Gansbaai, Cape Town

Mar – Sept

South Africa, and the Gansbaai region in particular, are globally renowned as being locations for some of the best opportunities to observe and volunteer with Great White Sharks and Southern Right Whales anywhere in the World.  With the potential to view these majestic marine animals at close quarters being combined with the ability to learn and gain huge insights into their plight, interactions and lives from hugely experienced on site Marine Biologists, the Great White Shark volunteer program in conjunction with Volunteer World International provides a once in a lifetime opportunity and experience for anyone with an interest in or wanting to make a lasting difference to Marine Conservation in a region of huge importance and biodiversity and to volunteer with Great White Sharks.

The area in which the project is located is also a perfect marine environment attracting many different species and therefore offering many different experiences to our volunteers.  Southern Right Whales travel every year to the region on their annual migration to calve and are often easily visible at this time from land or sea, ‘Shark Alley’ (a narrow, shallow channel in between Dyer and Geyser Islands) gets its name from and provides perfect habitat with the local seal and penguin colonies for the numerous Great White Sharks permanently resident in the area – all in all, a fantastic location providing many fantastic experiences!

Volunteers choosing to visit this massively involving program run by VWI in conjunction with Marine Volunteers will find themselves working alongside resident Marine Biologists actively involved in developing understanding of the Great White Sharks, Southern Right Whales and other marine species such as Jackass Penguins, Cape Fur Seals and the several species of dolphin found in the local waters.  When not at sea on the (subject to debate) Indian Ocean observing the diverse fauna on show, volunteers will have an exciting range of activities to be involved in – from the opportunity of attending talks and videos regarding all aspects of the Trusts activities from Great White Shark Biology to basic seamanship and photography, to assisting with conservation practices and community outreach programs within the locality to simply relaxing around the pool with a beer and a braai with fellow volunteers – this is a genuinely fantastic project sure to leave a lasting mark on all those who visit and a major reason why many volunteers return to the project over and over again!

Freetime for our volunteers also offers endless possibilities – with the project itself based in Kleinbaai (just a short way outside Gansbaai), Cape Town and all it has to offer is just a short and scenic 2 ½ hour drive away.  Opportunities to visit Cape Town, Table Mountain – one of the new 7 World Wonders of Nature, Cape Agulhas (the Southernmost tip of the African continent), various safari lodges and wine farms are all easily possible – all you have to do is let us know what you want to do!

This project genuinely offers everything you could wish for and more if you have an interest in Marine Conservation, for a more in depth look at the project, please view our video below and remember, places are limited so book now to avoid disappointment!


Volunteering at the Great White Shark Project offers any volunteers with a passion for the marine world a host of amazing opportunities to be involved in as part of your stay.

Under the direct care and supervision of resident marine biologists at the project undertaking active research work into the variety of species resident in the local waters, volunteers will have unrivalled access to experience and information on all matters of marine conservation – coupled with the activities available and integrated as part of the program, this is truly a leading volunteer experience for anyone interested in the watery world that surrounds us.

  • Cage dive with the Great Whites for a truly unforgettable experience!
  • Learn more about shark behaviour, interactions with other species and exactly why the region is world renowned as a Great White hot spot.
  • See a variety of other marine species at close quarters including dolphins, seals penguins and the several species of whale that visit these waters.
  • Visit Hermanus during whale season (June to November, approx) for what is generally acknowledged to be the premier destination anywhere in the world for land based whale watching.
  • Even take part in visits to local schools as part of the programs Community Outreach initiative!

There really is no better location anywhere in the world for volunteers wanting to take part in a marine conservation program – the Great White Shark Project finds itself right at the heart of premier global locations for the viewing of and research into several marine species affording volunteers opportunities and experiences that are simply not available anywhere else and situated just a short drive from Cape Town, one of the worlds tourist hotspots and all it has to offer – what more could you possibly want from a Marine Conservation Volunteer Program?!

  • The volunteer experience with VWI and Marine Volunteers is designed to be a hugely engrossing, exciting and hands on experience.  Weather dependent, volunteers will spend much of their time at sea near to or in ‘Shark Alley’ – a narrow channel between Dyer Island and Geyser Island observing the marine fauna from one of our organisations research boats – photo opportunities here are in abundance!  When not at sea, the interaction and beneficial use of our volunteers time does not stop – volunteers are afforded the opportunity of getting involved with several terrestrial based activities such as assisting with the local community outreach project, beach clean ups or helping install and maintain penguin nesting boxes as part of the ongoing conservation effort.  Conservation starts from a grass routes level and the Trust are fully involved in instilling this belief.

On a day to day basis, volunteers may be involved in the following activities:

  • Gaining first Hand experience of working on an ecotourism boat and the rare opportunity to work with the Great White Shark.
  • Helping with full preparation of the boat prior to launch
  • Assisting and looking after other guests whilst on board the boat.
  • Cage diving and viewing of the sharks – on many peoples ‘bucket lists’!
  • Those showing a good work ethic or who are studying in a related field may be afforded the opportunity of attending research expeditions to assist the Marine Biologists in data collection, Environmental Surveys or even shark tracking.  This is dependent on aptitude and the prevailing needs of the project at the time of your visit.
  • Attending lectures and video talks on a diverse range of topics including shark biology and behavior, safety at sea and basic seamanship, ocean conservation, shark tagging/tracking or even photography.
  • Monthly Marine evenings with talks from other conservationists and shark experts to share their knowledge.
  • Community outreach programs – visiting local schools to interact with the areas children.
  • Regular beach clean ups to assist with the Trusts Conservation Programs.

Should it not be possible to head out to sea due to bad weather and no other activities or lectures are planned, the project will make sure you are kept busy and field trips will be arranged to suit!  Such trips have included the below on past occasions:

  • A trip to Cape Agulhas – the Southernmost point of Africa.
  • A visit to the local heritage site Klipgat Cave where you can swim in warm water
  • A visit to Stony Point penguin colony in Betty’s Bay
  • Kelp diving at Stanford Cove
  • Horse Riding
  • Paintball
  • Shopping excursions and wine tasting in Hermanus or Cape Town
  • Visit to the Two Oceans Aquarium and the Waterfront in Cape Town

Whether the weather is inclement or fine – volunteers with VWI and Dyer Island Conservation Trust are guaranteed a richly rewarding experience that they will remember forever.  Many of our volunteers return year after year to this very popular project – a true testimony to the people involved and the experiences offered leading to this opportunity being one of the best available anywhere for anyone wanting to volunteer with Great White Sharks!

The Great White Shark Projects location, just outside Gansbaai, approximately 150kms South of Cape Town finds itself right at the heart of the worlds centre for research into and viewing of these apex predators offering volunteers an unbeatable and one-of-a-kind opportunity to learn more about this amazing species at incredibly close quarters.

It is not only Great White Sharks though that can readily be viewed here, the Great White Shark project is also located only a 15 minute drive away from Hermanus – the world capital for land based whale viewing and the spawning grounds (in season (June-November)) of Southern Right Whales on their migration along South Africas coastline.

With the natural marine features associated with the area and subsequent abundance and variety of species that frequent the local waters, there is no better location anywhere in the world to visit as a volunteer for anyone interested in marine life, research and conservation.

The Great White Shark Programs location near Gansbaai is perfectly suited to volunteers with a passion for the sea and the life within.  Locally, the area acts as a world centre for the viewing of both Great White Sharks and also Southern Right Whales (in season) making this a premier location for anyone wanting to take part in a real ‘marine safari’.

Just a short drive from Cape Town and all it has to offer also, volunteers need never be bored in their down time away from the project and are afforded numerous things to do in their spare time:

  • Visit nearby Hermanus for some of the best land based whale watching available anywhere in the world (in season, June-November)
  • Take a trip to Cape Agulhas – the Southernmost point of the African continent
  • Visit Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope – the (subject to debate) meeting point of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans
  • Take a drive along Chapmans Peak drive for some of the most dramatic coastal scenery imaginable and beautiful secluded beaches
  • And of course, Cape Town – within easy reach of the program and packed full of attractions – a real must for any visitors to the Great White Shark Project!

Ask your project coordinator onsite for more options or contact us directly here at VWI – we’re happy to assist wherever we can and through our resident tour guide, can organise specific and individual requests for ‘things to do’ as required!

Whats Included

  • Accommodation in seperate houses each sleeping maximum 6 persons
  • Transfers to/from Gansbaai to Cape Town
  • Training and all activities associated with the program
  • Basic breakfast and lunches onboard boat
  • Daily tea and coffee
  • Personal supervisor to assist throughout your stay

Not Included

  • International Flights and Visas
  • Evening meals (there are many great local restaurants and take aways!)
  • Travel/medical insurance
  • Freetime entertainment
  • Monthly stipend

The Great White Shark Project accepts new volunteers every Monday and will collect and transfer all new arrivals from Cape Town to Kleinbaai early on Monday mornings.  As such, volunteers will need to plan their arrivals to Cape Town for Sunday at the latest with overnight accommodation until collection on Monday morning.  Volunteer World International are more than happy to assist with finding accommodation before (and after) your visit to the project as required – just let us know your requirements and remember we are perfectly placed in Cape Town to find exactly what you are looking for!

Note: VWI uses Paypal to issue all our invoices – should you require a quotation in a currency not listed above, please contact us detailing your requirements!


FROM £395


Great White Shark Volunteer Program South Africa Project Guide