• South Africa
1 to 12 weeks

Program Details

Age Min.
Age Max
Spring Break Summer Winter Year Round
Small Group (1-15)
Travel Type
Budget Family Solo Women


Starting Price
Price Details
Our rates for 2019 are:
$745 USD for 1 week, $1490 USD for 2 weeks, $1795 USD for 3 weeks and $2100 USD for 1 month. We offer 10 percent discount on a second month and 20 percent discount on a third month.
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Airport Transfers Equipment Some Meals Transportation Wifi
What's Not Included
Airfare Some Meals SIM cards Travel Insurance Visa
Apr 20, 2020
Oct 07, 2019
39 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

The programme is hosted in Gansbaai, roughly two hours out of the beautiful Cape Town, in an incredibly dynamic coastal ecosystem. Our main objective is to contribute to the conservation of white sharks and other sharks, and maintain the health and vitality of our oceans. As a volunteer you will have the chance to be involved with a number of marine research projects including: White shark behaviour and demographics, shark and ray diversity and abundance, fish diversity and abundance, rocky shores surveys and marine debris surveys. We take a holistic approach towards shark conservation, as it is vital to gain an overall understanding of ecological functioning. During your stay you will play a vital role in data collection, learn how to manage such data, and gain valuable skills in marine research in the field with the employment of a number of different research techniques including shark and fish controlled angling surveys, snorkeling, and baited remote underwater video (BRUV).

Video and Photos

Program Impact

We are committed to the conservation of sharks, other marine creatures and our seas through our research and data collection. We hold a permit awarded by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and the South African Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF). Our research contributes to a national database compiled by DEA. We collaborate closely with the University of Stellenbosch on several projects, including a white shark fin ID database and a genetic samples study. We often help out at the local animal shelter and we do regular beach and harbour clean-ups in collaboration with 7Seasrope, a company that transforms recycled fishing line into bracelets. Further to this, our marine biologist holds a weekly workshop for the local Gansbaai Academia School’s Marine Science Club. These lectures aim to educate the students about the vulnerability of our delicate marine ecosystem and the importance of sustaining it. We also provide these students with pro bono educational trips aboard our affiliate shark cage diving vessel, courtesy of White Shark Diving Company and staff.

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Program Reviews

5.00 Rating
based on 5 reviews
  • 5 rating 100%
  • 4 rating 0%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Impact 5
  • Support 5
  • Fun 5
  • Value 5
  • Safety 5
Showing 1 - 5 of 5 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Life Changing Experience!

Taking part in this programme has been a life changing experience in more than one way. Being able to complete a childhood dream of seeing white sharks in the wild has been a moment I will cherish for the rest of my life and seeing these beautiful creatures and the work being done here has only made me more eager to help out in any way I can. I'm also extremely appreciative of the people I've met here, they've done nothing but enhance this experience for me and will forever have a place in my heart.

Since leaving the programme I have kept in touch with alot of the people I met there and the staff. I still regularly speak to them all and many of us plan to visit again this summer. The programme has alot changed how I live my life back home making me much more environmentally conscious.

20 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

My new yearly home!

I volunteered with Great White Diving Company for 2 weeks and it was the best experience of my life - so much so that I plan on returning once a year. Being in a natural environment with such beautiful scenery, people, and wildlife was an incredibly grounding and growing experience. There are so many conservation issues in the world that need help, but by spending time with this company you get to make a direct impact through ocean research; it brings you face to face with the problem and opens your eyes to how much help is needed. Not to mention looking a great white in the eye is like no other experience in this world and changed my life. Diving was obviously the best part of the trip! The opportunity was so great and fulfilling, the staff was AMAZING - I cannot say enough great things, they made me feel at home, safe, and accommodated all of the other things I wanted to experience during my SA stay. Was a life changing trip thanks for everything guys! See you next year!

24 people found this review helpful.
Yes, I recommend this program

Home Away From Home!

I had just graduated with a Masters' Degree in Zoology with Marine Zoology, and have always had a keen obsession with sharks! I am originally from Birmingham (UK), and so when I came to volunteer with the White Shark Diving Company, I had no idea what to expect! On arrival at the volunteer house, it was strikingly similar to living in a student house, but with a much better view and sharks plastered on every wall! Sitting on the balcony on that first sunny day, admiring the view of Van Dyk’s Bay and watching the shark boats go out, there wasn’t anywhere I would rather be.

The following 4 weeks were full of crazy adventures and priceless moments with members of the company and local friends we made along the way. Me and another volunteer living in the house enjoyed many excursions together including whale watching, volunteering at the local dog sanctuary (BARC) where we got to play with puppies and take dogs for walks, visiting the Panthera Africa Cat Sanctuary, gin/cider tasting, horseriding, mini golf, fatbiking on sand dunes, trips to Hermanus and also to major hotspots like the Southern-most tip of Africa (Cape Agulhas), the most South-Western tip of Africa (near the Cape of Good Hope) and Cape Town.
We took a 3-day road trip to Mossel Bay to see a multitude of things in the area. On the first day, we went on a safari game drive and stayed in Wilderness at Fairy Knowe Backpackers. The next day, we went cage diving near Seal Island where we were lucky enough to be visited by ‘Joker’, a great white that had a big scar running along its mouth from an attack off another territorial great white. We caught a glimpse of a humpback dolphin which (according to the boat crew) was an extremely rare occurrence.

In between all of these new and exciting experiences, there were mornings where we would go out on the research boat with Mary (Head co-ordinator and marine biologist). On these trips, we were taught how to catch smaller sharks via handlining, take biometric values and tag them before release. I caught my first ever shark; a 3-foot long pyjama shark (Poroderma africanum)! Observations of white shark activity were also recorded during cage diving trips i.e. length, time spent around boat, abundance, swell height, wind direction.
We were free to pick and choose what we wanted to do day-to-day, but some of my best memories were made on spontaneous nights out, meeting the crazy locals and going to crew members houses for dinner. It’s been over two months since I left, and I still haven’t shaken the feeling of being so comfortable in a place 13,000km from home. Each member of the White Shark Diving Company is a delight to be around, and I feel so privileged to have spent so much time with them. Without sounding too cliche, I think I’ve found another home from home and I would recommend this program to anyone who is willing to try new things, is crazy about sharks and most importantly up for a good time!

I am currently in the process of hopefully returning next year as an intern and completing my PhD out there too! I can't thank WSDC enough for all of these opportunities and the contacts I have made so far.

Big Love! *Shark Bait, Hoo Ha Ha*

24 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Best Experience Ever!!

Although i only went for a little over 2 weeks i couldnt have had a better experience and I can’t wait to go back. All of the staff and volunteer coordinators couldnt have been more welcoming and friendly. As a current Harvard sophmore studying biology, this program gave me the first hand academic experince I was looking for in a marine biology program. You will learn so much and also have so much fun! Plus the white sharks are DOPE!!!!!!!! It was truly a life time experience that couldnt have gone better. While your there I would try to go in the cage as much as you can and also interact with the tourists on the dive boat! Some are unaware of the facts of the ecotourism industry and that’s a great way to make a difference. Also, the food and the excursions are so much fun! Go! Go! Go!

21 people found this review helpful.
Yes, I recommend this program


Don't think twice about this programme! You simply can't get anything better.
I spent nearly 3 awesome months in South Africa and fullfilled my long-time dream of working with those majestic cratures - white sharks.
Everything was so brilliant, I simply had to go with number 10 in every rating, although it should be 10+ at least! Everything was perfectly organized, I lived in spacious modern house with speechless balcony view over sea and african sunsets (oh and lets not forget braai - african BBQ- every other day).
Working with sharks was a lifetime experience, spending days at sea, observing, tagging, learning, (laughing) and taking photos, one can never get enough of it. Whats more - rich and enjoyable programme on the coast as well - safari, penguins, wine tasting, adrenaline sports, horse riding - basically think of an activity and you can enjoy it there!
I felt safe and mainly welcomed the minute I got there and throughout my whole stay. There is no greater feeling than knowing you are in a good company of people that care about the enviroment and love sharks. Everybody was super friendly supportive and I simply feel like I found a new family I will forever treasure in my heart! Till next time <3
So what are you waiting for?!

22 people found this review helpful.

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