Volunteer with Whales

Guide to Volunteering with Whales Abroad

You will get up close and personal to marine life on whale and marine conservation volunteer projects. By participating on volunteer projects with whales you will demonstrate you are passionate about wildlife conservation which might look great on your CV. In your spare time you could go diving with whales and dolphins or join wildlife watching boat trips. You can also join whale rescue and rehabilitation trips, these trips are great for students seeking work experience in the marine conservation field. 

Whale conservations programs can include helping with research surveys by interviewing local people and fishermen, sampling, tagging, monitoring and dissection of fish species. You can also help educate local people about whales and organise marine and coastal awareness campaigns. When volunteering on marine based programs you should be able to enjoy adventure sports in your spare time, maybe learning to scuba dive or going sea kayaking.


Popular Destinations


Volunteer with ORCA Whales and Sharks in South Africa

Volunteer with ORCA Whales in South Africa

In the Pletenberg Bay area on the South Coast of South Africa there are exciting projects where you can help conserve marine life, gather data, keep the bay clean, rehabilitation animals and help with education and awareness. Tasks generally include fish tagging and fish counts on the reefs, diving on reefs to obtain population density, whale and dolphin population density, turtle rehabilitation, water sampling in estuary, alien tree removal, tree planting, outdoor classrooms with local school children, beach cleans and rock pooling.

You will be working on both land and sea, and daily activities include whale and dolphin watching, fish tagging, photo identification for animal movement studies, hiking/marine debris clean ups, planting indigenous trees/removing alien species, marine education with preschool children, and teaching youngsters about conservation by running educational programs with sea excursions.


Whale Shark Research and Conservation Programs

Activities Include

  • Monitoring the dolphins for various research purposes (i.e. behaviour, feeding, daily habits, reaction to humans, numbers, photos of dolphin pods)
  • Monitoring tourist numbers (to get daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal figures)
  • Research and monitoring of whales during whale season
  • Research and monitoring of coral reefs
  • Research on women coastal activities such as bivalve collection, coconut husk burying and rope making and seaweed farming
  • Monitoring of curio shell collection 
  • Assisting research students with their research
  • Working with local tour guides
  • Help develop and maintain a local resource centre with information on whales and other types of fish; the local marine eco-system and local marine conservation. This resource centre is for tourists, schools around the island, locals and future volunteers
  • Working hours usually:, Monday - Friday , 6 am - 5 pm


Structured Programs

Some organisations offer structured packages to international volunteers:

What is Usually Included

  • Accommodation: Shared same sex rooms in a beach bungalow. 
  • Food: 3 meals per day, excluding Wednesday’s when you will eat out
  • Weekly laundry service
  • Airport/ferry pick up and drop off
  • Training: Pre-departure information pack, on-site orientation & project induction provided
  • Support: 24 hour support from on-site coordinator
  • Activities: Staff help organise weekend activities. (Activity price may be extra) Trips include: Diving/snorkelling, Jozani Forest trip to see the red-colobus monkeys & safari on mainland Tanzania


What is Usually Not Included

  • Flights / transfers to Zanzibar Island
  • Insurance
  • Visas 


To find paid work with whales you will usually need to be a professional looking for a career in marine biology. You can also find programs where you can volunteer with sharks or volunteer with dolphins. You will get to help contribute to marine biology research and help protect whales from extinction. Please e-mail us for advice or search all of our volunteer programs with animals.