Shark Conservation Project

memories for a lifetime

Shark Conservation Project

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.

The volunteer programs here offer a limited number of places each year which allow participants to gain the maximum from their time working closely with biologists from the project’s research team on the shark cage diving vessel.

Details about the project

What's included

Upon arrival you will be collected from the airport and driven to your Cape Town accommodation for the orientation. Once the orientation is complete you will be transferred to your project location.


24 hour support and supervision 


Room share with other volunteers

Food & Beverages

Two meals a day, coffee & tea included on working days

Details about the project

Shark conservation project details

  • Arrival Day – Saturday
  • Time – Your flight can land anytime on Saturday
  • Airport – Cape Town International Airport (CPT)
  • Orientation – Saturday – Sunday
  • Project Starts – Monday
  • Departure Day/Project ends – Monday
  • Departure time – You MUST take a late flight (After 19h00) out of CPT. This is due to the project being a long drive away from the airport and the scheduled departure  time of the transport from the project site. 
  • Min Duration – 2 weeks (incl 2 day Orientation)
  • Min Age: 18 
  • Max Age: N/A – Good physical and mental health

NOTE: You can also be collected at any hotel or place of accommodation on your arrival day, should it be within close radius of the city center or airport

  • 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. The 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 the 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 
  • Dyer Island Conservation Trust projects

Marine Evenings are hosted from time-to-time, meaning that you will also get to hear other conservation and biology experts share their knowledge. Those volunteers who show an excellent work ethic, and those who are studying in a related field, may have the opportunity to go on research surveys and assist the marine biologists in data collection and shark tracking among 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. Beach clean-ups are done frequently and you may even work with the local schools, providing a great opportunity to actively make adifference and possibly interact with local children. 

Your day starts early in the morning +-6am. you will work a full day with your lunch breaks Monday to Friday. Weekends are generally off time, but this can change for any unexpected occurrences.

  • CV/Resumé
  • Basic level of competency in English
  • Copy of return flight itinerary
  • Acceptance subject to availability of position

Accommodation is at the International Marine Volunteer Centre. There are 4 cottages that accommodate up to 6 people per cottage. Each cottage has a bathroom, kitchenette and living area as well as daily living essentials. The main building has a beautiful kitchen, equipped with induction plates, a microwave and oven for cooking and a fully functional recycling system in place. There is also a very spacious living area with satellite TV, DVD player, board games, pool table and foosball. There is an activity hall with some weights and a table tennis table. The facility has a large, safe swimming pool and garden. Emergency numbers are in the house. Bedding is provided and washed on a weekly basis. There are bicycles available for personal use. Remember to keep your personal belongings safe (each cottage has a safe).


Activity level


Education level


Involvement level


Independence level

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