An ocean-based project which aims to unite scientific research and public participation in the protection of South Africa’s great white shark. Volunteers are primarily here to work closely with sharks and tourists and in doing so increase awareness of these wonderful creatures.
|Location||Closest town: Gansbaai, Kleinbaai, South Africa|
|Duration||From 2 weeks|
|Dates||All year round (this project does not operate on the 25th of December and the 1st of January, but volunteers can still stay at the volunteer centre)|
|Documents required||Enrolment form, curriculum vitae, letter of motivation, passport copy, proof of medical insurance; medical conditions need to be accompanied by a doctor’s note|
|Day of arrival||Sunday (please arrange your own accommodation in Cape Town) Project start is Monday|
|Day of departure||Monday (after 9pm) otherwise Tuesday|
The project is focused on shark-cage diving, whale watching and boat-based eco-marine tourism. It is based in Kleinbaai, a small harbour town, part of Gansbaai in the Western Cape of South Africa. This area is known as the best place in the world to see great white sharks in their natural habitat and it is also a hot spot for the breeding and mating waters of the southern right whale. The project works closely with a number of conservation bodies to address conservation challenges and improve living conditions for local communities and to raise awareness about wildlife conservation.
Furthermore does the project offer you an incredible opportunity to experience a wide range of South African marine wildlife: sharks, whales, dolphins, penguins and seals. You will learn about shark behaviour, biology and ocean conservation, fin-ID studies, great white shark wound healing, great white tagging and tracking, and water sampling. You will have informative presentations and you will take part in exciting community projects too, i.e. beach clean ups, education, etc.
The project allows you access to a diverse area of learning and gives you holistic insight into the challenges and opportunities involved in eco-tourism and ocean conservation at the tip of Africa.
Duties on the boat:
You will receive details of your trips each evening for the next day. For any time off or sickness you need to contact the volunteer coordinator immediately. The project team tries to get you out to sea every possible day, so please stay in touch with your coordinator if this is too much for you. for no-sea days (when the weather is bad), day trips will be organised.
Other activities could include:
The project runs 7 days a week as they are completely dependent on the weather. If the weather does not allow the boat to go out to the sea, then you will be taken on one of the following excursions: Hermanus (shopping, wine tours), Betty’s Bay (penguin colony), Cape Agulhas (meeting of the two oceans), Caledon hot water spa, Two Oceans Aquarium, hiking, etc.
It is important to note that this description serves as an example only. The daily tasks and challenges depend on the weather and the season. Everything at the programme is dependent on the weather. If there are no sea days, presentations, excursions or conservation work will be arranged. The final job description can therefore vary from the above substantially.
You will be accommodated at the International Marine Volunteer Centre, which is located in Kleinbaai directly at the project. This lodge is equipped with 4 cottages that accommodate between 4 and 6 people per cottage (twin shared rooms). Each cottage has a bathroom (with toilet, shower and basin), kitchen and living area as well as daily living essentials. There is a manager on site for after hour emergencies. There is also a very spacious living area in the main hall with a pool table, communal indoor braai and kitchen area that can be used. The lodge has a big, safe swimming pool, a garden, a dartboard, a foosball table, a table tennis table and an activity hall.
Minibuses are available to transport you to and from the hub of activities. However, if you are more active, walking or cycling to the office is safe and easy, and will only take between 10 and 15min (1.4km).
Bedding is provided. Bed linen are washed weekly. WiFi is available.
Your laundry gets taken to the laundromat weekly and costs about ZAR 17 per kg.
Sonja from Germany
“Absolutely amazing! I’ve planned on doing this for so long and I’m glad I finally did it. It was by far the best time I have ever had. I miss them so much and I think about this place every single day. I’m still in touch with the staff and they are still telling me how much they miss me and they want me to come back. It became a home away from home. I will always remember what one of them told me: „It is not a good bye, it is a see you later!“
Almar from United Arab Emirates
"As a fellow South African but growing up abroad even my own expectations of my country were surpassed as I gained new experiences and beautiful sights I had never seen before. My time with Shark Project felt like one week even though it was two, it passed to quickly and I wish I could have extended my stay. I loved going out on 1-2 boats a day and basking in the sun whilst breathing in the fresh sea air. Every day is new and interesting as your schedule varies as well as meeting clients from all around the world and from different walks of life. Your fellow volunteers are also from all around the world and some are there for the experience whilst others are there for research. The volunteers I worked with were a friendly and colourful group that made me feel at home. The coordinators are also very kind and go above and beyond to try to accommodate you to the best of their ability. Overall it was an excellent and unforgettable experience and I hope to return in the future."
Agustine from Argentina
"I am so happy about my experience in South Africa, I love this country. My volunteer experience was really awesome! I met a lot of friendly people. The shark project is so nice, I worked with different people around the world, and Kleinbaai is amazing! The boat, the lodge, all the different activities, the crew, and everybody who is part of this project, is really unbelievable. The project was important for me, my partners spoke perfect English, so I learned English too much! Thank you for everything! I really want to come back again, I hope so!"
Simon from Switzerland
"Its an amazing experience and gives you a good introduction in marine biology. After this programme you will love sharks and you will have met a great crew and staff. Marine Dynamic offers you with that programme not just a working experience abroad, you are getting part of a big family in Kleinbaai. I had the chance to learn so much about sharks and about marine conservation. This programme is just awesome! Thank you for everything, you guys made this four weeks so special....Thanks and i will come back!"