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Penguin and seabird rescue centre in Port Elizabeth

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In Port Elizabeth, South Africa's sun city, you have the possibility to volunteer at a very professionally run rescue centre for African Penguins and other seabirds. You will be part of a group of volunteers from all over the world.

Project details

The Penguin and Seabird Rescue Centre in Port Elizabeth was founded in the year 2000 as a result of an oil spill, when a large amount of oil was released into the ocean, threatening the life of more than 20,000 penguins.
Today, only a total of 25,000 breeding pairs of the African Penguin exist in the whole world, out of which 21,000 can be found in the Algoa Bay around Port Elizabeth, making it the area with the largest breeding colony of African Penguins in the world.

The Penguin and Seabrid Rescue Centre is caring for sick, injured or malnourished penguins and other seabirds such as seagulls, gannets, and cormorants. They are being cleaned from oil, veterinarily treated, fed, and finally released into the bay.
As a result of climate change it is getting increasingly difficult for seabirds to find sufficient food for themselves and their hatchlings. To reach the cold streams where penguins can find their food they have to swim up to 60 km (40 miles) away from their breeding grounds.
Maritime traffic and the increasing pollution of the bay and breeding grounds impose a further threat to the animals. An oil spill of the size of a coin on the feathers of a bird is sufficent to immobilize the bird or even cause its death.
The work of the Penguin and Seabird Rescue Centre is vital for the protection and conservation of the penguin breeding colony and other seabirds of Algoa Bay. Besides rescuing endangered species, the project also informs the public about the need to do conservation work. The project's visitor centre is home to a comprehensive exhibition where the tourists, school classes, and the general population can learn about penguins and other marine animals.
Would you like to help to rescue endangered penguins?
Then this is your project! As a volunteer you will join various activities related to the protection of penguins and other seabirds.
On weekdays, volunteers usually join from around 8am to 4pm. Weekends are usually off. Daily transfers from your accommodation to the project are included in this program.
At the bird clinic you help to clean the enclosures, to prepare food and medicines, and to feed penguins and other birds. You also help the team members to remove oil and care for newly arrived seabirds.
Whenever necessary, you can accompany the staff to rescue penguins in the area around Port Elizabeth.
At the visitor centre you help to welcome guests and guide them through the exhibition. You support the staff with administrative work and you prepare educational materials. If necessary, you also help out at at the café which is part of the visitor centre.
Info Box
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Location: Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Availability: throughout the year, flexible starting date
Minimum duration: 4 weeks
Maximum duration: 90 days
Language skills required: English
Accommodation: Dorm room or single room at shared volunteer house
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Internship possible: No
Qualification of supervisor: -
Minimum qualification intern: -
Further contribution to the project: -
Volunteering possible: Yes
Expected qualification volunteers: Being proactive and motivated
Further contribution to the projekt: A further weekly project contribution of 40 EUR applies from the 5th week (for shorter durations, this contribution is already included in the service package fee)
We expect:
Professional work, the "right" attitude



Accommodation in Port Elizabeth

You will stay at a volunteer house shared with other volunteers. It is located in a safe upmarket residential area of Port Elizabeth, the popular beach area of Humewood, at just 5 minutes from the beach. Shops, beach cafés and restaurants are easily reachable. It is the perfect location to enjoy the beach after your work, or on weekends.
The house has 9 bedrooms, 2 kitches, 6 bathrooms, 2 washing machines, a large dining area and 2 sitting rooms. Great Extras: There is a garden pool to refresh and the house has ocean view! Wifi internet is free and you can access it with your smartphone, tablet or computer. Two cleaners are making sure the accommodation is clean and neat.
Bed sheets are provided, but you should bring your own towels, preferably of the kind that easily dries in hot and humid climates.
You share your room with other volunteers. Some larger rooms accommodate 4-6 persons, while some smaller rooms accommodate only 2-3 volunteers. The room plan is made by the local coordinator depending on availability.
The dorm rooms and bathrooms are separated by sex.
If you prefer a single room, this is possible at a small extra (subject to availability).
Your accommodation includes 3 meals per day, which are freshly prepared by a cook. During weekends, the residents prepare their own meals, for which ingredients are provided. Free coffee, tea and juice are always available. Please inform us if you prefer vegetarian meals or if you have any food allergies, and we will try to consider your wishes.
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Most popular! - Dorm room at the volunteer house

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Single room: If you prefer more privacy, you can stay at a single room at the volunteer house (subject to availability)



I. World Unite! Service Package

Mobile/Cell Phone Users: If you don't see the rates for your desired duration of stay, hide other (shorter) durations of stay.
  up to 31 Days
32-60 Days
61-90 Days
91-120 Days
5 Months or longer
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1 Person
350 EUR 500 EUR 600 EUR 700 EUR 800 EUR
2-4 Persons
(Rate per Person)
300 EUR 400 EUR 500 EUR 600 EUR 700 EUR
Convert rates to USD, GBP, CAD, AUD and other currencies

The World Unite! Service Package includes:

  • Individual Consultation and Preparation prior to your arrival
  • Access to the World Unite! Online Resource Centre which has Preparation Materials including Intercultural Preparation, compiled particularly for your destination (PDFs, Videos)
  • Preparation Session via Skype; together with further participants
  • Pick-up and Transfers from/to Port Elizabeth (PLZ) Airport in case of placement in Port Elizabeth respectively Cape Town (CPT) in case of placement in Cape Town on arrival and departure
  • Personal support staff at your location and at our international office
  • Orientation and Introduction in Port Elizabeth / Cape Town
  • Accompanying you to your placement on your first day
  • 24 Hours emergency support by local support team
  • Contribution to your project of at least 50 USD
  • Local SIM Card with 100 ZAR air time
  • Issuance of Confirmations/Certificates for your university, scholarship, insurance, etc. and filling out/signing Internship Contracts for your university
  • 15% Discount for Safaris, Kilimanjaro Climbs, Excursions and Watersports Activities offered by "Budget Safari Tanzania"

The Rates do NOT include:

  • Accommodation and Meals (see below)
  • Travel to/from Port Elizabeth / Cape Town (you book it on your own; we can assist you)
  • Insurance (Travel Health Insurance, Liability Insurance, Travel Cancellation insurance; you book it on your own, we can assist you)
  • Personal Expenses
  • Vaccinations
  • Local Transport in Cape Town (Estimated amounts see below)
  • Please note that for supervised/mentored internships, some organizations charge further contributions. You find this information in the "Info Box" below the respective internship description.

II. Accommodation Costs

You can choose between the following options:
All rates in US-Dollar.
Convert Currency
 All durations of stay
(1-365 Days)
Shared House/Apartment or Hotel  
Shared House/Apartment in Port Elizabeth
1 Person
(Single Room)
2 Persons p.p.
(Double/Twin Room)
4-share dorm room p.p. 160 EUR/week
Hotel Accommodation
1 Person
(Single Room)
2 Persons p.p.
(Double/Twin Room)
Host Family
Host Family of middle standard on full board in Cape Town
1 Person
(Single Room)
2 Persons p.p.
(Double/Twin Room)
Host family of upper standard on full board in Cape Town
1 Person
(Single Room)
2 Personen p.p.
(Double/Twin Room)
Host family of simple standard on full board in Cape Town
1 Person
(Single Room)
2 Personen p.p.
(Double/Twin Room)
*You pay incomplete months (exceeding the first month) proportionally per day
In case of 3-4 person: Same rate as in case of 2 Persons. 5 or more persons: Contact us for group rates.

Overview of other costs:

  • Small local expenses in Cape Town (e.g. Internet, local transport): around 30-50 USD/Month (Estimate)
  • Insurances around 30-50 USD/Month


How do I pay?

Once all your questions have been answered and you confirm that you want to participate, we will email you an invoice. You can pay it via bank transfer or via Paypal. You will pay a deposit of 200 EUR when the invoice is issued. One months prior to your arrival you will pay the remainder for your Service Package.
The payment modalities for rent and possible further costs (e.g. internship supervision fees, as stated in info box of the respective project description) depend on your host country and placement. We will inform you beforehand. In many cases these costs are paid on site, but for some countries and placements they need to be paid partially or fully in advance.



Other Projects That Might Interest You:

These projects are suggestions for alternatives that may interest you or those that could be chosen as COMBINATIONS. The combination of projects in different organizations is often possible and usually cheaper than two individual bookings.

Safaris, Kilimanjaro Climbs, Day Trips, Watersports

budgetsafaribannerAs "Budget Safari Tanzania" we are arranging cost-effective yet high-quality safaris, Kilimanjaro climbs, excursions, and watersports activities in Tanzania and Zanzibar. You will group with other World Unite! participants and further travellers.
As a World Unite! participant, you get a 15% discount on all offers of Budget Safari Tanzania. We will share a Discount Code with you that you can use with the online booking of your safari, Kilimanjaro climb, excursion or watersports activity.

Travel Health Insurance

We recommend the following travel insurance that is meant specifically for participants of internships, volunteering, language study, working holiday, and courses abroad. It is available for travelers of all nationalities and usable for all countries, except your home country. You can also add a journey liability insurance.
Just click on the link, fill in the form and you will get a confirmation email.
Travel Health Insurance

Getting there


Getting to South Africa

South Africa's two largest airports, Cape Town (CTP) and Johannesburg (JNB), are internationally well connected.
Port Elizabeth (PLZ) can usually be reached by flight with a transfer in Johannesburg or Cape Town. There are several low cost carriers in South Africa offering domestic flights that you might also book separately from your international flight to reach Port Elizabeth.
Some South African airlines such as mango connect certain South African cities with Zanzibar, however not throughout the year. They might be an option to look into when combining our two destinations Zanzibar and South Africa.
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