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Let ZOTE take you to a corner of South Africa where you can still experience a traditional way of life in rural community filled with lush, verdant landscapes, friendly people—all within a four-hour drive from Johannesburg.

Discover all and everything the villages of Venda has to offer in a customized volunteer service project of your choice—living and working among the Venda people.  Plus take advantage of South Africa’s most famous game experience at Kruger National Park right next door or any other pre-or post-trip of your choice.

Volunteers will live in small- medium sized villages consisting of 50-80 families.  Homes are typically spread out and each family has a significant amount of land. Venda is considered the fruitful Eden of South Africa where everything natural and delicious grows.  The soil is extremely rich and fertile, so most homes grow mango trees, papaya trees, kale, maize, and more.  The house structures may vary from family to family because of economic income and family size.  Most homes are made of bricks and mortar, plastered and painted, others may be very simple homes, with very little vegetation.

In rural Venda, people tend to roam and visit neighbors regularly.  There is a great sense of family, community and safety.  Volunteer that walk to their placement are greeted in passing.  Strangers may even engage you in a conversation in Tshi-Venda.

Most people rise early before or with the sun and begin travelling, or preparing for laborious work in the farms or their orchards.  Women are very active in agricultural growth and maintaining village – life, so you will see more women actively working and moving around during the day.  Some of the elder women still wear traditional Venda clothe (mwendas), which comes in a variety of different colors.  Men wear casual pants and a shirt, and even full suits.

The climate is usually warm, though people still wear conservative clothing, and walk around with umbrellas for shade.  At night it cools down and crisp stars light up the sky line. In your homes, you will find that the Mom is the manager of daily duties, and serve as the best resource and guide for volunteers.  If there are children they too will participate in daily chores and detail.  Volunteers are always welcome to engage in household activities from cooking your home meals, to washing clothes by hand or in a machine.  

Most homes have running water with bathroom, toilet, and shower-tub facility. Each volunteer will have their own room with a bed and possibly even a desk and vanity.

Socially, people attend church services, community meetings, or just visit each other. For internet access, and other leisure activities volunteerscan go to the town called Thohoyandou, only 10 minutes taxi-van ride.  Taxi-vans is the best mode of transportation among biking and walking.  Some families own vehicles, either a sedan or 4X4.  

Venda is very rural, quiet and therefore very low key and relaxing.  You will not get the same hustle bustle you get in big cities.  Instead you will have an opportunity to immerse in the local culture with little anxiety about your surroundings.

~Karen, from Kansas, U.S.A.

“For me, experiencing a more rural and authentic part of Africa was the best part of my experience. I wanted to gain as much knowledge of that part of the world that I could.”

Rural Venda