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South Africa White Shark Research

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South Africa White Shark Research

Contribute to the conservation of great white sharks and other shark species in South Africa through research.

Prices from US$1,745

South Africa sits at the very southern tip of what is arguably the world's most epic continent and possesses the biological and cultural diversity to fit the bill. The country is bounded to the south by the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans, and shares land borders with Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland. With close to 53 million people South Africa is well known for its rich, multicultural and multi ethnic society, encompassing a wide variety of cultures, languages and religions. Its pluralistic makeup is reflected in the constitution's recognition of 11 official languages which is among the highest number of any country in the world.

South Africa is often referred to as the "Rainbow Nation" to describe the country's newly developing multicultural diversity, which has taken the place of the segregationist apartheid ideology previously in place. South Africa's cultural diversity is mirrored in its biodiversity, with it being ranked sixth out of the world's 17 'megadiverse' countries. In spite of this, the country faces many difficulties with conservation both on land and in the water. Invasive alien species pose a significant threat to native species, poaching and urban sprawl affect animal numbers and the country is expected to feel the effects of climate change very rapidly as the phenomenon worsens.

Despite the high profile media attention the great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) receives, relatively little is known about its biology and the IUCN lists it as vulnerable. While the total population is unknown, it is frequently found around the South African coast. One could say that the great white shark has never really received very good press. Often referred to as a man eater, the threat to human life by the shark is often exaggerated, which has led to trophy hunting and culling, as well as hunting for the oriental shark fin trade and even for public aquariums. The high value of great white shark products encourages poaching, clandestine trade and flouting of protective laws. Research has shown that even the removal of a few individuals can have tangible effects on local and global populations. By taking part in the project you can contribute to the conservation research of great white sharks and other shark species while at the same time improving your own scientific research skills.


  • Gain hands on marine conservation experience
  • Carry out vital data collection on shark behaviour and demographics
  • Get up close to great white sharks



Gansbaai, South Africa


Gain hands on fieldwork experience
Collect data on sharks and other species
Undertake behavioural studies


Airport pickup
Ground transfers


Shared volunteer house


Before you go


Pre-departure support
Travel & medical advice & documentation
Advice on equipment
Discounted medical kit
Free Frontier t-shirt



Airport pickup

Ground transfers

2 meals on working days
Local orientation and training
In-country emergency support
24-hour international HQ back-up


A variety of qualifications are available on many of our projects. For example, BTEC certificates and diplomas on our Group conservation projects and TEFL certificates and BTECs on most of our teaching projects. You may also be able to gain a CoPE to support your university application. For more information on these qualifications, please see the qualifications section of our website or ask your volunteer advisor.



This project was established to help monitor marine species in the area and contribute towards their conservation. The project carries out various research projects with the aim of learning about ecosystems as a whole so that over time any changes can be detected and subsequently understood. It is believed that in recent years there have been changes in the number of sharks, the behaviour of sharks and the number of fish and their habitats. Therefore monitoring these changes will help to inform the management of the coast line, which in turn will help to preserve not only great white sharks but other species and the ecosystem in which they live.



This project provides the opportunity to get involved in ground breaking marine research investigating great white shark behaviour and demographics, elasmobranch diversity and abundance, fish diversity and abundance, change in rocky shores and marine debris accumulation. As a volunteer you will be expected to carry out vital and varied work including data collection, data management and outreach programmes. In the field your work will vary and may involve white shark dorsal fin ID, controlled angling surveys, collection of behavioural, biological and morphometric data, tagging of sharks and fish, snorkelling, shore based transect methods, baited remote underwater video system (BRUVs) surveys and more. The work you will assist with will contribute towards a greater understanding of the local ecosystem as a whole. You may also have the chance to come face to face with great white sharks whilst cage diving to contribute to observational research.
Much of the work carried out on this project is weather dependent and therefore you should remain flexible to changes in your schedule.


On your arrival at Cape Town International airport you will be met and taken to a nearby hostel where you will spend the night. The following morning you will be picked up and taken to your project accommodation, which is approximately a 2 hour drive.


You will be staying in a shared volunteer house located in a small coastal town approximately 100m from the beach. There are shared single sex rooms with Western style toilets and showers. There is a TV, WiFi and laundry service.


On working days you will be provided with breakfast and lunch. Breakfast basics will also be available on off days. You will be responsible for your own dinners and any food on your days off. You will be taken to a local supermarket once a week and there is a small shop approximately 5 minutes' walk away. You may decide to cook with other volunteers or sample some of the local restaurants. 

Ten Most Recent Reviews for This Project

SUPERB  | 17 Nov 2019
Superb project, great location.  I'd really recommend the project to anyone interested i...

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You will usually have one or two days off per week during which you can relax, explore the local area or perhaps even visit Cape Town. There are plenty of exciting acitivites on offer which can be arranged with the help of project staff once you are in the country. Local activities include horse riding, hiking, wine tasting, surfing and diving. If you have the time why not stay on before or after your project to experience a safari in the world famous Kruger National Park?


2 weeks US$1,745

3 weeks US$2,595

4 weeks US$3,445

5 weeks US$4,295

6 weeks US$5,195

7 weeks US$6,045

8 weeks US$6,545

9 weeks US$7,745

10 weeks US$8,595

11 weeks US$9,495

12 weeks US$9,345



This project starts on the 1st of every month.


Minimum 2 weeks. One month is recommended to have a full experience because weather can make activities unpredictable.


Before you go

  • Pre-departure support & documentation
  • Travel & medical advice & documentation
  • Advice on equipment
  • Discounted medical kit
  • Free Frontier T-shirt


  • Airport pickup
  • Ground transfers
  • 2 meals on working days
  • Accommodation
  • Local orientation & training
  • in-country emergency support
  • 24 hour International HQ back-up


Nearest airport(s): Cape Town (CPT)


  • Flights
  • Visas
  • Insurance

For detailed information on flights, visas and insurance, click here.


Please read our legal statement regarding the running of NGO projects.

To apply for this placement, click on "Apply Now" below. Fill in the short application form and one of our advisers will then call you back to answer any questions and make sure this is the perfect placement for you. Applying doesn't cost a penny and you won't pay anything until you're completely happy and you're ready to reserve your place.

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