Trip Details

Our Marine Conservation project is an informative and fun marine focused educational program. It consists of learning through marine and coastal volunteering along the Garden Route of South Africa. The program is founded on outcome-based learning objectives with
innovative approaches to understanding marine animal behaviour and applying marine conservation strategies, procedures and protocols applicable to marine and coastal ecological, conservation and ecosystem management.
We focus on the complete coastal and marine ecosystem, the ecology and the various contributors to and various factors affecting marine conservation. In addition, we focus our attention on gaining a deeper understanding of the lives of iconic marine animals such as whales, dolphins, sharks, seals, penguins, otters, reef animals and coastal and pelagic birds.
The program is structured and organised consisting of day to day interactive and experiential learning. We manage the program in such a manner that all volunteers take away invaluable knowledge and experience which can be measured, quantified and qualified through the acquisition of new and innovative knowledge and acquired skills.

Trip Itinerary

2 week Itinerary
Week 1

Marine Animal Awareness – Whales, Dolphins, Otters During week 1 of the 2 week marine conservation experience in Plettenberg Bay, volunteers will have the chance to immerse themselves in the lives and behaviours of whales, dolphins and otters. They will do research and workshops, and will have the chance to explore the lives of these animal groups using the three principles of behavioural monitoring: observation, interpretation and deduction.

Week 2
Marine Animal Awareness – Sharks, Seals and Penguins The second week in Plettenberg Bay will give volunteers the chance to get to know sharks, seals and penguins in a fun, natural and interactive way. Volunteers will participate in research and workshops and will explore the lives of these animal groups using the same observational principles that they have practiced on the first week.

4 week Itinerary

Week 1 –
Marine and Coastal Ecology and Ecosystem Functioning
Volunteers will be guided through the various facets of what makes the Marine and Coastal Ecosystem ‘tick’. We look broadly at:

  • Marine guiding and the guiding principles
  • The coastal marine environment and two oceans
  • Geology and the coastal environment
  • Marine coastal conservation management
  • Coastal and sea plant biodiversity
  • Marine fish – basic anatomy and physiology
  • The marine reef ecosystem and reef ecology
  • Historical coastal habitation and features

All of this is done in a fun, informative and interactive manner where newly acquired knowledge is applied. Volunteers will be required to report back on their daily experience and provide feedback to your fellow volunteers as to what they have experienced and gained in knowledge for the day. Each day volunteers will be tasked with individual and group research assignments.
Week 2 –
Marine Animal Awareness – Whales, Dolphins, Otters
Much of what volunteers experienced and learnt during the first week will be carried over to the second week. Volunteers will now immerse themselves into the lives and behaviour of whales, dolphins and otters. They will do research, workshops and explore the lives of these animal groups, using three key principles in behavioural monitoring namely, observation,interpretation and deduction.

Week 3 – Marine Animal Awareness – Sharks, Seals and Penguins
Volunteers will now immerse themselves into the lives and behaviour of sharks, seals and penguins during this exciting week of natural and interactive discovery. Volunteers will do research,workshops and explore the lives of these animal groups, using three key principles in behavioural monitoring namely, observation, interpretation and deduction.

Week 4 – Marine Animal Rehabilitation and Marine Conservation Research
Volunteers will be exposed to an additional group task being undertaken where all observations found within the marine environment and marine animal populations, observed
on our marine journey so far are brought together in a group project based outcome.Individual experiences and interesting facts pertaining to the marine ecosystem and its iconic animal inhabitants are collated by the group in presentation format. The document is copied, bound and presented to each participant when the program concludes.In addition to this, volunteers will be exposed to a variety of localised conservation projects & conservation research initiatives over the duration of your stay with us. This region, due
to its diversity of habitat and endemic species accounts are a favoured research zone.

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