Volunteer at Hobbiton

Volunteer at Hobbiton

Description of host organization

Hobbiton was founded in 1945 as an Outdoor Education Centre for disadvantaged children. Our focus is to develop self-confidence through self-discovery and adventure activities in an outdoor environment with specific focus on disadvantaged youth.

In order to be self-sufficient these activities are extended to all sectors of the community such as schools, religious, social as well as corporate groups who access these at a fee. The costs for standard bookings include instructors for all of the activities and safety equipment while the proceeds go toward the maintenance of the building and facilities and other running costs.

Activities on the premises include the zip line, nostalgically called the foefie slide. There is also a wall climbing, middle ropes course, orienteering, compass courses, group dynamics, abseiling and for the extremely adventurous a 10-meter-high ropes course with a trapeze jump.

Hobbiton is based in the Amatola Mountains well known for its beautiful flora and fauna including the vast number of waterfalls. It is however remotely located in a rural village of Hogsback, approximately 1.5 hours away from the city of East London.

As a registered Non-Profit Organisation we source additional funding for large projects and for our UPCs – under privileged camps. There are summer and winter camps run at no cost to these disadvantaged youths from impoverished backgrounds such as homeless shelters, HIV/AIDS orphans and abused children.

Contact us on 045 962 1193 / through this link http://bit.ly/388zSuV for more information on how you can get involved.

Some important points to note:

We have worked with volunteers from all over the worldYour signature denotes your acceptance of all the information herewith. A minimum commitment of three (3) months will be expected in order for volunteers to be placed in our centre.Hobbiton pays no allowance or stipends, volunteers will often have to self-cater although 15% of the meals will be from us as a result of catered group bookings. The volunteer contract comes with free accommodation which may at times be shared with other volunteers of the same gender.To get to us – you could take an internal flight from Johannesburg to East London from where we will collect you.The first two weeks in Hobbiton are for orientation, we will offer basic training which may include shadowing an experienced outdoor instructor. Volunteer instructor’s main task is to help facilitate Outdoor Education, however they may be occasionally be required to also assist with maintenance of equipment and facilities.Basic conditions of a workplace are adhered to therefore once a volunteer passes the Instructor’s competency test they will be scheduled for duty and off weekends, this will be on a rotational basis.Our peak season may be strenuous with instructors and volunteers working up to 14 hours a day when there are large groups. To compensate for the long hours, extra time off or day off is arranged.

Chief Operations Officer’s contact details
Tonya Burton
Telephone: +27 (0) 84 840 0617
Fax: +27 (0) 86 613 7796
E-mail: hobbitons@telkomsa.net

Hobbiton on Hogsback is based in a rural and beautiful location. There are mountains for hiking, waterfalls for swimming, rope courses, climbing walls and rafting on dames. It is, however, remote but during off times Instructors can get lifts to East London which is the nearest big city on the coast (1½ hours approx). There is a village shop that offers most foods and the village of Hogsback (about 2kms from the camp) is quite a social centre within itself. It is small but does have a few restaurants and bars and the location means that it is misty and cold with regular snow falls in winter and hot in summer with regular rainfall in the evenings. Volunteers should therefore keep this is mind when packing!

Hours of work

Average of 7 hours a day – but possibly up to 14 when big groups are in.

Volunteer’s duties

Volunteers assist in the running of the outdoor education courses, thereby adding an international flavour to the centres. These activities include team building and personal development programmes involving hiking, abseiling, raft buidling, ropes courses, group dynamic challenges, organizing games, environmental outings, etc. Although currently there is no official certification, the training when complete is up to international (ACCT) standards and we happily provide letters of reference to all volunteers.

During our quieter times volunteers will need to assist with maintenance tasks such as scraping and painting the walls, trimming hedges, assisting with installation of Ropes Courses, fixing tents, cleaning equipment and such like tasks.
Volunteers may occassionally also be required to assist with administration tasks e.g. typing, filing, answering phones, faxing, paperwork, social media, taking photos, etc.


The instructors houses are basic and sleep 4 – 6 with up to 2 of the same gender to a room. Each bedroom has two beds and a cupboard. The kitchen has a stove, microwave, kettle, toaster and fridge. Additional freezer space is available for use in the main kitchen and there is a washing machine in every house. There is also a comfortable common room with a pool table, satelite TV, foosie ball and table tennis as well as internet access.

Nearest banking facilities

Both East London and Alice have several banks and an ATM is available in Hogsback.


Hobbiton pays no pocket money and volunteers will often have to self-cater. We try to provide a meal a month in their team-development programme and Instructors are fed when the centre is catering for groups – on average 4 days a month. Bigger bookings usually invite the Instructors to join them for meals but that is seasonal, mainly in the months of March – May and August – October. Experience has shown that € 190 – 240 a month is enough to feed an Instructor well and still allow a bit for socialising! We suggest therefore that volunteers allow for € 1140 – 1440 towards food per a 6 month period – even though not all of this may be needed.

Holidays / Term dates

Volunteers have one weekend off in three however there are always days when there are no groups in camp or a group checks out early, in which case the Instructor may work shorter hours. We give our 6 month volunteers 11 days of leave and our one year volunteers 21 days. You will need to discuss any holiday plans fully with the Director Josh Paton and he will confirm availability as the timing of each volunteer’s break is for local negotiation.

Transport links

Lifts to East London can be arranged. East London is the nearest big city and from there volunteers can take long distance coaches.

Access to Internet / E-mail

We have a wireless connection and if volunteers have their own laptops / cell phones with wireless abilities they are welcome to make use of this.

Suitable clothing

Volunteers who will be around in July should take warm clothing as there is snow in winter on the Hogsback and waterproofs, a hat and strong footwear are recommended for throughout the year. The summer months are sunny and hot (we often have over 30oC day time temperatures) and so sun cream is definitely necessary from those staying over summer.


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Hobbiton-on-Hogsback Outdoor Adventure Centre | Phone: 045 962 1193 | Email: info@hobbiton.co.za

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