Coastal Conservation, Research & Education Helper

opgericht in 2000
ORCA Foundation
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Coördinator | Jared
Coördinator | Jared
Boek met de Flex-Optie! Kies nieuwe vertrekdata of wijzig je vrijwilligersproject zonder meerkost.


Experience dolphins and whales in their natural habitat!
Meet fellow volunteers from all over the world and become friends!
Our motto is: research, conserve and protect!
Since our project is both sea and land based, you will have a diversity of tasks!
Discover pretty Plettenberg Bay!
There are loads of activities we offer during your stay with us! Our motto is: research, conserve and protect! This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Leeftijd 18+

The Orca Foundation is part of a volunteer community dedicated to marine conservation in South Africa, and like many conservation projects depends on the willingness of others to contribute their time and dedication to furthering the volunteer and conservation ethics that go hand in hand for a better future.

The local interest and desire to help ORCA’s cause snow-balled into what is now the volunteer program, where people from all over the world come to dedicate their time and help progress ORCA’s education, research, and conservation initiatives.

About the Program

The ORCA Foundation volunteer program officially started in 2001, and is designed to increase awareness about conservation issues and initiatives, and to help create a conservation model for the Plettenberg Bay area. People of all ages and with different backgrounds come from all over the world to learn while helping us further our work in sustaining marine and coastal resources. 

Our programs are both sea and land based, and daily activities include whale and dolphin watching, elasmobranch egg case surveys (in collaboration with ELMO), fin profiling for animal movement studies, hikes and walks, marine debris clean-ups, planting indigenous trees and removing alien species, White Shark monitoring project (in collaboration with the Plett Hope Spot), river health assessments, and education of preschool children. 

Besides our education and research work, we are also involved with various other conservation activities. Such activities include maintenance of the Ocean Blue aquarium, which holds a collection of fish and represents the ecosystem of the surrounding bay. We collect food for the fish, clean the aquarium, facilitate water changes, and collect specimens for the aquarium, while at the same time learning about the rivers, estuaries, the sea, and the delicate balance between all of them. Your time with us can be as short as two weeks or can last as long as you want!

The number of volunteers can range anywhere from 1 to 12, depending on the season and number of bookings made, with no more than 4 people in one room.

If you have a passion for marine and coastal wildlife and ecosystems, a longing to learn, a desire to help the less fortunate, and a general love for work/adventure, ORCA Foundation is the answer for you!


Our program comprises 3 key elements:

  1. Conservation: Rescue of marine birds, assist with beach strandings, stabilization of turtles prior to them being moved onto specialized facilities, alien tree removal, beach clean-ups
  2. Education: Partaking in pre-school and primary school environmental education programs, educational entertainment through the media of dance and theatre, partnering with a local under-privileged preschool to teach English and assist where needed
  3. Research: Taking and processing fin profile photos of a number of whale and dolphin species seen on boat trips, analysing river health, bird ringing, elasmobranch surveys, contributing to a number of online databases mapping species distribution

ORCA Foundation combines conservation, education, research, community development, and tourism into its comprehensive volunteer program. It’s all hands-on! All activities depend on season, weather, and need, and as such may be subject to change throughout the year. As a result all placements are different, and you may or may not be involved with the above activities. Volunteers can also expect to contribute to Ocean Blue Adventures’ commercial operations. Bad weather days can delay conservation/research activities and may involve indoor activities and courses.

GPS monitoring on dolphin and whale watching trips

Besides giving the volunteers the opportunity to see these magnificent marine-creatures in their natural habitat, we use this chance to record details as to what, where and when. What did we see, where were they sighted, when did we see them? Photos are also taken for the purpose of fin-profiling.

Elasmobranch egg-case project

Elasmobranchs are a group comprising sharks, rays, and skates, and some of these lay eggs. Each beach is surveyed bimonthly and egg cases GPSed and collected. These egg cases are identified, analysed and measured after soaking in water for at least 12 hours.

Bird Ringing

Minke Witteveen is a licenced bird ringer which provides the ORCA Foundation with the opportunity to engage in the uncommon activity of capturing local birds in specialised nets. A metal ring with a unique alphanumeric code is placed on each birds leg, and a variety of morphometric measurements are taken. All these data are uploaded to a central data base managed by SAfring. This allows for data on movements, longevity, changes in timing of biological processes, and other data to be collected.

MiniSASS: River Health Assessement

Macroinvertebrates living in the river are collected by drawing a net through the water and surrounding vegetation. Individuals caught are identified, and based on the sensitivity score of the groups they belong to, the relative health of the river can be assessed. These results are uploaded to an online database monitoring river health throughout South Africa.

Siyakula Pre-School

Based in the Qolweni Township, Siyakula Pre-school educates over 100 children. Once a week the volunteers assist at Siyakula by giving a 45 minute lesson, which the volunteers themselves prepare and implement, and has included a variety of topics. Thereafter they read a story and play games with the children. They also help serve and clean-up after lunch. Volunteers are able to help a disadvantaged community, and are exposed to a different culture.

Our Location

The ORCA house will be your temporary home, and is located minutes away from the beach and steps away from the estuary. Transportation for ORCA-related activities will be provided by ORCA staff in our vehicle. Plettenberg Bay (fondly Plett) is located in the Western Cape in the heart of the Garden Route. We are 210km from Port Elizabeth and 600km from Cape Town, and just a short 84 km from George Airport.

Plett is a small town but experiences busy moments during the summer season, when a huge amount of tourists visit. Our days start around 8am and run to 4pm (depending on activities) from Monday to Friday; evenings and weekends are your personal time. 

During your stay in Plettenberg Bay you will be exposed to one of the most breathtaking and serene outdoor classrooms in southern Africa. You will regularly experience the power and grace of whales, the exuberance of dolphins, the playfulness of seals, and the magnificence of mountains and forests. 

Often, volunteers become a little ORCA family and join together for evening get-togethers that range from enjoying dinner prepared by our very own cook, Teliswa, or going out to a restaurant for a casual drink in town. Plettenberg Bay is full of wonderful nature and adventure based attractions, which volunteers often fill their weekend with. If you have a passion for marine and coastal wildlife and ecosystems, a longing to learn, a desire to help the less fortunate, and a general love for work/adventure, ORCA Foundation is the answer for you!

Dagelijkse activiteiten

Be ready at 08h30, when we collect you for the day’s activities, which range from tank maintenance at Ocean Blue Adventures, to assisting research teams out on the ocean or the beach. Volunteer working week at ORCA Foundation is Monday to Friday, from 08h00 to 16h00. 

Evenings and weekends are your leisure times. The relaxed atmosphere of Plettenberg Bay and the ORCA Foundation will help you to settle in quickly. Some days involve more work and assistance, while others move at a leisurely pace. Daily activities can change on a moment’s notice, if something exciting comes along. Be prepared to go with the flow.

Sample Weekly Program at ORCA Foundation:


  • 08h00 Ocean Blue day Bait collection Boat Aquarium maintenance 
  • 13H00 Lunch 
  • 14h00 Beach clean-up
  • 09h00 Tree planting /  Robberg egg case survey
  • 13h00 Lunch 
  • 14h00 Alien tree removal / Data Capturing
  • 05h00 Bird ringing 
  • 10h30 Snack 
  • 11h00 Keurboomstrand egg case survey 
  • 14h00 End early
  • 09h00 Siyakhula Preschool 
  • 14h00 Lunch 
  • 14h30 River assessment
  • 08h00 Assist rehab centre / Robberg Hike
  • 13h00 Lunch 
  • 14h00 Data capturing / Fin profiling


  • Horse Back Safaris
  • Buffalo Hills game drive
  • Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve
  • Bridge Walking
  • Bungee Jumping
  • Sky Diving
  • Tree Top Canopy Tours
  • Monkey land
  • Birds of Eden
  • Lawnwood snake park
  • Tenikwa Wildlife Centre
  • Adventure land water park
  • 3D Walking Maze
  • Dive Courses
  • Surfing Lessons/per lesson
  • Deep Sea Fishing
  • Seal swim/dive


Om deel te nemen aan het programma dien je tenminste 18 jaar oud te zijn op de startdatum van het programma. Er kunnen uitzonderingen gemaakt worden indien je een bewijs van toestemming kan aantonen van uw wettelijke voogd(en) of samen met je ouders deelneemt.
Je dient over volgende taalkennis te beschikken Engels (basis niveau)
Geen beperkingen. Helpende handen van over de hele wereld zijn welkom.
Andere vaardigheden
Volunteers need to have social skills and to an open mind to join our program.
Uw helpende hand wordt verwacht op maandag, dinsdag, woensdag, donderdag en vrijdag van 08:00 - 15:30

Diensten ingesloten

Diensten door ORCA Foundation

All fees include:

  • 3 meals a day and 1 cooked meal in the evenings between a Monday and a Friday
  • Transport to all Orca activities
  • Uncapped Internet
  • Accommodation
  • Laundry is done for you.
  • Whale watching trips


The ORCA house will be your temporary home, and is located minutes away from the beach and steps away from the estuary. The relaxed atmosphere of the ORCA house offers an amazing South African experience, while still feeling very much like a home with tons of friendly faces. 

The number of volunteers can range anywhere from 1 to 12, depending on the season and number of bookings made, with no more than 4 people in one room.

Laundry facilities are available and ‘house mom’ Teliswa (Tilly) does communal washing several times a week to conserve energy and water.

The ORCA house is close to a shopping centre, which includes a variety of shops and restaurants.

Rental cars and taxis are available for evening and weekend activities, ranging from economy to premium class.

Eten & Drank

Yes, we do provide food and cool drinks but luxuries are to the volunteers cost.

Basic food for meals is provided for you at the house. You may be required to pack a lunch for some activities, but you will be informed of our schedule ahead of time.  Evening meals are prepared for you 5 nights per week. We do cater for a variety of diets including vegetarian. 

You are also welcome to eat out but this is at your own expense. The ORCA house is located near a variety of restaurants and fast food restaurants, both local and international.

Internet toegang
Makkelijke toegang op de project site
Wat is er NIET inbegrepen?
Visum, vluchten, reisverzekering en vaccinaties zijn NIET inbegrepen in de programmakosten. Afhaling van de luchthaven is ook niet inbegrepen in de programmakosten.
Vlucht tickets
De dichtste luchthaven is George Airport (GRJ) in George. We assisteren u met het vinden van goedkope vluchten naar Zuid-Afrika.
Naar het buitenland reizen is een avontuur en het is best om goed voorbereid te zijn. Plots ziek worden of gewond raken, annulaties of diefstal - een reisverzekering voor Zuid-Afrika biedt zekerheid en is een meerwaarde.
Als je de intentie hebt om als vrijwilliger aan de slag te gaan in Zuid-Afrika dien je eerst medisch advies in te winnen alvorens je eropuit trekt. Kijk de benodigde vaccinaties na voor Zuid-Afrika.

Data & Kosten


Gegevens over jouw aankomst

ORCA research, community upliftment, and education programs continue throughout the year. The choice of when to join us, is mainly dependent on you and what kind of weather you prefer.

Summer: January to March tend to be our warmest months.

  • Sun cream and hats are strongly recommended.
  • Temperatures range from lows of 15oC to highs of 30oC (590 to 890 Fahrenheit).
  • Expect to see a variety of dolphin species and the occasional Bryde’s Whale on our whale watching tours at this time of year.

Autumn: April to June fall days are still warm, but the evenings cool off nicely.

  • Temperatures range from 8oC overnight to 25oC at midday (460 to 770 Fahrenheit).
  • Humpback whales, on migration north at this time of year, join dolphin species.

Winter: July to September are our winter months, but the start of whale-watching season.

  • Days start off cool and warm up to about 20oC (680 F), but the nights are a chillier 5oC (410 F).
  • Warm clothes are recommended for this time of year. We don’t use central heating in South Africa, so pack a jersey, jacket and gloves for the colder nights.
  • Southern Right Whales are a common sight in Plettenberg Bay.

Spring: October to December weather conditions are similar to autumn.

  • Animal sightings are mostly Humpback Whales and dolphins. The water warms up considerably, so diving and snorkelling can be done comfortably.  

jan. feb. mrt. apr. mei jun. jul. aug. sep. okt. nov. dec.
2 - 12 weken


Kosten: Prijs in USD
2 weken (min. verblijf)
3 weken
4 weken
5 weken
6 weken
7 weken
12 weken (max. verblijf)
Gemiddelde kosten
$595 /week

Houd er rekening mee dat de hierboven getoonde kosten worden geschat. ORCA Foundation zal je op de hoogte houden over de finale kostprijs gedurende uw aanmeldprocedure.
Waarborg (15%)
De waarborg dient om je plek als vrijwilliger te verzekeren. Betalingen worden door PayPal behandeld, onze betrouwbare betalingsprovider. Indien je niet over een PayPal account beschikt, kan je ook met een credit kaart betalen.
Finale betaling (85%)
Uw finale betaling zal worden goedgekeurd door ORCA Foundation gedurende de aanmeld procedure. Veel voorkomende oplossingen zijn een banktransfer of contante betaling op de projectsite.

Waarom Volunteer World

Bijkomende zekerheid geboden door Volunteer World
Volunteer World is 's werelds leidende vergelijkingsplatform voor internationale vrijwilligerswerk projecten. Wij begeleiden jou door een betrouwbare aanmeldingsprocedure - inclusief de nodige betalingen. Plan jouw zinvolle reis met Volunteer World en krijg gratis toegang tot:
Hoge ethische standaarden & transparantie in de sociale impact
Wijzig jouw reservatie zonder extra meerkost
Garantie op terugbetaling
We betalen je kosten terug als ORCA Foundation jouw reis annuleert
Ondersteuning & tussenkomst
Wij steunen je, wat er ook gebeurt, je kan altijd contact opnemen met ons
Onze diensten zijn gratis!
Alle programmakosten worden rechtstreeks gefactureerd door ORCA Foundation

Wat vertellen de mensen over Volunteer World?

Coastal Conservation, Research & Education Helper

There are loads of activities we offer during your stay with us! Our motto is: research, conserve and protect!


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