also have the chance to stop off and see the Penguin colony at Boulder’s beach before returning to Cape Town.

Day 14

Cape Town

We spend the last day of the trip sightseeing and enjoying this beautiful city. No trip to Cape Town is complete without a stroll along the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront with its array of shopping and entertainment.
From here we also visit Robben Island (the legendary prison island of Nelson Mandela).

Day 15

Return Flights

Depending on flight times, there may be a chance for some last-minute souvenir shopping before heading to the airport for return flights home.

Whats included poster

Gapforce South Africa Expedition Leader

Throughout your expedition you will be accompanied by a Gapforce South Africa Expedition Leader. Gapforce is renowned for the select team of enthusiastic leaders who run our worldwide expeditions.

We hire great people experienced in delivering inspiring and safe travel experiences, many of whom have graduated from our intense 4-month South Africa Expedition Leader Training which includes:

  • Mountain Leader Training
  • RGS Off-site safety management
  • RLSS Water Safety
  • QA Level 2 Activity First Aid
  • Rescue Training
  • Wilderness Medical Training
  • Advanced Survival Training
  • Expedition Planning
  • Incident Management