Give back and volunteer in the Bay

  • 28 February 2018 | By Anje Rautenbach

 “Our human compassion binds us the one to the other - not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.”

Nelson Mandela

There are numerous formal and informal volunteer opportunities in and around Nelson Mandela Bay which offer not only visitors the opportunity to make a contribution to society, but these opportunities also allow Bay locals to get their hands dirty (or busy) and make a difference.

To give back to communities, share your skills and lend a helping hand can deliver a wealth of benefits - not only for the person or project in need, but for you too; you can develop new skills and interests, you can meet new people, support causes you feel strongly about and make a real difference.

Volunteering and tourism often go hand in hand (‘voluntourism’) and it is important to seek out the projects and programmes that will have a positive social, economic and environmental impact with a long-term goal of sustainability.

But if you feel like you have skills to share and have limited time to give, it is not always necessary to sign up for formal projects. If environmental issues are what you are passionate about why not organise a beach clean-up among your friends (or join SANCCOB) or fill up empty plastic bottles with plastic to form eco-bricks which can be dropped off at The Re-Trade Project in  Walmer Heights? Or make a material contribution – stationary, clothes, toys and cleaning supplies – to orphanages or other programmes that help children.  And with winter coming up a blanket donation (and clothes and shoes) can be send to Love Story. You can also visit an old age home; senior citizens often have to deal with the feeling of loneliness. 

The team from OLLI (One Land Love it) recently organised a beach clean-up. Read the story here about the trash found on our beautiul beaches and how terrapins struggled to get through their pond as there was so much plastic.

Where to volunteer in the Bay


Local volunteers play a big role at SANCCOB and do tasks such as assisting with seabird rehabilitation, cleaning and feeding birds, driving/collecting seabirds, general centre maintenance and cleaning, answering phones, educational tours, photography/videography, journalism and marketing/fundraising.

There are also long-term volunteer programmes for international visitors (visit Khaya Volunteer for more information) and training opportunities through SANCCOB internships.

Call SANCCOB Port Elizabeth and find out how you can help!

Animal Welfare Society

Be part of the solution and make a difference at the Animal Welfare Society in Port Elizabeth (Walmer). You can walk the dogs (and get some doggy cuddles), assist with events or volunteer at the Wagtails fundraising shop.  Volunteer hours are Tuesday to Friday from 10:00 to 14:00 and on public holidays, Saturdays and Sundays it is from 10:00 to 13:00.

Please keep in mind that you need to attend a Volunteer Orientation and Training Session before volunteering (Saturday 09:30 and Sunday 10:00).

For more info, visit

Long-term Volunteering with Calabash Tours

Calabash Tours, one of the Bay’s most trusted tour companies and also a certified Fair Trade Tourism volunteer, have community partnerships with 7 local primary schools and also community care organisations. Calabash Tours’ volunteer stays are a minimum of 4 weeks and can offer placement for individual volunteers to have an authentic experience and engage and interact with local communities.

Click here to read more.

Honorary Park Ranger with SANParks

The Honorary Rangers are public volunteers in conservation and they help to raise funds, create vital public awareness, supply much needed manpower and equipment to supplement various conservation, tourism and environmental education needs within SANParks. They are involved in activities such as bush camps, removal of alien invasive plants, counter poaching displays in shopping centres, talks at schools and clean up campaigns.

For more information, click here

Izizwe Projects

Izizwe Projects is a registered non-profit organization which aims to uplift the community of Gqebera Township (Walmer) in Port Elizabeth. Having dedicated volunteers is what enables Izizwe Projects to have an impact in Walmer Township. There are numerous projects volunteers can get involved in such the dance programme, assistance in primary schools and preschools, and the sport programme.

Minimum duration for the Izizwe Township Project is one week.  Visit Khaya Volunteer to find out more. 


Did you know that Sea Rescue South Africa is run by more than 1000 unpaid volunteers? If you are familiar with the sea, radio operation, navigation or first aid your hands are needed on board; but there's also work to be done if you don't want to get in the water in the form of admin, maintenance tasks or as a radio controller. And if your house has an ocean view, you can also be a 'coastwatcher' or 'spotter' after some special training. Standby for rescues is a 24/7 commitment and best if you live 10 minutes from the rescue base (located in Humewood). 

Interested to help? Visit for more information.


The volunteering opportunities mentioned are only a drop in the bucket of opportunities in the Bay where you can lend a helping hand. Are there any other ethical volunteering opportunities in Nelson Mandela Bay for local and international visitors we should add to the list? Let us know!

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