Marine Conservation Supporter

Work towards integral marine conservation in one of the most marine-rich locations on Earth.

About the Project

As a volunteer on this incredible marine conservation project, you will be exposed to the raw underwater environment and magnificent marine mega fauna which makes Tofo, Mozambique, one of the most special marine environments on the planet!

During your time on this unique volunteer project, as well as getting a dive qualification, which is included in the project fee, you will directly contribute to the marine conservation project and activities of the foundation and work together with its world renowned scientists in the field of the ocean giants - manta rays and whale sharks. This exciting program has been designed and will be monitored (whether on-site or remotely via Skype conference) by the world-renowned 'Manta Queen', Dr. Andrea Marshall.

Whether Dr. Marshall is on site during your stay or not, you will always remain under the guidance of a highly qualified and experienced Research and Volunteer Coordinator and you will also have continuous access to other marine biologists, who will always be available to answer any queries that you may have about any aspect of the project. Whilst here you will be involved in numerous activities including assessing the health of populations of manta rays, whale sharks, marine turtles (including critically endangered leatherbacks) and even humpback whales (between June and September).

Prior to Arrival

Firstly, all visitors must keep in mind that their passports must be valid for at least six months prior to leaving Mozambique.

We do strongly advise you to obtain your visa at the nearest embassy within your country. Please check the website http://mz.embassyinformation.com to find any Mozambique embassy or consulate in any country in the world.

If there is no Mozambique embassy in your country but there is one in your neighbouring countries please consider sending your application by (trustworthy) post, but inquire first about all needed documentation. Easier but more expensive is to use an intermediate visa bureau.

What type of visa the embassy provides you with varies from nationality to nationality, but make sure you request for the applicable amount of days (usually 30 or 90 days visa and in exception 180 days). If you are planning to stay longer than 30 days, you must request a visa that allows you to stay in the country for this extended period.

30 day visas can also be obtained at the Inhambane airport and at the border post at Komatipoort when travelling over land from South Africa. However, you can only obtain a visa here if you are travelling from a country without a Mozambican embassy! We can also provide you with an invitation letter should the embassy in your country require this. Note that South African passport holders do not require visas but will be required to have their valid passports stamped at the border posts.

First Days

Arrival into Tofo via Inhambane Airport (only 22kms away). A project representative will meet you at arrivals and will transport you to your accommodation. Don’t worry – the airport is tiny so you won’t get lost! After your arrival you will receive a two day period of induction and training by your research and volunteer coordinator. For non-divers, you will start with a recognized PADI Open Water scuba course, or if you already have this a PADI Advanced Open Water scuba course with partnering dive company Peri-Peri Divers (costs are already included within the program). This will take you between 4 and 7 days depending on the weather and sea conditions. If you are already an Advanced Open Water qualified diver, you will start your research program immediately.

Normal Days

During these days you will be engaging in 8 research dives, an estuary research snorkelling trip, 2 megafauna research talks and will be participating in daily research activities. Even though you will be taking part in a variety of activities 5 days a week, there will be sufficient free time for you to explore and enjoy everything Tofo has to offer.

Last Day

On this, your final day and after saying goodbye to the project staff and the volunteers you have gotten to know whilst at the project, you will be transferred back to Inhambane Airport for your onwards flight or you will commence your onwards travel plans.

Suitable for

Couples
Singles
Groups

Typical day

In general, week days are working days from 7.30 till 15.30 and weekends are off and spent however you please. However, occasional weekend work will be required during major events such as beach clean-ups, whale shark/manta feeding frenzies or turtle beaching – but we promise, it will be worth it! Activities included are:

  • Manta Ray Work – this will include photo ID-ing the reef and giant mantas (up to 9 metres across!) as you see them, laser measuring individuals, watching and assisting scientists in taking biological samples, as well as uploading identification pictures to relevant databases and record re-sightings on mantamatcher.org. 
  • Whale Shark Work – The area immediately off Tofo is a global hotspot for the world’s largest fish, with over 620 of these gentle giants identified within Mozambican waters. You will actively help in whale shark research by:
  1. Training in whale shark photo ID-ing and watching the process of tagging and tissue sampling.
  2. Gathering information on GPS location, segregation, sex, behaviour and specific characteristics such as scarring.
  3. Taking underwater pictures of the personal “fingerprints” of whale sharks.
  4. Uploading pictures to databases and recording re-sightings.
  5. Contribute to the analysis of this scientific data in close collaboration with the Marine Megafauna Foundation.
  • Humpback Whale Monitoring – Humpback whales make annual journeys from Antarctica to as far north as Tanzania to mate and calve. During the winter months (June to September), many humpback whales are sighted in and around the waters of Tofo. You will help assess the populations and health of the animals by conducting both beach and boat monitoring and recording the data into the humpback whale database
  • Turtle monitoring – from the months of November to February, you will contribute to the collection of data from three of the turtle species found here (loggerhead, hawksbill and the critically endangered leatherback). This will involve monitoring the landing of turtles, taking GPS data on their nesting sites to gather information on poaching, monitoring the success of nesting and photo ID-ing the specimens as you see them.
  • Coral reef health work – Coral reef and estuary monitoring involves data collection on an array of reef fish species and the cover of coral on reefs. You will assist by:
  1. Recording indicator species by making reef transects.
  2. Making timed counts of the numbers of each indicator species.
  3. Filling in identification logs of an array of species. 
  • Analysing other marine life

Program Requirements

Minimum Age
18 years
Language Skills
You need to speak English (intermediate level)
Other Skills
The project involves open ocean swimming, so you will have to be fit enough (and a strong enough swimmer) to cope with this! Those that struggle with swimming are not advised to join this project - we advise that you must be able to swim around 200 metres comfortably in order to join this project. No specific skills or experience are required, however, we would advise that you come with an open mind and hold a significant interest in marine life and overall conservation efforts!
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 07:30 - 15:30

Do you have any questions concerning this volunteer opportunity in Mozambique? Volunteer World directly connects you with The Great Projects

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Free-time activities

You will have free time for you to explore and enjoy everything Tofo has to offer.

Swimming
Diving/Snorkling
Sports

Services

What's included?
Airport transfers from Inhambane - Accommodation and meals as indicated - All volunteering activity equipment and all activities - A single dive course per volunteer (Open Water if not qualified or Advanced Open Water otherwise) - Project orientation and support from the Marine Megafauna Foundation staff - English speaking project leader - Conservation donation
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.

No worries, Volunteer World supports you in raising funds, checking your visa regulations and travel insurance. We also assist you in finding the cheapest flights for your journey.
Airport Pickup

Upon arrival a project representative will meet you and will transport you to your accommodation. Don't worry – the airport is tiny so you won't get lost!

Accommodation

You will be based in the Volunteer Research House, which offers same-sex rooms with two beds per room. Here you will enjoy breath-taking views of Tofo bay, as well as easy access on foot to both the Foundation offices and the beach. Keep your eyes peeled for breaching humpback whales during the winter season! Your Project Coordinator resides on the property next to the Volunteer Research House and will be on call 24 hours a day. Should the Project Coordinator leave the property for any reason, the Lodge General Manager will be the responsible person on duty. The General Manager's accommodation is also situated just 50m directly behind the Volunteer Research House, meaning there is always someone on site should you need them. The lodge is open from 7am until 11pm and has 24-hour security on site.

There is basic internet at the volunteer house as well as a laptop for updating scientific data. This laptop can be used for basic emails; however, long Skype connections and downloading of music and YouTube movies etc. are not allowed. Local SIM cards can be purchased in Tofo village should you have your own laptop or cell/mobile phone and if you plan to use lots of private data during your stay.

Dorm Room Bedroom (Single)
Food & Beverages

The lodge will provide scrumptious fresh volunteer meals each day, you will eat in the lodge restaurant, sometimes we may decide to have a barbeque, then this will be done either at the volunteer house or at one of the outdoor areas in the lodge.

All food is cooked fresh each day, should you have any specific dietary requirements; please let us know before you arrive so that we can inform the facilitators who will make sure that they can try to accommodate your requirements. Tofo is quite remote and 500km from the nearest large city, so a lot of our food supplies have to be imported. Due to this, there tends to eat a lot more local delicious seafood produce. However if you do not eat seafood, please let us know so that we can arrange other options for you.

Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
Costs
2 weeks (min. stay)
$2280
3 weeks
$2879
4 weeks
$3478
5 weeks
$4077
8 weeks
$5875
10 weeks
$7073
16 weeks (max. stay)
$10668

You can volunteer at the project site in Inhambane/Mozambique between 2 weeks and 16 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. The Great Projects will tell you your final price during your application process.
Average Fees
$903/week
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with The Great Projects during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Get ready to volunteer in Mozambique

Check out first

Visa Regulations
Depending on your nationality, you have to arrange your visa for Mozambique. Please check the visa regulations for Mozambique.
Budgeting
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Mozambique.

What's next?

Airport
The nearest airport is Inhambane (INH) in Inhambane. We assist you to find cheap flights to Mozambique.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Mozambique provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccine Checker
If you are intending to volunteer in Mozambique you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Mozambique.
Packing List
Packing our bags is important to prepare your trip, but often turns into a last minute horror. Make sure you don't forget the essentials by creating a personalised packing list for your volunteer program in Mozambique upfront.
Inhambane, Inhambane, Mozambique