South Africa & Eswatini

The CIE is excited to continue our partnership with Kaya Responsible Travel. Join us on this program to two vibrant and unique African countries to study South Africa's rich and diverse history and culture, jump into the classroom at local primary schools in Eswatini, and get off the beaten path while learning about animal conservation.

South Africa: South Africa is a land of incredible beauty and breathtaking landscapes that range from the lush forests of the Garden Route to the desolate Karoo semi-desert. This “world-in-one-country” diversity is reflected in the people of South Africa with its eleven national languages and array of different cultures, customs and religions. However, it is also a country that faces challenges that can often seem insurmountable, prevalent in areas such as: high unemployment rates, corruption, poor educational outcomes, poverty and the legacy of Apartheid. It is against this backdrop that students are invited to engage with the fascinating history of South Africa during their experience abroad.

Eswatini: Recently renamed from its colonial name of Swaziland, Eswatini is one of the smallest countries in Africa, as well as one of the only remaining monarchies on the continent. Teeming with culture, wildlife and adventure, its landscape is diverse, with mountains running along its Mozambique border, savannas in the East, and rainforests in the Northwest. A majority of our program will be based in one of Eswatini's most beautiful valleys, Ezulwini, the Zulu word for paradise. It is here that King Mswati III lives in a grand residence and rules the Kingdom with his Queen Mother or Ndlovukazi/She-Elephant. Eswatini has been badly hit by the HIV/AIDS epidemic and by COVID-19. This destination provides a great opportunity for students to learn first-hand about these issues related to education and public health.

Program Highlights:

  • Explore the bustling metropolis of Johannesburg, South Africa's largest city, and dive into the history of Apartheid while also learning how that harsh history still shapes the country's identity and culture. A visit to Nelson Mandela's former home and other historic sites, along with a stop for some local cuisine will certainly be a highlight of the day!
  • Work alongside education and public health professionals in rural destinations throughout Eswatini. This is a great opportunity to work in the classroom in another country, and may inspire future research ideas and help build confidence and first-hand experience in a new setting.
  • Experience the wonder of Africa while visiting Malolotja Nature Reserve, one of Eswatini's largest and most popular parks to experience wildlife. One of the best ways to take in the incredible views here is on an unforgettable ziplining tour!
  • Meet and learn from locals throughout our journey - tour Lobamba village, visit local craft markets, learn how Swazi candles are made.


Qualifying freshman, sophomore, and transfer students can use their SPARK Grant for this short-term study abroad program.

Program Details

Program Itinerary

NOTE: This is the proposed itinerary and is subject to change. The final itinerary will be confirmed before departure.

Day 1: Departure from Nazareth to Johannesburg

Overnight: On the plane!

The journey to the continent of Africa won't be a short one, but is well worth it! We will most likely depart mid-day on Monday, and arrive on Tuesday in the afternoon.

Day 2: Arrival & Welcome!

Overnight: Backpackers Connection

A Kaya representative, your group leader for the duration of the trip, will meet you upon arrival at the Johannesburg airport. Together, we will travel to our lodgings for the night, settle in, and enjoy a delicious Welcome Dinner!

Day 3: Apartheid Museum & Soweto Township Tour

Overnight: Backpackers Connection

After breakfast, we will visit the Apartheid Museum and take part in cultural engagement activities in the Soweto Township, learning about the culture and history of Apartheid. We will have the chance to experience the Soweto culture, meet locals, try local food during lunch, and even partake in a cultural music lesson. Site visits include Kliptown, where the Freedom Charter was drawn up, the home of former President Nelson Mandela, and the Hector Petersen Memorial Site.

Day 4: Transfer to Eswatini

Overnight: Lidwala Lodge

This morning, we will transfer to our lodgings in the Ezulwini Valley, the Zulu word for paradise, and settle in, readying ourselves for our projects! This  road trip will take us through the rural areas of South Africa, across the land border, and into Eswatini where we will spend most of our time on this trip. 

Day 5: Orientation & Lobamba Village Tour

Overnight: Lidwala Lodge

After a thorough program orientation, we will tour Lobamba village, the spiritual capital of the nation. This is where the Houses of Parliament are found, and where King Mswati III rules the Kingdom with his Queen Mother, or Ndlovukazi/She-Elephant. During our tour, we will learn about the history of Eswatini and its culture.

Day 6: Malolotja Nature Reserve

Overnight: Malolotja Nature Reserve Cabins

Today we will make our way for an overnight at Malolotja Nature Reserve, a picturesque highland reserve. On the way we will stop at Sibebe Rock (the second largest monolithic rock in the world and 3 billion years old) and end the day with a sunset walk. While at Malolotja, we may see blesbok, zebra, blue wildebeest, antelope and more. It is also home to a wide variety of bird and plant species.

Day 7:  Malolotja Canopy Tour

Overnight: Lidwala Lodge

After breakfast we will have a canopy tour within Malolotja. We will zipline along the Sihlotswane Gorge and view the scenery and wildlife from above. After, we will make our way back to Lidwala Lodge.

Day 8-9: Project Work

Overnight: Lidwala Lodge

Today, we will begin the experiential service component of our program, simultaneously working on local nutrition, sports, and education initiatives and familiarizing ourselves with the community.

Day 10: Presentation and Local Craft Market Visit

Overnight: Lidwala Lodge

After delivering presentations on our findings, we will walk to a nearby craft market to experience local life in action.

Day 11: Transfer to Local Retreat

Overnight: Wide Horizons

Tucked away on the slopes of the majestic Makhungutsha Mountain, this mountain retreat provides views and a basecamp for our primary school visit tomorrow. On our way to the retreat, we will stop at Swazi Candles, and later, enjoy a bonfire.

Day 12: St. Bernard's Primary School Visit

Overnight: Wide Horizons

Today, we will meet students at a local primary school, where we engage in presentations and discussions on relevant health topics. There is an additional pending opportunity for our music therapy students to have a discussion with education and health professionals at the school.

Day 13: St. Bernard's Primary School Visit

Overnight: Wide Horizons

Spend a second day engaging with students at the local primary school.

Day 14: Sheba's Breast Hike & Free Time

Overnight: Lidwala Lodge

Today, we will spend the morning hiking the Sheba's Breast trail, offering great views of the Ezulwini Valley. The afternoon will be free for students to relax or shop. In the evening we will have a farewell dinner.

Day 15: Departure

Overnight: On the plane!

All good things must come to an end. It is time to say farewell to the locals we have met along the way. After breakfast at the lodge, we will transfer to the airport as a group and begin our journey home.

Day 16: Arrival back to Nazareth

Depending on the departure time of our flight, we will arrive back to Nazareth sometime on Tuesday. Specific flight times will be shared with the group as soon as they are booked.

Housing & Accomodations

The group will reside at a series of comfortable and secure volunteer houses, lodges and retreats: Backpackers Connection in Johannesburg; Lidwala Lodge in Ezulwini Valley; Shared Cabins in Malolotja National Reserve ; and the Wide Horizons Mountain Retreat. With room to relax and often spacious gardens and areas for communal activities, students will enjoy their stay. Monkeys and a wide range of bird species often rest in the trees!

Program Dates

Dates are still to be determined in 2025.

Program Cost

Program Costs are still to be determined for 2025..

Funding Sources:

For SPARK eligible students, you will receive the $1,500 SPARK Grant from the Center for Life's Work.

NOTE: SPARK students pay for the entirety of the program cost up front, and will be reimbursed $1,500 ten days before the departure of the program.

Foryou will be eligible for funding through the Center for International Education. 

Program Fee Includes:

  • Round trip airfare
  • All hotels and accommodation
  • All meals part of the itinerary
  • All in-country transportation
  • All projects, activities, workshops, etc.
  • Travel Insurance

Not Included:

  • Passport (must be valid at least 6 months past the return date of the program). Contact Josh Fess as soon as possible for assistance with applying for or renewing your passport.
  • Additional meals (meals not in the itinerary)
  • Miscellaneous expenses (such as souvenirs, personal care items, etc.)

Views from Abroad:

    At A Glance

    Term: Summer A 2025

    Program Level: Undergraduate

    Program Types: Experiential Learning

    Major(s): Open to all majors, and of particular interest to the following majors:

    • Anthropology
    • Community Youth Development
    • Education
    • Global Sustainability
    • International & Global Studies
    • History
    • Museums, Archives & Public History
    • Music Therapy
    • Occupational Therapy
    • Physical Therapy
    • Political Science
    • Public Health
    • Psychology
    • Religious Studies
    • Social Work
    • Sociology
    • Sports & Entertainment Management

    Language Requirement: None

    Minimum GPA Requirement: 2.5