Humpback dolphin ID and seabird rehabilitation

Project name:

O.R.C.A Foundation (Ocean Research Conservation Africa)

Project purpose:

Volunteer community in marine conservation, humpback dolphin ID, Seabird rehabilitation, environmental awareness and education

Project activities:

  • community awareness

  • data collection/analysis

  • teaching

Weekly cost (approx USD):



Direct benefits you gain:

  • cultural integration

  • data/statistical skills

  • field research skills

  • remote scenic location

Noteworthy conservation points:

  • development goals (supporting local community)


Dormitory with it's own bathroom and toilet

When does the project run?


accommodation included, food included, cooking facilities, electricity, local shops, nearby medical facilities, refillable drinking water, shower (hot), toilet (western), wifi

How long can I stay?


  • come with an open mind

  • be prepared to learn

Details of the day-to-day life on the project:

The ORCA Foundation, a conservation initiative of Ocean Blue Adventures, officially opened its doors in 2001 and was designed to create awareness about marine conservation issues facing Plettenberg Bay. Today, the foundation combines research, conservation and education into its comprehensive volunteer programme. The foundation strongly depends on the willingness of international volunteers to contribute their time and dedication to help further our efforts. Volunteers of

different ages and backgrounds come from all over the world to learn and provide valuable assistance in a wide variety of meaningful projects. This allows them to make a valuable contribution to increased knowledge and awareness regarding local conservation efforts.

It’s all hands-on! You will play a major role in our programme where you will be expected to perform a large portion of the work.

Your participation in conservation and education projects will involve regular hikes and surveys on local beaches to perform marine debris clean-ups; alien plant eradication; river health assessments; assistance at the SANCCOB Seabird Rehabilitation Centre; assistance at the Knysna Animal Welfare Service (KAWS); and environmental education of children at the Siyakula Pre-School Crèche and Sterreweg Special Needs Pre-School.

We support applied research by partnering with resident marine scientists based in Plettenberg Bay. Their projects are perfect for individuals who are interested in marine mammal research. By assisting them in the field or at sea you will gain valuable experience in boat-based and land-based field research methods involving some of Plettenberg Bay’s charismatic marine top predator species (eg. southern right whale, humpback whale, Bryde’s whale, Indian Ocean humpback dolphin, common dolphin, bottlenose dolphin, Cape fur seal and Great white shark). You will assist with humpback dolphin photo-ID research and record sightings of other marine animals during dedicated boat-based surveys. In addition, you will join Ocean Blue Adventures commercial whale and dolphin watching boat trips when there are opportunities to record opportunistic data. You will also participate in other research projects including marine mammal stranding response and necropsy; seal population monitoring; seal scat processing and preliminary identification of prey remains; seal-fisheries interaction and seal-shark interaction research in the Robberg Marine Protected Area. Sample processing, data entry and error checking forms an important component of research, and you will be expected to perform a large portion of this work.

No previous experience is required to participate in our programme. It is however recommended that you have the following qualities in order to make a valuable contribution:

• General interest in marine biology, research, conservation and education

• Enthusiastic, positive, mature and independent attitude
• Willingness to learn and work well within our small team

• Adaptable and patient due to the weather dependent nature of fieldwork
• Ability to work long-hours on small vessels
• Moderate fitness level to hike long distances in the field

• Attention to detail
• Willingness to perform tedious behavioural observations
• Willingness to perform tedious data entry duties

• Ability to communicate fluently in English (both written and oral)

Reviews & ratings



Very Good Program

My week at Daktari was excellent and the program is very intense in the sense that we all get together with the kids and animals from 7am until 9 pm. It is an excellent choice for a first volunteering program abroad considering and I would definitely like to go back someday



It was an experience that I feel extremely lucky to have been a part of

Wild Sun Rescue is an animal rehabilitation center located in the remote and scenic fishing village of Cabuya, Costa Rica. The long-term (12 week) volunteer experience involved getting to do hands-on work with all of the animals that are housed at the center, including howler monkeys, capuchins, opossums, squirrels and raptors. The daily duties included diet prep (mostly chopping and cooking fruits and veggies), enclosure cleaning, facility maintenance (repairing enclosures, building new enclosures and enrichment), and animal handling and medical treatment. It was an experience that I feel extremely lucky to have been a part of--nowhere else in the world would I be able to work with all of these amazing animals, in such a unique and beautiful location. As a wildlife biology intern, I also had the opportunity to create my own research project at the center, supervised and assisted by the internship coordinator.

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