Volunteer travel is the fastest growing sector in the travel industry today. Whether you want to travel the world for fun or to simply learn about other cultures volunteering is becoming a valid choice for people of all ages from students to professionals taking a career break. It appeals particulary to those that like to experience local culture and enjoy giving something back to the local community.


Most volunteer programs give the choice of traveling short term or long term, from 2 weeks to 12 months. It’s important to be practical when considering volunteering abroad as a travel option. Most volunteer holidays are a lot of work and if you are looking for a relaxing break then this isn’t the choice for you. Also, remember you are not getting paid so you really need to love what you are doing. Often the living conditions are basic, the cultural differences are a shock and the language barriers are challenging. Give yourself the best chance of enjoying your volunteer adventure spend some time thinking about where you want to travel to, volunteer for something you enjoy doing and talk to other volunteers.



If you’re looking to get more out of your next holiday than a nice tan, talk  to the Irish experts in volunteer travel at i-to-i.com. They’ve been sending people to volunteer in Africa, Asia, Australasia and Latin America for 18 years and are the original volunteer travel company. Nearly everyone who works there is a former volunteer or backpacker and with over 50,000 successful volunteer placements they know what they’re doing.

Find out more www.i-to-i.com

Masai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya

Known amongst locals simply as “The Mara,” this reserve is located in the southwest of Kenya, and derives its name from the Maasai tribe that still lives there. The reserve is notorious for its “Big Six”: lions, leopards, buffalos, rhinos, elephants, and whales. You can also spot antelopes, cheetahs, giraffes, gorillas, hippos, and zebras, amongst others. Together, they inhabit the area against a backdrop spotted with trees, scrub and savanna.


Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania

Situated in southern Tanzania, the Selous Game Reserve was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. Neither permanent human habitation nor other permanent buildings are allowed within its limits. The animals that the park is most famous for include elephants, hippopotami, African wild dogs, cape buffalos and crocodiles.

Okavango Delta, Botswana

The Okavango Delta is the biggest inland delta that the world has to offer. Surrounded by peace and quiet, you can view the wildlife typically found in wetland as well as savannah landscapes. Animals to look out for on land include tsessebe, wildebeest, kudu, sable, and Red Lechwe. In or near the water, try to spot waterbuck, hippopotamus and crocodiles.

Okonjima Main Camp, Namibia

Staying at a family-run establishment instead of a large lodge can greatly reduce costs. Once a family farmhouse, the Okonjima Main Camp has a total of sixteen rooms, each with en-suite bathrooms. Ten of them have bush and mountain views, while the other six overlook a lush garden.

Though Okonjima means “Place of the Baboons,” the area’s wildlife includes numerous other species, from brown and spotted hyena to ground squirrels, as well as over 250 bird species. In addition, Okonjima houses The Africat Foundation, an NGO that has run the world’s most extensive cheetah and leopard rescue-and-release initiative.


Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa

The Sabi Sand Game Reserve is part of the greater Kruger National Park. As a private reserve, it is known for having high prices. The key to finding an affordable option is the season, as well as the type of accommodation. Siyabona Africa Travel, for example, offers accommodation in thatched rondavels, which is significantly cheaper than staying in the luxury or even honeymoon suites. Click here for the entire list of prices. If interested, you can even book Night and/or Off-Road Game Drives here. Whether you go during night or day, you have the possibility of sighting “The Big Five” –  lions, leopards, rhinos, buffalos, and elephants.