All Out Africa

Marine Research and Whale Shark Conservation

Tofo, Mozambique show on map

Work in the field to help Whale Shark conservation!

YOUR ROLE

As a volunteer on the Marine Research & Whale Shark Conservation Project you will help carry out the marine research and monitoring activities for the project under the guidance of our co-ordinating project scientists. You will join other volunteers on the project to collect the data via scuba dives, ocean safaris, and beach walks off the coastline of Tofo in Mozambique. You can expect an excellent diving, snorkelling and beach experience whilst gaining first hand marine research skills and contributing to a worthwhile project.

As a volunteer you will help on a multitude of research projects. These include monitoring of whale shark numbers, behaviour and ecology and taking underwater identification photographs; monitoring the condition of coral reefs and indicator species of reef fish. You will also be trained to take ID photos of manta rays and other threatened marine species to aid population assessment and monitoring. At certain times of the year you may help survey humpback whale numbers and turtle nesting activity as well as other indicators of the health of marine biodiversity. You may also assist with beach clean-ups and other general environmental activities, and will help upload and analyse the field data.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The highlights of this incredible experience include:
  • Snorkelling with the world’s largest fish – whalesharks
  • Learning about the diverse species and megafauna, and contributing to their conservation
  • Learning to dive and experiencing the magic of the underwater world
  • Observing the migration of magnificent hump back whales
  • Gaining hands-on experience of marine research techniques and analysis

Some of the activities you will get involved in may include:

Whale Shark (throughout the year) The whale shark component of the Project involves joining ocean safaris to snorkel with Whale Sharks in the open ocean. It involves taking underwater photographs for identifying the Whale Sharks as well as recording other ecological information. As a summary, you will collect the following information on the Whale Sharks:

  • Date, GPS location, surface and underwater conditions
  • Size, sex, scars/distinctive features, behaviour of the whale shark
  • You will take an ID photograph and identify each whale shark & record re-sightings 

Dolphin (throughout the year) Another species monitored on ocean safaris are dolphins. You will be collecting data which enables dolphin numbers and behaviours to be recorded and uploaded onto databases to share with our Marine Partners. Of particular interest in this study is dolphin behaviour in relation to tourism

Coral Reef and Fish (throughout the year) The coral reef monitoring involves joining scuba diving and carrying out underwater data collection on indicator species of coral fish and the condition and cover of coral and echinoderms on the reefs. As a summary, on these research dives you may carry out the following activities:

  • Recording indicator species of reef fish
  • Collect ID photos of megafauna including mantas, turtles and

leopard sharks

  • Coral reef quadrants to assess the cover and condition of different coral groups and echinoderms
  • Collection of photos of nudibranches (sea slugs) to help develop a species list for Mozambique

Turtles (November to March) You may help survey turtle survival and you may be lucky enough from November to February to monitor nesting of turtles on beaches in the areas around Tofo. Historically, loggerhead turtles have nested here in significant numbers and although these, as well as green turtles, leatherback turtles and hawksbill turtles, are sighted in-water, their nesting has declined dramatically owing to poaching. In the last 8 years, little to no nests have been found in the area. The surveys involve working to patrol the beaches, recording nest sites, finding shells- sizing them and taking a GPS points for data collection on poaching in the area.

Seahorses (throughout the year) This project will involve travelling to the nearby Inhambane Estuary and snorkling in relatively shallow waters to evaluate and monitor the seahorse population. The seahorses are counted, and photos taken to identify size of the seahorses, and data then entered into a database to allow for analysis.

Humpback Whales (June – October) You may help monitor the numbers of humpbacked whales on their seasonal migration up and down the coast. This involves sand dune based observations using binoculars and boat based observations recording the numbers of whales, the makeup of the pods and behaviours witnessed. 

ITINERARY

Day 1

Fly into Inhambane Airport, usually connections are available from OR Tambo Airport Johannesburg or Maputo Mozambique (more details in “Arrivals” section in the Mozambique Destination Brief) where you will be met by an All Out Africa staff member who will transfer on the short journey to your accommodation.

Day 2-5

Your orientation will start with a presentation by the co-ordinating project scientists to prepare you for your project. You will then be shown around Tofo and Inhambane.

Thereafter you will do an open water scuba diving course which usually lasts between 4 and 7 days depending on conditions. This is an internationally accredited course and upon completion you will get a certificate permitting you to scuba dive to 18m anywhere in the world. Those who already hold an open water course will complete an advanced dive course (qualifies you to dive to 30m). Once the course is completed you will have the time & skills to focus on the project activities.

If you are a two week volunteer on the program or already have both open and advanced dive qualifications you will not receive a dive course but will receive additional research dives or ocean safari’s for an equivalent value. You will begin the activities described under day 8-13 on the itinerary instead.

Day 6-7 and all other weekends

At weekends there is time to explore the stunning palm-fringed beaches of Tofo: relax, surf, swim and enjoy your beautiful surroundings. During the first weekend you may also be completing your open or advanced water certificate.

Day 8-12 and all other week days

You will begin your project activities, which can include any of the research activities outlined in the volunteer role section of this brief.

Typical day

7:00 Wake up to see the sunshine and get

yourself started for the day with breakfast!

7:30 Get prepared for your research dive – get your equipment together and head to one of the dive sites, and conduct research including fish and manta ray surveys

Or you may go on an ocean safari and go searching for whale sharks and dolphins to take photo ID shots and record behavioural data,

12:30Time to either return to your accommodation for lunch after an action packed morning!

14:00 Go to the office and enter data onto our databases of the research work you did that morning

15:00Depending on the time of year – you may be collecting data on humpback whales from the top of the sand dunes, uploading photo IDs into the database, conducting turtle nest surveys or improving the beach environment with a clean-up collection.

16:30 Return back to your accommodation and share your day’s adventures with other volunteers, maybe even a quick swim in the ocean!

18:00Enjoy a delicious evening meal and relax...... 

Details on Arrival

Start date for this project is the first Monday of the month throughout the year, with the exception of November & December when the project is closed.

*Min of 3 weeks required to participate in the international certified PADI course. 

BEFORE YOU BOOK YOUR FLIGHT

All our volunteer projects commence on the first MONDAY OF THE MONTH, as this is when All Out Africa staff can personally collect you from the airport.

Airport transfers on this day is what is included as a part of your project fee. If you arrive on another day, additional charges may occur.

If your project/expedition begins in Mozambique you should fly to Inhambane. You may do this by flying to Johannesburg in South Africa or Maputo in Mozambique then take a connecting flight to Inhambane. To ensure your journey is fluid and easier, please try and book your connecting flight to Inhambane on the same day that your flight lands in OR Tambo or Maputo.

Please make sure you arrange a valid visa for Mozambique prior to flying. You can get a visa in Mozambique on arrival only if your country of origin does not have a Mozambican embassy.

VISA FOR MOZAMBIQUE

It is your responsibility to check if you need a pre-arranged visa. Should you need a letter to assist with a visa, please let us know and we will happily assist.

Currently immigration require all tourists going directly to Mozambique to apply for visa before they travel should their home country have a Mozambican Embassy. You can get a visa in Mozambique on arrival only if your country of origin does not have a Mozambican embassy. If you are staying longer than 30 days be sure to get a single entry (not a multiple entry) visa. Visas can still be purchased at land border crossings, although this cannot be guaranteed and it is recommended (and often cheaper) to obtain a visa at the Mozambican Embassy.

ARRIVALS

You will be given an ‘International Arrival/Departure form’

on your flight – please fill this in on the plane before landing. When you are filling in the Arrival/Departure form please remember that participating with All Out Africa counts as ‘tourism’ for immigration purposes.

If you transit through OR Tambo International Airport, your first stop will be at the Immigrations Desk where you will have to hand them your passport and your Arrival/Departure form that you would have filled out on your flight. Your passport is stamped/endorsed by the Immigration Officer and he/she will issue you with a visa. You will then proceed to international departures to prepare for your flight to Inhambane.

If you transit through Maputo, Mozambique you will pass through the Immigration Desk where you will have to hand them your passport and your Arrival/Departure form that you would have filled out on your flight. Your passport is stamped/endorsed by the Immigration Officer and he/she will issue you with a visa. You will then proceed to domestic departures to prepare for your flight to Inhambane.

For your destination details please write down All Out Africa and if asked for postal address please put: ALL OUT AFRICA, Albotroz Lodge, Tofo Mozambique

You will then enter the baggage reclaim area to collect your luggage. Once you have your luggage make your way to the exit. There you will be met by one of our staff (holding a sign and wearing a T-shirt with the All Out Africa logo).

DEPARTURES

When you arrive a member of All Out Africa staff will request your flight departure time and will organise a transfer for you from Tofo to the Inhambane airport. 

Free-time activities

Mozambique is world famous for its idyllic tropical beaches on the Indian Ocean. As a former Portuguese colony that has come out of a prolonged civil war, it is now booming as quite possibly Africa’s top beach destination. Tofo is a laid-back beach village in southern Mozambique and offers some of the best opportunities in the world to snorkel in the wild with the world’s biggest fish – the whale shark. With diverse coral reefs, whales, manta rays, dolphins and nesting turtles Tofo is a marine paradise and yet it is relatively close to the vibrant historic trading port of Inhambane. You will experience the laid-back beach lifestyle of this colourful and vibrant country. You will take an ocean safari to snorkel with the magnificent whale shark and also have a full day kayak trip across the blue waters to the palm fringed islands in the Inhambane Bay. If you are a certified diver you will have the opportunity of exploring the spectacular fish life of the coral reefs!

There are plenty of optional extra activities including beach horse rides, quad biking, mangrove kayaking, surfing, body boarding, deep sea fishing and catamaran cruises. A beach party or two is par for the course and some chill time on the beach is guaranteed Mozambique is a true gem on the east African coastline, an unspoiled paradise waiting to be explored! 

OPTIONAL EXTRAS

You can also add one of the following to your adventure of a lifetime prior to or upon arrival:

  • Kruger National Park 3-5 night camping safaris to experience a true African safari and see the big 5!
  • Surfing or yoga lessons on the beach 
Water Sports
Swimming
Diving/Snorkling
Safari/Zoo
Hiking
Riding
Yoga/Meditation

Program Requirements

In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Education Requirements
at HIGH SCHOOL level
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
In order to carry out many of these activities you will need to be able or willing to learn to scuba dive. An open or advanced internationally recognized diving course is provided in the cost of the program to facilitate this (not included in the 2 week option).

You will also need to be a capable swimmer (able to swim 100m unassisted) and snorkeler. Being able to hold your breath to dive down would be an advantage but is not required.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 07:30 - 17:00

Suitable for

Singles
Couples
Families
Groups
50+

Included Services

Extra security layer by Volunteer World
Volunteer World is the world's leading comparison platform for international volunteer opportunities. We guide you through a safe and easy application process - including all necessary payments. Planning your next meaningful trip with Volunteer World gives you free access to our:
Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if All Out Africa cancels your trip
Resolution Support
We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by All Out Africa.

Before your journey

Profound consulting and ongoing support (free)
All Out Africa (your host organization) provides consulting and is keen to answer all your questions. Once you reserved your spot, you will receive the contact details of your volunteer project.
Online preparation course (optional, from $49)
Prepare yourself and become a confident and well informed traveler. Global Travel Academy takes you on a journey before you leave home, helping you to become one of the world's greatest travelers. Our trusted partner for online learning offers courses in "International Volunteering", "Travel Health & Safety" and "Travel Safety Abroad".

On-site services

Services by All Out Africa

INCLUDED IN THE COST

An internationally recognised dive qualification (not included for 2 week volunteers)

Research dives and ocean safari’s to collect data

Comprehensive 24 hour, 7 day a week support from All Out Africa

Volunteer projects specifically designed to enable you to make an active contribution during your stay

Support of volunteer project coordinators who are experts in their fields which ensures the volunteer experience is valuable

Comprehensive orientation to the country

All food and accommodation throughout your stay

(Airport transfers on ARRIVAL day is what is included as a part of your project fee. If you arrive on another day, additional charges may occur.) 

Airport Pickup at Inhambane Airport

ARRIVALS

Airport transfers on ARRIVAL day is what is included as a part of your project fee. If you arrive on another day, additional charges may occur

DEPARTURES

When you arrive a member of All Out Africa staff will request your flight departure time and will organise a transfer for you from Tofo to the airport. 

Accommodation

ACCOMMODATION 

During your stay you will be accommodated in Albatroz Lodge, in Tofo. Albatroz Lodge is in a perfect location, nestled at the top of the sand dunes overlooking the spectacular Tofo Bay. Accommodation is in chalets with a traditional thatched roof, and dorm style accommodation. The chalets have electricity and running, drinkable water, and feature open living areas and ample room to relax outside. The chalets sleep 4 and 12 people respectively, with each bedroom fitted with bunk beds. Beds, mattresses, mosquito nets, sheets and pillows are provided. There are shared toilet and shower facilities, and communal living spaces in each chalet, and a swimming pool and relaxation area.

The accommodation is next door to the dive centre and All Out Africa office, and just a 30-second walk down to Tofo beach. It is also a very short walk to Tofo village, where there is a market, basic shops, a few restaurants and bars, and a number of beach activities available.The nearest town, Inhambane, is approximately one hour away on public transport. 



Bungalow Bedroom (Double)
Food & Beverages
MEALS

Volunteers, interns and students receive 3 meals a day when joining an All Out Africa experience. These meals are provided at Albatroz Lodge in their restaurant overlooking the swimming pool.

Breakfast will include a selection from the following items: cereals, bread, fruit, yogurt, eggs and spreads. Lunch can include sandwiches, salads, omelettes and pasta dishes. Dinner is a cooked meal and types of dishes served include pasta, local dishes and stew. Mozambique is a developing country and not all types of ingredients are readily available. Local cuisine is served to ensure freshness and enhances your cultural experience.

Vegetarians and most food allergies can be catered for. In order to fully support you during your experience, please advise us at time of booking if you have any food allergies or preferences, so we can cater for these in our meal plans. We will do our best but be prepared your food selection may not be as varied as other participants. If your food allergies/preference are quite restrictive, we may require you to pay an additional fee to allow us to cater for you. 

Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Inhambane Airport (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.
Vaccines
If you are intending to volunteer in Mozambique you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Mozambique.
Costs (Prices in USD)
2 weeks (min. stay)
$1,890.00
3 weeks
$2,650.00
4 weeks
$3,022.00
6 weeks
$4,043.00
8 weeks
$4,646.00
10 weeks
$5,564.00
12 weeks (max. stay)
$6,482.00
Average fees
$743.00/week

You can volunteer at the project site in Tofo/Mozambique between 2 weeks and 12 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. All Out Africa will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Mozambique.
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 {project.name} during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.
  Africa Eastern Africa Mozambique  Tofo, Mozdivers Road

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