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Sea Search Whale & Dolphin Research, South Africa

2 weeks from

£1950
18+
minimum age

  • Research and record data on Seals, Dolphins & Humpback Whales along the wild West Coast of South Africa
  • Work alongside PhD scientists to collect and analyse data on marine mammals
  • Gain skills in photo-identification, necropsy and acoustic data collection.
  • Other marine life studied includes turtles, sunfish and sea birds.

Useful Information About South Africa’s West Coast

South Africa’s West Coast is celebrated for its remarkable biodiversity, particularly noted for the spectacular wildflower display that blankets the region each spring (Sep-Oct). This floral phenomenon is most vibrant within the West Coast National Park, especially around the Langebaan area, where the landscape erupts in a riot of colour, showcasing a vast array of flower species, many of which are endemic to the Cape Floristic Region.

Flamingos West Coast South Africa

The region’s unique geography, characterised by rugged coastlines, pristine beaches, and the stark beauty of the semi-arid landscapes of the Namaqualand, contributes to its distinct ecological system. The seasonal rainfall patterns and the cold Benguela current that skirts its shores play a crucial role in the area’s biodiversity, supporting a wide range of plant and animal life.

Fur Seals SeaSearch

Anthropologically, the West Coast of South Africa holds significant historical importance, with evidence of early human occupation dating back thousands of years. The region is dotted with archaeological and palaeontological sites, including ancient shell middens and rock art created by the San people, indigenous inhabitants whose presence in the area provides insight into the early human adaptation to its environment. If time allows, we will include a visit to the unique West Coast fossil park, an active research site where we can learn about some of the fossil whales living in the area 5 million years ago.

The coastal waters also have a rich maritime history, marked by numerous shipwrecks, which tells tales of early exploration, trade, and the perilous nature of the Cape sea routes. The melding of Khoi-San heritage with later European settlement influences has created a rich cultural tapestry that reflects in the local customs, traditions, and the vibrant communities that inhabit the West Coast today, making it not only a natural wonder but also a repository of human history and cultural diversity.

The course will be based in the West Coast fishing village of Langebaan, a sought-after tourist destination known for its white Caribbean-like beaches. The Main Beach follows a long, wide lagoon which is famous for various water sports.

Located 2 hours north of Cape Town, this is the perfect location for marine-based researchers. It is central to the spring migration of humpback whales and is alongside the key habitat for a range of cetacean species.

Pelican SeaSearch South Africa

Free Time

All of the above is a great example of just what you might be able to discover in your free time!

The West Coast is a nature lover’s paradise! Langebaan is particularly great for beach walks along the lagoon, grabbing a coffee at a selection of cosy coffee shops, swimming, kayaking, kiteboarding, and fishing. Langebaan is known as the ornithological capital of South Africa, with rich bird life right on your doorstep.

Explore the West Coast National Park, a mere 10 minutes from Langebaan, with various native species and extensive beds of blooming native flowers. For a bit more adventure in your free time, the West Coast is a world class wind and kite surfing destination with plenty of ocean and land-based activities available.

Sea Search Whale & Dolphin Research, South Africa

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