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Training divers in south africa on the coast

Marine diver conservation placement

Gain scuba diving qualifcations and work on marine conservation projects

Placement summary
Anchor 1

Who should join this placement?
Anyone looking to gain experience and qualifications in diving and marine conservation. Perfect as part of a study abroad program for students seeking new skills or research techniques with adventurous gap year travellers wanting to explore South Africa's pristine tropical coast.

Location: Diving Lodge, KZN, South Africa.

Length: 4 week min - 3 months max.


Group sizes: 1 - 4 plus divemasters

A diving recording data during conservation work
What you'll be doing:
  • 4 day diving accredited course

  • Gain qualifications

  • 2 - 3 dives per week

  • Diving on coastal coral reefs

  • Coral reef surveys

  • Turtle monitoring research

  • Meet underwater wildlife

  • Day trips in the area

  • Safari and game drives

  • Fish surveys

Divers in South Africa rescuing wildlife like a sea turtle
Marine conservation work in South Africa

Diving placement role and duties

Life during the diving placement

The first week of your diving placement will be spent completing your diving course to gain your qualification.

Once you're a qualified diver you'll take part in multiple dives per week. You'll play a role with marine research and conservation projects. Study and gain scientific data as you survey coral reefs to look at effects of climate change, help monitor and protect turtles by boat and while underwater.

Monday to Friday

Leave the lodge and head to the coast to explore UNESCO world heritage reefs rich with rare biodiversity like the coelacanths. Build confidence and skill in the pristine tropical waters. During days when studying and research are the priority, take advantage of many class and communal study areas.

Weekends and free time

There are loads of activities on offer in the area, from safari drives, adventure activities or days out. Go try something solo or share the experience with new friends you've made.

Join any time

Placements are available throughout the year. Please contact us to arrange your dates.

Long-term placements

From per week

Join from a minimum of 4 weeks and stay up to 12 weeks.

What is included? 

We have taken care of all the details so you can focus on the adventure of a lifetime!

The placement includes:

  • Airport transfers to and from the reserve

  • Accommodation during your stay

  • Transportation and guides for all confirmed dives and group activities

  • Food and drink (excluding any personal extras)

  • 4 day PADI/CMAS diving course

  • All itinerary/activity equipment is provided

  • Wi-fi access

  • Conservation projects and dives

  • Meet and greet event in the UK

  • Fellow volunteer contact list, to be sent out prior to departure

  • 24-hour emergency onsite support

  • 100% financial security with your booking

What is not included?

Please note, we do not book, manage or coordinate the following:

  • Flights

  • Travel insurance

  • Visa and Immigration requirements

  • Vaccinations and health screening/checks

  • Personal travel insurance

  • Optional activities (any booked during your stay)

  • Must be above 18

  • Must have valid travel insurance

  • Must have booked return flights

  • Must organise any relevant travel and immigration documents

  • Must undergo any relevant medical checks and vaccinations

These are your personal responsibility and proof that all requirements have been met must be sent ahead of your arrival.

Fish seen during diving in South Africa
Dive with whale shark in South Africa
What you can expect
PADI / CMAS diving course

Start the placement by completing a PADI or CMAS diving course. This course will qualify you to dive worldwide and even start a career in professional diving!

Surveys and transects

You'll play a key role in various practical ecological techniques. Monitor coral reefs, fish populations and other key species that determine the ecosystem’s health and biodiversity. Build knowledge as you contribute to scientific research.

Coral reef diving

The coast you'll be diving in hosts some of Africa's finest coral reefs. They are also one of the only reefs on the planet not currently facing coral bleaching or shrinking in size. Home to animals like turtles, sea slugs, corals, sharks and many more!

Discover Sodwana Bay

The area around Sodwana bay is a wildlife paradise. Lagoons, wetlands and river estuaries make for incredible discoveries. From big five African wildlife like elephants and lions on land to bird life and reptiles on the coast's edge. Explore it all during the placement.

Turtle monitoring

Several species of turtle can be found in the region. You'll perform catch, data collect and release as part of the placement to help monitor the success and breeding status of these animals.

Marine Conservation

In addition to the turtle research and surveying work, you'll help with local conservation groups and teams. From wildlife documentary film work to Ph.D research or projects. Why not develop your own? We'll support anyone joining with an academic background in marine conservation.

Work and learn from experienced experts
Work on of the coast of South Africa on marine conservation projects
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