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Volunteer to help with conservation efforts of  African penguins and other marine birds at a sanctuary in South Africa! This sanctuary in Port Elizabeth takes in sick and injured African penguins and other marine birds in need of rehabilitation. The Algoa Bay area is home to 20,000 of the remaining 25,000 breeding pairs of African penguins left in the world. The African penguins are in danger from climate change as well as boat tourism affecting the Bay. The oil spills from boats and changing water temperatures and currents have put this species at risk, which is why this organization was created and built the sanctuary. The sanctuary needs the help of volunteers to care for the injured marine birds that have washed onto the shore of Algoa Bay in order to conserve the population. 

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Location of the Project:  Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Project length:  4 - 12 weeks
Arrival Airport:  Port Elizabeth International Airport (PLZ)
Volunteer Work:  Animal care, teaching, office work at the sanctuary
Age:  Minimum age of 18
Number of Volunteers:  Up to 25 international volunteers
Important Note:  A portion of your project fee is donated directly to the rescue sanctuary.

What's Included

Accommodations:  Shared rooms in a volunteer house
Food:  Three meals per day are included
Airport Transfers:  Airport transfers are provided on both arrival and departure days if you arrive and depart on weekdays
Orientation:  An introduction and city tour will be provided upon arrival to the accommodation on Monday
Support:  Comprehensive and professional pre-departure travel guidance, 24/7 GoEco emergency hotline, experienced local field team.

What's not Included

Flights, visas (if required), travel health insurance, personal expenses
This project takes place in Port Elizabeth, which is situated on the Eastern Cape of South Africa, more specifically, on Algoa Bay. This port city is filled with historical landmarks, bustling beaches and excitement. There are hilltop parks to hike through, museum to wander in and plenty of water sports to be enjoyed while here. Dolphins, whales and other marine life can often be spotted just off the shore.

Volunteers will work at the sanctuary 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM. Volunteers on this project will be involved in a wide array of tasks, from direct care of  the animals to assisting with daily tasks around the sanctuary itself. Volunteers may be involved in office work, such as administrative tasks; physical tasks such as cleaning and feeding the animals and even hospitality work such as assisting with group tours and educating visitors.

Some of your tasks may include:
  • Helping the sanctuary run with day-to-day office duties
  • Guiding and teaching visitors and school children about the sanctuary’s conservation efforts
  • Cleaning the bird hospital facilities
  • Preparing food and feeding the animals
  • Cleaning and caring for the birds
  • Preparing medication
  • Assisting staff during releases, when possible

A typical week: Volunteers will work Monday - Thursday from 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM. Volunteer work ends at noon on Fridays, and volunteers may take part in a group excursion. Excursions are usually free, but there is no obligation to participate. Volunteers have weekends free to spend as they wish.
Internet:  Wifi is available at the accommodations
Laundry:  There are two washing machines available for use at the volunteer house
Accommodations:  Volunteers will stay in single-gender, shared rooms in a volunteer house. There will be two to five volunteers per room. Amenities include a swimming pool, two lounges, two kitchens and a dining room. The house is just a five-minute walk from the beach. There is a cleaning staff as well. For an extra fee, and if there is space available, private rooms may be booked for individuals or couples. Please note that private rooms are not available in June and July. Bedding is provided, but volunteers must bring their own towel.
Food:  Three meals per day are included. Meals Monday - Friday will be prepared by a private chef. Typical food options include sandwiches, cold meat, cereal, eggs, stews, pastas, curries and stir-fry. Volunteers may help the chef with food preparation. On weekends volunteers will have access to the kitchens to prepare their own meals. There is always tea, coffee and juice available. Volunteers will take turns washing dishes throughout the week. Vegetarian and vegan diets can be accommodated with advance notification.
Please take note of this project's minimum requirements:
  • Minimum age of 18
  • Basic level of English
  • Love of animals
Weekends are free for volunteers to spend as they wish. Aside from the weekly Friday excursions, volunteers have the opportunity to venture around the area as they please, at their own expense. A few suggested travel highlights can be found below:

Addo Elephant National Park
This park is home to thousands of free-roaming elephants, lions and black rhinos and offers games drives, horse trails, four-by-four trails as well as marine eco trails.

Tsitsikamma National Park 
This park is a famous destination, part of the larger Garden Route National Park. There is a marine reserve, a bird sanctuary and plenty of trails to explore.

Bayworld Museum
This established museum contains an oceanarium, snake park and displays that includes a dinosaur section, promising to keep our animal enthusiasts entertained for a while during free time!

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum
For the artsy volunteer, there is the art gallery named after Nelson Mandela which should not be missed! 

Add on our eight-day Garden Route Road Trip to enhance your South Africa experience!
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