As Ecotourism is becoming increasingly popular to alleviate our carbon footprints on the world so are volunteer holidays. I am often seeing families taking time out of their holidays to volunteer and help communities with their schools, animal conservation and rescue. There are many different organisations now offering family volunteering holidays. It’s a concept that I love and it’s something that I hope we can fulfil in the future. Why not spend one-week volunteering and the other week travelling and exploring your chosen country. So what are my current 6 bucket list destinations for family volunteering holidays? Why not read on to find out more.
1. Tanzania Family Volunteering Holidays
For our first family destination why not Volunteer in Tanzania? They have volunteer programs for everyone including families. It could be your turn to go make a difference. Tanzania is in East Africa and they are looking for volunteers to help within the local communities. Such as building schools, helping within their schools and building fresh water supplies.
The plains of the Serengeti National Park can be found in Tanzania which makes it a great place to go on Safari. It is dominated by the big five game elephants, lions, leopards, buffalo and rhino. Tanzania is also home to the Kilimanjaro National Park, Africa’s highest mountain which means some pretty stunning scenery to admire during your stay in the area.
2. Thailand Wildlife Rescue Volunteer Holidays
Thailand offers many different family volunteer holidays, many of them concern the welfare and conservation of animals. With marine life, elephants and turtles being their main focus for help. Many elephants in Thailand have suffered from neglect. These are brought into various charitable organisations and they then seek help from volunteers to help them to look after the elephants. This can include feeding, bathing and exercising the elephants.
Marine conservation involves diving and recording surveys on the life you see in the water, water testing, erosion control and culture programmes. Or you could volunteer to help turtles. You will help to monitor turtle activity at sea and on the beaches.
Thailand is a beautiful country for a family holiday with tropical beaches, ornate Buddhist temples and ancient ruins. It is also home to some of the most photographed destinations on Instagram. Thai cuisine can rival that of many other countries with delicious flavours and seafood.
3. Family Holiday Volunteering in India
Like Thailand, India also offers volunteer holidays to families to help look after their neglected elephants. But India is also a great country to immerse yourselves in helping out communities. The adults in your family can help support the teachers at the local schools while your children can join in with the classes and help teach each other about their different cultures. Much of the volunteering work is aimed at supporting disadvantaged children to feel confident about themselves and to teach in subjects such as England and PE. Sometimes their teachers can be as lacking in skills and you can help provide the children with a higher quality of education.
During your stay, you could take time out to take a water boat journey, go rafting or visit a tea plantation. You could be helping in an area with water parks or theme parks! There are also many temples which will be worth a visit. A lot of India also has a coastline with much of it having palm-lined beaches and networks of canals.
4. Turtle Conservation in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is another country, like Thailand, which offers family volunteer holidays to help with the conservation of turtles. You may go more off the beaten path in Costa Rica to find the turtles. Turtles are an endangered species and there is a really big effort throughout the world right now to save these beautiful creatures. Although a lot of the conservation work takes place at night it can be thought of as disruptive to the children however they soon get into the swing of things and are said to cope better with it than the adults. They do take children and your patrols into consideration though. You can help release the turtles or protect their nests from danger. The nesting season runs from July until December which is when charities will be looking for volunteers.
Many of the conservation programs in Costa Rica have accommodation right by the beaches. Which means plenty of fun when you are ‘off duty’. The local areas provide further activities with horse riding, surfing lessons and more. Costa Rica is well known for its rainforests and can be found in Central America and apparently, it’s the worlds happiest country! It’s also home to sloths which are quite possibly one of my most favourite animals.
5. Wildlife Conservation Family Holiday in Finland
Finland perhaps isn’t a destination that will spring to mind when you think of volunteer holidays. However, being so close to home it’s certainly one of the easiest and quickest destinations to get to. Finland also needs your help. Finland has an impressive stretch of unspoilt wilderness with some truly fascinating wildlife. A family volunteer holiday in Finland could involve looking after huskies where you will work and take treks with them. There are also programmes which involve forest walks on the search for bear, wolf and wolverine populations where you will assist with wildlife initiatives. This is also one of the more popular countries for volunteering with young children.
Finland is in Northern Europe and it borders Norway. Sweden and Russia. Finland’s most famous province is Lapland the home of Santa Claus and if you’re lucky enough you may even spot the northern lights. A lot of the activities in Finland are snow-based such as skiing, sledging, husky rides etc. With kayaking, rafting and other water-based activities taking over in the warmer months.
6. Hands-on Volunteering with Monkeys in South Africa
In South Africa, you can volunteer to work at a primate rehabilitation centre. Your volunteer work could include helping with maintenance of the centres, feeding and bathing the primates, gardening and more. You could be working hands-on with monkeys and baboons to help them prepare for life in the wild. The work is suitable for young and old making this a great place to volunteer as a family. You may even get to look after baby monkeys – bottle feeding, bathing and helping them to sleep in your arms. Baby monkeys are more likely between November and February. Baboons are born throughout the year so year-round help is always needed.
In the local area, you could spend some time exploring Kruger national park with its beautiful scenery including gorges. Why not take the time out to go on a Safari around the national park. This would be my husband’s favourite of all the volunteer holidays mentioned above.
Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post. All words and opinions are my own. Photos are courtesy of Pixabay.