Marine Conservation

Key Information

Like all our volunteering projects, the shark conservation centre operates in a unique setting. South Africa has a conservation culture and this marine project is about 1 hour 45 minute drive from Cape Town International Airport.

1) Conscious travellers worldwide are increasingly aware not only of conservation but also of the culture and customs of the people around the reserve and centres. We support this approach wholeheartedly. This conservation model creates opportunities for the adjacent communities, their businesses and cultural initiatives. 

2) Your weekly fee covers comfortable shared accommodation, transfers from and to the airport, two meals per day and a visit to the Two Oceans Aquarium. Overall, you can expect to be comfortable, and well looked after with friendly and experienced staff. Your fees also include up to 5% donation towards conservation. 

About the project

Passionate about the ocean and all its wonderful creatures? Discover and understand this globally important ecosystem through world-class scientific research. The marine project is based in Gansbaai, South Africa, the great white shark capital of the world and home of the internationally recognised, Marine Big 5. The base is part of a larger entity which has been operating in the area for over fifteen years, utilising ecotourism to further marine research and conservation goals.  

The program has been designed by experienced specialists who are actively involved in their field, allowing them to offer training content which is forward thinking and informed by real-world professions in Marine-coastal guiding, Marine volunteers and Scientific internship.

Your Impact

You will play an important part in supporting the work of the centre and given wonderful opportunities to learn and experience these incredible creatures. Be prepared to get really stuck in and get your hands dirty, where your varied role will mean no two days are the same.

United Nations’ Sustainable Goal #14: Life below Water

Marine scientific research undertakes activities in ocean and coastal waters to expand scientific knowledge of the marine environment and its processes. The shark and penguin projects promote the protection of these species. 

Skills and Experiences required

No special skills are required. Training will be provided. All you need to have is a curiosity for marine life, all the interesting ocean life and good team spirit! Being teachable and having a keen interest in conservation is all you need for this project. 

Arrival & Orientation

The marine project runs from Monday to Monday throughout the year. However, volunteers need to be in Cape Town from the Sunday as pick up on the Monday starts early.


A volunteer’s day starts early and your stay at the centre will consist of the following:

Helping with the boat trips that allow tourists to get out on the water and spot sharks and whales (whales can be seen between June and December). You’ll help with boat handling, operating equipment and looking after the passengers. On each trip you are likely to see something different every day – whales breaching, penguins feeding and sharks.

Depending on how long you stay, you will assist with the research team, helping with their work to identify the movement of the sharks throughout the year. This will involve observing them from the boat or during cage dives, photographing them and keeping important records of all sightings. With lots of help and training from the researchers you will become an important member of the team and feel like a bit of a shark expert yourself!

Land-based conservation tasks include helping at the penguin rescue centre, doing beach clean ups, attending lectures and working within the local community on non-sea days.

Volunteer between June and December, you will also be able to help with whale monitoring and research missions. And if you’re looking for another reason to go, there is a penguin sanctuary right next door to your accommodation.

Accommodation & Location

Your comfortable self-catering accommodation is close to the project. The accommodation comprises four chalets in a pleasant complex, complemented with a swimming pool and large garden. A simple breakfast of cereal and tea or coffee is provided, as is a picnic style lunch when out on the boat. Food for your evening meal can be bought easily nearby or you can try out the local eateries.

During your free time you can explore this stunning conservation area, with its beautiful beaches and plentiful wildlife. It’s also easy to arrange a trip to Cape Town, about two hours’ drive along the famous Cape Whale Coast Route.



Project Fees:

1 Week


2 Weeks


3 Weeks


4 Weeks


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Call us +44 793 9379 636 or email us at [email protected]

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