Program Details

  • Program Type: Volunteer
  • Location: South Africa
  • Starting Price: EUR 1,301.74
South Africa

Volunteers will have the opportunity to contribute to the conservation of the African Penguin and Seabird in South Africa.

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APSS has been set up to assist the endangered African penguin colonies of Dyer Island, an Important Bird Area, where the species has declined dramatically over 30 years, almost 90%. The other nearby colony is Stony Point at Betty’s Bay. This facility will have a fully equipped lab and a vet on standby so we can immediately treat any birds thereby increasing their survival rate. Current transport times mean lengthy delays and release of birds is not at their home colony.

The sanctuary is depends heavily on donations and a sponsorship brick can be purchased to contribute to the centre with tiered levels of support.


The African Penguin & Seabird Sanctuary (APSS) serves as a custom-designed, world class, marine bird rehabilitation centre in the Overstrand area.  We provide temporary rehabilitative care to diseased, displaced, injured, oiled and abandoned marine birds with special focus on the endangered African Penguin. Marine bird rescue, rehabilitation and release form part of the conservation management plan to conserve and maintain African Penguin populations, and other seabirds.  Through continued research, education and awareness programs, we aim to mitigate human impacts on our colonies.


  • For the APSS to run as a self-sustaining conservation initiative that supports, in general, the objectives of biodiversity conservation management and specifically, the vision of the South African Department of Environment’s 2013 Biodiversity Management Plan for the African Penguin.
  • Through adaptive management, we aim to ensure the implementation of innovative and dynamic protocols based on feedbacks to maintain best practice in achieving optimal rehabilitation success
  • To contribute towards and participate in a workable Oil Spill Contingency plan to service the  Overstrand  Coastline
  • To continue networking with all relevant authorities and other bodies in the field of marine bird rehabilitation and conservation
  • To provide a platform for furthering research into effective rehabilitation and release of marine birds to ensure the birds’ successful return to their colonies.


In partnership with the International Marine Volunteers program, APSS offers an incredible opportunity to people wanting to work with marine wildlife.

Volunteers get involved with local education and conservation projects, and they help educate international tourists on the importance of marine research. 

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Our volunteer project inclusions

  • Accommodation
  • Transfers to and from Cape Town for arrival and departure
  • All trips on the boat
  • Lectures and related conservation work
  • Internet access at accommodation

Available activities

  • Great white shark cage diving and whale watching
  • Visit Cape Agulhas – the Southernmost point of Africa
  • Trips to the local heritage site Klipgat Cave
  • A visit to Stony Point penguin colony in Betty’s Bay
  • Kelp diving at Stanford Cove
  • Shopping excursions and wine tasting in Hermanus or Cape Town
  • Horse riding and safaris

Terms and conditions for volunteersSave

  • Up to date CV/ resume
  • Copy of return flight itinerary
  • Police clearance
  • Basic level of English; understanding and speaking
  • Acceptance subject to availability of position

Payment & Cancellation

A €300 deposit is required to confirm the booking. The outstanding amount is due 8 weeks prior to departure. 

If you cancel less than 30 days before the programme starts, a 50% cancellation fee will apply. If you cancel less than 14 days before arriving, there will be a 100% cancellation fee.

No refund will made after commencement of the program. 

DICT.jpgThe Dyer Island Conservation Trust (DICT) is the result of a life-long passion for marine life by the founder, Wilfred Chivell. The Trust was initially conceived in the late 1990s when Wilfred began building his ecotourism businesses Marine Dynamics and Dyer Island Cruises and was officially founded in 2006.

Born out of necessity to protect the endemic marine ecosystem and increasingly threatened species found here, the DICT funds and logistically supports local marine-based environmental education and research programmes to create long-term community-driven marine conservation & eco-tourism in the greater Overstrand area.

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