Assist in a busy hospital in
the heart of
Cape Town

A perfect experience if you are embarking on a career in medicine

Apply now
  • Duration
    2-24 Weeks
  • Minimum age
  • Selected Sunday start dates throughout the year
  • From
  • Duration
    2-24 Weeks
  • Minimum age
  • Selected Sunday start dates throughout the year
  • From

South Africa medical volunteers

Not currently available for 2024, please see our medical programmes in Ghana, Tanzania or Kenya.

Gain valuable experience assisting in a busy clinic in the heart of Cape Town which provides free healthcare to those in most need. You will be able to observe and work alongside local medical professionals where you will gain a greater appreciation and understanding of some of the challenges that South Africa faces.

Not only this, but you will get to witness a variety of cases and observe different medical practices that offer a fantastic contrast to what you may find in your local hospital at home. 

Whether you are taking your elective placement in South Africa, are looking to put your skills to good use or are just wanting to gain some medical experience, this is a unique chance to assist in simple but practical ways while exploring everything this amazing country has to offer.

Get ready for some unforgettable memories both inside and out of the hospital. If you're looking for an adventure while volunteering then we cannot think of anywhere better than Cape Town. During your free time you can head out on safari, visit world famous beaches, climb Table Mountain and so much more.


Who is it for?
Medical students and volunteers with no experience
Departments available
There are no specific departments you can be assigned to, however, you will receive a broad overview of all services offered by the hospital
Elective placements
Medical and nursing
Background to the medical programme

The South African healthcare system today has seen great improvements over the past century, especially post-apartheid. Although most of South Africa’s hospitals are now public hospitals offering free services, these tend to be overcrowded, under-resourced and understaffed - leading to long waiting times and at times inadequate services being provided. The standard of medical care in public hospitals can range from acceptable to very low, plagued by problems such as old or broken equipment, medication shortages and lack of staff. These problems have led to an inability to always treat everyone who attends these very busy environments.

With a rising population and a recent influx of refugees from surrounding countries, the already over burdened health care system is only going to get worse in the near future. 

South Africa has more people living with HIV/AIDS than any other country in the world. It is estimated that 5.3 million people are thought to be living with the disease - over 15% of the population. Not only this, but other diseases arising from poverty and non-communicable illnesses such as bacterial diarrhoea, typhoid fever and malnutrition, contribute to many preventable deaths each and every year.

Although in the more built up cities such as Cape Town there is a good infrastructure of private medical centres and emergency services, these are generally only accessible by 20% of the wealthiest population. There remains a wide disparity between the private and public sector and for the meantime, this is thought to only be getting worse.

So as a volunteer, your help is invaluable! You will be placed in a small but busy clinic in the heart of Cape Town that offers free healthcare to those most in need. You will play a huge role in cutting down the waiting times, offering an additional pair of hands to the doctors and nurses and building a good rapport with patients as you work as a medical assistant.  Your time in South Africa will make a massive difference and will be hugely appreciated by both the patients and the other staff at the clinic.

Where will I be volunteering?

Green Point Clinic - Green Point Clinic was established in the early 90’s shortly after the fall of Apartheid. It was initially used for the overflow of patients from the nearby Somerset Hospital to deal with less urgent or less serious cases and it has remained this way ever since. The clinic provides day-to-day medical services and these are generally of a minor nature - they cater for outpatients strictly i.e. no overnight wards or patients. 

The clinic offers the usual doctor/GP visits with 3 full-time doctors on duty, health check-ups by one of the 15 nurses on duty, two 6-bed wards for stabilizing patients (with asthma, irregular blood sugar levels, physical injuries, etc.), a Gynaecologist on duty, a baby clinic for infant treatments and check-ups as well as a pharmaceutical dispensary.

The clinic is also very focused on improving the general physical and mental health of people in the community - various awareness and support programs are also offered and these include diabetes management, HIV/AIDS awareness, special childcare and healthy living (nutrition), as well as day-to-day self-medical care. Physiotherapy and psychology/counselling services are also offered on certain days of the week.

Maitland Community Health Clinic - Maitland Community Health Clinic is a public/government-run and funded facility, established in the 1970’s to provide basic healthcare for local rail-workers and their families living in the area. The clinic is located very close to the Maitland train station and most patients still use the train to get there to this day. It’s location is just a 10 minute drive from Cape Town city centre and makes it ideal for the low-income workers who are working in the city centre – these include cleaners and maintenance staff that service the numerous office blocks, hotels, malls, etc. These people cannot afford private medical/health insurance (very expensive in South Africa) so the clinic is of vital importance.

The clinic has 4 doctors and 10 full-time nurses, as well as numerous contract workers, and provides basic healthcare services to the local community and these include normal GP visits and check-ups, dental care, pharmacy, chronic medications and treatments, Gynecology and family planning etc... They also often run awareness and prevention programs, specifically focused on TB and HIV/Aids. All serious/major injuries, illness and overnight patients, are referred to the nearest available public hospital.

What is my role?

Your role on the medical programme will be largely observational, however, you will also be assigned some basic hands-on involvement. Any activities will be carried out under the supervision of a medical professional and could include the following:

Assessment & care duties - You will play a vital role in assisting the local staff with the daily tasks and general patient check ups. This can include checking blood pressures, breathing rates, pulse and temperatures. You could also be involved with physical examinations of the height and weight of patients and building the medical history by obtaining important information on past medical history, medications and allergies.

Testing duties - At times you may also be able to collect samples of urine or blood to transport down to the laboratory for testing.

Preparation duties - To ensure the swift treatment of patients, part of your duties will include readying them for testing, treatment or procedures to be carried out by the doctor. This can include activities such as removing bandages or cleaning a wound.

Clerical duties - Updating the patient files and charts is really helpful for the busy nurses and doctors. You may also help with the scheduling of future appointments, manage cancellations and assist in clinic administration as part of your volunteering role.

Ad hoc duties  - You may also be able to participate in home visits in rural areas to help with vaccinations or care for immobilised patients, assist midwives out on their visits or join in on the group counselling sessions or awareness drives when available.

During your time in South Africa you will discover new perspectives and cultural attitudes towards medicine, learn how to collaborate with people from a different culture and develop a range of new skills. You will gain hands on training, supervised by experienced English-speaking medical experts. This is your chance to vastly increase your own knowledge by being fully involved in the day-to-day activities of the hospital, observing the doctors and nurses and helping out in simple but practical ways.

Our South Africa medical experience welcomes people from all backgrounds. So if you have just left school and are looking for experience to boost your university application (pre-med), currently a university student organising an elective placement overseas or are a trained professional - this is the perfect programme for you.

Due to the nature of the hospital, I'm afraid we are unable to allocate you to specific wards or tasks. You will spend your time helping the staff where it is most required and each day will bring something new.

What will a typical day look like?

Your varied role and the ever-changing scenarios of the clinic will mean every day is different. You will be typically volunteering from 8:00am to 3.00pm Monday to Friday.

You will be responsible for making your own way to the clinic each day. You can expect the journey to take no more than 30 minutes and our local team will advise and assist with your transport. Alternatively, you will be paired with a volunteer that has been there some time already.

Once you have finished for the day, most volunteers meet back at the volunteer accommodation before heading out and enjoying everything the city has to offer. With amazing beaches just down the road, lots of restaurants and quirky cafes on your doorstep and so much more to see and do around Cape Town, your evenings and weekends will be action packed.

Where will I be staying?

During your time in South Africa you will be staying at the volunteer house located in the Observatory district (known locally as ‘Obz’) - one of the more affluent areas. This is Cape Town’s most bohemian suburb with many boutique shops, restaurants and cafes just a short 10 minute walk away.

The volunteer house is perfectly located to take advantage of everything Cape Town has to offer. You can easily access the beautiful beaches such as Clifton and Camps Bay, head to famous Long Street, go shopping at the V&A Waterfront and so much more.

Other things to consider

Level of involvement - Your level of involvement will be dictated by a range of factors including your medical experience, duration of program and willingness to get involved. The local medical staff are accountable for you whilst you’re under their supervision and ultimately, it is completely their decision whether or not you are permitted to get involved in hands-on procedures.

Elective placements - Due to the fact you cannot specify departments and tailor the project to your course requirements, we generally don't recommend this programme for elective placements - especially if you have been studying for more than one year.  You will get a much better experience tailored to your needs in Ghana, Sri Lanka, India or Tanzania. 

Trained professionals - We welcome trained and qualified professionals to come and assist on our medical programme in South Africa. However, your role within the hospital will be very limited and for this reason we would recommend our programmes in Ghana, Tanzania or India.

Weekends and free time - You will have every weekend off from volunteering and this is the perfect time to explore everything this beautiful country has to offer. You are more than welcome to simply relax around the accommodation and enjoy the nearby beaches, but most volunteers will use this time to travel and see the country. Further down this page you will come across many suggestions and ideas on where you could go. Alternatively, if you are looking to head further afield, then you may be interested in one or more of the organised weekend trips we run.

I had a very good experience…

I had a very good experience volunteering, people were friendly and always offering help when asked. Work experience itself was rewarding and eye opening. Overall a fantastic experience that I would highly recommend and happily repeat.

Rhys EdwardsOctober 2023

Amazing Medical Experience

I recently completed my Medical Experience in South Africa and it was amazing. The whole process was smooth sailing and as compared to other companies , Mighty Roar was quite cheap. I wasn’t sure what to expect once I arrived in South Africa but I had the time if my life and would definitely go... Read More

Jessy TJuly 2023

2 Weeks medical volunteer South Africa

I spent 2 weeks volunteering in Cape Town, South Africa. It was the best experience of my life! no exaggeration :) I spent the time volunteering in Maitland Community Health Centre, the staff and nurses were so friendly and talkative. My favourite part is when I got to help out in a minor surgery... Read More

Ben ClenchMay 2023

Cape Town

I spent a month in Cape Town and it was a once in a life-time experience. Everyone on the team was lovely and was more than happy to help with any enquiries I had.

Heather BowersJuly 2022

The most amazing experience

I had the most amazing experience volunteering in a clinic in Cape Town for three weeks. This was all organised through The Mighty Roar. My original plans to travel to Sri Lanka for 5 weeks had to be cancelled and the team helped me rearrange everything at ... Read More

Carys ManganJune 2019

South Africa Childcare

  • May 2022
I volunteered on the childcare programme in South Africa during May 2022. It was best experience of my life and by far the best country I’ve ever been to. I was a little worried I’d be on my own, but as soon as I walked through the door I made so many friends!

Sasha's story

Big Five Safari in South Africa

  • February 2022
I absolutely loved my time volunteering at Amakhala, so honestly grab your binoculars and go and have some fun! For the same price as a two night safari stay, the 3 weeks I spent at Amakhala Reserve showed me a lot more and taught me about the animals and conservation efforts.

Scarlett's story

Volunteering at Shamwari Game Reserve

  • December 2019
Hear all about my experience in South Africa at the Shamwari Game Reserve in August 2019. Being able to get so close to all of the different animals every day was a dream come true.

Hannah's story

A great two weeks at Amakhala!

  • October 2019
Our two weeks volunteering at Amakhala included so much, with something new everyday. Getting close to amazing wildlife, helping the community and exploring South Africa.

Sara's story

Heading off on safari in South Africa

  • October 2018
Between the UK and South Africa teams, I felt fully supported and had the best two weeks at Amakhala. I saw so many animals and learnt so much, I cannot wait to volunteer again.

Lynette's story

Four months helping penguins in South Africa

  • March 2018
Even though I was volunteering for several months, which is longer than most, the time flew by and I really wished I stayed longer! If you like penguins or birds, then I can highly recommend this programme

Stephanie's story