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Give back to others, see spectacular sights and cultures and have fun on a life changing experience

OUR VOLUNTEERS HAVE SAID:

"It was awesome. The humpback whales are uber cool and i loved the experience of understanding and learning more about the animals here."Ella King, UK

OUR VOLUNTEERS HAVE SAID:

"An experience I‘ll never forget with people I’ll always remember"Anon

 FAST FACTS

Mozambique
6-12 Weeks
Starting at $3,251
5%
Albatroz Lodge
3 meals per day
First Monday of the Month

Flights are not included in the cost.

OVERVIEW

Volunteer in Mozambique on the Marine Conservation and Child Care combo and help with hands-on whale shark research, coral reef monitoring, seasonal humpback whale monitoring and turtle surveys, as well as, exploring one of Africa’s best scuba diving destinations. In addition you will have the opportunity to help care for and educate orphaned and vulnerable children in Mozambique, helping them have a brighter future. 

As a volunteer on the Marine 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.

You will help on a multitude of research projects which include monitoring of whale sharks, 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.  

As a volunteer on the Childcare Project you will be working to assist the teachers and and other staff responsible for looking after the children. This may include assisting teachinghelping at meal times, joining in games and play times; bringing some fun and education to the lives of these children. You will be encouraged to use your skills to help meet the needs of your placement under the guidance of our project co-ordinator and the centre staff. You may also help to teach swimming (weather permitting) with our swimming school which has now been integrated into the curriculum at local schools.  The swimming school is run by our project co-ordinator who is also a fully qualified swim instructor.

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
• Assisting with teaching and caring for vulnerable children and putting smiles on their faces 
• Assisting with swimming school, helping young children learn this important skill

Accommodation and Meals 

You will be staying at Albatroz Lodge for the duration of your experience, which is situated next to the office and dive centre, and a few steps up from stunning TofoBeach! Here you will also receive 3 meals a day. For more information about the lodge and meals please see the Albatroz Lodge Accommodation brief. 

Project Start Dates

Start date for this project is the first Monday of the month for the following months only: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September and October 2017.

YOUR ROLE

The marine project involves conducting multiple types of research with different species. The following is a summary of the type of research and conservation activities you may be involved with. Some of the activities are conducted at specific times of the year whilst others are conducted all year round. Our co-ordinating project scientists will teach you how to assist with data collection throughout your project duration.

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.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.

Day in the life of a volunteer:

7:00

Wake up and have breakfast, fuel yourself for a busy day

7:30

Data entry on the computer from previous day’s research work. OR Catch a local taxi/chappa to your morning placement. 

10:00

Walk to the dive centre and get prepared for an Ocean Safari . Jump on the boat and head out to sea to find whale sharks and other marine life. On finding a whale shark enter the water snorkelling next to the whale shark and take photos of the correct parts of the shark. Photos enable us to identify individual sharks around the world and track their movements

13:00

Time for lunch!

14:00

Depending on the time of year – whale data collection from on top of the dunes or classroom prep for the next day’s teaching sessions. Or head to community school to teach English or join any of the scheduled conservation activities e.g. beach clean-up and turtle walks.

16:00

Return to your accommodation, with some free time to relax on the beach, go for a swim or surf, read a book or watch the sunset – the choice is yours!

18:00

Time to share your day’s experiences and enjoy a locally cooked Mozambican meal 

You will be scheduled for about 5-6 hours of activities per day, if you would like more activities then just ask your project coordinator.

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. Furthermore, the survey requires monitoring fishermen and may involve visiting nests during hatching season (December-March) to record hatching success.

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)

During 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.  This work will help provide recommendations for the improved conservation of these important ocean giants.

General environment (throughout the year)

A number of more general environmental awareness and clean-up activities will be also carried out during the project. The information collected during the field work is collated into a computer database both on-site and online and some of the data is uploaded onto an international database and shared with international collaborators for write up in scientific journals and theses.

Childcare

As a volunteer on the Childcare Project you could be working at one or several of the centres and groups we work with. The duties and places could involve:

• Assisting teachers, preparing lesson ideas, helping with meals, leading games during break times at a local kindergarten 
• Jumping in the pool and assisting teaching pre-school children how to swim! Many children begin as novices and are often frightened of the water, your role is to support them so they grow in confidence and learn to swim
• Assisting with extra-curricular English lessons in a local primary school, helping widen potential job opportunities with this additional language 

Our project coordinator will help orientate you into your placement and guide you to help ensure you are effective in your volunteer role.

ITINERARY

Itinerary for your exciting experience

Day 1

Fly into Inhambane Airport, usually connections are available from OR Tambo AirportJohannesburg 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 the nearby city of 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.  

After scuba class you will be treated with a series of interesting educational talks on some of the amazing megafauna you will be swimming with over the next few weeks including how to ID several different kinds of fish species.

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

Once your dive course is completed you will offically be an assistant scientist! Your dives in the morning/afternoon will be for the purpose of collecting data and the second part of the day you will be responsible for communicating that data into the proper vechile for safe keeping and anayalis at a later date. This may include ploting GPS coordinates for dives and sightings, filling out sightings forms for tracking large megafuana species and/or completing fish species photo IDs.

Project activities for the childcare would include going to the local kindergarten where you will be responsible with assisting the teachers delivering their lessons and caring for the children. 

You will usually volunteer on the Marine Program for 3 weeks and then swap to the Childcare Program for 3 weeks in order to fully focus on the different roles you are undertaking. 

On days when you are not in the water or at the kindergarten our project coordinator will take you on activities around Tofo such as Portuguese lessons, historical walking tours and/or local handicraft creation.

It is important to note that daily actvities may change due to weather conditions or other circumstances beyond our control at any given time. Attention to the daily posted schedule will be vital.

For 6 week option:

Day 43 Return home

Sadly all great adventures must come to an end and on your final day you will leave the lodge and transfer to Inhambane Airport to catch your flight. Airport transfer is included and facilitated by All Out Africa if you leave on your designated departure day. 

For 6 week plus option

Day 43 onwards

Continue with your volunteer project as described in days 8-12, giving you more time to contribute to your project and experience beautiful Mozambique

INCLUDED IN FEE
  • 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
  • An internationally recognised dive qualification (not included for 2 week volunteers)
  • Research dives and ocean safari’s to collect data
  • Support of volunteer project coordinators who are experts in their fields which ensures the volunteer experience is valuable
  • Comprehensive orientation to the country, its culture and your role as a volunteer upon arrival
  • All food and accommodation throughout your stay
  • Donation to our non-for-profit foundation which supports our humanitarian and community and conservation activities

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
ADDITIONAL INFO

Additional information 

• As part of the project activities, you will complete an Internationally Recognized Dive Qualification during a normal 4-week program, along with 11or 12 ocean activities (ocean safaris or research dives) depending on the dive course chosen.

Numbers of ocean safaris and research dives are calculated accordingly for shorter/longer programs. 

• In order to carry out the activities required of you in the Marine Conservation Project you will 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. 

• Volunteers who have pre-existing medical conditions or are over 45 years of age must also bring a medical clearance letter permitting them to dive. 

• Any volunteers taking Lariam/Mefloquine/Mephliam/Tropicure (or any other derivatives) as anti-malarial treatment (prophylaxis) will not be permitted to dive, as it causes increased risks when diving. Please advise your doctor that you are going on a dive holiday, and request another suitable anti-malarial treatment. 

• Accredited divers must bring their dive cards (listing their last logged dive) with them to the project site as proof. 

• Dive accredited volunteers not requiring/wanting a dive course but who have not logged a dive within 6 months of their project will need to complete a Scuba Review before they can participate in their research dives. The cost of a Scuba Review is not included in the project cost, and a small fee will be paid locally for this directly to the Dive Centre we partner with. 

• The open water certificate qualifies volunteers to dive up to 18 meters, and some of our dive sites are between 20-30 meters deep. It is not essential to dive at these deeper sites, but should you wish to participate in deep diving (up to 30 meters) you will either need to complete a Deep Dive course at a small additional local cost, or there is also the option to complete an Advanced Water Course at an additional cost. 

• Ask for our fish-list if you would like a head start on coming to grips with all the different species that you will be seeing on your dives!
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