Ninety percent of the penguin population on Robben Island has disappeared over the past 100 years.

Robben Island is a hotspot for seabird biodiversity, including threatened bank cormorants, African black oystercatchers, and 4,000 African penguins. It lies in the middle of major shipping lanes, and the risk of oil spills to local seabirds has been well documented. You can help a team of Earthwatch scientists to monitor seabirds on the island and help reduce the impact of the various threats to this fragile environment.

Working with experienced researchers and staff, your team will participate in a variety of activities to monitor the health of this island environment. You’ll conduct population surveys on penguins and other seabirds to determine their breeding success and survival and help with ongoing trials of a revolutionary new automatic system designed to detect and recognize individual penguins as they pass by remote cameras.

Your research will bring you face-to-face with the problems seabirds face, such as predation by seals and competition with fisheries. On your recreational days, you can take the ferry to the mainland and enjoy some of Africa’s premier tourist spots, including the Cape Town Waterfront and Table Mountain.

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Robben Island, Cape Town, South Africa



Includes all accommodation, meals, transfers, insurance and research activities


12 days



Activity Level


Lead Scientist

Richard Sherley