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Coastal Conservation, Research & Education Helper
Coastal Conservation, Research & Education Helper Plettenberg Bay, South Africa ORCA Foundation Agency | ORCA Foundation
There are loads of activities we offer during your stay with us!

10 Project reviews of ORCA Foundation

Project Details

The ORCA Foundation is part of a volunteer community dedicated to marine conservation in South Africa.

About the Project

  • ORCA = Ocean Research Conservation Africa 

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.

Our History

ORCA Foundation found its humble beginnings during a hike between two friends, Tony Lubner and Mark Valentine, on the Robberg Peninsula. Tony and Mark noticed silverfish, a staple in the dolphin diet, being caught by foreign boats in the distance. In the weeks following, dolphins began to disappear from the bay. Not surprisingly, the cause for their disappearance was the dissipating food source; silverfish were almost removed from the bay entirely by fisherman. 

This event raised many concerns for the citizens of beautiful Plettenberg Bay, which is home to some of the most amazing marine wildlife animals, including bottlenose dolphins, humpback dolphins, common dolphins, orca whales, humpback whales, southern right whales and great white sharks. In response to these concerns, Tony and Mark created an educational wing to add to their pre-existing marine eco-tourism company, Ocean Blue Adventures. This addition focused on marine education, conservation, and research, and was aptly named Ocean Research Conservation Africa, or ORCA for short. 

When the program first started in 2000, its prime target was to create a bay management plan with the help of its first research students: Kyle Smith and Kelley King. A partnership was born between the government organization, Cape Nature, to police the Bay. ORCA provided the needed equipment and Cape Nature enforced the law. Within a couple of months, no illegal boats could be found in the bay. The Plettenberg Bay municipality eventually accepted this plan, and ORCA has since continued to monitor the bay under the supervision and guidance of many universities and governmental institutions.

It wasn’t long before the community started noticing improvements and expressing curiosity about the different “works in progress” at the foundation. 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.

Our Crew

Tony Lubner: The owner of Ocean Blue Adventures and the Chairman of the ORCA Foundation. He has a great love for the sea and a passion for conservation. His hobbies include surfing, diving, and surf ski paddling.

Jared Harding: Jared Harding, the ORCA Foundation manager who has loads of experience with wildlife and conservation particularly with marine birds. Jared is an avid diver and qualified marine guide. Jared received his National Colours in scouting and also spent 13 months on Marion island situated 2216 kms South. Jared was a field assistant who collected data for the department of environmental affairs and tourism.

Michael Tolsma: Michael Tolsma is the people- loving, caring and enthusiastic ORCA house manager, he will make everybody feel at home, ensure groceries are bought and he is also a volunteer coordinator and qualified Diving Instructor.

Teliswa Fuyani: ‘ Tilly’ is our full time house keeper who will be involved in all of the cooking and cleaning at the volunteer house. She is everyone’s mom away from mom on the program.

Charlie Lilford: Charlie has been living in Plettenberg Bay for many years and is one of the best fishermen in the area. Charlies has a wide knowledge of the sea and the surrounding areas. He is now in the Guinness World Records for tag and release leervis fishing. He has worked very hard on conserving and researching the species.

Our Game Plan

To raise awareness for and interest in marine conservation issues. We do this by regularly keeping up to date with research projects that support protection and rehabilitation of bio-diversity and responsible socio-economic development in Plettenberg Bay, as well as by educating locals and foreigners alike on the principles of conservation. Our goals are as follows:

To create an efficient marine management plan that can be supported in the future.

1. To teach our children about the value of our oceans.

2. To allow volunteers from around the globe an opportunity to explore the world of conservation from a South African perspective.

3. To install a sense of community and support by collaborating with other conservation organizations, the State, and the private sector.

4. We foresee ourselves developing strategies to ensure the long-term sustainability of our natural resources, and creating a model that can be -replicated along all coastal lines.

The main focus of the project is on
Foundation Year
Contact Person
Jared Harding
Spoken Languages

Social Impact

Awards and Archievements

We are very proud of our list of awards and achievements. We were awarded the following awards and archivements:

  • TUV Rheineland - The German Stamp of approval for Tourism. First whale watching company rated in the world with this award.

  • SKAL - Ecotourism Award

  • Fair Trade in Tourism - Awarded for fair share in operations of the business. First whale watching company to be awarded this in the world

  • World Wildlife Fund - In partnership with WWF South Africa

  • Nedbank Green Trust Award - A Corporate award given for investing in the environment. In association with Nedbank, Mail and Guardian, and WWF

  • Planet Green Ocean Blue - ORCA Foundation and Ocean Blue Adventures has become carbon neutral throught the Planet Green Ocean Blue tree planting program

  • Safari and Tourism Insurance Brokers - ORCA Foundation is proudly insured and sponsored by SATIB.

  • Black Economic Empowerment - This meaning that the staff own a percentage of the company and all staff have equal say in the running of the business

  • Ocean Blue Adventures recently were awarded runner up in ‘The Fair Trade Excellence in Environmental Stewardship” for 2012.

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