South Africa – Penguin and Marine Bird Sanctuary

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. This organization is an internationally recognised leader in oiled wildlife response, rehabilitation and chick-rearing.

 

Program Highlights:

  • Experience the lovely, beach-filled town of Port Elizabeth
  • Contribute to a non-profit where 24 different seabird species are rehabilitated each year
  • Work hands-on for the rehabilitation and conservation of African penguins
  • Assist with releases when possible
  • Organized group excursions every Friday afternoon

 

Your Schedule at a Glance (Minimum six-week commitment):

Arrival Day, Monday: Arrive at Port Elizabeth International Airport (PLZ). You will be picked up by the local team and taken to settle in to the accommodations. If there is time, volunteers will embark on a city tour of Port Elizabeth. Volunteers will receive an introduction before dinner.

Days 1-3, Tuesday-Thursday: Rewarding volunteer work. Volunteers will work at the sanctuary 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM. Volunteers on this project will be involved in an 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.

Day 4, Friday: Volunteers will work in the morning, and have the afternoon free.

Days 5-6, Saturday-Sunday: This project runs 7 days a week and volunteers are expected to be available on weekends. Here, they will have 2 days off during the week instead of the weekend.

Remaining Weeks: The remaining weeks will follow a similar schedule of volunteering.

 

 

Location icon Location of the Project: Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Project length Project length: Minimum 6 – Maximum 12 weeks

Arrival Airport Arrival Airport: Port Elizabeth International Airport (PLZ)

Volunteer Work Volunteer Work: Animal care, teaching, office work at the sanctuary

Age Age: Minimum age of 18

Number of Volunteers Number of Volunteers: Up to 25 international volunteers

Important Note Important Note: A portion of your project fee is donated directly to the rescue sanctuary.

 

What’s Included

Accommodations Accommodations: Shared rooms in a backpackers’ lodge

Food Food: Three meals per day are included

Airport Transfers Airport Transfers: Airport transfers are provided on both arrival and departure days if you arrive and depart on weekdays

Orientation Orientation: An introduction and city tour will be provided upon arrival to the accommodation on Monday

Support 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 on the Eastern Cape of South Africa 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.

For More Volunteer Opportunities Along the Garden Route, Click Here.

 

The Algoa Bay area is home to 20,000 of the remaining 25,000 breeding pairs of African penguins left in the world. Climate change and boat tourism are threatening the African penguins. 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.

Volunteers will work at the sanctuary 8:00 AM-4:00 PM. Volunteers on this project will be involved in an 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 take part. Volunteers have weekends free to spend as they wish.

Internet icon Internet: Wi-Fi is available for use at the accommodations.

Laundry icon Laundry: Laundry service is available for an extra fee.

Accommodations icon Accommodations: Volunteers will stay in single-gender, shared rooms in a volunteer house. The Lodge comprises various spaces, living areas, bathrooms and bedrooms with other rooms optional for couples and older volunteers. The house has a nice entertainment area with barbecue (braai) facilities, a comfortable lounge with fireplace and a sparkling pool you can happily dive into on a hot day. A sizeable area to socialize with your fellow volunteers from all over the world. The interior of the Lodge is laid back and cosy with an African feel.

Food icon Food: You will get 3 meals a day during the program. There is free coffee and tea available. For breakfast, you will have toast, fruit yoghurt, cereal and/or eggs. For lunch, you can have sandwiches with cheese, marmalade or other spreads.
There will be variety in the dinners, since all the volunteers have different preferences and will be expected to cook as well. We can accommodate as well vegan requirements or food allergies.

 

  • 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 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 and 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!

 

Click to see additional volunteering projects in South Africa

 

Volunteer Experiences

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