When you think of penguins you often think of the cold and picture them around snow and ice. However there is one species of penguins, the African penguins, that lives in warmer climates. The African penguins, also called the Jackass penguins, live in colonies on the coast and islands of southern Africa.

Unfortunately the African penguins are endangered and there is an high risk that they may become extinct. This due to decrease of food, overfishing and pollution.


Volunteer work with penguins in South Africa; The project was set up in 2000. The main goal of the project is to rescue and rehabilitate injured or sick African penguins as well as other marine birds such as gannets, cormorants and seagulls. The work of the project is vital for the safety of the largest breeding colony of African penguins in the world. The purpose of the project is not just to rescue and rehabilitate, but also to inform and educate the general pubic through different programs.

The project staff consists of a permanent staff. You will be supervised by the volunteer coordinators and at work by one of the staff members. The staff is enthusiastic and enjoys training and working with volunteers from different countries. The language spoken at this project is English.

The project is situated along South Africa’s Eastern Coast in the town of Port The volunteer house is situated in a popular beach front area. Also shops, beachfront cafes, restaurants, etc are all within easy reach. It’s the perfect location to enjoy the beach after work or during the weekends. There are a lot of things to do in your leisure time. For example: making a game drive in a Private Game Reserves, visit the elephant park or nice villages such as Plettenberg Bay and Knysna, Tsitsikamma National Park, or go surfing in surfers mecca in Jeffrey’s Bay, etc.

You will be responsible for arranging your own transport to Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Detailed information will be provided after booking.

First day you will be given an introduction and shown around the area. After that the work is varied and your tasks may include:

Bird hospital:

  • Preparing food and medication;
  • Feeding the penguins and other birds;
  • Cleaning and caring for the birds (that are brought in);
  • Joining the staff (when possible) at rescues in the area;
  • Scrubbing and cleaning the bird hospital and animal enclosures, etcetera;

Sea School:

  • Teaching the visiting children about the center;
  • Helping with rock pool and ship wreck lessons;
  • Looking after displays and educational material;

General activities:
Voluntees will be assisting in a variety of tasks and activities, such as;

  • Welcoming visitors;
  • Answering the phone and office duties;
  • Guiding visitors and school groups through the center;
  • Helping at the coffe shop when needed;

You will generally work fom 08.00 – 16.00 on all weekdays and weekends are off.

Volunteers will be accommodated in the volunteer house and is just a 5 minutes’ walk away from the beach. The house has all the facilities needed like 2 kitchens, dining room, tv lounge and a garden with swimming pool. There are 9 bedrooms offering a variety of sleeping options (also a private bedroom is available for a small surcharge per week) and 6 bathrooms.

As a volunteer you must meet the following requirements:

  • Minimum age for participation is 18 years;
  • Having a passion and love for nature and animals and be able to communicate in English;
  • Don’t mind by getting your hands dirty;
  • An up-to-date tetanus vaccinations is required (For additional  information for South Africa we advise you to visit your local clinic).

Volunteers are welcome throughout the year (with exception on this for 3 weeks over Christmas and New Year’s every year). Starting your volunteer work is on Mondays only. Minimum participation of 6 weeks (shorter stays in consultation).

Period   Price per person
6 weeks   € 1.635,00
every extra week   € 240,00
surcharge single room per week   2350 Rand
Costs include:

  • Information and assistance before departure
  • If desired, free estimate of flight options / travel possibilities (the most convenient flights options at a glance)
  •  Accommodation in the volunteer house.
  • 3 meals a day.
  • Pick-up upon arrival and drop off at the end of your stay on weekdays (in the weekends also possible but with additional fee).
  • Welcome pack with information guide, free SIM-card on request, maps, etc. upon arrival.
  • City tour and introduction program
  • Donation to the project.
  • Training and supervision (volunteer coordinator available 24/7)
  • Transportation to and from the project
  • Administration costs
  • And, of course a very memorable experience!

Prices are valid for the said periods in the year 2023.

Everything you need to know before you book this project:
Extensive information Project Penguins in South Africa (PDF)