Internship Abroad South Africa: Shark Research and Marine Conservation
You have a passion for the marine realm and would like to enjoy hands-on research training on Atlantic Ocean dwellers in one of the most stunning places in the world?
Then travel to South Africa and become involved in this fascinating research programme, enabling aspiring scientists and conservationists as well as those who are simply interested in nature to undertake essential research on the region’s marine mega-fauna – always in cooperation with leading marine biologists.
Both at sea and on land you will be exposed to various projects and in-depth aspects of practical field research on different marine species, from white sharks and humpback dolphins to Southern right whales. The data you collect and manage will be used to advise different institutions and sectors, including the government, on real-time issues in marine conservation.
- Get to know South Africa’s incredible marine megafauna
- Broaden your knowledge on research methods and marine ecology
- Research white sharks, humpback dolphins and Southern right whales
- Work together with leading marine biologists
- Take part in a recreational diving course
- Enjoy living in the vibrant city of Mossel Bay
- Explore South Africa’s nature and culture on weekend trips
Plan your trip
Included in the programme fee
- Placement in the programme
- Assistance with travel arrangements
- Assistance with selecting travel insurance
- Assistance with booking flights
- Risk coverage certificate
Chrissy, your travel agent for South Africa
You are interested in joining this adventure? I am happy to help you! From the first steps until the end of the trip – I answer all of your questions and support you throughout your time abroad.
Your research internship in South Africa
When participating in this fascinating internship programme you broaden your knowledge in undertaking crucial research on the diverse marine mega-fauna of Southern Africa, working together with an international team and leading marine biologists.
Arrival and orientation in South Africa
You need to book a flight to George Airport where you need to arrive on the first day of your internship. A staff member of our partner will pick you up and transfer you to the team base in Mossel Bay. After your arrival in the house, you can settle in, get to know your team and your surroundings and get some rest from your travels.
The second and third day of your internship is intended for an orientation and safety meeting, before the actual programme activities start on day 4.
Research topics of your internship abroad
Throughout your internship, you and your team will deal with a variety of marine research topics – both in practice and theory. These topics include (may be dependent on season):
• Population assessments of different shark, fish and marine mammal species
• Habitat use of white sharks and marine mammals
• Population structure as well as trophic and movement ecology of catsharks
• Predator-prey behavioural strategies of white sharks and cape fur seals
• Shark stress physiology and behavioural studies
• Intertidal community study
• Ecological monitoring of rivers
• Marine Mammal Stranding Response workshop
At month end, each student gives a research-based presentation.
At the end of your stay, you will have gained valuable know-how on seamanship and crew living, on maintaining research boats and scientific equipment, on marine wildlife catching and handling techniques, on tagging and release methods, on different equipment use (e.g. ROV, BRUV, drones) and on data collection and analysis.
Research work starts around 07:00 AM and ends around 06:00 PM. Please keep in mind that daily tasks are always dependent on prevailing weather conditions and nature of activity. We therefore ask you to be open-minded, patient and able to adapt to shifting circumstances.
Accommodation in Mossel Bay
Together with other interns and project staff, you will live in a house in Mossel Bay. You’ll sleep in a gender-specific dormitory, equipped with bunk beds, and use shared bathrooms. The house also has a kitchen, a lounge and a large patio with a sitting area and barbecue facilities. You’ll receive three meals per day – breakfast, lunch and dinner. Whereas breakfast is prepared by the entire team, lunch and dinner will be cooked by the project’s chef.
Leisure time during your internship
While Monday to Friday is intended for training, your weekends are usually free. Our partner offers organised trips, for example to Cape Town, Plettenberg Bay, or game reserves. For an additional fee that needs to be paid on-site you are more than welcome to join these trips.
But as your base is in the vivid city of Mossel Bay, you can enjoy lots of other leisure activities as well. Relax at the beach, visit shops, restaurants and museums or go on cultural excursions. Furthermore, you get the chance to take part in a recreational diving course and obtain an official qualification (Padi Open Water, Padi Advanced Open Water or Padi Rescue).
Arriving in South Africa
Orientation in Mossel Bay
Internship in South Africa: A typical day
Last day in the internship and departure
“I really loved being in nature/in the bush each day and being able to enjoy so many unforgettable animal sightings – and, of course, meeting so many nice people and learning a lot of new things.”
“All of my expectations were fulfilled, as I received a very good overview of the course beforehand and was able to clarify all questions in advance.”
“I especially liked nature and the people on North Island. They are like a huge family and welcome you immediately.”
1. Western Cape
Western Cape is a province of South Africa, located in the southwest of the Republic. It borders both the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean. Its capital is Cape Town. In particular, a visit to the countless national parks and nature reserves reveals the scenic diversity and biodiversity of the Western Cape.
Numerous representatives of the African animal world can be found in Western Cape – on land and underwater. In addition to the rich fauna, the diverse flora of the region can also be admired, as it is home to the world-famous Fynbos biome, an ecological zone divided into different types of vegetation.
Background of your internship in South Africa
Southern Africa’s wildlife, including its marine world, is incredibly diverse. As in other parts of the world, the marine environment of Southern Africa is in need of constant research and conservation measures, especially nowadays as climate change and environmental pollution are taking their toll on the planet’s ecosystems.
Our partner’s programme provides and facilitates innovative, dynamic and interdisciplinary research relevant to the management and conservation of Southern Africa’s megafauna, including sharks and marine mammals. Aspiring researchers, from internship to postgraduate levels, get the chance to broaden their technical knowledge through multi-disciplinary practical and theoretical training – as part of in-house research projects as well as projects in other biomes of Southern Africa.
An outstanding opportunity for national and international students to receive hands-on research training in one of the most fascinating corners on Planet Earth.
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