South Africa Great White Shark Experience

From $2,079, 2 weeks, South Africa Trip code: SAIM

  • Adventure 1 out of 5
  • Relaxation 1 out of 5
  • Culture 1 out of 5
Marine Biology Internship in South AfricaMarine Biology Internship in South AfricaMarine Biology Internship in South Africa

Trip Highlights

  • Have an amazing experience getting up close to these amazing creatures
  • Learning all about ecosystems and how to interpret the sharks behaviour
  • Being in one of the best places in the world to see Great White Sharks in their natural habitat!

Trip Summary

See full itinerary

With the world's shark population becoming increasingly under threat and as a volunteer on this project you will play a pivotal role in observing and protecting these majestic creatures.

 

This is a very exciting program and not for the faint hearted! You'll be getting up close to Great White Sharks, volunteering on a shark cage diving vessel and working alongside marine biologists conducting research on these fascinating creatures, their environment and other marine wildlife. You might even be lucky enough to help with the tagging and tracking of the sharks. As well as conducting research you'll be helping out with the tourists on the shark cage diving boats by preparing the boats and assisting the crew. If this isn't enough, you'll even have the opportunity to go shark cage diving yourself and experience these incredible predators up close and personal.

 

The project is based in Kleinbaai in the Western Cape of South Africa, one of the best places in the world to see Great White Sharks in their natural habitat so you're definitely in for an unforgetable experience!


When do I want to go?

Showing all departures (123)

Dates of Departures Duration Price (Land Only) Trip Status
21 April 20142 weeks$2,079Limited AvailabilityCall Us 1-800-985-4852
21 April 20143 weeks$2,599Limited AvailabilityCall Us 1-800-985-4852
21 April 20144 weeks$3,119Limited AvailabilityCall Us 1-800-985-4852
5 May 20142 weeks$2,079AvailableBook now
5 May 20143 weeks$2,599AvailableBook now
5 May 20144 weeks$3,119AvailableBook now
19 May 20142 weeks$2,079AvailableBook now
19 May 20143 weeks$2,599AvailableBook now
19 May 20144 weeks$3,119AvailableBook now
2 June 20142 weeks$2,079AvailableBook now
2 June 20143 weeks$2,599AvailableBook now
2 June 20144 weeks$3,119AvailableBook now
16 June 20142 weeks$2,079AvailableBook now
16 June 20143 weeks$2,599AvailableBook now
16 June 20144 weeks$3,119AvailableBook now
7 July 20142 weeks$2,079AvailableBook now
7 July 20143 weeks$2,599AvailableBook now
7 July 20144 weeks$3,119AvailableBook now
21 July 20142 weeks$2,079AvailableBook now
21 July 20143 weeks$2,599AvailableBook now
21 July 20144 weeks$3,119AvailableBook now
4 August 20142 weeks$2,079AvailableBook now
4 August 20143 weeks$2,599AvailableBook now
4 August 20144 weeks$3,119AvailableBook now
18 August 20142 weeks$2,079AvailableBook now
18 August 20143 weeks$2,599AvailableBook now
18 August 20144 weeks$3,119AvailableBook now
1 September 20142 weeks$2,079AvailableBook now
1 September 20143 weeks$2,599AvailableBook now
1 September 20144 weeks$3,119AvailableBook now
15 September 20142 weeks$2,079AvailableBook now
15 September 20143 weeks$2,599AvailableBook now
15 September 20144 weeks$3,119AvailableBook now
6 October 20142 weeks$2,079AvailableBook now
6 October 20143 weeks$2,599AvailableBook now
6 October 20144 weeks$3,119AvailableBook now
20 October 20142 weeks$2,079AvailableBook now
20 October 20143 weeks$2,599AvailableBook now
20 October 20144 weeks$3,119AvailableBook now
3 November 20142 weeks$2,079AvailableBook now
3 November 20143 weeks$2,599AvailableBook now
3 November 20144 weeks$3,119AvailableBook now
17 November 20142 weeks$2,079AvailableBook now
17 November 20143 weeks$2,599AvailableBook now
17 November 20144 weeks$3,119AvailableBook now
1 December 20142 weeks$2,079AvailableBook now
1 December 20143 weeks$2,599AvailableBook now
1 December 20144 weeks$3,119AvailableBook now
15 December 20142 weeks$2,079AvailableBook now
15 December 20143 weeks$2,599AvailableBook now
15 December 20144 weeks$3,119AvailableBook now
5 January 20152 weeks$2,125AvailableBook now
5 January 20153 weeks$2,635AvailableBook now
5 January 20154 weeks$3,145AvailableBook now
19 January 20152 weeks$2,125AvailableBook now
19 January 20153 weeks$2,635AvailableBook now
19 January 20154 weeks$3,145AvailableBook now
2 February 20152 weeks$2,125AvailableBook now
2 February 20153 weeks$2,635AvailableBook now
2 February 20154 weeks$3,145AvailableBook now
16 February 20152 weeks$2,125AvailableBook now
16 February 20153 weeks$2,635AvailableBook now
16 February 20154 weeks$3,145AvailableBook now
2 March 20152 weeks$2,125AvailableBook now
2 March 20153 weeks$2,635AvailableBook now
2 March 20154 weeks$3,145AvailableBook now
16 March 20152 weeks$2,125AvailableBook now
16 March 20153 weeks$2,635AvailableBook now
16 March 20154 weeks$3,145AvailableBook now
6 April 20152 weeks$2,125AvailableBook now
6 April 20153 weeks$2,635AvailableBook now
6 April 20154 weeks$3,145AvailableBook now
20 April 20152 weeks$2,125AvailableBook now
20 April 20153 weeks$2,635AvailableBook now
20 April 20154 weeks$3,145AvailableBook now
4 May 20152 weeks$2,125AvailableBook now
4 May 20153 weeks$2,635AvailableBook now
4 May 20154 weeks$3,145AvailableBook now
18 May 20152 weeks$2,125AvailableBook now
18 May 20153 weeks$2,635AvailableBook now
18 May 20154 weeks$3,145AvailableBook now
1 June 20152 weeks$2,125AvailableBook now
1 June 20153 weeks$2,635AvailableBook now
1 June 20154 weeks$3,145AvailableBook now
15 June 20152 weeks$2,125AvailableBook now
15 June 20153 weeks$2,635AvailableBook now
15 June 20154 weeks$3,145AvailableBook now
6 July 20152 weeks$2,125AvailableBook now
6 July 20153 weeks$2,635AvailableBook now
6 July 20154 weeks$3,145AvailableBook now
20 July 20152 weeks$2,125AvailableBook now
20 July 20153 weeks$2,635AvailableBook now
20 July 20154 weeks$3,145AvailableBook now
3 August 20152 weeks$2,125AvailableBook now
3 August 20153 weeks$2,635AvailableBook now
3 August 20154 weeks$3,145AvailableBook now
17 August 20152 weeks$2,125AvailableBook now
17 August 20153 weeks$2,635AvailableBook now
17 August 20154 weeks$3,145AvailableBook now
7 September 20152 weeks$2,125AvailableBook now
7 September 20153 weeks$2,635AvailableBook now
7 September 20154 weeks$3,145AvailableBook now
21 September 20152 weeks$2,125AvailableBook now
21 September 20153 weeks$2,635AvailableBook now
21 September 20154 weeks$3,145AvailableBook now
5 October 20152 weeks$2,125AvailableBook now
5 October 20153 weeks$2,635AvailableBook now
5 October 20154 weeks$3,145AvailableBook now
19 October 20152 weeks$2,125AvailableBook now
19 October 20153 weeks$2,635AvailableBook now
19 October 20154 weeks$3,145AvailableBook now
2 November 20152 weeks$2,125AvailableBook now
2 November 20153 weeks$2,635AvailableBook now
2 November 20154 weeks$3,145AvailableBook now
16 November 20152 weeks$2,125AvailableBook now
16 November 20153 weeks$2,635AvailableBook now
16 November 20154 weeks$3,145AvailableBook now
7 December 20152 weeks$2,125AvailableBook now
7 December 20153 weeks$2,635AvailableBook now
7 December 20154 weeks$3,145AvailableBook now
21 December 20152 weeks$2,125AvailableBook now
21 December 20153 weeks$2,635AvailableBook now
21 December 20154 weeks$3,145AvailableBook now

What will I be doing?

  • Your Role as a Volunteer ()

  • About Kleinbaai ()

  • Application process ()

  • It's not all work! ()

Your Role as a Volunteer:

Next Leg

Destination info

Diverse, exhilarating, spectacular, varied – South Africa is a wildlife volunteer destination to write home about. Never far from the news, it’s a vast, modern multicultural country, full of contradictions and full of interest. It offers so many opportunities for student travel that it’s difficult to summarise.


There’s the country itself – offering everything from lush subtropics to deserts, savannah to scrubland, bushveld to stunning coastlines. If your taste is for Africa’s big five, this is the one of the very best places on the continent to see them.


Then there are the people and what they’ve achieved. If your interest lies in modern politics, South Africa should definitely be on your travel shortlist. You’ll have the chance to live and volunteer in a country that has accomplished so much in the years since apartheid was dismantled – it’s unique in the world.

  • Location: Kleinbaai, South Africa

This is an outstanding opportunity for volunteers to see sharks in their natural environment, either from a boat or a cage, and to learn about the marine wildlife and ecosystems in the area. As a volunteer you'll be getting involved in the work which helps preserve these species and their environment and you'll gain truly exceptional research experience and training. Here's a taste of the types of activities on offer on this programme.

 

Tagging and Tracking
Tagging and tracking is done throughout the year but is completely weather and funding dependent and cannot be guaranteed as it is a bonus when it happens. When it does happen though all volunteers will get involved. The first white shark tagged in South Africa was in 2009, where ‘Sarika’ a 4.2m female was spotted in the shallows. For the next two months we manually tracked her on our dedicated research vessel, to within meters of the beach and up to the edge of Dyer Island. Sharks are externally tagged while free swimming and manually tracked using ultrasonic pings from the tag which are picked up by a receiver on the boat. We shadow the sharks’ movements up and down the bay. We are investigating the effect of environmental parameters on the localised movements and predatory foraging on prey species. As members of the research team, volunteers assist us in both tagging and tracking expeditions as well as processing the data.

 

Dorsal fin identification
As a volunteer you will be getting involved and helping the marine biologists with dorsal fin identification which takes place on the daily shark cage diving vessel. Each sharks fin is unique, and with bait and chum, images can be captured of the sharks fin and matched to our database. Such information is crucial to calculate population estimates for great white sharks on a local, national and global scale. Our catalogue dates back to 2007 and is likely the most extensive on the species with a dedicated effort for everyday we work with these animals. Interns will assist with this project by learning photo editing techniques as well as cataloguing.

 

Predation studies

Predations are monitored mainly in the winter time when the sharks are at their most active and if you are volunteering at this time there might be the chance for you to help out the marine biologists with this.

 

Geyser Rock is home to a Cape fur seal colony of some 55-60,000 individuals and each year this huge abundance draw white sharks to feed. The predation pressure on the seals is immense, and simply by being in the area the sharks shape the movements of the seals before they even begin to attack. The ecology of fear examines what extent this presence plays in the day to day lives of the seals. By dedicatedly observing and quantifying the seals’ movement patterns, we are further understanding the influence of dynamic predators in ecosystems. You will have the opportunity to join Michelle, one of our researchers on surveys around Dyer Island and deep into Shark Alley where seals play the game of predator vs. prey; a game in which you either win or you die!

 

Whale watching and shark cage diving
We run daily shark cage diving trips and whale watching during the months of July to December. As a volunteer you'll be working on these 2 vessels and you'll be conducting research on the sharks and other marine life. We use these trips as unique opportunities to gather data and further our understanding of the wildlife in the bay. Already we have observed wound healing in white sharks, predatory interactions between sharks and dolphin and the long term effect of satellite tagging on the sharks dorsal fins. You will have the opportunity to help gather data from these commercial trips and even help the guides and crew on the water. You will also have the opportunity to jump in yourself and experience these apex predators up close and personal! As these are tourist boats, volunteers will also be getting involved withe tourist duties such as, assisting with dive operations, helping the tourists and preparing and cleaning the boats and wetsuits.

 

Environmental surveys

Environmental surveys are conducted almost daily, with regular beach walks, beach clean ups, hikes, shark egg case walks and rocky shore ecology. These walks are a great opportunity for volunteers as you can really learn a lot and this work is really hands on. Because we are located between two oceans, the Atlantic and Indian Ocean we see dramatic changes in the environmental parameters on both a seasonal and day to day bases. As warm water from the east (in the Agulhas current) meets cold water from the west (in the cold and upwelling Benguela current) mixing occurs and we have an abundance of nutrients and biodiversity. Changes can dramatically impact the wildlife in the bay from the fish species we observe to the amount of sharks, whales and dolphin we encounter. Alison’s PhD hinges on decoding these complex relationships and volunteers will be fully trained in the deployment and interpretation of YSI probes measuring oxygen, salinity and temperature of the water column.

 

Community projects
We are involved in the community and although we do not have a set schedule for the community projects, if our community needs help, we will go and help no matter what time of the year or what activity. We have a range of community projects that we support and that you can be a part of, from teaching kids from the local schools about the Marine Big 5 (dolphins, whales, seals, sharks and penguins) to cleaning up beaches and assisting the making and deployment of penguin houses and fishing line bins. 

About Kleinbaai:

Next Leg

Destination info

Diverse, exhilarating, spectacular, varied – South Africa is a wildlife volunteer destination to write home about. Never far from the news, it’s a vast, modern multicultural country, full of contradictions and full of interest. It offers so many opportunities for student travel that it’s difficult to summarise.


There’s the country itself – offering everything from lush subtropics to deserts, savannah to scrubland, bushveld to stunning coastlines. If your taste is for Africa’s big five, this is the one of the very best places on the continent to see them.


Then there are the people and what they’ve achieved. If your interest lies in modern politics, South Africa should definitely be on your travel shortlist. You’ll have the chance to live and volunteer in a country that has accomplished so much in the years since apartheid was dismantled – it’s unique in the world.

  • Location: Gansbaai, South Africa

Situated near Cape Agulhas, the southern tip of Africa, Kleinbaai (Klein Bay) is an extraordinary marine environment. At the centre of the Bay, Dyer Island is the home of about 60,000 Cape Fur Seals attracting one of the densest and most accessible populations of Great White Sharks in the world. The clear waters and relatively small area make shark sightings a daily occurrence throughout the year with a peak in the Southern Hemisphere winter (May-September). Despite their large numbers and the frequent sightings, little research has been conducted on this Great White Shark population.


The organisation is filling this knowledge gap with an intensive programme of research conducted from the cage diving boat, and a dedicated research boat from which our marine biologists study important aspects of shark behaviour. Our work has been presented at international conferences.


The Bay is also a vitally important breeding area for endangered Southern Right Whales which migrate from their feeding grounds in Antarctica to mate and breed here from July-December.


About 800 adult whales are seen annually. Fortunately, boat-based access to these animals is strictly controlled with only a limited number of licences being given to responsible tour operators. Our eco-tourism partner offers some of the best boat-based whale watching in the world.


In addition to Southern Right Whales there are resident populations of Humpback and Bryde’s whales as well as large pods of Bottlenose and Common dolphins. Dyer Island has one of the few remaining breeding colonies of the vulnerable African Penguin around the coast of the Cape. The habitat of these charming birds was largely destroyed in the 19th and early 20th centuries when guano was stripped from the islands thus removing the soft ground into which the penguins could burrow. As a result, eggs and chicks are now exposed to predators and the elements. Together with overfishing and marine pollution, this has caused the population to fall by 90% in the last 100 years and it is now at an all-time low.

Application process:

Next Leg

Destination info

Diverse, exhilarating, spectacular, varied – South Africa is a wildlife volunteer destination to write home about. Never far from the news, it’s a vast, modern multicultural country, full of contradictions and full of interest. It offers so many opportunities for student travel that it’s difficult to summarise.


There’s the country itself – offering everything from lush subtropics to deserts, savannah to scrubland, bushveld to stunning coastlines. If your taste is for Africa’s big five, this is the one of the very best places on the continent to see them.


Then there are the people and what they’ve achieved. If your interest lies in modern politics, South Africa should definitely be on your travel shortlist. You’ll have the chance to live and volunteer in a country that has accomplished so much in the years since apartheid was dismantled – it’s unique in the world.

  • Location: Kleinbaai, South Africa

Step 1: Application
To apply for this project we ask you to either call us or apply online. When you apply we will request information on your emergency contact details, passport number and your health background and other important information. At this stage a deposit payment of £199 is requested, this deposit is non-refundable, unless your application is declined by our team in South Africa.

 

Step 2: Acceptance onto the project

Once our team in South Africa have reviewed your application, and accepted you onto the programme for your preferred dates we will contact you to confirm your application has been successful. We recommend you purchase insurance as soon as you secure your placement.

 

Step 3: Online account details
Once your placement has been secured, we will set up and send you details of your online account login which will take you to your personal Real Gap secure website. Here you can view details of your project, along with info specific to your time in South Africa. This includes; what to expect during your time in South Africa, what to take with you, country and visa information and details such as insurance and where to get necessary vaccinations. Once you have your login details you can go ahead and book flights, to do this please contact your travel advisor who will give you a quote.

 

In the run up to your project, our expert team will be here to answer any questions you may have and to fully prepare you for your time in South Africa.

It's not all work!:

Destination info

Diverse, exhilarating, spectacular, varied – South Africa is a wildlife volunteer destination to write home about. Never far from the news, it’s a vast, modern multicultural country, full of contradictions and full of interest. It offers so many opportunities for student travel that it’s difficult to summarise.


There’s the country itself – offering everything from lush subtropics to deserts, savannah to scrubland, bushveld to stunning coastlines. If your taste is for Africa’s big five, this is the one of the very best places on the continent to see them.


Then there are the people and what they’ve achieved. If your interest lies in modern politics, South Africa should definitely be on your travel shortlist. You’ll have the chance to live and volunteer in a country that has accomplished so much in the years since apartheid was dismantled – it’s unique in the world.

  • Location: Kleinbaai, South Africa

On your ‘off-sea’ days, there are dozens of trips and excursions in the area, which is known as one of the most scenic destinations in the world, such as wine tasting, visiting the most Southern point of Africa. Kleinbaai is a quiet village and evenings can be spent in one of the nice pubs or restaurants, but there are no nightclubs or cinemas. Our volunteer co-ordinator can help you arrange activities (at an additional cost) some of which are listed below.

 

Horse treks

Take up the relaxing opportunity to explore the valley on horseback along rambling trails through the Walker Bay Whale Conservancy. The ride will take you through a private nature reserve along the Klein River and up into the Kleinriviersberg Mountains. They can be for one to four hours and are tailored to suit riders of all abilities.


Quad biking!

This quad biking trail takes you around the historical Robert Stanford Wine Estate through vineyards and thick bush just wide enough for your quad bike to ride through. The trail finishes with a short but steep drop which, with assistance from the guide, riders take on one-by-one. More steep climbs and drops await, head up a waterway and make sure you counter-balance on the impressively sharp angles. If you need even more excitement after your shark encounters then this is a must.

 

Whale Watching
Join a magical Whale Watching trip and encounter a whale longer and wider than the boat you are on! This huge, gentle and mysterious creature really is a magnificent site. The season for Whale spotting is July to December. 

 

Cape Town

No trip to South Africa is complete without a visit to Cape Town, home of the world famous Table Mountain and one of the most lively cities on the planet. If you are interested in history, you can go to Robben Island, where you can visit the prison where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated. There are also markets, botanical gardens, and cape of good hope, one of the most southerly points in Africa.

 

Trip Notes Download

Download full trip notes
Loading...

Thank you - if download does not start automatically please click here

To get a detailed PDF of information for this trip including full itinerary, country guides and travel advice on visas, money, insurance and the local weather, download our trip notes. By doing so you’ll also be kept updated on all the latest news, offers and stories on this particular trip. Happy reading!

What's included?

  • All accommodation (including bedding, coffee, tea, cereals, etc.)
  • Full orientation and briefing session with the team
  • Return Transfers to and from Cape Town
  • Internet access at volunteer house
  • Boat trips
  • 2 T-shirts, 1 cap and 1 jacket (jacket to be returned after programme completion)
  • 1 pair of water boots
  • Certificate of completion
  • Tour of Kleinbaai and surroundings including a Township Tour as well as a visit to the famous Danger Point Lighthouse.

What's not included?

  • Flight ticket
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Excess baggage
  • Use of telephone
  • Food- you will need approximately £200 / US$360 per month)
  • We usually suggest a monthly budget of £125-250/ US$215-430 for entertainment and other personal details, excluding your basic food costs.

Additional Information & FAQs

Accommodation

You will be situated in Kleinbaai – known as the “White Shark Capital of the World.” This is a small town which offers a wide range of services including well-stocked supermarkets, banks, etc. Kleinbaai is about 30 minutes by road from the larger town of Hermanus which is an important tourist centre and about 2 hours drive from Cape Town. The surrounding area offers easy access to the Cape fynbos – one of the world’s most diverse eco-systems – and a number of tourist attractions and activities.


Accommodation is in a lodge, equipped with 4 chalets that house between 4 and 6 persons per chalet, with own bathroom, kitchen and living areas as well as daily living essentials. The main house will be occupied by volunteer coordinators and a full time janitor so all the needs of the grounds are met. There is also a very spacious living area in the main hall with a pool table, TV, DVD player and wifi, communal indoor braai and kitchen area.

There is also a swimming pool and garden.

 

 

Meals

Meals are not included in the cost of the programme. We recommend that you budget between £200 / USD$360 per month on the programme.

 

Is this trip for you?

All you need is to be enthusiastic, love sharks and marine life and be prepared to have fun in the process and learn about our animals and environment.

 

You will be met at Cape Town International Airport and transferred to Kleinbaai the following day. There are direct flights from London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Atlanta, and Dubai. Alternatively, you can transit via Johannesburg which has flights from most major cities in Europe as well as regular connections with the US and other parts of the world including Asia and Latin America.


On arrival you will be fully briefed by a co-ordinator and you will meet the research team who will be available throughout your stay.

Advice & Safety

Throughout your programmes you will have the support and guidance of the programme co-ordinator and team. You will be provided with competent assistance and help with any questions or advice you may need during your stay.

You will be assigned a personal travel advisor who will co-ordinate your programme with you. Feel free to contact them at any time before you go, or when you are on your travels.

In addition, you will have access to a 24 hour emergency contact number so you can contact one of our UK staff at any time should you need to.

 

DBS

This trip requires a Police Check to be carried out - please contact us for further information on how to do this. 

What will I see in South Africa?

14 photos

What other travelers thought

I've done this trip

Write review

Unfortunately we don't have any traveller reviews available for this trip. Please check back soon as we are regularly adding more customer reviews onto the site

IF YOU LIKE THIS, YOU'LL LOVE THESE...

Call 1-800-985-4852
Monday - Friday: 10am - 7pm
Ask a Question Get a Brochure
 

My Wishlist

You do not have any trips in your Wishlist.
Add South Africa Great White Shark Experience to your Wishlist