Sharklife Conservation Internship


"This internship is a unique, well rounded program suited to shark enthusiasts of all levels" 



Established in 2005 as a non-profit organisation, Sharklife addresses the alarming exploitation of both shark populations and ocean fisheries in South African waters. The program aims to nurture shark conservation ambassadors through knowledge development, hands-on training and up to 30 hours on the ocean, encountering a multitude of marine wildlife.


Key Benefits:

  • Get close to sharks
  • Get an accredited Freediving certification
  • Gain worthwhile marine field experience
  • Develop seamanship skills
  • Examine real shark and ray specimens 
  • Encounter diverse marine mega fauna
  • Dive in warm clear ocean environments
  • Visit nearby Big 5 Game Reserves 
  • Study in a World Heritage Site
  • Support a long standing non-profit shark conservation organisation


"The overall goal of the program is to imprint a deeper understanding of the shark species in the minds of participants" 


Program Components:

The program consists of four main components which build your knowledge and skills through theory, practical exercises and time in the ocean.

  1. Theory Sessions - shark species fundamentals, shark conservation tactics, shark and ray tourism
  2. Lab Practical Sessions - anatomical features of sharks and rays, reproductive modes, sensory organs, form and function
  3. Ocean Practical Sessions - freediving skill development, boating and beach logistics, shark encounter experience, research data collection
  4. Assessment Sessions - consolidate and reinforce skill development 

Additional activities are varied depending on current programs at the Sharklife Ocean Center.

  • Assist with educating local school groups
  • Develop displays for the shark museum
  • Maintain research equipment 
  • Catalog museum specimens
  • Collate and input research data


Skill Development:

If you are considering a career that involves being in the ocean, then this program will benefit you. Consider the Sharklife Conservation Internship as a means of developing the following skills.

Skills chart2


Program Details:

  • Location: Sodwana Bay, South Africa
  • Duration: 14 days (option to extend)
  • Cost: $1 250  

As the project is based in a remote rural area there are extra expenses involved. Nonetheless we have tried our best to balance the costs to make your trip both affordable and comfortable.

Fees Include:

Cost chart


Location Details:

Sodwana Bay is located in Northern Kwa-Zulu Natal South Africa. The village borders the pristine world heritage site known as the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. The park is South Africa's third-largest protected area, spanning 280 km of coastline and is one of the top ten dive destinations in the world. The coral reefs contain over 1 200 species of fish as well as a variety of underwater seascapes and marine flora and fauna. Sodwana Bay is also a short drive from a selection of Big 5 Game Reserves which you can visit on your days off. More info >> Sodwana Bay - Wikipedia


Watch the video below:


Some FAQ's

  • What do I get from the program?

    You will get a certificate on completion of your internship which will be supported by detailed assessments of the practical and theoretical components.

    For example:

    • you will maintain log pages of all your:
      • shark encounters
      • hours at sea
      • surf launches
      • time controlling the boat
    • We will provide you with a checklist of skills you have demonstrated during the practical lab sessions on shark anatomy, sensory biology 
    • Overall we are here to mentor you towards a deeper understanding of sharks and associated conservation tactics
    • Through the program you will gain bona-fide field experience with sharks and their environments
    • This will be an asset when seeking employment in related industries.
  • Who is the program for?

    Over 18’s, in good health, good swimming ability and an affinity for the ocean. If you are considering a career that involves being in the ocean, then this program will benefit you.

    For example:

    • Marine biologists
    • Marine field guides
    • Dive instructor/dm's/divers
    • Shark fanatics
    • Gap year students
    • Volunteers
  • Do I need a Scuba qualification?

    No, the ocean practicals are all snorkel based (bubbles scare sharks!).  You can learn to scuba dive or do some casual scuba dives on your off days.

    You will receive freediver training and certification from and accredited freediving instructor. This course will enable you to dive comfortably between 5-10m. 

  • What is the accommodation like?

    You will be situated within the guest lodge located next the Sharklife Ocean Center. You will have your own room which is small yet secure and private. Your room is serviced daily and clean linen provided every 3 days. There are three separate ablution blocks shared among 4 interns as well as a communal swimming pool, lounge and kitchen. The lodge has WiFi and satellite TV. There are shops and bars within walking distance of the lodge.

    Double Cabin

    Occi Gazebo area2

  • Flight Details?

    You need to fly into Durban King Shaka International Airport, abbreviated KSIA, it is normal to have a stop over in Johannesburg then connect to Durban.   

    NB! Please book flights to arrive as early as possible in Durban, we have a 4 hour drive back to Sodwana Bay.

    Sharklife World Flights

    KSIA Departures Large

    A Sharklife staff member will pick you up from the airport on your arrival day.

  • What is available in Sodwana Bay?

    There are most products and services available within walking distance of the accommodation.

    • Restaurants
    • Grocery Shop
    • Free Wifi at accommo
    • Laundry Service
    • Dive Shops
    • Doctors Rooms (10min drive)
    • Cash ATM's
  • Do I need a Visa?

    Nationals of the following 48 countries/territories who hold valid national passports are not required to obtain South African visas for visits of up to 90 days:

    But please double check this as changes can occur at anytime. visit

    African Union Laissez PasserAfrican Union Laissez Passer
    Angola (ordinary passports 90 days per annum  visits not to exceed 30 days)
    Chile (only ordinary passport holders)
    Czech Republic
    Germany (except in diplomatic staff due to assume duty at the Embassy and Consulates of Germany in SA)
    Namibia (only ordinary passport holders 90 days per annum)
    Russian Federation     
    San Marino
    St Vincent & the Grenadines
    Tanzania (90 days per annum)
    Trinidad & Tobago (only ordinary passport holders)
    United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (only ordinary passport holders) 
    British Islands Bailiwick of Guernsey and Jersey, Isle of Man. British Oversees Territories namely: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, St Helena and Dependencies (Ascension Island, Gough Island and Tristan da Cunha), Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands, the Sovereign Base Areas of Cyprus South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and the Turks and Caicos Island.
    United States of America (except in respect of diplomatic staff due to assume duty at the Embassy and Consulates of the USA in SA, as well as service passport holders)
    Zambia (90 days per annum)

  • Deposit and Cancellation?
    • A non-refundable 50% deposit needs to be paid within one week of being accepted into the program. The remaining fee must be paid in full 3 weeks prior to arrival date.
    • Please be advised that refunds will be handled on a case by case basis. Letting us know as soon as possible will be much appreciated.
  • When is the best time?

    Although seasonal changes in Sodwana Bay are mild there is a change in the sea conditions and shark abundance during the year.

    Generally the best months are between Jan-July, but its not imperative.

  • A typical day?

    Your days will be divided into land days and ocean days, depending on weather conditions.

    Typical Land Day: 09:00-16:00

    Theory sessions are given in our auditorium using graphics, videos and models to enhance your theoretical understanding of sharks. Interns use this opportunity to ask questions and discuss prevalent conservation topics. Interns are also tasked with collating research data and developing reports and findings.

    We then move to the lab where we conduct various examinations of the specimens we have preserved, either frozen, dried or in solution. We currently have 4 coastal sharks (tiger, bull, raggie, hammerhead) and 3 ray species, which enable interns to get a feel of the various anatomical features.

    The rest of the day may be allocated to extra activities happening in the center at the time such as; assisting with school groups, museum display development, boat maintenance etc. 

    Typical Ocean Day: 07:00 - 14:00

    After preparing the boat and equipment for sea we head to the beach. Interns assist directly with all beach and boating logistics.  We launch through the surf and make our way along the coastline to the designated study area.  We conduct various in water surveys, record sightings data, location and environmental conditions. Interns also get the opportunity to drive the boat, develop seamanship skills and encounter a wide variety of marine life.

  • Typical day off?
    • The most popular free-time activity is a day trip to the Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 Game Reserve. The park is home to Africa's big five game: elephant, rhinoceros (black/hook-lipped and white/square-lipped), Cape buffalo, lion and leopard. 

    lion umfolozi

    • You can just relax on the pristine beaches of Sodwana Bay.
    • For the more adventurous, you can embark on a microlight flight over the coastline.
    • There are also quad bike tours of the local lake systems and forests.
    • You can scuba dive on the world renowned reefs of Sodwana Bay.

    sodwana beach

  • Do I need vaccinations?

    Depending on where you are coming from there are a few vaccinations that you may need. Check the link below for more information.


Program Dates:

Upcoming programs that still have spaces available.  Groups of 4 can request their own start dates. 

16 - 29 Jul

Sharklife Conservation Internship Jul 16, 2018 - 02:00 AM - Jul 29, 2018 - 05:00 AM Sharklife, Sodwana Bay

04 - 17 Sep

Sharklife Conservation Internship Sep 04, 2018 - 02:00 AM - Sep 17, 2018 - 05:00 AM Sharklife, Sodwana Bay

06 - 19 Nov

Sharklife Conservation Internship Nov 06, 2018 - 01:00 AM - Nov 19, 2018 - 04:00 AM Sharklife, Sodwana Bay

20 - 02 Dec

Sharklife Conservation Internship Dec 20, 2018 - 01:00 AM - Jan 02, 2019 - 01:00 AM Sharklife, Sodwana Bay

08 - 21 Jan

Sharklife Conservation Internship Jan 08, 2019 - 01:00 AM - Jan 21, 2019 - 04:00 AM Sharklife, Sodwana Bay

05 - 18 Feb

Sharklife Conservation Internship Feb 05, 2019 - 01:00 AM - Feb 18, 2019 - 04:00 AM Sharklife, Sodwana Bay

05 - 18 Mar

Sharklife Conservation Internship Mar 05, 2019 - 01:00 AM - Mar 18, 2019 - 05:00 AM Sharklife, Sodwana Bay



If you would like more details about this program please complete the form below and we will get back to you shortly! (24hrs)

Conservation Internship Booking Enquiry

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Sharklife Ocean Centre

Sodwana Bay, kwaZulu Natal
South Africa 3974

Ph: 035 571 0417