If you’re fascinated by great white sharks and love the thrill of adventure and being out at sea, volunteering at our project to help protect and increase understanding about great white sharks is definitely for you.

The project

Our great white shark project monitors key information about great white sharks to help protect the increasingly threatened species. Volunteers at this project assist qualified marine biologists to record vital data about great white sharks observed at sea, both from a boat and from a cage in the sea.

This is a volunteering opportunity for those who love to embrace adventure, but who are also keen to learn more about great white sharks and how they can be protected. South Africa is said to be the best place in the world to see great white sharks, so you’ll definitely be in the right place if you’re fascinated by marine life. Although the project focuses on great white sharks, you’re likely to come across other big marine species during your time volunteering at this project, which could include Southern Right Whales, dolphins and seals.

As a volunteer at the great white shark project, you’ll be out at sea every day (weather permitting), helping marine biologists observe and record information about the great white sharks you see in the wild. This could include photographing great white sharks’ dorsal fins, helping to identify individual sharks through already recorded data, on-boat assistance to marine biologists tagging sharks, manual tracking of sharks and participating in animal rescue activities when required.

You’ll learn a number of new skills, including boat safety and seamanship as well as a wealth of information about great white sharks. You’ll be able to put this knowledge to good use when accompanying individuals on shark cage diving trips, which is another of your volunteering duties. There will be plenty of work for you both from the boat and from cages in the sea. All in all, you’ll get stuck into a diversity of tasks and will pull your weight in a team of people used to helping each other to make a success of their work.

Location

GansBay, Western Cape, South Africa.

Voluntary work

Helping marine biologists monitor information about Great White Sharks, assisting the crew on board, assisting with animal rescues, and when required, helping the smooth running of shark cage diving trips.

Programme starts

First or third Monday of each month.

Volunteering hours

Early morning out at sea and afternoons working on data.

Requirements

Minimum age 18, good knowledge of English, travel insurance.

Accommodation

Shared room in the volunteer house in GansBay.

Food

Breakfast and lunch included when out on the boat. Kitchen facilities are available for cooking other meals.

Airport pickup

At Cape Town International Airport (CPT) on specified arrival date – let us know if you want to arrive early. You’ll spend your first night in a volunteer house or backpackers accommodation in Cape Town, as well as an introductory talk and a traditional dinner. The next day you will be picked up and driven to the project in GansBay.

Donation to the project

Included in the rate.

Training

In-country orientation, briefing at the project.

Support

Pre-departure information, local in-country support and 24 hour emergency support.

Return transfer

To downtown Cape Town or the airport on specified departure date.

In addition, you need to arrange:

Flights to Cape Town
Travel insurance (necessary)
Vaccinations (please contact your GP or a travel medical clinic)
Visa (can be purchased on arrival at the airport)
Travel to and from the project
Any recreational activities
Dinner and lunch (if not at sea)

Starts from €1,995.

Duration

2 to 4 weeks.

This really is a volunteering experience like no other, as you’ll be observing one of the sea’s mightiest species every day and acquiring a number of new skills that you can take away with you once the volunteering experience is over. Boats go out between one and four times per day, depending on the time of year and weather, so you’ll need to be flexible and ready to go when you’re rostered into a trip out to sea. Based in the small harbour town of GansBay in the Western Cape, you’ll become part of a community both on-land and with the crews out at sea.

You’ll stay in a shared room in our volunteer house in GansBay and be given breakfast every day. If you’re out on the boat over lunchtime, you’ll eat on-board with the crew. You’ll have access to a kitchen to make your own evening meal and while there is some small-town entertainment to be found in GansBay, you’ll probably become a fan of early nights so you’re bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for early morning departures out to sea, as this is when you’re most likely to spot a great white.