Our Conserving Whales Programme was officially started in 2001 to create awareness about marine conservation issues in Plettenberg Bay. Orca Foundation, in association with the Centre for Dolphin Studies (CDS) and Ocean Blue Adventures, is situated in Plettenberg Bay, along the heart of the world famous Garden Route. The location allows you to enjoy beautiful coastal scenery, marine conservation, and commercial ventures all in one place. It is home to some of the world’s most fascinating marine species, including the Southern Right Whale, Humpback Whale, Bryde’s Whale, Bottlenose Dolphin, Common Dolphin, Orca or Killer Whale, and Great White Shark to name but a few. Your placement here gives you a unique, once in a life time opportunity to observe some of these magnificent marine species while participating in conservation and education oriented volunteer work. ORCA combines education, conservation, community development, science and tourism into its comprehensive volunteer program. The experienced ORCA team will help you se in during your stay, and will show you the highlights of the area and the myriad of conservation initiatives taking place within it. ORCA’s experiential education program will allow you to learn about and explore the world of conservation from a South African perspective, and will provide you with the skills to educate others through a variety of community education platforms.
Our Conserving Whales project has a mission to raise awareness and interest in marine conservation in Plettenberg Bay, to teach the youth of Plettenberg Bay about the value our oceans, to support research that enables the conservation of marine species and to collaborate with local organizations to ensure strong relationships for the benefit of our oceans.
Our Conserving Whales project is situated in Plettenberg Bay, along the heart of the world famous Garden Route. The location allows you to enjoy beautiful coastal scenery, marine conservation, and commercial ventures all in one place. It is home to some of the world’s most fascinating marine species, including the Southern Right Whale, Humpback Whale, Bryde’s Whale, Bottlenose Dolphin, Common Dolphin, Orca or Killer Whale, and Great White Shark to name but a few.
The accommodation for the duration of your stay will be at the ORCA volunteer house, which issituated approximately 3 kilometres from the Ocean Blue Adventures office in Plettenberg Bay.The accommodation is self catering, with shared bedroom and bathroom facilities. The number of volunteers can range anywhere from 1 to 12 with no more than 4 people sharing a room depending on the season and number of bookings made.
Basic food for meals is provided for you at the house. You are welcome to purchase special items for yourself. You may be required to pack a lunch for activities but you will be informed of this ahead of time if and when such situations arise. Evening meals are prepared for you 5 nights per week from Monday until Friday, but volunteers are free to eat out on any of these days if they choose to. The house is located near a variety of restaurants and take-away restaurants.
On arrival at Johannesburg International airport you will have to clear immigration and collect your baggage, once you have cleared customs formalities proceed to the domestic terminal for your onward domestic flight, the domestic terminal is clearly marked and within walking distance.
Upon arrival at George airport you will be met by your transfer driver.
You will then be transported to the O.R.C.A. foundation/Ocean Blue Adventures premises, which is about an hour and 25 minute drive from the airport. You will be greeted by your hosts and introduced the O.R.C.A team, after which time you will be taken to the accommodation where you will have time to settle in. Transfers are not included and are paid at the project.
It is suggested that volunteers acquire a local sim and phone from one of South Africa’s networks, which is inexpensive. There is Broadband internet at the volunteer house, Skype is available.
The time of the year to join the project is mainly dependant on what kind of weather you prefer, as the research, community upliftment and education programs vary throughout the year. January to March tend to be our warmest months. Sun cream and hats are strongly recommended. Temperatures range from lows of 15°C to highs of 30°C. We tend to see a variety of dolphin species and the occasional Bryde’s Whale on our whale watching tours at this time of
year.From April to June the days are still warm, but the evenings cool off nicely. Temperatures range from 8°C to 25°C. We see various species of dolphins and the occasional humpback whale on its migration north at this time of year. July to September are the winter months. The days start off quite cool and warm up to about 20°C, but the nights can get quite chilly, down to around 5°C. Warm clothes are recommended for this time of year. Please note that we don’t have central heating in South Africa. This is the beginning of our whale-watching season, and we have Southern Right Whales in the bay on a
regular basis. The October to December weather conditions are similar to those from April to June. Our animal sightings are now mostly Humpback Whales and dolphins. The water warms up considerably, so diving and snorkelling can be done comfortably.
Your working week is generally considered Monday to Friday, from 08:00 to 16:00. Evenings and weekends are at your own leisure. The surrounding area to Plettenberg Bay has a huge variety of attractions for volunteers to visit and experience. Some of these activities, with approximate costs (subject to change), are listed below. Please ask your coordinators to organise your activities as we often receive discount from various activities, but this discount will not be given to volunteers if they call directly. Transport to all activities will be at the volunteer’s expense. Other Activities at an additional cost:
• Walk with Elephants R250
• Ride with the Elephants R450
• Horse Back Safaris R280
• Buffalo Hills game drive R350
• Plett Bay Game Reserve Drive R350
• Bridge Walking R100
• Bungy Jumping R750
• Sky Diving R1500
• Tree Top Canopy Tours R450
• Monkeyland Free
• Birds of Eden Free
• Jukani Free
• Dive Courses R2100+
• Surfing Lessons/Per Lesson R250
• 3D Walking Maze R100
• Lawnwood snake park R100
• Tenikwa Wildlife Reserve R100
• Swim/dive with the Seals R450
• Adventure Boat Rides R250
• Adventure Land Water park R150
• Deep Sea Fishing R500
All fieldwork, lectures and any other field related visits.
Be ready at 08h00, when we collect you for your day’s activities, which can range from general duties at Ocean Blue Adventure to assisting researchers out on the ocean or in the field. The standard volunteer working week at ORCA Foundation is Monday to Friday, from 08h00 to 16h00. However, some days involve more work and longer hours, while others move at a more leisurely pace. Evenings and weekends are your leisure times. The relaxed atmosphere of Plettenberg Bay and the ORCA foundation will help you settle in quickly.
Planned activities can change on a moment’s notice, especially if the weather turns or something exciting, like a marine mammal stranding, comes along. Planned trips to collect opportunistic data on Ocean Blue Adventures’ whale and dolphin watching vessels may be cancelled or delayed on short-notice depending on the availability of space and last-minute bookings. Be patient as unpredictable days are common.
Comprehensive Information Pack
Country & Area : Plettenberg Bay, South Africa
Nearest Airport : George Airport
Transfer Time : ± 1 hour 25 min
Duration : 2 – 12 Weeks
Minimum Age : 18