Volunteers assist with several research projects within the marine park, these may include:
– Reef surveys
– Turtle, shark, potato bass and whale monitoring
– Uploading photographs of individual sightings to global or regional databases
– Contributing to Citizen Science ID databases
If you are a beginner diver you will be given your PADI Open Water training during your first week. Qualified Open Water divers are given the opportunity to complete a PADI Advanced Open Water course, or depending on the length of your stay, choose from a range of dive speciality courses (e.g. Deep Diver, Nitrox, Peak Performance Buoyancy, etc) or the Rescue Diver course.
The project’s primary objective is to monitor the fauna and flora of Sodwana Bay, part of the iSamangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The project collects biodiversity data and monitors species distribution on the reef. This data is fed into global and regional databases and aims to identify the migratory patterns and population densities of megafauna. Turtles, rays, sharks and groupers make up the majority the research, which focuses on whether environmental conditions affect sighting rates. As well as this, volunteers record sightings of endemic, iconic and rarely seen species.
Sodwana Bay is one of the world’s prime dive locations and its world-renowned coral reefs are frequently rated in the top five global dive destinations.