As you volunteer at the rescue centre for seabirds in South Africa, you work side by side with
wildlife specialists. The help of volunteers is essential for the successful rescue,
rehabilitation and release of seabird species. You support the capture, feeding and animal
care as well as the maintenance of the enclosures. Your efforts make a huge difference to a species who's numbers are in drastic decline and which require support to thrive.
All Accommodation Included (Host Family or Shared Volunteer House)
Full Volunteer Placement of 6+ Weeks
Every Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included
Airport Pickup & Transfer Included
Private Apartment Upgrade Available
Complete Pre-Departure Travel Preparation
Full In-Country Orientation
Due to their population decreasing by 90% in the last 60 years, the African penguin is now
one of the world’s endangered species. Commercial fishing is a major cause, due to the
penguins being left with very little food to find, oil pollution is a contributor and lack of
protected breeding grounds results in penguin parents struggling to protect their eggs and
hatchlings from big cats, birds of prey and fur seals.
The Rehabilitation Centre
The penguin and seabird project in Cape Town is in a lagoon area, about 15 minutes from
the city centre. The rehabilitation centre is an important sanctuary for various species of
seabirds, including the extremely endangered African penguins, albatrosses, petrels and
skuas. You’ll work closely with other volunteers from around the world, as well as local
veterinarians and rehabilitation workers, to find animals, treat them and release them back
into the wild.
The centre is split into different areas, so you may find yourself working indoors helping the
animals who are being treated, or you may be outside working along the seashore.
Pre-Departure Prep & In-Country Orientation
Before you even depart, our friendly UK team will take you through every step of the process, from answering your questions about the programme, through to adivsing you where to go for your visa. We are here to help you and to ensure that you feel totally comfortable (and prepared!) before departing.
For your volunteer work in South Africa, you will land directly in Cape Town. Here you will be welcomed at the airport by a member of our RGV team South Africa (you will recognise each other by your RGV T-shirts!). From here we drive you directly to the RGV office in Cape Town. The drive from the airport is already a first small highlight; through a beautiful backdrop, you get closer and closer to Table Mountain. The rest of the day is used to move into your accommodation and get to know your new surroundings.
To better understand your new environment, your stay begins with an orientation. As soon as you arrive, we will give you your South Africa starter package which includes a city map, SIM card, and other useful things to make your stay easier. During a workshop in the RGV office, you will learn more about your destination country and its inhabitants. Culture, country and people as well as current events and recent history of the country will be the subject of this discussion. Our team will introduce you to the Cape Town slang and give you valuable safety, transportation, money tips and so on. In addition, you will explore Cape Town on a guided city bus tour with other newly arrived participants.
Your program will start with an introduction day, and then you will get straight to work. You
will be given a plan by your contact, and then you will be sent off to explore the site. In your
first few days of service you will likely be working inside the centre, with the injured or sick
animals. You may be preparing food, cleaning the animal housing, pools and other areas.
Accommodation & Meals
If you choose one of our volunteer houses, it definitely won't be boring! In our volunteer houses, you live together with up to 24 other RGV participants in shared rooms. In addition to our large volunteer house, we also have two smaller houses with up to 12 residents. Two of the houses are solely for female volunteers. You and your roommates have a fully equipped kitchen and a sufficient number of bathrooms. In addition, all volunteer homes have a living room or a lounge and a garden where you can relax, all with stable WiFi. All of our volunteer homes are easily accessible by public transport. The city centre is about 30 minutes away by public transport.
Our host families are very welcoming and open up their home for you to stay during your volunteer work. The homes are comfortable with electricity and running water. In addition, you get breakfast and a dinner here every day! Also, you are not usually housed alone as a volunteer, but you share the accommodation with one to five other participants. Internet connection or Wi-Fi is only available in a few host families. If you need internet, you can get a prepaid SIM card with mobile data. The advantages of living with a host family is that you get a deeper insight into the culture and lifestyle of the local people. Most host family houses are closer to the project because our team will place you near, when possible.
In addition to our volunteer homes, we can provide accommodation in private apartments for an additional charge. If you like something a little quieter and do not want to live with a host family, this is the place for you. The fully equipped apartments accommodate up to four people sharing a kitchen, living room and bathroom. When you register, you can tell us your desired accommodation. However, if this is already fully booked during your stay, we count on your flexibility and place you in alternative accommodation.
Don't Just Take Our Word For It...
Our programmes have been running for many years now, and we've had countless numbers of happy and inspired applicants join us in making an impact. The best way of understanding our projects are through the words of our previous volunteers, so check out a few of their experiences below!
"My Volunteering with Penguins Near Cape Town"
As Annika says, "penguins are, and always will be funny", but learning about animal behaviour was a key component of her stay in Cape Town. Read through her report and see what contributed to her having an amazing time.
"Report on My 5 Month Stay in Cape Town"
Elisa "fell in love with Cape Town" because of the "way people live and the general atmopshere", so have a look at her own words to understand why.
"Helping with Rescued Penguins in Cape Town"
In his report, Lucas covers his daily routine whilst in South Africa, and why the project was a great move for him.