Once you arrive in Cape Town you will be met at the airport by our staff who will transfer you to the accommodation centre to get settled in and have a light lunch before heading out to explore the local area. You will have also have your orientation briefing before enjoying a relaxed welcome Braai where you can try the local cuisine, get to know your group mates and meet the Cape ED staff.
After breakfast at the centre, you will attend your first lecture explaining the incredible biodiversity of the region you are exploring. You will be given instruction about how to use the equipment before heading out for the afternoon for your first encounter with the marine wildlife in False Bay. You will practice your freediving skills at a local dive site and explore an underwater world like nowhere else on the planet. Don’t forget your underwater cameras as you start to document your incredible experience! If we can convince you to leave the ocean after your encounter with your new shark friends, we will head back to the centre for dinner. In the evening, you will begin to explain your findings, based on the projects you choose to do, to the rest of your group.
Pack your bag ready for your ascent up the iconic Table mountain. You will head to Cape Town via the scenic Chapmans Peak where you will stop to take in the breathtaking views before heading to the base of Table mountain. Board the cable car for an exhilarating lift up the side of the mountain and explore the region above the clouds whilst enjoying the panoramic views. In the afternoon you will head into the city of Cape Town to explore the Two Oceans aquarium before spending the night at your leisure on the fabulous V&A waterfront.
The ocean is calling you once more! After breakfast, you will get your gear together and head to another dive site to enhance your freediving skills and explore the underwater environment once more. Whilst journeying to the dive site, keep a lookout for the Baboons on their morning forage! As you dive amongst the kelp, you will search for the elusive clawless cape otter and you may even be lucky enough to stumble upon on some of the larger species of shark such as the cow shark! You will almost certainly be joined by some inquisitive cape fur seals! In the afternoon, you will head to study the famous penguin colony at Boulders beach before returning to the centre for your evening lecture on the behaviour of the Great White Shark.
This morning you are up early to prepare for your cage diving experience with the sharks of South Africa. The plight of these magnificent animals over the last few years has increased and sightings are becoming more difficult. We will consult with our experts in the region and plan to cage dive at the location with the highest chance of viewing these incredible creatures. At the site, slip into your wetsuit, grab your mask and descend into the cage for an experience you will never forget! Later in the day, you will head to the Shark museum for a further lecture and the chance to explore more about the threats facing these endangered species.
After breakfast, our marine biologists will guide you through the conservation work they do and how you can help. You will learn about the issue of plastics in the marine environment (including microplastics) before heading out to take part in a community beach clean in the local area. You will analyse the amount of type of debris that is being discarded and learn of the threats this has on local wildlife. In the afternoon, you will take to the water once more with your perfected free diving skills to conduct underwater surveys of your chosen area of interest. The data collected will be uploaded to the central database and form part of the long term study our marine biologists are involved in. After dark, you will head out on a guided ghost tour of the old naval town and learn about its many mysterious goings-on from the time the town was established.
Today is the day you head to the bottom of the continent to see see the infamous Cape of good hope. You will spend the day exploring the Cape point national park at your leisure, enjoying the stunning scenery and observing the incredible wildlife that lives in the park. Be careful of the baboons as you enjoy your picnic lunch though, they can cause quite a stir sometimes! As you head back to Simons Town, you will stop off for an early evening hike up to visit the grave of Just Nuisance and learn more about the town’s iconic great dane which was the only dog to ever be enlisted into the navy! Back at the centre its time to reflect on your experiences and enjoy your last night of the program at your farewell braai with the Cape ED staff.
Just when you thought it was over, you realise can’t resist the call of the ocean or conservation so after breakfast, you will head to the harbour in SimonsTown. With the local community once more, you will grab a floating sea bin and head into the water to take the debris directly from the ocean floor. The debris collected will once again be analysed and disposed of responsibly. It's astounding what you might find, once we found the skull of a Cape fur seal as well as an octopus who had taken up residence in a discarded jam jar! After heading back to the centre to dry off and pack up your things your program comes to an end. If you are heading home from here, the staff will transfer you to the airport or drop you off back in Cape Town for you to continue your South African adventure.