Great White Shark Conservation in South Africa

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Program Description

Based in Kleinbaai, the shark trips primarily take place off Dyer and Geyser Islands, about 6 nautical miles (11km), or a 20 minute boat ride, offshore. The boat anchors in various locations around the two Islands depending on sea conditions, winds and currents. While Geyser Rock, the smaller island, is a breeding ground for approximately 60,000 Cape Fur Seals. Dyer Island is the larger of the two and is home to a wide variety of bird species including Jackass Penguins, Cape Cormorants and Gannets.

The Great White Shark Project is dedicated to educating and preserving the world’s greatest predator, the Great White Shark, and its environment. The project aims to educate as many people as possible in the misconception of this apex predator and in turn help to preserve the species. The project works with students, eco-tourists, conservation organization and marine resource users to gather data, correct negative misconceptions, and stop the needless slaughter of over 100 million sharks annually.

Unsustainable fishing practices, dorsal fin poaching and environmental degradation compounded by a relatively slow Great White breeding cycle are all factors contributing to the potential demise of this amazing creature. Unfortunately, as a result of negative media publicity, sharks have become one of the most maligned and misunderstood species on the planet and have been subjected to hunting and slaughter to the point where many species are endangered.

The Great White Shark, which can grow up to six metres in length and two tons in weigh, has been a protected species in South Africa since 1991. South Africa has long been known for its abundance of Great White Sharks, making it a prime area to observe these magnificent creatures.


You will be getting up early, working with Great White Sharks during long days at sea before relaxing with the crew or other volunteers at night. One of your main duties will be educating our clients about Great White Sharks and the need for conservation.

The programme is primarily focused on cage diving eco-tourism and volunteers will enjoy regular trips to sea to view/cage dive with the Great Whites.

You will be encouraged to be involved in all aspects of the project’s work, including tasks such as preparing baits, packing the boat, washing the equipment, working with the eco-tourists, recording data on the sharks and even getting your hands dirty with chum!

As the project is subject to weather and tide conditions, there is no such thing as a typical day, your duties will change from day to day, as volunteers do rotate, but here is an indication of what would be expected of you:

• Tuesdays – assist at Swop Shop with Recycling
• Clean and put wetsuits away
• Clean boat post-trip
• Point out sharks to crew, clients and fellow volunteers
• Boat check – daily as per boat check list in office
• Ensure cleanliness of boat
• Constant and vigilant shark spotting and bait watching
• Writing for blog about your experience
• Make sure equipment for diving, chumming, bait, food etc. are on the boat
• Data Recording and Data Capturing
• Chumming
• Assist with anchoring
• Preparing and distributing wetsuits to clients
• Education of clients and general interaction with them
• Assist clients as needed

Basic Seamanship -
Volunteers will also be taught basic seaman skills including boat handling on board Shark Team in a practical environment. This includes general boat maintenance, packing and cleaning, anchor positioning (deployment and retrieval), cage deployment (attachment and retrieval), knots, general safety and good safe crewing practices. On non-sea days you will be taken on various excursions, such as wine tasting, a visit to the penguins or to the most Southern point of Africa. Upon completion of the program, the project provides volunteers with a certificate of accomplishment.

White Shark Field Research Data Collection -
Volunteers 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. You will be educated in an informal environment, learning about the behaviour of the Great Whites, their history and the urgent need for research.

Cage Diving with Great White Sharks -
Using a specially designed, secure, five man steel cage, which floats on the surface, divers will be no more than 1m below the surface. Cage Divers are responsible for recording observations on the Great Whites including sex, size, markings and behaviours. The duration of each dive depends on the diver, the number of eco-tourists and the activity of the sharks, but could be up to 20 minutes per dive.

White Shark Recycle Swop-Shop -
The volunteers and staff involved find it an enriching experience that helps bridge the gap between different cultures and communities – if you want to bring a contribution, it will be greatly appreciated!

The project works by encouraging local school children to collect rubbish and litter from the street and their homes. They then earn points for these recyclable materials which they ‘spend’ in the shop on much-needed school stationery or clothes.

On Tuesdays, volunteers will be expected to help out at the Swop Shop, a new project that promotes recycling, environmental awareness, self-reliance, and helps to provide for some of the basic needs of the local children.


No special skills or qualifications are required - just a minimum age of 18 and a willingness to get involved with all of the activities!

Volunteer Types

Animal welfare

What`s Included

•All Project activities
•Airport transfers
•Project uniform

Other Programs From The Same Provider

Program Locations

Kleinbaai, South Africa

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Program Details

The Great Projects
  • South Africa: Kleinbaai
Throughout the year
Program Duration:
1-2 weeks, 1-3 months
American, Asian, Australian, Canadian, European, Kiwi, South African, Worldwide
£780.00 +
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