ORCA Marine Foundation

If you are passionate about the conservation and preservation of the ocean, then this is the project for you. As one of the leading marine conservation initiatives in Southern Africa, O.R.C.A works alongside the government to implement realistic and successful strategies to maintain the fragile marine eco-system. Plettenberg Bay, where you will be based, has many natural resources and you will be helping to ensure their long term sustainability.

One of the foundation’s main aims is to involve local communities in the area and ensure the sustainable use of the marine and coastal resources. This is done through improved management, research and education. Plettenberg Bay is acting as a test site for a sustainability model that, once perfected, can be rolled out across other areas of the African coastline.

Full Course Details


Type: Marine Conservation, community development and education.

Location: Plettenberg Bay, Eastern Cape, South Africa.

Pick Up Point: George Airport.

Duration: 2 Weeks – 8 Weeks.

Price: from £799 for 2 Weeks.

Start Dates: Projects start on a Monday and operate year round.

Accommodation: Purpose built volunteer house situated in Plettenberg Bay.

Meals: Three meals per day included, semi participation.

Age Range: 18 Plus.


As a volunteer on this project you will have a wide range of responsibilities; research projects and community initiatives often run alongside one another so you’ll always be busy. You’ll be able to twin work with visiting some of the most amazing nature in the world, educating those less fortunate and expanding your own knowledge.

As well as working as part of on-going sustainable projects, you will also be able to get involved with Ocean Blue Adventures – the commercial venture that supports the foundation. Some of the projects you can expect to be a part of include:

Community development programmes for previously disadvantaged communities such as the Masizame street children’s project and Qolweni Crèche.

Educational initiatives involving the local community:

– Educating school children on conservation principles.

– Spreading the word about the O.R.C.A Foundation (Please note that not all students will speak/understand English).

Participating in commercial marine eco tourism activities, including:

– Whale and dolphin watching tours.

– Sea kayaking.

– Township tours.

Collection of fish food for the aquarium fish.

Cleaning and maintaining the O.R.C.A aquarium.

Monitoring and cleaning beaches and coastal regions.

Conducting surveys for research on:

– Marine and coastal resource economic evaluations.

– Angling surveys of the surrounding estuary and coastline of the Eastern Cape.

– Photo identification of marine life.

– Surveying marine animal numbers.

– Analysing water quality.

– Sampling, tagging and monitoring fish species.

– Collecting new species for the O.R.C.A aquarium.

– Report presentations on topics that are relevant to your personal interests.

– A carbon reduction programme.

– Trips on the O.R.C.A patrol boat to collect data, monitor the bay and take photos of whales, dolphins and other marine life.

The atmosphere at the centre is relaxed and those participating in the project usually settle quickly into the routine. Depending on the day, you can expect either hectic work from beginning to end, or slower periods. But no matter what your workload, this project guarantees a hugely worthwhile experience for those passionate about conservation and marine life.

Where You'll Stay


Your accommodation for the duration of your stay will be in the ORCA volunteer house situated in Plettenberg Bay approximately 3 kilometres from the ORCA centre. The house is managed by your coordinator Luigi. The accommodation is self catering with shared bedroom and bathroom facilities. The number of volunteers that can be on the programme ranges from 1-12.

Laundry facilities are available for volunteers. The house is within close proximity to a nearby shopping centre which has various shops, cinemas, restaurants and bars. Rental cars are available for hire for weekend activities.

All meals are provided for you at the house. Packed lunch may be required for some activities but you will be informed of that ahead of time. Evening meals are prepared most nights but volunteers are also welcome to eat out or have a braai (BBQ).


The ORCA Foundation is situated in the jewel of the garden route at Plettenberg Bay. The bay offers miles of sweeping, unspoilt golden beaches, turquoise lagoons and a dramatic peninsula back drop. Over the past years Plettenberg Bay has become one of South Africa’s hotspots for tourism due to its natural beauty and local attractions.

Plettenberg Bay 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 climate and beautiful view sites over the Indian Ocean, Plettenberg Bay is perfect for tourists, travellers and locals alike.

During your experience you will have the opportunity to explore the local surroundings – The Crags is situated just 15km away and offers vibrant arts and crafts, theatre and an abundance of wildlife sanctuaries. Natures valley is a further 15km and is one of the most unspoilt areas of coastline in South Africa and is the only town within a national park. Other attractions such as bungee jumping, tree top canopy trips and water rafting are all a stone’s throw away for the more adventurous.

Gallery Rates


2 Weeks – £799
3 Weeks – £1,129
4 Weeks – £1,459
5 Weeks – £1,789
6 Weeks – £2,119
7 Weeks – £2,449
8 Weeks – £2,779


Payment 50% deposit to secure placement at time of booking, final balance due 8 weeks prior to departure.


– Pre departure support and documentation.
– Programme fee and contribution.
– Return Transfers from George Airport.
– Accommodation for duration of stay.
– Housekeeping costs.
– All meals (Semi Participation).
– Reserve activities.
– All transportation on project.
– 24 hour in country support.


– Flights.
– Travel Insurance.
– Any vaccinations as recommended by your GP.
– Internet access.
– Soft drinks and snacks.
– Any visas required.
– Any additional activities outside of project itinerary.


If you have any questions, or if you’d like to find out more about this incredible adventure and create some unforgettable memories, just fill in the form below and one of our team will be in touch as soon as possible.

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