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Cape Town Aquarium Volunteer

4-12 weeks from $1,760

$95 Deposit
Gain great experience in South Africa
Care for sea creatures
Explore Cape Town in your free time
Group size: Varies

Trip Highlights

  • An amazing opportunity to work at the famous Waterfront attraction!
  • Gain Marine Biology experience in the heart of Cape Town
  • The chance to get involved with animal rescues and releases!
  • Help to inform the community about marine life and conservation
  • Enjoy free weekends exploring South Africa!

Trip Summary

Showcase your passion for marine conservation! On this rewarding volunteer programme, you’ll be working with a small team of dedicated aquarium staff and marine biologists helping to conserve and protect local marine life. The aquarium is world renowned for its ethical approach to conservation, and is home to over 3000 sea creatures! Whether you’re a passionate beginner or a student of Marine Biology, your experience and dedication will be highly valued at the aquarium.

Spend your days maintaining habitats, caring for sea creatures, preparing food, and informing local visitors about the importance of the project. You’ll be gaining rewarding and practical experience all while exploring lively Cape Town! You may even have the chance to assist with animal rescues and releases! Jump into this rewarding role and make a splash!

Interested and want to find out more? Download more trip information and detailed itinerary HERE!

The Project and Your Role

In South Africa, the Indian Ocean and Atlantic Ocean meet. This makes it the perfect location for the study of Marine Biology! You’ll be volunteering in an aquarium that is home to over 3000 sea animals, showcasing the diversity of local marine life. The aquarium has been running since 1995, and is renowned for its role in increasing environmental awareness. You’ll be working alongside a dedicated, experienced and knowledgeable team who have made it their mission to safeguard and conserve South Africa’s marine population and educate others through informative exhibits and valuable education programmes.

Volunteer at the aquarium for 4 – 12 weeks and gain practical, hands on marine biology experience! You’ll be working with a small team from a diverse background who have been united by their passion for marine biology and conservation. Your tasks will depend on the priorities of the aquarium, and we’ve listed some typical activities below:

  • Preparing food for the sea creatures
  • Cleaning displays
  • Maintaining habitats
  • Participating in rescue missions
  • Participating in animal releases
  • Carrying out daily care duties for sea creatures
  • Sharing your experience with visitors
  • Informing school children on marine life and the oceans
  • Assisting with collection trips at sea
  • Keeping data records
  • The opportunity to research

You’ll be working from 7am to 4pm with an hour lunch break between 1pm and 2pm from Monday to Friday, and weekends will be free for you to explore the local area. Your volunteering role will follow this format for however long you choose to stay with the project – you can stay for a minimum of 4 weeks and a maximum of 12 weeks.

Your itinerary will be dependent on the priorities of the aquarium, and each day will be different! We’ve listed a sample itinerary below.

Day 1: Arrival and Welcome!

Welcome to Cape Town! You’ll be met at the airport by one of our welcoming representatives, and taken to your volunteer accommodation. Keep your eyes open on the way – you’ll spot the iconic Table Mountain along the way! Be sure to arrive before 4.15pm so that you make the orientation at 5pm. During orientation you’ll be briefed on your role with the project and become familiar with safety guidelines. You’ll have a chance to ask any questions you may have about the programme and it’s a brilliant opportunity to meet more of the team! After the orientation, take some time to unwind and enjoy a delicious dinner.

Please note that if you are unable to arrive in time for the orientation, we advise arriving a day early. We can arrange an extra night of accommodation and an earlier pick up for you.

Day 2: Project Preparation

Tomorrow you’ll be getting started, but first you’ll be moving to your new accommodation! Once you’ve settled in we’ll show you how to get to the project each day. You have a range of transport options including buses and taxis, so you can choose whichever option you’d prefer. Later, you’ll be introduced to staff at the aquarium – we bet you can’t wait to get stuck in!

Days 3-5: Volunteering

Get started on your fascinating project! You’ll be getting stuck in with the team, and you’ll soon become familiar with the characteristics and behavioural tendencies of each creature, spending hours a day with them. You’ll be responsible for keeping habitats clean, informing visitors about the project, preparing food for the creatures and possibly even playing a role in animal rescues and releases! You’ll be working from 7am to 4pm with an hour lunch break between 1pm and 2pm from Monday to F

Days 6 – 7: Free Time

Weekends will be free for you to explore! There’s plenty for you to get up to in South Africa, and during your orientation you’ll be able to ask questions about the very best bits! We’ve listed some must dos below!

  • Catch a cable car up Table Mountain
  • Shark cage diving
  • Robben Island - prison where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years
  • Party in Long Street
  • Penguin colony at Boulders Beach
  • Winetasting in Paarl, Franschhoek or Stellenbosch
  • Hang out at the beautiful beaches

Please note that all activities, inclusions and itineraries are subject to change.


  • Accommodation in Private Room
  • Volunteering Project in Cape Town
  • Orientation
  • Airport Transfer
  • Aquarium t-shirts
  • Equipment required to carry out project duties
  • 24 hour Emergency Support

  • Flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visa
  • Vaccinations
  • Optional Activities
  • Meals
  • Return Airport Transfer


Your accommodation is included during your time as a volunteer. You’ll be staying in a private room in a student accommodation in Cape Town. Bathroom facilities are shared, and you’ll have modern toilets and hot water showers. There’ll be a communal area with Wi-Fi to enjoy at a cost of around 10-20 USD per month. We suggest budgeting around 22 USD per month for electricity. A deposit of 250 USD will be required, and it will be returned to you when you’re leaving, providing nothing has been damaged or compromised.

Meals are not provided as part of this programme. Kitchen facilities are available at your accommodation, so you’re free to buy your own groceries and prepare meals for yourself. You’ll find the kitchen to be well stocked, featuring plenty of fridge space, a microwave, toaster, kettle and kitchen utensils. The house also offers meal plans from Monday to Friday at a cost of 40 USD per week.

Try some delicious local delicacies during your time in South Africa. We’ve listed some recommended dishes below:

  • Potjiekos: A traditional meat stew braised over coals. Slow cooked and delicious
  • Boerewors: A pork or beef sausage spiced with coriander, nutmeg and cloves. Crisp and tasty!
  • Cape Malay Curry: A Malay influenced chicken curry spiced with cinnamon and saffron. Enjoy this hearty flavoursome dish with rice
  • Bunny Chow: Bread loaves are hollowed out and stuffed with perfectly flavoured meat or veggie curries


Wi-Fi will be available in communal areas at your accommodation and will incur a charge of around 10 – 20 USD per month.


The international dialling code for South Africa is +27 so be sure to let your friends and family know that they’ll have to type this code in before dialling a South African number! You’ll be able to buy a local SIM card for your phone once you arrive, providing your phone is ‘unlocked’.


You’ll be able to do your laundry on site, but you’ll need to provide your own washing powder.


Your flight to South Africa should arrive at Cape Town International Airport (CPT) on your programme start date before 4pm, to ensure you are all ready for your orientation which will begin at 5pm on your programme start date. Your return flight or onward travel can be arranged any time on the last day of your programme.

To arrange your flights, contact our fantastic flights team on 01892 277037 or email them at [email protected] They will be able to search for the best flight offers to your chosen destinations, so you can plan and organise your trip in one place. Just make sure you give them your full name, as stated in your passport, along with your chosen departure dates, return dates, and any other details you want to include.

It is important that once you have booked your flights you add these details to your online account or alternatively you can contact us with your departure date, the flight number and arrival time at your destination.


The minimum ages for this programme is 18 years. 

This project is ideal for individuals with a keen interest in Marine Biology as well as students or professionals who want to gain practical, firsthand experience in a world renowned aquarium in the heart of Cape Town!


UK nationals don’t require a visa to enter South Africa for stays of up to 3 months. You should ensure that your passport will still be in date for six months after your return. All visa information is subject to change and you should consult the nearest High Commission or Embassy for the most up to date information.

Am I Eligible For This Programme?

As long as you are 18 or above, have a passion for Marine Biology and are willing to commit a minimum of 4 weeks to volunteering with the aquarium, this is the perfect opportunity for you!

What Can I Do In My Free Time?

There’s plenty to get up to in your free time! Head to a game reserve to spot the Big 5 and marel as you get up close and personal with stunning widlife. There’s also plenty of opportunity for adventure with abseiling, mountain biking and walking safaris on offer. You’ll even find the highest bungee jump in the world!If you want a relaxing day, head to a local beach to top up your tan and explore golden stretches of sand. Head to Table Mountain to hike or simply take some unmissable snap shots! You’ll also find a range of intriguing museums, including the Apartheid Museum that offers a glimpse of South Africa’s sobering history.Head to a vibrant nightlife spot during your evenings, or enjoy some local jazz! Foodies can head off to charming vineyards for wine tasting tours, or participate in a cookery class to learn the secrets of those delicious South African dishes!