The Mighty Roar

Caretaker of Marine Life

Plettenberg Bay, South Africa show on map

Get hands on with this award winning marine conservation programme located in the beautiful Plettenberg Bay.

Get hands on with this award winning marine conservation programme located in the beautiful Plettenberg Bay. This comprehensive programme combines conservation, education, research, community development and tourism, so you can be sure that no two days are the same.

Conservation: Within the conservation part of this project you will be helping with seals, turtles, seabirds or cetaceans, assisting in response events when the wildlife is injured, or aiding in their release. You will also be part of local beach clean-ups, and health assessments of the rivers.

Education: Partnering with a local pre-school and primary school, you will teach English where needed, partaking in environmental education programs and providing educational entertainment.

Research: Noting observations, both land-based and boat-based, is a really important part of the ID aspect of this project. Collecting photo ID for white sharks, seal-sharks and cape fur seals as well as seal fisheries interaction aids with the research. You will also assist with sample collection during marine mammal necropsies and scat processing to identify prey remains.

You will be lucky enough to be working in one of the best locations across the whole of Africa, in Plettenberg Bay. Located along the heart of the Garden Route and offering some amazing coastal scenery, you will get to explore long stretches of unspoilt golden sandy beaches, dramatic rocky peninsulas, intriguing lagoons and estuaries, towering indigenous forests, clear rivers. and of course the Indian Ocean.

Working alongside the experienced local team who are qualified marine guides you will get to engage in and observe some amazing marine wildlife such as; Bottlenose Dolphins, Great White Sharks, seals and more. You will also get to see many whale species, including Southern Right Whales, Humpback Whales and Orca / Killer Whales.

Typical day

With such an in-depth list of activities this amazing programme does, everyday will provide something different. As with most things, the weather is a major factor and may influence the duties you get involved in and activities can change at a moments notice.

Generally, the programme runs from 8am to 5pm between Monday and Friday, and some of the tasks you may get to experience are below.

Research boat trips – You will join in on the adventure boat trips where you will get to explore the bay and surrounding areas. You will get to see a variety of marine life and you will be responsible for filling in data sheets.

Fin Profiling – Another important conservation technique is taking fin profile photos of the whales and dolphins you encounter while out at sea. Every dolphin and whale fin is unique, so is the ideal way of building an identification catalogue that will help aid research and conservation. The long-term goal is to have a catalogue for each three species of dolphin and two species of whale.

Stranded Animals Response – The local team are always on high alert and on standby to assist with any marine rescues. During times of rough seas and strong onshore winds the team carry out beach patrols in search for stranded birds and animals.

Alien Vegetation Removal – You will be able to assist in removing alien vegetation using saws and pangas. These alien plants take a vast amount of valuable water away from the indigenous plants and native species that can hinder their development. Preventative measures are then put into place to stop them from re-growing, allowing the area to return to its nature vegetation composition. Removed vegetation is then used to build fences and other structures in the local area. You will also get to assist in planting indigenous trees across various sites as part of offsetting the programmes carbon footprint.

Bird Ringing – During the early mornings, before sunrise, mist nets are put up at certain locations to catch a variety of bird species. Any birds caught then have a metal band engraved with a unique alphanumeric code placed on their leg and a number of body measurements are taken. All data collected is then uploaded to a central database. This important research technique can help answer a number of questions, such as; how long do birds live, where do birds go, how is climate change affecting the birds and when do birds breed? You will get to assist with the data entry and releasing of the birds and longer-term volunteers may even be taught how to extract the birds from the nets and how to ring.

River Health Assessments – You will be able to assist in the weekly monitoring of the health of the rivers across four different sites in the greater Plettenberg area. Macroinverebrates are collected by drawing a net through the water and surrounding vegetation and identified. Each group present is then given a sensitivity score and thereby the relative health of the river can be assessed and uploaded to an online database that monitors many rivers across South Africa.

Elasmobranch Egg Case Collection – As part of a long-term research monitoring initiative, you will have an active involvement in the collection of wash up elasmobranch (shark, skate and ray) egg cases across three different sandy beaches in the area. Volunteers will spread out and walk the designated length of the beach to cover as much area as possible while scanning the immediate area for egg cases. Each egg case that is found is placed inside a numbered bag and the GPS coordinates are recorded. Egg cases are then left to soak overnight to allow them to regain their true size and shape. The following day each egg case is identified, measured and inspected for damage. The egg cases are then dried and stored away for future reference.

Beach Clean Ups – Generally this is not done as a separate activity, but instead combined into other duties. While on the beaches carrying out research, it is often necessary to keep the beaches clean to ensure the ecosystems present can thrive. You will get to learn about marine debris and the associated problems.

Community Education – Once a week you will be able to assist in a local pre-school, where you will be able to help with under privileged children aged between 2 and 7. The emphasis will be on teaching English, but we encourage all volunteers to introduce aspects of wildlife conservation. You will be responsible for planning and preparing your lesson that lasts around 45 minutes and can consist of reading a story and playing fun games.

Details on Arrival

Every Monday start


You should arrive to George Airport (GRJ) on your selected start date, being any Monday. You will be met by one of our local team members who will be holding a named sign and will take you to the accommodation to settle in.

If you prefer, you can arrange to be picked up from Port Elizabeth Airport, however there will be an additional fee.

Free-time activities

During the evenings and weekends you will have plenty of time to explore this beautiful country and to get involved in many activities, all of which our local team can arrange. These can include visiting game reserves, sky diving, bungee jumping, scuba diving and abseiling!
Water Sports
Swimming
Sightseeing
Safari/Zoo

Program Requirements

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 (fluently)
Health Declaration
required
Criminal Background Check
required
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 08:00 - 17:00

Suitable for

Singles
Couples
Groups
50+

Included Services

Extra security layer by 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 The Mighty Roar cancels your trip
Resolution Support
We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by The Mighty Roar.

Before your journey

Profound consulting and ongoing support (free)
The Mighty Roar (your host organization) provides consulting and is keen to answer all your questions. Once you reserved your spot, you will receive the contact details of your volunteer project.
Online preparation course (optional, from $49)
Prepare yourself and become a confident and well informed traveler. Global Travel Academy takes you on a journey before you leave home, helping you to become one of the world's greatest travelers. Our trusted partner for online learning offers courses in "International Volunteering", "Travel Health & Safety" and "Travel Safety Abroad".

On-site services

Services by The Mighty Roar

Fees include accommodation, meals and the registration fee of $180

Airport Pickup at George Airport

You should arrive to George Airport (GRJ) on your selected start date, being any Monday. You will be met by one of our local team members who will be holding a named sign and will take you to the accommodation to settle in.

If you prefer, you can arrange to be picked up from Port Elizabeth Airport, however there will be an additional fee.

The programme ends on a Sunday of your final week and you should depart the accommodation on this day. Return airport transfers can be arranged by our local team for an additional fee.

Accommodation

The accommodation offers a friendly and lively atmosphere and although basic, it is comfortable and clean. You will be staying with other volunteers from around the world, so you can be sure to make new lasting friendships.

You will be sleeping in shared single sex rooms in single beds with up to 4 people per room. All bedding is provided, although you are advised to bring some warmer clothes as the temperature can drop during the night. There shared bathrooms that have western style toilets and hot showers.

The communal areas have comfortable sofas and a big screen TV. There is a balcony area at the top of the house that is a great place to come together and socialise and take in some breath-taking views and sunsets. There is also fridge space and a kettle

Dorm Room
Food & Beverages

All meals during your volunteering days are provided within the programme fee (Mon-Fri) and are aimed to be as varied as possible across the week. Breakfast and lunch operate on a self-serve basis, whilst dinner is prepared for you.

At the weekends, or if you would like something different, you are of course more than welcome to head into Plettenburg Bay where there are plenty of restaurants by the beach and even fast food outlets.

You can expect some of the following meals:

Breakfast – Cereals, eggs, toast, jam
Lunch – Chicken, ham and / or cheese sandwiches
Dinner – Pizza, spaghetti bolognaise, fish & chips, burgers, sausage and mash

With prior notice we are able to cater for the following diets:

  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan

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.
Vaccines
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.
Costs (Prices in USD)
1 week (min. stay)
$700.00
2 weeks
$1,100.00
3 weeks
$1,500.00
4 weeks
$1,900.00
6 weeks
$2,700.00
8 weeks
$3,500.00
12 weeks (max. stay)
$5,100.00
Average fees
$563.00/week

You can volunteer at the project site in Plettenberg Bay/South Africa between 1 week and 12 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. The Mighty Roar will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in South Africa.
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 {project.name} during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.
  Africa Southern Africa South Africa  Plettenberg Bay, 8 Earp Jones Street

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