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uShaka Sea World in South Africa celebrates its 17th birthday

The aquarium, operated by conservation organisation SAAMBR, has been visited by over 10 million people since it first opened to the public

SAAMBR Guest in uShaka Sea World aquarium

By Dr Judy Mann-Lang, Conservation Strategist, SAAMBR

uShaka Sea World is the largest aquarium in Africa and the cornerstone of the uShaka Marine World Complex. This week, it celebrates its 17th birthday.

Located in Durban on the East Coast of South Africa, this attraction is one of the largest and best-known man-made attractions in Africa and the aquarium has been visited by over 10 million people. It is hard to believe that just 17 years ago we were still moving fish, testing life support systems and planning visitor experiences.

SAAMBR Guest in uShaka Sea World aquarium

uShaka Sea World provides a window into the Western Indian Ocean. It is home to a diverse collection of marine life, representative of local seas. The imaginatively themed underground Wreck aquarium, dolphin stadium, seal stadium and penguin rookery promote conservation awareness amongst guests. It allows them to experience close contact with some of nature’s most amazing marine creatures.

Meanwhile, the Education Centre has an extensive range of marine environmental education programmes. Through these, it reaches learners and teachers from all over South Africa.

uShaka Sea World & SAAMBR

uShaka Sea World is a household name in South Africa. However, few people know that uShaka Sea World and the Education Centre are operated by the South African Association for Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR).

SAAMBR is a 70-year-old Non-Profit, Non-Government Organisation dedicated to marine conservation. It fulfils its mission of “helping people to care for the ocean” through the operation of uShaka Sea World as well as the Education Centre and the Oceanographic Research Institute (ORI).

Aquarium-turtle-release-rehabilitation SAAMBR

The ORI undertakes applied marine research throughout much of the Western Indian Ocean. With a team of over 30 full-time staff members, ORI promotes sustainable development as well as the wise use of resources and capacity building through research, long term monitoring and training.  

SAAMBR is a unique organisation where a world-class aquarium provides local people with their first introduction to the ocean. It also simultaneously provides much-needed opportunities for the environmental education and marine research so essential in Africa today.

As we celebrate uShaka Sea World’s 17th birthday, we also pay tribute to SAAMBR. This is an organisation that has, for 70 years, truly helped people to care for the ocean.

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Judy Mann IZE

Dr Judy Mann-Lang

Dr Judy Mann-Lang is passionate about marine conservation and has focused her career on helping people to care for the ocean. She has held key positions including Director of Education, uShaka Sea World Director and CEO of the South African Association for Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR) in Durban, and is currently their Conservation Strategist. She is President-Elect of the International Zoo Educators Association.

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