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“I feel every aspect of this experience was really great, staff were really friendly and helpful, Swaziland was beautiful and the volunteering projects were varied and interesting – I recommend every aspect of my experience.”
Prudence MasekoZimbabwe | Child Care (SD)
“It was fun volunteering, the children are so sweet, and the tours were awesome. I think All Out Africa is really doing a good job and I will recommend it to others.”
Julia BombacjHolland | Teaching (SD)
|Starting at $ 1,849|
|3 meals per day|
|First Monday of the Month|
Flights are not included in the cost.
Our conservation programmes provide valuable “hands-on” research experiences facilitated by our experienced staff in well-equipped research centres, access to unique ecosystems and wildlife and fully inclusive packages including logistics, food and accommodation.
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.
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
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 Tofo Beach! Here you will also receive 3 meals a day. For more information about the lodge and meals please see the Albatroz Lodge Accommodation brief.
The product 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. Scuba dives and ocean safaris are accompanied by our co-ordinating project scientists to assist with data collection
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 two 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.
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.
Day in the life of a volunteer:
|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,
|12:30||Time 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|
|15:00||Depending 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!|
|18:00||Enjoy a delicious evening meal and relax……|
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.
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.
For 2 week option:
Day 15 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 2 week plus option
Day 15 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
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
Some Interesting Links
Volunteer Projects Contact
- +268 2416 2260
Adventure Tours contact
- +268 2528 3423