Great White Shark & Whale Conservation

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Group Size: Avg. 6-8

Trip code: SAGW

Duration: 9-30 days

Head to the “White Shark Capital of the World" and become a marine conservation volunteer along the amazing Cape Coast in South Africa. Make new friends from your coastal base in gorgeous Gansbaai, work alongside marine biologists to monitor and track Great White Sharks and research the rare Southern Right Whale during migration season - wow! Volunteer on eco-tourism boat trips and take tourists cage diving with sharks, get up close to Great Whites on your own cage dive adventures and help to protect colonies of African Penguins as well as dolphins, seals and seabirds in this amazing South African location! 

Trip highlights

  • Become a marine conservation and eco-tourism volunteer in South Africa: Get up close to amazing marine life such as Great White Sharks and endangered Whales
  • Work alongside marine biologists tagging, tracking, identifying and studying the migratory, feeding, and general behavioural habits of sharks, and watch rare Southern Right Whales in migration season
  • Head out on daily boat trips, dividing your time between research and eco-tourism, where you will spend time assisting tourists on a world-renowned cage diving boat
  • Help with other conservation projects protecting wildlife such as the endangered African penguin, seals and dolphins
  • Go underwater on your very own shark cage dive experience!
Further trip information

About the Project

Set in the gorgeous South African coastal town of Gansbaai, which is famous as the shark-cage-diving capital of the world, this marine conservation and eco-tourism programme offers a unique opportunity to get up close to that most mighty of marine creatures, the Great White Shark. The project has been running for over twenty years and is world-renowned for its research and famous for its amazing shark cage diving experiences. This project is also partnered with other amazing local projects, which include penguin, whale and other sealife conservation, which you may have chance to get involved with while you are here.

What To Expect

After your included airport meeting and transfer, after you first arrive at the project you’ll have a meeting with the project team to discuss your individual itinerary preferences. In this meeting they'll give you advice, welcome you to the project and answer any questions you may have.

Through a combination of scientific observations and research work alongside experienced marine biologists, you’ll be working on dive boats as part of a team, heading out to sea to actively collect information and observe the behaviour of sharks, whales and other marine wildlife.  You will also volunteer on eco-tourism boat trips, assisting the tourists as they observe the marine life and participate in shark cage dives.

Volunteer Duties

Volunteer duties will vary daily but may include:

  • Data collections tasks
  • Joining the wildlife tracking teams
  • Collecting sightings and making observations
  • Attending marine biology lectures on ocean conservation, basic seamanship, shark biology or shark behaviour
  • Studying environmental variances which affect Great White movement patterns
  • Studying shark behaviour
  • Individual shark identification (through dorsal fin identification)
  • Animal injury care
  • Studies of environmental impacts affecting sightings on cage dives
  • Dolphin movement pattern studies
  • Assisting with life jackets for clients
  • Guiding and assisting passengers
  • Preparation and cleaning of boat
  • Helping clients into wetsuits
  • Assisting with seasick clients where necessary
  • Water sampling
  • Feeding trips

Though you can volunteer every day you should bear in mind that this project is weather dependant, and doesn’t run during bad weather. If this happens, you'll get the day off to relax or explore. Itineraries are flexible, so if you want to take a day off at any time, you can.

During your free time, when you’re not getting up close and personal to your study subjects on inclusive boat trips and cage dives, you may also wish to join a range of (non-inclusive) activities. These include paintballing, horse riding, quad biking, kayaking, skydiving and others.

Non Sea Days

If you can't go out to sea, other educational and fun activities are organised. Activities could include:

  • A trip to Cape Agulhas – the Southernmost point of Africa.
  • A visit to the local heritage site Klipgat Cave where you can swim in warm water
  • A visit to Stony Point penguin colony in Betty’s Bay
  • Kelp diving at Stanford Cove
  • Horse riding
  • Paintball
  • Shopping excursions and wine tasting in Hermanus or Cape Town
  • Visit to the Two Oceans Aquarium and the Waterfront in Cape Town

Kruger Safari Experience Add-On

Make your South Africa travels even more memorable by adding an awesome five-day safari adventure to your trip. This add-on includes four nights’ accommodation where you’ll spend two nights in a Johannesburg hostel with its own pool and bar area, a night in an on-site chalet at Kruger game reserve, and one night camping in the bush on an immersive safari experience.

Our Kruger Safari Experience is a one-of-a-kind package that’ll see you staying within the grounds of South Africa’s most famous game reserve, where you might just glimpse a view of the ‘big five’. Please speak with a travel advisor for more details.

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