Dolphin & Whale Research and Coastal Conservation

Dolphin sightings
Whale Research
Whale Tail
Whale volunteer
Sunset
Dolphin sightings
Whale Research
Whale Tail
Whale volunteer
Sunset
Dolphin & Whale Research and Coastal Conservation

By joining this Initiative you will have the unique experience of working alongside an Eco-tourism company in their efforts to research and conserve dolphin and whale populations.  You will also have the chance to educate local children about marine life and the importance of conserving it, as well as providing them with the rare opportunity to experience first-hand the wonders of the ocean.

Volunteering for our Dolphin & Marine Research and Conservation Initiative will give you an opportunity to assist with a variety of tasks,  from coastal conservation and marine research; to crewing and guiding on the boats; doing land to sea observations/spotting; and the important task of assisting with educating local children about the ocean and lagoon. 

You will be working alongside the only Eco-Tourism Company licensed and permitted to do close encounter whale watching along the Knysna Coast in the beautiful Garden Route, South Africa.  As part of these whale watching trips, research material is collected by volunteers including daily sightings of the various species of whales & dolphins, any recurring visits and the migratory habits of the various whales and dolphins that visit this area.

The whale watching permit allows the vessel to approach whales up to as close as 50meters (all other vessels must maintain a distance of 300meters), and if the whale approaches/moves closer, we may stay and observe. 

We are dedicated to making a positive difference to the marine ecology of this area; and as a volunteer on this initiative you will be a part of this vision through assisting with important marine research and with educating the local community about the marine environment using structured workshops and thereby encouraging respect for marine species and habitats.

Location

Knysna is one of the most beautiful parts of South Africa. After (what is for most people) a very long flight, volunteers are met by stunning views, impressive mountain passes, lush green forests and white sandy beaches.

Knysna itself is nestled on the shores of the Knysna estuary - or Knysna lagoon, as it is more commonly known. It's the most biologically diverse estuary in South Africa and home to the Knysna Seahorse, the most threatened seahorse species in the world. Knysna is also an avenue to the Tsitsikamma Forest, which stretches from just west of George to the Tsitsikamma River near Humansdorp. This indigenous forest is ideal for walks and is home to numerous fauna and flora. The forest also houses the world’s most southerly elephants. Sadly, with only a handful of elephants left, the forest elephants are rapidly becoming part of Knysna’s history, rather than Knysna’s nature.

Knysna is a modern, friendly town with really something for everyone. It has all the necessary amenities, such as ATMs, medical support, internet cafes and shopping mall's - all within walking distance. The nightlife is varied and volunteers can be entertained by live bands, in chilled pubs, cocktail bars or fancy restaurants.

Schedule

The working hours vary but your day may start as early as 07h30-09h00 and finish at 15h00-18h00 (Please note: in busy seasons boat trips could run until as late as 20:00). You will work 5 days a week, leaving you two free days to explore the area. 

 

 

MORNING

AFTERNOON

WEEK 1

Saturday

Arrival

Arrival

Sunday

Free Day

Free Day

Monday

Orientation/Training

Marine Conservation Education (Development)

Tuesday

Maintenance & Preparation / Research (on boat)

Maintenance & Preparation / Research (on boat) / Data Entry

Wednesday

Marketing & Tourism / Maintenance & Preparation / Research (on boat) / Data Entry

Marine Conservation Education (Workshop)

Thursday

Maintenance & Preparation / Research (on boat)

Maintenance & Preparation / Research (on boat) / Data Entry

Friday

Marketing & Tourism / Maintenance & Preparation / Research (on boat) / Data Entry

Cultural Activity

Saturday

Excursion

Excursion

Sunday

Free Day

Free Day

Accommodations

  • Private & Family Rooms Available on Request

The Knysna volunteer house is basic but comfortable and cleaned daily by our hardworking House Manager. It is full of character and has spectacular views over the mountains.  We understand that the work can sometimes be emotionally and physically draining so we ensure that our volunteers have a place where you can relax and unwind. This way we know that everyone will be refreshed each day to put all their energy into getting the most out of their stay.

The volunteer house is also located within walking distance into the charismatic town of Knysna.

Facilities Include:

  • Hot Water Showers & Electricity
  • Communal Kitchen
  • Communal Lounge Area with TV/DVD Player
  • Comfortable Dorm Style Sleeping Arrangements
  • Unlimited Wi-Fi and computer access
  • Outdoor braai (barbeque) area & Hammocks

Cost Breakdown

This program may have a Reservation Fee, which is included in the total cost. Your Reservation Fee is due once you commit to the program, with the remaining Program Fee balance due 30 days before your arrival date.

2 weeks:     $1,588 Longer:     +$671 per week

Click here for full details about your program costs and how your Program Fee is used.

Sign up now to volunteer for this project! - Volunteer Global

Note: All listed prices are in US Dollars.

How To Sign Up

Signing up is a three-step process:

  • Fill out an Inquiry Form. Please note: submissions must be made at least 4 weeks prior to your prospective start date.
  • A member of the Volunteer Global team will get in touch with you to confirm program availability for your chosen dates, and schedule an interview if needed.
  • Once your interview is complete, you will be notified to submit your Reservation Fee to reserve your program and schedule. Your final Program Fee is due at least 4 weeks prior to in-country arrival in order to reserve your placement.

Important Note

This is a pilot program. As part of our program development process, we ask our first groups of participating volunteers to provide additional feedback to assist us in ensuring the most rewarding experience possible in cooperation with EDGE of AFRICA for their associated programs.

Registration must be completed at least one month prior to your program start date, so...let's get started!

Requirements

  • 18 and older
  • Good health
Partner: EDGE of AFRICA
Country: South Africa

Duration: 2 weeks - 12 weeks
Fee: From $1,588
Sign up now to volunteer for this project! - Volunteer Global
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Your Program Fee Covers:

  • Registration and pre-departure interview
  • Volunteer handbook (when available)
  • 24/7 U.S.-based staff support
  • In-country housing and certain amenities
  • Training and guidance from host group
  • Host program needs, such as tools or supplies for your project
  • Post-trip thank-you packet
  • Monthly newsletters

Unless explicitly stated otherwise, it does not cover your flight, passport/visa, vaccinations, transportation while in country, exit fees, meals, or personal expenses. Click here for full details about your program costs!