• Volunteer with one of the few Conservation-Focused Shark Diving Companies in SA!
  • Be trained as a marine research assistant, interact with sharks and gain essential skills for your future career!
  • Students, Post-Graduates, Early-Career Scientists and Marine Biologists are encouraged to apply!
  • White Shark Diving Company has a 100% safety record in the 25 years we have been operating.

Our volunteers play a vital role in data collection, learn how to manage such data, gain valuable skills in the field, and are involved with all outreach and educational programmes. Volunteering with us is a unique opportunity for students and early-career scientists to gain experience in marine research and white shark conservation in Cape Town. We provide a true educational experience, employing scientific techniques to learn more about our ecosystem. We endeavour to make your time with us a personal and career building experience, by providing extensive training in all projects and tailoring the programme to meet your individual needs. Included in the programme are several chances to be involved with cage-diving activities and come face to face with the magnificent Great White Shark in an unforgettable diving experience with our partner, White Shark Diving Company.

Volunteer with the Shark & Marine Research Institute at the tip of Africa in one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet.  Delve into the mysteries and complexities of the majestic Great White Shark, while also implementing projects focused on conserving our oceans and protecting the diverse life they support.

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Shark & Marine Research Institute’s volunteer programme focused on Shark Research in Cape Town starting dates are on the 1st and 15th of each month. We offer volunteer positions for a minimum of two weeks up to a maximum of three months. Check out our white shark marine volunteer brochure and find out more today!

Due to all research activities being weather dependent, we highly recommend joining for a minimum of one month to get the full experience of the programme.

Opportunities are available all year round; the only time we do not take on volunteers is from the 15th December to 1st February.

What’s included?

  • One night’s accommodation in CT on arrival
  • Transfers from and to Cape Town international airport
  • Transfers to and from Gansbaai (the project site)
  • Transport provided for all programme related activities
  • Accommodation in our volunteer house
  • All food basics
  • Lectures
  • Welcome pack (including hoodie, t-shirt, cap, buff and shark USB with Great White Shark footage)
  • Waterproof deck boots to use for the duration of your stay
  • Trips on our White Shark cage diving tourist boat run with White Shark Diving Company.
  • Tagging trips on our research boat
  • Practical training in all running projects
  • Training in fin identification and analysis
  • Training in ethical handling, angling and tagging techniques
  • Training in boat handling skills
  • Outreach activities e.g. beach clean ups and school talks
  • Some excursions organised on bad weather days


Shark & Marine Research Institute's amazing accomodation

All Shark & Marine Research Institute volunteers will be housed in our volunteer house, located just a 10 minute walk or a two minute drive from the harbor we launch from. The house can accommodate 16 volunteers at a time, with between two to four volunteers per room. It is spacious, comfortable and a home away from home. All linen will be provided along with Satellite TV, WiFi, laundry facilities and a cleaning service.


Please note excursions are for your free time and not sea days, and whilst transport will be provided, the excursions are the volunteers choice and any entry fees, extra accommodation, equipment rented etc. will be at the volunteers own expense. Furthermore, any trips up the garden route or further afield will be at the volunteers own cost, but please don’t hesitate to let us know if we can assist you with planning and arrangements.

  • A trip to Cape Agulhas – the southernmost point of Africa.
  • A visit to Betty’s Bay to see the Stony Point penguin colony
  • A visit to the local heritage site Klipgat Cave
  • Hikes in the local area
  • Horse riding trips in the local area
  • Shopping excursions and wine tasting in Hermanus or Cape Town
  • River boat cruises along Stanford River
  • Surfing or SCUBA diving
  • Visit to the Two Oceans Aquarium and the Waterfront in Cape Town
  • Offshore dive past Cape Point to see blue and mako sharks can be arranged
  • Dive to see sevengill sharks in Cape Town can also be arranged
  • A trip up the East Coast to do the highest bungee jump in the world
Discover Cape Town with Shark & Marine Research Institute

Not Included In The Package

  • Flight ticket
  • Visa (if needed, RSA allows most countries to enter on a 90 day tourist visa – we can offer assistance if needed.
  • medical and travel insurance
  • Any additional lodging in Cape Town prior to the programme or on departure, if required.

Get upclose and personal with a variety of marine life with Shark & Marine Research Institute.

Programme Fee

1 Week: USD$750
2 Weeks: USD$1250
3 Weeks: USD$1690
1 Month: USD$2100
2 Months: USD$3500
3 Months: USD$4750

As we rely on good weather conditions, we recommend staying for a minimum of one month to obtain the full experience of working at WSDC and to ensure you have adequate sea time to assist with Great White Shark research and other data collecting for our multiple shark research projects.

Once accepted on to the programme you will be sent an information pack with additional details about the programme including where you will be staying, the research projects currently running, a rough idea of your daily schedule, further information on your arrival and departure, and also details of how to pay.

A 50% deposit will be required to secure your booking at least three months before your programme start date. For placements outside of our peak season, the balance of payment is due two weeks before you arrival. During our peak season, June, July and August, the 50% balance will be due 0ne month before your arrival.

Applications must be cancelled at least 30 days before the programme starts. If the volunteer cancels less than 30 days before their programme start date the deposit will be forfeited, and less than 14 days before the programme begins, a 100 % cancellation fee will apply. During our peak season, June July and August placements, cancelations less than thirty days will forefeit the full amount.

Apply now