Where are we going and for how long?
Teams depart from the US for South Africa on a Thursday, arrive on a Friday night/Saturday morning, and then depart the following Sunday night. Teams can either go to the rural city of Mafikeng in the Northwest Province or to the more urbanized Cape Town in the Western Cape. Teams going to Mafikeng fly in to O. R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg and teams going to Cape Town fly into Cape Town International Airport (CPT).
How much does it cost?
The cost depends on the number of people on your team and the region that you are traveling. The difference in regional costs is very minimal and is seen mainly by smaller teams. The smallest team that can go is 10, and will cost $1,600 per person for in-country costs + airfare. The largest team we can handle is 27 in Cape Town and is $1,222 per person for in-country costs+ airfare. The cost for teams between 10 and 27 people vary between those amounts. Airfare is not included in our cost estimate because of the range of possible fares. We recommend estimating at least $1,800 for roundtrip airfare, but have seen airfare from anywhere between $1,000 and $2,000.
What does the cost include?
The cost includes: Accommodations, meals and catering, all in-country transportation, excursions, course manuals and a pre-trip manual, t-shirts, administration
The cost does not include: international airfare, course materials, travel medical insurance, personal snacks and souvenirs
Is a deposit required? What is the payment schedule?
A $500 deposit is required to secure the trip dates. From there, 30% of the trip cost is due 90 days before departure and 100% of the trip cost is due 30 days before departure.
Can I fundraise my costs?
You can absolutely fundraise for your trip, but it will not always be through us. We typically do not allow teams to fundraise directly through us because we don't have the staff or capacity to keep up with that. Most churches have fundraising capabilities and can accept tax-deductible donations just as we can, so that is our first suggestion. Schools can not always fundraise in ways that allow donations to be tax-deductible, so individual fundraisers (selling t-shirts, using GoFundMe, etc) are more common.
How do we get there?
You fly there! We recommend booking airfare 4 to 7 months in advance. Our preferred airline is Delta or KLM. The flight path typically has 1 or 2 layovers and can take a total of 28 to 38 hours each way. Generally the more layovers you have, the cheaper the airfare, but we promise you that it is well worth the extra money to only have one layover each way.
Where do we stay?
We have a western mission house in each region that has indoor plumbing, hot water (for the first few showers of the night and then after that you're on your own), bunk beds, beautiful gardens, and top-notch security systems. We provide linens, pillows, and towels for each team member.
What kind of food do we eat?
Mostly bugs and grass. Just kidding! We have amazing caterers that feed mission teams very well. You'll be able to recognize most of your food (salad, vegetables, soup, sandwiches, pork chops, chicken, quiche, burgers, lasagna, etc), and you'll also experience some South African desserts and cooking styles as well! If you have any special dietary restrictions or allergies, we can definitely accommodate them.
What do we do there?
Teams typically pick one or two courses to facilitate in the villages during the week. The courses to choose from are: VBS, Agriculture Training, Life Skills Training. Please see Mission Trip Course Options for descriptions of each course. In addition to the daily courses, teams will have the opportunity to visit some of Orchard: Africa's programs including, but not limited to, preschools, home-based care, feeding projects, and after-school learning centers. At the end of each trip, teams will have a debrief time together with our staff where you go on local excursions that vary by region.
What do we need to bring?
We have a suggested packing list in our Pre-Trip Manual for your personal items. In addition to your personal items, teams are required to bring all of the materials needed for the courses they are conducting. Additionally, teams will get a specific list of donations that are currently needed in the region they are going, but are completely optional for them to bring.
Do I need any shots to go to South Africa?
Nope! Some doctors may recommend something if you're nervous, but the areas in which you will be are not at risk for Malaria, Typhoid, Ebola, or any other scary diseases associated with Africa. When traveling internationally in general, we recommend that you have had basic vaccines like Hep A, Hep B, Meningitis, MMR, and Tetanus.
Can you drink the water there?
Yep! The water is completely safe to drink!
How old do you have to be to go?
Team members should be at least 13 years of age. All minors traveling with or without a parent MUST bring with them a passport, a notarized minor consent form, an original or certified copy of their birth certificate (which lists both parents' names), a notarized copy of both parents' IDs, and a letter of intent provided by our US office. For more information about minors traveling to South Africa, see Traveling with Minors to SA.
Who do I contact to put a team together?
Reach out to Savannah at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in putting a team together. We will gather the basic information from you to start the process (who, what, where, when, how, cost, etc) and then we will go from there! You typically want to get a 8 to 12 month head start before your departure date because of the time it takes to recruit a full (and committed) team, fundraise, book airfare, prepare courses and supplies, etc. A $500 deposit is required to secure your dates. Teams must be at least 10 people and team members must be at least 13 years of age.