This is a remarkable opportunity for students, graduates, and early-career scientists to develop their understanding of marine science and gain practical experience in state-of-the-art research methods.

Join a team of passionate marine scientists committed to furthering knowledge of our oceans and protecting marine environments for future generations as you gain experience as a marine science research assistant. This program begins with a comprehensive field course designed to equip you with an arsenal of marine science research methods and an in-depth knowledge of marine ecology. You’ll learn all about marine biodiversity, underwater habitats, species identification, data collection methods, and scientific research techniques.

Congruent with your training, you’ll gain extensive experience in conducting underwater surveys, developing and maintaining ongoing research projects, and have the chance to bring your own ideas for research projects. As well as this, you’ll be heavily involved with citizen science programs designed to utilize local engagement as a means of mass data collection and broaden the influence of community outreach programs.


This organization is a marine research center based in the idyllic Simon’s town situated along False Bay, South Africa. At the meeting point of two major ocean currents from the west and east, the Benguela and Agulhas currents, this well-known hotspot for biodiversity is a significant site for marine science research boasting a variety of shark, cetacean, seal and fish species. The organization runs a range of research programs aimed to better understand marine environments, then develop and promote more effective methods of their conservation.

This organization has a special focus on citizen science, utilizing public engagement as a means of mass data collection whilst widening outreach for conservation awareness. They also actively collaborate with local initiatives, NGOs, and government agencies in a range of research programs and conservation projects. On top of this, they are committed to training early-career scientists in marine research methods so as to empower the next generation of ocean conservationists.


After a month-long field course training you in essential field research skills, your work will be focussed on marine research projects. Your daily tasks will include underwater research dives, deploying and retrieving research equipment, processing and analyzing data gathered from surveys, and writing up findings. Additional to these duties, you will assist with facilitating citizen science programs by instructing participants and assisting with dives.


  • Survey dives/snorkel
  • Boat upkeep and assistance
  • Equipment maintenance and organization
  • Deploy and maintain marine research equipment such as underwater cameras, transect tapes, quadrats
  • Data processing and analysis
  • Writing up findings and corroborating data with existing literature
  • Content creation for blogs, social media, and online channels
  • SCUBA dive assistance to marine biologists and citizen science participants

Training and lectures during the internship:

  • An introduction to the area, substrates, fish and invertebrate species, and the systems and processes that create the unique biodiversity found in the Cape Peninsula
  • Project background and research methods used
  • Scientific diving
  • Biodiversity
  • Use of R
  • Baited remote underwater video (BRUV)
  • Additional skills like GIS and Freediving


  • Must be studying towards or have completed a degree in marine science or related field
  • A strong interest in marine conservation
  • Familiarity with scientific research and data processing
  • Excellent written and verbal communication
  • Analytical mind and meticulous attention to detail
  • Minimum Open Water certification (PADI, NAUI, SSI, BSAC, etc.).
  • If you need to get your certification, please contact us for additional information about a diving course


Accommodation is arranged on a case-by-case basis with interns staying in local rental properties within walking distance from the research center. At the center, you’ll have access to study spaces, diving equipment, and a well-stocked bar. In your downtime, you can enjoy a choice of delightful restaurants and bars in the area, embark on hikes around the attractive surroundings, or make the short trip to one of the most thrilling cities in the world, Cape Town.

Safety & Support

Safety & Support

Make sure to visit your doctor and dentist for a check-up before yor internship and to get all the recommended vaccines and/or medications necessary to stay healthy. You are not located in a malaria risk area, so the people who live here do not take malaria medication.



There is internet access at the accommodation, but we also suggest acquiring a local mobile SIM from one of South African providers (Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, Telkom and Virgin), which are inexpensive and will make it easier to communication with your team members. For this, your phone must be unlocked for international use. You can use your own SIM if your network allow international use, however this can be costly.



Accommodation is self-catered and you will have a student shared kitchen with everything you need to prepare your own meals. You will be taken to the local grocery store whenever you need to get supplies.

Location details

Location details

You’ll be situated in the quaint town of Simon’s Town in False Bay, South Africa. This small suburb on the outskirts of greater Cape Town is nestled in a stunning area boasting exquisite beaches, incredible marine life, and mountainous surroundings. Based on a peninsula that splits the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, the water sees a spectacularly diverse range of marine life with a multitude of shark, cetacean, seal and fish species, as well as kelp forests and natural reef systems. Here you’ll find an exciting array of marine environments to explore and study during your internship.


Fee Breakdown

The program starts every first Monday of the month between February and November. So you cannot start this internship in December or January.

What you’ll pay (2024 rates)

8 WEEKS USD 5,035

12 WEEKS USD 6,070


  • Careful matchmaking. It takes time to find the right internship for each person, and we take this process very seriously
  • Initial interview with one of our team to gauge your skills, interests, and desired learning outcomes
  • Assistance with your visa arrangement & other preparations
  • Transfer from Cape Town International airport to your accommodation and back on arrival and departure day
  • Shared accommodation in Simon’s Town
  • Transport between your accommodation and the headquarters
  • All diving and equipment hire
  • Supervision and support during your internship
  • Regular check-ins and feedback from your supervisor
  • Marine protected area permits
  • Troubleshooting if needed
  • A reference letter at the end of your internship


  • Flights to Cape Town
  • Visa and medical/travel insurance costs for the duration of your placement – must include cover for scuba diving and repatriation
  • Meals, drinks, snacks, and items of personal nature (f.e. curios, gifts, clothing)
  • Costs for additional excursions or activities


Some of our most commonly asked questions for programs in South Africa.

What can I expect from a NGO internship in South Africa?

During your internship in South Africa you can expect to meet people from around the world, as well as indulging yourself into the culture of this beautiful country! If you want to know more about what to expect, make sure to check out our top 7 reasons for an internship in Cape Town.

Will I have time to explore South Africa during my internship?

Yes! We partner with various activity organizers that can offer discounts exclusive to Roots Interns, for example, a road trip through the Garden Route and bungee jumping off the world’s largest natural bungee. You may also explore the country on your own and we are happy to give recommendations.

Am I able to do an internship while on a study program in Cape Town?

Yes! You are able to do a part-time internship with certain organizations so that you can continue your studies, while also gaining valuable work experience.

Will I receive a stipend of any kind during my internship with Roots?

Unfortunately, no. When working with a nonprofit organization, your internship will be unpaid, but there are many ways to fund your internship. Your experience will bring a wealth of knowledge and opportunities for both professional and personal growth that are invaluable!


LOCATION: Simon's Town, South Africa
PROJECT FOCUS: Marine Conservation
TASK FOCUS: Research Dives, Data Collection, Mapping, Reporting
LENGTH: 8-12 weeks
COST: From USD 5,035


  • Gain international experience in a marine conservation context
  • Receive theoretical and practical training and experience in Marine research
  • Build an expansive knowledge of marine conservation
  • Work as part of a experienced and dedicated team
  • Develop your own independent research projects


If you’re ready to apply for this internship, here’s what to do:


Fill in the application form (it will show in a new screen) which includes sharing your CV to us.



We’ll set up a call with you to go through your application.


If we feel it’s a good match, we’ll set up a call between you and the supervisor for this internship.


If everyone’s happy, we’ll provisionally confirm your placement! We’ll then send you the invoice for the deposit, getting started with the booking process and all the info you need.


Only once we receive payment of the deposit your placement will be confirmed.


Or if you’d just like to ask us some questions about this internship first, just fill in the contact form below. We’ll be happy to assist!


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