Environmental science is an exciting interdisciplinary academic field that integrates physical, biological and information sciences to study the natural world and to come up with solutions to our most pressing environmental problems.
The field of environmental science includes a variety of sub-disciplines including ecology, biology, physics, chemistry, plant science, zoology, mineralogy, oceanography, limnology, geology, soil science, and atmospheric sciences.
Environmental scientists do important research when it comes to looking at human relationships with, perceptions of, and policies towards the environment as well as understanding the processes of the earth, evaluating alternative energy systems, studying pollution control and mitigation, natural resource management and the effects of global climate change.
Cape Town, South Africa is not only a culturally diverse and popular tourist destination, but it is also a place of incredible natural beauty and diversity. There are a number of programs and institutions that work to conserve and understand the environment in relation to everything from big game and marine life conservation to world-leading research on fauna and flora.
At Bridging Gaps, we offer wonderfully diverse environmental science internship opportunities. We collaborate with incredible local organisations that focus on a wide range of environmental initiatives and activities.
Our interns are involved in environmental protection and research, environmental policy, fieldwork, climate change research, report writing, planning and development, sustainable development education and the promotion of sustainable practices in relation to the environment. This includes building visibility and support for a host organisation’s projects.
Further, the Western Cape, the province within which Cape Town is situated, is also a national renewable energy and cleantech hub and there are continuing initiatives to link Cape town to international tech and innovation incubators.
Some of the most beautiful and most popular natural attractions include:
Table Mountain, famous the world over, is situated within the Table Mountain National Park. This rugged mountain chain stretches for 60km from Signal Hill to Cape Point. The view is considered to be one of the best in the world and 22 million people have visited the top of the flat mountain.
The Cape Floral Kingdom is a World Heritage Site that contains one of the most diverse and unique flora ecosystems on earth. It stretches from the Cape Peninsula to the Eastern Cape. It is home to 3% of the world’s plant species, and 69% of the flora and fauna are endemic, meaning you won’t see them anywhere else in the world!
This is one of the most incredible experiences any nature lover can have. Whales migrate past the Western Cape between June and October, and if you are visiting in September, The Whale Festival happens in Hermanus, just a few hours’ drive from Cape Town.
The Botanical Gardens is another World Heritage site. It contains forests and an astonishing number of plant species. Numerous research projects are being done simultaneously and regular open-air music concerts are held in the park.
Cape Point is part of the Cape Floral Kingdom and is covered in indigenous fynbos and is home to incredible birdlife. Most especially pelagic birds, which are birds that spend more time at sea than on land. These birds need to visit land when laying their eggs and Cape Point is where you will see them.
Penguins! Home to around 3000 African penguins, Boulders Beach is in Simon’s Town, not far outside Cape Town. The area is protected by massive granite boulders, making it the perfect place for the penguins to hide, play and parent.
The Garden Route begins about four hours outside Cape Town and is considered to be one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the world. It culminates in the Tsitsikamma Forest - a wonderland of giant trees, ferns and birdlife.
The Karoo is a semi-desert natural region in South Africa where you can see lions, rhino and buffalo. It is home to quirky small towns, working farms, and guesthouses. Known for its colourful people, the Karoo also contains the largest ecosystem in South Africa and boasts unique plants and creatures.
Storms River Mouth is a gorge that thrashes out into the Indian Ocean. If you are a keen adventurer you can experience white-water rafting in the rapids or wave jumping out at sea. You can also hike across steep kloofs, swim under waterfalls, snorkel or dive in the protected marine area.
An environmental science internship in Cape Town can provide you with the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the challenges of conservation in a different country, gain valuable practical skills, and meet likeminded scientists, researchers and interns, all whilst experiencing the natural beauty of the Cape and all it has to offer. And, as you can tell from some of the natural world highlights above, it has a lot to offer!
What should you do next?
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