Volunteer Program2023-12-17T05:16:00+02:00


Volunteer In Gansbaai South Africa

White Shark Projects volunteer program was established in 1989. It is dedicated to the exploration and conservation of Southern Africa’s shark population. The volunteer program works with students, eco-tourists, conservation organizations and marine resource users. We collaborate with subsistence fishermen, sport divers and other marine operators to gather data on our varied shark life. We do this so we can assist in correcting negative misconceptions about sharks, and stop the needless slaughter of over 100 million sharks annually.

World Leading Organization

Our volunteer program is involved in eco-tourism, public education, environmental advocacy as well as various social upliftment projects. White Shark Projects is a world leading organization focusing on all things shark. Founded back in 1989 purely as a research centre it has grown and broadened its services to include a commercial diving and viewing centre and a separate educational department. White Shark Projects has taken the lead to establish shark tourism as an educational experience.

“Everything we do we aim to do in harmony with nature and the environment we are working in.” 

volunteer program team
volunteer program team in gansbaai


You can look forward to being trained in White Shark biology, research, behavior, conservation and evolution. The crew will train you onboard where you will learn basic seamanship including anchoring positions, wind directions and shark tourism. We will show you how to take wind and speed measurements and check the temperature of the water. Our biologist will show you how we take data on each shark observed and train you how to catch tag and release smaller shark species. We record all our data in a National data base and you will be involved inputting that into our online systems.


You are assured of hands on experience and will frequently go to sea, weather permitting. Training will be given in all aspects of seamanship, shark conservation and ecotourism. Working with sharks both above and below water, you will gain exposure to their behavior’s and how the sharks interact around the boat. You will be taught the correct manner to enter and exit the cage and how to remain safe and secure once inside it. You will additionally receive training on how to meticulously record your observations of the physical attributes and behavior’s of varied shark life you will observe.


Based in Gansbaai South Africa. Situated approximately two hours south-east of Cape Town. Gansbaai is a seaside village sustained primarily by the fishing and tourism industry. Fieldwork is conducted in locations where sharks are abundant. Dyer Island, Shark Alley and Joubert Dam are historically known as the world’s best Great White shark-spotting destination. Due to many external factors Jouberts Dam has become the most popular area that various shark life frequent. Nevertheless the Island is still home to many other wildlife species which can be viewed from our boat. The island is the breeding ground for African (formerly known as Jackass) Penguins, Cape Cormorants and Gannets. Geyser Rock serves as a breeding mecca for Cape Fur Seals boasting a population of approximately 80 000 seals. This is the perfect habitat for the Great White, but whales and the occasional dolphin can also be spotted in season.

Southern Africa’s Sharks

South Africa has long been known for its abundance of Great White Sharks, making it a prime area to observe these magnificent creatures. The Great White Shark can grow up to seven meters (23 feet) in length and 4 tons in weight, is now a protected species in South Africa. Owing to massive negative media publicity over the years, sharks have become one of the most maligned, misunderstood, even hated species on our fragile planet. They have been pursued, hunted and indiscriminately slaughtered, to the point where many species are endangered. Unsustainable fishing practices such as dorsal fin poaching and environmental degradation are key factors to consider in decline in their population numbers. Great White sharks have a relatively slow breeding cycle which is also a vital factor that contributes to the potential demise of this amazing creature.

Bronze Whaler Sharks

The Copper Shark also known as the Bronze Whaler shark began frequently the Gansbaai coastline back in 2018. In season we can observe the Great White Shark and Bronze Whaler shark swimming around the boat at the same time. Bronze Whaler sharks congregate in large numbers. This is a very impressive shark with the recorded numbers of 62 different individuals been around the boat at the same time. They can grow up to 4metres in length and are a beautiful shark to observe above and below the water.

YOUR PROGRAMME2023-08-08T13:29:04+02:00

Volunteer with White Shark Projects

  • Welcome to your Shark Family- Meet the team
  • Tour and induction of your Ocean View Volunteer House
  • If weather permits on your first day you will go out on our Shark Team vessel

What is Included?

  • Our biologist will give lectures on a variety of shark-related topics and current research
  • Boat and cage preparation pre-and post-launch
  • Learn seamanship skills
  • Participation in data recording and weekly collation of all data
  • Participate in catch and release for our vital tagging project
  • Contribute to the running of our Recycle Swop Shops once per week
  • On bad weather days, local excursions could include Cape Agulhas, Hermanus, Betty’s Bay, Panthera Africa and beer and wine tasting
  • The program duration is between 2-12 weeks – It is recommended that you spend at least 21 days with us.
  • The program runs throughout the year from the 1st & 15th of every month.
  • Accommodation is provided at our Ocean View volunteer house
  • Basic breakfast item, light lunch on sea days are included.
YOU RECEIVE2023-08-06T09:24:37+02:00
  • Two volunteer T-shirts
  • Our White Shark Projects cap or Beenie
  • Copies of all lectures
  • Videos and photos of your trips out at sea
WHAT YOU NEED TO BRING2023-08-08T13:29:48+02:00

Packing Information

  • Clothing which you will not mind getting dirty/torn etc.
  • 3 pairs of shorts and long pants as part of our uniform when on our boat with tourists. It can get cold on the boat.
  • A rain jacket or plastic windbreaker as well as some warm clothing as it can be quite cool on land and on the water.
  • Non-slippery shoes to use on the boat – we recommend Wellington boots or ‘crocs’. Old trainers will do also.
  • We have a selection of boots volunteers can borrow whilst they are with us.
  • Camera- Your phone camera will do also.
  • Local currency- Gansbaai is a small town and we do not have currency exchange here but 90% of places have bank card facilities. Its handy to have a bit of cash.
  • You will be working at our Recycle Swop Shop on Tuesdays, so if you would like to bring any contributions, they will be greatly appreciated.
  • We supply all diving equipment. There is no need to bring your own wetsuit.
  • Swimming Costume or swimming pants
  • A volunteer warm jacket is provide with a deposit of R800- When you return the jacket we will refund your money.

For more information on the requirements, costing etc. e-mail us on volunteer@whitesharkprojects.co.za

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