Dolphin & Whale Volunteer Research

South Africa



Dolphin & Whale Volunteer Research

Experience the wonders of the ocean with the only eco-tourism company permitted to do close encounter whale and dolphin watching along the Knysna Coast!

Experience the wonders of the ocean with the only eco-tourism company permitted to do close encounter whale and dolphin watching along the Knysna Coast!

Expand your knowledge of our beautiful cetaceans, as well as assisting the team with recording daily sightings of the various species of whales and dolphins visiting our coastline. (Please note that boat trips are dependent on sea conditions and you may need to be flexible at times)

Throughout your stay you will assist with a variety of coastal conservation projects including surveying local bird populations; conducting inter-tidal zone surveys; helping to keep our beaches clean; and assisting with monitoring various estuarine species.

You will also have the unforgettable experience of educating local children about the wonders of the ocean and providing them with an opportunity to visit local natural areas.

Throughout this program you will enjoy a variety of informative lectures, helping you to expand your knowledge of marine life and aquatic ecology. We are dedicated to making a positive difference to the marine ecology of this area; and you will be a part of this vision.


  • Picturesque beaches, lagoons and forests
  • Be part of a close-knit community that will welcome you to the growing volunteer family. Our community is safer than larger townships in bigger cities, with many friendly locals who know and care about the project volunteers
  • Restaurants, coffee shops and a vibey waterfront with great shops
  • The area offers every activity you can think of, including hikes, boat trips, animal experiences, sky diving, the highest bridge bungee jump in the world and shark cage diving! 4 hour’s drive to Addo National Park; home to the highest concentration of Wild Elephants in the world
  • Fly into Cape Town, and spend a few days exploring the city before hopping on the Bus and coming to Knysna (this is FREE for all Knysna Volunteers!).
  • Combine any of our Knysna initiatives and have a full, unique volunteering experience.
Example Weekly Schedule 
Saturday: Arrival & Orientation
Sunday: Time off to recover from jet lag and explore the area
Monday: Orientation & Training / Lectures
Tuesday: Dolphin & Whale Experience / Workshop prep
Wednesday: Dolphin & Whale Experience / Lecture & Tidal Zone Survey
Thursday: Dolphin & Whale Experience / Marine Conservation Workshop
Friday: Lecture & Bird Survey / Cultural Activity
Saturday: Optional Excursion

Field conditions

Comfortable. You will have access to all amenities including running water, electricity and internet. Most bankcards work at local banks (VISA, MasterCard, AMEX). You will also find that you can purchase almost anything at local shops. Recommended for those who enjoy visiting restaurants and shops, as well as having daily communication with friends and family at home.


  • 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
  • Private & Family Rooms Available on Request


You will stay in a lodge, a beautiful Victorian House, perfectly situated on a slope, overlooking the Knysna Lagoon. A place where you can put your feet up and admire the view or take a two minute stroll to town and explore the hot-spots of Knysna. As well as providing a home for our volunteers, our lodge also accomodates other International travellers, so there will be no shortage of new people to meet!

Arrival & Departure

This project has a global travel services partner that can assist with all your travel plans! You will either need to fly into Johannesburg or Cape Town and catch a connecting flight to GEORGE (GRJ). It is our nearest airport. You can also get the bus from Cape Town or Johannesburg which is a good way to see the area if you have time before your arrival date. If you decide to take the bus, a return bus ticket is included FREE of charge and we can help book this for you. We are happy to assist with organising your Cape Town or Johannesburg stay including accommodation and tours.

On departure, your project coordinator will transport you to the airport and/ or assist with any further travel arrangements. If you are travelling further through Africa we are more than happy to provide any advice or support in planning your onward journey. We will provide you with a comprehensive Pre-Travel Advice pack when you confirm your booking with us that will outline all our recommendations for flights, packing and in-country advice.

Languages: English

Knysna is one of the most beautiful parts of South Africa. Stunning views, impressive mountain passes, lush green forests and white sandy beaches. Knysna really is paradise and it’s no surprise that it has been voted South Africa’s favorite holiday town on many occasions!

2 weeks $1,250
4 weeks $2,395
+1 week $545

*Please contact us for pricing for stays of more than 8 weeks and group bookings.


What’s Included

  • All project operating costs, equipment, tools and resources
  • Return Bus Ticket from Cape Town or Johannesburg to Knysna Pick up & drop off from arrival points (George airport or Knysna bus stop) 24/7 emergency support Orientation & Training
  • Accommodation at our lodge
  • 3 Meals a day
  • Project Related Transport
  • Project T-shirts
  • Dedicated coordinators to assist you daily
  • Project support and feedback sessions throughout your stay
  • Assistance with optional activities and tours Assistance obtaining a local SIM Card for your phone
  • Additional cultural and outdoor activities on Friday afternoons (and some evenings)
  • Free, unlimited Wi-Fi and computer access in the Knysna volunteer house
  • Post-project involvement, and an exclusive return volunteer discount
I would definitely give this program 10/10. It was amazing to see these amazing animals so close and contribute to the research.
Fionne M. – United Kingdom

I loved the opportunity to get so close to these amazing animals. I will never forget the excitement of seeing a Whale breach right in front of the boat.
Fabienne K. – Germany

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Linking People & Conservation

The African Conservation Foundation is an award-winning charity focused on protecting Africa's endangered wildlife and their habitats. We build local capacity for long term sustainability of projects.

© 2018 African Conservation Foundation

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