This exciting project is situated in Gansbaai – the shark cage diving capital of the world – and is about a 2 hour drive from Cape Town. The coast around Gansbaai is home to multiple marine species. There are shark sightings all year, peaking in the Southern Hemisphere in winter (May – September). Southern Right Whales including their calves return every year in July and stay around until December, when they return back to Antarctic waters. Other species including seals and penguins are resident all year and we sometimes have sightings of bottlenose, humpback and common dolphins sightings.

Our volunteer programs here offer a limited number of places each year which allows participants to gain the maximum from their time working closely with biologists from our research team on our shark cage diving vessel.


Project Highlights

  • You will work with professionals and clients in a world-class ecotourism environment, learning all about how responsible ecotourism and conservation learning all about how responsible ecotourism and conservation work hand-in-hand
  • You will learn about the behaviours and biology of Great White Sharks, whales, penguins and the other species in our seas
  • We will help, support and encourage you to get the most out of your stay
  • Every volunteer gets involved in our eco-tourism (cage diving), whale-watching and other conservation work throughout their stay
  • Volunteers can choose from day-to-day between working on our shark-cage diving vessel, eco-tour/whale watching vessel or at our bird rehabilitation centre
  • Our newly commissioned research boat is called Lwazi (“seeking knowledge”). Research trips are fully weather dependent and performance of volunteers are rated on our shark cage diving vessel, for the chance to go on our research boat
  • 2-3 presentations on conservation, research or marine safety every week
  • The opportunity to help out at our African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary which is a world-class centre for the rehabilitation of seabirds in distress, with a particular emphasis on conserving the African penguin

Volunteer Requirements

  • CV/Resumé
  • Basic level of competency in English
  • Copy of return flight itinerary
  • Acceptance subject to availability of position

Gansbaai is situated 2 hours from Cape Town. This former fishing village turned bustling town and tourism Mecca is the business hub that anchors a diverse and colourful community. The main road and side streets are dotted with an array of old and new shops and pubs, diners and deli’s reflecting an exquisite blend of cultures and traditions. The fishing industry is still the economical heartthrob of the town. The two harbours, fishmeal factory and canning division, as well as the two abalone farms, are abuzz with activity and the main employment generator.

A thriving industrial area, banks, three petrol stations and two trendy shopping centres ensure that the needs of both locals and visitors are met. We research the feeding, migrating and behavioural habits as well as various other aspects of the Great Whites by recording sightings, tagging, dorsal fin identification and taking thousands of photos for an ongoing data base in conjunction with various national and international academic and research institutions. Taking a closer look at their superior immune system and wound healing capabilities, their interaction with other marine species, as well as the parasites that are found on sharks is all part of the comprehensive and ongoing research we do.

What’s Included

  • Airport pick up
  • 2 nights in Cape Town
  • Accommodation on project
  • Cape Town Orientation tour
  • Transfer Gansbaai back to Cape Town, providing you travel back on a Monday
  • Breakfast and lunch on working days
  • 24 hour support and supervision on project from two full-time volunteer coordinators and administrator and an on-site Manager
  • Donation to the NPO to assist with projects, for all bookings of 4 weeks or more
  • Certificate of appreciation

There are 4 cottages that accommodate up to 6 people per cottage. Each cottage has a bathroom, kitchenette and living area as well as daily living essentials. The main building has a beautiful kitchen, equipped with induction plates, a microwave and oven for cooking and a fully functional recycling system in place.  There is also a very spacious living area with satellite TV, DVD player, board games, pool table and foosball.  There is an activity hall with some weights and a table tennis table. The facility has a large, safe swimming pool and garden. Walking or cycling to the Great White House is easy, quick and safe and will only take between 10 and 15min (1.4km). We also have 2 dedicated minibuses that are equipped with all the necessary safety permits and licences and are used daily for the volunteers’ transport needs.

Key things about the centre:

  • Expect to share
  • Fully furnished
  • Satellite TV – a whole lot of channels
  • DVD player
  • Free WiFi (remember to bring your laptop or smartphone)
  • Emergency numbers are in the house
  • Bedding is provided and washed on a weekly basis
  • Bicycles for personal use
  • Keep your personal belongings safe (each cottage has a safe)
  • The water is safe to drink
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Shark Conservation South Africa
Shark Conservation South Africa
Shark Conservation South Africa

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