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South Africa Penguin Sanctuary

4 weeks from £1,039

£49 Deposit

Volunteer with penguins in Port Elizabeth!

Care & rescue penguins!
Volunteer & travel in South Africa
Stay near the beach!
Group size: Varies

Trip Highlights

  • Volunteer at a penguin project!
  • Get the chance to assist with vital rescues
  • Enjoy a project based in Port Elizabeth’s only centre designed for marine birds
  • Stay in comfortable beachfront accommodation
  • Explore South Africa on weekends

Trip Summary

Make a splash at a penguin project! This once in a lifetime programme is located in stunning South Africa, home to some of the world’s most fascinating marine life. You’ll be heading to a valuable project, the only centre in Port Elizabeth designed specifically for penguin care! Stay in a comfortable beachfront house with volunteers from all over the world. You’ll be helping out with the daily care of these stunning creatures, helping to prepare food and medicine, assisting the project with their community outreach programme, and perhaps even getting the chance to participate in vital rescues!

You’ll be gaining first-hand experience, becoming a valuable member of the team, meeting loads of interesting new people, and most importantly letting your passion for marine life shine! Spend your free weekends exploring the amazing region – what could be better than travelling while you volunteer? If you’re passionate for penguins we want to hear from you!

Interested and want to find out more? Download more trip information and detailed itinerary HERE!

The Project and Your Role

Following the sinking of a ship close to Cape Town in 2000, the programme was formed when locals realised just how vulnerable the penguin population had become. Their numbers were declining due to an oil spill, the change in cold currents and the increasing number of adult penguins having to leave their chicks unattended in order to find food. The centre has recently relocated to well equip grounds, designed specifically with the care of penguins and marine birds in mind. The grounds can accommodate up to 2000 birds, and you’ll be volunteering at the heart of it all!

The Project you’ll be working with carries out valuable marine work in South Africa. Their priority is the care and rehabilitation of injured African Penguins, and they also specialise in the care of other marine birds. You’ll be perfectly placed, in the only centre in Port Elizabeth that is equipped to retrieve washed up penguins and treat their ailments. Once a penguin is in the care of the project, the team are committed to restoring their health and ensuring they have a comfortable quality of life before they are released back into their natural habitat.

In addition to caring for marine life, the project does important work in the community, informing locals of their various rewarding programmes, putting on displays for school groups and visitors, and generally distributing information about endangered birds and the marine life that Algoa Bay is home to.

If you have a passion for penguin and marine life and would love the opportunity to play a vital role in the project’s work this programme is for you! The programme welcomes volunteers – they’re a pivotal part of carrying out the varied tasks that the project takes so much pride in, so it’ll be all hands on deck! You’ll be volunteering from 8am to 4pm from Monday to Friday (weekends will be free for you to explore!) getting stuck into a range of exciting duties! Volunteer activities at the project could include:

  • Preparing food for the penguins
  • Preparing medication for marine life
  • Feeding the penguins and other birds
  • Cleaning rescued birds
  • Assisting staff with vital rescues
  • Maintaining the bird hospital facilities
  • Teaching school groups about the project
  • Assisting with shipwreck and rock pool lessons
  • Maintaining educational displays
  • Welcoming visitors and tourists
  • Assisting with office duties
  • Guiding visiting groups through the project
  • General administrative tasks

You’ll reach the project each day by your included daily transport that will take you to and from the centre. You’ll be supervised during your volunteering days and a staff member will assign tasks to you and ensure you have everything you need to carry out your duties with confidence!

On the start date of your programme, you’ll be given a comprehensive introduction all about life in South Africa, and your volunteer co-ordinator will show you around the general area and give you a welcome pack including an information guide, maps and a SIM card!

Weekend Excursions

Weekends will be free for you to travel and have some fun! Your volunteer co-ordinators will be on hand to help you to make arrangements for weekend activities, and loads of fun activities are provided by the project! Most weekends there are programmed activities (some may incur an additional cost) for you and your fellow volunteers to take part in!

Port Elizabeth showcases a range of exciting activities that you can participate in during your free time. Local game parks will allow you to enhance your interest in the local wildlife, or you may opt to go on a safari! A local Nature Reserve makes for the perfect picturesque location to enjoy a hike, and the new Baywest Mall is a great spot for shopping and souvenir hunts! You may also want to travel further afield and explore other regions of South Africa, providing you have enough time.


  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • Airport Transfers
  • Transport to and from the Project
  • City Tour and Introduction
  • Volunteer Project Experience
  • Direct Project Donation
  • Welcome Pack including Information and SIM Card
  • 24h Emergency Support

  • Flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Vaccinations
  • Visas
  • Personal Expenses
  • Optional Activities


Accommodation and meals are included as part of this trip. Your volunteer house is ideally located – just a few minutes’ walk from the beach! You’ll enjoy spacious accommodation shared with other volunteers. The house is furnished, and there are two kitchens, washing facilities, a garden featuring a swimming pool and complimentary Wi-Fi access! You’ll find that the house is clean and well kept, and 2 cleaning ladies visit the house to keep everything spic and span. While bedding is provided, we do not provide towels so be sure to bring your own along.

You will share a room with fellow volunteers in dorm style rooms featuring 4-6 beds per room. You’ll be sharing on a single sex basis, and there are 6 shared bathrooms in the house. You can arrange a private room for an additional weekly fee.

You’ll be provided with three meals each day and each week a set menu will be issued. Shopping will be done for you, and volunteers will take turn to cook. For breakfast, toast, fruit, eggs and cereal are provided, and you’ll be able to make sandwiches for lunch. We can accommodate for vegetarians, and please let us know if you have any other culinary requirements. Complimentary coffee, tea and juice are provided at all times.


Your flight to South Africa should arrive at Port Elizabeth Airport (airport code PLZ) on your programme start date (Monday), and you should arrange your return flight to depart from Port Elizabeth Airport on the morning of your programme end date (Monday) or the day before your programme end date (Sunday).

Your volunteer co-ordinator will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your accommodation. If you need to arrive before the start date, or depart after the end date of your programme, we can arrange additional nights of accommodation for you at an additional cost, please contact us for further details.

To book your flights, please contact our flights team on 01892 277 037 or [email protected] who will do their best to get you the best deal on the day. Please provide them with your full name as it is stated in your passport. Before you make the call please make sure you have your required departure dates, return dates and other details you may require.


The minimum age for this trip is 18 years. If you have a passion for animal care and marine life and can commit a minimum of 2 weeks to volunteering at the project, then you’re eligible to participate!


UK nationals don’t require a visa to enter South Africa for stays of up to 3 months. You should ensure that your passport will still be in date for six months after your return. All visa information is subject to change and you should consult the nearest High Commission or Embassy for the most up to date information.

Can I travel with a friend? Yes absolutely, just make sure you let us know that you are travelling together when you book your trip.

I Am Travelling Solo, Is That Okay?

Of course! Lots of our customers travel alone but our trips are a fantastic way to meet new people.

Are Flights Included?

Flights are not included but we have a fantastic flights team who will be able to help you with your travels. You can reach them for a quote on 01892 277 037 or [email protected]

Am I Eligible For This Trip?

You must be a minimum of 18 years old, have a passion for marine life and penguins, and be able to commit to a minimum of 2 weeks volunteering at the project. If you fit these requirements, you’re eligible!