Marine Dynamics Academy

Marine Dynamics Academy

Marine Dynamics Academy is based in Gansbaai, South Africa, home of the great white shark and the rest of the Marine Big 5 -whales, seals, dolphins and the endangered African penguin. Our efforts are focused around the Dyer Island ecosystem that includes the famous Shark Alley.

We are part of the Marine Dynamics group and utilise ecotourism to further marine research and conservation goals. The overriding goal of the Marine Dynamics Academy, is to give people who love the marine environment a chance to immerse themselves within it, developing skills and experiences which they can use to enhance their own careers and life goals.

Award winning Marine Dynamics Tours and sister company Dyer Island Cruises are leaders in responsible shark cage diving and whale watching. Certified by Fair Trade Tourism since 2008, our companies are recognised worldwide for our commitment to sustainable tourism, winning awards for Responsible Tourism and best marine experience. We educate 35000 visitors every year and help change negative perceptions of the often-misunderstood white shark. Daily observational data by our onboard marine biologists is crucial to the scientific research objectives. We have a dedicated fleet of vessels from which we conduct research and handle animal rescues. Throughout our operation, we continually identify gaps in marine conservation knowledge, education and awareness in our area. The companies provide logistical, marketing and financial support to the Dyer Island Conservation Trust.



Our key projects are:

  • African penguin conservation that includes a nest project providing critical protection during the penguin fledgling stage; and in 2015 we opened a rehabilitation facility, the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary.
  • Invaluable research on great white sharks by marine biologists includes tagging and tracking, behavioural surveys, wound healing, environmental parameter monitoring and population studies. We are part of the White Shark Research Group in South Africa and are the only group tagging and tracking great white sharks in Gansbaai.
  • Support of whale and dolphin research, notably contributing to the critical population study of humpback dolphins
  • We handle all marine animal rescue, stranding and sampling on our coastline
  • Our Environmental Education Programme known as DEEP educates a dedicated group of young learners for three years measuring the impact and growth of each student.
  • Marine pollution efforts include the unique fishing line bin project and monthly beach clean ups.
  • Baited Remote Underwater Video (BRUV) monitoring of species in the area
  • ORI tagging of the smaller shark species
  • Estuary monitoring
  • Seabird and shorebird monitoring
  • Shark egg project

As a volunteer or intern, you play a critical role, helping us do this invaluable work and protecting the Dyer Island ecosystem and the marine world off the Cape coast, for many years to come.

We have over twenty scientific papers generated from our team of dedicated marine biologists. We have an expert crew of skippers, boat staff, diving instructors and dedicated programme coordinators who will ensure your stay is memorable. We work with international film crews and host journalists and conservationists. All trips run from the Great White House. With a restaurant and curio shop on site and impressive whale and dolphin skeletons on display, this is the hub of all our activity. Monthly marine evenings are held here where you will enjoy a talk by invited speakers active in the world of marine conservation. We work with conservation organisation, Universities across the world and have working relationships with experts in their field.

Applications are accepted year-round. We offer three options on our Marine Dynamics Academy programme:

Volunteer: Open to anyone with an interest in marine conservation (2 weeks or more / we recommended 4 weeks). You will support our eco-tourism team doing shark cage diving and whale watching and enjoy many opportunities to get up close and personal with the great white shark and bronze whaler sharks (copper sharks). You will also participate in all our conservation projects, assist with data capture and learn from our marine biologists through a series of talks on marine species.

Intern: A series of exclusive, high level academic and field-based skills training modules for marine science undergraduates and recent graduates – 4 week skills based internship starts 1st Monday of each month. Between ecological studies and utilisation of upcoming technologies, our emphasis is on providing students with experiences that will help further them along their chosen career paths. RESEARCH INTERNSHIPS are available where you can work on one of our long term projects.

Guiding: Comprehensive training and development for prospective guides, wishing to conduct dedicated coastal and marine environment tours or gain experience. Marine Dynamics Academy will administer your membership and qualification through the Field Guides Association of Southern Africa (FGASA), providing you with an opportunity to qualify and register as a legal guide. (6 weeks)

Diving Courses: Join one of Marine Dynamics Academy’s qualified NAUI dive instructors for a NAUI accredited SCUBA diving course. This course requires a minimum four weeks stay and is an optional extra. Cost includes registration, the e-learning package (done prior to arrival), all equipment and dives. Medical approval required prior to arrival. Enjoy Kelp dives, blue and mako shark diving, research dives.

Accommodation: Accommodation is at the Marine Volunteer Center with four cottages for volunteers and a house for interns. It is a shared sleeping arrangement. Bedding is provided and our water is safe to drink. All facilities have a mini kitchen, but most prefer to gather in the central kitchen with adjacent dining room and sitting room. There is a lecture room and work space as well as a pool where diving courses take place.  There is an activity hall with weights and table tennis. Also enjoy a pool table and foosball and there is a variety of board games, Wi-Fi and satellite TV are available. The lodge is close to our base and whilst we have two mini buses that move volunteers daily, it is also an easy walk or cycle away. Recycling is a priority at the lodge.

Programme costs excludes: Flights / Visas / Medical and Travel Insurance / Excursions – No sea days mean we get to explore local places, enjoying South African experiences.

Inclusions: Cape Town transfers, accommodation, boat time, lectures, some branded clothing, boots, basic breakfast and lunch, a visit to the Two Oceans Aquarium, a donation to the Dyer Island Conservation Trust.

On no sea days we may do any of the following excursions: Cape Agulhas / Danger Point Lighthouse / Wine tasting / Klipgat Caves / Zip lining, / Quad biking / Horse riding / visit to Panthera Africa / Stony Point penguin colony / Hiking / Kelp Diving

Your Choice Makes A Difference.

Volunteer: volunteers@marinedynamicstravel.com Ph: +27 (0) 824595128

Scientific Internships: academy@marinedynamicstravel.com Ph: +27 (0) 813685000

Return to Marine Research Expeditions

Please don’t forget to mention WiseOceans when booking your expedition!