Executive- uShaka Sea World

Posted: 20 July 2023| Full-Time |Durban, South Africa


The South African Association for Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR) was founded in 1951 to carry out applied marine biological research on the east coast of South Africa, funded by a public aquarium in Durban. Over its 72-year history, SAAMBR’s mission has evolved a marine conservation focus, and the organisation now consists of three operating divisions.

The Oceanographic Research Institute (ORI), one of the premier marine and coastal research centres in the Western Indian Ocean, generates knowledge of the ocean through applied research. uShaka Sea World, the largest oceanarium in Africa, connects people with the ocean and its magnificent marine animals. uShaka Sea World Education teaches children and adults alike about the ocean and its value.

The position

Each division is led by an Executive. We seek a dynamic and motivated individual with a passion for the ocean to fill the position of uShaka Sea World Executive. The primary roles of this position are:

  • To lead and manage uShaka Sea World to fulfil the vision and mission of SAAMBR, and support our conservation, research, and education objectives.

We are looking for an experienced leader who understands that the role of the modern aquarium extends far beyond that of a menagerie, to include nature conservation and education, and the support of in situ and ex situresearch. A strategist, who will integrate with the executive team to help develop, define and achieve SAAMBR’s strategic goals.

  • To ensure that the “visitor experience” at uShaka Sea World is maintained and enhanced, retaining the status of a “World-class”, “must-see” tourist attraction.

We are looking for an innovative thinker to reinvigorate our visitor experience and grow our reputation as one of the leading aquariums in the World. You must have experience in managing a diverse team, and be committed to enhancing their capacity, and achieving employment equity.

  • To implement uShaka Sea World’s Animal Management Plan and ensure the health and welfare of all animals in uShaka Sea World’s care.

Animal welfare is a vital component of our sustainability, and we are looking for a champion who will continue to build on our animal welfare and ethical standards, enhance our husbandry capabilities, and ensure that all our animals have a role to play in achieving our marine conservation purpose.   

  • To ensure the routine maintenance and upkeep of all operating plant, machinery and equipment used by uShaka Sea World.

We are looking for an administrative guru who grasps the complexities involved in maintaining a 24/7 operation in a highly corrosive environment that provides critical life support for more than 8000 animals from 500 species, whilst satisfying the needs of 650,000 tourists each year.

  • To be responsible for the budgets, forecasts, and CAPEX requests for all the uShaka Sea World departments.

We are looking for a high EQ mediator who has sufficient experience of the operational needs of an animal-keeping institution to engage with the various heads of department to produce and oversee an efficient, balanced annual budget for uShaka Sea World, on limited resources.

qualifications and person specifications

If you wish to apply for this challenging but rewarding position, it is essential that you have the following qualifications and experience:

    • Advanced university degree in a relevant subject.
    • At least 5 years in a senior management position in a similar, operations-oriented organisation.
    • Clear evidence of strategic thinking, excellent communication, and interpersonal skills.
    • Proven ability to lead, mentor and inspire staff.
    • Comprehensive understanding of the latest trends in the zoos and aquaria industry will be a great advantage.

To apply

If you feel that you meet the requirements and would like to apply for this position, please submit your Curriculum Vitae and a covering letter, in which you address each of the selection criteria, to SAAMBR, by either:

  • email: kramsaroop@saambr.org.za; or
  • Hand delivery: K Ramsaroop, HR Manager, South African Association for Marine Biological Research, 1 King Shaka Avenue, Point, Durban.


Appointments will be made in line with SAAMBR’s employment equity requirements. SAAMBR reserves the right not to make an appointment.

Only potential short-list candidates will be contacted. Should you not have heard from us by 1 September 2023, please consider your application unsuccessful.

The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) is the global alliance of regional associations, national federations, zoos and aquariums, dedicated to the care and conservation of animals and their habitats around the world.

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