Our Marine Ecotourism and Conservation project offers individuals from all over the world the opportunity to experience unique marine related projects in the biodiversity rich environment of the Greater Dyer Island area, Gansbaai, South Africa.
This program will suite anyone who loves the ocean, marine wildlife, shark fanatics, whale enthusiasts(seasonally) and people who want to learn more about how Eco-Tourism benefits conservation – especially those who are pursuing a career in Biology or Zoology (Protracted time spent as a volunteers can be used to gain University Credits (subject to credit criteria), and work experience.)
Volunteering on board of vessels from tourism partners, Marine Dynamics Shark Tours and Dyer Island Cruises, offers the chance to gain exposure with various marine species, including but not limited to Great White Sharks, Southern Right Whales(seasonal), Dolphins and many marine bird species such as the endangered African Penguin. Every trip sports a dedicated Marine Biologist(from world wide academic institutions) that guide volunteers, increasing their knowledge of the target species and ecology of the area where they operate during the set trips.
We constantly work to deliver the promise of our motto: Discover and Protect. Every year we host thousands of international and local visitors on our custom designed diving boat, Slashfin.
Every trip sports a dedicated marine biologist who ensures necessary data capturing, logging and processing of non intrusive fin ID photos that are taken on board of Slashfin during each trip. This data set contributes to the building of an effective database of the sharks visiting the Great Dyer Island area, which in turn guides our open population estimate for this species.
Our biologists are conducting specific research projects on the behaviour and biology of Great White Sharks. As a result, we are gaining significant new insights into recognition of individual sharks by their fins, tracking movements of individual sharks and their response to differences in water temperature, etc. and parasites endemic to Great White Sharks.
This work, which has been published and presented, is made possible by the funds generated by shark cage diving and donation from clients as well as volunteers.
Additionally, a videographer/photographer is part of the experienced crew on each trip ensuring that we build up a detailed archive of shark sightings.
Known as the Great White shark capital of the world, this are provides thousands of local and international tourists with daily sightings of these magnificent animals (peak May to September). Their density can be attributed to the availability of viable prey in our region. Geyser Rock, one of the islands in the Greater Dyer Island Complex, is home to roughly 60,000 Cape Fur seals, the favoured prey of our Great White sharks.
Despite frequent sightings, there is no evident growth in population and little research has been conducted on Great White sharks in general.
The Dyer Island Conservation Trust (www.dict.co.za), performs critical research into this species, this research is made possible by income from our eco-tourism programmes. Valuable research is conducted from our Marine Dynamics Shark Tours cage diving boat – Slashfin, on a daily basis, furthering our knowledge of the movements, distribution, habits and feeding ecology of this magnificent species. The DICT has a dedicated research boat, Lwazi (Xhosa for “seeking knowledge”) from which our marine biologists study important aspects of shark behaviour. Our other research boat Calypso is used for various research efforts including observing seal/shark interactions.
We specialize in the “Marine Big 5” experience, where we hope to find whales, dolphins, seals, sharks, and African penguins on each trip. Not to mention our incredible seabird sightings (albatross, petrels, skuas, etc) and breath-taking unspoiled scenery !
Our main objective is to ensure you receive adequate sea going time during your stay. You will have the opportunity to shark cage dive but will be expected to assist guests during their trip and duties will be assigned to you while on board. You will ensure that every guest gains a once in a lifetime experience and be able to share your knowledge as a host.
Those who show a good work ethic and those who are studying in a related field will have the opportunity to go on research expeditions and assist our marine biologists in data collection and shark tracking amongst other experiences such as environmental surveys (when time, weather and schedules allow. PLEASE NOTE : This is not guaranteed and not open to persons staying 2 weeks and less).
We are involved in other projects such as: penguin nests which sometimes need placement at the colonies; shark egg collection; bird surveys; animal rescues. Penguin colonies are sensitive and it is not possible to always be involved in a rescue attempt but if possible we will do so.
You can expect lectures by our marine biologists and expert crew on:
- Shark biology and behaviour
- Basic seamanship and Safety at sea
- Shark tagging and tracking
- Marine conservation and Conservation Projects
- Data collection
Everything in Kleinbaai is dependant on the weather. Some days the weather does not allow us to go to sea, may it be rough seas, strong winds, heavy rain or big swells, when it is too dangerous, we will not be going to sea. Unfortunately there is nothing we can do about it but we will always make a plan to keep you occupied. We call these “no sea days”. We will either arrange for lectures, excursions or if you just want to relax at the house and chill, this is your choice. When we have 2 or more no sea days we will inform you and you can easily hop on our transfer bus and go to Cape Town (individual or as a group) and spend a couple of days exploring and we can pick you up again when the weather clears up in a couple of days (additional cost for transfer is applicable).
Some excursions will included :
- Cape Agulhas – the most Southern Tip of Africa (1 ½ hours drive)
- Hermanus for shopping and wine tasting (50min drive)
- Betty’s Bay to visit the Penguin Colony at Stoney Point (1 ½ hours drive)
- Cape Town to the Waterfront and the Aquarium (2 ½ hours drive)
- Cave hike
- The beach
- Quad bikes
Extra activities for afternoons off (for your own cost)
The Birkenhead Volunteer Lodge, your accommodation during your stay, is equipped with 4 chalets that house between 4 and 6 persons per chalet, with own bathroom, kitchen and living areas as well as daily living essentials.
The main house will be occupied with volunteer coordinators and a full time janitor so all the needs of the grounds are met. There is also a very spacious living area in the main hall with a pool table as some entertainment and a cash bar, communal indoor braai and kitchen area that can be used.
The facility has a big and safe swimming pool and garden. Walking to the office is easy, quick and safe and will only take between 10 and 15min (1.2km). We also have a volunteer bus that is equipped with all the safety permits and regulations and is used daily for the volunteers needs.
Key things about the lodge
- Expect to share
- Fully furnished
- Satellite TV – a whole lot of channels
- DVD player
- Wireless internet (remember to bring laptop or phones)
- Emergency numbers are in the house
- Sheets are provided and washed regularly
- Maintenance kept weekly
- Heating in the rooms and living area
- 3 Bicycles for personal use
- Keep your personal belongings safe (we have a safe at the office should you need)
- The water is safe to drink
The house is a non-smoking and there is a zero-tolerance policy regarding use of Illegal substances, excessive alcohol use, and inappropriate behaviour/language.
|No. of Weeks||Price|
Need a quote on your airfare to Cape Town? Please ask a member of the team for our latest prices.