Know your study area

Algoa Bay is a large (3100 km square), moderately exposed bay on the south-east coast of South AfricaThree major rivers, namely the Sundays, Swartkops and Coega Rivers enter the western half of the Bay. Algoa Bay contains two groups of islands: the Bird Island group, comprising Bird Island, Black Rocks, Seal Island and Stag Island; and the St Croix Islands, which consist of St Croix, Jahleel and Brenton Rocks. A Marine Protected Areas (MPA) incorporates the Bird Island group. While a proposed Addo Elephant National Park MPA, situated between the Port of Ngqura and the Bird Island group, would include the St Croix Islands.
Algoa Bay Map


During your stay in Port Elizabeth, you will be covering a lot of ground with several study sites to attend to. At sea we collect data on the distribution of a variety of cetaceans, analysing reef composition and fish assemblage throughout the bay.



MHC conduct weekly research trips to Bird Island. The bird island MPA is home to cape fur seals, frequently visited by great white sharks and the largest colony of cape gannets.



The St Croix island group is home to the largest African Penguin colony in the world, here we monitor the surrounding environment collecting plankton samples, executing fish surveys, and much more. The team is regularly involved in the release of rehabilitated species, namely african penguins, cape fur seals, and green turtles from SANCCOB and Bayworld.



The MHC team is also working alongside a large clean up crew in the Swartkop river estuary, assisting with the community outreach and researching water quality.   The woody cape is a large stretch of pristine and untouched coastline, here MHC conducts beach surveys.