The ORCA Foundation found its humble beginnings during a hike between two friends (Tony Lubner and Mark Valentine) on Robberg Peninsula. The beautiful bay it shelters contains some of the most amazing marine marine top predator species, including bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins, Indian Ocean humpback dolphins, humpback whales, southern right whales, brydes whales, Cape fur seals and great white sharks. In response to their concerns about the conservation status of many of these charismatic species, Tony and Mark decided to create an educational wing to add to their pre-existing marine tourism company, Ocean Blue Adventures. This addition would focused on marine research, conservation and education, and was aptly named Ocean Research Conservation Africa, or ORCA for short. When the program first started in 2000, its prime target was to assist with the development of a bay management plan through supporting its first research students from Rhodes University: Kyle Smith and Kelley King.
It wasn’t long before the community started noticing their efforts and expressing curiosity about the different “works in progress” at the foundation. The local interest and desire to help ORCA’s cause eventually snow-balled into what is now the ORCA Foundation Volunteer Programme, where people from all over the world come to dedicate their time in support of various research, conservation and education projects.