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 we 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).
What to Expect
A typical day at our programme includes one or two trips on our white shark cage diving boat, or one trip on our research boat, or a day conducting other field work from land such as snorkelling surveys or shore fishing surveys. Weather dependent, volunteers can expect to partake in one of these activities every day. On some days you may have an early start, whilst on others you may start later in the day depending on the times of our trips to sea and on weather/tide etc. Some days you may be at sea all day, whilst other days you may be finished by midday or early afternoon. Other activities which you may find yourself being involved with during your time here include participation in community events, such as workshops and presentations for local schools, beach clean-ups, dissections and assisting with our social media pages. Any free time in the afternoons and evenings are generally rest, recovery or data entry time.
Much of our work is weather dependent, so the timetable/working hours are subject to change, but volunteers should expect to work some long days and some weekends. Outreach and educational activities may require after hours/weekend work. They normally have 1-2 days off a week, usually at the weekend, however, the off days will vary according to the weather and our opportunities to be at sea. The off-days provide the chance for the volunteers to relax, explore the area or perhaps take an excursion further afield.
These possible excursions include a trip to Cape Agulhas – the Southernmost point of Africa; a visit to Betty’s Bay to see the Stony Point penguin colony; wine tasting tours; kelp diving at Stanford Cove; hikes and horse riding trips in the local area; quadbiking, zipling; a visit to the Two Oceans Aquarium and the Waterfront in Cape Town; seal snorkelling in Cape Town; a trip up the East Coast to visit one of the Elephant Parks; Bloukrans bungee jump on the East Coast; safari trips; and more!
Housing & Meals
Housing is shared unless requested otherwise, as we accept 8 guests at a time
a time. The rooms are fully furnished with provided linens. The host and program manager are always available, if you need anything. We provided transportations for all guests for all work related activities and excursions.
• TV + DSTV
• Wireless Internet
• Laundry service provided
Our project house is located in Kleinbaai roughly a two-minute drive or a ten-minute walk from the harbour where we launch. Kleinbaai is a small, quiet town; we are just a few minutes’ walk from the ocean and there are lots of beaches, hiking trails and other outdoor activities available. The local town of Gansbaai is just a five-minute drive away and has a number of restaurants and shops should you want to go out or need to buy any supplies. There are magnificent coastal and mountain views and a host of marine and mountain outdoor activities for you to explore in your free time.
We will provide breakfast basics and lunch on working days, as well as occasional dinners, but you will be responsible for most of your own evening meals and any other entertainment is at your own expense. You will also be responsible for your own food when out doing activities or on excursions.
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.