Action on Plastic Pollution & Climate Change(APAC)

founded in 2007
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Coordinator | Dayne
Coordinator | Dayne
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.


Help to restore the unique forest and beach habitats of the famous Garden Route, South Africa
Help with a community recycling program for kids called the Swop Shop based on a recycling exchange system
Help us make eco-bricks, conduct beach cleanups, remove alien invasive plants – all hands on action towards reducing pollution and restoring the environment
Increase your knowledge of the species from the area – forest birds, mammals, ocean plants and animals and shore birds we conduct biodiversity surveys to determine effects of climate change
Help us run fun workshops for local children teaching them how we can make small changes to the way we live our lives in a more earth-savvy way
Take action against plastic; help us tackle several environmental issues that contribute towards climate change and learn how you can be the difference in the world! This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 17+

About the Program

Take action on the growing plastic pollution problem that the world faces. Help us tackle several environmental issues that contribute towards climate change and learn about how you can be the difference in the world! 

You will be working in one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world, assisting with a number of hands-on conservation projects. Get involved with tackling alien invasive plants and restoring our unique forest and beach habitats; join the war on plastic by helping us make eco-bricks and conduct beach clean-ups; help us run our recycling project for kids; assist us to monitor the health of biodiversity in the area; and educate local children about earth savvy living! 

Throughout the program you will enjoy a variety of informative lectures, helping you to gain knowledge of basic ecological principles, as well as environmental issues and how we can tackle them. This program is an ideal way to spend time in the magnificent Garden Route and make a difference.

Projects included in this program:

Biodiversity Surveying:

You will help monitor populations of water birds along the beautiful Knysna coastline. Data collected via this project is contributed to an Africa wide citizen science database; allowing for the tracking of bird hotspots and monitoring populations over time.

Help us conduct surveys in the surrounding forests, recording a variety of animal and plant sightings (including spoors and scat). Data is contributed both to our own database and to various citizen science projects

Conduct surveys in Inter-tidal zones, helping us to establish the species present in different zones and how environmental factors affect species populations. Data is also contributed to citizen science projects such as Echinomap as well as a local scientific monitoring NGO.

Making Eco-Bricks:

Join the war on plastic and help us make eco-bricks.  Eco-bricks are created by packing 2 litre plastic bottles with non-recyclable waste. The bricks are then used to construct educational resources and other structures. 

Conservation Education:

Through this project we aim to sow the seed of respect for South Africa’s natural heritage! You will be assisting with fun and interactive workshops aimed to encourage children to get excited about nature and conservation. These workshops may be classroom based or may involve taking local children to visit natural areas – an opportunity that many of these children wouldn’t ordinarily have.

Although these are children who live in South Africa many of them have never experienced the wonders of Africa’s wildlife and so we hope to improve their knowledge and understanding.

Recycling Swop Shop:

This project aims to provide an opportunity for children to gain an understanding of the value of goods and the concept of exchanging work for goods through a recycling exchange incentive scheme; and of course the swop shop also creates an effective means of cleaning up the local environment.

Local children collect plastic, paper, tins and glass which they bring once a week to the Swop Shop. Their recycling is weighed by EDGE of AFRICA volunteers and depending on the amount and type of recycling the child receives a certain amount of points which they can then spend in the ‘Swop Shop’. The shop is filled with clothes, toiletries, toys & stationery (and the list goes on!) all donated by Knysna locals and International volunteers. There is no money involved in this scheme and the Recycling Swop Shop is entirely reliant on donations and volunteer participation.

The recycling that is collected through this project is put to good use, for example we use 2 litre plastic bottles to create eco-friendly greenhouses (see our Food Security Project); and we are developing a business empowerment project that will employ local people to create functional products out of “waste” materials!

Environmental Restoration:

You will assist us to protect and restore the beautiful natural habitats of the Garden Route, including endangered wetland areas, coastal areas and lush indigenous forests.

Restoration projects include removing alien invasive plants which out-compete natural plants and exhaust all important water sources; and clearing litterwhich takes away from the natural beauty of the area and injures animals. This is a highly rewarding volunteer project to be involved in, where you can clearly see the fruits of your labour!

About the location Knysna

Knysna (pronounced nice-na) is the jewel of the Garden Route. It is South Africa’s favorite holiday town! You can expect white beaches, stunning forests and beautiful expansive views. It is a safe and quirky town, full of character!

Knysna is also the adventure capital of the Garden Route. There is really something for everyone, if you fancy challenging your vertigo, we have the world’s highest bungee jump, or you can skydive along the coast! There a number of outdoor hikes leading to beautiful scenery. You can experience members of the cat family such as leopard and cheetah in close proximity; visit an Elephant Sanctuary; get up close to monkeys at Monkeyland; or enjoy a vast array of bird life at the Southern Hemisphere’s largest aviary!

We also have many recommended restaurants and night spots! We think everyone should visit Knysna at least once in their lives!

Typical day

Your day will generally begin between 8.30-9.00 and finish 16.00-16.30.  You will usually come back to the lodge for lunch, but if you are out for the day you will be provided with a packed lunch.  You will always be accompanied by an EoA Co-ordinator who will ensure your safety and will make sure you know what you need to do.

This schedule may vary because of your time of arrival and time of year, but a typical week would look like this: 

  • Saturday- Arrival & Orientation 
  • Sunday - Time off to recover from jet lag and explore the area 
  • Monday-  Orientation & Training/Kids Conservation Workshop prep 
  • Tuesday-  Information session / Eco-brick project / Alien plant eradication
  • Wednesday- Beach clean up /Recycling Swop Shop 
  • Thursday - Information session / Tidal pool research / Coastal bird survey
  • Friday - Information session / Forest species survey /Group Activity
  • Saturday Optional Excursion

Free-time activities

When you arrive in Knysna, EDGE of AFRICA has some great opportunities lined up for your stay including: visits to various food and craft markets; Whale & Dolphin boat trips; shark cage diving; wildlife sanctuaries including getting close to various cat, elephant and monkey species; highest bungee jump in the world; canoeing, hiking and climbing; and visits to numerous breath-taking beaches and beautiful rivers.

There may also be the opportunity for you to participate in an excursion to Addo Elephant National Park. This park offers some of the most spectacular elephant viewing in the world. Addo’s over 500 elephants will delight visitors with their antics. You have the chance of seeing the Big 5 on this trip too!

Water Sports


In order to join the program you need to be at least 17 years old on the program start date.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Criminal Background Check
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
Specific qualifications are not required, although this program would definitely be of interest to and benefit those studying or working in the field of conservation. 

You need to have a passion for conservation and nature and a love for working with the community
You need to be hard working, motivated and  able to show initiative. Good health and physical  fitness are also required.  

You also need to be confident with speaking  English.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 08:30 - 16:30

What's Included

Services by EDGE of AFRICA
  • All project operating costs, equipment, tools and resources
  • Return Bus Ticket from Cape Town, PE or Johannesburg to Knysna
  • Pick up & drop off from arrival points (George airport or Knysna bus stop)
  • 24/7 emergency support
  • Orientation & Training
  • Accommodation in our Volunteer House
  • 3 Meals a day
  • Project Related Transport
  • Project T­-shirt
  • Dedicated coordinators to assist you daily
  • Project support and feedback sessions throughout your stay
  • Assistance with optional activities and tours
  • Assistance obtaining a local SIM Card for your phone
  • Additional cultural and outdoor activities on Friday afternoons 
  • Free, unlimited Wi­Fi and computer access in the Knysna volunteer house
  • Post-­project involvement, and an exclusive return volunteer discount
Airport Pickup at George Airport

You will either need to fly into Johannesburg or Cape Town and catch a connecting flight to GEORGE (GRJ). It is our nearest airport. You can also get the bus from Cape Town or Johannesburg which is a good way to see the area if you have time before your arrival date. If you decide to take the bus, a return bus ticket is included FREE of charge and we can help book this for you.

We are happy to assist with organising your Cape Town or Johannesburg stay including accommodation and tours!

On departure, your project coordinator will transport you to the airport and/ or assist with any further travel arrangements. If you are travelling further through Africa we are more than happy to provide any advice or support in planning your onward journey.

We will provide you with a comprehensive Pre-Travel Advice pack when you confirm your booking with us that will outline all our recommendations for flights, packing and in-country advice.


The EDGE of AFRICA lodge is a beautiful Victorian House, perfectly situated on a slope, overlooking the Knysna Lagoon. A place where  you can put your feet up and admire the view or take a two minute stroll to town and explore the hot-spots of Knysna.

As well as providing a home for our volunteers, our lodge also accommodates other International travellers, so there will be no shortage of new people to meet!

Facilities include:

  • Hot Water Showers & Electricity
  • Communal Kitchen
  • Communal Lounge Area with TV/DVD Player
  • •omfortable Dorm Style Sleeping Arrangements
  • Unlimited Wi-Fi and computer access
  • Outdoor braai (barbeque) area
  • Private & Family Rooms Available on Request

Dorm Room
Food & Beverages
We provide 3 meals a day. Breakfasts include a choice of cereal, toast, and fruit; Lunches include sandwiches, soup or traditional cuisine; and Evening meals include pasta, curries, stews etc. 

We are happy to cater for specific dietary requirements as best we can!
Internet Access
Good access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is George Airport (GRJ) in George. We assist you to find cheap flights to South Africa.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for South Africa provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in South Africa you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for South Africa.

Dates & Fees


Details on arrival

2019 Arrival & Departure Dates:

  • January 19th

  • February 2nd

  • February 16th

  • March 2nd

  • March 16th

  • March 30th

  • April 13th

  • April 27th

  • May 11th

  • May 25th

  • June 8th

  • June 22nd

  • July 6th

  • July 20th

  • August 3rd

  • August 17th

  • August 31st

  • September 14th

  • September 28th

  • October 12th

  • October 26th

  • November 9th

  • November 23rd

  • December 7th

  • December 14th*

*Departures only

This program is paused due to COVID-19

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2 - 12 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
2 weeks (min. stay)
4 weeks
6 weeks
8 weeks
10 weeks
12 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees
$567 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated. EDGE of AFRICA will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with EDGE of AFRICA during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

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Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if EDGE of AFRICA cancels your trip
Support & Mediation
We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by EDGE of AFRICA.

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Action on Plastic Pollution & Climate Change(APAC)

Take action against plastic; help us tackle several environmental issues that contribute towards climate change and learn how you can be the difference in the world!


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