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.