Marine Research Internship

 Overview:


Established in 2005 as a non-profit organisation, Sharklife works to address the alarming exploitation of both shark populations and ocean fisheries in South African waters. Our marine internship programs aim to nurture marine conservation ambassadors through knowledge development, hands-on training and many hours on the ocean encountering a multitude of marine wildlife. 

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Key Benefits:


  • Research sharks and other marine megafauna
  • Gain field experience
  • Develop watermanship skills (freediving, boating)
  • Examine real specimens 
  • Encounter diverse marine mega fauna
  • Dive in warm clear ocean environments
  • Visit nearby Big 5 Game Reserves (optional extra +-$100)
  • Study in a World Heritage Site
  • Support a long standing non-profit shark conservation organisation

 

2 Week Field Course:


The 2 week field course introduces students to relevant theoretical and practical elements involved in shark research and conservation. This program is suited to marine enthusiasts who are looking at acquiring additional experience in the field of shark behaviour, ecology and conservation.

  2 week program usd 3

Field Course Components:

  1. Watermanship -  Develops your all round ability to work in ocean environments 
  2. Shark and Ray Biology - Broadens your understanding of key areas of shark and ray biology
  3. Shark Identification and Behavior -  Enables you to identify sharks in the field and recognize different behaviors
  4. Shark Research Methodologies - Increases your understanding of shark research methods
  5. Shark Conservation and Advocacy -  Empowers you to promote shark conservation ideals objectively

skills chart 3

 

1 Month Marine Research Internship:


After completing the initial 2 week program, 1 Month Marine Research Interns work alongside a researcher to gain hands-on experience in data collection, data management and the use of practical field research equipment. This program is suited to aspiring marine biologists who are looking at developing their field experience and research skills.

1 month program usd 2

  

2 - 3 Month Marine Research Internship:


After completing the 1 month program Marine Research Interns continue to work alongside a researcher to further develop their skills and work experience. This program is suited to early career marine biologists who are looking at gaining extensive field experience and project involvement.

2 month program usd 1

3 month program usd 4

 

Program Costs:


Fees Include:

  • Airport transfers 
  • Private room (1 twin room on full capacity)
  • Lectures, materials, certifications
  • Research/Boating expenses
  • Dive gear
  • Wifi
  • 24hr support  

INTERNSHIP COSTS

Excluded:

  • Food and Drinks
There are daily trips to the local supermarket where all common food and beverages are available. There is a fully equipped kitchen to prepare your food or if you prefer catered food there are restaurants close-by you can visit. 
  • Flights 
  • Travel Insurance
  • Vaccinations 
  • Weekend Activities

 

Program Dates: for 2020/2021


annual calendar 8

  

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

 

Some FAQ's


  • What do I get from the program?
    1. Through the program you will gain bona-fide field experience with sharks and their environments.
    2. You will receive freediver training and gain water confidence
    3. Examining real shark and ray specimens is a rare opportunity and will greatly enhance your understanding of elasmobranch anatomy.
    4. By being involved in our research projects you will be exposed to varied research processes and methodologies. 
    5. Sodwana Bay is a remote rural town alongside South Africa's first world Heritage site and has some of the best diving in the world. 
    6. Your participation in our internships directly supports the shark conservation efforts of the organization. 

  • 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:

    • Early career marine biologists
    • Marine field guides
    • Dive instructors/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 basic freediver training from an accredited freediving instructor. This will enable you to dive comfortably between 5-10m. 

  • Flight Details?

    You need to fly into Richards Bay Airport (RCB) via Johannesburg O.R Tambo Airport. Please try arrive early as its a 2hr drive back to Sodwana Bay.

    Sharklife World Flights

    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.

  • 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 http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/immigration-services/exempt-countries

    African Union Laissez PasserAfrican Union Laissez Passer
    Andorra
    Angola (ordinary passports 90 days per annum  visits not to exceed 30 days)
    Argentina
    Australia
    Austria
    Belgium
    Botswana
    Brazil
    Canada
    Chile (only ordinary passport holders)
    Czech Republic
    Denmark
    Ecuador
    Finland
    France
    Germany (except in diplomatic staff due to assume duty at the Embassy and Consulates of Germany in SA)
    Greece
    Iceland
    Ireland
    Israel
    Italy
    Jamaica
    Japan
    Liechtenstein
    Luxemburg
    Malta            
    Monaco
    Namibia (only ordinary passport holders 90 days per annum)
    Netherlands
    Norway 
    Panama     
    Paraguay 
    Portugal
    Russian Federation     
    San Marino
    Singapore
    Spain
    St Vincent & the Grenadines
    Sweden
    Switzerland
    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)
    Uruguay
    Venezuela
    Zambia (90 days per annum)
    Zimbabwe

  • 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.
    • All cancellations within 3 weeks of arrival are non-refundable.
  • 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 shark and ray specimens we have preserved, either frozen, dried or in solution. These specimens enable interns to get a feel of the various anatomical features of each animal.

    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 get the opportunity to  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.

    https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/country/201/south-africa#Vaccine_recommendations

 

 Testimonials


 

  • Isabella Aitkenhead - 2019 - AUZ

    The Sharklife internship experience was like no other! I learnt so much about sharks and shark conservation, my head was just filled with exciting new information for the two weeks. Not only did I learn a lot of valuable skills and information, the staff at Sharklife have inspired me to become a shark ambassador wherever I go, and have given me the confidence to do so!

    The Sharklife team makes it easy to feel comfortable and settle right into the life as a Sharklife intern and the intern camp felt like a home throughout the two weeks. I had never been freediving before, and was unsure how comfortable I would be in the water, but now, after freediving comfortably in such a beautiful place like Sodwana Bay, all I want to do is take more freediving courses and increase my level.

    I would recommend the Sharklife internship to everyone! I can’t wait until I can go back!!!

  • Michaela Leyva - 2019 - USA

    One of the best experiences of my life! Greg, Miriam and Grant are amazing people with such a passion for sharks. Free diving in such beautiful water and being able to see some amazing wildlife along with in depth learning of sharks was perfect. I would love to go back and stay for longer.

  • Mikala Haptonstall - 2019 - USA

    Amazing people to be surrounded by learning how to free dive in absolutely beautiful water with the chance to see breathtaking wildlife. The passion that Grant, Greg, and Miriam exude is so contagious, I didn't want to leave!
     
     

  • Pim de Boer - 2019 - NLD

    Had 2 great weeks at Sharklife with Grant, Greg, and Meriam. A really passionate group of people who do so much with little resources. Would highly recommend the internship to any ocean enthusiast! Learned so much about sharks and the ocean in general. The shark museum and brand new intern camp are an awesome learning environment. But most amazing of all is the time you get to spend in the water with the sharks. They really know where to find them and you get the opportunity to see some special shark species that you would never get to see without expert knowledge. Really hope that more and more people start supporting Sharklife to allow them to make a change!

  • Ângela Sabino - 2019 - PRT

    Very dedicated team, learned so much ? Awesome internship ? Keep up the great work guys ?

  • Emma Williams - 2019 - UK

    I had the most amazing time interning with sharklife. It was so good i stayed for 10 weeks and am heading back in September. There's a great balance between academic learning and time in the ocean. I learnt so much about sharks as well as other marine issues and animals and had plenty of opportunities to improve my freediving skills which I'm going to continue to work on when I get back, as well as loads more to learn. I would recommend this to any one interested in the marine environment. Sodwana is a beautiful place to live and explore, Sharklife has incredible learning resources and Grant and Candice were so much fun to work with and learn from. Thank you for the great experience guys

  • Karolina Nszcm - 2019 - POL
    • What an amazing program , great two weeks with great learning path connected with a lots of hours in the ocean. - you got to be in it to win it ?❤️shark lover!
  • Alex Melson - 2019 - UK

    “Got to be in it to win it” ?

    Nothing more perfectly summarises what the Sharklife Internship is all about, than the quote above! We got close to sharks, rays, rays and even dolphins, learnt about the critters of the sea, looked into shark biology and learnt how to free dive, all of this is just two weeks. For someone who had an abject fear of the ocean and a misunderstanding about sharks, this internship turned me from someone who was nervous to even go knee deep into the ocean, to someone who didn’t want to get back into the boat. Grant’s passion and determination for sharks is truly inspirational and I would highly recommend this internship for anyone looking to learn more about sharks, advance their career or learn new skills.

    I cannot wait until I get the opportunity to return in the future.

  • Chris Taklis - 2019 - GRC

    Those 2 weeks were perfect and so much educated (the most times with a fun way, so we didn't get bored).

    We learned so many stuff. Sure i recommend it for everyone to go. To see by yourself how conservation works in the field.

    And don't believe any legend or myth until you go there and freedive with sharks.

    Sure i will come again. I hope in the near future.

  • Mieke Buys - 2019 - RSA

    The Sharklife Internship is one of, if not the best thing I have done so far. Shark Conservation is so important and more people need to be aware of that to help make a change and that is what Sharklife is doing, they are working to make a change and help these beautiful creatures. Don't let the media and stereotypes influence the way you look at sharks, these animals are so misunderstood and in need of our help to save them.

    I can't thank everyone at Sharklife enough for these past two weeks. It was an incredible experience and I am so lucky that I was able to learn about these amazing animals and to have been able to get in the water with them. These two weeks have been unforgettable and I am definitely going to be back for more!!

  • Greg Holder - 2019 - UK

    harklife an example of what we need more of! Its a brilliant organisation that truel focuses on what we can do to help protect sharks! Through the internship you really get to feel involved and also learn a lot about sharks and conservation.
    Grants genuine passion and enthusiasm for sharks comes across straight away and spreads into everyone around him instantly!
    I would highly recommend anyone who loves the ocean to get involved with Sharklife, you will come away with a new found (or like myself an even bigger) love for these amazing creatures that need protecting.
    It was a brilliant 2 weeks of learning and exploring, I loved every minute of it (even gluing the boat)!

    I'm sure I will be involved with Sharklife for a long time into the future!
    Thanks for everything Grant!

  • Jae Kelly - 2019 - USA

    Interning at Sharklife was the most incredible experience. The internship exceeded all my expectations. Grant, Candice and Dennis are three amazing human beings who have so much knowledge to share. Grant truly went above and beyond to make sure that every minute of the day was spent growing our understanding of sharks, and the whole marine world overall. Between the labs, time in the ocean and other unique excursions the two weeks flew by and I cannot wait to return someday in the near future. Anyone considering an internship or just wanting to know what Sharklife is all about should not hesitate to get in contact with Grant. I flew all the way from WA state in the US for this internship and the long travel was worth it ten-fold. 1000000% recommend the people, the place and the program.

  • Androniki Thirion - 2018 - RSA

    Sharklife and the internship run by Grant is where one can put passion and hobbies in 1 place! Very hands on and very informative in every aspect... The museum is full of information about the ocean life and mainly focusing on one of the most misunderstood creatures (Sharks). Would highly recommend it to young and old who love the ocean.. And to learn to freedive, and get close and personal with the creatures of the ocean... Thank you Grant for a wonderful experience! Keep it up ??

 


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CONTACT US

Sharklife Ocean Centre

Sodwana Bay, kwaZulu Natal
South Africa 3974

Email: info@sharklife.co.za
Ph: 035 571 0417

www.sharklife.co.za