Often referred to as the Rainbow Nation owing to its great cultural diversity, South Africa is one of the most multifaceted countries in the world. It plays host to a vast multicultural society, with a mishmash of cuisines from all over the world and 11 official languages! With Kruger National Park, the Cape of Good Hope, and the awe-inspiring Table Mountain, South Africa has a varied and vibrant array of wildlife and natural geography that has inspired travellers and entranced locals for centuries.
This project takes place in Plettenberg Bay, a fashionable eco-tourism hotspot and a beach-lover's paradise located along the heart of the infamous and stunning Garden Route. Home to some of the world's most fascinating marine species including Humpback Whales, Bryde's Whales, Orcas, Bottlenose Dolphins and even the odd Great White Shark, this project is perfect for anyone looking to catch a glimpse of one of the oceans' most wanted.
If you have a passion for marine wildlife and habitats, or want to gain valuable experience in marine research and conservation, this will be the perfect project for you. If you're just looking to learn a little more about marine ecosystems, try the two week project and learn transferrable skills in research and data collection – you can even earn a qualification in marine animal care!
WHAT DOES THE PROJECT DO?
This project aims to focus on research and education regarding the diverse dolphin and whale species in the Plettenberg Bay area, as well as environmental conservation and monitoring. Plettenberg Bay is located along the Garden Route of South Africa, and is home to an abundance of rare and unique wildlife and fragile ecosystems that need to be protected to maintain their biodiversity. Carrying out research and analysis of the local marine and terrestrial environment is a vital component in the ongoing preservation of this spectacular region. By collecting data about the marine wildlife, including whales, dolphins, birds and fish, you will be helping researchers to better understand the state of the rivers and the bay and determine the health of the ecosystem.
WHAT WILL I BE DOING?
Activities on this project will vary depending on the time of year and the needs of the research centre, but no matter when you go, the work will be very much hands-on and you'll have an unforgettable experience! No day will be the same in Plettenberg Bay – some will involve more rigorous physical work like tank maintenance at the centre, whilst others will move at a more leisurely pace. Be prepared to adapt though – daily schedules can change at a moment's notice if an exciting opportunity comes along!
Your working week will be Monday-Friday, from 8.30 to 16.30. Tasks that you may be asked to carry out could include:
- Assisting research teams out on the ocean
- Tag and release fishing
- Animal rehabilitation
- Aquarium maintenance
- Bait collection
- Fin profiling and spatial distribution
- Tree planting and alien tree removal
- Beach clean up
- Local school conservation education
The contribution that you make during this project will be vital for the upkeep of ongoing studies and wildlife analysis. You will have a unique, once in a lifetime opportunity to observe some of the most mesmerising marine species in the world while participating in important conservation and community development work.
You will have the evenings and weekends free to explore and get to know the area you're staying in. In the week, you can pop in to the lively town centre for dinner with your fellow volunteers. At the weekends, take a stroll down the endless stretches of unspoilt beaches, take a hike through the towering forests, or discover hidden lagoons in the peninsula – the possibilities for exploration in along the Garden Route are endless. If you're in the mood for something a little more adrenaline-inducing, you could try your hand at surfing, skydiving or bungee jumping for a little extra cost!
- Plettenberg Bay, Province of the Western Cape, South Africa
Duration:Less than 3 months
Time commitment:A lot (10+ hours/week)
Times of day:Mornings Afternoons
Days of week:Weekdays
Extra details:Fee required
International volunteer options:International volunteers welcome