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