What is: SANCCOB

SANCCOB is a registered non-profit organisation (NPO 003-134) whose primary objective is to reverse the decline of seabird populations through the rescue, rehabilitation and release of ill, injured, abandoned and oiled seabirds โ€“ especially endangered species like the African penguin. The organisation works closely with colony managers to identify birds in need of care in the wild and bring them to one of our two centres in South Africa: Cape Town (Western Cape) and Port Elizabeth (Eastern Cape). In a normal year where no oil spills occur, SANCCOB treats up to 2 500 seabirds, of which approximately 1 500 are African penguins. The remainder include various cormorants species (including the endangered Bank cormorant and Cape cormorant); various species of terns; pelagic birds such as albatrosses, gannets and petrels; oystercatchers, gulls, pelicans and other coastal birds found in the region. On average, 24 different seabird species are rehabilitated every year. SANCCOB is an internationally recognised leader in oiled wildlife response, rehabilitation and chick-rearing; contributes to research which benefits seabirds; trains people to care for the birds and educates the public to develop behavioral patterns which benefit marine life and the environment. Our organisation is registered with the South African Veterinary Council; a member of PAZAAB, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN); is endorsed by the Department of Environmental Affairs, World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, European Association of Zoos and Aquariums and American Association of Zoos and Aquariums; and has many working partnerships globally.




๐Ÿ’ต From 45 USD/week

Staying time

โณ From 6 weeks to 52 weeks

Language spoken

๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง English

Accommodation provided

๐Ÿกย  No

Food provided

๐Ÿฅ— No


๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฆ South Africa


๐ŸŒ Africa

Type of habitat

๐Ÿ– Costal


Typical day at the center

The different areas a volunteer could be assigned to each day are: Food Preparation Kitchen โ€“ Area responsible for fish defrosting, preparation of fluids/formula and cleaning of food preparation and feeding equipment. Laundry โ€“ Area responsible for the washing and drying of laundry. Cleaning Station โ€“ Area responsible for cleaning of large equipment with the use of a high-pressure hose. Example mats from bird enclosures and bird crates. Aviary โ€“ 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 โ€“ 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 โ€“ 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 โ€“ 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 โ€“ Various jobs required around the centre, crucial in the daily running of the rehabilitation centre. Jobs could include general maintenance or cleaning duties. **Please note that duties are divided amongst all volunteers and everybody will be assisting in all the different areas during the week.


Maintaining a high standard of hygiene and cleanliness in the rehabilitation center. 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 issued based on the volunteerโ€™s experience.

The volunteers in this animal rescue center generally get 2 day(s) off a week. In regards to working hours, the volunteers work per day 40hours a day, however this can change during a bird rescue crisis. hours/working day.

Food and accommodation



The animals they take care of in this center are:

Birds, Penguins, Seabirds


Qualification required

No previous experience or qualifications needed. All required training will be done at SANCCOB. Physically fit and able to stand for a full shift. Comfortable with getting dirty. Willing to work in all weather conditions, frequently outside. Able to work in a team as well as independently. Able to follow Standard Operating Procedures. Be reliable and accountable. Compassionate and caring nature with a love for seabirds. ** 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 bikeโ€ฆ.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.

How to apply?

If you have any further queries or concerns, please feel free to contact the Volunteer Coordinator. Brittany Lowe SANCCOB Volunteer Coordinator Email: Contact number: +27 (21) 557 6155

Practical information

Internet access


Cost details

The cost of the program is R3500 for the 6 weeks (minimum period) with the opportunity to add additional weeks at R550 per week. Two free volunteer t-shirts included. SANCCOB is unable to provide accommodation, but we can recommend accommodation used by many of our past international volunteers.

How to get there?

SANCCOB is situated in Table view, one of the surrounding suburbs of the spectacular city of Cape Town. It is about a 30 minute drive from Cape Town international airport and just less than a 30 minute drive from the city center.

Is there a minimum age?

To volunteer in this center you will have to be at least 0 years old

When can volunteers join?

Volunteers are welcome to join the program throughout the year. We do induction training on a Tuesday so please ensure that you book with us to start on a Tuesday.


Explore a few pictures submitted by the organisation:

Click here


On the web