Africa and South America Gap Year

Push yourself to boundaries when you join a South American trek paired with a volunteering stint in South Africa.

Home Community Africa and South America Gap Year
July – December 2024
South Africa  |  Ecuador  |  Costa Rica
6 Months
Expedition + Volunteer

$ 11,210




Throughout this gap year journey, you will gain a broader perspective on global issues, develop interpersonal skills, and make a tangible impact on both local communities and the environment. 

You will start in Cape Town where you will have the opportunity to empower the youth by becoming a Sports Coach helping them ignite their passion for sports. The next leg happens in Ecuador, where you will work on community development initiatives while exposing the locale to global trends on sustainability and product marketing. Finally on your last stop of your journey, you will head on to Costa Rica for an expedition that combines trekking, environmental protection and enhancing your leadership skills. 

Overall, if you are looking for adventure while leaving a lasting footprint in the local communities with global impact, the 6-month Africa and South America Gap Year program is for you!

Inspire children with new concepts and enthusiasm through innovative sports activities.
Catch thrilling waves and surf at the picturesque Coffee Bay Beach.
Delve into the rich historical treasures of the historic center of Quito.
Enjoy a range of outdoor activities during your time off, including catching some waves and surfing, hiking, and exploring South Africa’s stunning Wild Coast.
Immerse yourself in the abundant forests, captivating wildlife, and breathtaking beaches of Costa Rica.



July 8, 2024 - August 30, 2024 | 8 Weeks

Kickstart your volunteer adventure in the heart of South Africa where you will volunteer as a Sports Coach helping to reshape sports curriculum, combine innovative classes with a mix of exciting games, fitness assessments, and friendly competitions. Engage in sports like Football and Hockey igniting camaraderie and leadership among the youth. This internship is your gateway to effecting real change within marginalized communities and contributing to positive social transformation among Africa’s youth.

Project Highlights
  • Support coaches in facilitating physical education classes at schools in Cape Town’s Khayelitsha and Langa.
  • Contribute to the formation of innovative sports curriculum, incorporating exciting games, fitness assessments, and competitive elements.
  • Influence the youth with your enthusiasm in learning more about sports, discipline and commitment.

Enjoy comfortable lodging in a roomy guesthouse located at the heart of town, offering scenic vistas of Lion’s Head and convenient proximity to Kloof street. Explore attractions like Table Mountain, V&A Waterfront, and Company’s Gardens easily from this central location. The accommodations feature dorm-style living with shared bathrooms and communal spaces.



September 2, 2024 - October 25, 2024 | 8 Weeks

Make way on your next journey to Ecuador, where you will be taking the world of sustainable community development. Together with local leaders you will take part in many pivotal activities including sustainable construction, agriculture, teaching English and community arts. This project aims to create a genuine dialogue and exchange of customs and worldviews, so everybody learns from each other while working with the community to create opportunities, dignified work and preservation of their native culture and ecosystems.

Project Highlights
  • Help renovate an abandoned, 100-year old adobe farmhouse to help generate much-needed income for local families & restore cultural heritage.
  • Contribute to sustainable farming practices, marketing strategies, and economic empowerment initiatives.
  • Assist in organizing workshops, training sessions, and educational programs to reignite cultural practices and affirm their identity in a positive light.

Volunteers will stay in a shared volunteer house with other volunteers. This immersive experience allows you to connect with fellow participants and the local community on a deeper level. Meals will be provided, ensuring you have the sustenance you need as you work with the locale.



October 28, 2024 - December 13, 2024 | 7 Weeks

Concluding your gap year itinerary, you will join our expedition and leadership volunteer activities in Costa Rica with its rich ecosystem and biodiversity. Participants will work alongside local communities, engaging in inspiring conservation projects and social development initiatives (including building community structures, preserving ecosystems and trekking through rainforest). As you make a difference, you’ll also develop invaluable leadership skills that will empower you to become a catalyst for change.

Project Highlights
  • Immerse yourself in the stunning biodiversity of Costa Rica’s rainforests and coastal ecosystems.
  • Participate in hands-on conservation projects, trail construction, and sustainable community development initiatives.
  • Experience Costa Rican traditions and customs by working with social development programs.

Depending on the specific project, you may have the opportunity to stay in a school, a camping site, or a community building. Each option offers its own unique charm and ensures that you have a comfortable and enjoyable living experience throughout your volunteer journey.

What You Pay For:

  • Airport welcome and transfers
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • 24/7 emergency travel assistance
  • Safety expertise
  • Extensive pre-departure information and support
  • Pre and post arrival orientation
  • Local onsite coordinator with 24/7 availability
  • Local orientation, project training & equipment


  • Flights
  • Visa expenses
  • Vaccinations
  • Personal expenses
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Transportation to/from the homestay to the project each day (Ecuador)
  • Costs for additional excursions or activities
  • Police/government background check
  • Any costs for COVID-19 PCR tests (if required by the country)

Program Reviews

What our past alumni say

I had a tremendous 2 weeks working with the sports coaching and development project; the access to meaningful projects within local communities was excellent. Would certainly consider doing this again!

Simon MartinSports Coaching and Development

Frequently asked questions

What type of work will I be doing as a Sports Coach?

You will work alongside a local Physical Education coach to plan, design, and implement classes and activities. You will aid in the development of leadership, teamwork, and communication abilities among the youth in some towns in Cape Town. You will organize games and tournaments while motivating the kids the value of discipline and to improve their social skills.

What qualifications do I need to be a Sports Coach?

None! Just a dedication to instilling the essence of teamwork and physical education in children through your passion for all things sports.

What skills do I need to volunteer in a social NGO in Ecuador?

The NGO aims to serve as a hub for cultural exchange and social innovation, with a key focus on co-creating sustainable solutions that can uplift marginalized rural communities.. No particular set of skills are required but additional attributes can be helpful including problem-solving, marketing, communication skills, adaptability and cultural sensitivity.

What can I expect in the Costa Rica expedition?

You will be assigned into 3 phases of your Costa Rica experience: community (helping with community projects), environment (helping with environment preservation) and adventure leadership (trekking through rainforests).

Will I have time to visit other cities?

Participants generally work Monday to Friday, 8 hours a day. You’ll have the whole weekend to go out and explore your surroundings, nearby cities, and all of the cool local sights.

We are here to help

We are here to guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have.


Need more information?

Find out all about Impact Gap Year and your gap year experiences in out information guide.



At Impact Gap Year, we are committed to creating a world where individuals are empowered to lead. where ethical practices prevail, and where young people are equipped to create positive change. Join us on this journey of growth, collaboration, and impact.

3015 E Franklin Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55406, USA

+1 970​-399​-9968  

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