Whales, Sharks and Penguins Researcher

Volunteer Int. Adventures
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Coordinator | Sharon
Coordinator | Sharon
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.

High­lights

Assist the onboard marine biologist on the whale or research boat with monitoring and data capturing of Southern Right and Humpback whales during the annual migration period from June to December
Help with the rehabilitation of injured, oiled and sick African Penguins and birds brought in for care and recuperation at a state-of-the-art facility
This is one of few shark conservation projects whose marine biologist is permitted to tag Great White sharks. Get involved with data capturing and research on the shark boat and while cage diving
For those studying marine biology and would like to do this project as a more intensive marine conservation internship, please let us know as it can be arranged
If staying 4 weeks and longer, it is also possible to get Scuba certified during your stay as an optional extra and enjoy Pelagic Shark Encounters and Kelp Forrest Dives
Experience not only Whale, Dolphin, Shark and Penguin research and monitoring but also community education, environmental issues, ecology and ecotourism This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 17+
Singles
Couples
Families
Groups
50+

This multi-faceted Marine Big 5 (Shark, Whale, Penguin, Seal and Dolphin) project is the perfect opportunity to make a difference with marine species conservation both on land and sea, ecotourism, research, and community development. There is a huge variety of work that you will be doing, and this will largely depend on what work is being done at the time you are there and the whale migration season.

The Marine Big 5:
• Shark – The Great White, Bronze Whaler, Blue and Mako. You might be able to spot Pyjama sharks if scuba diving in the kelp forests
• Whale – Southern Right, Humpback and Brydes’
• Penguin – African
• Seal – Cape Fur
• Dolphin – Bottlenose, Common and Humpback

Areas volunteers can get involved in:

  • Support guests and operational support on the whale watching and shark cage diving boats
  • Cleaning, fish preparation and assisting at feeding time at the penguin rehabilitation facility
  • Assembling, cleaning, and monitoring fishing line bins
  • Shark egg collection
  • Data capturing on the boats and support of other research activities. This is the only project in the area whose marine biologist is permitted to tag Great White sharks
  • Environmental education with local students
  • Snorkel dives in the kelp forests
  • Participate in community educational shows
  • Beach clean-ups and capturing data afterwards
  • Taking part in lectures of White Shark biology and research, African Penguins, marine mammal species, company and conservation overview, rocky shores ecology, boat safety and more. Please note to experience all the lectures, a full 4 weeks is needed.


Typical day

An example of a typical day

…please remember the daily schedule is affected according to the seasons and the weather. For the days that the weather is not advisable to go out by boat-for example due to high swells- there are still plenty of duties and activities to take part in:

5am to 8am- Time to wake up, wash have breakfast and get ready for the day. Remember you are dealing with the public so make yourself presentable. Head to the meeting point for the boat trips. Boat trips can be 2 to 3 times a day

8am to 12pm- Assist with the boat preparation and logistics for the trip. Welcome guests and help them with their life jackets. Once on the boat assist the guest when required, support the marine biologist/s with data entries, photographs, or environmental monitoring. This is always a great time to gain knowledge from these highly qualified professionals.  If the opportunity allows- which it often does- enjoy a shark cage dive. You may also be on the whale watching or eco boat tour and need to assist with guests and data entry.

12pm to 1pm– Break for lunch

1pm to 4pm- Presentations on marine species, boat safety, conservation work etc. These is also the time other conservation activities take place

4.30pm- Time to head back to the volunteer accommodation to prepare for dinner- maybe a South African style braai or maybe a pizza night in- or if you have energy after the early morning start, head out to a local restaurant for a good meal out…lots of lovely seafood restaurants being so close to the sea

Two volunteers are also assigned to help each morning and afternoon with the penguin feeding times which are 8am and 3pm.

Volunteer shared bedroom
Assist with the treatment of sick andThe apex predator of the sea, the Great White Shark

Free-time activities

Some of the attractions in the area:

Wine tasting at local wine farms which the area is famous for… we love the Sir Robert Stanford wine farm but there are plenty in the neighbouring areas to visit

Visit the Klipgat Cave just outside De Kelders in the Walker Bay Nature Reserve the early home to ancient homo sapiens some 70 000 to 80 000 years ago

Visit the most southern geographical tip of Africa, Cape Agulhas where a marker indicates the official dividing line of between the Atlantic and Indian ocean

Zip lining

Quad biking

Horse riding

Visit to a nearby ethical predator sanctuary to meet their beautiful lions, tigers, leopard, cheetah and caracal and hear the stories of where they were rescued from

Visit the Stony Point Nature Reserve penguin colony

Hiking

Craft beer tasting at local breweries

Scuba diving with blue and mako sharks- proof of your open water scuba diving certification is essential and scuba gear is provided.

Kelp Diving- snorkelling or scuba (proof of open water diving certification needed)

For those returning to Cape Town to do some independent travelling after their project, please chat to us about vouchers to visit the 2 Oceans aquarium which is a must!

Water Sports
Swimming
Sightseeing
Diving/
Snorkling
Shopping/
Souvenirs
Climbing
Safari/
Zoo
Hiking
Riding

Require­ments

In order to join the program you need to be at least 17 years old on the program start date.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 08:00 - 16:00

What's Included

Services by Volunteer Int. Adventures

The cost of the project includes 2 meals a day (breakfast and lunch), accommodation, Sunday overnight stay at a hostel in Cape Town, airport collection and drop-off, branded clothing, donation to the project, pre-departure support, in-country staff and 24- emergency help. Volunteers that stay 4 weeks and longer also have an artificial penguin nest sponsored on their behalf

Airport Pickup at Cape Town International Airport

Airport collection and an overnight stay in Cape Town at a hostel is included in the cost. You will be collected early on Monday morning for the 2 hour drive to the volunteer site. On completing your project, you will be returned to either your Cape Town accommodation or Cape Town International Airport

Accommodation

Accommodation is at the volunteer center. There are four cottages for volunteers shared between 4 to 6 volunteers and a house for interns. It is a shared sleeping arrangement. Bedding is provided and the water is safe to drink.

All facilities have a mini kitchen, but most prefer to gather in the central kitchen with adjacent dining room and sitting room. There is a lecture room and workspace as well as a garden with a pool where extra optional diving courses take place and a braai (South African BBQ). There is an activity hall with weights and table tennis. Volunteers also enjoy a pool table and foosball and there are a variety of board games. Wi-Fi and satellite TV are also available.

The lodge is just 1,4km from the harbour where many of the operations take place and whilst there are two minibuses that move volunteers daily, it is also an easy walk or cycle away.

Recycling is a priority at the lodge.

Dorm Room Bedroom (Double) Youth Hostel
Food & Beverages

There is a fully equipped communal kitchen in the main building as well as kitchenettes in each volunteer cottage and a braai (South African barbeque) in the outside courtyard area. South Africa is famous for its braais and it is also a great relaxed way to also get to acquainted with your fellow volunteers

Breakfast is “help-yourself” with eggs, bacon/vegetarian sausages provided, cereal, bread, milk, coffee and tea.

Lunch is provided on the boat – cheese and tomato rolls, fruit, crisps; the same lunch is available on “no sea days”, but most volunteers decide to cook for themselves in this case or they go out for lunch.

Dinner is your own responsibility (don’t forget to budget for this)– some volunteers cook together, others go it alone and sometimes they go out to eat or grab pizza takeaways and watch the sunset from the rocks. There are some great seafood restaurants too in the area thanks to the nearby fishing industry.

Please make sure to bring seasickness tablets with you though as you may not have much need for food otherwise 

Internet Access
Good access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town. We assist you to find cheap flights to South Africa.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for South Africa provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccines
If you are intending to volunteer in South Africa you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for South Africa.

Dates & Fees

NO CREDIT CARD FEES

Details on arrival

It is an early Monday morning start so volunteers need to arrive on the Sunday and overnight in Cape Town which is included in the cost

Availability
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Duration
2 - 12 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
2 weeks (min. stay)
$1,441
3 weeks
$1,834
4 weeks
$2,227
5 weeks
$2,620
6 weeks
$3,013
7 weeks
$3,406
8 weeks
$3,799
9 weeks
$4,192
10 weeks
$4,585
11 weeks
$4,978
12 weeks (max. stay)
$5,371
Average fees
$584 /week

The organization charges its fees in GBP. The price table in USD is subject to currency fluctuation. Volunteer Int. Adventures will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Volunteer Int. Adventures during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

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High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
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We refund your fees if Volunteer Int. Adventures cancels your trip
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We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Volunteer Int. Adventures.

What are people saying about Volunteer World?

Whales, Sharks and Penguins Researcher

Experience not only Whale, Dolphin, Shark and Penguin research and monitoring but also community education, environmental issues, ecology and ecotourism

$446/week

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