Wildlife conservation, community and environmental volunteer projects and internships worldwide

Ocean Research Conservation Project, South Africa

1 week - 10 months from

minimum age

  • Take part in whale, dolphin and seal research projects
  • Experience living in the beautiful Garden Route town of Plettenberg Bay
  • Long term marine conservation internship opportunities available
  • Take part in community based projects in the local township

Whale sticking flipper out of water in Plettenberg Bay

Useful Information about the Best Time to Come

Marine conservation volunteers are welcome to join the project at any time during the year, though the activities volunteers will be able to undertake vary depending on the weather and time of year.

  • January to March are typically the warmest months, so sun cream and hats are advised. Temperatures range from 15 – 30 degrees celsius. A variety of dolphin species and the occasional Bryde’s Whale can be found during tours.
  • From April to June, the weather is still mostly warm, though evenings are cooler. Temperatures typically range from 8 – 25 degree celsius, and many species of dolphin and the Humpback Whale can be found on their northward migration.
  • The winter months of July to September can reach temperatures of 20 degrees celsius, though the nights cool off rapidly. Warm clothes are suggested as a result as there is no central heating in South Africa. Southern Right Whales can be spotted on a regular basis as the whale season enters full swing.
  • October to December holds weather conditions similar to April to June. Animal sightings are mostly Humpback Whales and dolphins, and as the water begins to warm again snorkelling and diving are both distinct possibilities.

Background on the Project

Volunteers walking on beach in South Africa

This project is located on Plettenberg Bay, which is found along the world famous Garden Route. The site is home to beautiful coastal scenery and marine conservation projects, and is therefore a fantastic area of South Africa for volunteering. The Bay is also home to species such as Southern Right Whales, Humpback Whales, Bryde’s Whales, Bottlenose Dolphins, Common Dolphins, Orca/Killer Whales and Great White Sharks, and therefore the need for marine conservation volunteers to assist with coastal projects is highly evident.

The Bay is also one of South Africa’s most fashionable holiday resort locations and a beach-lover’s paradise, is home to long stretches of soft sand that line an endless azure ocean. The town is characterised by sweeping, unspoilt golden beaches, a dramatic rocky peninsula, intriguing lagoons and estuaries, towering indigenous forests, and unpolluted rivers and sea. With its exceptional Mediterranean-like climate, and beautiful view sites over the Indian Ocean, Plettenberg Bay is perfect for tourists, travellers and locals alike.

Video Clips

Watch this incredible closeup video of a humpback whale emerging from the ocean, taken from the research boat by a volunteer

Watch this amazing overhead drone footage of a group of humpback whales taken at the project

Watch this video of feedback stories from volunteers, describing their experiences at the project

Ocean Research Conservation Project, South Africa

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