Safety is a good question, and a matter we take very seriously. St. Lucia was actually chosen as our destination because of the security of the location. It is a UNESCO world heritage site, a gated community and police patrolled 24/7.
VESA staff members meet the designated Group Flight at the arrival hall of the airport, where they are accompanied to our mini vans for transfer to St Lucia and our hostel.
We stay in our own VESA house at our hostel, which no other guests are allowed in. There is a safe for valuables.
We travel in convoy on all days, and at all times you are with three VESA staff members who are fully qualified senior first aid technicians and are based in the area, as well as touring with local guides.
As with all our programs, safety of our participants is our #1 priority.
We are aware that for some of our participants this may be their first experience abroad or even away from their families. Should you have any queries or need any assistance while on program there will always be someone nearby to help and you should not hesitate to ask any question at all. We are definitely there to make our volunteers have the best possible experience.
VESA closely monitors all political, civil and environmental situations in South Africa. Should we deem that the area is unsafe for travel we will readjust the program accordingly.
Please visit your government’s travel website for further information on travelling conditions throughout South Africa.
Students on the VESA programme will be accompanied at all times by members of our staff who are all qualified Senior First Aid technicians.
In Africa at all times will be accompanied by local guides as well as two VESA staff members. On tour both staff members as well as a local guide will travel with you.
The temperature in South Africa is mildly seasonal. St Lucia, where we base ourselves for the volunteer work is situated right on the Indian Ocean (complete with awesome sandy white beaches) and thus experiences sub-tropical weather year-round.
There are computer terminals at reception in our accommodation. For $25 USD you can use a credit card to join the St. Lucia Wi-Fi network which will get you one month of unlimited internet on your mobiles or iPads/tablets.
There are also phone booths in town. A phone card can be purchased from the Post Office in town or the grocery store to use to call home.
There is no phone or internet access in Swaziland.
In Mozambique, there is internet at our first and second stops to email home. It is not fast enough to use Skype.
All accommodation and food is included in the cost of the program. However, if you wish to buy that special necklace for back home, then you will need to bring along some cash.
At Durban International airport on arrival there are ATMs for you to take out local currency, the South Africa Rand, for drinks, snacks and souvenirs. There also ATMs in St Lucia. It is extremely important that you alert your bank and credit card company that you will be travelling overseas so that they do not put a hold on your card. A quick phone call is all it takes.
Optional activities in South Africa i.e. white-water rafting, horse riding and quad bike riding can be paid for by cash on the spot.
No vaccinations are mandatory however VESA strongly recommends that you speak to your medical practitioner about any further immunisations you may need. Malaria prevention is recommended for those travelling on to Mozambique.
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date. Pack a travel first aid kit, especially as you will be travelling away from major city centres. There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
No visa is required for citizens of Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, the EU or the USA for travel to South Africa. For those travelling on to Mozambique – your visa will be acquired at the border and is included in your fee.
For citizens of all other countries please check your VISA requirements.
Sure, not a problem! All we ask from our participants is that you come with an open mind and a desire to make a difference. Please note however that the majority of our participants are university students and range in age from 18 - 24 years old.
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