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Frequently Asked Questions

Visa's - Do I need one?
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No. You will not be employed by the Shark Research Unit nor paid. On this internship you are entitled to enter on a temporary visitors permit (e.g. tourism permit). Tourist visiting visas are usually issued for three months/90 days upon entry in South Africa. However, we do recommend that you contact the South African Embassy or Consulate in your country and confirm this fact.  If you plan to travel in South Africa prior or after the course for a period extending 90 days, you will have to apply for a Volunteer VISA application through your home embassy. Quickly evaluate the visa status of your country when visiting South Africa here 

Medication - Can I get my meds?
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South Africa is far from Malaria areas, and there are no strange African diseases which you could pick up (that is if you respect the same safety rules as anywhere else in the world). Please ensure that you bring any medication required. If you will require medication whist in South Africa, please contact us to ensure that it is available.

Extra money - How much must I bring?
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A lot of interns enjoy extra trips and tourism activities when time permits. We recommend you have around USD1000 extra per month if you wish to go on these. Please note you do not have to go on ANY of these extra trips. This is simply for your information should you wish to.

Arrivals - What happens when I arrive?
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When it comes to support, we ensure that each participant is provided with unparalleled, 360 degree support, from your initial contact with the Shark Research Unit, all the way through your program, and even after, as you become part of the SRU Alumni Team. As part of this promise, we will ensure that one of our dedicated staff will be available to meet you at George airport or the Mossel Bay bus station. We also set up a Whatsapp group to help with managing airport arrivals and assist you during your travel. We will arrange with you prior to your departure that, should you arrive in the agreed upon pick up window, a member of our staff will be there to welcome you, easily identifiable in a Shark Research Unit t-shirt and wearing a friendly smile. This means there will be someone there to greet you as you land, and from there you will be transported to the SRU base base to start your adventure and meet the rest of your team.

What do participants get out of the program?
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The primary purpose of the program is to offer you extensive real world training and experience in driving shark research, conservation, education and ecotourism operations and campaigns. We believe that shark ecotourism operations also have a duty to drive education, conservation and research initiatives. As such, our participants drive many of these programs. So in addition to becoming an expert shark diver, many of your experiences will empower you in the fields of shark education, research and conservation.

When is the program and for how long?
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Our program runs from March to November annually. Participants typically book onto the program from 2weeks up to 3 months. Longer than 3 months, requires a special visa to South Africa, and thus we limit participation to the three month period.

Packing - What must I bring?
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If you are getting ready to pack, here is a rough packing list of items you should consider bringing. Clothing

  • Work clothes. Bring what you are comfortable in, but ensure that you have warm, strong work clothing of neutral colours, solid work shoes such as hiking boots or trainers, a good sun hat with a wide brim and a warm hat/beanie. Gloves can be helpful for early mornings. Bring a tracksuit or something similar to lounge around in during the evenings, which can get cold. Also, face buffs help keep off the cold in the evenings.
  • Social clothes. Mossel Bay is a small town, so social clothing should reflect a casual, non-formal style.
  • A swimming costume.

 Video and electronic gear You are more than welcome to bring any personal videography or photographic equipment, however, this is totally optional.  Miscellaneous 

  • Covid negative test results
  • Toiletries &  strong sunscreen (there are also plenty of shops to purchase from).
  • Prescription medication.
  • Passport & photocopy of passport.
  • Bank cards (inform your bank of your travels).
  • Spare cash.
  • Phone & cables.


  • Accommodation address – 182 Aalwyn Way, Aalwyndal, Mossel Bay.
Insurance - Do I need extra insurance?
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When you are accepted into this internship program, you will have to sign liability, copyright documents, as well an agreement that you are knowingly partaking in potentially dangerous activities. You will not be covered for accidents, breakages, theft or illnesses, so please do organize your own medical and travel insurances. Chances that you will be injured by a shark are very slim if you follow the safety guidelines, and do not try anything foolish of which we would not approve. However, you will be working in an ocean environment which can result in accidents. So it is important to be covered in case of an emergency or accident. Be sure to have an insurance cover for your entire stay in Southern Africa.

Duration - How long can I participate?
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The program consists of both on-site and off-site work. Prior to arrival in South Africa, participants are required to complete a three week online eLearning program aimed at grounding you in the theoretical skills required to enable you to make a meaningful contribution to the program. Onsite, participants can participate for a minimum period of two weeks and a maximum period of three months.

Schedule - What do we do daily?
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On the program, we are flexible with our daily activities, and the Shark Research Unit works out a daily program the night before – using the general schedule as a guide. This works great, as it is difficult to predict weather conditions many days in advance. We try to work 5 days a week (which often covers weekends) with a couple of days break during the week.

Do I need SCUBA qualification?
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No – Many of our adventures are snorkel based, so you will be able to participate in all activities even if you cant SCUBA dive. But many of our students choose this as a time to get qualified with a SCUBA qualification.

What does my fee cover?
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  • Research / conservation expeditions
  • eLearning courses
  • Practical training tuition 
  • Local transfers – Transfer to and from the airport to Blue Wilderness on arrival and departure (only on the 1st of each month)
  • Local transport – Every day transport from the Blue wilderness to launch site, or days activity location
  • Dorm accommodation – (2-4 students/room, gender separated).
  • Meals – three standard meals per day
  • Equipment – SCUBA and snorkeling equipment for Blue Wilderness expeditions
  • Internet –  (10mb/sec speed)


Additional Information

Please submit this addtional information prior to your arrival in South Africa

Do yo have any conditions we should know about?

Please submit this form when you have confirmed your travel details to and from the Shark Research Unit

Submit to request that the Shark Research Unit adds you to our internal intern and staff whatsapp group. We typically try to add new intern 10 days before arrival.

Please submit this form when you have confirmed your travel details to and from the Shark Research Unit

We aim to provide a supportive, safe, welcoming and educational environment for everyone to enjoy their time participaing on the Shark Research Units internshp programs. This reporting from is designed to ensure that you have a confidential reporting system shuld an incident that affects your time at the SRU occur. Or if you would simply like to give feedback make comments to management at the SRU. This form will be submitted confidentially to Ryan Johnson (Director) and Jackie Griffin (Chief Operating Offiicier)
Please submit any information that you feel relevant. The more full that you make this report, the better that the Shark Research Unit can respond accordingly.

Please submit this review on our internship program(s) once you have completed a program

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Upgrade your time at the Shark Research Unit by looking at additional courses, single accommodation and specialised meal plans. 


The Shark Research Unit’s affiliate program is designed to allow our potential, current and past participants to earn revenue by marketing and referring people to our experiential learning programs. Such revenue can be used to offset fees for your participation on our programs, or be paid out directly to you via paypal. Take the time to read our affiliate programs terms and conditions, and if it sounds like you, then go ahead and sign up!


The Shark Research Unit is a shark and marine research and conservation institute driven by a passionate team of shark experts. We are located in South Africa and work in two regions of priority – Aliwal Shoal and Mossel Bay. 

Our core purpose is to conduct and support original shark research, conservation and education programs through strategic partnerships with marine scientists, postgraduate students, ecotourism operators and academic institutes. 

Our focus extends to nurturing a new generation (of all ages) of shark scientists, professionals and enthusiasts. We achieve this through our great white shark research internship, learner outreach programs and expert guided shark edu-tours  



  • 182 Aalwyn Way
  • Aalwyndal
  • Mossel Bay 6520
  • South Africa


  • 34 Egerton Rd
  • Freeland Park
  • Schottburgh 4180
  • South Africa

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