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Scuba Diving Project

Sodwana Bay is found just outside the Isimangaliso Wetlands Park which is South Africa’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. This coastline offers 50 km of unspoiled reef with over 1.100 species of fish. Those who can't dive will have a dive course first. Volunteers dive every day during the week in the morning, collecting photographic data on turtles, mantas, whales and ragged-tooth sharks to mention a few.

Scuba Diving Project

Overview:

Location Sodwana Bay, South Africa
Duration From 2 - 12 weeks
Dates From January until November
Requirements
  • You must have an Intermediate level of English
  • Special skills: You must be physically fit and able to swim
Minimum Age: 18
Documents required Enrolment form, curriculum vitae, letter of motivation, passport copy, proof of medical insurance, PADI medical certificate
Day of arrival Friday
Day of departure Friday

Highlights

  • This is a NEW way of volunteering! Experience a diving vacation in southern Africa while contributing to marine research efforts focused on turtles, manta rays, ragged-tooth sharks, whales and even nudibranchs.
  • Obtain a PADI dive qualification - Beginner to Divemaster!
  • Dive on one of the most amazing reef complexes in the world with 50 km of pristine reefs.
  • Enjoy marine lectures and receive a certificate of attendance.
  • There are numerous activities which will keep you busy. Surf, play pool at a local bar, go for sundowners, chill by a bonfire, enjoy pizza nights and so much more.
  • Make memories with unforgettable new friends in this amazing sub-tropical paradise.

Project information

The Scuba Diving Conservation Project offers the experience of a lifetime with a volunteering and diving vacation rolled into one!

Sodwana Bay, which means ‘little one on its own’ in Zulu, is a small rural town on the east coast of South Africa. The bay is found just outside the Isimangaliso Wetlands Park which is South Africa’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. This coastline has the southernmost coral reefs in South Africa with 50 km of unspoiled reef. There are over 1 100 species of fish that are found in the Sodwana Bay waters, including the famous coelacanth that was once thought to be extinct.

Whether you're an experienced SCUBA diver or not, we’ve got you covered! This project offers PADI dive qualifications from PADI Open Water to Divemaster and everything in between. Each day after the morning dive, volunteers can either purchase a second dive session for the day, relax on the beach or grab something to eat. You then head back to camp to freshen up and enter any data collected during the morning dive session into the database.

Please note that the project cannot take participants who have certain physical limitations (e.g. blindness, being wheelchair bound or severe motion sickness).

Your role

The first week is used to complete the PADI Open Water or Advanced Open Water course. If you are already a qualified diver, you will begin with research diving on the Monday after you arrive.

Volunteers dive every day during the week in the morning, collecting photographic data on turtles, mantas rays, whales, ragged-tooth sharks and nudibranchs.

In the afternoon, any data that has been collected during the morning dive will be entered into the database. Volunteers then get the chance to take part in short, casual marine lectures to learn more about the ocean and marine conservation.

On the other hand, once database has been updated, you are free to relax at the camp or go and explore the town. There are loads of awesome activities to keep you busy during your stay. The days usually end with a bonfire at the camp, with a proper local braai (barbecue) where you can socialise and relax.

Accommodation

Volunteers stay at a lodge which has an amazing bush camp feeling that is quite rustic and allows volunteers to fully experience nature. The camp is fully equipped with a bar, communal kitchen, fireplace area and swimming pool.
The accommodation is either in the loft at the lodge or in wooden cabins with twin rooms and shared ablution facilities. Volunteers can upgrade on arrival to rooms with en-suite bathrooms. This comes at an extra charge and is based on availability.
Each week, volunteers go to the neighbouring town to buy food for the week as per the budget which is included in the project cost.