The Great White Shark Project
Who: The Great Projects
Where: Kleinbaai, South Africa
Focus: Great white shark cage diving and research.
When: All year round | Peak season: April and October
Project start dates: 30th/31st and 14th of every month
Duration: 2-12 weeks
Suitability: Over 18s. Group bookings available.
Cost: 2 weeks from GBP 795 | Extra weeks: GBP 300.
As a volunteer, you will:
- Focus on the project’s great white shark cage diving eco-tourism.
- Learn about the great white shark’s biology, their conservation, and their status in the waters of the cape.
- Enjoy regular trips to sea to view the great whites and conduct research and collect data.
- Get inside a specially designed and secure floating 5-man steel cage to conduct dives, with divers no more than 1m below the surface at any point.
- Learn how to get in and out of the cage and how to remain safe and secure.
- Record observations on the sharks, including sex, size, markings and behaviour.
- Educate clients who come to shark dive about great white sharks and the need for their conservation.
- Receive tuition in basic seamanship and boat handling skills
- Learn boat maintenance, packing and cleaning of equipment and bait, anchor positioning, great white shark cage diving deployment, knots, assisting clients as needed, as well as general safety and good safe crewing practices.
- Assist at the Swop-Shop every Tuesday, a project that promotes recycling, environmental awareness, sustainable practices, self-reliance, and helps to provide for the needs of the local children.
- Go on excursions on days when sea conditions are too rough, include wine tasting in Stellenbosch, a visit to the penguins at Bettys Bay or a trip to Cape Agulhas, the southernmost point of Africa.
When to go
Weather permitting, excursions take place almost every day. The prime viewing time is when the sharks have a more active feeding pattern, between April and October. There are 3 seasons to see great white sharks:
- 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, averaging 2-5 meters compared to 1.5-2.5 metres in other months.
From June to December, Southern Right Whales congregate in the area for mating and calving.
Accommodation: The Atlantic Point Hostel, a brick house situated 2 minutes from the harbour. The house is comfortable with dorm rooms, a kitchen and dining area, a lounge with television and video/board games, and an outside entertainment area for the evenings. There is a small supermarket nearby and the house is located is a very safe and beautiful area.
Sleeping: Shared dormitories. Couples, friends or families volunteering together who wish private accommodation may reserve a double room at an additional cost (subject to availability).
Food: Breakfast only at the hostel. Lunch is supplied on the research boat. Volunteers prepare their own dinners and are taken shopping twice a week.
Number of volunteers: 15 max.
Support: 24-hour in-country volunteer support.
Transport: Pick up at Cape Town International airport.
The next step: Visit The Great Projects for more information and to book.
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