ORCA Foundation Programs
ORCA Foundation Reviews
Volunteering @ ORCA
Submitted by Mireille - Erasmus University Rotterdam | May 22, 2017
During the months of January and February I volunteered at the ORCA foundation in Plett. I signed up for the program because I love cetaceans and being near to the ocean. This program gave me the opportunity to be around and involved in the ocean every day! Together with a group of other volunteers we did different activities such as: fin profiling, data collection, fishing, min-SAS, data entry and helping at animal facilities. The foundation also funds a school in a township nearby. Once a week we visited the school to help out with some easy tasks an just meet the children. Some activities such as the data entry I found a little bit less interesting, but I think the variety between the different activities is really balanced. The most fun activity for me was joining the ocean blue adventure boat. A few times a week (depending on the schedule and the amount of free spots on the boat) we could attend a boat trip and watch the whales and dolphins. The purpose of the boat trips for the volunteers is to make fin profile photos and to watch the behaviour of the animals, but besides that, there is also enough time to just watch the animals and enjoy being on the ocean. All of the volunteers are staying in a beautifully house near to the beach. The house is nice and clean and it gives a great opportunity to hang around with the other volunteers. In the weekends there is enough to do around Plett. I used the weekend to attend a scuba dive course together with some of the other volunteers. It was really fun I had a great time in Plett, the people are very nice and the programme is really chill. It is a great opportunity to mix holiday with doing something useful. I would really recommend going to Plett and attend the programme. The team is very welcoming and relaxed and besides the actual helping you will also learn a lot about ocean conservation.
Volunteering in Plett
Submitted by Max Seifert - Berlin Germany | May 16, 2017
The time in Plettenberg bay was the best experience in my live. I worked there for 3 months and every day was perfect. It's been only 3 weeks now, since I'm back in Germany and I miss it so much. I learned so much about myself and different ways of live. If you go to orca you'll learn so much about the amazing animals in the water or the nature along the coast. The life in Plett is filled with a lot of activities like surfing, fishing safaris etc. you'll enjoy every day and you're never boring.
The guys from orca are like a family and after a bit you get part of this family. They will always help you and they will always do everything for you to have a great time. In Addition, the people in Plett are so friendly and open minded, that means it's very easy to get new friends and meet people. Go to flashbacks on a Friday night and you'll always have a great night. In general, Plett has so much to offer and it's such a beautiful place. It's very hard to be in a bad mood. Minke and Michael will teach you a lot of cool stuff about maritime wildlife. I was so proud after this time because I felt like I did something useful. Working with kids, do some research and help to make this place better was such a great experience. Finally I really recommend everyone to work for orca. It's gonna be the best time of your live. I'll definitive go back!!
ORCA helped me realise my passion for marine conservation
Submitted by Nic Ingram - University of Manchester | May 16, 2017
I spent three weeks in Plett with the ORCA foundation a couple of summers ago. I had an amazing time helping out in the shop, ORCA house and community. Our schedule was very flexible and varied, ranging from giving english lessons and helping out in the pre-school in Qolweni to beautiful hikes, beach cleans and even bird ringing in early morning darkness. If the organised schedule is not to your liking, the ORCA team will do what they can to include activities you specifically ask to do. We spent one afternoon playing music and dancing as part of a very talented school band; they made us feel very welcome and I now have a basic knowledge of steel drums! They strive to send each volunteer on as many boat trips as possible, during which we would assist with customer care while witnessing, first hand, scenes I thought I would only ever see on television.
We helped nurse four rescue turtles and a pregnant seahorse back to full strength, all while helping run the whale watching tours on which we saw many species of marine mammals - leading to some unforgettable sightings that I will remember for life. We also had free time to relax and do any other activities we wanted (such as visits to monkeyland and birds of eden), and the atmosphere in the house was very relaxed and friendly - everyone helped out when they could. I made good friends during my time at ORCA and it was these three weeks that caused me to fall in love with South Africa and Plettenburg Bay; I am already planning to volunteer with ORCA again!
Submitted by Gwen - Dublin Ireland | January 26, 2017
I spent 3 weeks at ORCA foundation, i wanted to get close to marine life and learn more about them. First of all the area Plett Bay is stunning, the organisers are so helpful and friendly, i got to see humpback whales, dolphins, seals, went on fab hikes and walks. We went snorkelling and visited a beautiful area to fish for the aquarium. I would highly recommend this program to anyone who loves the Sea.
ORCA Foundation is where it all began for me
Submitted by Alexander Sánchez - Granada Spain | January 11, 2017
I first visited ORCA Foundation in July 2012 as a volunteer and it is definitely one of the best decisions I have ever made. My main purpose for doing this was to gain first-hand experience in whale and dolphin research and observation, so I spent a lot of time concentrated on doing my marine guide training with Ocean Blue Adventures (the local whale watching company, partnered with ORCA). This gave me some amazing practical experiences, as well as unexpectedly boosting my confidence in terms of public speaking and dealing with small (but potentially nerve-racking) everyday challenges. At present, I partake in various cetacean-related issues, collaborate with different conservation non-profits and am beginning to take groups on guided wildlife tours - my time at ORCA definitely gave me a head start! I also enjoyed participating in all the other available activities: trekking, helping feed the stranded sea turtles and cleaning their aquarium, visiting the local pre-school... to name just a few of the many things that made up our daily lives at the "ORCA house". It has now been over 4 years since then and I am pleased to say that I have been back on various occasions to visit everyone at ORCA and Ocean Blue. I am still in touch with Tracy, who was the programme manager in 2012, and who really helped me develop in my initial short 4-week stay. Jared and company, who have been there for the last few years, always make everyone feel at home, and the programme is running as strongly as ever under their management. It is always enriching and exciting to climb into the ORCA van, and I will hopefully be doing so again this 2017. Whatever your age, if you want to get outdoors and have some fun, are young and need extra motivation and experience to help further your ambitions... I sincerely recommend you stop by Plettenberg Bay and join up with the ORCA team.