Report from the Seabird Project in South Africa
"My Volunteering with Penguins Near Cape Town"
Cape Town - at first glance, the city looks very European, but once you've stayed there longer, you start seeing some of the differences. For me as a typical German used to a certain lifestyle, it was initially a big change, but definitely an enriching experience .
The work in the seabird project
I really liked the project - penguins are and always will be funny! However, they can be quite aggressive and some have bitten me rather than once quite firmly - just normal behavior of wild animals though! I could never be really angry with them! The staff members make sure that the penguins have as little human contact as possible, so that when they're released into the wild they can adapt more easily.
Unfortunately, you do not spend every day directly with the penguins, but it also takes a lot of work "backstage", including: cleaning the rooms, preparing food, allocating medicine ... Such days can sometimes be long, but it's still nice to feel that every single person is really needed and that I make an important contribution as a volunteer. All the more I was looking forward to working with the animals again. This is worth the effort. The most beautiful moment was for me when we were able to release some of the penguins (those cute, funny penguins!) Into freedom.
Living in the host family
I stayed in a host family and enjoyed it very much. We understood each other well and I was able to polish my English (in the hostel there were many Germans, because of course you then use your native language) and they gave me my privacy. Conversely, contact with other volunteers was not as intense as if I lived with them.
The team on site is very nice and helpful and happy to help with any questions.
Life in Cape Town
Everyone (including me) is worried about crime in South Africa. All I can say is yes, you should be careful and avoid some "typical" tourist mistakes, but I've been on my own in some places (eg Table Mountain, Waterfront) and I've never felt insecure. On the contrary: I often had very nice encounters! That Cape Town and the surrounding area are worth exploring is shown by the photos.
All in all, I had a great time and I am very grateful for the opportunity to really get close to penguins!
Report from the Seabird Project in South Africa, by Annika S., March 2019