Please note that these activities may change from day to day, especially as the daily activities are subject to weather conditions, however, you will always be working in conjunction with a qualified crew member of the project.
Great White shark cage diving
Project facilitators use a specially designed and secure five man steel cage to conduct dives. This floats on the surface, and divers are no more than 1m below the surface at any point. As a shark conservation volunteer you will be taught how to get in and out of the cage and how to remain secure and safe in the shark diving cage. Cage divers are responsible for recording observations on the great whites, including sex, size, markings and behaviour.
White Shark Field Research Data Collection
You will be taught how to collect data in the field on free-swimming white sharks. At sea, you'll be focused on working with the sharks from above and below the water, observing behaviour and the interactions of sharks around the boat and pointing out any sharks you spot. You will be learning about the behaviour of the great whites, their history, and the urgent need for their research and on wider great white shark conservation initiatives. You will also receive lectures on their biology, shark conservation, and status in the waters of the cape.
Basic Seamanship and Boat Skills
All volunteers are also taught basic seaman skills including boat handling on board in a practical environment. This includes general boat maintenance, packing and cleaning of equipment and bait, anchor positioning (deployment and retrieval), great white shark cage diving deployment (attachment and retrieval), knots, assisting clients as needed, as well as general safety and good safe crewing practices.
Assisting at Swop-Shop
Every Tuesday, you will be expected to help out at the ‘Swop Shop’, a project that promotes recycling, environmental awareness, sustainable practices, self-reliance, and also helps to provide for the needs of the local children. The project encourages these children to collect recyclable rubbish and litter from the street and from their homes. They then earn points for what they collect, and this can be used to ‘buy’ school stationery and clothes in the Swop-Shop.
On days where you can’t go out to sea (as this shark conservation project is completely dependent on weather and sea conditions), you will be taken on various excursions. These include wine tasting in Stellenbosch, a visit to the penguins at Bettys Bay or a trip to Cape Agulhas, the southernmost point of Africa.
Please note itineraries are subject to change what follows is simply a rough guideline:
Day 1 - The Adventure Begins:
After your flight arrives into South Africa via Cape Town International Airport, you will be transferred to The Atlantic Point Hostel where you will be spending your first night.
Day 2 - Transferred to Project Site:
In the morning, you will be met by a project representative and transferred to project site in Kleinbaai. On arrival in Kleinbaai you will be taken out on the boat as a guest to spot some sharks and really get your project off to a good start! After your trip you will return to the project site where you will have the chance to settle in.
Day 3-14 - Project Days:
The volunteer programme is primarily focused on the project's Great white shark cage diving eco-tourism and you will enjoy regular trips to sea to view and cage dive with the great whites. One of the activities is educating clients who come to shark dive about great white sharks and the need for their conservation.
Day 15 - Final Day:
This is your final day and you will leave the project site to go back to Cape Town to transfer to the airport for an evening return flight, or commence independent travel plans.
Dates, Availability & Price
To secure a place on this project a deposit of £195 is required at the time of booking, with the remaining balance due any time up to 60 days prior to your start date.
Select a duration below to see the available start dates. All dates shown are currently available for you to join this project!
Updates & Outcomes
The Great White Shark Project is a world leading organisation focusing on the great white shark. Founded in 1989 purely as a research centre, it is now a large commercial operation establishing shark ecotourism as an educational experience helping to promote Great white shark conservation. The projects motto is 'misconception, education and preservation'. The projects' aim is to educate as many people as possible in the misconception of this apex predator and in turn help to preserve and conserve the species - as well as countless other species of sharks which are unfairly feared and maligned.
Finding the Great white shark is a skill involving years of practice. Water temperature, depth, visibility, swell height, current, and wind directions are all major factors. Great white sharks are surface feeders, so shark diving volunteers and will be spellbound when seeing the sharks lift their heads right out of the water to investigate an object (known as spy hopping), and if they're really lucky they may even sometimes see a full breach! Volunteering here is a fantastic experience and one which you certainly will not forget in a hurry!
Every year the staff and volunteers on The Great White Shark Project take part in the 21 Days For The Ocean Event which helps to raise awareness of environmental issues in the local community. On each of the 21 days a different event takes place to help raise awareness, and they include beach clean ups, tree planting, and giving out water to the runners and cyclists in the local race.
The future goal of the project is to expand the community work into different townships to continue educating the next generation about the importance of marine conservation, and it will do this through talks at schools and involving the youth in activities such as beach clean ups where they can see the first hand impact marine debris has on the environment.
Have you ever wondered what it is like for volunteers on the incredible Great White Shark Project in South Africa? Well wonder no more as we talk you through a day in the life of a Great White Shark Volunteer! If youy've been thinking of volunteering with us on this project, take a read and see if this is the trip for you!
Take a look at our volunteer experience video showcasing what you could be getting up to if you paid a visit to the Great White Shark Project in South Africa!
We received an update from the Great White Shark Project in South Africa, so take a look at what has been going on!
Is this trip for you?
Whilst on the project you will stay in a delightful brick house situated two minutes from the harbour, which bustles with action and boats as people head out to sea. The house is very comfortable with dorm rooms, a nice kitchen, a dining area, a lounge with television and video/board games, and an outside entertainment area for the evenings. There is a small supermarket nearby (volunteers usually buy provisions and prepare meals together) and the house is located is a very safe and beautiful area where you can freely walk around during the day.
Couples, friends or families volunteering together who wish private accommodation may reserve a double room at an additional cost (subject to availability)
We supply breakfast at the volunteer house, this includes coffee, tea, milk, bread, cereals, juice and yogurt. Food and refreshments are supplied on the boat. This includes various sandwiches, chips/crisps, fruits, soft drinks, water and juice.
We will also take you shopping twice a week and everything you will need you can find there as you will be providing your own dinner. Once you are here, we can also discuss exactly what your dietary requirements are, but we have had vegan/vegetarian volunteers in the past without any problem.
We recommend that you come with a moderate level of fitness, as volunteers will be involved with all aspects of work during their time here, including bait preparation and cage deployment. No specific skills are required - all we ask is that you come with a strong work ethic and have a love and passion for sharks and the ocean. You will be taught the rest!
The vaccinations required will depend on your medical history. We recommend that you consult with your GP regarding your own immunisation needs. In conjunction with this, we would recommend that you check Fit for Travel’s website.
When Is The Best Time To Volunteer?
Whilst at this location we are fortunate to be able to view Great White Sharks all year round, however there are some slightly preferable months.
Weather permitting excursions take place nearly every day but the prime viewing time is definitely when the sharks have a more active feeding pattern which is between April and October. The 3 seasons identified are:
Peak season: April to October (99% success rate)
High season: November to December (90 – 99% success rate)
Intermediate season: January to March (80 – 90% success rate)
Visibility is also slightly better between April and October with it averaging 2-5 meters compared to 1.5-2.5 in other months.
Finally, from June to December every year, Southern Right Whales congregate to this area to deliver one of nature’s most remarkable spectacles. Once in these relatively warm and calm waters, the whales then undertake the important task of mating and calving. It truly is an amazing sight to see when we are lucky enough to come across the Southern Right Whales.
You will need to arrive into Cape Town Airport on the start date of your project where you will be met and taken to a backpacker's hostel for the 1st night. The next morning you will be transferred to the project location in Kleinbaai; about a two hour drive away. Transfers to and from Cape Town are included in the project cost, however if you are not travelling back to Cape Town after your project you will need to arrange and pay for your own transfer.
The return transfer is a group transfer, as volunteers are returned to Cape Town on the client bus which usually leaves around 9am. This is subject to the boat being able to return in time to do so, so we recommend that volunteers book flights from 5pm onwards to ensure that they do not miss a flight as a result of delay. If you do book a late flight on the finish date of the project then it is possible to leave your luggage at Atlantic Point whilst exploring Cape Town for the afternoon.
If you would like help
booking your flights, please visit our flights page and fill out
the form. A member of our team will get back in touch as soon as possible with
a suitable quote.
Holders of UK, most other EU counties, Australian, Canadian and USA passports do not require a Visa for South Africa. Upon entry you will be issued with a 3- month permit (at no cost). Make sure the correct date and length of stay in the country is entered onto your visa when at immigration. If you are travelling from Albania, Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Russian Federation, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Algeria, Angola, Comoros, China, Egypt, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mexico, Madagascar, Morocco, Mozambique, Paraguay, Rwanda, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia or Vietnam, you will require a Visa and should consult your South African embassy.
Currency and Exchange Rates
The currency in South Africa is the Rand. The exchange rate is around 1 ZAR = 0.06 GBP, 0.1 USD, 0.07 EUR. Please note exchange rates are subject to change.
What's included in the price of the project?
- Project activities
- Airport transfers
- Project uniform
- Meals and Beverages as indicated
What's not included?
- Personal transfers if not included within the project
- Travel insurance