Volunteer to scuba dive and collect data on the health of the amazing reefs in Sodwana Bay, South Africa – 5% off with Sea Fans.

Deep Blue Conservation


Who: Deep Blue Conservation

Where: Triton Dive Lodge, Olakeni Reserve, Sodwana Bay, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

Focus: Scuba dive to help monitor and conserve South Africa’s only coral reef complex.

When: January – November

  • Dec-Mar: Ragged-tooth sharks gestating.
  • Jul-Oct: Humpback whale migration.
  • Oct-Mar: Loggerhead and leatherback turtle nesting season.

Duration: 2 – 12 weeks (recommended time 4 weeks)

  • Rescue Diver: Min. 8 weeks
  • Divemaster Internship: 12 weeks

Suitability: Over 18s (the project is more suited to younger applicants but does accept all ages above 18)

Pre-requisites: Volunteers should be able to swim, and understand and communicate in English


  • 2 weeks costs 1450 EUR (incl. PADI Open Water course)
  • An additional 2 weeks costs 1050 EUR

Get 5% off your booking through Sea Fans (subject to conditions). Simply fill in the form below.

As a volunteer, you will:

  • Gain PADI dive qualifications of any level, beginner to divemaster.
  • Enjoy diving in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.
  • Explore the reefs located in South Africa’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Help monitor the health of these South African reefs by collecting photographic data on various indicator species and recording different ocean conditions.
  • Contribute ID data to international scientific databases, as well as learn how to continue to contribute data after the volunteer program.
  • Receive Deep Blue marine ecology lectures and partake in informative discussions with a local zoologist.
  • Immerse yourself in the local culture of the Zulu people.
  • Make memories with unforgettable new friends from both South Africa and from around the world.
  • Leave behind the rush of the city life and fully immerse yourself in nature.
  • Explore the local area with more than 20 different activities to keep you busy! Surf, play pool at a local bar, go for sundowners, relax by a bonfire, enjoy pizza nights and so much more

Scuba Diving

  • Volunteers complete their PADI Open Water during the first week of the program (incl. in fee).
  • Qualified divers can complete their PADI Advanced Open Water (incl. in fee).
  • Advanced Open Water (extra): Includes five speciality courses (100 EUR).
  • Rescue Diver: 8 week volunteer program (price on request).
  • Divemaster Internship: 12 week program (price on request).

The Base

Accommodation: Volunteers stay at a dive lodge which is situated just outside the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. It’s a 5 km drive from the town and a 10 km drive to the beach.

Sleeping: Volunteers stay in a shared loft or shared wooden or brick cabins. There are shared bathrooms, a shared kitchen, fire area, swimming pool and a restaurant / bar. Rooms are primarily single sex but may be mixed based on volunteer numbers.

Food: Each week volunteers are taken to the nearest town to buy groceries for the week (included in the fee). Thereafter volunteers cook their own food in the communal kitchen. Each night the camp staff make a fire at the fire area where volunteers and interns can barbeque (braai) together and socialise.

Working week: Monday to Friday (7/8am to 2/3pm). Weekends are free for excursions.

Base size: Max. 10 volunteers and interns, along with 2 on-site project coordinators, and other camp staff (manager, skipper, instructors, divemasters and cleaning staff).

Support: Project coordinators stay next to the camp and can be contacted at any time. Camp staff stay on the camp and are always available. The nearest hospital is a 20 min drive from the camp. All volunteers and interns are insured by DAN, the nearest decompression chamber is 3 hour drive from the camp.

Transport: Airport pick-up from the Richards Bay airport is included in the fee. Volunteers travel to the beach as well as around Sodwana with a pick-up (bakkie). The project uses a zodiac boat to get from the beach to the dive sites.

Get 5% off with Sea Fans

Fill in this enquiry form, and a member of Deep Blue Conservation will get in touch to answer all your questions. Plus, you’ll get 5% off your booking (subject to conditions).

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2 reviews

  1. Incredibly beautiful!

    Everything was so much fun and the diving was incredibly beautifull! I spend 8 weeks at this project, before i came here i was afraid that 8 weeks would be to long but now that i finished it i wish i could have stayed for so much longer. Sodwana really is a magical place, the surrounding, the cool mindset of all the people living there and the AMAZING reef that lays beside Sodwana bay. The reefs contain a big variety of fishspecies, corals, morays, turtles, nudibranchs and a lot more. I had the honour to see it all, while making pictures of some specific animals for the databases. I espacialy enjoyed researching the nudibranchs, first i had no idea what those were but because of this project i now know how cool and weird these animals are. There is nothing like the rush of finding a new nudispecie for the database on your dive ;). When i was not diving i was mostly chilling at the beach or at the triton camp. Triton lodge is the accomodation you will be staying in. They make a fire everynight so that everyone can braai, you can also just cook in the kitchen next to the fire. The fact that everyone is cooking, eating and chilling at the fire together makes for some really fun evenings, espacially with the awsome staff present. Sometimes we would also go out for some dinner and drinks in one of the cool places in Sodwana (wednesday braai night is higly recommended). The weekend was a good oppertunity to explore the surrounings, going to Lake Sibaya for a braai was my favourite activity. The couple that started this project have so much appreciation for the place (you will notice that in the chilled and informative lectures Jo gives) and they are doing everything they can to preserve it. They are also constantly making sure that you are having a good time and are just really nice and funny people. All in all the best experience you could wish for!

  2. Diving at the some of the best coral reefs in the world

    I spent a month at deep blue. It was a wonderfull time, and the diving was exeptional!
    The first days were spent learning to dive, and after that it was all about enjoying every single dive and collecting photos for the nudibranch/turtle database. After the dives we would write the species we found into the database, and usually have a lecture about the different aspects of marine biology that are relevant to the sodwana bay area. Other than that, we went out once in a while to eat at some of the different local restaurants, drink a couple a beers and play pool. Other nights we would chill at the camp around the fire, and talk to other guest and the staff at Triton dive lodge.
    As a scandinavian it can be a bit of a culture-shock to go to a country where most rules a not strictley followed. Riding in the back of a pick-up truck whilst cows/goats/dogs/people are running in the middle of the road is not something that happens on a day-to-day basis where i come from, but for me it was actually a nice break from the strict and “square” society i am used to at home.
    That being said, all rules and safety precautions whilst diving are followed on point! All dives were executed professionally both under my instructional dives with Marius, and afterwards with the Triton staff.

    All in all it was a wonderfull experience that i would reccomend to anyone who wants to take up diving, wants to learn about marine biology, and wants to experience a radically different culture.

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