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South Africa Swimming Coaching

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South Africa Swimming Coaching

Work with disadvantaged children to promote water safety, backing the national Learn-to-Swim campaign and bringing happiness into their lives through swimming.

Prices from US$2,245

Visit South Africa, a "Rainbow Nation" that combines modern culture with an ancient landscape that is simply breathtaking. South Africa has evolved over thousands of years to become the biologically and culturally diverse nation that it is today and attracts thousands of visitors a year to its wide, sandy beaches, cosmopolitan cities and, of course, its famous wildlife and game reserves.

Swimming in South Africa tells a tale of two sides. The first sees the country as a powerful and successful nation, claiming victory and world records throughout Africa and on the international circuit. From Olympic gold medallists to world record breakers the South African swim team is a force to be reckoned with.

However, the other side of the sport tells a different story. Over 70% of the nation has little or no swimming ability and over 1000 drownings occur each year. These shocking figures led to Swimming South Africa (the national governing body) launching the national Learn-to-Swim campaign back in 1999. The aim of the programme is to teach every South African to swim and is mainly geared towards the more disadvantaged communities. This is because about 84% of drownings involve people from historically poorer backgrounds.


  • Become a coach, mentor and friend to disadvantaged children
  • Discover the Rainbow Nation
  • Make lifelong friends


  • Minimum age of 17 years
  • As swimming coaching cannot always be guaranteed, please be sure to check availability and choose a secondary sport.


Location Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Activities Swimming Lessons
Obtain a recognised Lifeguard Award
Coaching individuals
Transport Airport pick-up & drop-off
Accommodation Shared volunteer house



Before you go Pre-departure support
Travel & medical advice & documentation
Equipment advice
Discounted medical kit
Free Frontier t-shirt

Airport pick-up & drop-off
Project orientation & induction
Project-related transport
Lifeguard Award
In-country emergency support
24 hour international HQ backup


A variety of qualifications are available on many of our projects. For example, BTEC certificates and diplomas on our Group conservation projects and TEFL certificates and BTECs on most of our teaching projects. You may also be able to gain a CoPE to support your university application. For more information on these qualifications, please see the qualifications section of our website or ask your volunteer advisor.


This swimming coaching placement gives you the chance to develop young swimmers in South Africa. Although there are opportunities to coach provincial level swimmers, the main focus is on the government’s Learn-to-Swim campaign, teaching youngsters the techniques to stay safe in the pool and on the beach. You will also receive an official Lifeguard Award (accredited by Life Saving South Africa) as part of this placement.

Swim coaches visiting South Africa can get involved at different levels of the sport, but the main focus is working with children from township communities. The government subsidises swimming lessons for township schools so that pupils can receive lessons at local pools. However, there is still a lack of swim instructors and general assistants to help supervise the sessions.

Whether you have recognised qualifications, or simply enjoy swimming and interacting with kids, there is a place for you. The age of the swimmers ranges from 5 to 12 and there is a variety of abilities. You will therefore have the option of helping children learn to swim from the first time they have set foot in a pool or coaching experienced children who swim for their provincial side. You can therefore take on as much responsibility as you feel your expertise allows.


You will work alongside qualified instructors. This will enable you to develop your own confidence and build relationships with the children. From here, you will continue to assist the instructors but have the opportunity to take your own sessions. As you determine the abilities and potential of individual swimmers, you can introduce your own ideas and even offer some one to one tuition. However, the qualified local staff will always be in attendance to oversee the sessions. Whether you end up coaching provincial swimmers or taking newcomers to the beach for the first time, your contribution to South African swimming will live on long after you return home.

Please note that coaching takes place in outdoor pools and is therefore affected by occasional bad weather, on average one day every 1-2 weeks. If a coaching session is cancelled, you are welcome to join other coaching placements in the area or simply use the free time for personal relaxation. Please make your Frontier Volunteer Coordinator aware of your preferences for your second choice sport.


On arrival you will be collected from Port Elizabeth airport and taken to your volunteer accommodation where you can settle in. You will then start 3–4 days of orientation where you will be given inductions and various workshops and training and be able to get to know the local staff and your fellow volunteers. Throughout your placement all work related transport is included in your project contribution. 


During this placement you will stay in a comfortable volunteer house with dormitory style rooms and shared toilets and showers.  The volunteer house has a great sociable atmosphere with Sky TV and a games room with a pool table and table tennis to enjoy with your fellow volunteers. The accommodation is conveniently located only a ten minute drive away from town or the beach and a shopping centre and various amenities are within walking distance. 


Three meals a day are provided on your placement and vegetarians can be catered for if required. There will be breakfast of toast, spreads and cereals, a packed lunch which the volunteers make up themselves and dinner is available in the canteen offering various western style meals such as pasta dishes and burgers and some South African specialities. If you venture to any local cafe or restaurant, try some of the local cuisine such as biltong and bobotie, a delicious shepherd's pie-style dish, or boerewors, which are handmade farm sausages and very popular with visitors!

Ten Most Recent Reviews for This Project

An unforgettable experience  | 19 Nov 2019
Had an amazing time in South Africa- an unforgettable experience. Have made friends for life and ...

Read more

The hard work is worth it  | 17 Nov 2019
I love swimming. So when I saw the opportunity to swim in beautiful South Africa with some great ...

Read more


You have most evenings free and weekends are also usually free for activities or personal travel. Port Elizabeth is a traveller's hotspot, renowned for its great social life, exciting activities, game reserves, scuba schools and vast stretches of golden beaches.

In country staff put great emphasis on aiding the volunteers to organise activities and outings together to explore South Africa and, all in all, have lots of fun whilst on their placements! Volunteers enjoy playing volleyball and football on the beach nearby and you could even set up a volunteer sports team and see how you fare against the South Africans! Further afield there are plenty of adventurous activities around Port Elizabeth such as scuba diving, horse riding, bungee jumping and elephant riding! You may also have the opportunity to see the amazing wildlife of South Africa on safari trips to surrounding game reserves.

In a 12-week stay, some exciting excursions are included in your project contribution, such as a visit to Kragga Kama Game Reserve, a trip to Jeffrey's Bay, the home of surfing in South Africa, and one to Bloukrans Bridge, where the world's highest bungee is! In the 12-week placement, some local cultural activities are also included, comprising a traditional dance and drumming performance and workshop, an authentic evening meal under the stars at Bushcamp Boma and a visit to a historical museum. 


5 weeks US$2,245

Extra week US$345


The project runs from Saturday to Saturday..


12th January (5-11 weeks)

16th February (5-6 weeks)

21st September (5-7 weeks)


11th January (5-11 weeks)

15th February (5-6 weeks)

19th September (5-7 weeks)


5 - 11 weeks


Before you go

  • Pre-departure support
  • Travel & medical advice & documentation
  • Equipment advice
  • Discounted medical kit
  • Free Frontier t-shirt


  • Food
  • Accommodation
  • Airport pick-up & drop-off
  • Project orientation & induction
  • Project-related transport
  • In-country emergency support
  • 24 hour internationall HQ backup


Nearest airport(s): Port Elizabeth (PLZ)


  • Flights
  • Visas
  • Insurance

For detailed information on flights, visas and insurance, click here.


Please read our legal statement regarding the running of NGO projects.

To apply for this placement, click on "Apply Now" below. Fill in the short application form and one of our advisers will then call you back to answer any questions and make sure this is the perfect placement for you. Applying doesn't cost a penny and you won't pay anything until you're completely happy and you're ready to reserve your place.

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