Calling all animal lovers - endangered African Penguins are supported by the rehabilitation and conservation centre in Port Elizabeth!
About the Program
The South African
Marine Rehabilitation and Education Centre (SAMREC), a non-profit organization
in Port Elizabeth, South Africa; is focused on the care of sick or injured
African Penguins (also known as Jackass Penguins) as well as other marine birds
such as gannets, cormorants and seagulls. The work of SAMREC is vital for the
safety of the largest breeding colony of African Penguins in the world which is
situated on St Croix Island right off the shore of Port Elizabeth in the Indian
This is the only centre in Port Elizabeth that has the capacity to collect washed-up penguins who are sick, hurt or exhausted; and to treat any diseases they may have, give them a vitamin boost, fatten them up and release them into the bay again.
They will re-learn how to catch fish independently with a definite advantage, being made fit and fat by volunteers.
There are currently only 25 000 breeding pairs of African Penguins left in the world, and 21000 of those are mostly right here on our doorstep in Algoa Bay.
The centre’s purpose isn´t just to rescue and rehabilitate, but also to inform and educate the general public through their different programs. The extensive displays at the centre give tourists, school groups and other visitors the opportunity to learn about these endangered birds but also a wider variety of marine life in the beautiful and incredibly diverse Algoa Bay.
Volunteers are needed for the diversity of tasks that come with caring for the penguins and other rescued birds, as well as the educational purpose of the centre. Volunteers will feed and clean the penguins, maintain their enclosures, welcome visitors and guide them through the educational centre, go out on occasional rescues and assist with releases.
As a volunteer you will generally work closely with the people who work at the rehabilitation centre from 8.30AM until 3PM including the following tasks.
The Eastern Cape and the surroundings of Port Elizabeth show a large variety of natural beauty and make PE a great central place to visit the variety of South Africa. To the East you will find the Wild coast (former Transkei and Ciskei) which is mostly rural and undeveloped, but closer you will find Addo Elephant Part and great coastal villages such as Port Alfred. To the North you will find the great Karoo; a semi desert area with wide open spaces, large nature areas and long open roads with historical places such as Graaff Reinet, the Baviaanskloof Wilderness and much more. To the East towards Cape Town, you will be amazed by the Tsitsikamma National Park, holiday villages such as Plettenberg Bay, Knysna and natures Valley or the surf mecca of Jeffrey’s Bay. This gives you plenty to see and visit while you are here.
In Port Elizabeth there are a lot of things to do as well. You can go sandboarding on the Sunday river, to Sardinia bay for a day on the beach or visit one of the museums from Nelson Mandela.
You will be picked up at the airport. Just tell us your arrival time and one of our coordinators will be ready to pick you up and will bring you to your accommodation!
Our volunteers stay in a comfortable volunteer house close to the beach, offering great facilities in a highly convenient location. You will be able to enjoy the beach after your volunteering shifts, or explore the city and its surroundings if you prefer.
The house is fully furnished, has 11 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms (which are shared, depending on how busy it is). It also has a large swimming pool, 2 lounges and free WIFI.
Khaya is different from most other volunteer organisations you will find in South Africa - we believe that there should be no hidden costs in the projects we arrange. With this in mind, we include all your meals (3 meals a day, 7 days a week), which you will be cooking with the other volunteers.