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Hop on/Hop off Travel Penguin and Seabird Program


Hop on/Hop off Travel Penguin and Seabird Program

Volunteer Tasks

Here are some examples of what your tasks will be, they are not limited to these:
- Maintaining a high standard of hygiene and cleanliness in the rehabilitation centre
- Scrubbing and cleaning of bird enclosures, mats, crates and swimming pools
- Cleaning of equipment used in food preparation and feeding
- Washing and drying of laundry
- Assisting in maintaining the permanent bird exhibit (scrubbing rocks, raking sand and food preparation)
- Defrosting and preparing fish for a variety of seabird species
- Catching and handling of different seabird species
- Feeding (force feeding and free feeding) of different seabird species
- Hydrating (tubing) different seabird species
- Administering medication to different seabird species
- Assisting with bird release preparation
- Centre maintenance duties

Please note that duties are issues based on the volunteer's experience.

2 Day Welcome Orientation - Cape Town

Your project starts with a 2-day orientation in Cape Town at the Volunteer House.

Day 1: Welcome to South Africa
You are collected from the airport and taken to the House. You will be shown around and given a map of the area. You have the day at your own leisure so you can explore the beach, shops, bars and restaurants. In the evening you are served a Welcoming meal at the hostel.

Day 2: Orientation Tour of Cape Town
Start the day with breakfast at Saltycrax Backpackers. Your friendly Saltycrax staff member will teach you about the bus system before you head out to Cape Town City Center.

Cape Town City Walking Tour:
Do a walking tour visiting historical sites like the Castle of Good Hope and the Grand Parade. Learn about life under apartheid in South Africa at the Parliament Buildings and the District Six Museum. Shop for African arts and crafts in Greenmarket Square and St George’s Mall.

After the listed activity you can take a bus or walk to the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. Sit back and sip a delicious coffee, enjoy some fresh fish and watch the ships in the busy working harbour or walk around and visit the shops, markets and listen to the musicians on the sidewalks. Alternatively, you can take the cable car up Table Mountain and enjoy breath-taking views of the city, or visit the famous Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was held in prison during the apartheid era. (Own Expense)
In the evening head back on the local bus to Table View where you can join the staff, guests and the locals at one of the restaurants or bars along the beachfront in Table View - all within rolling distance from the hostel where you will be staying the night.

Example Itinerary

The Volunteer Coordinator creates a monthly schedule that assigns volunteers to work no more than five days per week, which includes weekends and public holidays.

A typical workday runs from 08:00 to 17:30, with a lunch break from 13:00 to 14:00 and short tea breaks in the morning at 11:00 and in the afternoon at 15:30.

However, these times may vary based on the center's capacity needs and the number of birds in their care. Please note that some days may require volunteers to assist until 6:30 pm, so being willing to go the extra mile during busy times will be essential.

The different areas a volunteer could be assigned to each day are:

Food Preparation Kitchen - Area responsible for fish defrosting, preparation of fluids/formula and cleaning of food preparation and feeding equipment.
Laundry - Area responsible for the washing and drying of laundry.
Cleaning Station - Area responsible for cleaning of large equipment with the use of a high-pressure hose. Example mats from bird enclosures and bird crates.
Aviary - Enclosures designated for flying birds that require daily cleaning of the enclosure and feeding of the birds (free feeding). Some birds may require hydration (tubing), medication or force-feeding.
Intensive Care Unit - Staff and interns are mostly responsible for the care of birds in the ICU, but volunteers could be asked to assist with cleaning in ICU.
Rehabilitation pens - Main enclosures for birds undergoing rehabilitation, mostly African penguins. Areas require daily cleaning and feeding birds (force feeding). Some birds may require hydration (tubing) and medication.
Home Pen - Exhibit for permanent and long-term temporary birds at SANCCOB. Assisting in maintenance of the exhibit, include scrubbing rocks, raking sand and food preparation.
Jobs - Various jobs required around the centre, crucial in the daily running of the rehabilitation centre. Jobs could include general maintenance or cleaning duties.

Your Training Schedule

Cape Town
Week 1
Induction and centre rotation: Day 1 includes an induction and from there you will spend 1 day in each of the following areas: food preparation, laundry, cleaning stations, flying aviary and seabird rehabilitation.)

Weeks 2 & 3
Accelerated training includes 2 days in food preparation and 3 days in seabird rehabilitation/flying aviary. Bird record keeping/ WRMD training.

Gqerberha/Port Elizabeth
Weeks 4 & 5
Accelerated training includes 2 days in food preparation, laundry, cleaning stations and 3 days in seabird rehabilitation/flying aviary/home pen

Week 6
Accelerated training includes 1 day food preparation, laundry, cleaning stations and 3 days in seabird rehabilitation/flying aviary/home pen

Bazbus Ticket

Return HOP On and HOP Off Baz bus ticket from Cape Town is included.

Bazbus has become THE way to travel around South Africa in a safe, flexible, and fun way!

A South African institution since 1995, Bazbus covers the major tourist destinations, but the drivers also know the hidden gems, the stops between the stops that tourists would never find, and are also happy to share stories of what life was and is like in South Africa along the way. Our unique hop-on hop-off system means you are in total control of where you go and how long for, with buses every single day in all directions.

You are able to use the BAZBUS to get from CPT to PE and have an excellent tour along the way. You can hop on and off and tailor your travel between cities to begin your next 3 week volunteering programme at SANCOBB Gqerbeha.

14 stops to choose from (get off at all or just some!) Stops ensure you will see the best of Garden Route and hidden gems. Each stop carefully picked by our local South African Travel Experts

No Time Limit - go as quick or as slow as you like!

Buses every single day - use your login code to choose your dates and times! Pickup and Drop off at your accommodation at each stop

You choose where to go, what to do, where to stay, and how long for…we just assist and advise! Return Trip is booked

Stop Highlights:
Go Shark Cage Diving and have a selfie like no other with great white sharks - Hermanus
Visit the Wine Vineyards and learn the process of making the renowned South African Wines - Stellenbosh
Make the most of the perfect spot for adventure seekers, nature lovers, and everyone in between - Storms River
Get up close and personal with lions, elephants, buffalos, and more at this stunning lodge - Garden Route Game Lodge
Take part in some unforgettable eco-adventures in easily the most picturesque town on the Garden Route - Knysna
Enjoy some of the best coastal views and indigenous forest in South Africa - Plettenberg Bay
Venture into Addo Elephant National Park to experience a true African safari - Port Elizabeth
… and much, much more!

More information can be found here - https://bazbus.com/passes/cape-town-to-port-elizabeth/

Safety Management

With every new arrival we have a safety and orientation briefing where we discuss issues such as general safety in South Africa for example, what to do in the settlements, where not to go, what to do in case of an emergency, sea currents, HIV AIDS and crime. There is a volunteer co-ordinator with our volunteers at all times while on project to ensure the safety of the children and volunteer. We offer all our volunteers 24/7 support and assistance.


Cape Town
Airport pick up
Return HOP On and HOP Off Baz bus ticket from CPT
2 day Cape Town orientation
Three meals a day (Monday to Friday) - Dinners not included on weekends (Cape Town only)
Weekly social events
24-hour support and supervision
2 free t-shirts
Donation to the project
Certificate of appreciation
*Transport to and from the project 2km away from the accommodation is NOT included. Volunteers can either walk or use Uber at +_ 1 EUR each way.

CPT based volunteers will be driven to their project on the first day to assist with orientation.

Travel in own time between the projects on the Baz Bus - Just make sure to confirm your arrival date in advance

Gqerberha/Port Elizabeth
Accommodation in a well known Back Packers*
Three meals a day (family style)
24-hour support and supervision

*Transport to and from the project is provided.

Mandatory Volunteer Requirements

A completed Application and Indemnity form
No previous experience is required
Have an up to date tetanus vaccination
A good understanding of the English language is essential
Physically fit and able to stand for a full shift
Comfortable with getting dirty and willing to work in all weather conditions, frequently outside
Able to work in a team as well as independently
Be reliable and accountable and able to follow Standard Operating Procedures
Compassionate and caring nature with a love for seabirds
Be at least 18 years of age

** Be aware that this is not for the faint-hearted. The birds in our care are wild and will bite at any opportunity. Learning how to work with birds is a bit like riding a bike....the more you practice the better you become. Potential volunteers should, therefore, know that commitment is key to learning how to handle and feed birds.

What Makes a Good Volunteer?

Volunteers need to be flexible and keep an open mind concerning their placements as situations can arise beyond our control which could require you to be placed at a different project than the one you have initially chosen. We will of course always do our utmost to fulfill your initial wishes but do remember that where you are going is quite different from where you are coming and as such one should be prepared for things not always going according to plan.

Volunteering and intercultural travel share a common trait: the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. This program is designed for proactive individuals and groups that are prepared to adapt to the local environment and its current needs. Naturally, the scheduling and activities of our program are subject to change. Alterations in activities are mainly due to changes in local conditions, which we believe is part of what makes overseas programs the interesting adventure and incredible learning experience that they are.

How Long Should I Volunteer?

It is important to remember that we are working with wildlife and nature, both of which are unpredictable. We cannot guarantee sightings of any specific species. For this reason and in case of bad weather days, when we can’t go to sea, we recommend a 2-4 week mimimum stay. If you join for a one-week stay, you might be very disappointed if you miss several days on the sea due to the weather conditions.

Mitä hintaan sisältyy?


Cape Town accommodation
Volunteers will stay in one of our volunteer houses with single gender bedrooms sleeping 2 - 5 people. All houses are facilitated with electricity, hot water, a kitchen, one or two toilets, a bathroom with a shower, beds with linen (no towels). Upgrades to private single or double rooms are available at extra cost.

Volunteers are responsible for keeping their own room and volunteer house tidy. Bathrooms and kitchens are cleaned everyday by cleaning staff, and linen is changed once a week. The volunteer houses are at walking distance from shops, restaurants, entertainment, bus stops and the beach..

Port Elizabeth (Gqeberha) accommodation
Located along the marine drive area of Humewood in Port Elizabeth - a hub of activity throughout the year. A 5-minute walk from Lungile will bring you to the main beach, restaurants, beach bars, a skate park, the popular boardwalk, booming nightlife - any of which is bound to be hosting the hype of the day!

Lungile offers a variety of high quality accommodation options from dormitories to en suite private rooms.

Paikalliset kuljetukset

As you exit the terminal at the airport, our driver will be waiting for you with your name on a board. If for any reason you can’t find the driver please make your way to the Cape Town Information Desk and contact us at +27 21 556 9369 or +27 73 3334338. Most project activities are within walking distance of the volunteer accommodation currently. SANCOBB Table View is within walking distance and you will be transported on your first day so to orientate yourself.

Return Baz Bus Hop on/Hop off ticket between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth is also included.


Volunteers will receive 3 meals a day (Monday - Friday) and breakfast and lunch (Saturday - Sunday) which include:
Breakfast: self-catering breakfast of cereals, fruit, yogurt, toast & spreads
Lunch: self-catering lunch of breads, fruit, cold meats, cheese, salad & spreads
Dinner: consists of a hot meal such as a traditional South African BBQ (braai) and stews (potjies).
Tea and coffee will be available all day.

Exception: During your Cape Town introduction weekend, you will receive 3 meals a day.

Also note:
All dinners will include meat, starch and vegetables.
A generous amount of food will always be given so no one will go hungry.
All other drinks will be at own expense.
A refrigerator is available for volunteer’s personal food.

Please advise us on your dietary needs when filling out your application form. Participants with very specific dietary needs may be required to supplement their meals at their own expense.

Port Elizabeth
Three meals a day (family style)

If you have any dietary requirements, please inform SAVE about this before your arrival. We will try our best to accommodate this, however, you may need to supplement your own food. If snacks are desired there are several grocery stores nearby. There are refrigerators available for volunteers personal food and soft drinks. Tea and coffee will be available free of charge, all other drinks will be at own expense.


Visas, Insurances & Flight Tickets
Visas and insurances are the responsibility of the intern. Travel insurance is compulsory. You are also required to present a copy of your return flight itinerary when entering South Africa.

Winter in South Africa
Please note that May through to September are our winter months and it can get quite chilly with an average temperature ranging from 5 degrees Celsius at night to 15 degrees Celsius during the day. So please make sure to pack enough warm clothes if you plan your trip in that period.

Packing List
- Swimwear and beach towel
- Wetsuit - If you have your own and wish to surf during your stay. Otherwise you can use one of ours if permission is granted by the project leader
- Warm clothes
- Old clothes - bring comfortable clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty to work in
- Sneakers or comfortable working shoes
- Sunscreen (and a sun hat or cap)
- Prescription medication if needed
- Basic first aid requirements
- Please bring a spare set of warm clothes, best to wear quick drying clothes in general.
- Please note we don’t allow strap tops, very short shorts etc. Shorts that come to the knee and T-shirts are what is accepted.
- If you have your own gumboots/crocs you can bring those, if not we have one’s that you can use.

Project Dress Code
T-Shirts will be provided for the project.

The work is very physical by nature, and you will probably be exhausted at the end of every day. The environment is wet, and the majority of the work takes place outdoors. Volunteers should be prepared to work in extreme weather conditions (rain or heat).

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