Trip Details

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. 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.

Trip Itinerary

Volunteer tasks

  • Assisting the crew in the dive operations
  • Helping clients
  • Data recording
  • Observation
  • Getting the boat ready before launch
  • Help operations when boat returns to land

You will have the opportunity to gain first hand experience of working on an eco-tourism boat and the rare opportunity to work closely with the Great White Shark. Our main objective is to ensure you receive adequate sea-going time during your stay. You will have the opportunity to shark cage dive but will be expected to assist guests during their trip and duties will be assigned to you while on board. You will ensure that every guest has a once in-a lifetime experience and be able to share your knowledge as a host.

You can expect presentations by our marine biologists and expert crew on:

  • Shark biology and behaviour
  • Basic Seamanship and Safety at Sea
  • Shark tagging and tracking
  • Whale Research and Biology
  • Ocean Conservation
  • Data collection

We host Marine Evenings from time-to-time, meaning that you will also get to hear other conservation and biology experts share their knowledge. Those volunteers who show a good work ethic, and those who are studying in a related field, may have the opportunity to go on research surveys and assist our marine biologists in data collection and shark tracking amongst other experiences, such as environmental surveys. These trips do not happen regularly and should be considered a rare opportunity. You will also experience working within the community. We do regular beach clean-ups and may even work with our local schools, providing a great opportunity to actively make a difference and possibly interact with local children.

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 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) and conservation work throughout their stay
  • Everyone spends the majority of time at sea aboard Slashfin – our cage diving vessel –or our newly commissioned research boat 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. These trips are rare,depending on which project is on the go, so do not assume that you will be able to participate.

Trip Accommodation

Trip Country Info

South Africa

Population: 55 million
Capital: Cape Town (legislative), Bloemfontein (judicial), Pretoria (executive)
Language: English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa, Tswana, Northern Sotho, Venda, Tsonga, Swati, Ndebele
Currency: South African Rand
Time zone: UTC +2

South Africa is a vast country with an incredible variety in landscapes, people, traditions, languages, cuisines and more. The country is often referred to as the “Rainbow Nation” due to its population diversity. The country is also renowned for its wines, so make sure not to miss these while you are here!

While big cities such as Cape Town and Johannesburg can look quite first worldly, most of the country has remained underdeveloped. This is a perfect example of the economic inequality that exists in the country.

South Africa is an ideal destination for those interested in nature and it is incredibly varied in terms of landscapes. The country boasts a large number of National Parks such as Kruger, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, which is located in the desert, Addo Elephant National Park, Simangaliso Wetland Park and many more. It is also a great place to spot the “Big Five” (African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, and White/Black rhinoceros) as well as a wide range of other species.

All in all, South Africa is an ideal place to start if you wish to travel in southern Africa and get a good insight into the region.

South Africa is situated at the southern tip of Africa and has a landmass of 1 233 404 km² edged on 3 sides by a nearly 3000km coastline washed by the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic. It is bordered in the north by Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, and also wraps itself around two independent countries, the Lesotho and Swaziland.
Natural beauty abounds with beautiful beaches, dramatic mountains, lush forest belts and of course the famed Table Mountain. South Africa also boasts no less than 20 National Parks with the opportunity to see lion, leopard, rhino and elephants, to name but a few!  We have a selection of gap year adventures in South Africa including work at wildlife sanctuaries, work and travel in local South African communities, development projects and much more.  If you are interested in volunteering in South Africa please get in touch or read on for our latest experiences.

Participant Criteria & Requirements

Standard Requirements

No requirements have been provided.

Additional Requirements

No requirements have been provided.

What's included

  • 24/7 support in case of emergencies
  • Accommodation
  • Airport Pick up
  • English speaking coordinator
  • Meals
  • Orientation

What's not included

  • Airport drop off
  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Vaccination
  • Visa