Join this hands-on Volunteer Programme and help protect the environmental integrity of Nature’s Valley. Volunteers will gain experience in a wide range of skills whilst getting an insight into life as a conservationist in Africa.
As a research volunteer you will have the opportunity to join a team of acclaimed biologists with decades of experience in African conservation based research. Working 3 – 4 days a week in the field, this is the perfect insight to life as a conservationist in Africa.
Research volunteers will work on long term ecological projects, experiencing conservation based research in several different biomes and habitat types including beach, estuary, river, fynbos (shrubland or heathland vegetation), forest and urban areas. This project will give you a range of experience, working with whales, dolphins, fish, aquatic macro invertebrates, seals, marine birds, primates and more!
Our conservation work generally runs in-week from Monday to Friday from 8am to 4pm daily. By nature, some work involves getting up early or working late, occasionally we do work stuff on weekends – but this is all optional for volunteers.
Located in Plettenberg Bay and Nature’s Valley you will be truly spoilt for choice in your free time. Volunteers can spend their time lounging on stretches of pristine golden beach, exploring the lagoons, estuaries and forests or experience the abundant wildlife on safari at a nearby game reserve. Whale and dolphin watching and swimming with seals also promise a once in a lifetime experience. For adrenaline junkies there is plenty of excitement on offer. The Garden Route has become a centre for adventure with shark cage diving, parasailing, the world’s highest bungy jump, mountain biking, abseiling and sky diving. There are discounts for volunteers on some of these activities, transport to them over weekends can be provided at nominal rates.
This Project was founded in 2000, when a group of local families launched a community initiative with the goal of engaging stakeholders and proactively maintaining the environmental integrity of Nature’s Valley. Nature’s Valley lies on one of the most sought after stretches of South Africa’s coastline and development in the area is occurring at an unprecedented rate. The community has the potential to play a role in ensuring that this development is appropriate and sustainable.
Conservation volunteers live in a beautiful house set in tranquil Nature’s Valley itself. Although there are 380 houses in the valley, there are less than 100 permanent residents, so this is the place to chill out! Shared rooms with twin beds are the norm. The large communal kitchen, lounge with a fireplace and outdoor entertainment area is where you will relax, but most spare time will be spent on the beach (1km walk) or at the local pub and restaurant (1km walk). Free wifi is available at the office, or a communal volunteer dongle can be used at the house if you add data. Every volunteer gets a work space in the office (also 1km walk from the house), so there is a comfy place to catch up on admin, write a blog, or do some social media posts.
Three meals are provided on a daily basis. Menus are drawn up on a case by case basis, and preparation is participatory, i.e. you get a chance to wow with your culinary skills! Vegetarians and other dietary requirements can be catered for, if notified in advance. Tap water is 100% safe, but bottled water is available for purchase from local trading stores if preferred.
All volunteers should start on a Tuesday and you can join for a minimum of 2 weeks up to 12 weeks in duration (long-term internships are also available providing you can get a suitable visa)
For more details on how the programme works, dates, costs and how to apply, please visit our detailed project page here.