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Dive with Sharks & Whale Watch in South Africa with the Marine Big 5 Volunteer Project

Ever fancied a cage dive with sharks? By volunteering at Marine Big 5 in Western Cape Town, South Africa, you’ll have the opportunity to help with commercial shark trips, dive with Great Whites them and also do some (less scary) whale watching! 

At a glance:

Volunteering: Helping on shark diving boats

Accommodation: Cottages shared with other volunteers

Meals: Breakfast and lunch provided

Dates: Every Monday

Minimum stay: 1 week - stay up to 12 weeks


What animals will I look after? 

In this exciting Volunteer project, you’ll get up close and personal with some incredible marine life in their natural habitat in Southern Africa, just outside of Cape Town.

About the Wildlife Sanctuary

Marine Big 5 is part of a programme focused on the Great White Shark and shark cage diving, along with whale watching and eco tours.

They are also involved in a Penguin Housing Project to address the lack of natural breeding habitat. The project trust also invests heavily in Great White Shark research looking at environmental influences, population studies and more.

The project trust opened a Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary, which is also a crucial rehabilitation facility. This facility has already saved over 120 penguins and other seabirds. Many Volunteers at Marine Big 5 are proud to say they have played an important role in this. The trust has produced 18 scientific publications, is actively involved in marine pollution efforts, marine animal rescues and has an environmental education programme for the local students. 


What will I be doing at Marine Big 5?


Your main role is to support staff with various assigned duties on the commercial shark trips on boats, and volunteers will have the opportunity to do regular shark cage dives (all year round), and whale watching (season between June and December). However, if you’re a big fan of research, and would prefer to be more involved in data collection and marine biology, that’s possible too, just ask!

Volunteers work with tourists and alongside marine biologists studying the great white shark and other species.

You do not need any previous experience, just a passion for marine life. You can also sign up for a scuba diving course during your stay!



Your Volunteer Accommodation is includes:

  • Fully equipped cottages plus a communal area with Satellite TV, DVD player, board games, pool table and foosball. 
  • There’s is an activity hall with some weights and a table tennis table. 
  • The facility has a large, safe swimming pool and garden. 

  • The accommodation is eco friendly and they grow their own vegetables and have a recycling system in place.

  • The area and surrounds also offer some great outdoor activities which are enjoyed on no sea days.


  • Breakfast: Full ‘cook yourself’ breakfast is provided - all the breakfast ingredients are supplied, volunteers need to prepare it themselves in the communal kitchen of the lodge. This includes tea, coffee, sugar, milk, bread, butter, eggs and bacon. They also provide vegetarian sausages and fritters for vegetarians!
  • Lunch: Sandwiches, fruit, crisps and juice on the boat are and is also provided.
  • Dinner: is at your expense and can be cooked at the accommodation or takeaways can be ordered in.

Arrival and Transfers

  • Volunteers need to arrive at the latest on a Sunday afternoon in Cape Town, and it's best to then sleep over in the city centre, ready for collection (transfers to the project) on the Monday morning. 
  • This is because pickups could be as early as 4am on the Monday morning. 
  • The drive is a 2.5hr and a half hour drive from Cape Town. 
  • On the Monday of departure, volunteers can either be dropped off at any place in the city centre again in Cape Town, and transfers are available to the airport for flights leaving earlier than 8pm from Cape Town Airport.
  • We can arrange accommodation for you in Cape Town that includes an airport collection should you need that. It is recommended!. 

We can arrange the Cape Town add on before or after your Marine Big 5 project!

Fill out the form below to arrange a free consultation with our OE Advisor to find out more and talk about what project might best suit your passion and budget 

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