Volunteer to conserve great white sharks and other marine creatures in South Africa – 5% off with Sea Fans.

Shark and Marine Research Institute

Who: Shark and Marine Research Institute

Where: Van Dyk Street, Kleinbaai, Gansbaai, South Africa

Focus: Contribute to research that protects sharks and preserves the health and vitality of our oceans.

When: All year round, except from 15th December to 15th January. Peak season is June to August. During quieter months, volunteers get greater time with the marine biologist and get more time on specific activities eg. cage diving, tagging training, time on research boat etc.

Marine life sightings: Sharks, dolphins, rays, seals and marine birds can be seen throughout the year. Southern Right, Humpback and Bryde’s whales come to breed along the coast between June and November.

Duration: 1 to 12 weeks | Recommended stay is 1 month to experience everything the project has to offer.

Suitability: 16+ (parental consent is required for under 18s). In certain instances, younger applicants can join as long as they are accompanied by a guardian.

NGO Internship: Three month NGO internships available. Priority given to previous volunteers or applicants with communications/ marketing skills.

Prerequisites: Basic English

Cost: 1 week from GBP 610 | 2 weeks from GBP 1180 | 3 weeks from GBP 1445 | 1 month from GBP 1675. 10% discount is available on a second month’s stay and 20% discount on a 3rd month.

Get 5% off your booking (subject to conditions). Simply complete the form below.

As a volunteer, you will:

    • Have the chance to experience large species such as great white sharks and bronze whaler sharks on our cage diving vessel
    • Experience smaller local sharks on catch-and-release tagging excursions aboard our research boat
    • Explore our kelp forests and their resident creatures during snorkelling surveys
    • Be involved with groundbreaking research focused on shark and marine conservation
    • Gain sea experience on both our cage diving and research vessels
    • Be trained in ethical handling of sharks, catch-and-release tagging, shark dorsal fin identification, genetic sampling and data input and analysis
    • Help to preserve the health and vitality of our ocean
    • Get credits towards your degree or diploma (dependent on approval by your educational institution)
    • Choose from a wide variety of nature, adventure, culinary and travel activities on off-sea days
    • Participate in community education and outreach projects, such as workshops/excursions for the local high school’s Marine Science Club, beach and coastal clean ups, and working with the local animal shelter
    • Get a welcome braai (South African BBQ) on your first night with the guests and staff
    • Experience the beautiful country and wildlife of South Africa

The Base

A secure, comfortable project house with breathtaking ocean views and comes complete with a TV + DSTV and wireless internet and laundry service. The house is sociable with movie nights, game nights and braai nights.

The house is located in Kleinbaai roughly a two-minute drive or a ten-minute walk from the harbour. Kleinbaai is a small, quiet town with lots of beaches, hiking trails and other outdoor activities available. The local town of Gansbaai is a five-minute drive away and has a number of restaurants and shops.

Sleeping: Rooms sleep 2 to 4 people. Allocated rooms will be single sex unless requested by a couple. Linen is provided,

Food: 3 meals a day prepared by volunteers. Any additional food, or meals out, are not included in the cost.

Base size: Maximum 20 volunteers

The Team: The Shark & Marine Research Institute team consists of our programme leader/marine biologist, Mary Rowlinson, as well as our hostess/administrator, our marketing team (3 people), and 2 interns.


  • Pre-departure support and travel guidance.
  • Medical Facilities are available 10min drive from the base
  • Host and/or programme manager always available
  • Vehicle with all safety permits and regulations for transport of guests to all work-related activities and also for excursions organized on no-sea days
  • Emergency numbers provided

Transport: Included in the programme fee:

  • Airport pick-up and transfer to accommodation in Cape Town by registered service operators.
  • Transfer the following morning to base site in Kleinbaai in our Toyota Quantum minibus (with free wireless internet).
  • Cage diving boat trips
  • Research vessel expeditions
  • Transport to and from programme activities
  • Transfer on the last day of your visit back to Cape Town in our Toyota Quantum minibus (with free wireless internet)

Get 5% off with Sea Fans

Fill in this enquiry form, and a member of the Shark and Marine Research Institute will get in touch to answer all your questions. Plus, you’ll get 5% off your booking (subject to conditions).

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