Penguin Sanctuary

High­lights Require­ments What's Included Dates & Fees Rev­iews
founded in 1999
Rainbow Garden Village
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Coordinator | Steffen
Coordinator | Steffen


Experience the South African way of life by living with a Host Family or amongst other participants in the shared volunteer house.
Contribute to the protection of an endangered species and play your part in their conservation
Further your career working with animals by making a difference in another country
Make memories by travelling in your spare time around one of the world's most beautiful cities, Cape Town.
Explore the rest of the 'Safari Superpower' South Africa and see incredible animals in their natural environment.
By contributing at the penguin sanctuary, you work side by side with wildlife specialists and you'll be making a big impact on the conservation of this endangered species This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+

With their population decreasing by nearly 90% in the last 50 to 60 years, the African penguin is now one of the world’s most endangered species. Commercial fishing is a major cause, as it leaves the penguins with very little food to find. Oil pollution is another big contributor and also the lack of protected breeding grounds results in penguin parents struggling to protect their eggs and hatchlings from predators.

The penguin and seabird project in Cape Town is in a lagoon area, about 15 minutes from the city centre. The rehabilitation centre is an important sanctuary for various species of seabirds, including the extremely endangered African penguins, albatrosses, petrels and skuas. You’ll work closely with other volunteers from around the world, as well as local veterinarians and rehabilitation workers, to find animals, treat them and release them back into the wild. The centre is split into different areas, so you may find yourself working indoors helping the animals who are being treated, or you may be outside working along the sea.

Typical day

A normal working day starts around 8am and ends at around 5:30 pm across five days, whether that is weekdays, weekends or public holidays. A lot of our volunteers find that renting a car together for the duration of their program is a good idea, as the commute via public transport can be a bit long. After you have found your feet and completed your training, you will start working on the sea, to help capture animals in need of care. You’ll also start contributing to beach and marine projects, such as securing breeding grounds or releasing recovered animals into the wild.

Free-time activities

 Cape Town is one of the most picturesque major cities in the world and has millions of tourists visit every year. It is world-renowned for it's breathtaking landscapes, yet also it's wildlife. They are numerous safaris available, which many volunteers will try on their days off. It also has a huge range of marine animals, and for the thrill seekers, there's even the chance to go shark cage diving! It is a major international city, so there are loads of opportunities to go shopping and areas to visit.

Table Mountain is also one the world's major tourist attractions, which everyone who goes to Cape Town will hike.

Water Sports


In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Criminal Background Check
Required Documents
CV, letter of motivation, criminal background check and visa document
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
A passion for working with animals is essential. Any previous experience or education with animals is beneficial, but not required.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

What's Included

Services by Rainbow Garden Village

What's Included

  • Food
  • Accommodation
  • Airport Pickup
  • In-Country Orientation
  • 24 Hour In-Country Support
  • Personal Contact Person at Rainbow Garden Village UK
  • Assistance with Travel Preparation
  • Rainbow Garden Village T-Shirt
  • Recognised Participation Certificate
  • Extensive Volunteer/Travel Guide

Airport Pickup at Cape Town International Airport
One of our friendly team will be ready and waiting at the airport, to make sure you're fully comfortable in your new environment.

Living with a host family, you will allow you to dive deeper into the culture of the local community. Living with a host family will allow you to learn more about the traditions and how things work. All our host families have running water and electricity. 

There is also our shared volunteer houses. Here, you live in the house together with other volunteers. In addition to the bedrooms, the volunteers have numerous bathrooms and a fully equipped communal kitchen (where your breakfast and dinner will be prepared each day) There is also a large living room with satellite TV and our on-site cook.

There is also an option to upgrade an have your very own apartment, which you can share with up to 4 other volunteers. Please enquire with the team for more information and availability.

Dorm Room Guest Family Bedroom (Double)
Food & Beverages
Your meals are included throughout the programme, with breakfast and dinner provided for you. It'll give you an insight into how the locals live, and you'll get to try some of the tasty local dishes and cuisines on offer.
Internet Access
Limited 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 Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town. 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

Before you even depart, the team will take you through every step of the process, from answering your questions about the programme, through to advising you where to go for your visa. We are here to help you and to ensure that you feel totally comfortable (and prepared!) before departing.

For your volunteer work in South Africa, you will land in Cape Town, and we accept arrivals in on Thursdays. Here you will be welcomed at the airport by a member of the team in South Africa (you will recognise each other by their branded t-shirts). From here, we drive you directly to the office in Cape Town. The drive from the airport is a first small highlight as you'll get your first glimpse of Table Mountain. The rest of the day is used to move into your accommodation and get to know your new surroundings.

Once settled, your stay begins with an orientation. As soon as you arrive, we will give you your South Africa starter package, which includes a city map, SIM card, and other useful things to make your stay easier. During a workshop in the office, you will learn more about South Africa and its people. Our team will introduce you to a bit of the Cape Town slang and give you valuable safety, transportation, money tips and much more. In addition, you will explore Cape Town on a guided city bus tour with your fellow volunteers.

Your program will start with an introduction day, and then you will get straight to work. You will be given a plan by one of the team and then you will be sent off to explore the site. In your first few days, you will likely be working inside the centre, with the injured or sick animals. You may be preparing food, cleaning the animal housing, pools and other areas. 

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
6 - 12 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in GBP (USD)
6 weeks (min. stay)
£1,249 ($1,574)
8 weeks
£1,549 ($1,952)
10 weeks
£1,849 ($2,330)
12 weeks (max. stay)
£2,149 ($2,708)
Average fees
£194 ($244) /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Rainbow Garden Village 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 Rainbow Garden Village during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

Extra security layer by Volunteer World
Volunteer World is the world's leading comparison platform for international volunteer opportunities. We guide you through a safe and easy application process - including all necessary payments. Planning your next meaningful trip with Volunteer World gives you free access to our:
Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if Rainbow Garden Village 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 Rainbow Garden Village.

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  Africa Southern Africa South Africa  Cape Town, Elgin Road 7, 7700 Sybrand Park

Penguin Sanctuary

By contributing at the penguin sanctuary, you work side by side with wildlife specialists and you'll be making a big impact on the conservation of this endangered species


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