VOLUNTOUR IN AFRICA
ECO - ADVENTURE, Cape Town, South Africa
volunteer at a cheetah sanctuary
the pristine Kogelberg biosphere
swim with African penguins
through biodiversity hotspots on Africa's southern tip
the spectacular Hermanus coastline
growing resilience in under-resourced communities
the iconic sea side hub of Muizenberg
WELCOME TO THE GLOBAL WHEELING VOLUNTOUR PAGE
Global Wheeling voluntour adventurers will traverse the most beautiful areas of the Western Cape, relying entirely on human energy, accumulating over 350 carbon-free kilometres (220 carbon-free miles) by the end of their journey.
Voluntours will participate in environmental sustainability initiatives and will be taught about each unique bio-sphere by experts in their respective fields. Voluntours will be able to encounter a variety of wild-life, including small mammals, rare sea birds and big cats. Throughout the two-week adventure, voluntours will sample unique local delicacies sourced from sustainable farms or responsibly hauled fresh from the sea. This unique tour combines the fast paced adrenalin-coursing elements of adventure touring within a dedicated eco-programme focusing on environmental issues and conscientious global awareness.
For the past twelve years Kayden (Outside TV & Discovery Channel) has cycled across five continents unassisted. From the bustling streets of London through Europe to the wild plains of Northern Africa and the Sahara desert, through the jungles of Borneo and across the punishing Australian outback. He undertook and completed a 21000 km trip that began in Buenos Aires heading north through the sweltering Paraguayan tundra and the frozen Bolivian Alps, to the Nevada Desert. Most recently, his self filmed Indian Odyssey television series saw him traverse the hillsides of Sri Lanka, passing through India’s crowded mega- cities and up into the freezing high- altitude Nepalese mountain passes of the Himalayas.
"Carbon-free Human Energy"−
"Responsible positive environmental volunteer impact"−
"Leaving No Trace"−
"Improving health and building confidence"−
Cape Town is a city of diversity, colour and flair; the Mother City within the Rainbow Nation, a place where cultures, cuisines and attitudes blend to create an eclectic melting pot.
The charm of Cape Town lies not only in the warmth and friendliness of its people, but also in the breadth of activities and sights offered to its visitors. Snuggled between two oceans, you’re a stone’s throw from a beach wherever you stand and you only have to glance sky-ward in any direction to marvel at the array of mountain ranges rising grandly on all sides of the city.
The warm sunny climate, fresh winds and diverse terrain make Cape Town one of the top international locations for adventure and environmental-focused travel. Unsurprisingly, for the fourth year in a row, the 2015/2016 Telegraph Travel Awards chose Cape Town as the Best City in the World, ahead of Vancouver and Venice and Cape Town was voted as the top travel destination for 2016 in the Conde Naste Reader’s Choice Award.
Cape Town is the birthplace of Global Wheeling and as locals lucky enough to call the Mother City our home, we aim to celebrate and share everything this special place has to offer with the world.
WHAT WE OFFER
- Experienced guides and field experts
- Professional Speakers discussing current environmental issues
- ALL meals included daily (Dietary Requirements strictly prepared for | local | sustainable where possible)
- Comfortable and diverse accommodation included for all thirteen nights (a mix of bungalows, backpackers, small lodges and tents)
- All adventure equipment included (bicycles, helmets, kayaks, tents & covers) *Voluntours are encouraged to bring their own sleeping bag
- All nature reserve, park and hiking fees Included
- Vehicle support
- ZERO hidden costs
- Mini documentary of YOUR volunteer eco adventure
"Merit Awards in the Transport and Eco-Warrior Category for GLOBAL WHEELING"− 2016 Eco Awards in Cape Town
"Global Wheeling was nominated for Best Reality TV Show 2016"− SAFTA (South African Film and Television Awards)
"Kayden Kleinhans voted as one of the top 200 most influential young South Africans of 2012"− Mail and Guardian
"Kayden was nominated for Eco-Warrior Award for GLOBAL WHEELING."− Eco Awards - Cape Town in 2012
"Kayden received a Climate Change Leadership Award for the 2010/2010 period."− Climate Change Leadership
"- Global Wheeling is a registered NPO and a large percentage of proceeds are put back into environmental programmes and more awesome initiatives."−
Koggelberg Bioshere (Hermanus to Crystal Pools)
This is where our journey begins, just north of South Africa’s very first registered Bioshphere in the quaint sea-side town of Hermanus where whales frolic in the pristine chilly waters, cheery fishermen bob on the surf and families picnic on the beach. The Koggelberg Biosphere, stretching from Kleinmond to Rooiels, is famous for its wealth and diversity of fauna and flora and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the early 1990s. Fynbos (from the Dutch fijinbosch) was the name given to the hardy little plants and succulents endemic to the Western Cape by the first European visitors to the area.
With over 1500 different species of fynbos flowers, shrubs and bushes calling the Koggelberg Biosphere home, this area contains a species range larger than anywhere else in the world per unit area. The special combination of a winter-rainfall climate, coarse grained, nutrient low soils and the pervasive limestone and sandstone formations of the Cape Fold Mountains have created the perfect conditions for these species to flourish, solely in this small southern patch of the world. Voluntours will be able to marvel at the regal Protea, the sun bird luring Pincushion, hundreds of Erica species and our national flower, the bird-headed Stralitsia to name a few. Voluntours will also sample our famous fynbos leaf teas found nowhere else on earth, like our world-renowned rooibos tea (packed with potent anti-oxidants and polyphenols) and our strong pungent buchu tea (a natural anti-inflammatory and hangover cure!)
Over 100000 years ago, the indigenous nomadic Khoi people walked these shores and hills living off shellfish and small plants, and evidence of their burial sites can still be seen along the coast. The Koggelberg Biosphere is an unspoilt habitat for many larger species and while hiking and cycling through this lush national treasure, you might encounter small buck like klipspringers and grysbok, dassies and hares, peregrine falcons and majestic fish eagles and one of the numerous baboon troupes that roam the area.
During this part of the tour voluntours will be taught about encroaching alien vegetation in the area and assist with extraction in natural areas thickly populated with alien species. Alien vegetation is a serious threat to endemic fynbos in the Western Cape as alien plants compete with indigenous species for soil and water, promote soil erosion, alter natural fire patterns and disrupt the natural balance of the ecosystem.
- Kayaking in Hermanus
- Guided beach comb along the rugged south coast
- Hiking through the lush Koggelberg Biosphere
- Biosphere conservation lecture at a pinnacle nature reserve
- Exploring hidden Crystal Pools
- Visiting penguin colonies
- Cycling along the undulating south coast with breath-taking ocean view
- Extracting alien vegetation
The Helderberg Area
After leaving the craggy splendour of Koggelberg and the glittering waters of Crystal Pools behind, the tour heads south towards the mountain fringed Helderberg region with sprawling farms and winelands in view on the descent. Here in the small towns of Somerset West and Strand voluntours help out with a tree planting project at a local school and source produce at local South African farms. The final part of this leg of the trip allows voluntours to help out at a cheetah sanctuary. With only 6600 of these beautiful big cats still alive in the wild today, conservation and education is essential for their continued protection. This lean, muscular cat is famous for being the fastest recorded land mammal on earth, clocking speeds of up to 100 km / hour (or 62 miles / hour). Cheetahs have a sophisticated “language” of chirps and chatters and purr like house cats when they are contented. Solitary and gentle natured, cheetahs pose no threat to humans, even in the wild.
Cape Point, the sharp outcrop at the cusp of Africa where the frigid Atlantic crashes into the tumultuous Indian Ocean, feared and revered by pioneering sailors and spice merchants of old and notoriously heralded as the Cape of Storms by Bartholameu Dias in 1488 is our penultimate check point. Cape Point Nature Reserve falls within the greater Table Mountain National Park within the World Heritage Site of the Cape Floral Region (boasting as many species of flowers within its park as the entire United Kingdom) and stretches all the way to Signal Hill, some forty-seven miles north.
This leg of the journey takes voluntours to the rustic sea-side town of Muizenberg for an afternoon of surfing or yoga and allows time to participate in the 270 acre Zandvlei wetlands preservation project. Zandvlei is one of the many natural wetland areas of the Western Cape that are under threat due to urban development, invasive alien vegetation, dredging and farming. Volunteers will help to restore the natural dune vegetation or work to protect the natural reed beds by removing the invasive water hyacinth which clogs and chokes the vlei. The Zandvlie wetland is an area of immense natural beauty, home to 210 species of indigenous plants, 150 species of birds, including ibises, herons and kingfishers and more than seventeen types of reptiles, including the shy and illusive terrapin.
Prior to arriving at Cape Point, voluntours will stop off at the famous penguin dotted seashore of Boulder’s Beach to take a dip and share the ocean with these agile water birds. This single beach is home to a breeding colony of over 2000 endangered African penguins (also known as Jackass penguins due to the donkey-like noise they make). African penguins believe in true love and can often be seen standing flipper to flipper with their mate (who they will remain with throughout their lifetime).
Voluntours will also visit an Ostrich breeding farm to learn about the habits of the world’s largest flightless bird and see their plus sized eggs (one ostrich egg equals twenty-two chicken eggs), that’s a big omelette!
- Sourcing organic produce in the mountain Helderberg Region
- Tree Planting at a local school
- Encountering South Africa’s gentlest big cats
- Surf lessons at Muizenberg Beach
- Sunrise Yoga
- Swimming with penguins at Boulders Beach
- Watching the crashing surf of two major oceans at Cape Point
- Visiting an Ostrich farm
Kommetjie to Table Mountain Nature Reserve
After cycling the beautifully barren and rugged hinterlands of Cape Point, the tour stretches north toward the quaint rural coastal town of Kommetjie and leads on to the famous Chapman’s Peak Drive, one of the most beautiful coastal roads in the world.
In Kommetjie, voluntours will take part in a foraging course, harvesting edible plants like wild spinach and indigenous Spekboom leaves, a variety of edible mushrooms and abundant molluscs along the coast to be transformed into a delicious meal. Interestingly, just two local Spekboom leaves make up the total required daily intake of vitamin C for an adult.
In the Hout Bay area, voluntours will participate in or assist with a local community upliftment project. Depending on the time of year, voluntours may assist with a school fund-raising or recycling project, assist with an environmental awareness project at a school or community centre or participate in beautifying and greening an urban area.
After cycling through bustling Hout Bay town and along the scenic western coastal road into the city, with the cloud capped Twelve Apostle Mountains keeping a watchful eye, ascending Table Mountain will be the final challenge of the tour. In 2011 Table Mountain was named as one of the New Seven Wonders of the world in a global poll comprising over 100 million voters. This majestic landmark mountain that seems to rise out of the ocean and hover above the city metropolis was originally named Hoerikwaggo by the San people which means “mountain of the sea”.
After fourteen days on the road, volunteers can celebrate on the top of Table Mountain with city and ocean views sprawling beneath, and reflect on their achievements, share stories and revel in victory. The tour will end with a presentation session and wrap-party. Voluntours will reflect on their experiences, challenges and triumphs and we will share the highlights of the tour in a short documentary. Thereafter we’ll end off in true South African style with a big celebratory braai.
- Foraging Course in Kommetjie
- Community Upliftment within a previously disadvantaged school or community
- Cycling along pristine western coastline, descending into the city centre
- Scaling one of the New Seven Wonders of the World
- Reflection session and wrap-party
At Global Wheeling we believe that while eco- adventuring, ‘unplugging’ from our highly connected screen driven world is crucial for inner transformation and reconnection to mother earth.
Throughout the trip voluntours will have the opportunity to connect to WIFI at various locations , but will be encouraged to unplug during the day.
Click here to book your spot on the next Voluntour adventure.
Frequently Asked Questions
Global Wheeling’s Voluntouring programme combines the fast paced nature of adventure touring with elements of environmental volunteering, responsible wildlife interaction and cultural immersion.
- Are Brave
- Are Flexible
- Have a sense of humour
- Love adventure
- Love trying new things
- Want to push your limits
- Want to meet new people
- Want to immerse yourself in a country’s culture, heritage and vibe
- Believe in the importance of sustainability
- Want to contribute while you travel
- Are interested in ecology, conservation and environmental issues
- Are a genuine greenie
The all-inclusive two week programme fee is $3500.
The fee covers all transport (including airport pickup), a support vehicle, all lodgings and accommodation, all camping equipment (tents, gazebos, mattresses), all nature reserve and hiking entrance fees, all adventure equipment (bicycles, kayaks), all extra activates (yoga classes, surfing lessons, foraging course), all meals (breakfast, a lunch-on-the-go and a main South African-inspired dinner meal) and all specialist talks and guides.
Tree Planting: Over the past ten years, Kayden and his eco-warriors have planted thousands of trees across the Western Cape and beyond. Help beautify the Cape and reforest a natural area by tree planting at a local primary school or urban area.
Extraction of alien vegetation: Many hands make light work when it comes to pulling out the invasive alien species that choke the natural vegetation and diminish foraging opportunities for endemic fauna.
Wetland Salvation: The Western Cape is famous for its stunning natural wetlands, home to a host of animal and plant life. However, urbanisation has resulted in a creeping threat to the health of our unique wetlands. Learn about this extraordinary eco-system and lend a hand to safe guard it for generations to come.
Beach clean and comb: While walking the coast and learning about our rich tapestry of marine life, remove deadly plastic waste and learn how to upcycle it into something useful.
Wildlife sanctuary: We’ll get stuck in and assist with the daily operations of a local cheetah rehabilitation center.
Community Upliftment: In the Western Cape, much inequality still exists in many communities. Global Wheeling aims to make positive changes within previously disadvantaged communities and schools and some of the types of projects you might be a part of are: sports ground improvements,recycling initiatives, creating sustainable vegetable gardens, skills developments within schools or community organisations and other environmental educational initiatives.
Volunteering projects will vary from tour to tour, depending on necessity and appropriateness with regards to the time of year.
The tour includes talks on conservation issues, radical sustainability, marine protection, the neurological benefits of exercise and interacting with nature, Western Cape fauna and flora, edible plants and herbs and practical long distance cycling survival.
The tour provides plenty of opportunities for responsible animal encounters. Voluntours will spend an afternoon at a cheetah sanctuary, where rescued cheetahs are raised, cared for and studied. It’s not uncommon to spot the odd mischievous baboon on one of the many cycling days. Voluntours will be able to swim with penguins in their natural environment at two separate beaches, while others can observe them waddling across the beach, or nesting in the distance. While visiting the most southern point in Africa, voluntours will cycle to an ostrich farm and learn about these plus-sized birds and sample a giant egg (one equals twenty-two chicken eggs). Volunteers visiting in November will catch the end of whaling season and may be lucky enough to see one of these gentle giants breeching in the ocean.
During the tour’s many nature reserve visits, voluntours will be exploring the natural habitat of numerous graceful species of buck endemic to the Cape, as well as an astounding array of marine life and bird colonies.
Shark cage diving is a popular tourist attraction in the Western Cape. However, shark cage diving companies have recently been shown to be unscrupulous in their desire to bait sharks into areas where they would not naturally dwell. Chumming (throwing fish guts and blood into the waters to attract sharks) has been shown to make sharks more aggressive and can lure them closer to where swimmers can be affected. Chumming is necessary as sharks are naturally timid, cautious creatures who don’t normally approach boats. We feel the process is unethical, inauthentic and even, irresponsible. Recent competition between shark cage diving companies has also meant that boaters will take risks with weather safety conditions, a fact that led a group of tourists to head out in treacherous weather, resulting in at least one death.
Voluntours need to pay for their own airfare to and from Cape Town. Our well-travelled programme coordinators will happily assist you with planning your trip, recommendations for budget booking agencies, ideas for extending your trip after the tour and any other travel-related issues you may encounter. Alcoholic beverages and off-tour entertainment are not covered by Global Wheeling.
Start dates are fixed and will run for two weeks with a two week break in-between tours. Our 2019 tours start in November and tour run each month until April 2020.
Contact us stating your desired tour month and we will get in touch to arrange a Skype interview to get to know you better and to answer any questions you might have. We will take deposits and secure places once we have chosen the candidates for each tour.
We are accepting preliminary candidates to be placed on waiting lists until June 2017 where the final cut will be made for the limited 120 annual positions available. We strongly encourage applicants to motivate their reasons for wanting to be selected for the programme with a one page supporting document. With limited spots available only candidates expressing a genuine interest in the ideals of the project will be considered.
You will be one of twenty brave eco-warriors hailing from all over the world. As a global movement, we value and celebrate diversity, in all shapes and forms. We will not enforce an age limit, but our programme is focused on bringing together fit, like-minded, young-at-heart (environment/volunteer) individuals, with a special focus on students embarking on a degree in environmental studies, ecology, sustainability and/or international relations. We also welcome and encourage corporate team-building groups in order to bring a productive team even closer.
Global Wheeling is currently connecting with universities in the US and elsewhere, to get the programme endorsed as a for-credit course for students undertaking relevant degrees. Enquire about your university requirements and then chat to our programme coordinator about your specific queries.
The fourteen day action-packed adventure tour involves a hefty amount of cycling and hiking, as well as other activities such as surfing and kayaking, so you will need to be fit. You should be comfortable and accustomed to cycling at least 30 kilometers (18 miles) in a day, and be able to hike for at least 4 hours without difficulty. The days are broken up into effort levels of 1 to 4. There are three days where you’ll be breaking a killer sweat, but in-between there will be chilled to medium days for recovery.
No problem. Our professional Global Wheeling chef will prepare about 70% of your meals from scratch, taking into account any allergies, preferences or requirements. We are serious about your safety and comfort. When dining out at our pre-approved dining partner restaurants, we’ll discuss meal options with the chef well in advance to ensure each voluntour is catered for.
A hepatitis A vaccination is recommended for travelers to South Africa. A yellow fever vaccination is only needed if travelling to African countries other than South Africa. Luckily, Cape Town and the Western Cape are malaria-free zones, so you won’t need to take malaria preventative tablets. However, if you are planning on travelling further north, chat to one of our knowledgeable coordinators about the best malaria-treatment methods for you. We would love to help.
The Western Cape has some of the cleanest water in the world, due to our heavy yearly winter rainfalls and high mountain ranges. The tap water is completely safe to drink. *Regardless, it is always recommended to take a daily travel pro-biotic like Reuteri to safeguard sensitive stomachs against unfamiliar germs.
For most nationalities, you can enter South Africa as a tourist without a visa as long as your visit is no longer than three months. If you are unsure of the rule for your country of origin, please let us know and we will confirm the requirements for you.