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Scuba Diving and Marine Conservation

South Africa
2 to 8 weeks
18 to 36

Limited spots. Earliest available arrival is currently Jun 2023, and closing very soon.

Trip overview

Immerse yourself in a hidden corner of outstanding beauty in South Africa, live the true African lifestyle, learn to scuba dive and make a massive difference to the health of the oceans. This volunteer trip is genuinely life-changing, for you, for the locals and for the inhabitants of the glittering Indian Ocean. On this trip, you will volunteer in 50km of unspoiled reef in the Isimangaliso Wetlands Park, where the seas are teeming with over 1100 species of fish. 

You will be helping to count, document and report on various species under the waves, but how are you going to go about this? Well, the first week on your trip will be all about getting your PADI certification, your first step to becoming a scuba diving legend and gaining access to the vast and glorious underwater kingdom. 

Picture this. Every morning you wake in a tiny Zulu village surrounded by glorious nature. You head to the ocean, strap on your gear and spend the day gliding through the turquoise waters, getting to know your patch of underwater world, as well as you know the one above the surface. After being suspended in this weightless paradise, surrounded by colourful fish and forests of kelp, you return to your base for sundowners with the team, watching the bold African sun drop from the sky.  

We offer the complete package for those looking to learn how to scuba and make a difference to the state of the planet. This exclusive volunteering opportunity is expertly handled by our partners in the tiny town of Sodwana Bay and your pre-departure team will be able to flawlessly sort out your airport pickup, accommodation, meals, on-site training and so much more.  

This is a genuine once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get about as far off the grid as possible, to see a corner of Africa that hardly anyone else sees, to make new friends from all over the world and to truly make a sustainable impact on the planet. If you want to make a lasting difference, this is the trip for you.


Volunteer project placement

We’ll score you a guaranteed volunteering placement so you can start on your journey to make a difference to our planet.

Dedicated Trip Coordinator

Handpicked from an experienced team who’ve been there, done that and are ready to guide you through your entire journey and leave no question unanswered.

Pre-Departure Guide

Our in-depth pre-departure guide will have all the information you need about your trip & destination, at your fingertips.

Trip visa guidance

Get your visa approved as cheap and easy as possible with advice and assistance from your Trip Coordinator.

Personal Travel Concierge

You'll get a personal Travel Concierge to plan your flights, insurance or any add-ons to synchronise perfectly with your trip. Deal with a real human and get a personalised booking experience that ticks all your boxes.

Return airport transfer

To take you straight to your volunteer accommodation in Sodwana Bay. Upon completion of your placement, you'll also be taken directly to the airport.

Comfortable accommodation

Stay in the coolest rustic beach-style shack you can think of. Simple, multicoloured Zulu huts, with shared kitchens and bathrooms which centre around a communal fire pit. Just five minutes outside of town where you have access to a pool, restaurants, cafes and shops. 

Project supplies

Get equipped with all the supplies and materials you need to perform your volunteer duties, as well as food, wifi, hot water and electricity at your camp.


Enjoy three meals per day, and take turns with other volunteers preparing the food including a mix of western-style favourites and South African delicacies.

Certificate of completion

In recognition of your hard work and dedication throughout the experience, and, it goes very well with your future resume. Employers will love this addition!

Ongoing local team support

Think of us as your family away from home. Whether you need advice or a shoulder to lean on, our team will provide you with unlimited support.

24/7 Global Emergency Line

Feel confident knowing we have a worldwide emergency team on standby, 24/7/365, so you can feel safe and secure throughout your whole trip no matter where you are in the world.

gWorld access

Stay organised with your personalised portal where you can keep all of your important documents and trip details in one spot and gain insider access to everything Global.


Global Academy

Gain access to an ever-growing range of skills & languages to learn before & whilst you travel.


Marketplace deals

Get exclusive access to deals and discounts through our online Marketplace. Save big on a huge range of products and services from our brand partners worldwide.

$250 off your next trip

The “Travel Bug” is a very real thing! Once you catch it, it really doesn’t go away! Book any other trip with us later and save $250. Why would you ever stop travelling?


To qualify for this trip you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be between 18-36 years of age
  • Be a citizen of an eligible country
  • Have no criminal convictions in the past 5 years

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Chat with us online now, or we can call you back for free, 24 hours Mon-Fri.

Trip details

Scuba Diving and Marine Conservation in South Africa has been designed to get you volunteering overseas in a safe and fun environment and with an incredibly rewarding purpose. Our expert team and local partners take care of everything you need to start making a positive impact, from volunteer placement to accommodation and ongoing support throughout your entire journey. 

Your first week will focus on getting you PADI qualified, ensuring that you are comfortable, happy and qualified to negotiate the underwater world of scuba diving. It’s a really fun week of learning, but the real joy starts afterwards. With your own little patch of ocean, you will take to the water once or twice a day, depending on weather conditions, to dive down and collect photographic data on manta rays, turtles, and nudibranchs. All of this, surrounded by an unbelievable, ethereal underwater landscape, filled with glittering fish, inquisitive octopi and so much more. 

South Africa is a vibrant country and you are heading to a part where life has pretty much stayed the same since the dawn of time. Bypassing huge development, this traditional Zulu part of the country is tucked away underneath Mozambique and in a fantastic spot for further exploration. Travel up through Mozambique or Eswatini to reach Kruger National Park and connect with a wilderness that will blow your mind. 

You will arrive in Africa with the confidence that absolutely everything has been pre-arranged for you. You’ll be able to jump straight into your volunteer duties, relax into the African lifestyle and start making new friends with all the logistical details sorted, from airport transfers to accommodation. 

This trip is a game-changer, not only for your personal development, confidence and understanding of the wider world, but is an actual positive step towards creating a better planet for everyone. When you are not diving, you can help clean the beaches, to keep this wild corner of Africa as pristine as it deserves to be. With time and space to be with nature and wonderful, like-minded people from around the world, this trip will change the way you think and interact with the world around you and you will head home all the better for having spent time here.


Be fit to dive.

What extra costs will I have? 

Flights, travel insurance, souvenirs, visa & spending money.

Trip itinerary


You will be picked up from Richards Bay airport by the team and transferred down to the camp. Once you arrive you will get a tour and have your first meal cooked for you as you chill by the fire. Over a few beers, you will get to know your fellow conservationists and get a better understanding of what lies ahead in the weeks to come.

Week 1

The first week is dedicated to completing your PADI Open Water certification. This involves classroom and pool skill sessions, before heading to the ocean once you have proved your skills in the pool. You will get to know the seas, the underwater geography and what to look out for as you get used to ocean diving and before you know it you will be fully qualified and ready to go.

Week 2

This is an example of your day to day itinerary. It will differ slightly, with only one dive on some days depending on schedules and the weather, but generally, this is how you will spend your weeks.    7:00 - Leave Camp 7:30 - Kit up on the beach 8:00 - 9:30 - Dive 9:30 - 10:00 - Surface interval (relax on the beach & have lunch at the beach kiosk) 10:00 - Kit up 10:30 - 12:00 Dive 12:30 - Leave the beach 13:00 - 15:00 - Shower and lunch break 15:00 - 17:00 - Database entry and analysis / Lectures 17:00 - Free time


Our dedicated team will check in regularly and keep in touch with you throughout your stay but, if at any point during your trip you need travel advice or assistance, we’ll be here to answer all your questions. Don’t forget you can always jump on our social media pages too or buzz our 24/7 emergency support line for urgent matters.

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Frequently asked questions

Why go with Global Work & Travel?

As the world’s leading gap-year and “work & travel” company, we offer you the ability to not only choose from a number of awesome experiences all over the world but, we'll be your support system from the very first moment you become a Global Traveller! We provide a premium service that allows you to pick the destination of your dreams, get our visa & pre-departure assistance, book great flights and organise the perfect travel insurance or tours for when you arrive. Plus, we’ll back it all up with some cool and exclusive tech features that are with you the entire time.

As a Global Traveller, you’ll get exclusive access to gWorld, our personalised app where you can keep all of your important documents and trip details in one spot and gain insider access to everything Global. This is where you will find exclusive Marketplace deals for discounts with our brand partners, a unique social network to connect you with other Global Travellers when you’re overseas, access to our Academy with an ever-growing range of skills & languages to learn as you travel, invites to bucket-list side trips with other travellers, local meet-ups and so much more. Think all of your favourite apps merged into one, but like, better?

And it doesn't even stop there. We continue to be there from the moment you land with a dedicated 24/7 emergency team, over 100 staff and ongoing support ensuring that you have the tools you need to feel like a local. That’s why 65,000+ Global Travellers from all over the world have chosen to turn their travel dream into reality with us and we can proudly brag that we’ve got the most & best reviews in the biz!

Why should I book now?

Covid-19 threw us a curve ball and pretty much halted all travel. This means that we have a backlog of travellers, just like you, who are desperate to get out and explore the world! Global Work & Travel works on a first-in-best-dressed basis. Booking earlier ensures that you don’t miss out on the best intake, season, placements and more! We recommend our travellers take 6-12 months to plan their trip for a reason - to make sure you’ve got everything organised perfectly, stress-free.

As a Global Traveller you’ll get exclusive access to gWorld, our personalised app where you can keep all of your important documents and trip details in one spot and gain insider access to everything Global. This is where you will find exclusive Marketplace Deals, a unique social network to connect you with other like-minded Global Travellers, access to our Academy with an ever-growing range of skills & languages, and so much more. Think all of your favourite apps merged into one, but like, better?

Why not give yourself something to look forward to by booking that trip!

Can I travel with a friend?

Yes you can! Simply tell your Trip Coordinator after booking that your friend is also going and they can link your profiles. For most of our trips we should be able to have you and your friends placed together or nearby. Meaning that you can live, work, play & travel together!

But wait there's more! Not only can you travel the world with your besties at your side, you can also earn some extra cash towards your own trip just by referring your friends to Global Work & Travel. You can learn more about the great referral rewards program inside your gWorld account once you join.

And for those who decide to go-it-solo, we’ve made it easier to meet other Global Travellers in the same region as you. Just like any other social platform, you’ll be able to interact, share, chat and meet with some really cool people who are doing trips just like you!

What happens if COVID affects my trip?

If you have to make any changes to your departure date, you’re protected with our Lifetime Deposit Guarantee and our Ultimate Corona Booking Flexibility. With this, we will change your trip dates for free. If this doesn’t fit around you and you can’t go on your trip anymore, we will give you a 100% refund in the form of a Trip Credit with us (See terms). If you’re unable to use it, you can also transfer that credit to someone else for them to put towards any trip too.

If you’re affected by Covid-19 while you’re overseas, you will have all the support you need from our team or partners in-country as well as have access to our 24/7 Global Emergency Line. We recommend travellers purchase Global Travel Cover travel insurance that provides Covid-19 medical protection too.

Do I need to be vaccinated to book?

As border restrictions for countries begin to ease, being fully vaccinated will maximise the number of locations you can visit. So while you are not legally required to be vaccinated, and it’s also not a requirement to travel with us, it will limit some of the countries that you can visit and may make it harder to travel through over the next 12-18 months. We highly recommend our travellers look at the current travel restrictions of their destination, speak with a medical professional or get in touch with our team for travel advice.

What happens if I want to cancel my trip?

Our Ultimate Corona Booking Flexibility means you can change your trip’s start date up to 84* days before departure without incurring any charges when you rebook it for any time (or even any other trip) in the next 2 years from your original start date.

In the event that you want to cancel your booking altogether, if you give us over 84* days notice you can do so with only a 50% cancellation fee. Your refund of the balance will come in the form of a Store Credit which you can put towards booking absolutely anything travel related with your Travel Concierge within the next 2 years!

*Some select trips excluded, including Teach (Spain, Italy & Czech Republic) and USA (Summer Camp, Working Holiday and Hotel Professional), and others as listed in Booking Conditions.

How it works

Make your decision

Choose your trip style and destination, and confirm your spot with a deposit. Then, open your gWorld account and celebrate, the hardest part is over and the fun is about to begin.

We become friends

You’ll be matched with a personal Trip Coordinator who knows all the ins & outs. They’ll guide you through everything we need to do together, so you can leave your worries behind.

Time to go

We’ll get your tickets in-hand and your transfers ready. Then, our in-country team or partner will have everything prepared for your arrival. It’s now time for the real adventure to start.

24/7 support

Never stress, knowing we’re there with you when you need us with ongoing & unlimited local team support and check-ins. And just in case, we’ve got an emergency team on stand-by, 24/7.

Still have questions?

Why go Global

Flexible trips

The unexpected can happen sometimes. Can't travel right now? Swap your trip, gift it or save it for later with our Lifetime Deposit Guarantee.

Worldwide support

Know that someone is always ready to assist throughout the journey & they’re only a call, tweet, comment, text or double tap away, 24/7.

We're the experts

With over 10 years in the industry and a team of over 100 passionate pros, you can bet we know our stuff better than anyone else.

Partner network

We have over 1,200 partners around the globe, so we have access to plenty of exclusive opportunities to make your trip the best it can be.

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