Marine Conservation Project (4 weeks)

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Our Marine Conservation project is an informative and fun marine focused educational program. It consists of learning through marine and coastal volunteering along the Garden Route of South Africa. We focus on the complete coastal and marine ecosystem, the ecology and the various contributors to and various factors affecting marine conservation. In addition, we focus our attention on gaining a deeper understanding of the lives of iconic marine animals such as whales, dolphins, sharks, seals, penguins, otters, reef animals and coastal and pelagic birds.

OverviewPhotosIncludedProject ItineraryFAQ'sActivitiesProject Dates
The program is structured and organised consisting of day to day interactive and experiential learning. We manage the program in such a manner that all volunteers take away invaluable knowledge and experience which can be measured, quantified and qualified through the acquisition of new and innovative knowledge and acquired skills.

Project Highlights

  • Learn about marine conservation in South Africa
  • Get involved with regional marine conservation projects and research initiatives
  • Learn about the perpetual threats to ecosystems and the environment
  • Develop an appreciation for the coastal and marine ecosystems and their various inhabitants
  • Experience observing marine animals in their natural habitat
  • Create long lasting memories and friendships with people from all over the world

Project details

Arrival day: Sunday
Project starts: Monday
Location: along the Garden Route of South Africa, the core area between Mossel Bay and Addo
Duration: 4 weeks

Volunteer requirements

  • CV/Resumé
  • Basic level of competency in English
  • Copy of return flight itinerary
  • Availability of position
  • Medium level of fitness

Average working day

Volunteers will work from Monday to Friday during which they will cover different aspects of the project. Daily schedule starts at 08h00 am and finishes at 16h30 pm unless otherwise specified.


Volunteers will be accommodated where the program is presented at the Backpacker Beach House in Plettenberg Bay on Central Beach. All accommodation is comfortable, with all necessary amenities and on a sharing basis, 2 – 4 in a room.


Volunteers will be provided with three balanced meals per day.

Breakfast: help yourself to breakfast; cereals, fruit, yoghurts, toast and spreads

Lunch: this will be in the form of a packed lunch on excursion days or help yourself to lunch – with breads, fruits, cold meats, salad of the day and spreads.

Dinner: A hot meal will be served every night such as traditional BBQ (Braai), stews (Potjies), casseroles, fresh vegetables and meats being the order of the day. All dinners will include a meat, starch and vegetables.

Tea and coffee are available throughout the day. All other drinks are for volunteers’ own expense though the tap water is safe to drink.

A generous amount of wholesome food will always be given. If snacks are desired there are grocery stores nearby. There will be refrigeration available for personal foods and soft drinks. Volunteers are required to participate in the preparation of meals and to clean up after themselves after meals.

Meal times will be as following:
Breakfast: 07h30 – 08h00 am
Lunch: 12h00 – 13h00 pm
Dinner: 18h30 – 19h30 pm

Week 1 – Marine and Coastal Ecology and Ecosystem Functioning

Volunteers will be guided through the various facets of what makes the Marine and Coastal Ecosystem ‘tick’. We look broadly at:
• Marine guiding and the guiding principles
• The coastal marine environment and two oceans
• Geology and the coastal environment
• Marine coastal conservation management
• Coastal and sea plant biodiversity
• Marine fish – basic anatomy and physiology
• The marine reef ecosystem and reef ecology
• Historical coastal habitation and features

All of this is done in a fun, informative and interactive manner where newly acquired knowledge is applied. Volunteers will be required to report back on their daily experience and provide feedback to your fellow volunteers as to what they have experienced and gained in knowledge for the day. Each day volunteers will be tasked with individual and group research assignments.

Week 2 – Marine Animal Awareness – Whales, Dolphins, Otters

Much of what volunteers experienced and learnt during the first week will be carried over to the second week. Volunteers will now immerse themselves into the lives and behaviour of whales, dolphins and otters. They will do research, workshops and explore the lives of these animal groups, using three key principles in behavioural monitoring namely, observation, interpretation and deduction.

Week 3 – Marine Animal Awareness – Sharks, Seals and Penguins

Volunteers will now immerse themselves into the lives and behaviour of sharks, seals and penguins during this exciting week of natural and interactive discovery. Volunteers will do research,workshops and explore the lives of these animal groups, using three key principles in behavioural monitoring namely, observation, interpretation and deduction.

Week 4 – Marine Animal Rehabilitation and Marine Conservation Research

Volunteers will be exposed to an additional group task being undertaken where all observations found within the marine environment and marine animal populations, observed on our marine journey so far are brought together in a group project based outcome. Individual experiences and interesting facts pertaining to the marine ecosystem and its iconic animal inhabitants are collated by the group in presentation format. The document is copied, bound and presented to each participant when the program concludes.

In addition to this, volunteers will be exposed to a variety of localised conservation projects & conservation research initiatives over the duration of your stay with us. This region, due to its diversity of habitat and endemic species accounts are a favoured research zone.

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Optional regional adventures & activities for our own account on weekends

Please note that these activities DO NOT form part of the program you are registered for. These optional activities are for your OWN ACCOUNT and in your off-time. Bookings are to be done through your facilitator and transport can be arranged and priced specific to where the activity is offered. In most instances facilitators will assist with arrangements, transport and accompany you.
Please note that a full list of adventures and prices will be available on arrival

  • Bungy Jumping off Bloukrantz Bridge. From R700pp
  • Canyoneering; From R500pp
  • And a Combination Canyoneering & Abseiling Adventure in the Crags. From R1100pp
  • Cage Swimming with Great White Sharks in Mossel Bay. From R800pp
  • Animal Sanctuary Visit in Crags – Monkeyland, Birds of Eden and Jukani Predator Park. From R450pp
  • Full Day in the Life of an African Elephant Program R1800pp
  • Or a Full Day in the Life of a Game Ranger R1750pp
  • Guided Walks on Robberg Peninsula From R300pp
  • Guided Walks in Natures Valley From R300pp
  • Guided Walks at Krantzkop From R350pp
  • Guided Walks at Goukamma MPA Reserve From R350pp
  • Guided Canoeing Adventures on Keurbooms Lagoon/Gorge From R350pp
  • Guided Canoeing Adventure on the Goukamma River From R350pp
  • Guided Canoeing Adventures in Natures Valley From R350ppGuided Interpretive Bush Walk Experiences From R300pp
  • Guided Interpretive Birding Walk Experiences on the Garden
  • Route From R300pp
  • Various Experiential Bush Eco-Adventures and an Overnight Bush Survival Adventures just outside Plettenberg Bay R1750pp
  • Skydiving in Plettenberg Bay and Tandem Paragliding in Wilderness or Sedgefield.
  • SCUBA Diving in Plettenberg Bay or Knysna or Jeffreys Bay. From R500pp per dive
  • Learn to Kite Surf or Sail in Knysna. From R2000pp
  • Swim with Seals in Plettenberg Bay. From R500pp
  • Pelagic Shark Day Adventure in Plettenberg Bay or Mossel Bay. From R2750pp
  • Whale & Dolphin Watching Adventure in Plettenberg Bay (Seasonal)
  • Sea Kayaking in Plettenberg Bay and Knysna. From R500pp
  • Oudsthoorn Full Day Adventure – Cango Wildlife Ranch, Ostrich Farm and Cango Caves Wild Adventure From R1950pp
  • Horse Riding in the Forests in the Crags or at Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve. From R500pp
  • A Whole Host or Regional MTB Cycling Adventures are available
  • Learn to Surf in Plettenberg Bay

Project start dates 2016

4th July
1st August
5th September
3rd October
7th November

Project start dates 2017

6th February
3rd April
5th June
31st July
4th September
6th November

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