- Typical Day
- Things to do at weekend/free time
- Communication with home
- Cost of internet
- Cost of a coke
- Cost of a beer
- Transport to town
- Distance from town
- Time Zone
- The Season
- Why do people like doing this?
- Background Reading and Information
- Current Exchange Rate
The day starts with a lecture from one of the research scientists about sharks or other aspects of the local marine eco-system. You might be invited to add your own observations too. On most days you will spend the rest of the morning on the water, helping with tourists and doing scientific research. You will be observing the sharks from the boat or from a cage in the water, photographing them and recording marks and injuries. After lunch you will concentrate on research, recording data, uploading photos and writing observations. You might also attend another lecture. In the evening you can cook a meal with your colleagues or enjoy a braai, watching the sun set over the spectacular bay. Alternatively, you could visit the bars and restaurants nearby.
Why do people like doing this?
This placement would suit any nature lover, but is particularly good for someone with an interest in marine biology and conservation. There is a particular focus on teaching volunteers about sharks, conservation and the marine environment, with daily lectures and additional advice. Volunteers come away with a lot of factual knowledge, but also some useful practical skills to enhance their CV. They will get experience at all sorts of levels, from detailed scientific research, cage diving and underwater photography to boat maintenance!
In addition, the boat trips, the encounters with sharks, the social life and the beautiful local scenery make this a truly memorable trip.
Accommodation is in comfortable, self-catering homes on site. Please expect to share a room with another volunteer.
The Garden Route has a Mediterranean Maritime climate, with moderately hot summers, and mild to chilly winters. It is one of the richest rainfall areas in South Africa, with most rain occurring in the winter months. The area is perennially green, making it a beautiful region to visit.
Being in the southern hemisphere, summer is from November to March, with mid-summer daily temperatures of about 24-30ºC. From April through to September, temperatures start cooling down, with average daytime temperatures in the low 20s. During the winter months the days can still be warm (up to 20ºC), but expect chilly nights.
South Africa is two hours ahead of GMT.
A special three pin plug can be purchased at most airports.
Distance from town
Your accommodation and workplace are within walking distance of the coast, and Kleinbaai. Provisions can be purchased in nearby Gansbaai (3km away).
Transport to town
You will be based at Kleinsbaii, but there will be daily opportunities to get a lift into Gansbaii, which has a larger selection of shops and cafes.
Cost of a beer
A beer should cost about 8-10 rand
Cost of a coke
A coke should cost about 5 rand
Cost of internet
Internet is available free of charge on site.
Communication with home
There is internet available at your accommodation, as well as at internet cafes in nearby towns. There is mobile phone coverage in the area. You can purchase a sim card in Gansbaai.
Things to do at weekend/free time
The Gansbaai area is popular with tourists because of its beautiful scenery and marine life. There are some excellent cafes, bars and restaurants within easy reach of your accommodation if you fancy an outing after work.
This is a perfect destination for nature lovers. If you haven't got tired of being on the water, you can take a boat trip out to see African penguins and the fur seal colonies at Dyer Island - a very impressive sight. Trekking is popular along the local coastline where you can explore large shoreline caves and sandy beaches. The cliffs and hills are beautiful too, with their covering of shrubs, fynbos and flowers - many of them quite rare.
Capetown is under 2 hours drive away and well worth a visit. You could simply hang out on its lively waterfronts, but the more intrepid should visit Table Mountain for its magnificent views or take a tour of Robben Island (Nelson Mandela's prison for 28 years).
Background Reading and Information
For extra information on white sharks, we would recommend National Geographic's website http://animals.nationalgeographic.co.uk/animals/fish/great-white-shark/
There are a number of useful guides available including the well known rough guide and lonely planet which provide good overall advice on visiting this region of South Africa.
Current Exchange Rate
1 British Pound = 14.42 South African Rand
This information should be used as a guide only.
Currency data has been provided by a third party source.