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Great White Shark Research & Conservation, South Africa

Great White Shark Research & Conservation, South Africa how would you like us to contact you?
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priced from
£ 807 | € 1009 | $ 1274
quick facts

minimum stay2 Weeks

destinationSouth Africa


Wildlife Research & Conservation


Volunteer in South Africa and meet one of the ocean’s greatest predators up close. This Great White Shark Research and Conservation Project is an experience of a lifetime, full of thrills, adventure and wonder.

Great white sharks the ultimate adventure marinedynamics pin it!

African Impact and its partners are dedicated to the exploration and conservation of the ocean’s greatest predator, the Great White Shark, and its environment. This volunteer project works with students, eco-tourists, scientists and conservation organizations to gather data, correct negative misconceptions about sharks, and stop the needless slaughter of over 100 million sharks annually.

The project is based in Gansbaai, a seaside village on the south coast of South Africa. Known as the Great White Shark capital of the world, Gansbaai thrives on fishing and tourism. Dyer Island (popularly known as Shark Alley) is one of the best places in the world to see Great Whites.

In Shark Alley, you will be likely to see seals, penguins and the occasional dolphins, as well as southern right whales coming up from Antarctica to breed from May to November. Geyser Rock, which is opposite the island, is a breeding home for Cape Fur Seals and is currently home to approximately 20,000 seals.

The shark team documents shark activity using aerial surveys and other data collection methods. Marine conservation volunteers will enjoy regular trips to sea to view / cage dive with the Great Whites, and will be involved in all aspects of the work, which includes preparing baits, packing the boat, washing the equipment, working with the eco-tourists, recording data on the sharks and even helping with the dishes.

The expeditions mean getting up early, working during long days at sea, and then relaxing with the crew or other volunteers at night. Finding the Great White Shark is a skill, involving years of practice - the water temperature, depth, visibility, swell height, current and wind direction are all major factors.

Divers will get to experience Great Whites from the safety of cages, while non-divers have a great opportunity to view the sharks from the safety of the boat, where exhilarating photographs and video footage may be captured at close range.

project pricing
2 Weeks: USD 1274 GBP 807 EUR 1009
3 Weeks: USD 1800 GBP 1140 EUR 1425
4 Weeks: USD 2179 GBP 1380 EUR 1725
5 Weeks: USD 1634 GBP 1668 EUR 2085
6 Weeks: USD 3089 GBP 1956 EUR 2445
7 Weeks: USD 3544 GBP 2244 EUR 2805
8 Weeks: USD 3998 GBP 2532 EUR 3165
9 Weeks: USD 4453 GBP 2820 EUR 3525
10 Weeks: USD 4908 GBP 3108 EUR 3885
11 Weeks: USD 5363 GBP 3396 EUR 4245
12 Weeks: USD 5817 GBP 3684 EUR 4605

Please note a longer placement may be possible - kindly send through an enquiry for more information.

project start date

As our start and end dates are Monday’s you would need to arrive no later than the previous Sunday

Weather permitting; you will go to sea frequently, where you will get involved in many aspects of research work aboard the boat.

Cage diving with great white sharks pin it!

Cage Diving with Great White Sharks

Once anchored in the channel, the project makes use of a specially designed, secure floating steel cage, with divers no more than 1m below the surface. You will be taught how to get in and out of the cage and how to remain secure inside. You will be responsible for recording observations on the Great Whites, including sex, size, markings and behaviour.

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 half an hour per dive.

White shark field research data collection pin it!

White Shark Field Research Data Collection

You will be taught how to collect data in the field on free-swimming 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.

Basic seamanship pin it!

Basic Seamanship

As part of the volunteering project you will be taught basic skills including boat handling and general maintenance. In addition, talks and videos may be given in the evenings or off-sea days on Great White Shark biology, research, behaviour, conservation, changing attitudes, attacks, basic seamanship, underwater filming, still photography and shark tourism.

Things to do with your spare time
Local activities pin it!
Local Activities

The area surrounding Gansbaai has a variety of interesting places for you to explore. Visit the caves in De Kelders, hike along the coast and walk along the sandy white beaches of Franskraal and Pearly Beach. You can also enjoy a tractor ride in the fynbos, visit the Strandveld Museum and discover the Dangerpoint Lighthouse.

Highlights of cape town pin it!
Highlights of Cape Town

Just 2 hours from Gansbaai lies the vibrant city of Cape Town. A must when visiting Cape Town is taking a cable car ride up Table Mountain. From here you will have a magnificent view over the peninsula and can enjoy a meal at the top of the mountain.

Other beautiful places to spend time are at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Cape Point Peninsula or taking a winelands tour to indulge in some of the best wines in the world. Cape Town is also famous for its beautiful beaches and options for cocktail sun-downers abound.

The african wild pin it!
The African Wild

You can experience an African Safari at Aquila Safari - a “Big 5” private game reserve with animals such as the springbok, lion, cape porcupine, olive baboon, leopard, and African elephant. Another great excursion for nature enthusiasts is to visit Cape Point, a nature reserve within the Table Mountain National Park which is a Natural World Heritage Site.

Shopping pin it!

Cape Town is home to the V&A Waterfront and many other great centres where you will find great gifts, memorabilia, entertainment and fantastic food. There are also lively weekend markets to enjoy shopping and soak up some of the local culture. Gaansbaai also has some quaint markets where you can pick up some curios and local wares.

About Gaansbaai
About gaansbaai pin it!

Gansbaai, known for being one of the most astonishing land-based whale watching spots in the world has drawn visitors from across the globe. Known as the Great White Shark capital of the world, this little fishing town will become your home away from home during your work and volunteer experience in Africa.

You will stay close to the harbour, which bustles with action and boats as people head out to sea.  The house is very comfortable with dorm rooms, a kitchen, dining area and lounge with television and DVD player. You can relax on the outside patio and cool off in the swimming pool on hot summer evenings.  There is a small supermarket nearby and you can safely walk around any time of day or night.

The project office is based at The Great White House where you will be briefed. This facility has a fully equipped restaurant and curio shop and two dedicated briefing rooms. Walking to the office is easy, quick and safe and will only take between 10 and 15 minutes.

Breakfast is on a help-yourself basis. You will enjoy lunch on the boat and tea and scones in the afternoons when you return from your day’s work.  Being responsible for your own dinner it is up to you whether you prefer to explore one of the local restaurants or cook your own meals at home.

Embark on the adventure of a lifetime as you discover an amazing new world under the sea.

Feedback from our volunteers
Ashlie, Canada

Had the most memorable time, met the most amazing people. The sharks were incredible, definitely something I'll never forget.

Robin Smith, USA

I had an amazing time on the project and I'm so glad I got to experience something so rewarding and beautiful as working so up close with the Great Whites.

Kelly Hosman, UK

I had an amazing experience and gained a lot of knowledge in working with clients and about sharks. I am still telling everyone I meet about the project and shark conservation.

Mary Crowle, UK

I had a fantastic 3 weeks in Gansbaai and didn't want to leave. The crew were brilliant and I felt welcomed onto the project straight away. I gained a greater understanding of the sharks behaviour which was something I didn't know a lot about before I went.