Marine Conservation Project
The Marine Conservation Project takes place along the south coast of South Africa, on the famous “Garden Route”. Located in a small coastal town, it allows the volunteers to study marine mammals while enjoying the city life.
The main objective of the project is to support marine applied research that informs conservation management decisions with scientific advice. Lots of counts and research are thus carried out with the help of the volunteers. The programme combines research, conservation and education.
Arrivals are scheduled every weekend or Mondays, the best thing to do is to land in George’s airport, where a taxi can collect you for R900. The drive takes about 1h30, along the beautiful coast.
Volunteers help the project to increase the knowledge about the marine animals in order to protect them more efficiently. They play an essential role in the programme and work closely with the different team members while take part in the research.
The research can be led on boat or on the top of a cliff in order to get a better view. That is why it is recommended not to be afraid of heights and to be fit enough to hike for a few hours. Patience is also an asset as you can be asked to watch and take notes of a certain area for a couple of hours in order to count the different species you can spot (sharks, dolphins, whales, seals).
You have to be aware of the fact that the activities are weather dependent, some may be cancelled in last minute because of a bad weather.
Here is a list of activities that you may take part in during your stay (please note that this is for your information and that you may or may not take part in all the activities listed below):
- boat-based surveys (dolphins, whales, sharks and seabirds)
- boat-based monitoring of Cape fur seals
- marine mammal stranding response and necropsy
- cliff-top monitoring
- bird ringing
- beach clean-ups
- river health evaluation
- seabird rehabilitation centre
- alien plant eradication
- pre-school education
- help to the local SPCA
The longer you stay, the more activities you can take part in.
The coordinator usually gives the weekly schedule on the Friday. It is important to remember that planned activities can change on a moment’s notice, especially if the weather turns or something exciting like a marine mammal stranding comes along.
The standard volunteer working week at the project is Monday to Friday, from 08h00 to 17h00, except on a Friday afternoon when volunteers often finish at 13:00 (but not always).
Weekends are free, you can either rest at the volunteer house or enjoy one of the many activities around.
- Game drive in a Big 5 Game Reserve
- Horse riding safari
- Wine testing
- Bird and/or monkey sanctuary
The volunteer house is within a 5 min walk from the beach and close to a supermarket and nice restaurants.
There are four bedrooms for the volunteers and two bathrooms. Rooms can accomodate 1 to 4 volunteers depending on the number. Dinners are cooked from Monday to Friday and volunteers have plenty of food to cook for the other meals.
Wifi is available at the house and laundry can be done for you.
Arrivals and departures are scheduled on weekends and Mondays. The project closes in November and December and reopens at the end of January.
Period Programme fees in dollars ($) 2021
2 weeks $1 090
3 weeks $1 635
4 weeks $2 180
6 weeks $2 700
8 weeks $3 600
10 weeks $4 500
12 weeks $5 400
Are included in the Programme Fees: the registration fees, accommodation, three meals a day, your supervision, Internet and laundry.
“I came to the Marine Conservation Project with both a fear and fascination with the ocean. I wanted to learn more. Within my 4 weeks I learned and experienced so much. I saw my first great white shark within my first week, and countless in the weeks following. The great white was the reason I wanted to do ocean conservation so that was incredibly exciting. I loved spending my days learning about other species of sharks while walking the beach and going out on the boat to gain a new appreciation for other species. In my time there I also saw seals, Dolphins and whales.” Amy, USA
“I spent a month in South Africa at the Marine Conservation Project. It was an amazing experience and I met so many great people. Thank you to the whole team for making me feel so welcome and teaching me so much. I will definitely be back! ” Simone, Austria
“The Marine Conservation Project is a life changing experience! The people and the culture that I’ve got to know there are amazing and I can’t put into words how much I’be grown by doing this.
My only regret is that I couldn’t stay longer.” Luisa, Philippines